New Year’s Eve is a great time to reflect on the issue of Maintenance. Today I’m posting an article by one of the very few bloggers who have continued sharing information about their weight-loss and maintenance efforts for an extended time after achieving a large weight loss and getting close to their weight-loss goal.
In January 2009 Kate began dieting, and this summer, 2012, her weight was about 120 lbs lighter that when she started. I’ve enjoyed reading her blog over the years.
She says she used “no pills, no rules, no plans, no shots, no surgery, no supplements.” …that she “ate less, ate better food, found the joy in exercise, and learned to appreciate (her) body.”
Although her diet efforts, as a vegetarian, were not the same as mine, the content of her writings indicate that we have many Thoughts in common…including that people aren’t all the same, and there are many different ways to lose weight.
Kate tells us that she is “just a normal woman who got tired of yo-yo dieting and finally decided to change (her) lifestyle for good.” She is not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or medical professional. She doesn’t work for any company, endorse any diet plan, and isn’t paid to promote any product.
At the end of the article, I will comment further.
Weight & Weight Loss, I’m Over It.
by Kate on 12/8/12 in "This is Not a Diet …It’s my life"
I don't weigh myself anymore. It's been about a month since I did. This may come to a surprise to people who have been following me and know I used to be a daily weigher.
Those who really know me should not be surprised though, because if there's one thing I will always continue to embrace, it's change. I know that in order to continue to grow, I will sometimes change my mind.
So what happened? A couple of things. The first thing was my injury the day after Labor Day, when I fell and suffered a concussion. My weight all the sudden meant less to me. It seemed so silly and ridiculous the amount of time I spent ensuring I always stayed in the same range after losing 120 pounds 2 years ago. Every day, weighing myself, adjusting what I ate, adjusting what exercise I did... it seemed reasonable at the time. It doesn't now. When I was really feeling shitty from the concussion, I felt like it was clear which things were important and which weren't. Spending a lot of time thinking about my weight lost importance, it went into the same category as stressing out about my job. Not that it's simple stop thinking about those things, but I've been putting in the effort not to be absorbed by things that don't improve my daily happiness.
I've relaxed significantly. The other thing that I'm dealing with is my chronic back pain which has been constant and frankly getting worse for the last year. I've de-intensified my exercise for this reason. I've been listening to my body, and my physical therapist. I've stopped lifting heavy weights altogether. I've stopped running. I've stopped doing any sort of impactful exercise. I've started doing certain yoga poses specifically for my back. I've started doing the gentle abdominal exercises prescribed to me. I get my heartrate up by uphill walking, elliptical trainer, or recumbent biking.
I've also started changing my daily habits to eliminate long periods of sitting. I just received a standing desk for my office at work and I'm already sitting less than 4 hours a day at work which is a huge improvement over sitting over 8 hours or more. I plan to gradually reduce sitting time as much as I can.
I feel really good about my eating habits. I haven't changed what I've been eating, though I've become more aware of eating what I really want to eat and spending less time thinking about whether I "should" eat it. I've found that I often want a hot breakfast with eggs, something I used to have very infrequently. I've found that for lunch, I generally want soup or chili. I've found that for dinner, I tend to prefer a huge pile of vegetables with some sort of grain or pasta.
But I've also found that sometimes, I don't need to cook everything from scratch. At least once a week, I've been having a frozen Amy's meal (love them!). Sometimes I stop at Whole Foods and make myself a big salad for lunch or get breakfast from their hot foods case. I sometimes have Chipotle for dinner. Starbucks has this veggie artisan sandwich I just love.
I had gotten so adverse to foods I didn't cook myself, that I was foregoing these things, that I do actually really like! Yes, I can make decently good pre-made food choices. I don't need to be so stringent. I still cook most of what I eat myself, but I'm just feeling less strict about it and this has released so much stress from my life that I didn't really realize was building up.
And finally, the tipping event, I started reading the book Health at Every Size. I plan to review it when I finish it, but the minute I started reading it, I recognized something in myself that I immediately knew had to stop: spending one more second thinking about my weight. Done. Over it. That's that.
And here's the real kicker, something I never realized until I started to read this book. Say what I would about focusing on health instead of weight, I was not entirely doing that myself.
I am doing it now. Part of letting go was coming to a place of acceptance that I might gain some weight. That's what stopped me from getting off the scale for so long: fear of gaining weight. In fact, when I stopped weighing myself last April for a month, I did gain weight.
