The end of July is my official one year anniversary of hitting my weight goal and moving into a maintenance level. Yes. Wow. Hard to even imagine being able to say those words, let alone live them. ONE FULL YEAR of living it after doing it and STAYING there!
I’ve had my fair share of warnings from so many people along my journey.
I’ve been told:
- - Being at goal is harder than getting to goal.
- – You’ll gain your weight back. We all do at some point. It’s what we do. We’re food addicts and we can’t help it. It’s just the way life is cruel that way.
- – Now that you’ve lost all the weight, isn’t it fun to actually eat what normal people do again?
- - I couldn’t handle hitting goal. It was too stressful. So I gained it back that way I didn’t lose my mind.
- – All I know is how to LOSE weight, I almost hyperventilate thinking about actually getting there. I wouldn’t know how to start!
- -Statistics show that most people gain their weight back.
Now…unless you’re a Dr. Who fan, that last quote may have you scratching your head. It’s a science fiction television series about time travel. But, I have to admit, when I saw the episode where that quote was said about TIME, a light went off in my head. It was an “ah ha” moment.
We assume that our journey is this strict progression from Point A to Point B and then ta-da, there you are, it’s done, show’s over. Get off the train and pick up your luggage somewhere way over there. And we’re left with that feeling of “is that all there is”, “what do I do now”, “how DO I do this?”, “I’ve WON, I’m here, I can eat again”, “I don’t have to preplan anymore, I’m thin now”, “I got where I wanted to be, now I can live my life again.”
But like my friend the Doctor points out… it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly. And we need to learn to wobble in order to maintain and keep our minds.
Still not getting it?
Let’s look at it another way, while I was at the beach, I was thinking about buoys. BUOYS, not boys. They wobble in the water while the ocean tosses them about. Sometimes the water is calm and it’s easy to tread water, go along as we go along. Not much wobbling going on. But sometimes, the seas of life can get rough, REALLY rough. People, situations, events, stress, illness, life in general comes to slap us in the face and it knocks us down and pushes our heads under water. We get overwhelmed. We feel like we’re suffocating in drama and for some of us, that’s when we start eating. A buoy pops right back out of the water when you shove it down, it refuses to stay under. This journey is a lot like an ocean and I am now a buoy. I float, I bob, I wobble.
The program I follow through Kim Bensen and kimbensen.com is called Options and we talk almost endlessly about preplanning our each and every day of food. I call that my personal “to do” list for food each day. Since I’m a list maker, it gets me through. EVEN on a maintenance level, I preplan each and every day. It may be the night before or the morning of that day…but it’s planned at some point. Then when these things break lose, I’m not freaking out. I’m not making some crap food out of panic because there’s too much breaking loose to think about something healthy to make. Yes, there are some situations that prevent me from making my preplanned food, and I can talk about that at some point..but that’s not the point of today’s topic. You see, I never broke away from the preplanning. I don’t sit there and say, “Hey, I’ve made it to ‘Point B’. I’m done. I don’t have to do this anymore.” My mind set was, “Ok, I made it to my weight goal, why screw up a good thing?” So I kept on.
When I was about ten pounds away from hitting my goal in June of 2012, I admit, I was a little bewildered about it. How do I “do” maintenance? How is maintenance different from actively losing? So how do you ‘maintain’ your weight without losing your mind? How do you just “stop” losing weight? I had a bunch of questions. That’s where my program came in handy. Through Kim Bensen Enterprises, they also have a maintenance group. It’s an online meeting with video and chat. It’s interactive. Members can come in Wednesday night, listen, participate, ask questions. So that’s what I did. Pat and Wendy are two sisters that work with Kim and run the maintenance chat. I got strategies on how to maintain. On how to add back a little more calories into my day and how to do it and what to expect.
A couple of things hit me here. One – I was only afraid because I didn’t KNOW. I was afraid of the unknown. And two, I learned about creating a “range” or what I call in my fancy-schmancy terms… the wobble. I learned to give myself a wobble range. This is an intimate decision from person to person. I use 5 pounds as my “wobble range”. When I’m within 5 pounds (higher), I am still considering myself to be a goal. And I can be anywhere in that range on any week. But when I go beyond that…. I need to go into weight loss mode and pull back on a couple hundred calories a day, or take out some of those nibbles, to get back into that wobble range.
