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Old 08-20-2007, 08:47 AM   #1
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Default Questions about maintaining

I will be a maintainer in less then 6 months hopefully. How difficult is it to maintain? How easy is it to maintain? What should I look forward to? Right now I am constantly working out at the gym, doing aerobics nightly at the YMCA. Joined a walking group on Sundays. Eating 2000-2200 calories a day. Will I have to continue all of this? Can/will I slow down? Will I have to do more? In the Australian version of the Biggest Loser, season's 1 winner came back said it was easier to maintain then it is to lose. For those maintaining, what can I expect? I am currently at 259lbs, and my "goal" is to get down to 199lbs (buh bye 200's)

Can anyone recommend any good books about maintaining? I love to read, and have plenty of time (at work) to read
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:15 AM   #2
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Personnally, I've found that "Thin For Life" by Anne Fletcher was a great book to read in terms of knowing how maintainers have reached their goals and managed to stick to them.

As for what to expect, we're all different and with different bodies, but basically, what I've learnt in all of this is that complacency is a big enemy of the maintainer: we will never be able to revert back to the old dietary habits, unless we want to regain, and abandoning exercise will also do us in. I guess that's why we speak of a lifestyle and not of a diet, and why so many books/people advise to find a way of losing that suits your work/life... like, you cannot do 3 hours of exercise six times a week and expect to be able to do that for months and years to come if you have a full-time job, are also a student, and need to watch after a child.

The weight loss itself will probably slow down at some point, and you may very well have to modify your caloric intake or increase exercise to break a potential plateau (lighter bodies burn less calories anyway). The body gets used to it after a while, starts to lose less, that kind of things. But it's not impossible to break such halts, as many people who've reached goal here can testify.
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:19 AM   #3
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Hey Fresno,

A lot of your questions are answered in many of the threads on this board, so pull up a chair and look around. I think our experiences vary on the question is it easier or not. It might be easier, maybe, but it isn't easy, at least for most of us (or we wouldn't be here, right?).

My big three books are Thin for Life by Anne Fletcher, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, and Volumetrics by Barbara Rolls. We had a big book discussion on Thin for Life a while back and the chapters are stickied in the Maintenance Library.

Congrats on coming here. I really think people would have a lot more long-term success if they started thinking about the rest of their lives when they start the journey rather than when they meet some magical goal weight.

Welcome!

Anne
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:25 AM   #4
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Another vote for Thin for Life by Anne Fletcher ... and hanging around in the Maintainers Forum here at 3FC.
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:32 AM   #5
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For me, maintaining looks exactly like losing weight. I still plan menus, count calories (although it's more of a mental estimate than a strict Fitday count), still get on the scale every Sunday, still look up restaurant menus in advance and make sensible choices, still stick to my forever no's (no soda, no fast food, no packaged baked goods), still make healthy choices about 95% of the time, still eat whole foods, still try to eat 5+ servings of vegetables a day, still pick whole grains over "white carbs"...

Nearly exactly like losing weight except I eat more calories a day (the extra calories are healthy calories, I don't make up the difference in junk), I drink the occasional glass of red wine and I usually have at least one treat meal a week (a treat meal for me is defined as a nice dinner in a restaurant where I still try to stay out of the bread basket, order a relatively healthy entree - no cream sauces!! and split dessert with friends). I am careful that a treat meal is just that - one meal. Not a day or a week!

In some ways - maintaining is easier for me than losing since all my healthy habits are in place and it's fairly easy to fall into routine. Maintaining is harder in some ways because I have had to accept this is forever, there is no stopping. It is constant vigilance. Most of my friends think I am nuts for eating so "healthy" all the time.

To end on a positive - I feel absolutely wonderful. My clothes fit beautifully, I love shopping, I have a ton of energy. I wouldn't want to go back to the sad, depressed person that ate nachos. I gladly trade nachos for a nectarine.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:14 PM   #6
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Thanks to everyone who responded. I will definitely be purchasing Thin for Life this payday. Since day 1, I have said that this was a lifestyle change, and not just a "diet". I have taught myself to eat properly by making healthier choices, reading nutritional labels, etc. For instance lately I have been having a Vegetarian Delight salad from Subway. No more sandwiches. Drinking diet sodas instead of regular (once in a blue moon I will treat myself to a regular 20oz bottle of coke if my sugars are low. I will add in the 240 calories, 65g of carbs to my daily allotment). I substitute for low sodium foods (but then because I have always been swollen, I have made this change years ago). I pay attention to the fats, fiber, protein, etc. I have taught myself to et this stuff, I can never, I mean I will never revert back to my previous lifestyle. Why eat white bread when whole wheat light bread tastes the same? I have learned to deal with cravings.

