Some differences between weight loss mode and weight maintenance mode.

fat-mindWeight 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.











34 Responses to “Some differences between weight loss mode and weight maintenance mode.”

  1. 1 Jen
    March 27, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Thanks for sharing! Even though I’m a long way from the maintenance phase, it is good to think ahead. Even when I’d rather not! LOL. Again…thanks for sharing. Have a great day! Blessings…Jen

  2. March 27, 2009 at 5:17 am

    I’m right there with you. Every word you wrote absolutely spoke to me.

    Maintenance is much harder than I thought it would be.

  3. March 27, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I too agree 100%… I have to be careful what I become comfortable with.. each lb adds up… I keep striving toward and hoping that at somepoint the lightbulb will go off and it wont be such a struggle but ingrained.. and my body will stop gaining just because I smell something… weight lifting here I come! Must change the body mass… and make those muscles stronger and work harder!

  4. March 27, 2009 at 9:08 am

    One thing that I wish I had done during my weight loss journey was to have a well-laid out plan for maintenance BEFORE I reached my goal. Because WW is really in a group setting, the one setback is you don’t have intense one-on-one feedback to help guide you.

    I really relate to your “people” point. Just this morning I was talking to a co-worker about WW and she said “Weight Watchers?! You don’t need to go to WW!” I had to explain to her that at one point I did, and it’s important to keep up with their guidelines. When you’re down to your goal weight (range) and are working with people who didn’t know you before you lost weight, it’s a struggle. Like you mentioned, I hear a lot of “oh, you can have a cookie!” “Come on, a small piece of cake won’t hurt!” They’re right, but it’s still my choice not to have it, I made my decision based on the rest of my day, etc.

    • 8 run4change
      March 27, 2009 at 9:10 am

      You hit the nail on the head when you said, “They’re right, but it’s still my choice not to have it, I made my decision based on the rest of my day, etc.” That is so true. Thanks for the feeback on this. Very helpful.

  5. March 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

    You know, I know that maintenance is right around the corner and I’m scared! Right now in weight loss I’m comfortable because I know what to do and just have to keep on doing it to finish off to my goal.

    But maintenance seems to be a whole different ball game. I worry about a lot of the situations you brought up.

    I’m already starting to see some innocent sabotage from my co-workers: “30 more lbs??? Are you sure? You’ll be too skinny!” They don’t seem to understand BMI or body fat %.

    Some are meaner without realizing it: “Oh, that’s right. You don’t eat cake anymore.” Said with an attitude at someone’s birthday cake get together in the office. Sorry? Why do I need to apologize for not eating cake?

    Whew went off a bit there. lol

    Anyway, I think that you are approaching maintenance in the best way possible. You have the support of your WW group, the posters here at your blog, your family. Doing this blog I’m sure helps keep your mind on the target. If you are already questioning: “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?” like this then you are aware of what’s going on and won’t let it get out of control. So just stay aware while you find out what your body needs and how to balance the no gain with no loss.

    Awareness is key. You can do it!

    • 10 run4change
      March 27, 2009 at 9:38 am

      Mrs. Maybe- That is an awesome comment. I relate very well to your situations. Boy do they sound familiar. HAHAHA To skinny, they would love to be that skinny but for some odd reason think that you shouldn’t be. HA! I am doing good in maintenance that is true. It just takes a lot of awareness as you put it. That is a really good word for the work you put in. You can’t forget about the journey.

  6. 11 RobFitness
    March 27, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Still sacred as Hell man.Scared of failing at both weight loss and maintenance. I was doing so well with the weight loss and swore that I would never allow myself to get heavy again and what do i do I get heavy again. I went from 385 to 250 and now I have gone from 250-292. If I can’t succeed in weight loss how will I ever make it through maintenance if it is harder than losing weight. Not feeling to confident now. When will I ever learn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Plus I am now on my way to urgent care cause I am having some trouble breathing due to the chest congestion, but can’t be seen till 2:30. So I thought I’d stop by and pay you a visit. I guess when it rains it pours in my life. I just feel this journey is just getting to hard for me to handle.
    A great post though…

    • 12 run4change
      March 27, 2009 at 9:54 am

      It is just hard in a different way Rob. When you get to goal you’ll be able to handle it. It might be hard but it is not to hard to handle and be victorious with it. Sorry about your chest. That sucks

  7. 13 RobFitness
    March 27, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I am doubting that I will ever get to go yet alone worry about maintenance. Sorry to be a downer this morning. 😦

  8. 15 RobFitness
    March 27, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Thanks man, your awesome. I needed that!

