Viewer Mail & The Art of Weight Maintaining.

Dear MizFit,

Ive lost all the weight I want to lose and I am actually more stressed out now than ever. I know how to lose but how do I maintain??

help.

This is one of those questions for the ages huh? Rumor has it (and I say rumor because I could not locate any hard science to back this up) 95 percent of all weight loss is, eventually, regained.

Whether this statistic is high or not—-we are all painfully aware that every pound shed is an enormous effort while each pound regained? easy as ben & jerry’s pie!

I almost didnt answer this question (see? Im honest!) as my fear was precisely that: I dont have an answer.

What I do have, however, are a few tips which worked for me and an entire Bumbling Band whom Im confident is ready & willing to chime in.

I am a believer in giving away the too-big clothes (and never referring to them using the F-word, but that’s a post for a different day).

Get them out of your closet. Period.

Im also a believer in selecting a pair of scale bottoms (pants, skirt, shorts. anything sans-elastic waist) which fit perfectly at goal weight and using them as a barometer for quick check-ins to see if youve gained a pound or three.

Make your choice a realistic one.

Dont choose your pair of skinny jeans (Im actually not certain what this phrase means—-if it’s referring to a TREND or jeans one fits into when skinny).

Pick an article of clothing which fits and is *realistic* as far as remaining something which will fit (if we’re honest with ourselves I think we all know what I mean here. if not—hit me up in the comments).

Losing the weight slowly means you are more likely to have lost it permanently (again something we all are aware of but, in our immediate gratification society, always bears repeating).

I also needed to lose the weight using an exercise program which was realistic for me to continue after I hit my goal weight.

Many people cite stopping the exercise program they used while losing as the main reason they regain pounds shed.

I also believe that crucial to my maintaining was that the changes Id made had become my lifestyle.

My portions werent tinytiny but they were portions no longer buffets.

I ate breakfast every morning so that my metabolism was sparked immediately.

I walked when I could instead of driving.

I surrounded myself with healthy, *optimistic* and lifeloving friends.

The difficult piece in maintaining becomes, for many, CALORIES.

The question of how many to consume, while still exercising, to stop losing yet not regain.

(any dietitians in the house? feel free to add your .02 below!)

For me this wasnt an issue. I increased what I ate mainly in the arenas of protein and (good) fat & found that I did gain a pound or so but not much more than that.

I also discovered that, through this increase, my hair looked better and my joints felt less achy (fat, People. It’s our friend!).

If youre not a fan of trial & error there are places where you can calculate what your caloric intake should be to maintain a given weight and we discussed one method of calculating that same number in this Viewer Mail, too.

Ive been told by nutritionist friends that the 250 plan is one which they recommend.

Start by adding 250 calories to your current diet (and no. they didnt say what type of calories so, Im assuming, they’re depending on us to make ‘good choices’ ).

After a week or so weigh yourself/try on those scale-bottoms.

If you lost weight add another 250 calories to your daily intake.

Gained weight (which, Id imagine, would be rare) cut back and return to what you’d been eating.

Remained the same? VOILA. There’s your new food plan. Play around with it (adding in treat meals etc) and enjoy!

WHEW.

And this was the short version of my answer (you can thank me in the comments) as I know that everyone’s experience is unique and hope that the COMMENTversation can generate even more tips & hints for our emailer.

Why don’t I overtrain when I follow a halfmarathon running program???

(this next question is THANKFULLY answered not by me but by Nitmos of Feet Meet Street)

You have to pick the right plan? You have to trust the plan?

By “right” plan, I mean you have to select a plan that STARTS with the correct assumption about your STARTING abilities.
Half marathons are, of course, long distances. There are training programs that assume you are already a runner and can handle 4-5 mile runs and go from there with the plan.

There are other so-called “couch to race” training plans for people who, starting out, don’t run at all.

The training programs are different. As long as you matched the training program – both the starting expectation and the race goal expectation (i.e. the ultimate goal is just to get you to the finish vs. goal is to contend for your age group place) – with your starting ability and ultimate race goal, you should be fine.

You can handle it.

The running experts who create these plans have years of experience and know how build you up.

Thanks Nitmos. Any runners out there with other tips, thoughts or cautionary tales? Please to hit us all up in the comments.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks, Miz, for this post. It’s helpful not just to people who wish to maintain, but also to those like me who are losing weight but still a long way off from goal – I realise that choices I make now will have an effect on how easy it is for me to maintain my weight loss. That makes me feel more empowered, as I was scared of losing loads of weight then putting it back on, as I ‘ve done so before.

    I’ve just been blogging about this, but one crucial factor which I think will help determine whether someone can successfully maintain their weight loss or not, is their STATE OF MIND. For me, the difference between now and when I’ve lost weight in the past is that in the past, I was focused almost exclusively on monitoring my food intake and exercise. So I lost, but then I put it on again. Now, I’m losing by focusing mainly on my emotions and my psyche. I’ve been having therapy to work on my childhood issues that led me to overeat. And you know what? I’ve lost weight without monitoring my food intake. I have started exercising again, but because I want to and it makes me feel good. By addressing the reasons why I turn to the chocolate, I’m getting some control over this issue that I never had in the past.

    Sure, counting calories in and out will lead to people losing weight, but I firmly believe that until some people change their emotional relationship to food, they will continue to struggle.

