Join Date: Oct 2013
Maile posted this gentleman's blog about maintenance. I copied it here because I thought some of you might find it interesting.
If weight-loss is a sexy red Ferrari, then maintenance is a frumpy old green minivan. The longer I maintain, and the further I travel from the version of me that lost all of that weight, perspective begins to settle in like dust on the floor - slowly and all-encompassing. There's no higher confidence building experience I've ever had than when I was shedding weight and proficiently controlling my food temptations. The significance was such that even at 225 pounds I was beginning to feel thrilled with my reflection in the mirror. With every pound I lost, I felt more attractive and more confident than I'd felt in forever. In short, the high of being so successful was incredible, whereas the tranquility of maintenance is much more sedate.
Maintenance provides a far different perspective on your body and your health related goals - or at least it has in my experience. For example, my ritual weekly weigh-ins and body measuring has become a bi-monthly check-up, with far less glitter and gold flying through the air. It's more of a "oh hey, I lost a pound here, or gained one back there... cool" - mostly insignificant in light of continued exercise and watching portions with limited snacking throughout the week. It's just a different mind-frame altogether. The weirdest thing is that the old voices have begun to creep up more and more as I sail gently through the waters of maintenance. They begin to pick away, searching for cracks in my armor of self-confidence. Hands down, without a doubt, despite very minor (surprisingly practically non-existent) extra skin, and some areas where my body fat seems to still be clinging on for dear life, I know deep down that I've never looked this good in my life. This knowledge is what I allow to prevail over the voices in the darkness, but the voices grow stronger all the time it seems. It's at the point where I'll linger on parts of my body and think "why don't I look as good as I thought I did or used to a month ago"... only to see clearly, with a quick picture taken and compared to a few months past, that nothing has changed at all. Maintenance, for me, has supplied a new challenge in the world of my mental strength, and it's in regard to reminding myself that I do in fact look perfectly fine, and that my eyes are clearly delivering misinformation as to how I should feel about my appearance. We're a fickle people, really. Bigger and better is always on our horizons, and once we reach one plateau, we're constantly eyeing a better place to be when in fact the place where we are right now is perfect. It's wonderful. It's incredible. It's not that I need a six-pack or pecs that could crush walnuts to suddenly make me look good, I know I look good now, and I've shown over the past six months that I can maintain - an impressive feat despite not being able to run the past few months. So for now the voices stay controlled, but I can easily understand now how people I've always thought of as beautiful and perfect can sit back and say they look awful or need to work on many parts of their bodies... it's too easy to beat ourselves up and see our self-perceived imperfections it seems.
Running long distance afforded me the option to eat and drink whatever I wanted while in maintenance mode, so the only real change during my maintenance has been to moderate that stuff the past three months. At first it was tough reeling it in after having let my eating habits relax, but the months of weight-loss habits I formed picked back up relatively quickly, and my daily calories were shaved back down by about 200 without much fuss. Really, 200 calories isn't a difficult thing to cut out in my life. It's a cup of fruit juice, or that extra glass of wine, or that scoop of ice cream that I really don't need. Mind you... I'm 6'1" and am able to eat about 2100 calories to maintain. When I plan my meals right, I'm easily left needing to eat more to meet that quota. I generally fill it with cups of coffee with milk and sugar most days, or those random vanilla dip donuts I couldn't resist a few weeks back, lol, but I figure when I kick back into gear, I'll replace those carbs with protein of some sort. For now I'm not stressing, and just enjoying the minor spoils of maintenance.
Despite the somberness of what I've written so far, maintenance is very much one of those plateaus I mentioned above - and when I stop to breathe in the air and take in the view from here, it's an incredible place to be for sure. This summer, for the first time in almost a decade, I'm walking around shirtless at the beach, at pool parties - heck even in my backyard - and I don't even flinch or stop to ponder if I should be embarrassed about how I look. Am I ripped? no. Am I going to win the most attractive man on earth award? no. But, do I feel thrilled to not have to carry the emotional baggage of wishing I was a healthy weight anymore? So thrilled. Over the moon. This past week I spent camping with my wife and kiddos, and going to the beach each day was such an incredible joy. I've got color (and the good kind of color at that!) on parts of my body that I refused to expose to the world and the sun for too long, and that's a huge non-scale victory for me. My chest and back are no longer blindingly white, lol, and it's only the middle of July!
Final thoughts? For those in maintenance, don't let those self-criticizing voices gain any ground in your heart and in your life. You've done too much, come too far, and look WAY too good to give any power to those voices. The perfect body is an illusion, as even those whom we see and think look perfect are in fact constantly struggling with the same desires to look better. You're already perfect... you just haven't realized it yet. Love yourself today, and keep journeying toward whatever future you fancy - don't waste a second feeling like you're not good enough or not attractive enough. You're already perfectly imperfect in the most perfect ways possible!
Now residing in ONEDERLAND for the rest of my life!
Started maintenance: June 14, 2014