One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

? for Weight Loss Maintainers…. How do you do it?

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question of the weekPlucking another great question from the pool of suggestions this week. This time, it’s one for the maintainers.

A few people had specific questions, so I thought I’d take a stab at them individually and then let other maintainers chime in.

How do you transition into Maintenance?

This question can go in bunch of directions, but I’ll approach it from the "Technical" aspect of maintenance for someone following Weight Watchers.

Once you reach goal you have to find your specific maintenance point/calorie range. According to Weight Watchers you should increase your daily point range by 4 for one week and then assess your weight. For example if your weight loss point value is 20, then go up to 24 for one week. At the end if you still lost weight, increase by 4 again, to 28. If you gained then decrease by 2, down to 26. Do this until you find a level where you maintain your weight.

Sounds simple, right? HA!

I had more of a hard time with the mental aspects of the transition. For as long as I could remember I wanted to LOSE weight. That made sense to me. Staying the same was just a foreign concept. I had to learn how to eat and by going through the above process and weighing myself regularly I started to learn what my limits were. It was a long journey that took years to master, and I’m not even sure I did that yet!

What keeps you going after the compliments have stopped coming?

Great question because, for me, this was a huge hurtle. As my awesome Weight Watchers leader once told me…. No one pats you on the back and says "HEY! looks like you are maintaining nicely!" LOL

I’ll admit it the compliments are nice. They kept me going from week to week. I’ve always been a "pleaser". I like it when people are proud of me and I’m on of those people who just enjoys doing the best I can at something. So from week to week at the weigh ins, the weight loss celebration was something I looked forward to.

Now, I have kind of the opposite problem. People see me now, never knowing I had a weight problem. They don’t see the chubby girl who struggled with body image, and yo yo dieted for 15 years. I’ve talked about this before, it’s in some way depressing that I lost a peer group I felt such a part of for so long. I even feel like an outcast at my Weight Watchers meetings.

So what do I do? What keeps me going now? That’s easy. I’m reminded, dailyby the toddler, why I changed my life. I want to be the best person I can be, for him. That means accepting myself, eating the best I can, being active and living consciously. I want to be the best example of human being I can be for him. DO I make mistakes, yeah, sure I do. But part of being the best I can be is accepting the good with the bad. That’s called life and we all know the changes you make have to be for life.

What keeps you motivated to continue to be mindful of what you eat even though you’ve achieved your goal (or a significant chunk of your goal).

As I stated previously, for me eating consciously is an important part of my life. I want to eat for health and nutrition. I want to teach good habits to the toddler. That keeps me motivated.

How do you keep from going back to your old eating habits when you are finally thin? (and not reward yourself with food.)

I still use food as a reward. I try not to, but it happens. I try to disconnect the connection between food and celebration. Food and sorrow. Food and loneliness. Food and ‘insert any event/emotion here’. It’s hard but I try! and after 3 years it’s getting easier and easier.

I also have to add, celebrating with food now and then is inevitable. When I go out to eat with the husband on a date, we split a dessert. I bake a cake for the toddler’s birthday. I’m not throwing these traditions away because I want to watch my weight and be healthy. One thing I learned since starting this journey is just because I indulge now and then does NOT mean I’m returning to my old habits. It means I enjoyed a piece of cake. That’s it.

Your turn…

Any other maintainers want to take a stab at this weeks questions? Comment below or answer on your blog and leave us a link!




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Discussion

There are 33 comments so far.

    Laura Jane

    November 12, 2008

    Unfortunately, I’m not in maintenance yet so I don’t have any answers to the questions, but I wanted to say that I think this is a great question for people like me who are still losing weight to read the answers to. It so helpful to see what successful people are doing to maintain their weight.

    Check out Laura Janes last blog post..Wednesday

    saucymomma

    November 12, 2008

    I’m not in maintenance now. ARGH. I have been and its harder for me than actually losing weight. When I’m ‘in the mode’ or ‘on the plan’ I have such a clear goal in mind. A target date, a desired weight. But living out there in the real world is hard. I recently lost the last of my pregnancy weight (from all five of them) and I looked great, felt fabulous and was filled with boundless energy from exercise and clean eating. But, I have fallen off the wagon. And slowly the lbs are creeping back on. I am so grateful to have found your blog and have read so much of it today. You are a tremendous resource and inspiration. I’ll keep you posted. I’m off to track my food for the day. I use calorieking.com.

