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An Everlasting Work in Progress: Reflections on a Year of Maintenance

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

(from www.fatgirlrunn.com/2/po

One year ago today, on April 16, 2013, I stepped onto the scale in the morning and saw 139.5 -- 0.5 pounds below my goal weight of 140 lbs. One year ago today, I reached goal.

Today, I'm not 139.5 lbs. To be completely honest, I've probably gained 15-20 pounds in the past six months. Because what no one tells you after losing so much weight is that it's not only the weight loss that is hard: the maintenance is hard too.

My problem was a steep drop in motivation to exercise, to the point where I basically didn't run a single mile for about three months. Largely, it was because the last six or so months have been extremely difficult for me personally. Emotionally, I was going through a very low point and during it, the activity that sounded least fun to me was running. At the same time, I was doing a pretty terrible job of resisting temptations: if someone had a birthday at work, I accepted that giant slab of cake. Then I would have another piece after lunch the day following. I'd reverted to the way I had previously dealt with stress: eating instead of exercising.

I think my wake-up call came when I realized that even after going back up a pants size, I'm showing off some serious love handles. I recently ran my local runners club race, which I PRed last year, and ran it nearly 10 minutes slower. I've bought clothes that I say will "fit better when I lose my slump weight." Except I still wasn't doing anything.

Now, I kind of hate to say that my life turned around because of a guy, but it sort of did. My dating life had been pretty terrible since my last boyfriend, but I recently met a guy with whom I've really connected. He has been fully supportive of my weight-consciousness and my running, and even said he wanted to train with me. For some reason, I have the motivation to train again partially because of him. Not to mention I have a half marathon at the end of August and dammit I'm going to run it!

All doom and gloom and gushiness aside, I think about the past year and all the adversity I've faced, and I think that I would have handled every tough situation so differently if I were still obese. I've learned how to handle myself confidently and assertively, and I don't stand for people who don't treat me with respect.

Though I've had my slip-ups, for the most part, I continue to eat the usual healthy stuff that I have been, and I still haven't set foot near a Chipotle or Five Guys in over two years.

I remember all that I accomplished and on this day, my "goaliversary" I've dubbed it, I've re-committed myself. I made a promise to my dying grandfather that I'd keep running, and I'm going to keep that promise and get back to training for my August half. I'm going to resist temptation for the sweet things at the office, because sure, I'd like that slice of cake, but I won't like the guilt I'm going to feel after I eat it.

I ran in my neighborhood this evening, my first non-race run outside of the season. Mile 1 was a toughie with some shin tenderness, but after I hit that one mile mark, a good song came on my running playlist, and I felt positively jubilant, despite the strong winds blowing directly in my face and fogging up sunglasses from the low-50s temperatures and my sweaty face. I remember how good 140 lbs felt, and I'm going to go back to that. I've learned my lesson, and I know full well how I can maintain. And now, I'm going to do it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    i read all the blogs i can. many i learn something positive from. thanks, hope this finds you still meeting those goals.
    1072 days ago
    Such an awesome maintenance story! I'm honored by your "add" as a SparkFriend and only too pleased to return the favor! :-)

    2569 days ago
    I am so happy that you were willing to tell your story about having trouble to maintain, but finally finding the focus again to lose the weight and start maintaining now.

    I read your story before, ending with you reaching your goal weight last year, which was a great motivation for me to keep working on losing the weight and getting more healthy.

    But this new blog is just as helpful and inspirational, as it shows it will not be easy for any of us, we might slip up, but we have it in us to find that focus again.

    I had slipped up "food wise" the last couple of weeks, but are trying to find my focus again, just doing one day at a time. And seeing that others are struggling but they can find the motivation and focus back means so can I!
    We know what to do right? We just need to do it.

    By the way good work signing up for the half marathon in August, that will make sure you need to get your weekly runs in!
    I will have my second HM ten days from now, and that helped me through my rut the last couple of months.
    Good luck, you can do it!!

    2595 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2609 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13074531
    Keep the faith! You can do it!
    2609 days ago
    Wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing this! It's not actually that weird of a coincidence that I have just confronted the very same issues (and even used the same phrase "wake up call" in my blog) and I swear I wasn't copying you! emoticon (After I wrote my blog last night I went to the At Goal and Maintaining Team for motivation, and started working my way through all the recent spotlighters, where I got pointed to your excellent and thoughtful entry).

