AIM: Maintaining Support…Or Not?

logo: Adventures in Maintenance with photos

Our AIM post for this month focuses on a topic near and dear to every weight-conscious person’s heart: support. Heck, support is important no matter what our goals!

I’ve been fortunate in most things to have immediate support for my goal of the moment, whatever that might be. This was especially true in losing the weight. For the most part, friends and family were encouraging and that helped keep my motivation level high.

Sometimes my definition of support and certain other people’s definitions were different. They meant well, I know that, but repeatedly calling me ‘Slim’ when I was still 90 pounds overweight, or asking, “Can you have that?” when I was eating something, weren’t really helpful for me. :) For other people (present company included), that might be just the kind of support you want.

But like I said, they meant well, and I’m honored that they cared enough to offer what they thought would be helpful. Besides, they did help in many other ways. I’m lucky to have had so many people in my corner. Not everyone has that, and I’m very grateful that I did.

So fast forward a few years. I’ve been in maintenance mode for almost five years, and I’ve learned that support is different on this side of the fence. Most of the players are the same, but the only one thinking about my weight is ME (and even I don’t think about it all that much.) Other than an occasional, “I see you’re still keeping the weight off,” from someone I haven’t seen in a while, no one mentions weight at all. It’s not new or fresh anymore. People who knew me before weight loss have gotten used to the new me, and I’ve (mostly) settled happily into maintenance.

This is all okay–great, even–96.4% of the time, but then there are those days, the random days when I feel like I’m out here alone on a wire with a cracked balancing pole. And it’s windy. :)

I’m not alone, of course. The support is there, but it’s in the background. I’ll have to ask for it if I feel I need it.

Besides the local support I could get by picking up the phone, I’ve got you guys. You help me regain my balance, even on the stormiest of days, and I don’t thank you nearly enough. I do appreciate your comments and your support–always!

Are you getting the support you need? For you long-termers, have you noticed changes in support over time?

Here’s a link to a post from earlier this year on asking for help.


If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other AIM posts:
Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debby @ Debby Weighs In
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

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!



22 thoughts on “AIM: Maintaining Support…Or Not?

  1. for me in weight loss or moving or LIFE it is precisely about identifying what I need (down to the nittttty grittty) and asking for it.

  2. There was a woman, I didn’t see her very often, but every time I did, she would call out “hey slim” to me – across crowded rooms. It always embarrassed me, because even though I was much smaller than I used to be, I knew (KNEW) that everyone who heard that were thinking “she can’t possibly be referring to that woman…she’s not slim” – so yeah. Sometimes “support” is not always, um, support?

    • Bingo, Shelley! The co-worker who did that to me was one of my biggest cheerleaders, and I’ll always be grateful for that, but “hey slim” was like fingernails on a chalkboard. (Of course, all I had to do was mention it to her, and I know she would have stopped immediately, but she really, really did mean well. :))

  3. Hi Cammy,
    That’s an interesting post. I wonder if there are ways that you can remind yourself of how far you’ve come. I find it interesting that as I’m losing weight, some of my coworkers have mentioned it and support me, while others have not said a word. Curious :)

    Last time I lost weight I didn’t give a thought to maintenance, now I’m consciously following bloggers who are in maintenance, so thank you, thank you, thank you for setting a great example!

    • Thank you for your comment, Tracy, and your kind words!

      One thing I learned while in losing mode is that some people are uncomfortable commenting on someone’s appearance, especially in the workplace. There were quite a few co-workers (males, in particular) who never commented on my loss.

  4. “I’m out here alone on a wire with a cracked balancing pole. And it’s windy.”–what a great description. You can always call on me for support. And we will just hope that I am not on the balancing beam that day :)

    • Thank you, Debby! I absolutely do know I can count on your support and hope you know that I feel the same! There’s safety in numbers, and we know this because in the movies, it’s always the one who wanders off alone whose body is found at the bottom of a cliff the next morning.

      And on that happy analogy….

      :)

  5. I love how you said support is in the background. We can reach out for it when we need it because we know it’s there. I’m so glad I have people like you in my background.

    I forgot to put this in my blog post today, but it’s another example of how far I’ve come. An old friend I haven’t seen in 19 years is coming out to see me on Wednesday. He and I “reunited” on FB a few months ago and he says to me all the time that I haven’t changed, that I look the same as I did 19 years ago! I know that’s not exactly true, but I understand what he was saying. My smile and body are about the same as they were 20 years ago. I don’t think he knows the journey I’ve been on. He just knows me as me now and me from when we first met 25 years ago.