    Check out saucymommas last blog post..Kids Cook Night: The Best Red Sauce Ever

    Candi Clapp

    November 12, 2008

    I’ve been in “maintenance” for about 3yrs now and I’m not saying that it’s ever easy and that I don’t see the scale go up or down a few pounds here or there but you learn over time what your body can handle. I don’t count points every day or every single meal but I personally know what I can have portion wise. When I see myself slipping than back onto the points which I think is the best thing ever invented. Since making lifetime 3 yrs ago, i feel though i’m in better shape now than even then because i’ve joined the gym and started running. To me staying active, running and going to the gym such is what helps me to stay in check the most…Oh and to read Roni’s blog each day!

    Bonnie

    November 12, 2008

    Well, I’m not quite there yet either. As a matter of fact, I had my WW weigh-in tonight and gained 0.6. It’s just unbelievable to me sometimes….I have spent 3 weeks having NO SWEET TREATS at all! I did this because I was just stagnant, so needed to spur myself on. Well, the first 2 weeks, I lost really well, and after last week’s weigh in, I only had 1.4 left to lose, to get to goal. And now tonight, I have 2 pounds to go again! It stinks! So I ate an ice cream sandwich tonight.

    I’m anxious…and nervous, all at the same time, to get to goal and start maintenance. I mean, gosh…this past week, I only ate 19 points a day, plus 7.5 of my weekly points…..and gained 0.6! How can that be? It makes me afraid that in maintenance, I won’t get to actually add any points.

    Jami Steele

    November 12, 2008

    I have been maintaining for about a year now after loosing close to 110 pounds. I have to say, maintaining is harder for me. I love the challenge of loosing. I also feel like I get some weird stares at WW meetings, but I try to lend good ideas and ask questions re:maintaining so people know I am not some skinny chick fishing for complements.
    You also have to keep trying new things on the plan to stay motivated. I love all Roni’s new foods and book,not only for weight loss, but for health. I try to not focus so much on my weight, but on be the most heathy person I can be. It is hard, but I gave away all my larger clothes so I better stay on task!!!!!!

    Amy

    November 13, 2008

    I have been maintaining for about 5 months (so please know that I don’t claim to be an expert)- but I would say that the major reason I think I haven’t slipped (and have stayed at goal within 1-2 lbs consistently) is because of lifestyle/food changes that I made when I started this. When the switch went off in my head (that’s some Charlie Hills terminology for you), I decided FIRST to: quit regular sodas (no exception), almost quit fast food (meaning, never eat it unless there is 100% no other option and I am keeling over in hunger), quit ordering pizza (like Dominos, etc), and quit chips, dips, queso when out for Mexican food. BTW, those are all things that I struggled with. Additionally, I quit buying the crap I used to buy (regular chips, sugary cereals, candy, etc). I started eating at home mostly (or food from home) and made my focus veggies, fruits, whole grain breads, lean meat, and snacks that are low cal. or have something nutritional.

    Let me say this- the first 2 weeks was TOTAL DETOX. I was miserable, hungry, head-achey, literally going through crap-food withdrawal. Once I got beyond that and my body started adjusting to the new foods- it was fairly easy. My body started craving healthier foods and my desire for the unhealthy foods faded.

    It wasn’t easy at first, but it’s a lot easier now that the detox is over and the junk food doesn’t have it’s hold on me anymore. If you can just get the sugar-food or fat-food taste out of your mouth (and system)- it gets better.

    The same goes for portion sizes- from the beginning, I realized that I probably should be eating meals half the size that I was used to. I just accepted that a portion is smaller than I think.

    I think that maintenance should not feel like an extension of the diet- (I would never be able to keep up constant watching of everything I eat). It needs to be just living a new food lifestyle, permanently. My new lifestyle is soda-less, pretty much fast-food-less, take-out pizza-less, queso-less and other junk food-less. I am learning to accept that those changes are permanent- if for no other reason, but because those things aren’t very nutritious. Leaving habits like that behind (not just for the diet, but for good) are why I think the weight is staying off.

    Lanette Hopkins

    November 13, 2008

    I lost 65 lbs. with WW and have maintained it for 2 1/2 years. I’m also a leader. Here are my top 3 for staying at goal:
    1. Exercise 6 days a week – this is the most important thing I do to maintain my weight loss.
    2. Attend a weekly WW meeting.
    3. Vegetables.
    There’s lots more I could say. I agree that maintaining members can be lost in WW meetings. I recognize the lifetime members at the first meeting of every month. It’s very motivational for everyone to hear how much they’ve lost and how long they’ve kept it off and keeps the cheers and good feelings going for the lifetime members.