  2. MizFit says

    *waves to the Lioness*
    Thanks so much for the reminder of MINDSET (and for stopping by).
    you are 100% right that, until we heal the reasons why we eat/drink/gamble/shop/procrastinate/whatevs, we are destined to repeat the behavior again & again.

    Miz.

  3. says

    Adding extra movement to my day, a regular morning exercise and eventually making some better decisions with my food intake have all been vital in my weight-loss journey.

    Paying attention and the constant “hunger” to learn from individuals such as you MizFit is very helpful. Nice post….thank you!

  4. says

    This is why I’m so glad I’ve found your blog, Mizfit. Because while I can’t imagine being too thin as you sometimes mention, you give so much good information.

    I’m fighting back from the summer, having gained back some weight because I did not have the same open schedule to work out. I hope to make next summer different by planning ahead and keeping my workouts going. With my metabolic issues, I have learned I have to work out at least 3-4 days a week just to maintain and not gain!

    Now, I’m back to square 1…ok, maybe square 2, and I’ve got to buckle down and refocus to get back fully on track. Something tells me, your blog advice will help to do that…so thanks!

  5. MizFit says

    back atcha Steph with the thanks.
    I appreciate your comment and while we may all be different on the outside (from shape to height to body art) I do believe that AT THE CORE WE ARE ALL THE SAME.

    we all wanna get to that square, whatever its number is :), where we are healthy happy balanced and fulfilled.

    thanks for coming by!

    Miz.

  6. says

    You have said so many things in your post that I 100% agree with, that you’ve almost left me nothing to say, but I’ll try anyway.

    For me, the important thing is how you’ve approached the weight loss. If you’ve done it slowly and through developing a sustainable healthy lifestyle then I don’t think you’ll have any problems at all. Just keep your healthy lifestyle going and increase your food intake slightly – that’s my advice.

    Agree about getting rid of the old clothes. My dad was the recipient of my newer ones!

    I kept one old belt as a demonstration of the old me!

    I am an obsessive scale dweller. Some people say this is a bad thing, but for me it really works to know my weight on a day-to-day basis.

  7. says

    It has to become your lifestyle – that’s the key for me. Oh, I’ll still splurge and have ice cream, or pizza, or some potato chips – every once in a while. But the majority of the time, I try to follow the same nutrition plan I was on while losing weight. I have cut back a bit on the cardio I do (but have not removed it from my workouts). And continue with strength training. Muscle is a key, as well. And continue to evaluate what you are doing on a regular basis – every couple of weeks, or every month – and tweak accordingly.

    Great post, MizFit!

  8. says

    Great advice!

    I SO agree about the lifestyle stuff.

    So if someone has gotten to their low weight by doing temporary, drastic, unsustainable things, the answer, unfortunately, might be that the low weight is NOT maintainable. (So if that were the case, I wouldn’t throw out the slightly larger sizes just yet). As you stop doing the drastic things, you may have to exhange a slightly larger size for a healthy, fit body and sustainable lifestyle.

    But if the weight was lost doing sensible things, just keep doing MOST of those things and check in frequently with waist size/scale and adjust as needed.

  9. says

    Great advice as always, Miz! I think Roaring Lioness has a good point – mindset can be a crucial determinant in how things turn out. Try to approach this new phase with an attitude of pride in what you’ve accomplished rather than fear that you will come undone. How often have people derailed themselves due to fear of success?

    Nitmos gives a great answer for running! There are tons of (free) training programs available. You just have to find one that fits with your current mileage base and go from there. Never take on too much to quickly and you’ll be fine!

  10. MizFit says

    thank goodness for Nitmos is all I can say.
    Whether he likes it or not he hath become my go to running guru.

    And I agree with all of you it is as EASY AS and as HARD AS a complete mindset shift.

    Miz.

  11. says

    I agrees with what was said above. Give away those F clothes…I have given almost an entire wardrobe of bigger sized stuff away and my boss says I dress unprofessionally but I have NO good clothes that fit anymore. Umm… I also think moving is key. sometimes I move, whether or not my main goal is burning off every calories I consumed for the day. Even if you’re not working out and sweating your balls off, go for a walk! Adding more activity and movement to your life is key in keeping it off.

    Also- my issue is this stupid sense of entitlement I have. Where I’m on vacation, out to dinner, sitting on my couch and I think because I was good all day, week, etc that I should have that cookie/order of fries/1 lb block of cheddar cheese (run on sentence?) The point is, I need to regain my sense of control. The fries will ALWAYS taste the same. And if I still want them tomorrow, I can go get them. This little “issue” is probably the last hurdle I have to hit my goal weight. Then I’ll be like the e-mailer!!!

  12. says

    Tough first question! I think you need to find a diet you (mentally and hunger wise) are comfortable with. If you can find a pattern of eating that makes you happy, I think you’re less likely to over eat. For me, that means eating small amounts throughout the day. You also need to know what foods your body is sensitive to (this is more trying it out and seeing what works/ doesn’t). I know that eating fruit in the morning (vs like bread or oatmeal), helps me feeling healtheir and not weighed down. By starting off with a food that makes me feel good, I find I am less likely to eat junky foods throughout the day. But on the other hand, I know oatmeal/bigger breakfasts helps other feel full so they don’t eat more throughout the day. You must find the schedule and foods that work for you! Listen to your body and you will be on your way to success!

