Our first AIM (Adventures in Maintenance) question of the month is: what was different this time? Between the ages of 13 and 30, there were a number of times I lost fairly large amounts of weight. Each time, I not only gained the weight back, but I added on a few extra pounds. If statistics are right, this is the experience of 95% of people who lose weight. Its heartbreaking, really.
SO WHAT WAS DIFFERENT THIS TIME?
Honestly, it was a bloomin’ miracle. The end.
What? You think there was more to it than that?
Well, here are the three factors that I think have had the biggest impact on my weight loss and maintenance:
- One of the things I told myself right from the start was “What you’re doing now isn’t working. You must do something different.” This proved to be valuable advice to myself.
- Another factor was that I knew it had to be a lifelong change. I actually knew that for twenty years before I had the gumption to act on it.
- Maybe it was being humble enough to accept that I needed some help. (see #1–it wasn’t working to try to do it all on my own. I needed to do something different.)
So, let’s see. How did these three factors play out in my finally having a successful long term weight loss?
“You’ve got to do something different.” I finally gave in and went to Weight Watchers with a friend. It required me to be humble enough to admit that I could not do it on my own. Over the years the “something different” has applied to a number of things: the types of foods I choose to eat, the amount of food I choose to eat, when I choose to eat, and of course, the amount and type of exercise that I do. I have had to learn to be flexible. The body is a complex and ever-changing thing, and I must learn to adapt to its needs as time goes on. (That’s a whole ‘nother post about aging and weight loss!)
I needed some help. Along the way I sought help from a number of friends and experts. I was very skeptical of any information provided by Weight Watchers. So I did a lot of reading and research on my own (who knew–the vast majority of the information provided by Weight Watchers was true!) And when Weight Watchers was no longer working for me (and doing it all on my own was not working either,) I started working with a personal trainer. I had already changed my entire way of eating, but I learned even more from her about eating truly healthy nourishing foods, and I changed the way I was eating again. And of course, the whole blog world has brought me new friends and support, and has been a great resource for new recipes and foods to try.
It had to be a lifetime change. Like I said, I had known this for a long time. That’s why I WOULDN’T try to lose weight for a long time. I didn’t think I could give up the foods I loved so much. I really loved all those foods. But funny thing is, I loved the new foods that I tried along the way. And even now, when I have pared my foods down once again, I still love the foods I am choosing to eat. My mom and sister and I were talking about this recently. My mom made the statement about me “and she really knows good food!” And my sister said somewhat wistfully, “But somewhere along the way, your tastes change.” I knew exactly what she meant. That was the fear that kept me from trying to lose weight for so long. I didn’t WANT to stop enjoying those lovely foods. But here’s the rub: so what if your tastes change? If you still enjoy these new healthier lower calorie foods just as much as the old foods, is that such a bad thing?
In a nutshell, I think those are the things that have helped me to stay on this lifetime of “adventures in maintenance!”
To read more about “what was different this time?” be sure to check out my friends and maintaining experts:
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!