    My motto – Never give up!! That’s the only thing that changed from trying for 30 years to lose weight and actually doing it. I kept attending weekly meetings whether my weight was up, down or otherwise.

    Sheri

    November 13, 2008

    I’m maintaining for almost 1 year now a 65 pound weight loss. I don’t count points or calories anymore, but I have some important tools that seem to be working: I keep up the healthy eating habits I gained while on WW by continuing to use the Healthy Guidelines, and to try to choose Core type foods as much as possible. As long as I’m not replacing fruit and vegetable servings with junky carbs or other empty calories, I seem to stay on track pretty well. I continue to eat lots of chicken, fish, and beans, and use beef and pork more like a treat. Of course, whole wheat breads & pasta, and brown rice are my staple carbs. Fiber is my best friend. I count daily fiber grams instead of calories!

    I also run 25 miles per week, which allows me to have treats fairly often. (I started the Couch to 5K program a couple of months after I started WW). My running makes it more important for me to maintain my weight, because I am training to get faster, and extra pounds don’t help. I think that watching my running paces get faster has replaced the weekly reward of watching the scale go down.

    I read the NI on food packages religiously, which keeps me from buying a lot of junk. I try to steer away from HFCS and transfats, and things with lots of saturated fats. I eat out only once per week, and usually only eat half the meal portion, taking the rest home for lunch the next day.

    gottahavefaith

    November 13, 2008

    I’ve been maintaining a 15-20 pound loss for about six months. Now, as during weight loss, I ate moderate portions of healthy whole foods and walked 10,000 steps every day–you guys know the drill. For me, the key to transitioning from loss to maintenance was to come to peace with my body. When I really accepted myself and felt comfortable in my own skin, it was easier for me to avoid the restrict/binge pattern. And by the time I was ready to transition to maintenance, I’d become much more aware of how my body reacts to food. Thus, even if I’m out at a restaurant and don’t know what’s in my food, I feel confident in my ability to listen to my appetite and I neither stress nor overeat.

    Check out gottahavefaiths last blog post..Recipe Update

    MizFit

    November 13, 2008

    I only lost about 20 this last time (30+ the time before) but for me it really is as ‘simple’ as a HUGE ENORMOUS LIFESTYLE SHIFT.

    big changes in the way I eat, live and the people with whom I surround myself.

    Debbie

    November 13, 2008

    Thank you Thank you Thank you…….It is so refreshing to hear someone echo the feelings that I have…and the questions I am facing…although I am not to that part of the program at this time. Thank you for letting me know Im not the only one that feels the emotional ties to food, I am already dreading the holidays enough. I dont want to go backwards, not even alittle, and it would be so easy to RUN back that way. To me, maintenance happens everyday….still 80 lbs away, but everyday.

    Sarah

    November 13, 2008

    In a few weeks I hope to be in maintenance mode, and I think this is a really, really great post that I will come back and refer to when that process starts. Thanks Roni!

    Alisha

    November 13, 2008

    I like this topic, Roni!! I think that trying to figure out your body can be a little stressful! But once that happens it is fun to know where you stand with what you eat and your exercise! I am with you on the compliment thing. As a receptionist I MAKE SURE to compliment maintainers as well!

    Oh….and some WW inside scoop….in the next few weeks they are going to launch something to reward maintainers!!!!!! I think it is a great idea and hope you all will too!!!

    rap

    November 13, 2008

    Hi Roni! Quick question about the maintenance points – if you go down by 2, would you want to be at 26 points if you lose with 24? (Does that question make sense?) Thanks!

    roni

    November 13, 2008

    Rap – Your right! I fixed the typo… or the “math-o” as that’s what it really was!

    Girl Healthy

    November 13, 2008

    Hi Roni,
    I’ve been quietly following your blog for a couple of months and thought now was a great time to say hi and answer the question about maintaining. I’ve maintained a 40+ pound loss for three years now. For me, maintaining is pretty easy because I learned so much and changed my habits during the actual weight loss phase. I pay attention to my body and follow its cues. I eat until I’m satisfied rather than to the point of fullness. I aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days. I read food labels and pay attention to portion size. I also use this awesome website, www.TheDailyPlate.com to keep myself in check.

    Bravo on your weight loss and your fantastic blog! Love it!

    TB--Milwaukee

    November 13, 2008

    I’ve maintained for almost a year and maintenance has been more of a battle than losing. In the losing stage, there’s no questions, you just follow the program. When maintaining, it’s difficult to find a balance between obsessing about food and eating the house. I am a daily weigher and consider that to be a huge key to staying diligent. If I see the number go up, I cut a few points, down, I do the same number as the day before.

