AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!
This month, my fellow adventurers and I are discussing how we’re able to (mostly) maintain our collective 500+ pound loss and how/if that’s different than before. Apparently I’m not the only one who didn’t get it right the first time. It will be interesting to see how our approaches are similar and how they vary and how all that compares with your views, don’t you think?
When I reached goal weight in 2008, I felt (almost) confident I could (mostly) maintain my loss. Given that this Tippy Toe Diet was plan #132, and that in plans #1-131 I’d never reached goal or maintained any weight I did mange to lose, you’d think I might’ve been a bit nervous, wouldn’t you? But other than a niggling fear now and then (some would call it a conscience), I’ve rolled along for the past 4+ years believing that I can manage my weight for the long term.
So what makes this time different? After all those years of trying and failing, how do I now (mostly) keep the weight under control and stay on track? Unfortunately for you, the reader, I can’t offer a one word, or even a one sentence, answer. Heck, I’m not even sure I completely understand how I do it. But I’ll try my best to share a few of the factors I think make the most difference. So let’s go:
Even without a ring, I’m still engaged.
Just as this so-called Tippy Toe Diet had no official start date (I kind of eased into it in early 2007), it has no end date. I still have the same basic goals (healthy foods, regular exercise, a little splurging, etc.), and I keep my eyes open for new opportunities for improvement or change. It’s the right kind of “diet cycle”, meaning that it just keeps going and going and going.
I’m right back where I started, but in a good way.
I lost weight by visualizing how I wanted to live life in the long-term and then building habits around those ideas. As a result, I didn’t have to re-enter the “real world” after I reached goal. I was already there. I just get a few more calories now.
I’m driving this bus.
It’s easy to blame other people or situations for slips and slides, but so far, the scene in which someone holds a knife to my Asics until I eat cupcakes is only the stuff of fantasies. In every other situation, I have a choice to make. I don’t always make the right choice (I don’t even always want to make the right one), but I am 100% responsible for my actions. Remembering that I have the control creates a whole different level of freedom.
I can’t un-know the lessons I’ve learned.
Not only is my lifestyle a whole lot different than it was five years ago, my life view is changed as well. Along with losing the excess weight, I got rid of a whole bunch of long-held thought patterns that were detrimental to living the full and vibrant life I imagined. Many of these thoughts were actually opposite what I truly believed, but I kept trying to cram them into my brain (and heart) anyway. I’m wiser now, and I can’t unlearn what I now know to be true, which includes this sampling of lessons learned:
- I am a good and worthy person no matter what I weigh, what size I wear, or how many “packs” are in my abs (currently none). My value to society is in my heart and mind and demonstrated by my actions.
- Having an abundance of food and the means to acquire it is a gift, not a curse. Likewise the access to fresh, drinkable water and the ability to move every part of my body freely.
- There is a positive experience to be found in every obstacle. Sometimes it’s not so easy to spot, but just knowing it’s there helps bide the time until I find it.
- I will never, ever, ever be perfect and life is more rich and meaningful when I focus on finding balance and learning from the imperfections.
Admittedly, I do have to “re-learn” these and other lessons sometimes. Life has bumps.
I’m in good company.
I may be wrapping up with this one, but it’s an incredibly important factor worthy of its own post. Participating in the blogging community and exchanging support and encouragement during our successes and struggles keeps me focused and aware of the things that I need to be doing. I can’t emphasize enough how important this has been in my maintenance success to date.
For me, maintenance hasn’t been that hard, so far. I just keep doing what I’m doing in the way that works for me. It might not always be fun (only about 95% of the time), but it’s always worth the effort.
Thank you for reading my contribution to this month’s AIM discussion. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and if you haven’t already done so, check out what the other AIM bloggers had to say on the subject:
» Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
» Lori @Finding Radiance
» Debby @ Debby Weighs In
» Shelley @ My Journey to Fit