Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

As I listened to a fellow member of my weight support group today talking about her challenge in maintaining a healthy goal weight, it got me thinking. She said Ďwhen I reached my goal I felt as though I had turned a corner. Now that Iím around the corner though, I donít feel motivated any more.í Boy, could I relate to that.

Having just gotten back to my own desired weight after a long stray, Iím facing that question about Ďwhat next?í Over the past three months seeing the overall downward trend in my weight was a real motivator and helped me with the choices I was making. In that sense, weight loss was itís own reward.

But this journey cannot simply be about the loss part. It has to be about the changes and the long-term process of staying healthy. There is no Ďfinish line.í To misquote Winston Churchill, perhaps I am merely finishing the beginning.

Part of what will make me continue to feel successful is learning how to acknowledge progress that has nothing to do with a number on a machine. So Iíve got to come up with strategies that help me keep going with positive, healthy choices

Lately, Iíve been buying some new, smaller clothes (GAP had some great stuff that was on major markdown). I also bought some new running shoes, as a way of reminding myself that Iím actually so active now that I need to be mindful of wearing them out.

Another valuable tool is to attend my weekly support meetings, because even though people are at all different stages of the journey, its reassuring and motivational to know that Iím not in this by myself. Listening to the challenges, setbacks, triumphs and experiences of others helps me stay focused.

Iíve set a long-term goal (how I want to look and feel at the beach this summer Ė not just when Iím in a bathing suit). Iíve written that goal down, thought about the steps I need to make it happen, and I keep that paper around where it will catch my attention from time to time.

Oh, and of course thereís always the Skinny Daily. If youíve got some great maintenance strategies, Iíd love to know!

jonathan.SDP@gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Finishing the Beginning

  1. h says:

    Motivation during maintenance is a tough one. I like setting non-weight goals for myself so I stay active and eat reasonably well.

    I signed up for a sprint-length triathlon, taking place in May. It’s short for a triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike ride, 4 mile run), but that’s still about 2.5 hours of intense physical activity, not something I can do right now.

    I am not worried much about my performance relative to the others in the race, but I do want to finish and feel strong when I do. The training for the triathlon is relatively rigorous: 6 workouts a week, two for each sport. I do as many as I can, but life gets in the way sometimes. But I know that if I just stick with it, do as many of those workouts as I can and eat as healthy as I can without severely distorting my everyday life, I will finish that triathlon.

    Thinking about that triathlon and how much easier it will be to finish if I do the right things now makes it easier to put down the cookie, drink the water, go for a swim. It’s a medium term, extremely concrete goal, and it’s working well for me.

  2. Jen says:

    For me it’s also about setting physical goals that aren’t related to the numbers on the scale. My saving grace was discovering rowing. It’s a hugely demanding sport, that constantly gives me a great workout, and requires that I keep myself in peak physical condition so I can continue to participate.

    The biggest key on that one though, is my crew. Knowing that I’d not only disappoint myself if I were to fall off the wagon and drop rowing, but knowing that I’d let down the rest of my boat is a huge motivator.

    So, to boil it down, my tip is to find a team activity that requires keeping up the maintenance. While it’s always best to do things for yourself, knowing others rely on you as well is a good backup.

  3. Tracy says:

    I have had trouble too. After losing about forty pounds, I’ve put on about nine as a result of the holidays and thinking that the small things don’t matter and don’t add up.

    Overall, though I think that if you remind yourself daily how much happier you are ovarall when you stay at your goal weight, how much happier you are at the end of the day when you make good food choices and how much healthier you are life-long with regular exercise, those affirmations can help provide some motivation.

    As for me, I’m giving Weight Watchers online a try. Seven more pounds to go.

  4. Deirdre says:

    “I lost x number of pounds” has glamour and a sense of accomplishment that “I haven’t gained weight” lacks, which is backwards since maintanance is actually harder than weight loss (as hard as that is). Maybe you should set up a reward schedule for yourself at time intervals that same way some people them up for weight intervals. For every x number of weeks of maintanance, you give yourself a reward.

  5. Marilyn says:

    Does “maintenance” really exist? I ask myself that question because it seems that I am always following my Program to lose weight even though I get to “goal.” I think we (I say we because I hope others do the same thing and I am not just weird) think that maintenance is different than “getting there.” Does the body know the difference or is the brain the control mechanism? Do we ignore the tastes here and there that could add back pounds just because we are on maintenance? Does maintenance give us too much freedom? Lots of questions. In any case, I have gotten to goal so many times so that at this point I don’t consider myself to be maintaining. Instead I just follow the program every day as best I can.

  6. Victoria Sheehy says:

    I suggest you read a book called “Eating Less” by Gillian Riley, published (in the UK) by Vermilion ISBN 009190247-9. The book is well worth reading as it has a totally down-to-earth approach to healthy eating yet also suggests untraditional strategies for resisting overeating. The reason that this book came to mind when reading your blog today was because the author suggests that if you make your motivation for weight loss an internal one rather than an external one then you keep motivated long after you’ve reached your healthy weight because your ultimate goal is not just to be a certain weight; your goal is to be healthy, or fit or whatever works for you….., and being a healthy weight is a means to obtain the other goal. So once at your healthy weight you still have a motivation to maintain it.

    By ‘internal’ she means that it is vitally important to raise your self esteem and to find reasons inside you that you can value. Examples of this could be “I want to be slim to be healthy, to feel less depressed, to feel in control of my life”, rather than external which is to more superficial such as to please others, to be praised by others for how we look. An external goal is more fragile and less sustainable. If you make that your goal then you can often end up feeling really down if you don’t get compliments.

    I hope I’ve explained clearly enough. I’d like to add that I’m not related to the author, and have no reason to push her book, other than that it really struck me as being innovative and sensible in its approach (and not part of the huge “get slim in one week” sort of diet books currently filling shelves.)

  7. jonsie says:

    I think this is the hardest part of the whole weightloss journey…Losing was the easy part…I am trying hard to stay active with things I am passionate about…But this morning when i weighed 3 more pounds than i should…it was hard…

  8. Deirdre says:

    “Does maintanance really exist?”

    One can’t keep losing weight forever. Sooner or later one has to up one’s calories enough to maintain one’s weight. One needs to keep up the habits of exercise and good nutritional choices one has learned, of course, or one would just gain the weight right back again, but the thought of being hungry forever is too depressing for words.

  9. london slimmer says:

    Like many people, I find that evenings are my danger time when it comes to overeating and putting the weight back on. I find the most useful thing is to have something else to provide a pleasurable focus to the evening, rather than eating. I like going dancing, but also calling a friend, reading a chapter of a good novel, or planning a session of gentle yoga last thing (I’m not sure that the yoga burns calories, but you can’t do it on a full stomach, so it stops me from overeating). I do always have a small snack immediately before bed, though, so I don’t feel that dinner is my last meal (and therefore I should eat up to avoid being hungry later!). Obviously, this isn’t always practical, if you have a lot of work to do, and maintenance is always much harder when under stress – I don’t really have an answer to that one, except that hot baths help … and massage. I recommend also stretching out over a Swiss ball. All these things feel better on a light stomach.

    The other thing that helps me, ironic as it may seem, is knowing that I can sometimes let rip and eat whatever I want. If it’s a special occasion meal, such as for mine or my husband’s birthday, or our anniversary, or a friend’s dinner party, then I eat whatever I want for that meal and don’t count calories or worry about fat or carbs. As long as I get back on the wagon afterwards, I find this doesn’t affect my weight at all. I make sure, however, that I don’t allow for more than one ‘special occasion’ a month.

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