    I agree with Lannette’s top three of exercise, attending meetings and eating veggies. However, I don’t attend weekly meetings as a member anymore, but I think the internet works more as my meeting now.

    Biz

    November 13, 2008

    I remember when I was at goal and I had just moved to a new city and joined a new WW. I weighed 137 at the time, and I could see people looking at me thinking “what is she doing here?!” They didn’t see me when I weighed 210!

    Since I started my blog I decided only to weigh myself once a month – the day to day weigh-ins just weren’t working for me anymore. First month – lost 10 pounds, but more than that INCHES! My next weigh in isn’t until December 1, but today a co-worker said “you look like you’ve lost weight!” Yippee!

    I hope to be 20 pounds thinner by the end of February for me and my husband’s Florida get away. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

    Check out Bizs last blog post..I love coffee!

    Kath

    November 13, 2008

    What I’ve learned about maintenance is that if I want to enjoy myself at special occasions and over indulge, I have to cut back either before or after to “make up” the gain – or I gain! Few people I know eat exactly the same amount of calories on boring days and holidays. I call this on my blog the “Squiggly Line Effect.” Lose a little, gain a little = maintenance.

    amanda

    November 13, 2008

    I’ve maintained a 25 lb loss for 6 years now and I can honestly say maintenance was much harder for me than losing (still learning!). The hardest thing was when I was losing, it was easy to turn down treats, reasoning that a good weigh-in was more important than a brownie. I could always have a brownie “later”. In maintenance, there is no specific “later” like there was in losing (i.e. after a weigh-in, after a 10 lb loss, etc).

    All that aside, I’ve kept the weight off, so here are my top 3 tips:
    1) Keep a record (journaling, weigh-ins, measurements, etc) Keeping a records helps me stay in check and calms me down on days when I feel like I “blew-it”
    2) Eat plenty of veggies. I know, I know, but I ALWAYS eat less calories on high veggie days and vice versa- whether it was intentional or not.
    3) Exercise daily- but don’t do more than you feel is appropriate for yourself. I love to exercise but I hate to run or take vigorous classes. By doing daily activities I like (walking, yoga, lifting, elliptical machine) I look forward to my workouts. Plus, it might just be me but very vigorous workouts tend to make me overeat!

    mousearoo

    November 13, 2008

    I used the extra four points for a bigger piece of meat or a little extra pasta, not to go overboard on extra treats.

    Honestly, the compliments don’t stop coming because as soon as you tell your story, people want to know more. You become a go-to source for inspiration and advice instead.

    What keeps me going is the fear of having to buy clothes all over again. I did it through the weight loss and I can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe, so staying in the same weight range becomes important. Also, the fear of returning health problems that got this all started.

    Plus, incorporating exercise into my daily life has helped me stay in a maintenance zone for two years.

    Karen

    November 13, 2008

    Hi Roni,

    I really thought this post was great. I am not on maint. yet but I will reference this when I get there. Thanks again for this.

    Check out Karens last blog post..Good wk

    Sandy

    November 13, 2008

    Hi Roni,

    Thanks so much for this Question of the Week! I have been maintaining for about a year now, and I struggle so much more with maintenance than I ever did with actually losing the weight. It’s so eay to think “I’ve been maintaining well, so this brownie won’t hurt anything.” One thought/action like that is not so bad, but for me they accumulate. I find it much easier when I am in “Weight Loss Mode” and don’t even consider eating the brownies, etc.!

    Reading everyone’s comments has been motivating and inspirational. Thanks!

    BethanyH

    November 13, 2008

    Roni, I love this post. Today I was talking with my hubby and saying, I can’t wait to be that skinny chick, instead of the girl that has lost a lot of weight. The compliments are great right now, I feel like EVERYBODY is saying how good I look, but I want people to not remember how big I used to be and just see me like this. I just made goal 3 weeks ago, and I have 3 more weeks until maintenance. Personally, I am trying to lose as much as I can before the holidays, so I have a little wiggle room. I shared a half slice of cheesecake from the cheesecake factory and it was DIVINE, and I didn’t feel one once of guilt. This has been a huge breakthrough for me, the guilt factor. Thanks again for the great website, I’m getting addicted!

    Rachel

    November 13, 2008

    Does anyone else that’s still losing think it’s SUPER depressing that maintenance is harder than losing? It’s like we’re all trying so hard just to get there, but then when we do it will be harder than it is now? Sigh… but these are all great comments and tips! Even though it is harder, I can’t wait to be at maintenance!

