Weight Loss Support - Maintain or not to maintain?




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twinieten
10-07-2012, 09:43 AM
I'm about 4 pounds away from my normal BMI, and I'm pretty sure I can reach that in the next few weeks, provided I don't completely blow it while on vacation this week. Which I have no intentions of doing,.... :cool:

Anyhow, after I get that four off, I'm thinking about going in to maintenance through the holidays, just because I'm so tired of restricting calories... Dieting. I've been doing it for 2 years, and I'm just ready to stop. And the holiday months are tough months for weight loss anyhow. However, my goal is still 15 pounds less than that top BMI number I'm striving for.

Has anyone taken a break from weight loss, managed to maintain and then return to weight loss sucessfully?

A part of me is saying to take that break. The other part of me is saying, "keep going. It's only 15 more". I can really just slow it down. As if I can slow it down more, since I'm going so slow already.... But say, instead of trying to maintain a 1000 calorie deficit, go for 500, and see what happens.

When I think about the fact that maintenance is still going to require calorie counting and paying close attention to my weight and what I eat, staying on the weight loss track doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

Just kind of thinking out loud.


jenjulia
10-07-2012, 11:06 AM
I did the same thing- I needed a break and took one. I slowed my weight loss down last January and have pretty much maintained since then. I'm going to start trying to lose that last 15- 20 lbs now. Hard to get back in weight loss mode again though!!

luckystreak
10-07-2012, 11:36 AM
it should just be about healthy eating, it shouldnt be about needing a break from life. if you're very very strict abut eating then its fine to ease up, but you still need to keep in mind how much youre eating, and what. always. there should be no long term breaks from this.


and like someone else said, the more you take that break the harder itll be to get back into it. its a risky move.


LockItUp
10-07-2012, 12:13 PM
it should just be about healthy eating, it shouldnt be about needing a break from life. if you're very very strict abut eating then its fine to ease up, but you still need to keep in mind how much youre eating, and what. always. there should be no long term breaks from this.


and like someone else said, the more you take that break the harder itll be to get back into it. its a risky move.

I respectfully disagree as OP stated that she realizes that maintenance is just as much work as losing. I didn't get the feeling from her post that she was talking about going crazy and eating junk food 24/7, just not eating in a 1000 calorie deficit for a while (that's a huge deficit). You're right, it IS about eating healthy, but when you are maintaining vs. losing you sure can eat MORE of that healthy food, which is sometimes needed.




We are almost in the same exact spot right now. I'm 1 measly pound away from "normal". And this is just my opinion of course, but like you said, maintenance is just as much work as weight loss (or at least is for many). I think going for the smaller deficit would give you the best of both worlds: you could eat more than you are eating now PLUS still lose.

The closer I get to goal the more excited and motivated I am, but I also haven't been at this as long as you have, and I've definitely hit times where I needed a break (all of August), but even when I took that break I still lost a couple pounds that month, and I ate like crap about half the month and didn't count calories at all. Maybe you just need a break like that to reset you.

That being said, there's NOTHING wrong with maintaining for a while, so please don't get me wrong!

Nadya
10-07-2012, 12:47 PM
Hard to get back in weight loss mode again though!!

This is how I feel about it. I've been maintaining since May. I've only lost maybe 5 pounds since then and those cycle on and off. I know it's not a physical thing - I'm not stuck - it's mental. I don't work out enough and I allow myself too many treats. I'm happy that I'm at least keeping all the weight off but I'm not happy that I'm finding it so difficult to get back on track. So I haven't bought any Halloween candy - I was sorely tempted to buy candy corn - and I'm not going to go easy on myself during winter either. I'm positive I won't be working out as much during those months so I don't need to add more junk food on top of it. =/

juliastl27
10-07-2012, 12:58 PM
if you feel like you need the break, take it! sometimes we push ourselves too hard. like stephanie said, you seem to know better than to pig out, you're setting a reasonable goal of eliminating your calorie deficit for a little while. maintenance breaks can help if you've been feeling stuck lately.

kaplods
10-07-2012, 01:13 PM
I've struggled with my weight since kindergarten, and a large part of why I failed more than I succeedes is that I had only two diet modes. 100% committed and 1005 on plan, and 100% out of control. I made very few compromises.

This time has been full of compromises, and the most important one has been to focus on maintenance when I felt I couldn't focus on weight loss. In the past, whenever I felt I couldn't focus on weight loss, I'd give up on every weight loss strategy I was employing, and would give up all control of my eating.

When I started this current journey, I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to lose, and I didn't want to see failure when I hit plateaus or difficult patches, so I chose to focus on maintenance from the very start. Weight loss is terrific, but maintaining the loss is much more important to me. I've always been able to lose small amounts of weight, it's the maintaining the losses that has always been the challenge, and I think this is true for many if not most. Maintaining the weight loss is 90% of the challenge, and it gets very little attention (I've found only two or three books on maintenance, though I've read thousands of books on weight loss - most dedicate at most one chapter to maintenance and deal with it as something you do after weight loss is over).

Maintenanced isn't something you do when weight loss is over, it's something you do from the very first pound. It's ok to take breaks from weight loss (intentionally or not), but taking a break from maintenance will almost inevitably lead to weight gain.

So take your break from weight loss any time you want. You don't have to be at goal to do it. So long as you don't take a break from maintenance, you won't have to worry about backsliding and backtracking.

