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What Makes Maintainers Successful? (formerly "reading old threads")

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Old 02-28-2009, 07:04 AM   #1
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Default What Makes Maintainers Successful? (formerly "reading old threads")

I've been reading some older threads here on 3FC, some that date back 1-2 years... and it's drepressing! Not the posts themselves, but when I look at the date/time stamp and see that the poster wrote that post over a year ago and then I look at their signature and they've made very little progress in that time... Anyway, it just brings home how difficult it really is for people to lose weight and keep it off.

The longer I live in this "weight loss world" the more I'm realizing that very few people have the strength to do this, even with support. A side blurb of that recent Harvard study about calories being the biggest factor in weight loss -- the participants had all the professional support they could dream of and they STILL couldn't keep the weight off.

I think this has been brought up before in the Living Maintainence forum, but... what is the x factor that made us successful? Why are we the few, the proud, the slender?
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:18 AM   #2
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Funny, I was thinking just that the other night.
Some people have done wonderful things.
Some people have done wonderful things a long time ago and are maintaining.
Some, like me, have done wonderful things, and are doing them again, for the Third Time.

I seek no-one else to blame, no situation to blame - although I've had some rough times this past few years and I've chosen to use those times as my excuse, in reality I made the choice not to stay healthy. Idiot.

I am determined that this will be my last time, last and successful time, I mean. I don't say that/write that very often because, at 53 and my weight, I sometimes worry that it will be my last time, literally..... but: I said that in 2004 and I meant it.

So, I appreciate your question about the X factor but have you any thoughts yourself? I would genuinely appreciate knowing.

Congratulations on your maintenance, by the way!
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
what is the x factor that made us successful? Why are we the few, the proud, the slender?
It's a tough question. And I don't think there is any one answer.

First thing that comes to mind is, is that this is HARD. Really, really hard. I think people also tend to forget just how incredibly worth it is.

I think the biggest factor has to be the amount of desire that we all have in keeping the weight off. And since we desire it so much, that we therefore make it a tippy top priority in our lives.

I know for me, this would never work if I didn't make it that tippy top priority. I take this maintenance stuff very, very seriously. Keeping this weight off is without a doubt one of the most important things in my life. I know that may sound overly dramatic, but that is how I feel. I hold *it* on a pedestal, so to speak. It's like some grand prize to me. Like I hit the Mega Millions Jackpot (only I worked like a fiend to get it, so much more satisfying). It actually feels like a privilege to me. Like I was given a second chance and I don't want to do anything to blow it. It's hard for me to explain, but after being so morbidly obese for so long, well, there are just no words to truly describe just how much I adore and LOVE beyond belief being a slender person. And I want to always be that way. Forever and ever. And I am willing to do whatever it takes to stay here. That right there can be key. I am willing to do whatever it takes.

But I'm no fool. I'm only maintaining about 19 months. I know the second I stop making it that priority, that the weight will come right back on. And of course that would be my choice. I certainly plan on continuing to make it a top priority. But, you never know. You just never know. And it scares the living H#*& out of me. I just hope I can remain scared enough to always stay on my toes. At least until I hit my 80's or so. Cause then, I'm easing up!
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:47 AM   #4
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It could be that some people have faced a stressful time or are dealign with illnesses that makes it harder to maintain.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh 2 be me View Post
It could be that some people have faced a stressful time or are dealign with illnesses that makes it harder to maintain.

True. But there are PLENTY of slim people who face stressful times and are dealing with illnesses. Plenty. Plenty. Plenty. They have learned to DEAL with those stresses, illnesses and all that life has to throw them in a different manner, one OTHER then food.

That's not to say there won't be times where it is more difficult to keep the focus at the same intensity.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:53 AM   #6
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Its true that long term weightloss statistics make depressing reading however I just hope that I'm going to be one of the 5% who makes it THIS time. I am certain that its possible to maintain a large weightloss if you CHOSE to. I agree with Robin about priorities. The reason I've gained weight after losses in the past is that I chose to let other things be more important in my life and those choices were probably the right things for me at that time in my life (studying in my 20s, establishing my career in my late 20s, caring for my young family in my 30s and caring for myself after emergency surgery in my early 40s). All these things took time, energy and commitment and were a higher priority in my life. Now my kids are older, my career is where I want it to be and I'm restored to full health I have made my weightloss goals a priority in my life. I too hope that something doesn't come along that will make my weight less of a priority but I can't say for sure that it won't.

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #7
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I'm terrified of regaining the weight.

I've done it before.

I'm not sure "strength" is the right word, necessarily, but then I don't know what would be a better word.

