Maintenance is HARD!

image credit: mufflershopinc

image credit: mufflershopinc

I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but once you get to your weight goal it still takes work.  It ain’t time for weight loss vacation.  MAINTENANCE IS HARD!!!  I lost 130 pounds and I now vary between 120-125 pounds total loss.  I have been everywhere between 176 and 188 for the last 15 months.  Now my WW goal weight is 196 so I am good as far as healthy weight is concerned and my body fat % is also in a healthy range.  I am also very active and physically fit.  But gosh dang maintenance is still work.  I am constantly told the following things by all kinds of people:

  • Oh come on.  You can eat that.  You just did a marathon last weekend
  • I just can’t believe that you can run so much and still gain weight. 
  • You exercise a lot so you probably don’t even have to watch what you eat.
  • WOW!  You still go to meetings even after reaching you goal like over a year ago.

That’s right.  I still HAVE to go to WW meetings.  I still can gain weight even after running 30 miles in one weekend.  I still have to watch what I eat even though I exercise at least 6 hours a week.  Reaching my weight loss goal was just that:  Reaching my weight LOSS goal.  I had to change my goals immediately to weight MAINTENANCE as my goal.  If I didn’t change my goals right away I would have already been weighing over 300 pounds again.  What amazes me is the effort it still takes to keep the weight off.  I too would have asked those same questions of anyone that is in my present shoes.  I would not have understood why someone was trying so hard, why someone was still fighting the good fight of healthy living.  This has not been an easy road and to be totally honest with you I have to say that losing the weight was 100 times easier than keeping it off.  For me, it is a huge paradigm shift and the battle between the “fat mind” and the “healthy mind” is always present. Why you ask?  Well, that is for tomorrows post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Bwaaaaa hahahahahahaha!!!!

32 Responses to “Maintenance is HARD!”

  1. 1 amandacav
    March 26, 2009 at 4:47 am

    You are doing such a great job and are such an inspiration! I agree that keeping it off is the hardest. I gained back the 20lbs I lost over a 3 month period when I just “stopped counting” and started picking up on bad habits again- like drinking real soda instead of diet or none at all. Then I got pregnant and now I’m still struggling nearly 2 years later to lose that 20lbs that I wouldn’t have to worry about right now had I stayed OP before getting pregnant!
    Even though I’m definitely not in the shape you are in, it still frustrates me when friends tell me to go ahead and have a brownie, cookie, ice cream, etc because I “earned it” from my workouts… if that was true, I wouldn’t need WW would I?!

    • 2 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 5:14 am

      YOu are right Amanda. It is not true. We don’t get to eat more than we burn no matter how much we exercise. That is the recipe for weight gain. If I burn 2000 calories in one pop, but eat 2100 in brownies, all the work is gone.

  2. March 26, 2009 at 5:31 am

    You are right it is MUCH harder to keep it off than to lose it… a few weeds from moving across country and being off routine and bam.. felt like I had to start all over again.. It’s no easy task..I exercise at least 5 days a week, I am active and busy, and still me too I can gain weight! It never ends, thus why we NEED support every step of the way.. and then some.. Thanks!

  3. March 26, 2009 at 5:44 am

    For some reason I had it in my mind that when I lost all my weight I would be fine and it would be easy to keep it off. Boy was I wrong. I met you and started reading your blog and realized that it will never be over for me. I was bummed when I first realized it, but now I’m ok with it. In my Weight Watchers meetings we have about 7 life timers that come every week. I never knew they were life timers until recently. I realize that they don’t call it LIFE TIME for nothing. This will be a life time issue for us and we need to work on it daily. I never want to go back to where I was. I never will go back to where I was and I am willing to battle this the rest of my life so I can be healthy and live longer. Thanks Jason for your support as I begin this crazy journey. I appreciate you so much.

    Take care. Off to try and get my back to feel better.

    • 6 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 5:47 am

      Thanks Melissa. I am sure that if I quit WW I would gain the weight back. I need that accountability and I am going to need it forever.

  4. March 26, 2009 at 5:49 am

    ain’t that the truth.