    Beth

    November 13, 2008

    For those maintaining, what’s the average amount of your point increase? I read somewhere it averages 10 points above the weight loss point target. Does that sound right?

    roni

    November 13, 2008

    Beth, I’d say that’s about right. For me to lose, my points would be 20. I eat anywhere from 27-35 a day and I’m maintaining quite nicely. Notice I don’t count weekly so that would average to 30 a day plus a dip into flex now and then.

    Most people (myself included) thought I’d have to eat like I did while losing for the rest of my life. It’s not true. Maintenance is totally different.

    roni

    November 13, 2008

    Rachel – I used to think that way. But that’s where the change in attitude comes into play. I’m not depressed that it’s “harder” I embrace that these changes I made (although may take more work) make me a happier healthier person. I’ve never been as happy as I’ve been these 3 years. Not because I’m “thin” but because I am being the best person I can be. Just a thought. :~)

    Lanette Hopkins

    November 13, 2008

    Who would want to lose weight if it’s harder to keep it off. I disagree that it’s harder – it takes work but it’s much more fun because you can wear cute clothes and you feel great and know you’re healthy. I do say that I still lose 50 lbs. a year – it’s just 2 lbs from my goal. In our society it takes work to stay healthy! It’s all in the attitude.

    Jen

    November 13, 2008

    Thanks for the post Roni. I am not in maintenance, but the things you said resonated with me. It has to be a lifestyle, but you can’t let it RULE your life.

    Check out Jens last blog post..Emotional Eating Anyone?

    Laura

    November 14, 2008

    Wow, this could not have come at a better time. I lost 40 pounds on WW and have been maintaining for almost a year. The last few months have been difficult and I have been really down on my self, doubting my ability to maintain. Hopefully writing out what helps me maintain will get me back into a good state of mind. These are some things that help me.

    1. Talk about WW- Any chance I get (in the right setting), I like to talk about WW and how it has changed my life. I swear sometimes I feel like a walking advertisement but it helps remind me that I’ve come so far and don’t want to go back.

    2. Look at old pictures- I always thought, “If I just weighed XYZ I know I will be completely content with the way I look.” Well low and behold that was not the case once I reached my goal. I started thinking that since I still wasn’t completely happy with the way I looked, then what was the point of working so hard? One look at an old photo and I am reminded that although I may still have things I would like to change, I look a heck of a lot better now!

    3. Give myself freedom with food- When I began WW I really followed the idea that you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within your points. I was in college so fast food and uncontrolable eating situations where inevitable. As time went by and I was living on my own, I slowly started eating healthier foods. I know that if I had tried to only eat grilled chicken and veggies in the beginning I never would have made it. Even though I eat fairly healthy, I still incorporate my favorite foods into my diet. Knowing that I can have a piece of cake or some chips keeps sane. As soon as I try and cut out certain foods or really restrict myself, I go crazy! Especially after a few days of making poor food choices, the best thing for me to do is still allow myself whatever I want just making sure to stay within my points. It’s almost like I have to wean myself off the junk food.

    Roni, thank you so much for posting this question. I really feel so lonely as a Maintainer. I don’t go to WW meetings very often but when I do, I feel like an outcast. I swear I get looks like, “What is this skinny girl doing here?” When it comes up that I’m on Maintainance people ask what my secret is, like I have some special WW plan that no one else knows about. I don’t feel like there is anyone I can talk to because to those who are trying to lose, I feel like I sound ungrateful and that I should just be thankful I lost the weight. Thanks again for posting this, I am hoping reading all of these great comments will refuel me to continue on with Maintainance.

    Check out Lauras last blog post..Bleh Bleh Bleh

    Healthy Weight Loss Girl

    November 14, 2008

    Great Post! A lot of people have issues when it comes down to weight maintenance. Once we drop those extra pounds we are often tempted to go back to our old eating habits. Rewarding yourself seems like a good idea, I’m a believer in all food (minus fast food and fried food) in moderation.

    Rebecca

    November 14, 2008

    I have been maintaining for more than two years and I don’t know if it gets easier or if it is “just life”. I will always have to think about what I put in my mouth, I will always make myself be active, I will always be an eater. I know this, so maybe it is getting easier. I know that for me always being conscious of what I eat helps and also enjoying being active. I would have never chosen to do some of the things that I do now before I lost weight. Exercise and activity are such a big part that if I don’t get to “move it” during the day because of a meeting or whatever I have a huge void. On the food front I have been eating the way I do for so long that it is lifestyle and I know that it has to stay that way.
    Thanks for your post you are definetely my AA for maintenance.
    Rebecca