Has anybody been reading DebraSY’s blog? Sobering stuff, that. Debra is not talking about anything new. Its all stuff I learned when I first started losing the weight almost 6 years ago. I was reading everything I could about how to maintain a weight loss. And all the literature said that it was hard. That the percentage of people who maintained long term was very small. Debra likens maintenance to a part time job. She talks about the small percentage of people who maintain weight loss long term. She tells a story about a woman, who despite knowing what to do, has started to regain all her weight. She talks about the things that are going on in our body on a cellular level that fight with us to regain the weight–stuff that even as a nurse I don’t completely understand.
So, when I went to the gym last Wednesday, and weighed four pounds over my current maintenance goal, I have to admit it threw me for a loop. I don’t have any hormones left in my body, so I was pretty sure it was not a hormonal shift, and I didn’t think it was from excessive salt, or even from eating too much. I just thought it might be ‘the beginning of the end.’ That thing that I’ve said I was afraid of, that it would all disappear, like what happened in the movie ‘Awakenings.’
I wanted to restrict my diet severely. I wanted to exercise it off. I also wanted to eat myself into oblivion. But I didn’t do anything. I just kept eating the same way I usually do (healthy, moderately,) and I just kept exercising like I always do (mostly long walks, gym when I can get there.)
By Saturday morning, when I had my weekly phone call with my brother, I joked weakly about ‘getting fat again.’ I really ‘felt’ fat that morning. (Maybe it was the different tight jeans that I was wearing, Vickie.)
Sunday, because of that extra hour, I got up early and headed to the gym, for a workout, but mostly to weigh myself and see what the situation was. My weight was DOWN five pounds, one pound less than my maintenance goal. Disaster averted.
But was disaster ever really there? I went on to have a most vigorous workout, buoyed on by my ‘big loss.’ I wanted to eat to celebrate. I wanted to up my exercise …. But I didn’t. I ate the same way I always do. I planned out my food for the day during the announcements at church. I worked out on the weights for 30 minutes at the gym, and I took Noah for a 20 minute walk (in the rain) in the afternoon.
Such is the life of maintenance. Next July it will be five years since I first reached the weight of 168. I always said that if I could maintain the weight loss for five years I would consider myself in remission (that is NOT backed up by scientific evidence.) But I don’t think any more that that means I will be home free. I will still be working this ‘part time job’ voluntarily. I will still be planning my meals. I will still be thinking about sweets, and reminding myself that I do better with minimal sugar in my diet. I will still be reading the latest research on what foods are the healthiest for you. Reading recipes to discover the best way to include healthy ingredients AND make something delicious. I will still be spending WAY MORE TIME chopping/ prepping/ blending/ cooking food than I ever thought I would. I will still be taking long walks, and reminding myself why I want to go to the gym –building muscles in an aging body to help boost my metabolism.
But isn’t it worth it? The farther away that 255 pound woman is, the more I forget what life was like. How really, it was not comfortable to sit, even in my most comfortable chair. How I had to take the steps, one foot at a time, and my knees HURT SO BAD. How I got out of breath walking 20 feet to pick up the phone (that was embarrassing to try to explain.) How I was never actually satisfied, no matter how many chocolate chip cookies and brownies I allowed myself to eat.
As always, I hope that by sharing my weaknesses, as well as my strengths, it will be helpful to someone else on this difficult, but most worthy journey.