  13. MizFit says

    and FGF Id love to nudge the commentversation toward just that:

    ENTITLEMENT.

    That struggle.

    I didnt want to bring that up in my response since the emailer didnt mention it but, IMO, it is something we *all* struggle with.

    anyone have any good ideas? tips? insights?

    for me it has gotten EASIER as Ive aged as so much of my caring about being healthy is how I feel—–and I feel like crap unhealthy & sluggish the worse I eat.

    and the more sluggish I feel the less I can keep up with this whirl I call my life.

    anyone else?

    Miz.

  14. says

    Great explanation of the trial & error that goes into finding the right diet options after losing weight. And, you’re spot on about the little bit of extra (good) fats.

    Avocados and nuts, along with the occasional heaping scoop of ice cream, keep me from craving all the crunchy and chewy junk food which used to be a part of my diet.

  15. says

    I’m still trying to get used to seeing Nitmos say something without hime referring to want to punch someone in the face or defecate chocolate covered fruits :P

    Good advice all around ;D The big clothes things is a biggie for me.

  16. says

    As mentioned above, its about a lifestyle change. Having reached a weight loss goal, does not mean “I have arrived, I can now stop working out and watching what I eat”.
    I totally agree that first, you ought to lose the weight slowly, that way, you know you are not going through some sort of unsustainable diet. Stick to something maybe a little tighter but mostly something you feel confident you could keep doing for ever.
    Second, workout. Never stop. I remember reading a study saying that people who exercise for weight loss where much more likely to quit their fitness program than those who exercised for health. So shift your paradigm. You’ve lost the weight and feel better in your body. Now, what do you want to do with this body? Set new goals, wanna run a marathon? Start lifting weights? Get back into volleyball?

  17. MizFit says

    I KNOW! I think Nitmos erroneously (misspelled? Who can say. I’m typing with my thumbs) believes he should be mature up in herre.

    He
    Sorely
    Mistaken

    Miz

  18. says

    First off, have a plan that lets you have your favorite foods. While junk food is bad, you can try to find ways to make it healthier, or just have it and understand the calories involved (so you don’t go over).

    With regards to the entitlement issue, whenever I feel like I “deserve” a treat, above and beyond the small “indulgences” I have built in (a square of 72% cocoa dark chocolate, a muffin, a fruit bar), I go out and buy myself something cute, that may be related to fitness (yoga pants) but doesn’t have to be (jeans or a pair of heels). It just has to be something I love. (Keep in mind: ONE thing, especially if it’s expensive)

    The one thing I’ll never do again is reward myself with food, as then if I’m bad, the “logical” thing in my mind is to punish by removing the reward.

  19. MizFit says

    good point Annette about the plateau.

    and, IMO, this can REALLY work as far as a vacation.

    when you’re striving to MAINTAIN a loss and not gain—but not focusing on losing whilst on vay cay either.

    Miz.

  20. says

    Maintenance – scary!! I don’t know how to “maintain” because my weight is always interrupted by pregnancies and I have an issue with never being thin enough. Yeah, yeah, I know.

    I liked your advice MizFit. Very sane and reasonable. I second you about keeping the exercise and continuuing to make healthy food choices.

  21. says

    Great advice as well. Felt like I’ve fallen off the good eating in the last few days, but with no family here, I’ll be back on track. Never knew I loved hummus so much I could eat it straight from the spoon.

    As for the running, they are worried about overtraining? It seems (if the plan is a good one) the only way to overtrain is do MORE than what it calls for! Or always run faster than it says.

  22. says

    Ooh, splendifabulous post! I love your tips, I agree with your tips, and I’d go so far as to say that your tips need to be given to everyone who’s just STARTING their weight loss journey, not just those almost at goal. Because you are so completely right…it’s so much easier to segue into maintenance if you’ve made changes to your lifestyle that you can live with forever.

    I think that’s the difference for me this time. I’m not at goal by a far cry, I must admit, but I’ve lost and kept off 40 pounds. I’m still working my way toward the finish line and I have good days and badbadbadWhatAnotherTwinkie? days, but I’m maintaining a much healthier lifestyle overall. And it’s completely because I’ve found (a) exercise I can live with and frequently enjoy, if not always adore; and (b) ways of eating clean and healthy that FIT with my lifestyle.

    So yeah, I think you actually DO have the answers. :-) They may not be easy answers, necessarily, but they are rockin’ good ones. I love the “scale bottoms” tip too; that is SO what I’m using. When I get there. Eventually.

    V.

  23. says

    I keep looking for an angle to insert childish humor but it just hasn’t presented itself yet. But I’ll keep looking…because I’m dedicated to immaturity. Thanks for the link!

  24. says

    I should SO read the comments before I add my own. Hmph.

    As far as entitlement goes – I have given that a lot of thought lately. And what I’ve come up with goes something like this:

    I should eat those chips. I have the right to eat those chips. I’m on vacation/depressed/tired/whatever. I deserve those chips.

    Okay. Why? Why do I deserve to eat something that, in the end, is going to make me feel like crap? Make me retain fluid, gain weight, be tired and cranky and sluggish, and feel bad about myself? I mean, what did I do, kick a kitten? Isn’t it sort of like saying “I deserve to get mugged”?

