maintenance mode

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  *

How to Lose a Lot of Weight—and Keep It Off

Check out this article: This Study Shows How to Lose a Lot of Weight—and Keep It Off. It was a really interesting read. The study was based on results from the National Weight Control Registry, which is part of Brown Medical School. I’m a member of the registry. The registry is for people who have lost more than 30 pounds and have kept the weight off for at least a year. Having lost 110 pounds and kept it off for over 4 years, I definitely qualified!

To be part of the registry and study, I had to fill out a pretty involved application packet detailing my weight gain, loss, maintenance and exercise. According to the above article, the registry currently has 4,000 people in it. I found the article really interesting because it broke down how these people (me included) lost the weight and how they are keeping it off.

The four things they all had in common were these:

  • 90% of them say they exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day
  • 78% eat breakfast every day
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week
  • 62% watch fewer than 10 hours of TV per week

They are kind of “no-brainers” but sometimes the simplest stuff is the hardest to master. I agree with most of those things on the list.

  • I exercise 1-1.5 hours 5 days a week, depending on the season and type of fitness. I don’t exercise every day because my body needs the rest.
  • I eat breakfast every day. I try to stick to protein to keep me full longer, but even if I only have a little snack before heading to the gym (or if I’m running late), I always eat SOMETHING. I think it’s important to avoid the crappy snacks at work!
  • I do NOT weigh myself at least once a week. This is where I differ from the others. I weigh myself once a month as a check-in.
  • Fewer than 10 hours of TV per week? Um……this is iffy for me. 🙂 I probably watch 1 hour a day Monday-Friday and then on weekends I sometimes watch several hours of Netflix. But it never interferes with my workout schedule. I still get things done on weekends even if I’m vegging out!

What surprised me, was that the study didn’t include anything on logging food. This has been such a crucial part of my weight loss and maintenance, I cannot imagine being as successful had I not done that. No matter how someone tracks–calories, points, whatever, I think being aware of what we’re putting in our mouth is vital.

Are you just getting started?

I have written many posts on getting started! And the process. And tips. Here are a few posts to check out if you’re new to my site:

I Don’t Know Where to Start

I Had a Drinking Problem

Don’t Get Discouraged

Stop Dieting!

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Five Truths of Maintenance

Why I Don’t Have a Cheat Day

If you’re looking for some other blogs to read by people who lost a lot of weight and have kept it off, check out Finding Radiance, Fit to the Finish, or Beth’s Journey.

Are you regretting all the Halloween candy you ate last night? Did you wake up this morning thinking, “It’s time”? Do you want to finally reach your goal? If you need some more inspiration, check out my interview: How Lisa Eirene Lost 110 Pounds By Swimming!

QUESTION: Have you heard of the registry? Do you do any of those four common denominators?