And I've been struggling for awhile about this, but not wanting to write about it because I wanted to let what was taking place mentally with me happen naturally and not be influenced by the opinions of others. I have been vacillating between thinking of trying to lose the bit of weight I re-gained and embracing it. Every once in awhile I'd fire up the old MyFitnessPal app and start thinking about counting calories... and it just didn't happen.
I realized something when I got that concussion. Being comfortable with my eating and exercise habits as they are now, listening to what my body needs, focusing on the medical issues I have, these things are more important to me than what I weigh. The way I know to lose weight, calorie counting, means giving up something that's more important to me: my very healthy relationship with food! I have never had such a reasonable, moderate, and satisfying relationship with food. To put it bluntly, I don't want to fuck with a good thing.
In making this decision, I feel so powerful because I am ignoring all the false messaging that we all must constantly obsess about our weight. Note, this does not mean I no longer work out and I am going to eat a bunch of fast food and gain 100 pounds again. I get so tired fo hearing that from people: that if you aren't focused on your weight, the only other option is cheesy nachos, pizza, cake, chips, and television. That's just a false choice, a red herring. I love my healthy lifestyle! Exercise is vital! Eating real whole foods most of the time is practically magic in the way it makes you feel. Don't worry, I'm not headed to the drivethru.
Our society is so damned overly-obsessed with our weight, losing weight, gaining weight, celebrity's weight, baby weight, and being on a diet to the exclusion of everything else. I don't want to be a part of that. I definitely love that I can inspire people because I lost a lot of weight, but I'm hoping that instead of focusing on that aspect, I can get people to see that the most profound changes I have made over this journey are much deeper and more important: my actions, my habits, my internal dialogue, my self-esteem, my self-respect, my commitment to my own physical and mental health, taking care of my nutritional needs, and regularly moving my body. Without these things, weight loss would be meaningless.
www . thisisnotadiet-itsmylife. com
I understand and sympathize with Kate’s position. I, too, often feel like I am SO over weight-loss and maintenance. The problem is that I am Absolutely Certain that I, personally, must continue my present Efforts in order to keep my body out of morbid obesity.
I am now beginning the 8th year of maintaining a 146 lb weight-loss. My total weight-loss was a bit more than 156 lbs, but despite my consistent best efforts, during the past five years about 10 of the lost pounds have returned.
I am also interested in things other than weight issues, and during my lifetime, I experienced many things that improved my own “actions, habits, internal dialogue, self-esteem, self-respect, and commitment to my own physical and mental health”. l learned to like and respect myself - including my body, while I was still fat, long before I succeeded in losing weight from my highest weight.
Sometimes I get very tired of the need to keep my focus on food and weight-related issues. I’d like to be “free”, to have no need to consciously control my food and my weight. The way Reduced Obese people can “free” themselves from controlling weight is to decide that their weight is not important, and whatever weight their body choses to be naturally is acceptable to them. I’ve chosen that decision quite a number of times in my life, but it always resulted in me gaining immense amounts of weight... to a point where the size of my body became more than twice it's ideal size ....which is a physical issue impossible for me to ignore.
I love myself
when my “normal” body is buried in fat;
when I have nothing attractive to wear;
when parts of my body continually ache;
when my size limits the physical activities I can engage in;
when people with an anti-fat-bias treat me as though I were a retarded leper.
But I ALSO love myself enough to keep on working one-day-at-a-time to help my body avoid obesity and the disadvantages that go with it.
Unlike Kate or the Pasta Queen, I’m not in my 20s or early 30s. I’m over 60 and have lived with my own body and dealt with this issue for a very long time. As a short woman, 50 to 100 lbs up puts me high into obesity. I’ve lost 30 to 50 lbs many times, and 100 pounds several times and every time … until now, regained it all, plus more.
At present, I very much enjoy having my body be what is considered a “normal” weight. I am totally unwilling to go back to being a 5’0“ tall, 271 lb - morbidly obese woman again, and I intend to do whatever it takes to keep that from happening.
The article above shows a young woman who lost about 120 lbs and maintained most of that loss for about a-year-and-a-half, but who has grown weary of the struggle.
At 5’9” tall, in January 2009 she weighed 287 lbs and March 2011 she reached her goal of 165 lbs. This July 2012 she weighed 168 lbs. In October 2012 she posted that her weight was around 175, and recently said that she hasn’t weighed herself since October.