    I don’t deserve that. I deserve better. I deserve, I have the right to, I am ENTITLED to taking the time to find a snack that will taste good AND make me feel good, that will fuel my body and improve my general health and sense of well-being. That’s what I really deserve.

    It’s a thought process that requires practice, because we’re accustomed to thinking of this good-tasting crap food as a positive, as a reward, as an indulgence. It really does take mental retraining to see it for what it is – punishment for a body that does not in any way deserve to be punished. But if we can practice that retraining on a daily basis through conscious effort, eventually it really does make a difference.

    It’s not perfect. I’m still working on it. But that’s my thought. :-)

    V.

  25. says

    Bag Lady runs in, reads first couple paragraphs of post, giggles at the thought that: at the slow rate she is losing weight, she’ll be a skinny octogenarian!

    Dashes out again, promising to come back and finish reading entire post after painting all day….

  26. says

    Scale bottoms.

    Genius.

    Thanks for addressing the maintenance issue — I’m not even there yet, but I’m already nervous!

  27. says

    I decided that I didn’t want to buy gas this summer, so I’ve been walking everywhere. As a result, I’ve also been eating whatever I want. It works for the Europeans.

  28. says

    Entitlement – if I think I’m entitled to a second piece of cake, I have to remind myself that I am also entitled to feeling good and maintaining the weight I’ve lost. That usually shuts up the brat living inside my head!

  29. says

    Just echoing what others have said.

    Don’t lose weight by making changes that you cannot sustain when you’re at your optimal weight. Think of whatever you’re doing to lose weight as something that will be part of what you do for the rest of your life.

    And recognize that food is just food. Fuel. Pretty tasty fuel, but it’s not a reward, an entitlement, a comfort. This is a thousand times more important than any diet or exercise change, and of course, it’s the hardest part of all.

    Realize that small changes add up to big changes, and that’s just as true with maintenance as it is with loss. I mostly regained weight through making many small changes that individually seemed unimportant but added up to very important.

    This time around, I will lose slowly, but I will not regain. That’s the plan, anyway!

  30. MizFit says

    thanks for the segue, nina.

    I was with a friend this weekend (read: someone to whom I can say this) and she was lamenting the food plan I’d given her.

    Saying she didn’t like it whinewhinewhine.

    (She also has very specific and timecrucial goals in mind)

    And I turned to her and said I DON’T RECALL ASKING!
    EAT IT. IT’S THE FUEL TO YOUR GOALS. GOOD FUEL AT THAT. I DON’T CARE IF YOU LIKE IT.

    And, for her, it was an AH HA!moment (she told me later).

    The realization that, for right now for her, the food is a tool she needs to get to her goal.

    (There is a lot of it involved but its not pizza or poptarts.)

    That’s how I live 6 days out of 7.

    When I go to cram things in my piehole I ask myself if they bring me closer to my goal or NOT.

    Sometimes the answer is a resounding NOT and I cram anyway.

    But it’s a choice I’ve made in that moment at least.

    Have I thumb type rambled?

    Methinks so.

    Sorry….

    Miz.

  31. says

    I so agree on the giving away the too big clothes. And packing away those comfy maternity shorts and pants that really felt nice to lie around in for months post-baby. Yeah, those comfy maternity pants, no matter how super comfy they are (and they were comfy!), don’t help you lose. They just help you maintain the extra weight — not maintain the weight loss.

  32. says

    You can never quit working at your weight. You have to keep at it every day – splurge a little and enjoy life, but never let go of the habits you learned while you were losing the weight. You have to find healthy food and exercise that you truly enjoy or you’ll dread both and never stick to it. And I totally agree with the trying on something to gauge changes in your body. Oh, and don’t wear too many elastic-band clothes or you will never notice any changes until it’s way too late! ;)

  33. says

    I will add just a couple of things.
    First, keeping a blog with other fitness minded people really keeps me accountable! My little group of on-line fitness friends doesn’t have to all do things the same way, we just cheer for and encourage and nudge each other and it works! So, set up a blog with your goals and look for other blogs and encourage them. Watch your circle of friends grow and be ready to be held accountable!
    Also, I have an inspirational autistic son who keeps me in check. I could worry about the future and what it holds or lament over what I thought I was entitled to OR I can enjoy the beautiful and unique kid I have right now. The choice becomes obvious and that choice carries through into everything in my life. I don’t have to be unhappy or afraid with how things are (autism, weight, fear of maintaining) in order to get what I want. I can see how things are for right now, and simply move toward what I want without the fear. My jeans are a little snug? Move toward what I want. My son cries instead of using language? Move toward what I want. My house is a disaster? Move toward what I want. Can only run for 5 minutes and want to run a half? Move toward what I want. Which is what I am about right now…training for a half, so here is my response to that part of the post. Follow an expert’s training schedule. There are so many to choose from that you can find one that begins at your level. I love John, the penguin, Bingham’s plans. One other tidbit..I stopped my lower body lifting workouts while training so that I don’t over train my legs.

  34. MizFit says

    FF, very good point on the elastic.

    Some day, when we have time, I’ll tell you all about my writing my first manuscript, nike elastic shorts and the addition of two fluffy saddlebags.

    The short version is HEED FF’s words.

    Miz.