    Maintenance is a whole different animal than weight loss. Can’t wait to see the post tomorrow 😉

  5. 9 RobFitness
    March 26, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Now that is not nice keeping us in suspense till tomorrow regarding that post.
    You are so cruel 🙂
    I have to say that this post has really scared me man, I mean really has me scared. I know this journey isn’t an easy one and losing this weight has been so so so hard with so many ups and downs, so much pain. It’s been unbearable at times and I struggle daily with this. I could not imagine any harder that what I am doing now. That was until you burst my bubble and talked about maintenance being so hard. Well deep down inside I knew that maintaining the weight would be hard, but I never thought anything could be as hard as losing it.Oh I appreciate the honesty and all but it still doesn’t make how scared I am now any less. I guess I’ll just have to deal with that when that day comes and hopefully in a positive manner.

  6. March 26, 2009 at 6:24 am

    I’m with Rob…thanks a lot for bumming me out dude. 😉 Kidding…kinda…I would like to live in denial for the next 100 lbs or so. Remind me again about how hard the MAINTENANCE phase will be when I’m closer to my goal and a bit stronger in mind and body.

    ***closing my eyes, plugging my ears, and singing “lalalalala…I’m not listening”***

  7. March 26, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Thanks for the reality check 🙂 Guess that’s why they say it’s a lifestyle and not a diet. Guess that is also partly why WW Leaders become leaders – more motivation(maintain or lose your job) to stay on course.

  8. March 26, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I find maintenance much harder than losing weight too. Like you said, it’s our state of mind. How long have we tried to lose weight? How many times did we go up and down on the scale? We know what we have to do to lose weight, it’s a matter of actually putting that into action.
    Once we lose the weight we want and reach our goal, we don’t know what to do, what food we’re “allowed” and how much of it. It’s sort of like being thrown into the fire. That’s why so many people gain it back. While losing weight really is a battle with out physical body, maintenance takes more adjusting in our minds.

    I’m looking forward to reading tomorrow’s post!

    • 16 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 8:02 am

      Couldn’t agree with you more Kristen. Tomorrows post will be much like what you have spoken here.

  9. 17 lissa10279
    March 26, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I’ve always said maintaining is much harder than losing. I’m proud to have kept off 20-25 of the 35 I lost … but I had no idea what a good goal weight for me would even be!! I think I know where my body is comfortable, and it’s not too far from here; at my lowest, it wasn’t maintainable for me … physically, perhaps. But who wants to obsess over it day in and day out? In my comfy range, I can enjoy life a little more. That’s my goal — not to necessarily get back to my “weight loss goal weight” but rather, my happy weight.

    And if you gain ANY weight after a 30-mile run, it’s not fat!! It’s probably your muscles retaining water. 🙂

    • 18 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 9:14 am

      THanks Lissa. I too am a little over my final low weight after losing. I feel that this level is far easier to maintain than the lowest weight is. To maintain the lowest weight I almost always have to be in weight loss mode.

  10. 19 lissa10279
    March 26, 2009 at 9:13 am

    (I mean, having been chunky my whole life, I didn’t have a clue what weight would be ok with me. At 140, my lowest, I was a size 4-6). Now I’m a 6, mostly an 8. And I’m ok with that. I have kickin’ curves. 🙂

  11. 20 afatgirl
    March 26, 2009 at 10:48 am

    You truly are doing a fantastic job. I hate hearing people say things like that; not really understanding the battle that goes on inside your head on a daily basis. (I used to be guilty of goading my sister in law on; but I’ve quickly learned that the battle of maintenance is far more difficult than losing the weight for most people.)

    I think that coming to the realization that this is a “forever” thing is a huge deal. Most people fail again and again because of that. They aren’t willing to commit to this for life. I think you do a great job of showing how many struggles are still out there even “after” you lose the weight.

    • 21 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

      You afatgirl. It is just the truth. Both of my WW leaders have very similar struggles. They of course are further down the road than me and know how to handle somethings much better, but they still have there issues. It is a lifetime lifestyle

  12. 22 the Ringmaster
    March 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I think, for me, this is why WW worked–because it taught me how to view eating in an entirely healthful way. So when I reached goal, and, like you, even passed it (so that now I can’t weigh in at meetings, though I’d like to, just for the accountability)–I could continue to track my own food intake, all the while eating the foods I like.

