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Meg 05-12-2003 05:21 AM

Today Is My One Year Anniversary!
 
A year ago today I reached my “goal weight” of 135 pounds, after starting at 257 pounds less than a year earlier. In the past year, my weight has fluctuated up and down in a 10 pound range (132 to 142), usually for no particular reason (I think it’s my metabolism settling in at my new weight). It generally stays in the 134 to 137 range. Today I weigh … 135.

At first, I was thinking that it had been a wasted year because I ended up at the same weight that I started. Then I realized that I have never before maintained ANY weight for a year, let alone a “normal” weight. It’s the classic “is the glass half empty or half full” situation — would I like to weigh less? Sure. Am I glad I don't weight more? Absolutely!

So I had to stop and think of what has changed over the past year, if not the scale (and I will be the first to admit that I am WAY too hung up on those numbers!). A year ago, my body fat % was 16%. Today it is somewhere between 12.5 and 14% (depending on the measurement). So I’ve gained muscle and lost fat. My calves are finally getting smaller (my fattest body part by far — when my trainer does the nine-point BF on me, everything is single digits except my darn calves, but they are slowly going down). My size 4 pants are loose on me — some are a little too loose. I’m stronger and run now. The changes are small, but there, nonetheless.

So this led me to reflect on the lessons that I’ve learned in the past year (when I was doing cardio yesterday, of course!) and I had some thoughts that I’d like to share:

Maintenance is harder than losing: I heard this when I was losing weight and I thought “You’ve got to be kidding! What could be easier than maintaining your weight?” Believe it and prepare for it — it’s true. I have the utmost respect and admiration for anyone -- like our Karen -- who has lost AND KEPT OFF (for 12+ years!) a significant amount of weight. :love:

Maintenance doesn’t look any different than losing: I eat the same foods in pretty much the same quantities, work out just as intensely and often, and do as much cardio. I may eat 100-200 more calories per day — that’s it. You have to run hard just to stay in place.

I’m addicted to exercise: Hurray! Without a doubt, exercise (cardio and weights) has been the key to me losing and keeping off 122 pounds.

I still have food cravings: I fight the food demons every day — they haven’t magically disappeared. :(

I screw up: I eat something unplanned, feel guilty, and the scale inevitably will go up. But — I stop. I haven’t “binged” for more than a 15 minute stretch at a time and have never let it turn into a day or longer.

No one can make me fat again except for me: The great truth -- only I control the hand that puts the food in my mouth.

I recognize my problem times and try to create a strategy: Mine are when I am over-hungry or over-tired. I have to be sure never to let myself get too hungry or else I can’t ever get full. When I’m really tired, I lose all will-power. My worst days have been the ones when I’ve gotten almost no sleep the night before.

I still plan and weigh and measure: I use Fitday.com and plan my meals the night before and write down everything that I eat. I weigh and measure portions simply because I know that I underestimate when I am hungry. I make lists of strategies of what to do when I am tempted to eat the wrong food. I still need this control over my eating just like I did when I was losing.

Excess skin is a problem that does not magically go away: I ended up having plastic surgery to get rid of some of the huge amount of skin that was left over after my weight loss and will need more. I am more than thrilled with the results. :)

Self-talk is critical: 98% of weight loss and maintenance happens in your head, I think, and you have to talk yourself through all the challenges that each day presents. Every day I wake up and tell myself it's going to be a great day (and, hey, it usually is!) :D

People treat you differently when you have lost a lot of weight: I have lost friends and gained friends and my DH has been alternately perplexed and alarmed and thrilled.

Clothes shopping is so much more fun: At first I was unthinkingly buying clothes in the styles that I had previously worn until I realized that I could wear shirts tucked in and little crop tops and sleeveless etc. So then I swore that I would never again wear pants with elastic waists (except for gym pants) or sensible underwear or T-shirts to cover my butt. Scratch the surface and I’m the one in the fuchsia lace! :o

Having this group to turn to for support is priceless! :grouphug:

I’ve made it for 365 days. I’ve been through Christmas and Thanksgiving, my birthday, two surgeries, and a bad mammogram without turning to food for comfort or celebration.

So here’s to another year, one day at a time!

Meg

BethO 05-12-2003 07:00 AM

WOW Meg...what a great post!

