Maintainence isnt sexy.

wait. remind me what HEEL means again?

wait. remind me what HEEL means?

When last we left Coop he was happily drooling all over his new domicile.

He slid effortlessly into our lives—but not so much into the lives of the neighborhood canines.

Coop, we quickly learned, had some socializing to do.

We examined our options, interviewed trainers, and decided sleep away camp was the way to go.

Two weeks. All training all the time. No Tornado’y distractions. Then home to us where Id *maintain* what he’d learned.

On our way to pick up the canine wonder I said to the Husband:

I get the fact I’ll have to work hard at maintaining what Coop learned. I realize it wont be fun. Ive lived maintaining for 20 years. MAINTAINING IS NOT SEXY.

The Husband had no idea what I meant in precisely the way, I surmise, all of YOU immediately grasped my point:

All of the above propel us on to greater fitness/weight loss success.

The ‘power’ of most of the above wanes after weight has been shed/goals reached.

Maintaining? Not glamorous

Maintaining? Never featured on a magazine cover alongside a titillating photo announcing “Find out how Sheila shed 30 pounds and struggles daily to maintain her loss!!!”

I knew maintaining Coop’s training would be challenging because I knew my own weight loss maintaining hadnt been sexy easy.

I was confident I could rock it because I recognized our differences —while seemingly vast—-were few.

I prepared for Coop retrieval by reminding myself of the three steps I went through with my own maintaining process.

Step one: This is all new & super! Im so happy!!! For Coop it was us seeing how he’d transformed.  For *me* it was shedding weight/discovering my love of the iron.  Goal achievement feels so flipping EXCITING it’s hard to envision the newness (weight-loss or Coop’s new skillz) ever losing its power to motivate!

Yay! He's gots some knowledge!

Yay! He’s gots some knowledge!



Step Two: You know I can do this. Must we practice again!? (AKA My new bod rocks—do I really have to work to *maintain* it? Some slacking wont hurt—will it?) I’ll admit my mind was BLOWN by all Coop learned at Boot Camp.  He was socialized.  He followed commands.  I was very tempted to get lazy as Id already been REWARDED with a rockin bod trained dog!  Maintaining had to start on day one.  I knew–from fitness–if I blew off day *one* CONSISTENCY would never return.

can we skip my being tethered just for this ONE day?

May we skip my being tethered just for ONE day?


Step three.  This is forever?! When do I rest on my hindlegs laurels?!  Maintaining what Coop learned is a forever process. Maintaining weight loss is a forever process. Maintenance requires we find new motivations as, typically, old motivators no longer work.  We’ve reaped those rewards.  I look to my daughter when I feel like slacking.  Ill never venture off my fitness path as she’s my living, breathing motivation to remain healthy.  Ill never slack on Coop-maintaining because as much as she adores him–he’s big & there’s some fear there.

well trained COOP=a FEARfree Tornado

well trained dog = a FEARfree Tornado


It’s true maintaining isnt as glam or sexy as the actual weight loss (or Coop training) process—but that doesnt mean it cant be done.

It’s all about consistency.



  •  From canines to fitness—what are your experiences with maintaining change?
  • What’s your best tip to avoid returning to old habits?


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  1. says

    Nice analogy! I’ve got experience with both and you’re right on. Slide on both and you’ll be at the square one before you know it. Maintenance isn’t sexy but it’s the one that gives the most rewards!

    • says

      I totally agree, the analogy is great. Everyone loves to see the “transformation photos” but the real challenge is the maintenance. It is not sexy but how many times do we see those who yo-yo because of the lack of consistent maintenance.

  2. says

    Great post! This was just what I needed on an early Monday morning. Sadly, this is where I dropped the ball and I finding my way back. You are so right, I wasn’t consistant in maintenance and I am right back to square one.

  3. says

    Perfect analogy…let either slide and it could get very hairy!! I would say that constantly challenging yourself to do new things is a good way not to slip back!