I think this time the stars aligned: I had the experiences of losing and regaining before (and I learned a TON from that---such as, if I go back to my old behaviors, I regain the weight), I have the wealth of knowledge here on the maintainers subforum, I have the support here, I set up checks and balances for exercise (partners, trainers, posting food and exercise plans).

But I know most people gain it back. And keeping that knowledge, and fear (yeah, it's fear for me) in the front of my brain, keeps my behaviors as a priority.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #8
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I do make it a huge priority in my life. When I lost a parent earlier this year, it was not a priority and I regained a little. Yes, maintaining my weight loss was very important to me, but that period of grief with my family taught me an important lesson to myself about my maintenance - it isn't the most important thing to me after all.

I know, that I am very lucky. I don't have kids, or have to cook to please someone (a little for my boyfriend, but he is supportive). I don't have a lot of junk in the house. I have come up with a black and white strategy for dealing with free food at work (I don't eat it, period).

I think one of the reasons I am so successful is I am able to take the time to be selfish about myself. I have the time to cook, go to the grocery store umpty times per week, pack lunches, fit in exercise. I know there are some people with families or busy school schedules who struggle to make time for the things I am able to do nearly effortlessly. I don't have to pick up kids from day care, for example. I know that busier people can do this - but I appreciate the struggle.

And of course, the temptation/addiction that is food. I know one of the reasons I am successful personally is because I put a bunch of stuff on an "I DONT EAT THAT" list. Fast food, sugar soda, most fried foods, packaged baked goods, cream based sauces - they are non entities in my life. Oh, I still struggle with food, but eliminating enormorous categories of troublesome foods freed me.

Everyone has to come up with their own techniques, I don't believe there is one plan that fits everybody. What works for me would probably not work exactly for a single person in the world but me. It is key to make it important, that is definite. But the other stuff? All the menu planning, shopping, cooking, meal prep stuff that I do, is it necessary or just necessary for me?

I feel for everyone who struggles. I have several posters on this board who I just love and I read their posts and wish wish wish I could help. There are some people who stopped posting and I am worried about them.

I don't know if it would make people feel better or worse to know that I still feel like it's a lifelong struggle myself. I don't feel "cured" or a like a "skinny normal person." I feel like someone who has to look at every single bite that goes in my mouth - for the rest of my life. I might be able to shut it off for one meal (mostly, I still mentally slap my hand if I go for the bread basket more than once), but I recognize that to be a successful maintainer means I need to be mindful, forever.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:04 AM   #9
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I think one of the reasons I am so successful is I am able to take the time to be selfish about myself. I have the time to cook, go to the grocery store umpty times per week, pack lunches, fit in exercise. I know there are some people with families or busy school schedules who struggle to make time for the things I am able to do nearly effortlessly. I don't have to pick up kids from day care, for example. I know that busier people can do this - but I appreciate the struggle.
We talk about time a lot here. I do happen to have a family - 3 kids and a DH. My time (as is everyone's) is VERY precious to me. But this maintenance thing, I make time for it. That's it. Like all things that are vital, you make time for it. No matter how far you're stretched. Anything that truly matters in this life, my family, my career, running my household, my friendships, my well being - all require commitment, focus, patience, determination and - time. And you find a way, some how, some way to make it work.

Quote:
When I lost a parent earlier this year, it was not a priority and I regained a little. Yes, maintaining my weight loss was very important to me, but that period of grief with my family taught me an important lesson to myself about my maintenance - it isn't the most important thing to me after all.
This is a good point. And can't be overlooked. I so clearly remember when this happened in Glory's life. And I said to myself, "well, yeah, Glory absolutely can NOT make her weight a number one priority right now. And inevitably you gain. Such is life. I believe that's all PART of maintenance. BUT, then things begin to get back to normal (as normal as it can after such a loss) and then your focus is able to shift again, BEFORE it gets out of hand. And I can't speak for Glory, but I'm fairly certain, that some semblance and restriction and caution was kept in tact, even with all of the unusual circumstances surrounding that particular period.

So again, I think the bottom line is - just how important you make this. Just how badly you want this. Just how much it matters to you.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:08 AM   #10
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I think the X factor is really the whole entire key to weight loss. If we could just understand that one thing, then weight loss would be a dream and easy to maintain.

However, there are just so many things about the human body that we don't understand. So much of weight loss is a combination of food, movement, mental, and biochemical factors that maybe it is just a matter of luck for those maintainers that have happened to stumble on the combo that covers all these aspects.