Congratulations on your one (two) year anniversary. Your story (and yours Karen) would make great articles for a magazine/newspaper - have you ever thought about writing and submitting it? When I read your insights I thought - boy, this should be a sticky on the top of every other forum on this website today. So many simple truths hard learned there.

BethO

Trinidad 05-12-2003 07:41 AM

Meg,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate your candor and wisdom.

Sel

Mel 05-12-2003 07:53 AM

Happy Happy 1 year!
 
Boy, you said it all. That post could have been written by me (except for some of the #'s), especially

1) It seems like in the last year I've achieved nothing, until I looked at it another way; and

2) Maintenance is harder (and less exciting) than losing.

I'm really trying (after almost 2 years) to get my head wrapped around Sel's signature "Fall in love with the process, and the rest will take care of itself."

Congratulations, Meg. Your journey has been phenomenal. :grouphug:

mel

DiamondDeb 05-12-2003 08:44 AM

Happy Anniversary Meg!!!

What a great post! I love your list! Most of them could have been written by me. I'm not at the point of trying to do the first two yet, but I know they are true!

You may have maintained your weight, but you've certainly made progress!

I am not at all sure I will ever be comfortable with the word "maintenence," though. I doubt I will ever want to do that. For me, the word seems to be in the same category as "getting toned." It makes me cringe! lol... It makes me think that no progress of any kind is being attempted or made and that just isn't the case. Maintaining weight, which is what you're talking about, is fine. We need to do that at some point. There are just so many other ways to make progress that using the word maintain doesn't seem quite right to me.

May year two and beyond be as good!

Deb

MrsJim 05-12-2003 09:35 AM

Awesome post Meg!
 
What a refreshing post to begin the work-week!!! :cool:

Deb...all I can say is...if you don't care for the word "maintenance"...here's some substitute words right out of Webster's thesaurus...I especially like the first one...LIVING.

Quote:

Entry Word: maintenance
Function: noun
Text: Synonyms LIVING, alimentation, alimony, bread, keep, livelihood, salt, subsistence, support, sustenance
Mel...you are right on...maintenance IS sometimes tougher than losing...there are times (more during the winter months for some reason!) when I just want to say "screw the diet...eating (junque food here) just once isn't going to make me fat again." But ya know...ya just live with it, and as working out and eating right become habits...it becomes WAY easier. Ya probably know that already though ;)

There's an EXCELLENT book on the subject of maintenance called "Thin for Life" by Anne Fletcher. (you can probably find it at your local library). I really believe that, once a person gets the notion out of his/her head that there is some sort of 'miracle weight loss formula' out there...that's when progress is made.

Check this out from a 1990 study...
Quote:

Maintainers made decisions to lose weight and then devised personal weight-loss plans to fit their lives. These plans usually included regular exercise or activity and a new eating style of reduced fat, reduced sugar,more fruits and vegetables, and much less food than previously eaten. Maintainers reported being patient, setting small goals that they could meet, and sticking to their personally devised weight-loss plans. Some used ideas from earlier weight-loss experiences, some used diets from books, but all persisted until new eating patterns were established...However, they did not completely restrict favorite foods and made efforts to avoid feelings of deprivation while changing food patterns.

In contrast, few relapsers (36%) had exercised to help lose weight. They had lost weight by taking appetite supressants, fasting, or going on restrictive diets that they could not sustain. They took diet formulas and went to weight-control groups and programs many times. While dieting they did not permit themselves any of the special foods they enjoyed...
I'll put in more later...gotta get in the shower...

tikanique 05-12-2003 09:48 AM

Congrats Meg,

This was a great post to start our week out with. I have so far, never been successful at the maintenance end of things. It helps to be associated with real every day people that are doing what i have not been able to achieve thus far. It helps me to believe that I can do it simply because you did it and you are just an everyday real person, just like me.

Thanks again for the motiviation.