    Never, even during week 1, was there ever a food that was VERBOTEN. I was always encouraged to just make wise food *choices*. You can eat that white potato, but you’ll get more bang for your buck out of the brown rice. Fill up on veggies. Exercise.

    I feel for people in my life who try “diets” and as soon as they’re off the diets and eating freely, the weight comes back, and maintenance becomes even more difficult.

    Not that, as you say, it’s ever, for most of us, I think, something we don’t have to think about at all.

    • 23 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

      Mrs. Ringmaster. That comment made a whole lotta sense. Thanks for the contribution. Did you really drop below the lower limit? Or do they just not like the fact that you are below upper limit. It would be impossible for me to be below the lower limit but I have gotten flack for being under the upper. Anyway, Thanks for the awesome comment

  13. 24 Chris
    March 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I have never been thin or healthy looking I guess, so this really scares me! I know I could gain all the weight back…and quick too! I have tried to stop this by taking the weight loss slow and making sure my body gets used to the current weight. This past semester I wasn’t able to track points very well because of major time constraints. But when I got on the scale after I hadn’t gained much of anything. Maybe it is more because of my change in eating habits.

    You are so right about the “fat mind” and “healthy mind”. Will I ever get out of the fat mind?? I will just have to take it one day at a time, as THIS is my lifestyle now. 🙂

    • 25 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      Chris, the “fat mind” it seems never disappears but it loses its power or at least a lot of it. The only reason it seems powerful actually is because you are trying not to do what it wants. It was there before too but since you just “lived” in it, it felt normal and it was just you. Now you are a new man, the old man (fat mind) likes to gain control when possible. it is a battle that can most certainly be one.

  14. March 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I’m sorry to drag into something that might be off topic – but I really think that if one takes a slow ands teady process, and develops real, lifestyle habits – permanent – then it’ll be easy to maintain their weight. I have not been in the shape as you have, and have not lost 130 lbs, but I was a chubby kid and realized that my biggest issue was a slow metabolism. Now, distance running isn’t all too great for testosterone levels and metabolic rates. I’m not saying that you need to stop doing your sport, just that maybe you should get some sort of blood work done and check those t-levels. Since you’ve been running for so long, your body has become efficient at using energy, and so you’re actually burning less calories than you did before (partly because you’ve lost so much weight), but once again let me emphasize the fact that weight loss should be focused around metabolism, and not just caloric intake/output. I understand that the WW program is different, and its difficult to change people’s minds when they’ve been on a program that works, but I just found that most individuals work really hard to lose weight, their dedicated, and that’s why they can lose the weight even if they’re methods are not perfect. My methods are not perfect either, but I just disagree on a few things (big things, apparently.

    • 27 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      Parth- You make some GOOD observations. I appreciate that you disagree and I am not offended by it at all. I like that you spoke up. How else can we find a chance to talk things over and learn. So, I do in fact get blood work done. I do it every six months or so and my Dr. does the complete work up on me that on obese person would get including gall bladder (big weight losses cause a problem for some) issues and metabolism issues. Also, I do follow an eating schedule that enhances metabolism. Recently I read a journal article regarding metabolism and running the the Journal of Weight loss Research. The research study found that running did actually increase metabolic rate and the high intensity running actually increased after the running episode was over. Now I know that muscle mass/% is a huge factor in metabolic rate and most of the elite runners appear to not have a great muscle mass but the comparing it to a 5’5″ frame that contains only around 5-6% body fat, there plenty of muscle mass to have a high metabolism.

      I also use a heart rate monitor to determine my points/calories burned while I exericise. I take all of this into consideration as I develop my eating over the week. My body is certainly more efficient at consuming oxygen and allowing my muscles to use it, but my muscles are also more efficient at consuming a higher % of fat during exercise because that is how they have been trained for the ultra marathons. You only have enough sugar to burn for so long, but up into the 5,6,7-12 hour range, you better be efficient at burning some fat for energy. HAHAHA

      Anyways, this is a fantastic conversation and I thank you very much for bring up the points that you did. No need to be sorry for dragging something in. HAve a great night man. Oh yeah, I checked out your sight and I like it a lot.