  9. March 27, 2009 at 10:54 am

    “I can believe for you today” That is great. And it’s also what we all believe for you, Jason.

  10. 18 Chris
    March 27, 2009 at 11:44 am

    The hardest part of maintenance for me is the lack of any type of reward. If you do everything perfect, you stay the same. Mess up, and a gain. The best way I’ve found to stay on track is just to eat healthy as often as possible and let the scale do what it will.

  11. 20 Becky
    March 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Thanks so much for your recent posts about maintenance. It’s great you are thinking about these issues, and I found your post very insightful. I am a 45 woman, and I have lost and gained 30-80 pounds about 3 times in my life, and managed to maintain for a few years each time, and then moved back up the scales, where I would stay for a few years. I’ve also had several more minor weight losses, but managed to gain weight so quickly (within a few months), I don’t really count those. I am currently in what I very much hope will be my final weight loss and am about 10 lbs from my goal of losing 40 lbs, and I am really trying to give some thought to how I will maintain this time. I’m not happy I gained the weight back, but I do think that the regain periods have given me some insight into how at least I can get off track.

    To me, at least two things caused me to get off track and regain previously. First, with each “regain” period, I had a significant life change. For example, I changed jobs and moved across the country. At the same time, I moved in with a guy in a longterm relationship and followed his eating/drinking patterns. Another time, I quit my job and went back to graduate school, which involved another relocation. Finally, another time, I got married (again to a man who could eat and drink much more than I can) and changed jobs to an extremely time-consuming and demanding job, where I worked 80 plus hours per week for several years. I believe it is very important to be aware of the potential for weight gain during these stressful periods in life (moves, relationship changes, work stress, work travel) and try to plan for this. Second, with each regain period, I stopped monitoring my weight and exercise. I would know I was gaining weight, because my clothes were getting tighter, but I didn’t want to get on the scale. I would cringe when I finally got on, because I would have gained multiple pounds, but I would be almost paralyzed . . . I know that being vigilant about monitoring my weight so that I can take action within a 5 lb range is a key part of maintaining. One other thing to point out — even during the years of what I’d call successful “maintenance,” I wouldn’t say that I had really quit dieting. It would be more like I’d gotten to the top part of the so-called “healthy weight range” (for me, around 148), and I’d look really good, but I was often striving to get to the bottom portion of that range. So, I’d do some yo-yo kind of dieting in this 15 pound range. It wasn’t like I got to 148 lbs and then maintained steadily between 145 and 150. So, in some sense, I was often dieting.

    I don’t have any magic solution to this problem. On this go-round, I am going to try to treat weight maintenance like the weight loss part of my journey, and really monitor and keep track (at least for a while) of my weight, food intake, and exercise. I always do that during my weight loss periods, but have never treated maintenance in this way. I don’t know how it will work, because I haven’t started yet. But I am really determined at least to be in touch with what is going on with me this time around.

    Thanks again.

    • 21 run4change
      March 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm

      Becky, I enjoyed your comment immensely. Very profound. Thank you for that. Here is what I will make sure I do based on what you have said:

      1. Never stop going to my WW meetings for weigh in accountability.
      2. Document, log and monitor my activity levels to make sure I am an active person
      3. Never be afraid that I have gained. If I do, I reassess. I should not let fear of weight gain stop me from weighing in or exercising.

  12. March 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm


    I have so far to go in the weight loss battle that thinking about maintenance overwhelms me. I’m right there with you, but also like Jason we will believe for you today even if you can’t. Take care and hang in there. Melissa

  13. March 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Rob, do you have a blog?

  14. 25 Suzanne
    March 27, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I’m a new visitor to your blog. I am doing WW and training for a half marathon (my 5th). I’m enjoying your blog, especially the combo of running and WW. I’ve struggled with binge eating my entire life. Something my leader said a few meetings ago that has stuck with me…

    “If hunger isn’t the problem, food is not the answer.”