    We did it before, we can do it again. It really is hard work though, isn't it.
    2612 days ago
    Good for you! Congratulations on a terrific blog! You can do it!
    2612 days ago
    Amazing! emoticon emoticon
    You motivate me to keep moving forward!
    2613 days ago
    Great job running and losing the weight. You know now how important it is to continue to watch yourself. Eating less of the sweets and eat more of the good stuff. Running and exercise even when you do not want to but make yourself do it for your own good. Linda from bean town emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2613 days ago
    You are emoticon . Maintenance it's been the hardest part for me. I've never been able to stay stable. emoticon and emoticon
    2613 days ago
    Did I tell you how great I think this blog is?? : )
    You are the REAL deal when it comes to being a team member.
    Thanks for sharing and all the best to you.
    Ginny emoticon
    2614 days ago
    Way to stay true to yourself and your grandfather! Keep it up! emoticon on your anniversary!
    2614 days ago
    Glad to see you are back on track! Been there myself! Doesn't it feel good to be back!
    Woo Hoo you!
    2614 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Great blog full of honesty! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. It is just as hard to maintain as to lose, you have to do the same things on both sides! Glad to hear that you have found your focus again and know what you want to do and how to do it. Best of luck on running and wow my hats off to you for running a 1/2 marathon coming up in Aug. 5K is as good as it will get for me!
    Kudos and congrats on all that you have accomlplished!
    2614 days ago
    You have a great attitude! I am sure you will do amazing in August.
    2615 days ago
    You have a great attitude! I am sure you will do amazing in August.
    2615 days ago
    I can see why this was voted favorite blog! You speak to so many people, including me! I did not run mostly because I am a fair weather runner (wogger) and did not want to run in the snow or cold, which is pretty much all winter. I have accumulated a little weight and love handles too. UGGGHHHH. At least the weather is nicer to get out! Good luck with your half marathon in August!!!
    2615 days ago
    I really needed to read your blog. I'm still struggling with motivation and the 5 pounds I gained over the winter that won't budge and show in my poochie belly the larger pants size. I have no clothes larger than what I'm wearing now, so I'm going to keep working at the extra pounds. I'm only 3 pounds above my goal on a normal day now, but salt can send me sailing 5-6 pounds above goal and over my scream weight. Need to get back down to the lower end of my range.
    2615 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Learning from our mis-steps only makes us stronger, knowledgeable, and more determined. Congrats on all of your successes so far. Great job!


    2615 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    thanks for sharing and please hang in there!
    2615 days ago
    I can't even begin to tell you how petrified I was of maintenance. I only knew how to lose weight and had zero concept of how to maintain it. I even felt a little sad that I didn't have a goal to work furiously toward for about five minutes until I figured out a new goal to put in place. I'm proud of you for getting back on that wagon and loving yourself enough to make yourself a priority and sticking to your guns. Maybe for your two year goaliversary you might say this year it was easy for you to maintain! Baby steps, right?

    PS... This all started partly because the man of my dreams walked in my door and I knew if I gained weight he'd walk away. If I wanted him, I had to be the BEST version of myself. I don't think it matters what really sparks you as long as something does!
    2615 days ago
    I am here too!! And I am struggling to get myself back to goal weight - THANK YOU for your inspiration and uplifting post!!
    2615 days ago
  • KATIE3908
    I totally agree maintaining is just as hard if not harder than losing. I have mornings I really don't want to get up and exercise but I so love being thin and refuse to put the weight back on and that's my motivation. Plus I can't afford to buy all new clothes again. :)

    Keep up the good work!!
    2615 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    Great perspectives! I agree that the winter of 2014 will go down in history as one of the worst. So glad you survived and are committed to thrive!! Thanks for sharing!
    2615 days ago
    Woohoo! I am so glad I heard that maintenance was hard before I got there. I got my tools lined up in advance.
    2615 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon for sharing.
    2615 days ago
    Great blog! You're right...goal doesn't mean it's over and we have to continue with the changes in lifestyle we made to get there, only with some leeway. emoticon

    The trick is to know when the leeway has been passed and we're off the track entirely. Learning it is never a waste.

    Glad you're back to running, and on you track! emoticon emoticon
    2615 days ago
  • THOMS1
    emoticon you are back on the right path. Speaking of five guys, while we were on vacation in Fl. this past winter we discovered five guys. Gained 10 lbs and am still trying to get it off. I won't make that mistake again. There sure are a lot of them in Fl. I wish you success. emoticon
    2615 days ago
    emoticon on your emoticon
    Great blog and it is good some tell the truth and face it.
    You did.
    Now emoticon
    2615 days ago
    Congratulations on getting back on track! Going down a pant size will be so much easier than going down several pant sizes! Checking in daily with the maintenance team has been a big help for me, and also participating in weight maintenance challenges. I wish you all the best!
    2616 days ago
    Maintenance is hard... It takes constant monitoring and adjustment. It is so very worth doing! Congratulations on your goaliversary, your motivation recovery, and your determination to get back down to your goal weight. You are not the only one who has had to cover that same stretch of territory more than once.
    2616 days ago
    Glad to see you back on track. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other keeping the goal in sight, You can do it.
    2616 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1047846
    Congratulations on your Goalaversary and many more to come!