Tika

Meg 05-12-2003 10:11 AM

Thin For Life
 
I would like to second Karen’s recommendation of Anne Fletcher’s Thin For Life. It is based on a series of studies done with data provided from the National Weight Control Registry, a database of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that loss for at least a year:

Quote:

One of the most popular myths about weight loss is that everyone who loses weight will eventually gain it back. The National Weight Control Registry is a research study which has exploded this myth and shown that successful weight loss is indeed possible. Developed by Rena Wing, PhD, at Lifespan, Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh, and James Hill, PhD, at the University of Colorado, the National Weight Control Registry has identified nearly 3,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time.
They have published studies on the strategies of successful maintainers — some are discussed in Thin For Life and some have come out since then. There is a list on their web site: http://www.lifespan.org/services/bmed/wt_loss/nwcr/

Hey, I’m eligible to enroll now! Let’s get Karen and Mel and me (and all you other losers out there) to join and we can tilt the statistics toward ladies who lift! :D

And Karen, I know what you mean about the little voice :devil: saying “just this once won’t hurt.” But I have realized that it’s all those little actions — positive or negative — that add up to the big picture. I didn't lose my weight overnight — it took thousands and thousands of “no’s” to the “just this once” voice and thousands of “yes’s” to exercise and eating healthy to get where I am. So I keep reminding myself there is no thing as “just this once.”

And Tika, I really AM just an every day, ordinary person no different than you. I’m 48, hypothyroid, and have always been overweight. Three strikes, huh? Naw! If I can do it, I have no doubt that you can too!

Thanks for all your good wishes and thoughtful comments!

Meg

mamawren 05-12-2003 10:26 AM

Congratulations Meg! A super inspiring post.:)

RavenToy 05-12-2003 12:41 PM

Meg - Right now you are a tremendous inspiration to me. I just started BFL with my daughter, and you are one of the folks I'm using as a role model. ;) Happy anniversary!!!

MrsJim 05-12-2003 01:26 PM

Back to the subject at hand...maintenance...

Meg - this was a really timely post - not only it being your one-year anniversary (first of many years... YAY! :D ) but also because of something that has really been on my mind the past few days...and how important a maintenance factor is in ANY type of plan.

Some of you might remember a tempest that brewed up here earlier this year regarding a person who is regarded as somewhat of a fitness guru and inspirational touchstone, who runs an online personal training program. I had done the program myself...and while I lost weight on the plan, it was difficult to maintain that loss. One of the issues I discussed in my posts back earlier this year was the lack of a maintenance factor in the plan - once the weight comes off, how to KEEP it off?

Last week, some photos were posted of the person who runs this program...to me they were shocking to say the least - they showed a significant weight gain...I really have mixed feelings about them, and actually hesitated to post anything publicly about those photos...but the subject matter here at hand inspired me to express myself on that topic.

I mean...losing bodyfat is TOUGH. We ALL know this. Changing your eating and activity habits from what is now the American norm to a much healthier way of life - and striving to keep those new healthy habits in the face of all the temptations we are confronted with...is TOUGH, but as Meg so eloquently pointed out in her last post - it's NOT impossible. (I've been thinking of joining that National Weight Control group for some years myself...just keep forgetting...maybe now's the time to do it!)

But jeez...if I was going to spend my life yo-yoing up and down...depriving myself completely of the pleasure of enjoying good food (yes, it IS a pleasure!) for weeks on end...to get to a certain point - only to totally lose it and BINGE on everything in sight for God knows how long...until depression sets in...I don't want to live like that. As far as scale weight, my low maintenance level at this point is around 143-147 pounds. A bit higher than Meg, but then again I'm a loose size four at that weight, so I can live with that quite happily :)

Anywhoo...I can tell I'm rambling again. Re-read that quote from the 1990 study I posted above...that's what I'm talkin' about... :cool:
Quote:

Maintainers made decisions to lose weight and then devised personal weight-loss plans to fit their lives. These plans usually included regular exercise or activity and a new eating style of reduced fat, reduced sugar,more fruits and vegetables, and much less food than previously eaten. Maintainers reported being patient, setting small goals that they could meet, and sticking to their personally devised weight-loss plans. Some used ideas from earlier weight-loss experiences, some used diets from books, but all persisted until new eating patterns were established...However, they did not completely restrict favorite foods and made efforts to avoid feelings of deprivation while changing food patterns.

In contrast, few relapsers (36%) had exercised to help lose weight. They had lost weight by taking appetite supressants, fasting, or going on restrictive diets that they could not sustain. They took diet formulas and went to weight-control groups and programs many times. While dieting they did not permit themselves any of the special foods they enjoyed...

