Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Remember the old saw about quitting smoking? “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” Same thing applies to losing weight. It’s possible – even easy, at some points – to lose weight. Many programs and plans work, and so does surgery in most cases. But keeping it off? Everyone knows someone who has regained the weight – and more – afterwards, even after surgery.

I was talking with a medical professional yesterday afternoon, and we got to talking about weight. He said that one of his patients had surgery, and had lost a huge amount of weight, and was now quite thin. He was impressed with this man, and seemed to ‘know’ that the patient’s life had changed and everything would be fine.

My response, after the congratulations of course: “Now comes the hard part.” The doctor’s head snapped up, and he said – I swear! – “what?”

Maintenance – keeping it off. And then we had a long discussion about what has to happen to maintain weight, the psychology, habits, choices, etc. I explained that this man’s habits had to change for life, and that he needed support now more than he did right after the surgery.

The doctor didn’t quite get it at first. After all, as he pointed out, he himself was quite slim and he ate every two hours. He did admit, however, that he knew of someone who could gain 5 pounds overnight.

Here’s the deal – and I’m basing this on the hundreds of people I’ve talked with over the years – it’s an individual process. Just like there are many paths to losing weight, there are also many paths to maintaining. The key is to find what works for you as an individual, and to stay with it.

We have to control what we eat, and manage our exercise. Emotions still have to be dealt with, and motivation will falter. We’ll give and receive support for the struggle, and we’ll latch onto tips and ideas that seem like reasonable strategies for us.

Maintenance doesn’t look all that different from losing, does it?

6 thoughts on “

  1. Martha says:

    Jane:

    I quit smoking almost 15 years ago now. Most days I don’t even think about smoking. In fact it is rare that I think about it. Do you think that after 15 years of maintenance I will not even think about eating correctly? Wouldn’t that be awesome! Thanks for the post – I look forward to more discussion on psychology of eating and maintenance.

    Martha

  2. Beverly says:

    You got that right! My maintenance is almost identical to my weight loss routine. Sure, I eat a little more now, and I’m not quite as strict anymore, but I also exercise more than I used to and I’m constantly tweaking my plan. It’s a lifestyle that didn’t just stop once I got to goal, and it’s definitely a different experience for everyone. It has to be, or it wouldn’t work, since we all know that one size definitely does not fit all.

    Beverly

    p.s. Good for you for teacher that doc a thing or two!!

  3. jd says:

    I’ve kept 35 pounds off for more than 2 years now and my “maintenance” mindset is exactly the same as my weight loss mindset. Conscious awareness of what goes into my mouth, every minute, every day.

    Namaste,

    jd

  4. Denise says:

    I agree that maint is VERY much like losing.

    I think that we need different words to describe starting maint. “Now the hard part starts” is pretty depressing to hear. I don’t even think that it is accurate.

    Losing was hard at times, but not all the time. Maint is hard some times, but not all the time. I’m not struggling to maintain. It is isn’t “hard”. Yes, it takes a lot of thought. It takes a lot of planning. I’m still learning about emotional eating. Just like when I was losing…

    I’m very happy with both the quality and quantity of food I eat. I’m seldom hungry. I get enough treats. Just like when I was losing…

    I’d say, “Now, the learning continues.” Or, “Now we have the opportunity continue to really reinforce and practice all the good habits we learned while losing.” “Now we continue to affirm that losing weight was a GOOD thing.” “Now we can get GREAT satisfaction and take pride in maintaining our weight!” “Now, we get to live life as a healthier and thinner person… and to continue to find rewards in that… rather than in finding rewards in scale numbers.” But I wouldn’t say, “Now the hard part begins…”

  5. Allyson says:

    The hard part –

    It is hard not to let myself fall back to old patterns. It is hard to remember that I do not have this issue “licked” once and for all. It is hard to cope with the type of attention I receive now.

    In some ways I think that my life was generally simpler when I was fat than it is now.

  6. Connie Lane says:

    Hi Denise:

    You made a good point. And I agree with jd – now the “awareness” continues. As a yo-yo dieter, I’m learning that only by focusing on day-to-day healthy choices will I make lasting changes. And self-reinforcement is an important tool – encouraging myself each day instead of feeling deprived. I’m a weight loss specialist of sorts – if I added up how many pounds I’ve lost (and regained) during my life to date, I may hold some kind of record. Thanks to all of you for sharing.

    Connie

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