  35. says

    For me, I know that to maintain I will be faced with a new challenge, one that I will have to prepare for. It has taken me a long time to lose the weight that I have lost and I want nothing to derail this progress.

    Thanks for the comment about slowly lost weight staying off…that makes me happy :-D

  36. says

    How appropos today. I just wrote in my blog about how I should be thanking my lucky stars for my weight loss this last year. I’ve been stalled…..and while I’m not losing, I have been able to maintain! that is a HUGE HUGE HUGE plus…because in the long run it will help enable me to keep the weight off long term!

    I also think that to maintain and keep the weight off this journey has to be something one accepts for a lifetime…and so many people do not adopt it as such!

  37. says

    For me being honest with myself about the size I can and should maintain was the biggest challenge. I can be on a perpetual diet and try not to build muscle mass and weigh 125, or I can be strong and eat what I want (within healthy moderation, mostofthetime) and weigh ten pounds more. Am I really gonna make myself miserable for ten lousy pounds?

    (It’s also been a challenge in the opposite direction, when I was in college and 160+ and thought I looked super maintaining that with a steady diet of pizza & beer.)

  38. says

    This is my ongoing battle. I hold onto the bigger clothes “in case” which is not good. Will go home after work and toss all my old jeans. Except one pair – they’re only slightly too big but oh so comfy for lounging.

    It’s funny about the sense of entitlement. All my old treats no longer do it for me. I used to drool over a double chocolate chip muffin but lately, when I’ve indulged, it just hasn’t been as good. My new treats all seem to be healthier really. In a way, knowing how BAD the treats I used to crave are, I don’t seem to crave them as much. Except chocolate.

    That said, who knows how long this will last!

  39. says

    i’m glad everyone like entitlement. I also really vibed with what Valerie said about being rewarded with “crap.” I didn’t kick a kitten and I don’t want to eat bad food, I deserve better, I will strive to reward myself with more positive things. Thanks!

  40. MizFit says

    TFH? *very good point* about being realiztic with regards to the size we (the Bumbling Band. the royal) decide to attempt to maintain.

    I tried to make that point with the skinny jeans example above, but for some reason your comment resonated more with me…

    Miz.

  41. says

    Hey, I’ve maintained the same weight for this entire year so far. Yes, I think it’s where I want to be.

    I backed off a bit on the workouts, cardio 3 times a week instead of 5, and kept the strength/stability the same. And I tweeked my diet by adding about 200-300 calories a day.

    I have plenty of energy and seem satisfied with the way things are. If a few pounds start to creep back on (usually from eating too many processed carbs), I just add another day of cardio and drink a bit more water for a week, and I’m back!

  42. says

    Awesome Post! I especially love how you emphasize REALISTIC! I think too often, people (okay – me) have this “super-model”, size 0, image that they want to become… when that is not even realistic for their body frame or type. It’s so important to be realistic with your idea of health and then be happy with it. :)

  43. says

    Very good advice as per usual :-) I agree that mindset is a HUGE part of it. I say don’t go on a diet, get a lifestyle makeover! that makes maintenance easier as you didn’t just decide to take the steps to lose the weight, you trained yourself to make better choices and on the way lost the weight!

  44. says

    I agree wholeheartedly with you, MizFit–exercise is the key to maintenance for me. If I stay active, I don’t have to think tootoo much about what I eat…

    Thanks for checking in on me! It’s been a hectic week & I’ve barely been keeping my head above water–hoping to get back to regular posting next week…

  45. Kellie says

    This was a great post. Earlier this week I followed the link to the video of McD’s fries that NEVER age. That has helped me with maintenance TREMENDOUSLY!!!!!!

  46. says

    Great post and comments to boot!

    It’s not the maintenance phase itself that scares me…it’s figuring out the weight I can/should maintain.

  47. says

    And don’t be like Sassy, wearing virtually nothing more than workout clothes by day, elastic waist PJ pants by night. Unless you slip on a skirt or pair of jeans every now and then, you don’t realize the gain! Boot cut yoga pants are a little too forgiving!

  48. says

    Excellent post and everyone’s tips are great. The getting rid of “big clothes” is a big one and has definitely helped me.

    As for the half marathon program, I’d just like to add that you have to be willing to let “life” get in the way of your training sometimes, and be OK with it. So if you miss a scheduled run here or there, don’t worry too much about it and just continue with the plan.

  49. says

    Yippy – two of my favorite topics.

    Maintaining a healthy weight is a lifestyle. You can’t get to your goal weight, then think “I’m done now and can go back to my old habits.” For me, it will be something that I always deal with.

    My My 5 Step Maintenance Game:

    1. Continue to weigh myself – 2 or 3 times per week (only in the morning and only after a run!)

    2. Nip any potential gains in the bud! If I see an increase, go back to my diet basics!

    3. Play the numbers game – if I’m running less, eat less calories. If I’m running more, I can allow for more calories.

    4. Stick with my routine (food & exercise) and MIX it up once in a while – keep it fun. Get back to weights, add some spin classes back in, go hiking, etc.

    5. Keep exercise a priority. This is difficult when starting new relationships, keeping up with friendships, etc. But I don’t want to fall into the trap of putting my exercise 2nd.

