Maintenance

Into Unknown Territory: Weight Maintenance

For the first time in my life, I am working on maintaining my weight. It is a very strange position in which I find myself, considering I have alternated dieting and gaining weight for all of my life. It has either been trying to lose weight or eating like a mad person, with nothing in between. All or nothing.

Now, I find it odd every time I step on the scale and the number is in the same range. I’m trying to find a balance between thinking about what and how much I’m eating too much and not thinking about it at all. I need to think about it just enough to keep doing it, and not enough to occupy too much of my time or feel like an obsession. I’m trying to keep food and exercise on the level of hobby- something I enjoy doing but not a career.

The strategy I am following is to focus on exercise. Luckily, I love to exercise now and I look forward to it. It is a habit in my life to go to the gym at least 5 days a week. This is not something I want to give up. And I can’t really just maintain the status quo with exercise. Half the fun is pushing yourself and reaching new athletic goals like a longer or faster run or a heavier lift. For eating, I am focused on listening to my body’s signals that tell me when I am hungry and when I am full. In the back of my mind, I know that I will eat more on days I exert myself more and my hunger signals also correlate to this expectation. Through repetitive training, I have reset my hunger sensors as well as my fullness sensors. I no longer have a desire to eat past the point of fullness.

So, for now, I seem to be easily maintaining my weight. I weigh myself each morning and I fluctuate in the expected 5 lb range.

This is good. There is only one thing that is somewhat melancholy about it and I only recently realized it. Throughout the weight loss, I made many online friends on a weight loss support site. And now I find I am an outsider looking in. I’m not on the same plane as everyone else. I’m like the parent who can say “I remember when I was your age” but the child never believes that. It is hard to believe that anyone has been in your shoes when it appears that person has it all under control. I understand this and it is inevitable. I’m not working on losing weight anymore. It’s almost like because I’ve made it to the end of the journey, the weight loss portion anyway, people don’t believe that I was ever “one of them.” They don’t think I truly understand or relate. I get that and to be honest, most of them don’t relate to me either. I’m in a different place mentally about the whole thing.

I tried searching for a new forum that is focused on weight maintenance, or even “healthy living” or some such thing, but have not had any luck yet. That doesn’t really surprise me, I guess. We are a nation of yo-yo dieters. It never occurs to anyone that maintenance isn’t a passive proposition but an active choice and one that has it’s own challenges and rewards.

It occurs to me that perhaps I should start the forum I am seeking myself. Not that I know anything about running a forum, but how much more difficult can it be than writing a blog? I will continue to search and continue to think about this.

I feel a bit like an island now- I don’t know anyone personally who has been in my position, having lost an extreme amount of weight, and I feel that support has been and still is valuable, but I’m not sure where to get it. I don’t want to be the “outsider” or the “parent.” I want to talk to my peers who are going through the same thing… whoever and wherever they may be. I know they are out there somewhere.

9 thoughts on “Into Unknown Territory: Weight Maintenance

  1. I think a maintenance forum is a great idea. I would definitely join it once I get to my goal, and I’m sure there are many many out there who need something like what you describe.

    And PS, I don’t think of you as a parent figure on that diet site, more of a ‘big’ sister character. I can see how that might feel isolating or something however. It’s lonely at the top baby. But I also think that it’s part of the nature of people trying to lose a lot of weight, that they (we) think ‘nobody’ understands their particular challenges. Or maybe it’s typical of a particular point in the journey anyway. Just a thought.

  2. I don’t see you as a parent either. I see you as a “goal”, if I may, and the appropriate way to live. Taking advice from skinny people who have never been fat go in one ear and out the other, or rubs me the wrong way entirely. You are a vision of what is and what is to come which is why I love to see you on that website daily.

    Like Lisa said, it is lonely at the top. I’ve experienced that with my friends. But I also know that when you are top of something, its time to achieve something greater.

    “Little Sister” there’s nothing big about you πŸ˜‰

  3. I totally agree with Felicia and Lisa. I see you as an inspiration and someone I can hopefully one day relate to. I look forward to seeing a forum for people who want to maintain their health lifestyle and think its an absolutely wonderful idea. I have often wondered what I was going to do once I reached my goals. I know its a long journey ahead still for me, but I hope that by the time I make it there a place like that will exist for me. πŸ™‚

  4. I don’t see you as an outsider. I do see you as someone to emulate. When I see your before and after pictures, I KNOW you were where I am. I’m thinking there are enough successful people on FS now that you could start a maintainance group on FS for other sucessful members feeling in the same quandry. If you do end up starting a separate forum, I want to know where it is. I’m planning to be in the same place you are . . . 90.8 lbs. from now. LOL!

  5. I am in the same situation you are. I’ve been in maintenance mode since October. I wish I could say it has been easy, but it hasn’t. I have really struggled to find the right balance between, as you note, being conscious of my food intake and being obsessive about it. I, like you, have learned to love exercise and I run at least 3 miles 4 times a week. The one thing I have learned, though, is that I am not a person who can get on the scale every day in maintenance. It worked wonderfully in weight loss mode, but in maintenance I stress out about weighing in even more than I did during weight loss. I’m guessing this has something to do with the fact that I’ve been a yo-yo dieter since I was 18 and so even though I’ve learned all these new wonderful habits, there is a part of me that just expects it all to go down the tubes once again. I now weigh in once a week and that has been much better for my peace of mind.

    This got a little long, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and I will gladly join any forum you may start/find on this topic. I wish you the best!

    1. Hi Amy,
      I know just what you are talking about with expecting things to go down the tubes. I’m a master of imagining “worst case scenarios”. There are days when I step toward the scale, fully expecting it was all a dream and I will somehow be 287 pounds again. But I step on it anyway.

      For me, I need above all to be accountable to myself. That means never hiding from the truth. The truth about my weight is that it fluctuates. I have come to accept that. And I have learned what range to expect. I work at it every day, thinking of that number as just a number, not a judgment, not a good or bad thing, simple data. I actually record my weight every day on an iphone app and I find it comforting to know that my pattern is always the same and tied to my menstrual cycle.

      I don’t want this to be about fear anymore, only rational decisions. Seeing my weight daily helps me. I am sure everyone is different in this regard though. There is no wrong way, except denial.

  6. Great post. I’m wondering about the transition to maintenance and how I’ll manage it. Anyway, the largest forum on weight loss maintenance forum I know of is at 3fatchicks.com

  7. I would totally join your maintenance forum! I haven’t lost nearly the weight you have, but considering I was only 151 to begin with, I didn’t have as much to lose. (I did lose about 10% of my body weight though!) I’m sure it’s not quite the same journey that we had, but I have been toying in the world of maintenance since September of 2010, but I would LOVE support!

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