August 9, 2011

Maintenance, part two

While I love writing and am always pleased with the content I produce here, sometimes a blog post turns out to become a particular favorite of mine. It isn't usually anything that I have to do with the post itself; rather, it is the comments and feedback that make the updates personally affecting and especially important to me.

I wrote last week about my maintenance fears - it was honest and open, and writing it allowed a big weight to be lifted from my heart. I liked it when I set it to publish, but truly fell in love when I started to get responses to my asking what some of your maintenance fears are. I got responses from people at all different stages in the weight loss game: beginners afraid of not making it there, middle of the journey folks who worry that the weight loss won't be enough (mentally or physically), and people in maintenance who shared their apprehensions and concerns as they made the transition.

I am constantly reaffirmed that at no point am I alone on this journey. While certain events and details of my past and present are unique, there are an overwhelming number of thoughts, feelings, and experiences that we all share. I started afraid to fail and eventually became afraid to succeed - but I wasn't the only one whose mind changed like that. I, too, feared that I would never be close enough to even consider the details of my life in maintenance. I have also worried that I'll reach my goal and it won't feel like enough. I've wondered if I'll still be single no matter what my size because my body never actually had anything to do with it. It felt incredibly comforting to know that I'm not crazy for having these kinds of thoughts.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my fears and concerns, I try to sit back and reflect on the bigger picture. Something I have believed since I started last year was that as wonderful as the weight loss has been, it's mainly a side effect of me taking an interest in myself and finally deciding that I am worthy of being properly nourished and that a little healthy selfishness is a perfectly good thing. When I realized these things and believed them with all my heart, the weight loss came naturally; when I started to question them, the losses stalled.

I keep coming back to one of my favorite ideas, from Ellen, one of the maintenance bloggers whose stories of life before, during, and after weight loss never fail to make me both smile or cry (and sometimes, both) with self-recognition; she said that
being a desired size is simply a perk of an already fulfilling life.
My life is fantastic. Truly remarkable. Amazing and wonderful. And incredibly worth living. At 192 pounds, I believe these things to be true; I need to make sure that I still believe it at whatever weight I decide to maintain at. So my biggest goal with maintenance isn't food related at all, but rather, emotional. I need to make sure that from now until forever, I believe my life is worth living and that I am a person of great value.

Which isn't to say I'm not a little concerned about the food issues - they're important, they're just not in the foreground. Most of my work on my journey so far has been food-related - realizing what a healthy portion size looks like, understanding the way my body feels when it's been fed well, accepting that the goal isn't perfection but perseverance and consistency. I've been gleaning advice and ideas about how to approach the new phase of weight challenges. I don't want to wake up, strip down, and step on the scale every morning for the rest of my life. But I also don't want to wake up over 200 or 300 pounds again, ever. As long as I keep waking up, though, I think I'll be doing well. For now, I'm reading, asking questions, seeking advice, and preparing the best I can, trying to figure out what achieving and maintaining a healthy balance will mean for me.


Karen said...

Wow, I can't believe I missed that post! I am going to read it and the comments asap. I am maintaining. Saying that is scary in and of itself, for me. I am a classic yo-yo dieter. I have never considered myself to be in "maintenance" before, but maybe that is just because I was not as aware of the lingo that I now know from the blog world. I am not sure what is different for me this time, but I am determined that I will NOT regain again.

I remember reading this (or some version of it since it is very common) "Being fat is hard, losing weight is hard, maintenance is hard. Choose your hard."

Funny thing...for me, in some ways, losing is easier than maintaining. The "rules" are more clear. The goals are more clear. But I am up for this new challenge and look forward to sharing it with you:)

Stacey said...

I absolutely love this post. You put everything into perspective. I have had the same thoughts and fears as you have had. I'm not maintaining yet, although maybe I should since I'm stuck at this weight. I'd like to lose 20 more pounds but I also wonder if that will be enough.

I have found love again since my journey began and it's great but I still have insecurities that I'm not good enough because that is how I've always felt. I need to do an emotional transformation as well. Some days I have high self esteem, others not so much.

I want to be free of having to think of what I should be eating and not eating, free of stepping on the scale every morning to make sure that the weight hasn't crept back on. I want to not have thoughts of food consume my whole day. I'm also afraid if I stop all this, will the weight come back on?

Thanks for the post and the blog, I love reading it every morning!!!

Carbie Girl said...

marryyyyy.. you totally just put into words something I haven't been able to since I started this journey. Weighloss as a side effect. Thats exactly how i feel!! its not that its been easy, nor effortless but its been easier than any previous attempts in the past. I feel like I'm just living and I'm not caught up in the numbers anymore, Im not giving myself deadlines -- i'm just living. I'm so happy for you and I think this breakthrough is fantastic. You'll be more than ok, your experience and knowledge earned will keep you on the right track!! xoxo, i love everything about this post.

Anonymous said...

Your "healthy selfishness" comment is so true. We have to take care of ourselves first, otherwise we have nothing left to give. Thanks for all of your encouragement and honesty!

Rusti said...

I love both of these maintenance posts! It really has helped me see that even though I have fears I can accomplish what I want and over come them!

Hyla said...


Dawn said...

I'm nowhere near goal but starting to realise the road through maintenance needs to be as thought through as my diet is, to continue to learn and grow through it. I'm new to your blog but will follow along

Anonymous said...

Someone said to me over the weekend that patience and time do more than strength or passion. It really struck a chord with me so I jotted it in my food journal. I think it might work here with what you are saying. When you get impatient with yourself - your body is when you go off course. Remember your struggle with that noxious bit of plateauing? How fixating on it sucked part of the joy out of life?

But if you are patient and you persevere and hang out with a supportive, like minded crowd - it comes together and you figure it out. One of the blessings of taking it off slowly and plateauing. You get a chance to work it all out and regroup from time to time.

marisol said...

All we can do is wake up and every day try our hardest to be our best. That's all anyone can do.