AIM: What’s Different This Time

logo: Adventures in Maintenance with photosAIM: 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

31 thoughts on “AIM: What’s Different This Time

  1. “I can’t un-know the lessons I’ve learned.” I know ignorance isn’t bliss, but sometimes…

    I’m so glad to be in your good company! Love the post! :)

    • Thank YOU, Lynn, for getting this thing started.

      I’ve wished the clue bell could be un-rung more times than I can count. :)

  2. I know youve all already thought of this but WOW.
    as I click from AIM TO AIM post I think BOOK! BOOK!

    • Thanks, Anele! We are going to have the biggest party on the internets when you get to goal (and you WILL)!

  3. Remember when we were mentioned in that Woman’s Day article? I thought at the time “dang, Cammy has it ALL TOGETHER” – and I still think that. :)

    • LOL Thank you, Shelley. It would be nice if I wasn’t holding it together with the cheap dollar store glue instead of the gorilla glue. Or maybe Bondo. :)

      I have that WD article on my happy board where I see it every day. We still rock! :)

      • LOLOL. And I was going to say that I am still working on having the confidence that you do. Reading your blog (and meeting you in person) has really helped me.

        • Thank you! I have my shaky weeks days, too, but overall I feel good about my chances.

          We’ve got to figure out a way to do a mass meet-up! I need fro-yo! :)

      • OMG, we think so much alike, all of us :) Cammy, I always thought (and still think) you had it all together. You think around stuff, try to wrap your arms around it, all the time, and whether you succeed or not, you’re OUT here talking about it. I tend to…(cough…cough) sugar coat things or at least wrap them up in pretty packaging. You help me remember to be honest with myself.

    • Roz, thank you so much! I’m thrilled to count you among my blog friends, too! (We silly gals have to stick together! :) )

  4. This is definitely resonating with me right now
    ” I am 100% responsible for my actions. Remembering that I have the control creates a whole different level of freedom”
    Thanks for the reminder and positive messages :)

  5. I have been trying to put into words why it seems so different for me this time, too, and you said it well. I am at 112 lbs. down and have maintained that loss for 7 months now. I have more confidence that I’ll be able to keep it off this time because 1) I didn’t ‘diet’ to lose the weight but rather began changing my whole lifestyle, 2) I’m continuing to do the same things to maintain that I did to lose–track my food, get regular exercise, stay connected to others with similar goals, etc., 3) since this isn’t a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle, I’m aware and accept the fact that there is no ‘end’ to this process, and 4) I’m willing to keep learning, tweaking, and trying new things to get better at this whole healthy living thing.

  6. Love these – they are making me think right along with you. For me, what was different this time was not counting calories or really paying much attention to calories. That led me to understanding that yes, a calorie IS a calorie, BUT at least for me, certain types of calories affected my body in detrimental ways and when I eliminated those very specific calories, the weight AND the inches came right off. The inches even came off in the right places!! LOL! (Is it cheating if I copy this same comment to all your posts?? I’m not creative enough to come up with a different one since I’m already friends with all of you except Shelley and I have no idea how that’s slipped by me all this time. Gonna fix that right now!!)

  7. I am so with Carla! :) Really an amazing post Cammy – I love your thoughts on this & especially that there is no end date. When I lost weight back in the darl ages, I knew then & there I would have to change things for life even at that early age. I guess because I knew I was fat because I ate too much & the wrong things..

    Thank you so much for these posts!

    It might not always be fun (only about 95% of the time), but it’s always worth the effort. THE TRUTH!

  8. Great post Cammy!

    And I agree about the good company, the blogging community is great. They have helped me more than the people around me in real life who most of the times say I don’t need to lose (more) weight but this weight doesn’t feel right for me so I keep on going.

  9. I try to read all your posts, but don’t always comment. Since I started working full-time, my time is at a premium, especially with trying to build a health coaching biz on the side. I LOVE what you said about CHOICE! I have been maintaining 25 pounds about 25 years now, with a brief respite for menopause :-). What I’ve noticed is that I have changed, my eating has changed, my activity has changed, everything evolves and grows. But the one thing that stays the same is that I make the choice every day to eat the way I do, to exercise, to say “no” to foods I’d sometimes like to say “yes” to. I think that the difference between those who are successful maintainers and those that yo-yo is that the maintainers are choosing their behaviors every day to support the goals they have for themselves. I have a very small support system which is why I like to stay hooked into the community. Keep doing what you do – your honesty is always refreshing!

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Karen! 25 years? I don’t think I realized (or more likely, remembered :) ) that you’ve been maintaining that long! My hero!

  10. It is sad that so many of us have had to work so hard and long to find the right combination of diet, exercise and mental clarity to make weight control permanent. I am loving all the posts. Thanks for putting it all together.

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  12. So very glad you ladies are doing these posts. I’ve been refreshed beyond belief today as I took a moment to read them. They’ve spoken words I needed to hear as I face … life … and know that overeating is not the answer and working to finish up the losing part of my journey is going to be worth it.

    I especially love your point that you are not defined by your size or weight. This is a huge truth that once embraced leads to a freedom like no other.

    Thanks for taking part in AIM Cammy!

    • Thank YOU for taking the time to comment, Leah! I’m so happy our words were meaningful for you. THAT’s what it’s all about! :)

      You’re right, once we let go of the notion that our size/weight/hair color/whatever define us, we’re free to soar!

  13. I loved this post! I specifically identified with the bit about visualizing how you want to live and then building habits around that idea. That is where I am at the moment…

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