    You've discovered the awful truth, that the job isn't done when you reach goal. Your struggles sound a lot like mine. But, you're turning things around and getting your motivation back. You'll be back where you want to be in no time!

    2616 days ago
    Girlfriend - last winter was about the hardest winter everyone I know has had to face - including me! What's great is that you got back out there again. And do NOT feel funny about love being a great motivator. Take every helping hand ... and heart ... that's offered! That's what Lifestyle means.

    I'm glad you're running again. I'm glad you stayed here with us. I gained weight and left what I'd call my maintenance range in December. It took me till April to get back just inside the magic number. Everyone had to plow through the winter of 2014!!

    Never quit. That's all you have to do.
    2616 days ago
  • DSJB9999
    emoticon I believe the maintainence is even harder than losing in the first place. emoticon

    emoticon emoticon
    2616 days ago
    emoticon Glad to see you are back on track! Hey if this guy is what it took to get you motivated, then I say there is nothing wrong with that! He sounds like he treats you with respect and wants to support your goals! That sounds like a healthy relationship to me! Take everything one day at a time, becuase as you know, you will be better able to handle the day to day stresses that life puts on us! If you have Faith in God, then I say pray everything about what you need and the Lord will hear you! Have a blessed day! Best wishes with your new relationship and your half marathon in August! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2616 days ago
    I suspect that ALL of us on the "At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance" team can identify with your experience - maintenance is NOT for sissies!! But it can be done - you just have to stay accountable for your weight, just as you did on your original weight loss journey. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I weigh every and and record my weight. When I stop weighing I start gaining - that is just my truth and I have to live with it. Is it worth it? Oh YES its worth it!! emoticon emoticon
    2616 days ago
    Congratulations on reaching the one-year mark! Mine is coming up next week. Maintenance IS hard and there isn't that *instant gratification* of seeing the scale go down like there was during weight loss phase. Just keep on track and keep fighting the good fight. And keep running!

    2616 days ago
    Maintaining is tough, but an upcoming half marathon is a great motivator. I know, my half on Sunday got me to run at new personal records for low temperatures, snow on the ground, and blowing snow this past winter. Those are probably more important than any speed records, or even completing the half.

    Here's to running regularly, for the rest of our lives!
    2616 days ago
    Awesome! You have done a fantastic job.....yep, they forgot to tell us about the ongoing battle of maintenance. It is a daily effort for all of us.
    But we can do it. You look wonderful.
    Happy Day!
    2616 days ago
    Happy Goaliversary. 140lbs sure does sound good, doesn't it!
    2616 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/24/2014 7:38:47 AM
    Keeping promises is a powerful thing... I'm sure your grandfather is smiling in heaven! emoticon
    2616 days ago
    MAINtaining is tough: but it's the main thing for sure . . . and you're going to get back to a sustainable goal weight and maintain it!!
    2616 days ago
    Welcome back to the fit life and congrats on the Goalaversary! I finally hit goal this spring after 3 years of teetering on the edge. One of my new mantras is "I am happy to have 5 lbs to lose rather than 50!" I hope you can stay in this "happy" place no matter what life brings your way. We can deal so much better with the crap when we feel good and positive. That is what goal weight and consistent exercise does for me. Find your sweet spot and continue working to stay there. emoticon
    2616 days ago
    Congratulations on getting back on track, both literally and metaphorically. I, too, put on half of whatnI had lost lastnyear, mostly in one month abroad, and took about 4 months to shed it again. Back to goal now, or rather up a kilo after a wedding party!
    What a blessing thatnyounhave a helpful, supportive, encouraging boyfriend!
    2621 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11898821
    Keep pressing on!
    2621 days ago
    You are amazing! Keep going on your journey!
    2622 days ago
  • LMS129
    I've done exactly the same - lost 45 pounds 3-4 years ago, and slowly regained 35 of it. I finally found my Spark again in the last few months & have now "re-lost" 15 pounds or so. I actually found maintaining harder than losing, but this time I feel more prepared for it...and it seems you are too! emoticon

    Keep up the good work & stay positive!
    2622 days ago
    Your goaliversary is worth celebrating. You are committed to running again and staying on track. All of us in maintenance have to work on up pounds which occur during periods of low maintenance.

    Good for you running again..I am glad you have a supportive boyfriend.

    2623 days ago
    Happy Goaliversary. Sounds like the past few months have been tough but it sounds like you have found your motivation again. Keep it up and you will be back where you want to be!

    2623 days ago
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