  4. Healthy Mama says

    FANTASTIC post, Miz.
    Everything is about consistency. I remember that with my children but not really me.


  5. Ian says

    I might be your sole male reader LOL
    I lost 50 pounds a year ago and have re-gained 40.
    I think you are right not enough people talk about maintaining.

  6. says

    What a cute pup! Love the “wait. remind me what HEEL means?” picture! :-)

    I am exactly there these days, in a maintenance stage with both my puppy and my weight! It’s hard all right!

    I remember my orthodontist saying the maintenance period would be “long and difficult”, and I did not get how or why it could be more difficult than all I had gone through already… but yes, maintenance is quite the challenge, mostly because we feel we can relax… which is not true!

    You are right, it’s a life-long process!

  7. Hannah says

    I didn’t realize you’d lost weight.
    I am struggling with maintaining and would love more posts like this to keep me consistent.

  8. says

    With the dog and the diet, its been creating new habits and new routines. Literally creating — and then living — a new normal. To Hannah I say it’s not a life sentence of deprivation, it’s a new way of living and enjoying life to the fullest — eating nourishing foods that you love, being active in a way that lifts your mood as well as burns some calories.

  9. says

    I do so love that there is such thing as doggy sleep away camp! You are so right…maintenance is hard. I find that the older I get, the harder I need to work to keep it all in check…a few lbs. can easily creep back on if I am not consistently diligent.

  10. says

    what’s the saying?.. “consistency is key.” oh yes, that’s it. So true. I engraved it in my head. Love the analogy too!

  11. says

    LOVE this, and very seldom does anyone acknowledge that the non-dramatic maintenance stage can be even more challenging because there is so little novelty to it… you gotta create your own, which gets hard year after year.

    I find I have cycles in an overall pattern of maintenance. I’ve never gotten back out of shape or gained weight to the point where I was when I truly got serious decades ago, but there is about a 7 lb weight range and an ebb and flow in cardio/muscular fitness.

    But here’s to the long-time maintainers! It’s nice to see the effort that takes recognized.

  12. Sam says

    Sometimes it’s a harsh reality check to me that maintenance is always going to be challenging to me. I am returning to the gym today after a (required) 6 week hiatus and, while I am ready to get back in the saddle, I realize how much steam a 44 year old body can lose with even just a short break in consistent maintenance. Wish me luck! :)

  13. says

    I totally relate to being ignored for maintaining. I’ve joked that the way to get attention is to gain 50 pounds and then lose 40 of them :-)

    Really, I prefer being ignored.

  14. says

    I don’t have a huge weight loss story, but I do have 3 dogs. We did two rounds of puppy-school with our first dog, half-assed the training with the second and the third knows how to sit.
    Now with dog#2’s surgery/recovery/rehab, I’m seeing all of the training we SHOULD have done with him a log time ago and at age 8, he’s finally learning to behave on a walk and poop on-leash. All things he should have learned as a puppy…but why bother when we have a big back yard for them to play in?
    No, maintenance isn’t sexy, but now that we have a need for the skills I should have maintained, I’m vowing to maintain from now on…and I’ll be taking the third dog for walks so she can stop being afraid of the leash.

  15. says

    Well.. having failed at training in one aspect or another with each of my small terriers (that would be 5 at one time, at one time.. overwhelming, crazy, and a blast.. we live in the country so wasn’t TOO bad).. but knowing all about the beauty of consistency and predictability and structure..I know sexy ain’t part of the equation. But passion can still be part of it. There is a deep satisfaction that comes with loving attuned unconditional attention to what we know we need to live well in the world, and in our bodies.
    Love the photos of the dog tied to the chair.. happily we can get it done without the leashes.
    Love to you,

  16. says

    Great analogy. Maintenance ain’t sexy, it ain’t easy, and it ain’t for Sissies! It’s great that you are able to apply all that you’ve learned from these maintaining years to training Coop. It would be so easy to say…..”Okay,I’m at goal weight, can’t I let up today?” Or….”Okay Coop comes when I call him, do I have to tether him to me again today?” But you know what it takes. I need to remember this, both in my own maintenance, and in trying to get my own dog, Lola, trained. It is, indeed all about consistency!