    This is a simple statement that I’ve said out loud to myself several times to prevent eating for the wrong reasons. My binges start with little cheats and slowly grow into an out of control binge. Your donut/pepperoni episode could have been a story from my life.

    Hang tough! Keep doing the daily (hourly) hard work!

    • 26 run4change
      March 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you so much Suzanne. I appreciate you relating to me. Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope that you come back and keep submitting awesome encouragement like today.

  15. March 28, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Maintenance is tough. I did well for a year; but, slowly the weight has creeped back up. Not too bad … but, not good either. It is very discouraging.

  16. 29 lili47
    March 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Great post on maintenance Jason. I also really enjoyed Becky’s post and wish I could see her blog if she has one. Do you know? She and I are the same age and have the same amount to lose. When they say it’s a “lifestyle change” not a diet, I think this fully applies to maintaining a healthy weight. I like what Becky says about not doing anything different during maintenance, still logging her food intake, still getting on the scale, still being alert for the major stressors in life.

    You’re right, fewer people support you after weight loss and in fact, encourage you to loosen up. Perhaps maintenance requires you to deal with the “fat mind” as you call it. Doing what you’re doing, but maybe also add journalling (on blog or not). You could have two pages in a book and on the left page it’s “fat mind” talking. Then your right page could be you talking, either to comfort, or to discipline, or to talk back to lies, etc. Therapists suggest this for “inner child” work but I think it would be great for the “fat mind”. LOL Love that term. In Overeaters Anonymous they call over-eating a dis-ease which is the same as “fat mind” syndrome. It’s thinking wrong. So maintenance really requires attention to thinking patterns.

    I always enjoy your posts as they go deeper into weight loss/maintenance than most! You’re doing great!!

    • 30 run4change
      March 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you so much lili. I appreciate you encouragement and you made an awesome contribution to the post as well. Have a great day

  17. 31 Sheila
    March 29, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Oh the wisdom! The Wisdom! Great post! I too experienced the “people component” when I was on maintenance. (Seems interesting that they sure have hushed up now that I gained 40 lbs back)…Hmmmm????? Thanks again J for the EXCELLENT topic.

  18. 33 DJ
    March 29, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. You hit the “nail on the head”! This is the discussion that should be a part of a weight loss program before maintenance. I lost about 40 pounds over a year ago in WW. Like you, people cheered me on at that time. Dieting was hard, but it was easy in that there was a goal. Then when I hit the goal, I literally did not know what to do. I felt too skinny to go to my meetings (big mistake). I felt very uncomfortable with all of the attention that I got about being so skinny and I wasn’t. I just looked different to the people that I knew. I think they thought I was being a snob by not wanting to join in with the potlucks, big lunches, etc. I slipped right back into old habits and have gained back about 12 of the pounds. People tell me, not to worry, but I know from experience that the number on that scale will go up if I eat what may be normal to others, but to me leads to a binge. Oh, it’s all so complicated! I went back to WW yesterday. My same leader was there and some of the others that began WW with me a few years ago. Some have gained and some have stayed the same. I now have a goal insite again, I have my points counter. I know what to do, but it actually scares me to think about reaching my goal weight. I know that is a problem and I don’t want it to harm my weight loss efforts now. I know that I have to plan for maintenance and set new goals in other ways after it happens.

    It really helped me to read your post today. I read your blog weekly and I want you to know that you really make a difference to your readers that struggle with the same thing, especially when you add in the running.

    We just have to take it one day at a time, right?! Best of luck to you!
    Thanks again,

    • 34 run4change
      March 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm

      DJ, you comment is so nice to me. I don’t really know how to explain it but you made my day with this post. It is a crazy journey that we are on. You gained 12, now you are going to take it off. You are going to do great. I am so glad that you come to the blog every week. It blesses me to know that. Keep on coming back. You visits and comments mean a lot to me, especially today. Thanks DJ.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Add to Technorati Favorites

Blog Stats


%d bloggers like this: