Once the honeymoon is over, then there’s “Maintenance.” That’s when we maintain the weight we’ve lost. Funny thing is most of us don’t know how to do this. Or at least I hear this ALL the time. Now don’t get me wrong I dove right into maintenance with my eyes closed. In fact I entered maintenance as a newlywed, a real newlywed with a husband to cook for. Yikes!!
A Facebook friend came to me today to talk about maintenance and why I thought people start to freak out when they start trying to maintain their weight.
It’s a really GOOD question. And the fact that she was thinking long and hard about it was a clue to me that she will do just fine.
So let me just say I don’t consider myself a premier post op weight loss surgery patient. But I have maintained the same weight for nine years. I’ll tell you it has been a daily process. Everyday, working the process.
This is what the question looked like when it came to me:
“A topic came up in a Facebook Group today, where one of the gals was having trouble with “maintenance.”
Here’s my take on it: I think a LOT of the “maintenance freak out” is because we have ALWAYS (at least speaking for myself) had to concentrate on “one thing!”…..LOSING….we have NEVER known the word “maintaining” and have never had to do it.
As an obese person, I was VERY EXPERIENCED with losing (and gaining…and losing….etc.) However, now that I have to “learn” to maintain, it is a whole NEW concept (ballgame) and VERY hard to conceive because I have NEVER been here!
Some days are more of a challenge than others, but I try to get my head wrapped around the idea, do my research, get in some kind of “movement”, journal everything I eat, listen to my body and weigh only 2 times a week.
What are your thoughts?”
Well as you can see this weight loss surgery friend has been thinking it through and in my opinion she has some very good points.
Here’s what I think:
- As an overweight person I was very knowledgeable about LOSING! I don’t think I ever maintained my weight. I was always in a state of LOSING or GAINING. I heard a woman say something in a WW meeting years ago. She said “you have to learn how to stop gaining before you learn how to lose.” This really hit home for me. Do you know what it’s like to stay at the same weight? Have you ever thought about what it take to do that?
- For most, losing weight after weight loss surgery is not difficult. (ok, don’t throw things at me) If you follow the RULES the weight will come off.
- There is so much focus on the losing phase. Watching those numbers go down. It is exhilarating!
- Maintenance is not that exciting. Your focus in on one number. Or I like to think of a range.
- Maintenance is much more difficult.
- All eyes are on YOU. Yikes that is very scary. We all loved everyone’s attention as the weight shed off. Now they are watching to see if you can keep it off. Let me just lighten the load right here. No matter what you need to let go of what others thinks. right now. it will haunt you if you don’t. This is your journey. No one else’s. Do it for you and walk proud.
- Depending on the type of surgery you had, as our tiny tanks heal and the grehlin returns, we are able to eat more of a variety of foods and our tiny tanks can accommodate portion sizes that are larger. This means we now need to clearly understand what we are “taking in.” And I mean calories, protein etc.
- It’s my belief that once you start eating solid foods that you should focus on eat three small meals a day with no snaking between meals. Start doing this as early as you can. I’ve seem many people including myself who ate small portions of food throughout the day. In the long run this can cause weight gain.
- Why? well we all need to learn to eat in a normal fashion. Ok my husband would laugh at me right now. He would say to me “there is nothing normal abut the way you eat!” LOL
- OK. rephrase. As we move into maintenance we need to find our normal. I stick to the rules. I still live by them.
- I think the hardest part for new maintainers is that as you begin to take in more calories you will gain weight. Panic sets in. An all or nothing reaction takes place…. “I’m going to drink shakes for three days until this weigh comes off!” It wont work. I’ve tried it.
- You will need to find your normal. What will be your normal eating plan (eating food).
- You will need to find the amount of calories you need to maintain your current weight based on the amount of exercise you plan on maintaining
- It is not a perfect science. Your nutritionist can help. I was able to figure this out through trial and error. And it worked for me.
- You will NEED to learn to be ok with your weight fluctuating with in a range of weights. For me it is a 5 pound range.
- Maintenance doesn’t happen over night. Accept this.
- Also over time what you need nutritionally will change. Monitor your needs and Adjust!
- You have to be twice as devoted to maintenance as you were to losing.
Ok so. That was a lot.
I am proof you can do this.
- Follow the rules.
- Learn to be ok with your weight fluctuating with in a small range.
- Find your normal intake and live with it
- Exercise as a compliment to your eating
- Accept that you are not perfect
- Love yourself
- Learn to say NO to food and people
- If you get stuck, find some professional help
- Don’t freak out. This is life. Live it and LOVE It.
Please consider leaving me a comment. How do you manage maintaining your weight? What was most difficult for you? Are you preparing for maintenance? What are you most afraid of?
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