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Old 04-07-2007, 08:34 PM   #1  
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Default Maintenance Epiphany?

I was taking a shower and had an epiphany.

Well, two. The first one was that my calves (which I was shaving) are looking mighty shapely these days!

The second is hopefully a bit more... profound. Then again, it may be completely obvious to everyone else and I just missed it.

I have been worrying about gaining all the weight back. (I'm sure I'm not alone in this). I keep imagining scenarios in which bad things happen (injury, disease, other extreme stress) that are out of my control. I lose hold of my eating and/or exercise and WHAM! I'm back in women's sizes and struggling to go up a flight of stairs.

But in all my scenarios, I keep thinking of how the situation is beyond my control, and I realized that I have it all wrong. Yes, tough situations are probably GOING to happen at some point in time or another. But that doesn't take away my CHOICE about how I want to live my life. Sure, those choices may have to change. Take away heavy exercise and I'm going to have to cut back on what I eat, for example.


I had a related epiphany before, when I started losing weight and realized that I really could make the choice to lose or not. That was pretty empowering, as I had stopped trying because I thought my weight was out of my control. But somehow I didn't fully make the connection that I could make those choices in the face of difficulties too. I kept seeing myself as a victim of circumstance.

Now, I know I'm maybe now glossing over how difficult it will be, and I guess the big question will be whether my health and weight will continue to be important to me in all instances throughout my life. But I am recognizing that's a choice I get to make.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:54 PM   #2  
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Heather, I'm so glad you posted this! It took me a while after I got to goal to get a handle on how maintenance works too and I spent a lot of time fretting about gaining it all back (like overnight!).

Then one day I had my epiphany and it's a lot like yours -- same idea but I just worded it a little differently:

The only one who can make me fat again is ME. No one and nothing else in the world can make me fat. I'm the only one who can make me fat again and I'm not going to do it!!!

Just like you said, it all boils down to choices. We make a hundred choices a day about food and exercise. And the choices we make determine the results we get. It's simple cause and effect. No one made me fat except me and no one can make me fat again except me.

I agree, it's very empowering. After all, how many things in our lives do we have complete control over? Not many, but this is one.

I'm curious - can you imagine a time when your health, weight, and fitness won't be important to you?
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:25 PM   #3  
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Heather, I'm also glad you posted this. I feel the same way. I have the fear that one off day, or even one off meal is going to send me back to morbid obesity. Now in a way that's not a terrible thing, as it will keep me on my toes. I think we all know just how easy it is to turn one bad day into well, many bad days, weeks, etc.

For years I didn't even attempt to lose my weight, I just figured, why bother, what's the use, I'm out of control with my eating and that's that, how can it ever change. But change it did. I finally figured out that yes, it was in my control. It was within my power. I was the one to get me into the big mess, I was the one who could indeed get me out of the big horrible mess. It really was a lightbulb moment for me. I was truly - relieved. I discovered this before I attempted my journey, which is why in fact I even started my journey. I had such confidence this time. I knew early on that yes, I was going to make it. I had complete control over the situation, if I don't want to be fat, well then hello ..... I simply don't have to be. How very, very empowering.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post

I'm curious - can you imagine a time when your health, weight, and fitness won't be important to you?
I've got to comment on this line Meg. No I can't - NOW. But unfortunately that was not always the case. In the old days, just over 7 short months ago, gosh it seems soooo much longer then that, I never stopped to consider those things. And now of course they're right up there in the very forefront of my mind - at all times. Here's to hoping that lasts forever and ever.

Thanks for another enlightening and though provoking post Heather. I'm very happy to hear about your calves by the way. That is my absolute worst spot on my body. Yuck. But I sure am glad you're enjoying yours. Thank you again.
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:40 AM   #4  
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I like this thread. Very thought provoking. Meg, you had two statements that I thought about for a while:

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Originally Posted by Meg View Post
After all, how many things in our lives do we have complete control over?
I actually don't think we have complete control over anything in our lives. We have a great deal of control over the lifestyle choices that influence our weight, but there are always things that happen that are outside our control, and on those days, we do the best we can.

I sort of nitpick this one, because this is an absolute statement, and my brain uses these types of absolute statements as rationalization for just letting it all go when things don't go as planned. If I can't exercise complete control after all, why bother to exercise any, my brain says at those times. The reality is that my control over my weight isn't perfect, but if I work at it, it is good enough.

This one also struck me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
I'm curious - can you imagine a time when your health, weight, and fitness won't be important to you?
When I look at this one carefully, I realize that it happens to be every single day. My health and fitness are among the highest priorities in my life, but I can't maintain that focus every single moment, even on mundane days. The boss is demanding a report that isn't done yet, and someone has just brought in a pile of cookies and I haven't eaten since breakfast, and well, to be honest, health and fitness just don't cross my mind every time I make a choice. On a really bad day something scary happens to someone I love, and it doesn't even cross my mind what I am doing, let alone how it can affect my health.

