Maintenance 101: Challenges

Maintenance 101: Challenges

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,

you gotta put up with the rain.”

–Dolly Parton 

Life is about challenges. The challenges we face and overcome are what make the rest of life so rewarding. Think about it: you’ve lost the weight through hard work. You feel really good about yourself, right? Yeah! You feel awesome! You did it!! Now, every challenge you face in keeping the weight off is going to boost you up even more when you’re successful. You can accomplish ANYTHING.

Temptations will always be there. You’ll be faced with the choice to eat Girl Scout Cookies at work, chocolate cake at birthday parties, your kids’ snacks…Now that you’re in maintenance mode you can indulge in things a little more–you just can’t go nuts.

 

Injury/Illness

Injury is one of the biggest challenges of weight loss maintenance because it can totally derail fitness. One day you’re strong and going to the gym a lot, the next day you’re ordered by your doctor to take 6 weeks off! It can be stressful and scary to not have that outlet while your injury heals.

I’ve been injured many times in the last 6 years of my “athletic career.” I’ve had bursitis in my ankle, IT Band knee issues, Achilles tendinitis, pulled muscles, back strains and a strained sacrum. I tend to go hog-wild when it comes to new hobbies and totally throw my everything into it. This means I might bite off more than I can chew and not really listen to what my body’s abilities are yet. I struggle with finding that “in between.”

The trick with weight loss maintenance while injured is two fold: tighten up your caloric intake while you’re taking time off and/or find a physical activity that you CAN do.

For example, when I had to quit running for 6 weeks because of my knee I panicked. Would I gain back a ton of weight? What was I going to do? I couldn’t run, do the stairmaster, no elliptical, no jump rope, no squats. Basically–don’t do anything to aggravate my lower body. So for six weeks I lifted weights (upper body only) and went swimming. I felt great, I dropped a bunch of weight from the strength training, toned up my body and kept active. It worked!

 

Relationships Evolving

Some friendships aren’t meant to last a lifetime. It’s a sad fact, but true. Despite that, it’s still painful when a relationship runs it’s course.

A long time ago, I wrote a post called Lose 100 Pounds, Lose Friends? about my experiences with losing friends along the way. The topic of weight loss and dating/friendship has been covered a lot on my blog because I think it’s something pretty common. When it comes to maintenance, those challenges are still there. Your friends might think that once you’ve reached Goal Weight, you don’t need to eat healthy or exercise anymore. They might be expecting you to go back to your old (often shared) habits of greasy food, eating out, skipping the gym to go to a movie, etc. etc. Some people just don’t understand the choices we make to lose weight and keep it off. They might be Food Pushers.

It’s important for us as maintainers to establish boundaries and let people in our life know that we appreciate their continued support! As maintainers we have to stay strong and continue what we’re doing!

 

Pregnancy

Since I’ve never been pregnant this section with be short. 🙂 My hope for “someday” when I do have kids is that I am able to continue what I already do. I will follow what my doctor says for how many calories I should be eating a day and I’ll count my calories. I will also follow my doctor’s orders per exercise but I’m pretty sure at the bare minimum I can at least swim!

Here are two Guest Posts regarding pregnancy and weight gain/loss:

Pregnancy and Weight

What IS Your Happy Weight?

Pregnancy will always be a challenge for people trying to lose/maintain weight. At some point I think we have to make peace with the fact that weight gain is inevitable. But maybe we can take small measures to make sure it’s manageable.

 

Lazy Counting

It’s inevitable. At some point in our journey as weight loss maintainers we will get lazy. We’ll think we don’t have to count our calories. We can skip a few workouts here and there. We can eat the junk food we eliminated from our diets to lose the weight!

I went through this shortly after I reached my Goal Weight. I got lazy. I stopped counting my calories entirely because I thought I had it under control. I didn’t. My instinct is to overeat, so I need that structure of calorie counting to stay in check.

Lazy Counting can happen once in awhile, but when it starts to happen all the time it’s a sign we need to get back on track and do what worked.

Here are a few posts regarding this topic:

C is for Calories

M is for Measuring Mistakes

All Calories Are Not Equal

Why Wednesday – Why I’m Not Losing

Maintenance is a life-long task. The methods we used to lose the weight need to continue with us, even if we aren’t trying to lose anymore. It’s all part of the math game.

QUESTION: What challenges have been the hardest for you? 

10 Responses

  1. For me, getting consistent physical activity seems to be the biggest challenge. I think I may have been a sloth in a previous life. I haven’t lost friendships through dieting. I had to end a 20 year friendship when I quit drinking on a daily basis. Some days I miss my beer buddy. We had some good times. Now I drink beer every other week, except when I don’t. But my friends now don’t drink at all, because it interferes with their meds. The others can’t have any liquids after lunch or they’re up all night making trips to the bathroom because of an enlarged prostate pushing against their bladder. Oh the joys of being male and growing older.

    1. That’s what a hear from a lot of people–struggling to make fitness a routine/habit they can stick with. I look at my fitness as a stress reliever so that helps me a lot.

      Sorry to hear about your friendship, but I think that’s pretty common. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself and working towards moderation. Maybe your buddy can follow in your footsteps…

  2. I’ve been continually tracking my food intake and eating within the calorie range recommended by my doctor. It seems to help! I also am following the Brewer Pregnancy diet guide to make sure I’m getting the nutrients my baby needs. It’s weird to be eating in the 2000+ calorie range, but I can tell my body needs it! It’s hard working growing a baby.
    Becky recently posted..On My Mind

    1. That’s great to hear, Becky! I haven’t heard of that book but someday I will check it out. 🙂 I imagine it’s very weird to be trying to eat MORE. That is definitely a challenge.

  3. I think it’s hard to maintain during the winter months. In the summer, it’s so easy. The days are longer, the vegetables and healthy food are readily available, and there just seems to be more time to go out for a run or whatever. This fall, I completed my first marathon, and I am scared that I will lose all of that training and fitness during the winter months…
    Nancy recently posted..running / turkey trots!

    1. Good point! I didn’t even think of seasonal changes and that makes a big difference. I am much more motivated to do activities like hiking and biking when the weather is nice. In the winter I want to lay on the couch and watch movies!

  4. I love your blog and comments on maintenance. I’m only maintaining 20 pounds off but still requires a lot of effort! How do you get over (if you ever feel this way) that feeling of “constant effort”. Sometimes I just want to let go and eat whatever I want and stuff myself and not exercise! I know technically my new lifestyle should feel good but I still have those days where I just want to let go and not be aware and “on” all the time…I suppose that is a fantasy world 🙂

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