Weight loss and weight maintenance are two different worlds. They are two different compartments in my brain. They don’t seem to be getting along very well. I love the weight loss compartment. For me, the weight loss compartment is organized, tidy, and straight forward. On the other hand, the weight maintenance compartment is messy, disorganized, and lenient. On paper or theoretically, the two are one in the same plus a few calories. Unfortunately, it is only on paper since the comparison is usually not taking into effect the powers of the “fat mind” or outside influence. These two factors are what I am going to focus on today. Yesterday I said that maintenance was hard. Well, why would it be any harder than weight loss? Although I have been successful thus far at maintaining my weight it seems to me that it has taken much more work to keep it off than it did to loss it. I don’t think it is the physical part that is hard. I exercise pretty much the same as I did when I was toward the end of the weight loss game. It is the mental and outer forces that make it harder. Here is a littler break down of what I am talking about:
Some difference between weight loss mode and weight maintenance mode as they related to the fat mind and outer forces
- Goals: When you are losing weight there is a concrete goal in mind and a very black and white way to get there. You know what you want and how to get it. When you don’t want to lose weight but at the same time you don’t want to gain weight, then it becomes complicated. You have a goal to stay pretty much the same but achieving that goal is wishy washy. This is compounded by the fact that you have trained yourself to see losses and you are conditioned in your response to the numbers on the scale trending down for a long time.
- Fat mind: The fat mind is easier not to believe when you are losing weight. It tells you that you like to eat what you want but you know what that will get you. It tells you that you want to give up and stay fat but there is no way in hell that you are giving up. I believe the fat mind more now that I am in maintenance because it communicate more sinister. It tells you that you can eat that extra so and so because you are not trying to lose anymore. It tells you that you won’t create or re-invent an old habit by eating bad stuff that you never ate when trying to lose. It tells you that you are at goal so it is easy to keep it off so you can relax for a minute.
- People:When you are losing weight people are cheering you on. They love to see results. They love to witness success. They compliment you, they tell you that you are doing great, they tell you that they wish they could lose like you. Once you lose the weight, they don’t say the same things anymore. You guys are supremely encouraging but others around me are not. Some are but not all. They say that I shouldn’t worry about what I eat because I run so much. They say that I should not keep such close track because it is ok to gain a little and then try and lose it. They scoff at the fact that I would watch what I eat after a marathon. They tell me that it is unhealthy to be strict or to run alot. They are not cheering me on to keep it off, they are telling me that I am there and that it is time to relax basically.
- Confidence: When I was losing I did not have as much confidence that I could lose the weight which made me be very careful. Because I was not sure I would make it, I watched what I would eat closely and I exercise plenty. Now that the weight is gone I am confident and sure that I know what I am doing. I tell myself that I know that eating this or that won’t effect me only to find a gain at weigh in. That is not so bad because I am 100% sure that I can LOSE the weight because I have done it before. I am also more confident about my body so I am tend to be satisfied with it at higher and higher weights. I set a goal for 178 lbs to stay at, now I am telling myself that 185 is ok. Will it keep going up and up and up?????????????????????????????
So there are a few differences between the two journies that I have discovered in the last 15 months. I have been able to keep it off but it is not easy. I just wanted to share that fact that even though I reached my weight loss goal I still had new and interesting things to battle with. It is hard to change channels so to speak.