Obesity is a chronic incurable disease. It has to be treated as such using food and exercise as medication (as well as 'real' medication itself at times) for your whole life. Just because a maintainer isn't obese anymore, it doesn't mean they still don't suffer from obesity. Does that make sense?
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:10 AM   #11
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I, too have lost and regained , more than once. I do not want to start that vicous cycle again I have maintained for 14 months, not a long time but I am doing it. I have a very serious illness now and having lost weight is a good thing regarding my physical health. I, like others believe it must be a priority if you want to keep it off. I think about it A LOT .
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Just because a maintainer isn't obese anymore, it doesn't mean they still don't suffer from obesity. Does that make sense?
Yes, it makes perfect sense. I feel this way.

Quote:
Obesity is a chronic incurable disease.
Yes, I believe it is. Which is why I treat it as such. Which is why I've put so many guidelines and rules into my life. Which is why I make it SUCH a priority in my life. All to combat and manage, since I can't cure, my *disease*, my debilitating and deadly disease.

Quote:
maybe it is just a matter of luck for those maintainers that have happened to stumble on the combo that covers all these aspects.
But here is where I respectfully disagree with you. I don't think luck has much to do with it - at all. I believe it's hard work that's involved. And the willingness to do that hard work. I don't think I've stumbled across anything - I think I've seeked out and discovered what could work for me - and then I made it work.

In fact, to show how strongly I feel about this, take a look at my signature.

Edited to add: I believe the best plan in the world, whatever that may be, no matter what that is for any individual - will not work unless you make it work and continue to make it work. Losing weight and keeping it off does not happen by accident.

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:32 AM   #13
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I wondered how I would be able to maintain my loss as I had failed before. I looked at those who had lost and maintained for a long period of time. Most of them say they keep it off the same way they lost out. WHAT A CONCEPT !!! Now I am still counting calories, still planning all meals ahead of time. still keeping a food log. still exercising as I can. And I am still keeping it off .
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:45 AM   #14
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Priorities, commitment, balance, and awareness.
I agree with Robin that is isn't about luck. I HAVE lost weight before, and regained every once of it - twice. So, what is different this time? How do I KNOW that I will not regain it? And I really do believe that. I am not fearful about re-gaining.

1. Making a lifestyle change - a real one, not a professed one. I am changed forever. This was not part of the program, plan, or results in my past attempts.

2. Changing my priorities - when I stopped "dieting" in the past, my priorities shifted away from my health and fitness. Taking care of myself moved lower and lower on the list, and finally - it was so low that I forgot it existed.

3. Which leads to the third difference - awareness. I am aware of what could happen if I slip into mindless old ways. Thus, I have set some things in motion that help me to stay focused, aware, and healthy. My lifestyle changes include:

~giving away every single piece of clothing that is even a bit too large.

~asking my family to help me stay accountable - to honestly show their concern for me if I begin to stray. In the past, they did not do so because the felt I would be hurt by their comments - OK, honestly they DID show their concern, and I WAS hurt, and lashed out, and they learned to keep their concerns to themselves. They now know that it OK to express their love and caring - sooner rather than later. And, we do this for each other. Lovingly asking - do you want to split that dessert when the opportunity arises

~weighing myself daily, and still tracking my calories. I still plan my eating, my shopping and my food preparation.

~exercising daily - even if I don't feel like it. I chose WHAT I will do each day, not IF I will do each day.

~balancing my life with things that are important to me - this has virtually eliminated my stress, and stress eating. Prayer and meditation, exercise, eating healthfully, work, and play all make it onto the calendar - every day.
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:01 PM   #15
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Hah. I wish I had a satisfying answer, one that would work for everyone, because it would sure make things easier.

I won't go through the ups and downs that were mine, but I think that one thing that has made it possible *for me* was that I changed my ways of eating not only to lose weight, but to be in good health in other areas of my life. See the motto under my avatar. Since it's targeted at several areas, it is a "priority" I tend to keep in mind more easily. For instance, I know I cannot be efficient at school and at work if I'm sluggish due to bad food and lack of exercise, therefore I do it. I know from experience that my tendency to SAD is exacerbated if I don't eat well enough, therefore I eat my fruits and vegetables.

I guess it amounts to: "I want to be in good health" is a goal that was, all in all, too vague for me to stick to it in the long run (but it's a good goal, of course!). "I want to be in good heath so that my mind can efficiently focus on school work and help me pass my exams and get a career" works better, because I can rationally see and understand how exactly it affects my life in more of one of its aspects.

Uhm, I don't know if this makes sense. I hope it does. It's about effort, but effort is less of a chore if I can "rationalize" it in more precise ways?

*Here you can see that Kery definitely doesn't function well on 4 hours of sleep. Gah.*
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