So what is my point here? I like what everyone has said about the choices that we make in our lives, and that we have control--I think that is true. But I also think that it is true that we make bad choices in our lives, even with the best of intentions and knowledge. I've just gotten to the place in my life where I can accept that bad choices are going to happen, in fact some days the best choice may be a bad choice, and it just isn't the end of the world. It might (and probably does) mean the 5 pound maintenance roller coaster that I experience is here to stay, but so be it--still better than being morbidly obese. Perfection isn't required.

Anne
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:52 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg
I'm curious - can you imagine a time when your health, weight, and fitness won't be important to you?
Right now I can't. But, I thought once before I had this all figured out and it all went to pot pretty quickly! In some ways, I'm a pessimist I guess I feel like I need to know how I'm going to deal with possible failure in the future. It's the Red Sox fan in me maybe.

To follow up on what Anne said I can and do have times when I don't make the best choices for my health, weight and fitness. And I've had those mindless moments where I DON'T care. But so far they've been just moments. I guess the trick is finding the balance, and it's not short term issues I'm worried about, it's long term ones. I've accepted that I won't be perfect.

So, on one level, yes, I can imagine that it might happen someday. I can imagine that I might let myself not put healthy choices first most of the time.

But if it does happen, I hope that I can take the knowledge that I was the one who did it to myself and I can turn it around eventually. I'm hoping that, as Robin said, I've figured out where the responsibility lies, and that I've figured that out permanently. That, for me, is a big step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinRobin
I'm very happy to hear about your calves by the way. That is my absolute worst spot on my body. Yuck. But I sure am glad you're enjoying yours.
heh. My calves are shapely, but my triceps are turning out to be the real stars!!! My belly and thighs on the other hand... *shudder* At least I like most everything above the chest and below mid thigh well enough these days!
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Old 04-08-2007, 05:22 AM   #6  
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Ah, Robin, I feel your pain. I hold every ounce of fat left in my body in my calves. And one is almost an inch bigger than the other.

Anne, I love when you post because you always manage to open the door to the bigger picture. In my post, I was only responding to what Heather said in her first post about not being sure her health and fitness would always be important to her and like she clarified, she was talking about in the long-term.

But you raised the very important point that ALL of us make bad choices at times but that doesn't necessary mean we'll suddenly gain all the weight back. It's that whole thing about the difference between lapses (occasional bad choices), relapses (making a series of bad choices and putting some weight back on) and collapses (regaining it all).

I completely agree, we're all going to make bad choices at times. Since it would take a lot of bad choices to regain the weight, perhaps the key is the series of choices we make on an on-going basis.

But even though I make bad choices at times, I don't think it means that my health and weight loss aren't a priority in my life. It's just that sometimes I don't think about it or just don't care. For the moment, but not in the long-term.

My curiousity was really piqued by Heather's remark in her first post, so I just had to follow-up. And yes, Heather, I agree that you're a pessimist even though I don't know a thing about the Red Sox.

And as for the 'complete control' comment, I gave that a bit of thought before I posted it. I don't have a lot of control over any of the events in my life or the things that affect me on a daily basis but ... I believe I have complete control over how I react to them. I believe that the choice is always mine as to what I put (or don't put) in my mouth.

Great posts, ladies! I love getting a little mental exercise with my coffee! (does it burn calories?)
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:32 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyllenn View Post
To follow up on what Anne said I can and do have times when I don't make the best choices for my health, weight and fitness. And I've had those mindless moments where I DON'T care. But so far they've been just moments. I guess the trick is finding the balance, and it's not short term issues I'm worried about, it's long term ones. I've accepted that I won't be perfect.

So, on one level, yes, I can imagine that it might happen someday. I can imagine that I might let myself not put healthy choices first most of the time.

But if it does happen, I hope that I can take the knowledge that I was the one who did it to myself and I can turn it around eventually. I'm hoping that, as Robin said, I've figured out where the responsibility lies, and that I've figured that out permanently. That, for me, is a big step.
That is exactly how I feel about the whole thing!

And Meg then said
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
But you raised the very important point that ALL of us make bad choices at times but that doesn't necessary mean we'll suddenly gain all the weight back. It's that whole thing about the difference between lapses (occasional bad choices), relapses (making a series of bad choices and putting some weight back on) and collapses (regaining it all).
which is probably about the best way of summing it up that I've ever seen. Lapse/relapse/collapse.

I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to keep collapse at bay, which makes me a successful maintainer! Still working on the relapse part.

Anne
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:40 PM   #8  
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While I totally agree with you Heather, I have to say one thing about what happens with these outside factors come in and wreack havoc on our lives.

