When people who do not know my weight loss story find out that 1) I used to weigh 305 pounds, 2) I lost 158 pounds and 3) I’ve kept it off for almost 13 years, they are usually surprised and always full of questions. Aside from all the usual questions about how I lost the weight, many people have questions about the maintenance part of weight loss. This isn’t surprising, because many studies show that only about five percent of people who lose weight keep it off for more than two years.
I don’t ever think about the fact that I’m unusual in keeping my weight off this long, but sometimes people make me feel as though I do something “magic” that they cannot do. I wanted to share today some truths about my life in maintenance to encourage you in the fact that you can maintain your weight once you reach your goal.
There is no magic formula to maintaining my weight. I balance calories and exercise just like I did when I was in the weight loss phase. I do not count calories officially, but I do pay attention to the calorie content of foods I eat. If I know I’m going to eat a brownie for dessert, I eat a very light lunch and skip the bread at dinner. If I eat more than I normally do due to hormonal or stressful days, then I cut back on my food intake for the next day or two.
I weigh everyday. I know this isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. In maintenance, weighing everyday helps me see that I’m within that 3-5 pound range I allow myself to float in. If I hit the top number, I take action immediately and cut out the extra food I’ve been eating. The scale jogs back down and I just continue on with life
I am satisfied with my weight. This is a big one for me. Could I be thinner? Yes, I could probably lose another 10 pounds. But for me, this weight where I have stayed all these years is fairly easy to maintain, whereas if I lost another 10 pounds, I think it would be a struggle to easily maintain. Again, this is a personal choice.
I rarely eat junky foods. You notice I said rarely! I do eat dessert and chips on occasion, but it’s not an everyday thing. Most of the time I make pretty good choices.
I continue to exercise six days a week. Exercise is like the “get out of weight problem jail” card for me. The calories I burn give me the flexibility to eat a little more without worrying about my weight. I also love feeling strong and fit.
I developed my personal mantra of “Never Go Back.” I never want to struggle to walk through the mall because of my weight, get stuck in chairs or avoid social situations solely because of my weight.
I wanted to encourage you that there is no magic in maintenance. The same things you are doing right now to get to a healthy weight are exactly the same things you can do to maintain your weight for years. That’s why picking a weight-loss plan that is sustainable and practical is so important. Can you do it for the rest of your life?
What are your thoughts on maintaining your weight? Diane