When I first asked these questions earlier, because I have been fantasizing lately, what will my life be like? Can I take a deep breath, slow down and enjoy life (meaning instead of 5-6 days at the gym, is 3 ok?) I now know that I weigh less then I did 15 yrs ago. I am vastly approaching High School weight of 225lbs (1990). I know I didn't eat like I did in 1990 like I did in 2005. At 510lbs, I was pigging out daily. Honestly, I could not have afford to do that back in 1990 anyways. I have always been obese. In the past 10+ years I have been morbid obese. At 199lbs I will be overweight (per BMI), but very muscular and athletic - something I definitely was neither/nor is HS.

I came near death last year when I was DX'd with diabetes. At that point, I decided I wanted to live. I will never allow myself to get that way again. I have my pictures hanging at work, to remind myself how I was. I was sad. I was lonely. I had no life. Now I am ecstatic, very outgoing, and have met tons of people for which I have gotten the support from. IF I were to let myself go, not only would I be disappointed in myself, but 100's (literally!) more people.

Funny thing is months ago, I was searching the internet for skin removal surgery, and thats how I came across 3FC, I had bookmarked this maintainers forum, because I knew there was a lot going on here! Thanks for having me, and allowing me to snoop around the maintainers forum. I hope to become a regular member here shortly! Sure I said I'd like to get down to my goal in 6 months, but I am pushing, and I say it in my blog, for Christmas. I understand the nasty plateaus, I have my fingers crossed hoping I don't hit many more of them (I ran into a lot of brick walls!)
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:39 PM   #7
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Congratulations on how far you have come and on thinking ahead. You don't need to be at any magical number to be in this forum.

For my, everything is the same as while I was losing, but it's also very different: I'm exercising and eating right because I love being able to use my very strong body and need to fuel it correctly to maintain the health, size, strength and "look" that I enjoy. I work out daily because I NEED TO for my sanity, health, and physique. I eat a little more, but everything that Glory said is true for me. The extra calories come from more fruit, dairy (cottage cheese and yogurt, not a milkshake ) and an occasional glass of good red wine. The constantly dropping scale rewards are gone, but the lifestyle rewards are forever.

Mel
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:57 PM   #8
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Wow Fresno, you have done remarkably well. Congratulations. I am so glad to hear how you are enjoying your life now. I can certainly relate.

I am very new to maintainance and don't have anywhere near as much experience as the others. I really won't feel totally comfortable with it til I get a few months and even years under my belt of maintaining.

Somewhere in the middle of my journey, after having dropped quite a bit of weight, and I started to feel so much better, both physically and mentally, I told myself that whatever it takes to maintain this new lifestyle will definitely be worth it. No matter how much exercise I need to do or how few calories I need to eat - it doesn't matter. I pretty much knew when I started this venture that any and all changes I was making in order to LOSE the weight, would have to remain in place in order for me to MAINTAIN it. Perhaps with the benefits of being able to eat a couple of hundred extra calories a day. And that has certainly been the case. It sounds as if you are fully aware of this and have accepted it. You're going to do just fine! Welcome to the Maintainers Forum.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FresnoBeeDude View Post
Can I take a deep breath, slow down and enjoy life (meaning instead of 5-6 days at the gym, is 3 ok?)
If you want to know, you could try it now. Your body needs more calories to maintain and exercise is more intensive at higher body weight. This means that the diet/exercise lifestyle that will maintain you at your desired healthy weight will result in weight loss if you are above that weight. E.g., if you do 3 days at the gym now and continue to lose weight (albeit slowly), then maybe!

You could eat/exercise at maintenance now and your body will get to its maintenance weight -- asymptotically -- it will take a long time for the last few pounds. Thus, most people find it more satisfying to eat/exercise at a rate below their maintenance level to speed weight loss and then add calories to the maintenance level.

Be wary of taking on the hope that you can "slow down" or cut back on exercise. Maybe 3 days a week will be maintenance at a level that is healthy for you, but maybe not. If 5 days a week is what it takes for you, would you be willing to do it?

I'd also be wary of viewing "slowing down" as "enjoying life". Enjoy life now! If you can learn to make peace with your life as it is now, then maintenance will be easier in a sense: you'll still be following the eating/exercise plan you do now, but will be happier with it.

The general rule that as you lose weight your body requires fewer and fewer calories to maintain (keeping exercise constant) is why some people hit plateaus: the diet/exercise level that led to weight loss when they were heavy is now their maintenance level now that they've lost some weight but are not yet at their desired healthy weight. It's also why plans such as Weight Watchers continually reduce the amount of food they suggest you eat as you lose more and more weight.
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