I've taken a lot of breaks from weight loss (some intentional, some accidental or incidental), but I've done almost no backsliding (some minor backtracking with water weight gain here and there from TOM and less than ideal eating, but no significant gain periods).

Taking the breaks and slower tracks has resulted in much, much slower weight loss for me, but the benefits have been well worth the sacrifice of speed. Relaxing my calorie restriction has made weight loss much less stressful for me, and I've never, ever lost so much weight or kept it off so long. I've been on a downward weight trend for almost ten times as long as my previous weight loss "record."

There are no unbreakable rules in weight loss (except don't ever give up entirely if you don't want to backslide). You have to adapt your strategies to your own life. Taking a break from weight loss will not doom your weight loss, unless you follow the "traditional" pattern that our culture has engrained. You have to know the tradition to break it.

The traditional path is to give up entirely and eat hog wild until you're ready to "start fresh." The tradition is to feel hopleless, helpless, and doomed for weight gain when not 100% on the fast track. If you are aware of the pressure to give in to chaotic eating, you can successfully fight it, and can break the traditions without falling into the traditional patterns.

I think many people are afraid to break the traditional patterns of weight loss (I didn't think I was one of those people, but so much of this occurs on a subconscious level that I didn't see myself chained to the pattern until I tried to break it). I didn't know anyone who took successful breaks from weight loss, so I had trouble being successful on my own breaks until I was determined to be a successful nonconformist.

If you're committed to weight maintenance, your break will not derail you, especially if you see it as a stress-buster. If you're more stressed about not losing than you are about maintaining, the break isn't going to refresh you. So see it as an experiment that you can tweak, alter, and abandon as you choose.

JohnP
10-07-2012, 04:12 PM
I vote for practicing maintainence for a while and planning to restart in January.

That said I would continue whatever exercise program you're following.

Arctic Mama
10-07-2012, 07:04 PM
I've taken all sorts of maintenance breaks. It's been great! Yes, it has taken me longer to get to goal, and yes, it has its own challenges and I can't go whole hog without risking regain, but a few months of slightly higher calories is fine. I'd still say to practice maintenance well, with weigh-ins and corrections as needed, but it's definitely more relaxed than weight loss.

No harm in a break, just keep yourself accountable :)

masterptr
10-07-2012, 07:07 PM
I totally agree. :)

Steph7409
10-07-2012, 07:23 PM
If you want to hit pause for the holidays, I say do it. I got to a normal BMI back in April or May and decided then to implement a mixture of Kaplod's strategy of maintaining my loss so far (about 80 pounds) and the Fat2Fit guys' method of eating at maintenance for my goal weight (which is just a bit below my current weight). I've lost an average of 2 pounds a month and haven't felt that I'm restricting my eating (except for not being able to compulsively overeat all the time). I've kept up with my exercise which, as John suggests, is really important. I'm hopeful I can eat like this for the rest of my life, keeping on track most of the time but splurging when I want to.

So I don't feel like I'm taking a break from losing, I'm just choosing to slowly ease into maintenance. Good luck!

ChickieChicks
10-07-2012, 08:04 PM
This is how I feel about it. I've been maintaining since May. I've only lost maybe 5 pounds since then and those cycle on and off. I know it's not a physical thing - I'm not stuck - it's mental. I don't work out enough and I allow myself too many treats. I'm happy that I'm at least keeping all the weight off but I'm not happy that I'm finding it so difficult to get back on track. So I haven't bought any Halloween candy - I was sorely tempted to buy candy corn - and I'm not going to go easy on myself during winter either. I'm positive I won't be working out as much during those months so I don't need to add more junk food on top of it. =/

This exactly!!!! :(

I have maintained within my happy range for almost a year now, but I really want to lose about five more and work on odu composition. I've been saying that for seven months now. Obviously I just don't want it like I did before. I have nod idea how to get back on the wagon. I was on plan while losing EVERY DAY. I can barely get on my "new plan" for a day, and it isn't really demanding. Sigh.

twinieten
10-07-2012, 09:57 PM
ChickieChicks, I took an unintentional break at the beginning of the year. I just lost all motivation.... or my commitment, rather. Every day I was determined to get back on track and finally I did. Sometimes, maybe, it's just deciding to do it over and over again until you actually do it.

Thank you everyone!! I sure understand how hard it is to get back to weight loss, but I also feel like I'm losing my oomph.

I've gone in to maintenance before, back in my 30s after my second major diet, and I'm determined to not repeat my past mistakes. Both times previously, as soon as the weight was lost, I stopped paying attention to what I was eating, I stopped weighing myself, and if I gained, I didn't practice any type of calorie restriction. I also wasn't exercising. I guess I expected the weight to just stay off. The worst, though, was that even though my clothes were "shrinking", I just couldn't recommit to weight loss! I can't go back to that! Eighty pounds later.....

This time, I know I have to keep looking at my food, portions, what I'm eating and weigh myself. The successful skinny people I know have an upper weight limit, and when they hit it, they reduce calories for a few days. This time, though, I thought I could put more focus on using exercise to burn the extra calories instead of using calorie restriction. Then I can get back to my dieting in the new year, or earlier if I feel so inclined.

I think I will go ahead and move on to maintenance. Thank you Steph, that sounds like a great plan! If I can just focus on "not gaining" rather than "losing" for the next couple of months, right after I reach my BMI, and eat for my goal weight, I ought to be just fine!