Ilene 05-12-2003 07:16 PM

Geez you guys!!!!! It's like you're talkin' right at me and looking at me in the eye!!! How can a bunch of gals live in different parts of the word all be sooo alike....

Thanks you MEG and KAREN for your inspirations.... Those voices have been talking to me way too much and I have been giving in and now reading all this has made me realize that gosh if you guys can do it so can I

THANKS once AGAIN for EVERYTHING this FORUM does for ME!!!

Congrats MEG on your ANNIVERSARY!!! You've come along way BABEE!!! :lol:

Kanola 05-12-2003 07:19 PM

Congratulations!!
 
Congrats on the one year maintenance. You have accomplished an amazing feat. You should be sooooo proud!!

Just a comment on maintenance. My best friend in Canada lost 50 lbs on Weight Watchers, became a meeting leader and has maintained for a year. I did not see her during her journey, she started about a month before I left for Australia. She sent me photos when she reached goal, and kept me updated on her progress. She was my inspiration to walk through the door to a meeting. I saw her for the first time in 18 months at Christmas, and I could hardly recognize my friend. Every single time she walked into a room, I kept getting that totally 'wowed' look on my face. We had a chat about my reaction (and my hubby's who had met her before) and for her it was almost a renewal of what she had accomplished. Everyone else had come to accept the 'new' image and she did not get the reaction I had as often. She felt that I had given back to her that new feeling, the ones she had a year ago when she reached goal.

Guess we all need to keep reflecting on where we are and where we are going.

I am just looking forward to 'maintaing' this loss I keep working for!! :)

Thanks Meg, for your inspiring post, I will be coming back to this post for motivation during this journey!!

Nola.

Meg 05-12-2003 08:15 PM

Maintenance
 
Thanks for your post, Karen! You’ve touched on my biggest fear — the fear of regaining our weight if we don't learn how to maintain. I read those dismal statistics about 95% of losers regaining their weight and I vow that I will never be one of them. And I’m sure that no one who has worked hard to get to a goal weight ever does thinking that he or she will regain. But wishes and good intentions aren’t ever enough, are they? We’ve got to have a plan.

As I’ve thought about maintenance, my plan is 1) to monitor my weight and BF closely (this is from Thin For Life where she says that most successful maintainers weigh themselves daily or weekly) (I know this is anathema to some of you — this is just what works for me), 2) to never let it go above say, 140 or the BF above a certain %, 3) to keep eating the same foods as when I was losing, while trying to slowly add back some calories (of clean food) and see what effect they have, 4) to keep with the same schedule of cardio and workouts that I did while I was losing.

As you can see, for me maintenance really doesn’t look very different from losing. And that underscores the need to lose your weight with a plan that you can live with for the rest of your life. Can I live the way that I do now for the rest of my life? Could I repeat the food that I ate and the time that I spent at the gym today for the rest of my life? Oh, yes — and it is so worth it!

I must have started posting after the tempest that you referred to, but my heart goes out to that poor woman who you talked about who can’t maintain her weight though her business depends on it. How hard that must be to be gaining and losing and gaining and losing and never feeling comfortable and confident where you are at — and never knowing where you will be tomorrow? And how difficult it must be in that situation to try to sell your knowledge and expertise to others ...

You know what weight your body wants to be, Karen, and you take the steps every day to be sure that it stays right there — rather than yo-yo’ing up and down. I’ve always looked to you on these boards as an oasis of rationality and I know you would never go for a short-term weight loss that you could not maintain in the long run. And hey, at that “loose size 4,” I’d say you are maintaining beautifully!

Meg

PS — Ilene: we’re all sisters separated at birth. Didn’t you know?

irishgreengables 05-13-2003 12:09 AM

Meg,

What an inspiration you are! I am going to save a copy of your post to look at when I am at the maintenance stage. That you for it!!

I am so happy to hear that is IS key to eat and exercise in a way we can maintain for life. So many people have recommended lower calorie plans to me or fad diets and I have to keep telling myself that it is not something I could do for life. It is tough to do that when people are telling you about all the weight they are losing on this or that plan.

For me, it is all about giving the best to my body -- and that means enough calories for me, clean food, fun exercise, and many motivators. I have to keep telling myself that this is what works for me and not to be tempted by others' plans. Thanks for making that all the more clear!

Peace,
Paula


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