    • I recently saw a former co-worker, and I was a bit taken aback by the fact that she recognized me. And then I remembered that the last time I’d worked with her was when I was only about 30 pounds away from my current weight. Whew! :)

  6. You know you always have support from my corner any time you need it!

  7. I don’t know that others realize that this maintenance ( and congrats on almost five years, I heard Chris Powell say today on The View, if you can maintain within 10-15 pounds of your goal weight for five years, you have a 90% chance of maintaining for life!) is pretty much the same for us as when we were losing weight. At least it is for me. I rarely have a treat, and am constantly cognizant of what I am putting in my mouth. At restaurants I always order off the low-cal section, or find a salad and modify it to meet my needs. There is never a day when I am not aware that I must constantly be in control of my appetite. My husband said to me the other night when I decided not to order a margarita with dinner while dining out with friends (I try to never drink my calories–I much prefer to EAT them!) “Are you ever going to have any fun?” But he has been very supportive all through this ordeal of first, my being morbidly obese for 30 years, second, losing the weight and now, entering my third year of weight loss maintenance, so I can’t complain too much. I think people have different ideas of fun, for my husband it is having a few drinks. For me, it is more likely eating a delicious dinner. He is unaware of how difficult maintenance is for me. I don’t think anyone who has a weight problem can really know what we go through. Sometimes still it is literally moment to moment. I often wonder if people I see after a few months aren’t amazed that I have kept the weight off, but I’m afraid they would probably be more surprised if I had gained it back. They just accept my weight loss as a “done deal,” instead of the every-day battle it is for me. And that’s fine.

    I don’t have much face-to-face support, nobody in my life has lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off for a period of time. But bloggers like you and your AIM friends and all my friends at Sparkpeople.com have been wonderfully inspirational and motivating for me. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today (maintaining a 170-lb. weight loss) without this wonderful Internet world!

  8. I love these posts Cammy! We are all different so may need support in different ways but yes, over time, people just see you as you are now… Maintenance is hard stuff & for many REALLY HARD – harder than weight loss. For me since I have been at this so long, it is just there BUT yes, when I was new to maintenance, I had to do my own thing & what was right for me cause I had nobody in the same situation..

  9. Love it! I am approaching the one-year mark for maintenance now, and support definitely has changed along the way, moving more to the background as you said. I have found that staying connected through blogs and my online ‘family’ of maintainers at SparkPeople has been enormously helpful in navigating these rather uncharted waters. Finding support somewhere–with friends and family or with an online community–is one of the keys to success in maintenance, I do believe. It’s just too hard otherwise, because we all have those days of feeling like we’re out there “alone on a wire with a cracked balancing pole. And it’s windy.” Great description!

  10. I’m happy you had/have so much support. I can get it, mostly from my blog readers because people around me have no clue that I try to lose weight. But I don’t ask for it easily. I had to make a running decision and didn’t ask anyones opinion. I told people about it after I struggled with it for a couple of weeks. I could have asked someones opinion/support.

  11. I always enjoy these AIM posts and all the different perspectives. I have always had great family support. Not too many of my friends have weight issues so I am often the only one in social situations trying to make healthy choices. With my hubby now watching his weight and eating with good health in mind it’s much easier. I no longer feel like the Lone Ranger!

    I once had an acquaintance come up to me at a business event in a mixed group of people some who I had just met, she gushed and went and on about how great I looked and how much weight I had lost. She may have meant well but I was so embarrassed and just wanted her to stop talking and go away. It was awkward to say the least.

  12. I am not in maintenance mode yet, but I am already getting comments about getting too thin and people saying they are worried I am losing too much – yet I am still in the overweight category of the BMI and clothing sizes. So I do wonder what will happen when I am working to maintain – aout 10 pound or so from now…

  13. what a good question. Support. Well, I am going strong on 7+ years of maintaining now and I can honestly say that the only support I receive (aside from my husband) is from my blog community and the friendships I’ve developed here. It’s old/forgotten news with the people I see regularly, and honestly? The longer time goes on, the less people remember.
    …have missed reading you, Cammy. xo

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