  17. says

    SO SO SO TRUE!! Most people who have met me now think that I am just naturally healthy, and have always loved running and working out. Not so. I have maintained a 50lbs weight loss for 8 years! Definitely less glamorous than those amazing before and after photos.

  18. says

    LOVE!!! Damn straight it ain’t sexy!!! 😉 And then the definition changes when you hit perimenopause to menopause! 😉 I have changed my motivation & ways to maintain for over 30++ years & like yuu Carla – we know it is consistency, patience & friggin hard work. I love the analogy with Coop today!!!
    I know I wrote the same thing on FB but I just ws compelled! :)

  19. Yvonne says

    Fantastic post.
    I haven’t lost any weight yet, but my dog is wild and lack of consistency is for sure why.

  20. says

    Too right! Sometimes life gets in the way of things but it is he consistancy and stepping back to it that changes everything and keeps you on track. :) glamourous, no, but the way you feel cannot be traded for anything else!

  21. says

    You know I loved this comparison! It wasn’t anything I had ever thought about before. Boring, but dang! It works. Consistency, over the long haul. “Sit, Noah!” Noah–“Again?”

  22. says

    Consistency! Understanding that it is forever, fitness or dog training (I’m not so good at the dog part).

    One of the reasons our society loses so much weight just to gain it back again is that just don’t GET it.

    I always am told “you don’t need to work out, you’re already fit, thin, etc.” Hello, what?

    I wonder if all those same people have dogs who have forgotten their training :-)

  23. says

    So true! It’s all about consistency, which is HARD! I don’t think we see enough bloggers or weght loss experts talking about maintainence….maybe because others wouldn’t read about it?

  24. says

    Maintaining is something that should talked about more as it is a whole new journey it itself with constant learnings to go along with it.

    Love how you brought these two things together :)

  25. says

    Cue Twilight Zone music…weird how we posted on the same topic today!! I like your analogy with the dog training. Wish we would have gotten Paco better socialized with other dogs back in the day. Coop is going to be a model student with all the training he’s getting! Lucky boy. :)

  26. says

    I love the comparison between dog training and weight loss – cause in the end, it’s all the same – maintaining!
    I know that it’s not exactly the same for me (I’ve never lost a lot of weight except after having babies) but I still feel like I relate to the maintaining thing. I don’t work out to lose weight – I just do it because I like the way my body is now and want to keep it that way – and even that requires consistent work!!!

  27. says

    Maintainence is so much harder than learning a new skill!

    With weight loss, it’s learning to eat more but not that much more. Balancing food intake with expenditure. Just when we achieve our goal and want desperately to stop tracking calories/macros comes the most important time to do so.

    With dogs, it’s learning to reward behavior and not give affection willy-nilly. And it’s all hard.

  28. says

    Having never lost or gained a significant amount of weight OR trained for any races or competitions, I always feel like my simple goal to exercise consistently and maintain the physique I have is BO-RING.

    That’s why I didn’t participate in the UA #What’sBeautiful campaign; marathons and triathlons and extreme mountain biking are just so much sexier…

    I LOVE Coop!

  29. says

    It’s so true and I find that it’s so much harder as I get older. Since I haven’t gone through a big weight loss or gain in the past, I’m kind of caught a bit off guard how much more work I have to put into maintenance than I used to. Definitely not sexy at all!

  30. says

    I can totally relate to this. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to keep my weight within a reasonable range but it’s a struggle. Like other people have said, I have to constantly change my food and exercise up to keep it fresh. I have a facebook group right now where we’re all focusing on different health goals. I find that most support systems out there are geared just toward weight loss so I created one that would help me with the challenges of maintenance.

    Oh, and we recently rescued a dog and while he’s sweet, he’s totally untrained. You may have motivated me to get serious about training him too! Thanks for the post!

