Maintenance is HARD

uphill-roadAfter living in “maintenance world” for almost four years now, I can verify that losing weight was easy and maintaining is damn hard.

OK … I guess it’s not too hard or I’d have gained all my weight back (not just 10-12), but my point is, it’s still not an easy feat and not one I take lightly.

I’ve said it before that when I joined Weight Watchers in April 2004, it was my first attempt at losing weight and worked like a charm. (Probably because I had never tried to lose weight before — even just skipping my daily sugary, whipped mint mochas was enough to cut calories back then).

In 2004 when I began, everything was beautiful. Magical. I loved the feeling of my clothes being loose, needing safety pins and then a new wardrobe, the attention from friends, co-workers, family, strangers … The way my body changed and with it, my brain. (Before the disordered eating behaviors and thoughts began, that is).

But keeping it off requires thought, preparation. Just like when losing — only magnified like twenty-fold.

Sometimes I think it’s not so bad because it’s just how I live now, always being cautious. But other days, like today (when I’m hormonal and annoyed that I am a woman) I get frustrated with myself for the weight I’ve gained and that I’m only maintaining a 20-25 lb. loss instead of a 30-35 lb. loss.

Days like today are when I feel like I’ve “flopped,” however ridiculous that may be. Ironically, they’re usually tied to my monthly cycle when, naturally I (like most women) feel ballooned like a Puffalump, am cranky, want to be left alone and am retaining more water than any human should.

And then I remind myself (my rational voice), “OK, Melissa, but you’ve kept 20 off and you still look good.” That’s Dr. G.’s encouragement in my ear, telling me to reframe my thoughts.

In other words, in a couple days I’ll be saying, “And now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.”

It’s just a vicious cycle; here I go, once again, toeing the line between accepting where I am and where I want to be. For those couple days every month I really just want to have a pity party. And everyone’s invited.

I think you know by now that I’m not suffering from bipolar disorder, but rather that I blog about this up and down, high and low cycle because it’s really what I’m feeling at the moment. Because it’s real, visceral, and a part of the healing process.

So I am sorry if I sound like a broken record … but I do want to get back to goal, and am truly disappointed that I’m still not there yet.

I’m not trying to be perfect; I just long for the day when the focus isn’t on my body. Where it is, indeed (as I vowed yesterday to get there) on my mind and soul.

A great workout tonight and a piece of good Godiva just might soothe my raging horomones. But until then, let me wallow just a smidge.

Hell, the only thing I feel I’m “maintaining” today is my sense of humor.

How about you? Do you find maintenance to be tougher than losing weight, regardless of if you’re a disordered eater or not?

19 thoughts on “Maintenance is HARD

  1. Maintenance is KILLING me. I’ve lost 120 pounds and have gained back 25 and am struggling with the emotions about it. I’m working on losing 13 pounds, but I’m not very successful.

    BTW, I consider myself a disordered eater and I’ve been in a spiral for the last few weeks. Yuck.

    Good luck to you!

  2. I’m the complete opposite of you… I’ve easily maintained my 50 lb loss from oh, 2 years ago, and I still have 50 left before I hit goal. There’s no way that 199 lbs is my body’s “happy”weight, but I’ve been able to maintain it. Losing is the hard part for me… but then again, my disordered eating involves eating mass quantities.

  3. Do you find maintenance to be tougher than losing weight, regardless of if you’re a disordered eater or not?

    My weight has ping ponged over the years so yes I find maintenance hard. Now I’m at that “starting over” place. One of my greatest fears is losing weight and gaining it all back again. I don’t want my weight to be a soap opera for others to watch, I really want a resolution. I know it’s a lifelong journey but I’m sure you know what I mean…

  4. Roxie, congrats on that 120, wow!! That’s an amazing loss — even with the 25 gained, it’s incredible! But I do know the feeling of wishing you could keep ALL of it off. It’s a daily struggle.

    Hi Mara, congrats on keeping those 50 off!! That’s fantastic. In a way, losing it slower, you’ll keep it off easier. Sometimes I wonder if I lost more than I should have at the get-go. But then there are people my height (almost 5’6) who weigh 125 and look great so I don’t know …

    Kelly, that’s a natural fear to have. I do understand though …

  5. I’m well aware that maintenance is the hardest part of the vicious weight cycle. After loosing 65-70 lbs I’ve put back close to 50 (over the course of 4 years) and am now finally starting to loose again. I don’t think WW really gets “teaching” maintenance. People in that phase are too stuck in the loosing mindset. They really need to focus on that rather than becoming lifetime ie “free”…

  6. Hi Allison and congrats on losing again. I agree that the focus is always on the loss, but it’s my hope that their new program (Momentum) will take that into consideration. I am online only so I don’t know how they play it up at meetings, but maintenance really IS the toughest part for me and many others.

