Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In which I've maintained my loss for a year

Last Nov. 1 I stepped on the scale at my regular Weight Watchers meeting and realized I made my personal goal weight.

A year later, I'm still there.

I just want to let that sink in for a bit. Historically, I've been excellent at losing weight, but terrible at keeping it off.

This is such a big deal, and to me, it's more impressive than losing 125 lbs in the first place.

All my life, I would strive, strive, strive for the "finish line" and once there (or when I got sick of striving) return to my same-old, same-old eating habits and behaviors.

I'm not sure why that was, other than maybe mentally I still had not gotten my head around the fact there is no "finish." Ever.

I don't like to bring that up to people who are in the losing process as it sounds depressing, dire and unattainable. But, you know, it's the truth.

So what was the difference this time around? How am I maintaining successfully?

A few thoughts:

I accepted that there is no finish line. There is no "on" or "off" program, you are on all the time, forever, end of story. Yes, there are lax - or outright bad - days, for sure, but I get right back on the horse, tracker in hand. I can't do what I did in the past and expect to hold on to what I have.

I embraced the PointsPlus program. Given its flexibility, PointsPlus is a program I can work for the rest of my life without too much mental stress or any depravation. When I gain weight, I can lose it. When I lose it, I can maintain it. It's so doable and realistic, I can live my life and enjoy food within reason.

I set goals away from the scale. Registering for races has keep me running and running has kept me motivated and moving. Training plans for big challenges such as half-marathons have given me a series of incremental goals spread over a period of time, goals that I achieve and of which I can feel very proud. These longer-term challenges and training plans have me constantly looking ahead while simultaneously working on them today - a potent combo.

I want to make it clear, however. You do not have to run if you don't want to. So many of us weight-loss bloggers run and love writing about it, I worry that people think they have to become runners to become healthy, fit, happy, people.

There are plenty of other activities that are challenging and amenable to goal-setting. The key is to find one you enjoy.

I found activities I enjoy. In addition to running, I love going to bootcamp twice a week. If you asked me on that first day, "Will you still be here in 18 months?" I'm not sure what I would have said. Probably, " *#&$, no!" But I'm so glad I have.

I accept I am a work in progress. I have decades of bad decisions, behaviors, habits and emotions surrounding food. I understand that it will likely take decades to unravel those knots and replace them better ones. No more expectations of perfection, no all-or-nothing.

I am kind to myself. I refuse to beat myself up. I still have bad days, but I restart as soon as I can. I also try to pull something positive out of it. If a decision went wrong - why? What caused it? What could I do better next time?

I work for Weight Watchers. Those of you who don't know me in real life are thinking, "Wait, what?!?" I haven't blogged about that very big part of my life because it's not smart to blog about your job unless you're paid to do so or own the company. I have neither, so I haven't.

I've been working for WW since last November, first as a receptionist and now as a leader. The job has challenged me and given me more than I ever expected. And one unexpected benefit has been that everyone on staff is a Lifetime member maintaining their weight. So if I'm having a problem, I can ask questions, commiserate, whine or beg for help when I need it. Maintenance is an art and you need other Lifetime members who get it because no one else truly does. Working several times a week with other Lifetimers has provided me with a built-in support system for which I are so grateful.

I am not perfect, nor do I have it all figured out. I am a work in progress. And if you're a work in progress, there's only one thing you have to do:

Keep working.


  1. Great job! I don't know you personally but most of what you say resonates deeply with me. I too have lost a great deal of weight many times and fail to keep it off. I hope that someday I'll be in the same boat as you and mentally get my brain around the fact that this is a lifetime mentality that has no ending. Keep up the good work and keep writing. It inspires people and us a big help to know there are others out there who succeed in the weight loss battle.

  2. Thank you both! You know, I always worry someone will read this blog and think, "Yikes, what a narcissist!" because I'm always, like, "Yay, me!" or "Here's something else I did well."

    But I received (and still receive) so very much inspiration from other weight-loss bloggers, that's why I was pulled into blogging about it. Writing it all out helps me as much as anyone else. I like to share and focus on how this can be done by anyone, especially if you've spent your life failing spectacularly up until now.

    You CAN change a lifetime of bad habits. You CAN change anything. It really, truly, honestly CAN be done if you just get in the right head space and refuse to give up.