Monday, July 1, 2013

AIM: Maintaining Support...Or Not?


This month's topic is about support.  Does it continue after all the hoopla of losing weight has ended?

I was lucky when I was losing weight in that I had a lot of support - some of it even came from unexpected sources, like my coworker, who was in charge of arranging our birthday treats.  The first year, she suggested doing sugar-free sno-cones instead of a cookie cake for me.  I remember feeling really touched that she went out of her way to not only think up something extra fun, but was willing to go out for sno-cones in the middle of the day (definitely a lot more effort than bringing in something from the grocery store's bakery).  And of course I had support from my family and close friends - I think they were all glad to see me finally making a change toward a healthier lifestyle, and were more than willing to accommodate my new dietary needs.

But what about now?  The novelty of my weight loss has certainly worn off.  I've been in maintenance long enough that I now have friends who never knew me as an overweight person.  Do I still get support in maintaining my weight loss and healthy lifestyle?  At this point, do I even need it?

The answer to both questions is yes.  Aside from some momentary craziness (Burgepalooza, anyone?), my family has adopted a pretty healthy way of eating, so it's normal for us to make good choices when it comes to meals.  My best friend continues to show me encouragement with maintaining my new lifestyle, by gifts of healthy food (she sent a pineapple from Maui one year for the family to enjoy at Christmas, when previously a box of See's Candies might have made an appearance), cooking healthy food when I visit, and exercising with me...I've written about this before, but believe me, it's a big turnaround from how we used to behave when we would get together!  And with my local friends, maybe it's because most of them are running buddies, but we all tend to choose wisely when we eat together (super long run treat days being the exception, of course).  Plus there's that whole "exercising together" thing that bonds us and, even if they don't realize it, helps me to keep up with this way of life.

While I don't need as much support this far into maintenance as I once did, it's still appreciated and yes, necessary.  Just because I managed to lose my weight and keep most of it off doesn't mean that I don't still have the same problems that caused me to stress eat in the past.  Sometimes it happens, but I've got people in my life whose first reaction to my stress isn't to offer me food as solace, and I appreciate that immensely - let's face it, it's easy to be strong about eating healthy when things are going right, but throw a monkey wrench into the equation, and sometimes junk food starts sounding like the cure-all...and I can tell you that in my case, food never solved anything except for hunger.  But having someone to talk to, or who says "let's take a walk" when things get stressful?  That's support, and just the kind that I both need and receive.


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!

20 comments:

  1. I find I need more support as I get older in some areas and FAR LESS in others.
    and all I need---at this point anyway :-) -- is someone who will LISTEN.

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  2. Like most of us I need support too. But I'm not the kind of person that asks help very easily. Most of the times I struggle with things on my own and don't ask for help, not even from R.

    For example: you have read about my running decision. I've been thinking about this for weeks and never talked about it to anyone. I mentioned it when I had figured it out myself. If I had mentioned it on my blog or to R. I might have got a solution sooner.

    Same with weight loss. I figured since it's July 1, I start over with my running, it would be the perfect time to try to get rid of the weight again. But I don't mention it to anyone. Somehow I have the feeling that I have to do everything alone.

    This is not suppost to be a feel sorry for me comment. It's just the way I am.

    I'm happy you have such a supportive group of people around you and you can definitely count me as one of them.

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    1. I've done those secret diets many times...sometimes, you just don't want the attention and/or scrutiny that comes with the "I'm going on a diet" announcement, right?

      You seem like a bit of a solitary person. I'm similar - it takes a lot for me to ask for help. No wonder we're friends!

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    2. I'm glad we are. Your card made me smile and emotional. It's so good to know there's someone who understands you and knows what you are going through. Thank you again.

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  3. It's soooo much easier when most of the folks you socialize with are interested in making (mostly) healthier choices, too.

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    1. Totally! When everyone around me is ordering a nice salad, I'm much more inclined to do that. But when burgers abound, well...

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  4. Great post. I agree that the impact of support is often overlooked, and so many folks not only have to muster up motivation on their own, but fact try to resist temptations offered by friends trying to be "nice." And to be "nice" back we feel we have to eat stuff that is offered or forgo exercise or otherwise risk our own healthy progress.

    Hoping more and more people will shift to a healthier lifestyle so support is more built in to our worlds and not something we have to scramble for.

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  5. It sounds like you have a great family and group of friends. My sister and I need to learn how to support each other rather than enabling bad habits. We're two peas in a pod, and it's been hard to change our ways. I hoping we find away soon as now she has a four year old that we both don't want to end up like us, as far as health and weight.

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    1. Setting a good example for a child can really help force you to make that turnaround you know you should be doing...it's hard to make them eat one way when they see you eating all the "good" stuff.

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  6. This is a really great topic to explore, thanks for sharing your experiences! I've definitely found that support seems to wain a bit once the big loss ends. A lot of times if I'm eating out with someone who, say, doesn't read my blog or talk to me about this stuff on a regular basis, I'll hear things like "Oh, aren't you off your diet?" which suggests that now that I've lost weight, I can just go back to eating whatever I want. Since that's worked so well for me in the past :)

    I think you raise a really good point that it's still sometimes hard to make the smart decisions, and we do still have the same things that made us overeat/not eat healthy in the past tempting us to do it again.

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    1. Heh - I know...if I go "off" this diet (which is really just a way of life), I'll go back to my former self. Permanent change is what this has to be, right?

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    2. Heh - I know...if I go "off" this diet (which is really just a way of life at this point), I'll go back to my former self. Permanent change is what this has to be, right?

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  7. Burgerpalooza--LOL. Love that term. I'm having a turkey burger tonight and am so looking forward to it!

    That's really great about your BF supporting you. With my BF, we both have similar issues with weight and eating, and so sometimes we are super good when we are together, but sometimes we can be really bad about food choices when we are together.

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    1. We made some really bad food choices many, many times...believe me! But isn't that what a best friend is for? ;)

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  8. I really like what Miz wrote and your response. Sometimes just having someone who will LISTEN and not FIX is what we need. I know when I'm allowed the space to talk to someone who is really listening, the other person who is listening is ME. I used to need a lot of support via advice. Now? Not so much, or at least I know when to reach out for it.

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  9. I don't want people to fix things either. Sometimes you just want to vent about weight loss/maintenance issues without any comments like "but look at all you have kept off" or "you don't know what it's like" (usually said from someone who didn't know I was morbidly obese at one time). You just want a sympathetic ear.

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  10. I love the words "Listen, not fix things". VERY wise!!

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  11. What a great co-worker - so thoughtful - most of us hear "a little bit won't hurt" when it is our birthday!

    I am now in a new job and no one knew me 120 pound ago. It is sort of liberating to not have people who knew me when around... plus they are not nosey or judgmental about what and how I eat. It's just me - not me on a diet.

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