  31. says

    Maintenance sucks… it’s almost harder than losing the weight in the first place! It’s the part that I’ve been most worried about and still am.

  32. says

    Awesome post! Consistency is the key to a lot of things in life, so the more things you can be consistent at the better off you will be in many aspects of life. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Thanks for sharing this.

  33. says

    Consistency is key. Maintenance should be way easier but honestly ends up being the most challenging. We do best when we feel like we have an end date.

    There is no end date to maintenance!

  34. says

    I recently found your blog – love it! I think the key to maintenance is set an upfront rule that you never let up (i.e. get lazy) more than once a week/month/season/year – your choice. Once you have one unplanned “let up” instance, it gets easier and easier to keep justifying them if you aren’t careful. If you only “allow” it once a month for example, it becomes special, you savor it, and then you move on without making it a habit. Of course all this is always easier said than done!

  35. says

    Maintenance is never pretty, and it is always the most difficult thing to do. And if you start slipping it is easy to fall out of your routine.

  36. says

    love it! maintenance is never pretty, but we do it because we know we should and need to in a way 😉
    and for me with my dog training with Jax – it is all about maintaining what he knows and keeping him sharp! it is hard work, but at the end of the day when I feel good about what I have done to ‘maintain’ I feel accomplished and that helps :)

  37. says

    So true. It’s ALL about consistency. Not beating ourselves up for every imperfection and looking on the bright side of things – that is being better off now than we were before makes it easier to maintain!

  38. says

    Such a good analogy and so true. I cracked up at the headline about “How she lost 30 pounds and struggled to maintain it”!

  39. says

    This is SO TRUE!! that first rush you get when you fit in clothes better, people notice a change – it is amazing. But staying that way isn’t as big of a rush. Thank you for these encouraging words!!!

  40. says

    So true… what’s even worse is stopping just 5-10 pounds short of maintenance and getting complacent :) I do need to build better habits of consistency.

  41. says

    Nope, maintenance isn’t sexy. It’s the same thing every single day!

    When I first reached goal weight I had a “what do I do now?” freak out. I had no idea. I’d been so focused on losing 100 pounds for almost 2 years and all of a sudden I didn’t have something to focus on! It was definitely a difficult transition.

  42. says

    Does this wonderful training center accept human students? Although I’m sure Coop would graduate top of the class ahead of my child-spawns. They just don’t like to listen. O_O

  43. says

    i wish the media did more to give tips to maintain and less to give tips to trim inches, tone up, etc. if there had been more of that in the fitness world, maybe it would have helped me not continue to stress my body and my mind when i lost weight and still felt unsatisfied with my progress! now i’m thankfully at a mindset where i try to focus on performance gains, not aesthetic, like lifting more or running faster.

  44. cheryl says

    Best tip- don’t develop bad habits in the first place. And
    Second best tip- Love what you do so you do it daily (and miss it when you don’t)
    Turning 60 in two months- no weight or motivation problem for this old bod .

  45. says

    Great post, I like the comparison between a dog and ourselves.
    I’m not in maintaining mode (yet) so no experiences or opinion here about that topic.

  46. says

    As someone who is just in this new phase of maintenance, I totally get this post. I’m still somewhat in phase one, but I’ve realized all the other phases too. This isn’t easy, especially when all I’ve known is how to either be overweight or lose weight.

    It’s a learning process, but I’m willing to take it on and deal with the tough stuff. Because I know I feel SO MUCH better when I’m doing what I need to do to maintain!

  47. says

    Great analogy! I’ve definitely been through both situations and I think the most important thing is consistency, never back down, never take a slack day, and you can do it!

  48. says

    Great post! I’ve been maintaining basically my whole adult life and it’s so frustrating to hear people say “you don’t have to try, you’re already in shape.” Not true! Finding goals that are long-term (i.e. having a strong heart so I can live longer and wanting energy every day) work a lot better for me because this is my lifestyle, not a one-time goal.