Maintenance–A Confession

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.

25 thoughts on “Maintenance–A Confession

  1. I liked how you decided to look at maintenance as a part time job. And just keep doing what you were doing. I really appreciate reading that, since this morning I peeked at the scale and was UP 2 pounds. So… I’ll do what you did, and just keep doing what I know to do. Thanks for that. 🙂


  2. First of all, thanks so much for writing this. The timing could not have been better. The scale has been drifting up (surprise, surprise – you read the Eats), and this morning I was within .2 pounds of scream weight. My impulse is to panic and do drastic things, but this was a good reminder that gently, calmly going back to the good habits will rein it in again.

    Yep, I’ve been impressed by DebraSY’s blog. (She reminds me of diabetes blogger/activist Janet Ruhl.) And yes, that analogy of weight loss/maintenance as a full-time job really resonates with me.

    And this was quite a good reminder: ” I was never actually satisfied, no matter how many chocolate chip cookies and brownies I allowed myself to eat.” That’s something that was so true even when I ate whatever the heck I wanted and however much I wanted to eat, and I sometimes forget that.

    • Debby – yet another reason why I love you 100 times! You pull another post right out of my head 😀

      It can be such a mind game. In the early stages, the mind wins, doesn’t it? That would have been the binge that happened, or the severe restriction that happened. Now, the routine and lifestyle take over instead and you didn’t overreact to either the gain or the loss.

      • You’re right Lori. There was a little bit of inner panic, but the routines I have worked hard to instill DID take over. That is encouraging to realize.

  3. Thank you Debby for sharing. I love your blog I feel like we have so much in common. I’m a nurse(places picc lines) I’m a Christian and I love to quilt. I’m also at my highest weight of 255. It’s no fun being this heavy(FAT!) I feel stuck I don’t know how to begin I’m also in my early 50’s so I feel like I’ve waited too long to begin again,I would love to weigh 168…..

    • Wow, Liz–the similarities are amazing! Please please know that it is possible! I hope you’ll take advantage of some of my ‘friend’s’ blogs, and gain knowledge and help from them, as well as going through some of my archives, so you can see the process that I went through. Now I wish I was organized, and had some of my ‘key’ blogs grouped together to make it easier–you’ve motivated me to do that!

  4. Thanks, Debby. This is timely for me right now. I’m not at goal, just trying to maintain what I’ve lost so far. You’re handling maintenance so well..just doing what you’ve been doing because it works. Blessings!!

  5. So true that you forget what it was like where you started… however many pounds ago… 120 in my case.

    Maintaining any loss is a job. Someone once said to me, “Being overweight is hard, and keeping weight off is hard. Choose your hard.” A lot more wonderful things come with losing and keeping weight off than with the alternative. I know which hard I choose.

  6. So familiar. The illogical scale. The panic impulse to over-react. Thanks for including my blog in your musings. And thanks to all you other visitors for allowing me into this community. I cannot believe how isolated I’ve been. And I was scared there wasn’t room for my stoic/cynical (depends on the day) voice. Zippy isn’t me. But I can appreciate zippy when it’s well delivered, and inspiring, and anything that’s simply honest. So much of what we get from the “experts” is wishful thinking with a dash of condescension. Honesty, such as this post, resonates with me.

    • I know. I didn’t even touch on the stupid scale. For me for now I think it is a necessary evil. My mind can play those ‘fat’ games without the scale number, so it is a good checkpoint for me.

      And we are very glad you are here, Debra! I remember when I used to read Refuse to Regain and I would read your comments and try to find your blog!

  7. Oh my wise and wonderful friend! You don’t need to be ashamed for feeling human – and judging by the comments here, you are not alone. So you panicked a little bit – but like Lori said, the new lifestyle took over. I think this whole thing should be viewed as a victory! 🙂

    • I WAS feeling pretty victorious this morning Jill! I had just gotten back from my 3 mile walk with Noah, and I really pushed it–did not run, but I was walking as fast as I could.

  8. I’ve not heard about Debra’s blog but she sounds intriguing and I’m so very interested in how other people are managing their maintenance…just as I had great support and mentors while I was losing my weight, I love that there is a good group of blogging maintainers to help guide me thorough uncharted waters. Good to hear that you approached your scary weigh-in with such a rational approach!

  9. Debby, yes I’ve read every word of Debra’s blog. Someone suggested on my blog a few posts ago, that perhaps for me, right now blogging has become a “distraction” rather than a motivator. I’ve thought about that a LOT and to some degree, have decided it may be true, because the blogs I’m being drawn to are those of maintainers rather than many I’ve become attached to that are making little or no progress and seem to spend their posts making excuses rather than planning for success. I’m the worst of the worst among that group the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black” syndrome) and certainly will NOT abandon them, but I’m looking to you guys (you, Lori, Diane, Lynn, Debra etc.) who have done it, maintained it and write truthfully about it for my inspiration. It seems to be helping me to “picture” myself as one of you and then watching what you did/do to get there and stay there. Any others you consider your “fellow maintainers” that I haven’t found?? I am so grateful to ALL of you for continuing to write about your struggles rather than making your goal and stopping the writing.

  10. Though I’m not at maintenance yet, this might be my favorite post you’ve written. It gives me hope that when I get there, I will be able to not freak out and just go about my daily business of maintenance. Beautifully written Debby.

  11. Everyone said it all. Debby, this post was amazing and just what I needed to read. I forget to breathe sometimes and I still want to change everything NOW and blame something I did for fluctuation on the scale. Maintenance is strange territory, especially as a person in middle age. I forget my body isn’t 25 anymore. Thank you for not freaking out about the scale and living to write about it. I’m forever one of your groupies 🙂

  12. Wonderfully honest and encouraging post, Debby! If we, as Lynn said, remember to breathe and keep doing the right things, the weight takes care of itself. It’s not always easy, but it is entirely possible!

  13. Hi, Debby … just read your blog for the first time … referred by Lynn’s Weigh blog. So glad to see you and very much enjoyed reading the blog today. I have just achieved the 100 lbs. lost goal (in the last 3.5 years), and have 15 more to go if I do ever do it, though I’m ok here if I stay … not changing how I eat or exercise, so maybe it will continue to slough off. Very glad to meet someone else in a very similar boat. 🙂

  14. I just found your site (from the link on the ‘Debra’s Just Maintaining’ blog) and wanted to thank you for putting so beautifully expressing all of the emotions of weight maintenance. I’ve often wondered if the time would ever come when my weight was up a few pounds and I saw it for something other than the beginning of the end. I’m still a novice at maintenance: it’s three years since I started losing, and a year and a half since I reached my goal. Your 5 years sounds impossibly impressive right now! Best of luck – I look forward to catching up on all of your posts.

  15. Pingback: Anchors A-Weigh - Thighs Thinner

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