Maintenance · Weight Loss

Weight Maintenance – What it Really Looks Like (Charts!)

Well, this is a first for me on this blog: I’m writing to tell you about a weight gain.  In the process of thinking about this, I decided to share with you my weight maintenance chart thus far.  I didn’t want to write about this during the 30 day challenge, even though I realized it was happening a few weeks ago.  This is not a big deal and I didn’t want it to take away from what I was getting out of the challenge.  No need for condolences.  It’s all par for the course.

You see, I don’t expect my weight to remain perfectly steady at all times, but I don’t want to take trends too lightly either.  I’ve only been at this weight maintenance thing for about 8 months and it’s something I’ve never done before in my life so I’m still figuring it out.  I know there will be challenges and changes along the way because life is not constant and nothing in life remains perfectly still.

I think a lot of people mistakenly think that weight maintenance will look like this:

idealized weight maintenance

So I am here to tell you it does not.  I weigh myself almost every day unless I’m traveling or I forget for some reason.  Then I record that weight using an iPhone app that’s meant for tracking your menstrual cycle called iPeriod.  This may sound a bit obsessive to some people, but I think it’s very important for me to remain engaged with what is going on with my body.  Perhaps someday this will be unnecessary, but not at the moment.  I have learned that my weight will fluctuate daily and I am not bothered by this.  Recording those fluctuations helps me see the overall trend that’s so easy to lose in the day to day ups and downs.  It also helps me in situations like now, so I can look back and see exactly what changed and when.

Here is my weight chart from this month:

one month

Keep in mind that these charts look dramatic because of the scale.  You’re looking at a range of 165 to 172 lb, so not a huge difference but this is clearly up from my maintenance range, as the next charts will show.  This is the month of the 30 day challenge during which I did no exercise other than yoga.  I counted calories for the first 2 weeks, but that quickly became boring so I quit.  I noticed my weight range was higher about half way through the challenge and I kept weighing myself but recorded it less because I was trying not to focus on my weight at that moment. Yoga, wonderful as it is, doesn’t elevate my heart rate or burn calories the way running or BodyPump do.

Now let’s step back a bit.  Here is the chart for the past 3 months:

three months

I’ve divided this up into colored sections for easy understanding: yellow is when I was following Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer for 1 month, blue is a period of time during which I took two trips (Philadelphia and San Francisco) and was off my schedule both in terms of eating and exercise, and the purple is the 30 day challenge.  So you can see that the trend upward started right after I stopped following the LiveFit trainer, about 2 months ago.  The yellow line is my all time low weight, of 161 lb.

six months

If we back up even further, the trends are much clearer.  This is why I think keeping a weight chart is so helpful.  The green area is a period of time when I was maintaining pretty effortlessly.  I had myself in a routine of working out about 6 times a week- three days of BodyPump and 3 days of cardio and I was basically just eating whenever I was hungry, Susie Orbach style.

overall weight chart

Finally, this is my weight chart since I started keeping it in January.  Prior to that, I weighed myself daily but only recorded the lowest weights.  Orange is the end of my weight loss efforts.  I decided to start maintaining in April and the rest is history.  I drew in the red line representing the overall trend.  This would be impossible to see without keeping track in some way.  I feel empowered by the knowledge.

Having lost over 120 pounds, I know just how important it is to catch these things before they get out of control, so I’ve tried to maintain a balance between vigilance and going with the flow, which I think has been pretty successful.  A lot of people would be absolutely panicking right now about this weight gain, but I am not.  I made changes to my routine, and those changes made changes on the scale.  It’s just data.  It works for me.  I am not a slave to it.  Only if you can keep this kind of attitude toward it can it be healthy to weigh in daily.  I know many people find this is not possible and that they become obsessive about that number.  For those people, perhaps a different strategy is in order.

So what am I going to do about it?  Well, I really don’t feel like counting calories at the moment.  It takes some of the joy out of eating and I feel I eat so well it isn’t really necessary.  I believe that if I continue eating as I have been and add my gym exercise back into my routine, the weight will probably take care of itself, possibly quite quickly.  I will pay extra attention to eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full, which is how I maintained my weight during the “green” period.  It’s been fun experimenting with different plans, but I’m kind of happy to go back to the tried and true, body pump and cardio – doing my own thing as it occurs to me.  Of course I will continue practicing yoga a few days a week as well.  Now that I have been away from my routine, I am hoping it will be even more effective.  I’m not going to be too hard on myself either.  I’m moving in a little more than a month to a different state and I know that means a lot of my time committed to moving prep.  Being in my comfortable gym routine should be just about perfect during this time.

Now let’s get it going in the right direction again.

8 thoughts on “Weight Maintenance – What it Really Looks Like (Charts!)

  1. Thank you so much for illustrating this fact so well – no matter how healthy our routines are, we will ALWAYS be subject to weight fluctuations, and should never beat ourselves up OR feel guilty about it in the least.
    So important also to note that our menstrual cycles play a leading role in all of this, yet so few of us follow our bodily changes so closely as to realize it. Hormones are key in most of our bodily functions; that’s just our basic biology, and we just don’t have control over that (and shouldn’t).

  2. I love your analysis- I do the same thing whenever I’m struggling with my weight loss and it’s very insightful (although my graphs aren’t nearly as attractive…). I definitely agree that keeping track of all this information for long periods of is the best way to understand your body and what works for you. Along with being inspirational, your story is also very practical and honest. I’m down to losing the last 5-10 pounds and your ongoing journey through maintenance is giving me lots of food for thought. Thanks for putting yourself out there like you do and helping us to follow your path to success! 🙂

  3. this was really encouraging, as I’ve been kind of maintaining on accident lately and have been watching my weight fluctuate quite a bit in the day-to-day and over the course of each week. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I, so, agree! Maintenance is, to me, tougher then losing the weight! I think I just let my guard down and started to return to old habits but in this case, just ate to much good food. I gained 30 pounds in 2 months but have returned close to where I was after 4 months. You can do it!

  5. Wow – I feel like I’ve found someone more neurotic than I am… I TOTALLY get tracking everything to identify trends and I really appreciate you sharing your story this way. I’ve subsscribed and look forward to following your progress!

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