Kate has recently encountered some personal difficulties; has been reading a book about Intuitive Eating, and has decided to ease up on the things she has been doing do lose weight and to maintain that lost weight … with the understanding that she might need to accept a little bit of weight-gain and a size that is a bit larger than normal. Recently she has made the choice to follow Intuitive Eating principles.
I’ve seen this strategy quite a few times before in others, and have also experienced it myself. Unfortunately, it is based on merely wishful thinking, and I’ve never seen a Reduced Obese person maintain weight-loss for any length of time while using it. For most Reduced Obese people, easing up on the maintenance process is like a runaway train. Those empty fat cells are there just waiting to be filled, and without ongoing conscious control, there’s very little chance that a Reduced Obese person’s body won’t return to it’s previous high weight.
One reason I’ve never witnessed this happening to anyone who has been obese for a lengthy time period, -- is because very few people talk honestly about their experience with it. I’ve seen many grandiose claims of success from “experts” and other marketers, but that type of puffery has little value. I see real people sharing information regarding a regain of up to about 50 lbs, at which time they disappear from internet view, or refuse to discuss the subject any further. I have seen several people (including myself) … who after regaining all or most of their lost weight, …. start another weight-loss effort, and achieve great success again. A few of those people are willing to share about what happened to them after they made the choice to “ease up”. After a large regain, some people do start dieting in order to keep their bodies from gaining the rest of the weight. Personally, I've learned that I much prefer being normal size, and dieting to stay there... than being morbidly obese, and then dieting to keep from getting even larger.
Kate’s post reminds me of another great blog that I followed for years. “The Pasta Queen”, another young woman (also 5’9” tall) who lost from 372 lbs down to 185 lbs (1/2 her total weight), published a book about it, developed ongoing headaches and published a book about that. After one-and-a-half-years of weight-loss maintenance, she admitted to a weight-gain of 50 lbs.
The Pasta Queen continued blogging for another one-and-a-half-years, but during that time she didn’t share her maintenance weights and seldom talked about weight-loss/maintenance issues. At that time she stopped posting in her diet blog, and began a new blog about non-diet issues in which there are only a very-few, very-vague references to her ongoing issues of weight-loss, weight-gain or maintenance. It seems fairly clear that she hasn't lost weight again. So, has the Pasta Queen continued to regain lost weight? Maybe not, but my best guess is: Unless she has resumed dieting in the effort to keep her body from going above the inital 25% weight regain, then the answer to that question is probably, Yes.
The book mentioned in Kate’s article: “Health at Every Size” (2010) by Linda Bacon is based on the principles of Intuitive Eating.
There are many articles here in my DietHobby Achieves which state my position on Intuitive Eating, and I have read Linda Bacon’s book. It makes some interesting points, in that the author admits that a obese person’s body is different than a normal body and says that a person who follows the principles of Intuitive Eating might not lose any weight. However, what the book should have, … but did NOT say, … is that a “reduced obese” person following the principles of Intuitive Eating will probably regain ALL of their lost weight and become morbidly obese again.
Essentially, Intuitive Eating is simply another Diet (eating plan), and the Scale is merely a helpful tool. If a person who is attempting to follow that eating plan, can actually succeed with forever eating only very moderate amounts of healthy food, that person will be able to maintain or lose weight. Unfortunately … for a Reduced Obese person to Rely (depend on with trust and confidence) on eating Signals from a Body with a Goal to refill all of its deflated fat cells,... while refusing to exert ongoing, conscious control to limit the amounts and kinds of food eaten ... is a recipe for a weight regain.
I wish Good Luck to Kate, but based on my knowledge of Intuitive Eating, I expect that she will regain all, or most, of her lost weight … maybe not right away, but probably within the next several years. Evidentally she now intends to pay no attention to the scale, but there are many other ways to tell that one has regained all of the lost weight. I am curious to know whether Kate will be an unusual person who is open and truthful about what happens to the size and condition of her body due to her decision. It would be interesting to see her openly reverse her Before and After pictures.
Although I feel sad about what Kate will probably experience in her future, her post was helpful to me because it reminds me of my past, and helps motivate me to continue on with my own personal maintenance efforts, …. no matter how weary I get of continually doing all the things that it takes to keep me from returning to morbid obesity.
My own personal choice in 2013 is to continue on with my current maintenance efforts.
Happy New Year to you all.
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