Monday, April 7, 2014

AIM: Are We There Yet?

This month, my fellow AIMers and I are writing about when we each knew it was time to stop dieting and start maintaining.

Nearly six years ago, when I weighed 256 pounds and started this whole diet/lifestyle change thing, I remember thinking that reaching 138 pounds would be a good goal weight for me - that seems like a random number, but I believe it was the top of what Weight Watchers recommended for someone my height, so I went with it.  I wanted something that was fairly easy to maintain without having to be excessively stringent with my food every single day.  One of the 100-pound-plus loser bloggers that I regularly read at the time was, in my outsider's viewpoint, very thin and had to work very hard at staying that way.  That was not what I wanted out of maintenance.  So I kept that in the back of my mind - I wanted the freedom to enjoy my food without guilt, I wanted to keep off the weight that I'd worked so hard to lose, and I wanted to be normal...not a dieter, not someone who'd recently lost an enormous amount of weight, but just fit in like everyone else.

Of course, all that is fine to say when you are a long way from 138 pounds.  Once I hit 150, I started to reevaluate my goal number, all the while continuing to workout with my trainers, plus I was running on top of that.  I decided to see how hard it would be to get in the 140s, and guess what?  It took a lot of cutting back to get there!  The lowest I got down to was 146 pounds, which sounds like a lot for someone my height, but I looked really small - all of that exercise was a huge factor with giving me a lot of muscle.
Circa July 2010, around my smallest weight.  Also back when I used to dress up, too!

I continued trying to lose weight, which was ridiculous, because what was I trying to prove?  Of course, that was when I was still weighing myself, and even though I looked good, I kept going after a lower number.  My body had other ideas, though - I never got lower than 146 pounds - and eventually I realized that I was doing a really good job of maintaining that weight, so I called it a day with the diet and officially transitioned into maintenance. 

So, to recap:  I never actually reached my randomly-set goal weight.  I never picked a day to begin maintenance; rather, my body decided I was in maintenance.  I didn't actively choose to maintain my weight until I'd inadvertently been doing so for a while.  I took a round-about way to get to there, that's for sure - but I'm very happy that I got to that point, seeing as this was the first time in all of my dieting years that I actually thought beyond the diet. 


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 - here's the link to our Ask Us (almost) Anything form - click here and ask away!

22 comments:

  1. I think the perfect weight is different for everyone. Not everyone of the same height and age can/should weigh the same. I have to honest to you: I've started watching my weight again today. I do have a goal number in mind but I'll go with the flow, it might me that I stop losing weight at a certain weight that might be higher than my goal number. If that happens, I guess I will do the same as you: accept it and be happy with it.

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    1. Going with the flow will make it much less frustrating, I bet...not holding out for a specific number but instead reassessing how you feel and look, and are able to keep up with what it takes to stay there is a more realistic way to diet, in my opinion.

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  2. SO SO SO POWERFUL:
    my body decided I was in maintenance.

    if only we could convey this to the world.
    it is about letting go and trusting your body.

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  3. We are almost exactly the same here! I just stopped losing, too.

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    1. Size twins? Must be our height - our bodies just said NOPE at a certain point.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this story! I love hearing about the transformation that people make with weight loss/maintenance. I know some one who is struggling with that right now but it's all about taking those first steps and sticking with it.

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    1. And sticking with it, and sticking with it some more, and STILL sticking with it...

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  5. I think there is more to the secret to your success. Yes, your body decided to stop losing and you transitioned to maintenance. But you accepted what your body was saying, therefore giving yourself the ability to be at peace with it. That's the difference between you and continuous dieters: acceptance = maintenance.

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    1. Well, I have had some good practice with acceptance over the years, that's for damn sure.

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  6. It's funny you should say there was no day that you decided to begin maintenance - that's pretty much what happened to me too! I suddenly realized I had been maintaining for a few months just by being a little less stringent with my diet.

    I think it's interesting that our bodies do seem to pick their own "goal weight" and just kind of stay there. My original goal was to lose 60 pounds, but I couldn't lose any more than 51, no matter how hard I tried. But I found that I'm a lot more compact at this higher weight than I ever have been before, also from exercise. I'm still about 25 pounds heavier than my all-time lowest weight, but I fit into the same size now as I did then, so I don't care as much that I never met my goal weight or never got down to that really low weight.

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    1. Same here - I was a lot thinner at 146 than I was 20 years prior at 125...all that exercise makes a huge difference in body shape!

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  7. You've had a huge influence on how I think about food the last few years. My body has a lot to teach me about where it wants to be versus where my head (or perhaps my eyes) thinks it should be.

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    1. Yeah, the ol' bod sure has a way of letting us know where we should be, no matter what our brain would like!

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  8. I love that outfit on you Shelley - if I stayed at home I am pretty sure that I would be in my pajamas 24/7!

    Happy Monday!

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    1. LOL, I'm either in t-shirts and shorts, or fancy t-shirts and shorts...

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  9. Sheesh, I finally figured out how to comment on your blog. (Loved your Amazing Race adventure BTW.)
    I really identify with your first paragraph, though I couldn't have said it so clearly and succinctly. Your self-acceptance and lifestyle is very inspiring.

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    1. I'm glad you figured out how to comment - welcome! :)

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  10. What a lovely photo!

    It's so critical that we love ourselves (as hokey as that sounds) at EVERY size, and that includes acceptance. That's not to say we can't strive for improvements, but not to the point where our quality of life goes by the wayside.

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  11. I think that my W.w. goal weight was 132. I must be an inch shorter than you.

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    1. I think you are a bit shorter, based on our pictures together. :)

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  12. One of my goals is exactly what you said...to live like a normal person, not a dieter. Thanks for sharing your story.

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