I'm not sure that my health/fitness was ever NOT important to me, but I do know that mentally and emotionally I was out of control... therefore, once I started to spiral downwards nothing was important at that moment. Part of my weight gain (after almost 3 years maintaining a 62 lb loss) was highly attributed to meds, the other was definitely MY doing. Depression, abusing alcohol and food, all aspects of my life out of control (lost my job, my marriage, I was in financial ruin...), I'm not sure I COULD HAVE still chosen to keep my health/weight maintenance a priority or not.

One more thing...I'm amazed at the strength and courage and determination that so many women have around here... Heather you are one of them! I don't see you going off the rails at any old stress... I see you as staying in control... I wish you only the best and the least amount of LIFE struggles that may (or may not) come your way!
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:43 PM   #9  
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Thank you all! This is indeed profound and it speaks the truth.

I've always maintained that it is up to YOU to make the change to lose weight and get healthy and therefore it is up to YOU to maintain once you get there. I made the decision (twice) to lose weight. I did collapse, as Meg said, and gained it all back--even after 4 or 5 years of maintenance. Now it will be up to ME to make the daily decision to keep the weight off (once I get to goal!).
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:48 PM   #10  
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I hope everyone knows that the notion of lapses and relapses comes from Anne Fletcher's Thin For Life, chapter five: Key #5: Nip It In The Bud: Break The Relapse Cycle. If you haven't checked out the discussion of this chapter in the Maintenance Library, take a look.

But I don't think Thin For Life talks about 'collapses' - completely giving up and gaining it all back. I'm thinking that maybe we here at Maintainers added that idea ourselves? See, we're writing the book on maintenance ourselves!
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:05 PM   #11  
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and collapses definitely should be addressed! the more we learn from each other, the better off we will be if godforbid something DOES happen that could potentially send us down that slippery slope! I personally would never wish this to happen to anyone... losing the weight, being in control, maintaining and then... life turned upside down. That's why I'm here at 3FC, because there are plenty of people out there who can share their experiences in dealing with these things so that there are resources for ALL who need them!
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:12 PM   #12  
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Renee, you're so right because that's when we need each other the MOST! Don't we all have a tendency to hide when things aren't going well and we're struggling, whether with life issues or food issues? What if we all made a pact that we'll come here instead and post and ask for help? You just know there would be a hundred hands reaching out to help us up.
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:16 PM   #13  
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I would definitely love that Meg! When I was going through my bad period I reached out to no one at all... I burnt all my bridges of people I knew IRL and I had no real contacts online that I felt I could talk to. I know, for me, support is crucial. One of my thoughts back then was "Nobody cares anyway, why should I?" This is simply untrue. People do care. And, yes, we NEED to be there for each other when someone needs us the most!

I have a long way to go, but it's nice to know there are people here who understand me. I hope too, that I can help someone NOT go backwards like I did, just based on my own experiences.
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:38 PM   #14  
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First, I don't think I said before how I like the idea of lapse/relapse/collapse. Not that I want to DO it, but... well, you get it...

Renee -- I'm really glad you posted. Because I think its those kind of out of control situations I fear -- where you mentally check out. I'm a college professor, and every term I see students struggling with mental health issues. I am amazed sometimes with the turnarounds some of them make -- the difference the right medication or other therapy can make. But while they are in the struggling spot, everything becomes so difficult. I guess that's what I fear. Because when you're there, you don't care.

What I have to hope is that if that ever happened, what would I do when I emerged from it? Give up? Or come back here and get support? This is SUCH a valuable community for me now. I can talk about my weight loss and fitness every day and someone is interested in listening (not being forced to!). What a gift!

I also think I need to read Thin for Life. I'll have to wait until this summer, when I actually read for fun again. I'm unlikely to before then, unless a student writes about it in a paper!
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Old 04-08-2007, 03:54 PM   #15  
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I too really like the lapse/relapse/collapse notion. It is good to know that there are some steps til we hit "collapse".

Though I am no where near my goal and maintenance, I must tell you it is sooo very good to know that when the time comes, and frankly it's come a couple of times during the losing process as well, that I have a support system to turn to, meaning 3FC. It really is like having a little weightloss secret in my pocket. One that I don't ever want to be without. When I started this little (not so little) journey of mine I was determined to set myself up for success as much as possible through clearing out the house of junk, healthy eating, exercise, mindful eating, journaling, implementing certain rules and totally and completely eliminating some foods from my life and so on and so on. I didn't even know this place existed. Luckily it only took me a couple of weeks into my journey that I found this place. I don't know what would have been had I never found this place, where I'd be on my journey or what not. But now that I have found it I don't ever want to be without it. I for one will not retreat when the going gets tough, I'll need each and everyone here to pull me through. I am lining up all my ducks, or I should I say chicks for the future. Like I said I want to set myself up for success and I know 3FC has and will continue to be a big part of that success.
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