    Regarding OVER TRAINING – been there, done that. For my first marathon, I tried to stick wtih the plan, but I wasn’t cross training. I would run on my cross training days. Rookie mistake. About a month or so before the big day, I had the worst hip pain that seriously cost me at least 25 mins on my marathon time. Sometimes less is more. And cross training means cross training!!!

  50. MizFit says

    thanks Eileen.
    Obvious point if you’re a runner perhaps? (Maybe? I’d not know ;))—–but helpful to a newbierunner like I am.

    To just keep on keepin’ on.

    and P.O.M.? DANG. thanks for the laidoutplan!
    Miz.

  51. Cammi99 says

    My recommendation is that you fit some purposeful maintenance into your weight loss. For a week, month, whatever, make maintaining your objective. Give yourself kudos, high-fives, backpats, attagirls when you meet this goal. Not a plateau, where you feel like not losing is a failure, but learning to eat a little more, and to not lose focus, as the goal. Then go back to losing weight.

    C

  52. says

    I am an AWESOME maintainer, but a crappy loser. I lose a pile o’ weight (40 lbs, 30 lbs), and then I just stop. And I maintain. I’ve never gained back anything I’ve lost (which means yeah, I have lost 70 lbs total), but I plateau forEVER. Current plateau? 10 months. The plateau between the 40lb & 30lb loss? 3 years. I just need to figure out how to kick into high gear & lose my last 15-20 lbs.

  53. says

    Whoa nelly. That was my longest comment in history. Sorry about that – told ya it was my 2 fav topics. ha ha. (well that, and SEX, but that’s another Oprah)

  54. says

    adding 250 calories is a great idea! of course then you would have to count calories (shudder)… i agree with P.O.M…. weigh yourself occasionally (for me it’s once a week at the same time) and put exercise first. if i know i’ve had a good workout, i don’t feel so bad about what i eat (in moderation of course).

    the truth is i find maintaining almost as hard (if not harder) than losing, because there is so much leeway.

  55. Ann says

    I can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been said for the first question. Good luck and take care of yourself!

    For the second question, please, I beg you, take care of yourself (huh, I got a theme for my comment!). If you push yourself beyond what your body can handle, you might mentally enjoy the triumph, but eventually an injury will pop up. If you overtrain, you run (I’m on fire!) the risk of never running again.

  56. dragonmamma/naomi w. says

    I’ve maintained my 45-pound weight loss for about four years now.

    I will echo what many others have said: Elastic waist pants are a tool of the devil! The only time you have any business wearing them is during your workouts.

    Jeans are your friends. Wear them until it’s time to go to bed–evening snacks are much less tempting when there’s no place for an expanding tummy to expand into.

  57. says

    it’s hard for me to think of anything that hasn’t already been said…

    the most important thing for me has been to keep up with my routine i used to lose the weight in the first thing.. as soon as i slack with eating or exercise (eating is the bigger problem), the pounds start creeping back. just make sure that working out and eating well are enjoyable (try new fitness classes, new and ethnic foods) to keep things from getting boring– makes it much easier to stay with it :D

  58. says

    Hey everyone–

    The whole maintenance question is exactly why I’ve decided not to diet at all, but to just start exercising and making intelligent food choices. We’ll see how THAT works out….:-P

    The thing is if I try to go on a diet, I just start obsessing about food!

  59. says

    Wow, perfect post for me!! Thanks!! I am totally struggling with the whole maintenance issue… I have been working with a sports nutritionist after having lost about 70-lbs over the past two years… For sure I have made huge lifestyle changes and my fitness routine has actually increased as I work on maintenance….

    That said, I was getting sick a lot, thinning hair, etc. So my doctor sent me off to the nutritionist. I have gained almost seven pounds since working with her- gack!!! gasp!!! Is the beginning of the end? She seems to think its all muscle- I did ratchet up my core and weight lifting around the same time..

    My measurements are good, but its freaking me out to gain weight… my mile time is dropping, but its freaking me out to gain weight…. my thighs are getting bigger and more defined, but its freaking me out to gain weight…

    Anyway, I will get another body composition test next month, but, wow, I don’t want to gain the weight I lost back.. I do think being totally committed to a lifestyle change will anchor this weight loss…

    And I am a big fan of the jeans test… I have a pair of levis that are the smallest size I wear and I am so in them today….

  60. says

    Ok, I have NO experience with deliberately maintaining a weight loss (well, not in a healthy way, anyway), but of all the advice posted, Cammi99’s seems like the one I’d go with personally. If something really scares me, I’m better off trying it in little bits before I have to tackle the big thing, so using a week here and there during the loss to “maintain” seems like a good way to get your feet wet.

    Also, regarding the “entitlement” issue: I did a lot of voice dialogue therapy, and during that time my therapist pointed out to me that “I deserve this” and “It’s not fair” are things you hear from children (or from adults who are acting like children), not adults.

    So now, depending on where that voice is coming from emotionally, I’ll address “I deserve this” as though I were speaking to a kid. Sometimes I tell myself, “No, you don’t deserve a cookie for exercising. You were SUPPOSED to exercise – it’s not something extra that you should be rewarded for.” (I always think of that Chris Rock routine, if you’ve seen it.)

    Sometimes I’ll ask myself WHY I feel like I deserve something – if I’m sad or angry or upset in some way. Ususally then I can find something else that will make me feel better.