  15. March 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Cool – well I’m just looking out for ya. I’ve never been a distance runner, used to run a lot before and messed up my knee, so I’m kind of biased towards it. You seem to be doing a lot of things right – blood work, high intensity running – etc. I didn’t realize you had such a low bodyfat percentage. I don’t know what mine it, but it certainly is not single digit. So then if you’re doing everything right – I don’t see how it’s difficult for maintentance. Yes, I do let myself go at certain times (like during a vacation), but I’m not following a very strict diet, and am still only training no more than 20 minutes, 4-5 days a week but have seen steady changes in body comp (increase in muscle mass, and decrease in fat). So I still stay in the weight range – 155 – 160lbs at a height of 5’5″ (more muscle and fat than you, of course), but I feel like I’m cruising. No longer have to count calories or watch wat I eat. I go for around 95% clean diet on week days and 70% clean on the weekends. But of course, my goals are not the same as yours. I’m just happy to look normal now and am really just focusing on pushing myself through each workout. My goals are performance based as opposed to physique based.

    • 29 run4change
      March 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      Parth- Thanks for getting back so soon. I enjoy this. I did not mean to mislead you about my body fat %. That 5-6% is what elite runners tend to have on average. I myself, I have around 11-12% now. I went from 51%+ down to 11%.

      As I read and re-read both of your comments I realized something and it is essential to the conversation. I personally think that maintenance is hard simply because I am an addict. HAHAHA 🙂 I seriously have the tendency to use food to medicate emotions both good and negative. That is what makes maintenance hard. First I have the tendancy to medicate with food and then I tell myself that I am at goal and don’t have to worry about it. Then I eat bad food and it cascades into something a lot bigger than I had planned. I know how to lose weight and I for certain know how to keep it of and maintain, but………… It is the emotional/mental side of it that is tough. I know what to do, I just don’t want to do it because of my own addictive/extreme personality. I have the same issue with alcohol. It almost killed me that stuff. Now people who don’t have a problem with it just don’t get why people who do have a problem with can’t just have one, etc. Does that make sense. So when you eat 70% good on the weekend, that is cool. But my 70% good turns into 70% bad in no time flat because I tend to be all or nothing. I think that this might clear things up a bit. I tend towards a very unhealthy relationship with food and that is why I need to go to weight watchers meetings weekly to keep accountable.

      I too am much more performance based than I ever was. Shooting for breaking personal records in running just as you are trying to set personal records with your training. Progressive improvement.

      HA! I knew I was forgetting something in my last comment. It is the emotional eating man. That is where a huge difference between easy maintanence and hard. If I could just do what I know I need to do without my emotional/mental side, that would be some smooooooooth sailing. Thank God you don’t have that problem. Thanks a lot for your time.

  16. March 27, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Yeah. I mean two years ago, I was addicted to soda, taco bell, and starbucks coffee (the sugary grande latte things). So, I decided that I’d eat anything but those three items. It took a while, but it worked. To tell you the truth, I dont know how i did it. I wish I’d documented everything, but I didn’t. I was too embarrased to. Here I am a health and fitness guy giving around advice and am myself unhealthy.

    I no longer am a food addict, but I realize if I ever do pick up a can of soda or order some Taco Bell, I’d be at risk of going back to the same place I started. I understand the mental askpect of. It’s so terriblt, but you need to figure out your “Triggers” In reallity we all have a whole bunch of foods taht are “trigges” I’m sure, but if you take it just one or two foods at a time, and just try to get them out of the diet. Set personal goals of, one week, two week, three week,e ventually the cravings will go away.

    aLSO IT important to always realize WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Naturally you have a race coming up, so it’s time eat as clean as possible so you don’t gas out while running (goes to show i don’t know much about running, but you know what I’m saying).

  17. 31 lissa10279
    March 27, 2009 at 5:14 am

    I like this dialogue here … Parth and Jason, you both make good points!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: