General Diet Plans and Questions - Easier to lose weight than to maintain? Myth?




IsabellaOlivia
07-14-2011, 04:48 PM
I've heard many times that losing the weight is the easy part, but maintaining it is the difficult part. Is that myth truth?

For me, my biggest frustration is eating healthy and working out, but still health wise and vanity wise need to lose 24 pounds. Like I feel that if I only looked the part of a person who ate 1400 calories a day and worked out 6 times a day it would take a lot of pressure off. I feel stupid eating what I do and running on the beach because i don't look like a person who have that lifestyle...


Shannon in ATL
07-14-2011, 04:56 PM
It was easier for me to lose than it has been to maintain, absolutely. The mindset is different in maintenance. When I was losing I had a goal I was working towards, I sometimes find myself flailing maintenance because it is the same every day.

kaplods
07-14-2011, 05:37 PM
I would also say maintenance is harder, in that I've lost thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds in the last 40 years, and most of that time I was either steadily losing, or more rapidly gaining. This is the first time I've ever kept any weight off for more than 18 months.

But I think part of it is also a mindset. In general, while a person is losing weight, they see the scale going down as the only success. Staying the same is failure. I think the mindset that no-loss equals failure can not only carry into maintenance, it can prevent a person from every getting to maintenance.

I know the one and only time I came close to my goal weight, and my doctor lowered my goal by 10 lbs - and the new weight seemed impossible. I started feeling that I would always be fat, I would never reach goal, so what did it matter if I ate what I wanted and regained it all.

Every time I went off a diet, I did it for the same reason - thinking that I 1. Would never reach goal, and 2. So what did it matter if I ate what I wanted and regained it all.

This time, I changed my focus to maintenance. When I started, I decided that my goal was just to maintain my loss and maybe try to lose a little more. I also vowed that even if I never lost another pound, I would still aim to keep off what I'd lost. In essence, when I stepped on the scale, and didn't see a loss, I stareted seeing that as success. A loss was bonus, but not gaining was the more important goal.

It also meant I experienced a lot more success, because when I didn't see a loss on the scale, it was still time to celebrate if I didn't see a gain. And if I did see a gain, my goal was to get back to my lowest weight so far (on this journey). So if I gained 2 lbs, I didn't think "now I'm 2 lbs further away from my ultimate goal weight - with 150 lbs left to go, I'll never make it at this rate," as I would have in the past. Instead I look at the 2 lbs "I have to lose 2 lbs to get back to my lowest weight (of this journey) and I only hae to lose 3 to hit a new low record.

I've never ever had such long term success, gone so long without backsliding, and I think it's because I'm focusing on maintenance. I also think it's good practice for maintenance, so I'm already seeing "just staying the same" as a tremendous acheivement worthy of celebrating. And I do think that gives me a leg up on keeping the weight off forever.

I think putting more focus on staying the same than on losing has definitely slowed my weight-loss, but it also to a degree has relapse-proofed the journey. I'm not at risk for backsliding as long as I don't allow myself to think that the journey doesn't count or matter unless I end up at a specific weight. As long as I believe that every pound counts, there's never a reason to give up or backslide.

I think one of the reasons maintenance is harder than weight loss, is because "staying the same" isn't something we're used to celebrating.


christine123
07-14-2011, 05:43 PM
I think one of the reasons maintenance is harder than weight loss, is because "staying the same" isn't something we're used to celebrating.

I couldnt have said it better myself! This is why I have never been successful at maintaining more than a few months. And during that time, I was in the back of my head pushing to lose more.

lin43
07-14-2011, 05:51 PM
It was easier for me to lose than it has been to maintain, absolutely. The mindset is different in maintenance. When I was losing I had a goal I was working towards, I sometimes find myself flailing maintenance because it is the same every day.


I feel the same. When you're losing, you get the thrill of accomplishment with each little success---each pair of jeans from your "too small" pile that you can now fit into, the fun of shopping for new clothes in smaller sizes, the compliments. Eventually, those thrills go away, though---you're used to your new size and the compliments stop. However, the work---i.e., eating right and increased activity---must continue . . . forever. That's hard to face, and not facing it has been one reason that I've always regained the weight.

JoJoJo2
07-14-2011, 05:59 PM
I lost the weight quite easily. The lbs. came off at a steady rate of about 2 lbs. per week, just like all the weight-loss advice said it could. I had a couple of lengthy plateaus, but managed to get through them OK.

Now I am maintaining, and it's a whole different ballgame. It seems to require constant vigilance on my part because those lost lbs. really want to attach themselves back onto my body. I have read about the small percentage of successful losers of weight who maintain that loss. I read the posts here at 3fc and on other weight-loss support forums and see how many people have failed at maintenance. It really concerns me.

I guess I will just have to FOCUS on maintaining my weight loss for the rest of my life, which is something I am willing to do. Eat carefully, and take it a day at a time - forever. :wave:

MariaMaria
07-14-2011, 06:02 PM
There's no end in sight on maintenance.

ncuneo
07-17-2011, 12:49 PM
Depends IMO. At first yes maintenance was WAY harder, however now that I'm really starting to understand my body and understand how I want to structure my life to maintain my weight and ACCEPT that that is what I have to do it's getting easier.

For me I prefer to eat weight loss level of calories durning the week and pig out on the weekends. That is what works for ME. At first many many people were very unsupportive of doing it this way so I started to question everything and think I was doing it "wrong". Once I realize that in the big picture it doesn't matter what you do to maintain (just the same it doesn't matter what you do to lose) if it works for you then it's ok. I have sense done tons of research on metabolism and processed vs non processed and discovered none of it really matters. All that matters is that you find a system that works for you. And that is what works for me so I can't let what others do or think get in the way of that. Now that I am past that and over what the scale says ever day I am able to do it easily. In the process of figuring that all out I've gained 10 lbs and now I've stablized and am easily maintaining and that's ahead of me is whether or not I want to lose those 10 lbs because I'm not really doing what's necessary to lose them at this point, but I think I will soon.

Anyway, that was long winded, but honestly maintenance is only hard if you make it hard by denying that it's going to be work, you're still going to have to say no from time to time and that you need to ignore what other think or say about how you choose to maintain your weight. Oh yeah get over what the scale says.

kaplods
07-17-2011, 01:53 PM
Once I realized that maintenance and loss were essentially the same skill set, both became easier for me.

It may seem kind of weird to hear someone as fat as I am talk about maintenance (after all I still have 150 or more pounds to lose), but I think it's very important that even while dieting, to start practicing maintenance.

Instead we tend to see gaining as being no worse, or at least not much worse than not losing.

You can view not losing as a failure to lose, or you can see it as success in not gaining. I think when you see success and progress, you're more likely to continue doing what needs to be done.

I think maintenance always fails because we make it a lot different than weight loss, but if you start practicing maintenance with the first pound (or even quarter pound), then you'll have less difficulty seeing "not losing" in terms of success rather than failure.

irishcanary
07-17-2011, 06:40 PM
I always suck at maintainence, i can loose weight grand, keeping it off, another story completely!

UrthWurm
07-17-2011, 06:55 PM
I realize I have no room to talk as I haven't reached maintenance yet, but I've always had in mind that when I do, I won't be counting weight change as a success anymore, but exercise minutes. I'll be celebrating every time I stay on plan and make healthy choices for my body. I'll be tracking not a number on a scale (though I will monitor it), but activity and fitness aspects. Just my .02!

mountaingirl81
07-18-2011, 08:57 AM
It can be a myth. Did you actually change your lifestyle and adopt new habits, or are you just dieting? I've had a relatively easy time maintaining because I refuse to regain any of my lost weight and I've made real, lasting changes that are second nature for the most part. No more "oh well, I won't keep this off anyway and I really want that cheesecake so what the ****." It all matters to me now and after 2 years of maintaining, I know that the negative attitude is wrong. There's some things I have to keep in check, like my sugar addiction. And I accept that will be for life. I won't fool myself into thinking that I'm cured because I lost weight and am doing better nor will I think that it has defeated me forever because I have to remain "in recovery" from my addiction and disordered eating.

I'm not at my goal weight yet, but I ended up stopping at a very happy point where I could prove to myself that I could keep the weight off and live a pretty normal life. I needed that psychologically before I could continue losing the last bit. I could be happy staying at this weight for life, and I'm confident I can maintain it, but I know I can do more for myself.

I think in the end, everyone has to find what works for them and my experience tells me that there's so much more mental work involved than physical. I had to really get to know how I work, how I think, and respect my Self all enough to work with it compassionately. As an example, large goals overwhelm me, so I did 10 pound increments -- 20 times. Now I'll be doing 5lb goal increments -- 7 times. Years ago I thought that was a stupid way to think and ignored it and repeatedly failed because hey, losing 200lbs is really intimidating. And losing 10lbs feelings like NOTHING when that's all you're staring at. So quitting is real easy.