  7. I think maintaining is absolutely the most difficult part. When you are losing, you are on that “high.” But for me – I need a goal…without one, it’s easy for me to throw my hands up in the air and say, “screw it, I want those cookies.” πŸ™‚

    I have the SAME problem with my monthly cycle. Seriously, it’s been 16 years of having it…you’d think I’d learn not to judge my body so harshly TTOM! But it’s something we all do. I guess I continue to tell myself in a few days, everything will go back to “normal.”

  8. Holly, I’m ALL about the chocolate right now!! Ugh. I blame it on my “visitor” but it’s more than that, I think — it’s that coupled with goodies being readily available.

  9. I love your blog, Run4Change and congrats on your amazing success. And can I say that I love that you’re a guy? The fact that there are men out there who struggle just like us women — it really helps to see it. Thank you and I’ll add you to my blogroll.
    If there’s anyone else that I’ve missed on my blogroll please let me know!

  10. Not having the greatest of days. You comment just helped me a ton. Thanks again for your visit and comments. Have a great day.

  11. Maintenance is proven to be more difficult than losing weight. When one usually chooses to lose weight it’s usually because they have some unhealthy habits that have put on the weight (disordered eating and EDs aside). That’s why people on shows like The Biggest Loser lose so much at first because they have essentially stopped eating more calories then they need. But maintaining takes discipline because most of your habits are healthy now and there is less room for error. I think it’s key the remember that one’s body weight will always fluctuate by a few pounds, it’s the bigger fluctuations that one should, not good for the ego and not good for the body either. It might help to look at it over a lifetime than over such small increments like a month or a year. p.s. your whole time of the month this is totally on…I always find it funny that I’m wondering why I’m craving chocolate so much every once and a while and then that time of the month hits – the crazy part is it happens almost every month! πŸ™‚

  12. Glad I could help, Jason!

    That’s just it, Leila — there’s much less room for error now. I think you’re right in looking at the bigger picture, but even that still has me up 10 from where I want to be, where I feel my best. It’s a constant internal battle. I like what Steph at BISJ posted today though and will share the link.

    I’ve done a lot of reading and the chocolate cravings are actually pretty scientific — it’s not just in our heads!!! In fact there’s a reason we crave carbs. I don’t remember the science of it but there’s evidence behind it. All women aren’t choco-crazed nuts by choice πŸ™‚ (though I am all year, it’s mostly during TOM)

  13. I am all too familiar with the monthly blues. It is like someone takes over my brain for a few days. It is amazing how all our achievements can suddenly seem so small when hormones are raging. It is a cruel trick of nature that the week we feel the “fattest” we are the hungriest and have the most cravings!

  14. Hi Lara, and it IS such a cruel trick — like beating a dead horse when it’s down. They say we burn extra calories when it’s that time of the month … not sure I buy it when I feel like I could win a Blue Ribbon in the state fair πŸ˜‰

  15. I just found this blog, and let me tell you, this post really resonated with me. Life after my 125 lb. weight loss has been anything but easy for me. I live in constant fear of gaining it back, and there is definitely a gaping hole in my life where the gratification and fast results I was seeing when I was losing used to be. Once I started, it was like weight loss and fitness became an addiction to me. Even when I met (and surpassed) my original goal weight, I just couldn’t stop and started to develop disordered eating patterns and a whole lot of anxiety around food and body image issues, which I’m still struggling with. The best support is the knowledge that I’m not the only one struggling with these things. Kudos to you and to all who post here, and have a happy new year πŸ™‚

  16. Hi Julie, and thanks so much for reading and posting. You are most certainly not alone. Congrats on your amazing loss, and just know — you’re not alone. Happy new year!

  17. Several years ago, I lost almost 70 pounds in Weight Watchers. Like you said, life was beautiful. I loved wearing size 12 clothing and I lapped up all the compliments from friends and co-workers. I was almost at goal weight when I had surgery and missed a month of meetings. When I returned, it wasn’t the same. The leader who had encouraged me so much had left and her replacement was cold and unfriendly. Then I changed jobs and lost my free gym membership. I maintained the weight loss for a while, but slowly the pounds started to creep back on. I rejoined WW several times and tried the online program, but I had lost my motivation.

    I have always been an emotional eater, and several things in my life caused me to turn to food for comfort again. In less than 2 years, my mother died, my daughter left for college, and my father had a stroke. Once again, I was buying clothing in larger sizes, having given away all my old “fat clothes.”

    When I look at myself in the mirror now, I want to cry — and sometimes I do. My knees hurt so much that walking for exercise is out of the question.

    Last week I got out all my old WW materials and started the program again, at home. So far I’ve lost 4 pounds, but the journey will be long and much harder than it was the first time around. I’m not rejoining WW again because I can’t face the weigh-ins. What has motivated me now is a closet full of clothes I can’t wear and my knee pain.

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