Monday, March 4, 2013

AIM - What's Different This Time?

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!

The topic for this month's AIM:  Adventures in Maintenance post is "What's Different This Time?" - and I could be totally flippant and say "well, this time it worked" but you'd all want to smack me, I'm sure.  I've been asked this question many, many times since I managed to lose weight, and for the longest time my honest answer was "I don't know" - and I didn't.  Quite frankly, I'm not the most introspective person, and when I am, it's usually in the form of a random realization that comes upon me after the fact, if that makes sense. 

When I think about what was different this time, in both losing the weight and keeping it off, two words keep coming to mind:  willing, and want.  When I was dieting, I was willing to experience a bit of hunger between meals.  I was willing to eat less, and also to eat different food than what I was used to.  I was willing to skip the drive thru.  I was willing to drink protein shakes for the first few months in order to get a lot of weight off in the beginning.  In short, I became willing to do a lot of things that I'd balked against previously - why?  Because of want.  I wanted to not be overweight anymore.  I wanted to be healthier than I was.  I wanted to wear cute clothes that I bought in the regular-sized departments.  I wanted to look like a normal-sized person. 

Once I realized that I was content with with my new size, I switched over to maintenance.  Again, I became willing to do a lot in order to stay at the new size.  Because I'd had a lot of experience with losing weight and regaining it, I knew that I had to act differently.  I liked the new lifestyle that I had, now that I was a smaller person - I liked having energy to do things, be it an all-day shopping trip, or knowing that I could go for a walk without feeling exhausted after just a short distance.  I took the focus off of food...I wanted to stay at my new size more than I wanted to eat certain foods.  And when I did eat splurge-type foods, I willingly split them with my husband - this way we still got the experience and enjoyment  of going out for something fun to eat, while keeping the caloric intake at a reasonable level for weight maintenance.

I realized that I really had turned a corner with my attitude toward food when I went to California to visit my best friend - previous visits revolved around food - lots of food.  But in 2011, we were active, doing some form of exercise just about every day, and we hardly ate out at all.  We cooked healthy meals but food wasn't the be-all and end-all that it had been in the past...and we still had a great visit. It was then that I understood that I really was approaching eating, exercising and life in general with a different mindset - one that I suspect naturally thin people utilize on a regular basis.  And while I am under no delusions that this is natural for me - hey, you can't undo two decades of an overeater's psyche that quickly - the fact that I was able to do this gave me the confidence that I was on the right track in how I was maintaining my weight loss.

30 comments:

  1. Great post Shelley and very helpful too. Because this past month I gained a little and reading your post made me realize why that was (of course I ate too much that's not so difficult). I wasn't willing to give up some things or replace them with healthier choices this past month.

    I keep saying it: you are such a great example and inspiration to me how to lose weight and maintain it because you did it without extreme diets or anything. You made different choices.

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    1. Different choices sums it up so well - thanks, Fran! :)

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  2. love this and no matter what approach one takes its what you said at the end:
    CONFIDENCE.
    KNOWING youve found the path for you makes it all click into place.

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  3. I totally forgot about the protein shakes! I wish I could be like you, but food is always my first and foremost thought - because I love to cook and I know that when you are home alone, cookng for yourself is the last thing you would think of (unless its a giant summer salad!).

    I still don't even recognize the person you were when you got your bike - you should be so proud of yourself!

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    1. How funny, I was looking at the bike pictures (on my Progress Photos page) over the weekend - I was so shocked when Jeff took those pictures and I saw myself. "Larger than life" comes to mind...

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  4. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's answer was originally, "I don't know." LOL One of the reasons I continue blogging (besides to offer any help I can) is to explore why "this way" works.

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    1. LOL - it's fun to see what the other AIMers wrote. The similarities in how we're dealing with maintenance are interesting...maybe this is what most maintainers do? Would be interesting to find out.

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  5. Great post!! I love your "willing" and "want" points. I think it all comes down to that - what are willing to do to get the body you want? I'm so glad you all are doing this series - all the posts have been really helpful to me, even though I am far far away from maintenance! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jill! I read maintenance blogs while I was losing weight - I think it helped to keep in the forefront that what I was doing needed to be continued after the diet was finished.

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  6. Great post! I'm enjoying the posts from you maintainers, because of the different approaches and the prractical information that is helpful to those of us still on the losing side of things. I also enjoy the honesty, which is part of the "willing and want" pieces of your post.

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    1. Thanks, E. Jane - let's face it, dieting isn't always easy nor is it fun...but the payoff is pretty amazing.

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  7. I think this is becoming your new normal, don't you?

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    1. I hope so...but I don't dare let up on the awareness of it, lest I slip back into old habits.

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  8. Fantastic post Shelley. You and the other AIM girls are true inspirations. Have a great Monday.

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    1. We AIM to inspire? Shoot, that could have been our motto! ;)

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  9. Great post Shelley! I think most people thing once they lose the weight, it's over - but you are never over!

    Great job keeping the weight off :0)

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    1. It's never over...and that was a big realization for me.

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  10. You made me LOL even BEFORE coffee this morning with your smart alek answer "well, this time it worked".

    Its so fun reading everybody's answers and seeing the differences AND the similarities.

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  11. So true about the willing and want! When I was in "control" I could be hungry all day, but not stray from healthy eating. I was willing to have a little grumbly in my tummy.

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    1. Same here - it's funny, sometimes hunger means that my diet is working, and sometimes hunger means "must eat NOW" - but the former is how I lose weight.

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  12. Great post an it came at a great time. I have been off track and this is very helpful!

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    1. Glad to help you get back on track! :)

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  13. Good series, Shelley! I like what you ladies have started!!

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  14. Hi Shelley, Don't know how I've missed you all this time since the other four AIM bloggers are already long time friends - three of the four I've even met and we've become IRL friends! But now I'm excited to go back and read your story from the beginning as that always brings me extra encouragement and motivation. Looking forward to knowing you better.

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    1. Welcome to my little corner of the internet, Sharon! I'm so envious that you've gotten to meet three of the other AIMers!

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  15. I'd not thought of all of this your way. Willing and want. I was much more willing to do what it takes when I was losing and first maintaining. Then (as I said in my post) I started listening to people who didn't get it. It's like they gave me an "out." Yikes! I had to tap my inner "want." I want to pay attention MORE than I want to eat Italian bread with horseradish cheese (not that I've done that recently...). I really do. Because in the end, bread and cheese will only slow me down :)

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  16. I love your post on this topic. Willing and want...exactly.

    Great job on the 13.1 also! I'm going to do my first in Sept. I'm a bit scaredy and excited all at the same time.

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  17. You've changed so much since the time I met you through your blog. From riding bikes. To doing burpees like a mad woman, to running half marathons. Very proud of your accomplishments and proud to call you my friend.

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