keeping the weight off

Maintenance 101: Self-Love

Maintenance 101: Self- Love

“Self-love seems so often unrequited.” – Anthony Powell

I’m resuming the series of posts entitled “Maintenance 101.” In this series, I’ll be addressing some of the issues I’ve found in my four+ years of weight loss maintenance. My goal for this series is to be uplifting, supportive and honest. Maintenance isn’t always easy as many of you guys know from experience, but maintenance is a crucial part of the weight loss journey. Our work doesn’t stop when we step on the scale and see our “magic number.”

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This edition is honestly the hardest part for me. While the physical stuff of weight loss is a little be easier to deal with, the emotional and mental aspects are a little harder. It’s difficult change your mindset from “I’m trying to lose weight” to “I’m living a healthy lifestyle.” You don’t want to slip into old habits, so it’s normal to be hyper-vigilant and strict, at least in the beginning. As the years go by, you might get a little more comfortable and not stress about it as much, maybe weight loss is not in the forefront of your thoughts at all times (good job!). But what about the underlying emotion things?

Are you still talking down to yourself? Are you looking into the mirror and saying “I feel so fat“? This kind of negative talk is detrimental because after awhile we start to believe of what we’re telling ourselves. I know I do. I get in that cycle of negative thinking and then something snaps me out of that funk and it’s like a breathe of fresh air! Oh yeah! I don’t have to focus on the negatives and what I DON’T have! I can focus on the positive things and how far I’ve come!

You have to learn to love your body as is—no more “when I lose 5 more pounds I’ll love myself” and actually LOVE who you are right now!

Stop obsessing about the numbers. I wrote a post “It’s a Numbers Game”  where I talked about the pros and cons of focusing entirely on numbers: the number on the scale, the number of miles run, etc etc. It sometimes does more harm than good. This is especially true in maintenance mode because the tiny fluctuations can totally make you crazy. Oh my god I gained a pound! Two weeks later…Oh my god I lost 1.5 pounds! YAY! This rollercoaster ride is ridiculous and stressful!

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My tip: have a number that you definitely don’t want to go over, and then have a number that is that “danger zone.” For example: my number I don’t want to go over is 150 pounds because that was my initial goal weight when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. My “danger zone” weight is 146-148. It’s just creeping a little too closely to 150 for my liking. I try not to obsess on the number on the scale unless it’s reaching the danger zone. Then that’s cause for me to tighten the reigns and make sure I’m doing what I need to do to keep the weight off.

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Comparisons are not constructive. There will always be someone faster, stronger, skinnier, richer, smarter than you and me. Always. Getting stuck in the comparison game doesn’t get us anywhere. Avoid it!

Make a list. Write down everything that you love about your body. I struggle with this. It’s hard to give yourself praise! But MAKE THAT LIST and post it somewhere you can see it, perhaps the bathroom mirror.

Have a mantra you repeat every day. “I love myself, I love my strong legs, I have beautiful arms, I have a nice smile” etc. Fake it til you make it!

How Am I Doing?

It’s easy to give advice, it’s harder to take it. I compare myself to others. I compare my body, my athletic abilities…everything. I’m trying to curb that by reminding myself what I am thankful for in my life. I am trying hard not to obsess about the number on the scale, but I don’t always succeed in that department.

Where I am definitely excelling is thinking positive thoughts about my body and abilities. The “positive self-talk” has never been my strength. But when I have a particularly good workout or successful event, or I catch my reflection in the mirror and think “Wow, my legs look really great today!” and then I feel pretty good about myself! I need to harness that so I feel it every day!

QUESTION: How do you change your mind-frame to thinking positively about yourself and your body?

Five Truths of Maintenance  *  Maintenance 101: How to Eat  *  Maintenance 101: Challenges  *

Maintenance 101: How to Eat

Maintenance 101: How to Eat

I’m beginning a weekly or bi-weekly series of posts entitled “Maintenance 101.” In this series, I’ll be addressing some of the issues I’ve found in my four years of weight loss maintenance. My goal for this series is to be uplifting, supportive and honest. Maintenance isn’t always easy as many of you guys know from experience, but maintenance is a crucial part of the weight loss journey. Our work doesn’t stop when we step on the scale and see our “magic number.”

Deficit

When you’re trying to lose weight the goal is to create a calorie deficit each day. This is the “secret” to weight loss. You must burn more calories than you consume. If you aren’t sure how many calories you should be eating to lose weight, try using a Calorie Calculator (they are a dime a dozen on the internet). You can create a deficit by Counting Calories, Exercising, and Reducing Calories.

This is not the case for maintenance. You are no longer trying to create a deficit, you are just trying to stay within a certain calorie range each day (or points if you are on Weight Watchers). Like I said, the work doesn’t end when you reach goal–but you aren’t restricting as much.

“When you hit that goal weight, your daily PointsPlus™ Target will be increased, by 6PointsPlus values per day. That’s not the free-for-all that many people may be expecting! (There’s certainly more than 6 PointsPlus values in a pint of posh ice-cream…)” (source)

When I was losing my weight I counted my calories every day and my goal was to eat about 1500 calories a day. I was usually more like 1600-1800 calories depending on the day. Some days were more challenging and I was really pushing the envelope at 1900 calories. But I worked hard and counted every bite and nibble. I was also exercising but I didn’t EAT what I burned. This was creating a deficit and I lost 110 pounds.

 

Eat More

When you reach maintenance mode, there has to be a mental shift. Sometimes it’s difficult to make this shift because you’re so used to thinking “restriction.”

After I lost my 110 pounds, I was still counting my calories and I was still exercising 4-5 times a week. I had to make a mental shift from losing to maintaining. One of the ways I did this was getting used to the idea of eating more. I wasn’t changing my healthy habits, but when I worked out I ate back some of the calories I burned. Not all of them–but some.

Here is an example: Let’s say you burn 2500 calories per day from exercise, the normal daily activities (getting dressed, showering, walking, etc.), as well as what your body does to survive (breathing, pumping blood, digesting food, etc.). This means that 2500 calories is your daily calorie maintenance level. If you ate 2500 calories a day, your body would remain the same. Your weight would not go up or down and you would “maintain” where you are at day in and day out. This is pretty much where I am currently. My weight does not fluctuate much more than a pound or two in either direction because I’m eating more calories than I did when I lost the weight.

The Cause The Effect Required For
Calorie Deficit Stored calories (body fat, muscle tissue, or both) will be burned. Losing Fat
Maintenance Calorie Level Maintenance Maintaining Your Current Weight
Caloric Surplus Calories will be stored (muscle tissue, body fat or both). Building Muscle

According to some websites, my maintenance calorie level is about 2400 calories a day. On any given day I eat between 1900-2400 calories right now.

“Eat More” does not mean “EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT” in massive quantities. You’re just feeding your body a little bit more than it needed when you were losing the weight. At this point your body should have LESS reserves of fat to burn, which is why you need to eat a little bit more–right? Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

QUESTION: Do you have the maintenance part down? Or are you still struggling to figure out what it means in terms of exercise and food?