    Finally, I’ve found a lot of times that just by giving myself permission to eat whatever it is, that I take away the “forbidden” aspect, and poof! I find that I don’t really want it, anyway. I just wanted it because I wasn’t supposed to have it. So a LOT of times I tell myself, “You can have that if you want it. But it’s not going anywhere. You could eat it tomorrow if you’d rather have it then.” You know that saying about how it takes two to fight? Same principle. If I can keep from arguing with that voice, there’s no battle. And ninety percent of the time, I skip the mac’n’cheese and go eat an apple.

  61. MizFit says


    (Zombiemom? I’m voting for muscle gain as well. Keep us body comp. posted)

    All.
    Hail.
    Marste’s
    Therapist.

    I ENTIRELY agree and have tough loved clients with that as well.

    Miz.

  62. says

    thanks for the maintenance question/answer! i’m not quite there *yet* but i will be hopefully in the not so distant future, and i’m one of those crazy plan ahead people, so i always like to know what to expect from something in the future.

  63. says

    Well, you know maintaining weight loss has been on my mind this year. After losing it all so publicly and with the support of a life coach, trainer and dietitian, I was terrified that once the support — and the attention — disappeared, so would my good habits. That hasn’t been the case, although I will admit that a monthly weigh-in and photo shoot is serious motivation to stay on track.

    That said, here’s what I’ve done:

    1. I don’t own a scale — too much potential to get obsessive about normal ups and downs. Instead, I do what Miz suggests. I’ve got my “frame of reference” pants that fit me at the end of the Weight Loss Diary column. As long as those babies still slide on and button, it’s all good.
    2. I make it a point to keep up with my strength training, which in my opinion, has made the biggest difference not only in the look of my body, but in my metabolism, too. Building and maintaining that muscle base keeps the fires burning hot.
    3. When I fall off track in eating healthy, which I do regularly, I remind myself that a “blip” doesn’t necessarily have to become a downward spiral. I pick myself up, wash the dried ice cream off my face and tell myself that tomorrow is another day.
    4. I try, whenever I can, to pre-plan and think things through. I can bring a healthy snack to my son’s two-hour baseball practice and come home to a sensible dinner that’s been prepared ahead of time (as much as possible) or I can fly by the seat of my pants and ravage a package of crackers while I try to decide what’s for dinner when we get home. Sounds common sense (because it is) but it’s really that kind of planning and thinking that keeps me on track.

  64. MizFit says

    Sounds common sense (because it is) but it’s really that kind of planning and thinking that keeps me on track.

    that sentence and the whole comment above, dara, is IT. in the sense of the ole IT’S SIMPLE.

    not to do but what needs to be done.

    simple. common sense. whatever we call it it all boils down to PLANNING, being PROACTIVE, and never thinking we can coast (for months at a time anyway).

    and a MONTHLY PHOTOSHOOT?

    that would have been enough to push this NONobsessive into O-Town.

    Miz.

  65. Daisy says

    You know I just read an article in a fitness magazine that said there is always tomorrow. You know how our mentality is always like I will start tomorrow! But the writer suggested that instead of thinking of it that way. You look at an indulgance…aka chocolate, chips, pizza, and think I can always have that tomorrow.

  66. Cammi99 says

    I just got my Oiselle sportsbra in the mail! I sent Sally a thank you and she shot me a reply (thanking me for the thank you) w/in mins. Talk about good customer relations. Wow!

    C

  67. says

    Hi Carla –

    Thanks for the good reminder on all of this weight maintenance stuff. I think it’s part of why it’s taken me so long to get back on the bandwagon again. I lost 50 pounds (it took me two years to do so), kept it off for two years, then gained in all back in six months. Part of me is going, “Why try – you’ll again it back again.”

    But I’m hoping this time to be smarter about it once I get the weight off again (and I WILL get it off.) Whatever I’m doing to lose the weight is what I have to keep doing to keep it off. Period.

    Remind me I said that, will you? :-)

  68. says

    Thanks Miz….

    I am curious to see what is really going on with body comp… I cannot imagine that the sports nutritionist would be fattening me up… I just went from eating very, very few calories to a whole lot more… that said, it did give me the energy to add ten miles a week , drop time by a minute to two minutes per mile depending on the terrain, add a few more days of weights all while juggling two babies and a business….

    I am nervous because part of how I got fat – besides eating insane and poor food choices- was telling myself it wasn’t “fat its muscle”….

    Anyhoo… thanks

  69. says

    Great post. Loved the comments, too. Maintaining is so *unsexy* it rarely gets talked about. I’ve read that maintenance is losing and gaining the same 3 pounds (or 2 or 4 or whatever your “limit” is). That’s been pretty true for me that past 10 months (maintaning a 55 pound loss). There was a blip for a while there where I was over my comfort zone by 5 pounds, and I nipped it in the bud straight away by going back to hard-core dieting.

    Yes! Dieting! It’s not a bad word, for me. It worked, for me.

    All my big clothes are gone. And I’m not buying bigger pants.

  70. says

    Your advice is great, especially about the clothes. I’ve been the same size all my adult life by simply never owning bigger clothes. If the clothes don’t fit, I fix myself instead of buying new clothes.

    I also have a dietary cheat day when I can eat pretty much whatever I want. It’s my long run day, too. No long run, no cheat day. Keeps me motivated!