Because I’m a buoy.
I need to remember to look beyond the waves and choppy surf of the situation at hand. I look to the shore. At the shore is a lighthouse, sending its light out to me. THAT’S my support group at Kim Bensen Enterprises. For me, at maintenance level, Pat and Wendy (as well as Kim, herself) are my lighthouses. I can see them from the ocean and know that I can call out for help, advice, etc. They are my light in the dark when the seas get rough. I can do the Wednesday night meeting or in an emergency, I can contact them for immediate assistance either through email or calling the Center.
The secrets to maintenance?
- Know and keep to your “wobble range” and allow yourself those few pounds to play with responsibly, without panicking.
- FOLLOW your program, you’re never DONE eating healthy or DONE following your regime. It’s what GOT you there, why would you stop?
- Keep with a support system, your meetings, a buddy, someone in the “like” frame of mind. Peer pressure can make or break your eating patterns. The internet is full of chat rooms, forums, etc as well as the program I belong to at Kim Bensen Enterprises – we do a ton of online stuff (did I mention I run a Sunday Night chat to help you get ready for the week? <hint hint> But it’s only available to members!) Honestly, my intention here is not to be a commercial, but I’m throwing it out there!
- Keep up with activity! Keep those good habits going!
For those of us that follow a program with meetings, you’re no stranger to the attention, little awards, little woo-hoo’s, all those things you get for every week you lose weight.
You’ll lose that when you hit maintenance. Let’s face that demon RIGHT NOW. You will step back from the “lime light” while others get the big kudo’s, praise and pats on the head. There will always be a “new kid in town”, a newest success story with any good weight loss program, a new blog to read, a person who has lost more weight than you, who has more to lose. What you have to keep in mind is…our journey is really a personal dynamic experience that is OURS. Nothing can replace that. I’m not going to purposely regain my weight… just to keep the attention of my weight loss group. Just to make sure nobody will forget me. Hey, I lost 150 pounds for ME and I’m liking this new body. I’m not going to spray paint my Mona Lisa just to keep cleaning it off again! (remember that analogy?) It’s MORE WORK to get there than it is to STAY there. And I’m going to show you that I CAN and WILL keep it off. My weight loss group isn’t buying my clothes. My weight loss leader isn’t paying for my doctor appointments or medical conditions. My weight loss group won’t be there to help me out of my bed and put on my socks in the morning like I previously had my daughter do! I HAVE TO DO THIS!!
It IS about that beautiful feeling you get when you shop for clothing and don’t fear it.
It IS about the wonder when you look at your OWN reflection in a mirror and don’t recognize yourself.
It IS about all the laughing you do when friends don’t recognize you.
It IS about all that medication you don’t have to take for physical conditions that don’t exist anymore because you’re not fat anymore (think diabetes, high blood pressure, bladder issues, foot and joint problems, etc).
It IS about not needing an aisle seat at a concert or on a plane because you’re afraid to squeeze past people.
It IS about not being afraid to eat in public – about not being judged by the masses about what you’re eating or having them look at you silently with “should you be eating that” written on their face (or we think it is).
It IS about walking past a group of people and hearing a snicker or a whisper and not assuming it’s about your weight.
It IS about walking into a crowded room and being able to be “invisible” because you don’t feel like the largest person all the time.
It IS about living our lives rather than being the one who stood back, took pictures and passively watched everyone else live and have fun.
THAT is what maintenance is really about. All those statements I was told in the beginning about maintenance don’t ring true for me.
It’s NOT harder.
I DO know what to do.
I’m NOT predisposed to be fat forever.
I do eat normal food, eating it in mass quantities does NOT make me normal.
I CAN handle being at goal.
I’m NOT just some statistic. I am ME.
I am NOT destined to gain my weight back.
I’ve learned to wobble. Coming from a person with balance problems…I just find that statement amusing.
Life is not cruel… so much of it is what we make it! We never get to Point B… until life is over.
Please note these are my words and although I highly recommend Kim Bensen and kimbensen.com… they don’t tell me what to write and does not influence how I word the blog.