friendships

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? 

Lose 100 Pounds, Lose Friends?

What is life all about? In my opinion, it’s about relationships. Jobs come and go, there’s layoffs, school ends, material things don’t really matter. But relationships do matter. A lot. That’s what life is all about.

So how come I lost some friends when I lost 100 pounds?

Friends also come and go. Some friends are lifetime friends. Some friends are in your life for a short time. Some friends make a huge impact on your life; some friends change the way your life path is going. Some friends are in your life simply because of common interests or convenience.

But even with those aspects, it still hurts that I lost those friends.

I’ve debated for months whether or not to even address this issue on my blog. I think it’s an important issue because it happens to people who lose weight. A lot.

There are a LOT of positive things that happen when you start to lose weight. Unfortunately, possibly losing friends is also one of the downsides.

I’m going to be as vague as I can so I don’t offend or hurt an ex-friend who might read this; we may not be friends anymore but I still don’t wish them any harm. This post is not a way for me to vent anger or hurt–instead it’s a way to share experiences I had while losing weight: the positive AND the negative experiences.

When I first began my journey to lose weight, I didn’t really think anything would change in my life. I was still the same person–no matter what I weighed. But in reality, I’m NOT the same person I was when I was 250+ pounds. I’m a completely different person now and that old person is dead.

Me in Chicago--2 months before I started my Journey

I didn’t really notice a change in these certain friends — let’s call them the Ex Friends — in the beginning. Some of The Ex Friends were supportive in the beginning. They wanted to lose weight as well; but because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, there’s no fair comparison.

I was focused. I was determined. I was GOING to lose the weight. A fire had been lit inside of me and I wasn’t going to stop until I weighed 150 pounds.

Some of the Ex Friends were with me in the beginning and they tried to lose weight too. Some of them did not. Some of them lost and gained it back. I understand how frustrating that feels and I’m sure that’s part of the reason they did not want to be my friend anymore. It still hurts, though. I feel like I was nothing but supportive.

There was never any big fight or big confrontation. They just stopped being my friend one day.

Before we were no longer friends, the Ex Friends sometimes made rude comments, or back-handed compliments, or used false sincerity. On the flip side, some friends said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. As if I hadn’t lost 100 pounds, as if I was the exact same person as I had been. I noticed this. But didn’t say anything. We were friends, right?

When I was 250, I was the token “fat friend” in some of my circle of friends. I took some abuse from these people even if it hurt. I took abuse a lot of places I went–even from complete strangers. I had low self-esteem and I didn’t think I deserved to speak out and defend myself.

That changed quickly.

I firmly believe that losing weight has a domino effect. You lose weight, you get more energy, you feel healthier, your brain changes and your thinking changes. You find yourself. You find your VOICE. You realize there is more to life than overeating and being unhealthy. Your perspective changes. New things will start happening to you!

I never pushed my views on anyone. I would NEVER tell a friend “you should lose weight” or “let me tell you how to lose weight.” Never never never. Everyone’s journey is their own and it has to start with THEM.

I was angry and hurt and I tried to figure out what I had done?? In the end, I had to realize I’d done NOTHING wrong. I just got healthy. Not everyone in my life would join me on my journey.

I still struggle with that concept.

For the most part I have moved on. The Ex Friends aren’t in my life anymore. I celebrate the victories with my real friends and I’ve made new friends! And honestly, joining the blogging world has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I love meeting new people who experienced things I experienced.

Reading blogs and chatting through email with other wonderful people that have struggled and lost a lot of weight is a breath of fresh air. I no longer feel alone in my journey. Lots of people have struggled like I have. And I sincerely hope my blog reaches out to OTHER people who want to start their own journey to lose weight and get healthy.

I’ve mostly moved on from the hurts. Then once in awhile, the hurt will rear it’s ugly head and I’ll feel sad and wonder “Why aren’t we friends anymore?”

That hurt reappeared recently when a mutual friend of mine and an Ex Friend mentioned to me that the Ex Friend downplayed Hood to Coast. They didn’t think what I was doing was anything special. They weren’t impressed at all. That really hurt. A lot. I wish they could have been supportive, even if it wasn’t something they ever wanted to do.

I suppose I could confront the Ex-Friends and ask “Why?” but part of me doesn’t want to. This is me–honest and open. I’m athletic and happy in my own skin. I want to surround myself with people who are as well.

I don’t know if this post will make any difference. If it helps one person out there who experienced this, than I’m happy.

QUESTION: Where do you stand on this issue?