  71. says

    I’m sorry to say that I’ve had this experience: I lost a good bit of weight but gained it right back. Now I’m trying to lose it again. Exercise is not the problem, it’s cutting down on food. I’m starting to go back down again, though. It’s just so easy to revert to old habits. I think that the key is in constant monitoring and as soon as you see scale creep, act.

  72. MizFit says

    you all make some good points. from maintaining not being *sexy* so not much discussed to the WHY EVEN TRY YOU’LL JUST GAIN IT BACK to the scale creep frustration.

    it’s so different for each of us yet so the same.

    I know that’s why I love reading the comments and other people’s blog posts as it completely normalizes my life experiences.

    Miz.

  73. says

    I always wondered about this too. I guess it’s still issues we battled with during weight loss, huh? Portion control, entitlement, etc. I had been prepared to “battle” (ok, not battle but need to keep these things in play) with it for the rest of my life. I like the 250 thing…I’ll have to keep that in mind for my long awaited time that I am maintaining (who knows when it’ll come).
    Thanks for posting this…great advice from everyone!

  74. says

    Over 80 comments!?!? Wow! :)

    I love love love all of these tips. I”ve never thought of using pants to scale your weight. That could be VERY useful.

    And was it to not refer to fat pants as F*t pants? Now that I think of it, that could help create a really healthy mindset.

    You rock.

  75. says

    I like the Zig-Zag method. That’s all I got.

    Oh and I received my very cute *freebie* top today. Thank you again Mizfit and Sally!

  76. says

    Great advice by everyone and Mizfit I cant agree more… i think it is def an “experimenting process” I hate the word diet because it sends feelings of deprivation.. where as finding a healthy balance is something that can be maintained.. for me I have learned to let go of diet cycles,,,, to leave my food rules behind and try to eat a close to the foods God created us to eat… to try to not think of a hard work out as a key to treating myself to eat somethign because that sets you up for binge cycles.
    I think once you learn to not fear food but embrace it as fuel and health you dont feel the need to restrict and binge but rather be able to have control and balance.

    And most importantly forgive yurself when your not perfect because noone is and it makes it eaiser when your forgive to get back on the healthy banwagon!

  77. says

    Interesting stuff. I gardened all day today, so feel pretty tired, but toned. I’ve also been swimming a lot. If only I could stay away from those Hershey’s bars…

  78. says

    Miz,

    “Losing the weight slowly means you are more likely to have lost it permanently (again something we all are aware of but, in our immediate gratification society, always bears repeating)”

    Amen to that sistah…

  79. says

    Nitmos is right on. If you pick a plan that fits your goals and your lifestyle, you’ll be prepared and are likely to reach your goals (assuming you FOLLOW said plan!). Which reminds me, my pick for my first half-marathon is Seattle . . . and just 16 weeks from now. Off I go to finalize MY plan . . . and do something about sticking with it!

    Check back with me in a few weeks to be sure I haven’t floundered! I’m a bit hesitant to do this, though I WANT to, because when I marathon trained before I didn’t have kids. Now I have TWO of the little rascals! So, the whole motherhood thing is now a factor, though I know that thousands of women make it work (which is helpful and encouraging). BUT, I’m also a person who sets a goal and will do just about anything to reach it (which makes me really picky about what goals I set). I’m worried that this goal may be unrealistic with a 4 year old and an 19 month old . . . but I just want to taste the wonder of distance running again!!! Sorry for the rambling . . . I guess I had to get that out!

  80. says

    This is interesting. I never had to lose weight, but a friend of mine is almost at her goal weight and is worried about maintaining. I am going to email her this post.

  81. says

    A great post on a very important topic that is often ignored, no matter how many people think about it!
    The eating plans we work out for clients are two stage ones: one for loss and another for maintenance. It’s just a natural, subtle shift in eating habits. Exercise should be the same; though there’s no reason why you have to decrease that at all if you’re having fun.

  82. MizFit says

    so many fabulous points.

    what’s sticking in my head right not?
    brianna’s of:

    I’m also a person who sets a goal and will do just about anything to reach it (which makes me really picky about what goals I set).

    IMO this makes her SMART not picky.
    I could learn a thing or three from you, B!

  83. says

    I think the giving away of too big clothes also applies to giving away of too small clothes. Here is what I mean… I just went away for a couple of days and stuffed some clothes in a bag to wear. I was less than excited when I realized I’d packed the wrong jeans – a pair from a time when I was much skinner (too skinny?) and now look like denim stretch pants when I manage to pull them on and button them.

    I have no idea why I still have these pants, unless I become unhealthy again they will never fit me. They remind me of less healthy and less happy times, sort of make me feel bad about myself and yet I hold on to them because …. who knows. Maybe I secretly wish they will one day magically fit again.

    Anyway, my point is that holding on to clothes that don’t fit, for whatever reason, can be a powerful indicator of what someone thinks about their current body (oh i’ll fit into them again or oh, what if i gain weight again) and that really can cause you to play mind games.

    Hope this made sense. :)

    Heather

  84. says

    The general attitute in the world might be that “maintenance is not sexy,” but boy, it’s become an obsession of mine lately. Maybe I’m jumping too far ahead (got a lot of weight to lose to get into the healthy-for-me range), but I certainly don’t want to regain what I’ve lost so far, and I want my new, hard-won good habits to stick!

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