Friday, March 30, 2018

What Maintenance Looks Like


I hit 199 pounds yesterday! What a shock on the scale. Interesting that when I finally just relaxed about the weight and stopped trying to lose, two pounds just fell off!

So I talked about starting maintenance early in my last post... aiming to maintain where I am for several months before working on weight loss again to get to a lower weight. Here's another reason why I think it's time:

I have lost a significant amount of weight (more than 35 pounds) three times in my life. In 2007-8 I lost 64 pounds in 11 months, mostly by calorie counting and exercise. Then in 2010 I lost 59 pounds in 8 months on Medifast. And now, 2017-18 I have lost 59 pounds in 7 months with phentermine and low carb eating.

So I am right at the point at which my body and/or mind, in the past, has said "whoa, you've lost enough for now. That's enough of that!" and then a regain ensues over the next year. I don't want to repeat that pattern, so I am doing something different this time. I also want to note that I have *never* been able to lose more than 64 pounds in one stretch; my 103 pound loss was a combination of part of the 2007-8 loss plus the 2010 Medifast loss. Maybe there is something to be learned from this instead of fighting it and trying to force myself into a condition that is, for many reasons, not really comfortable for me.

I've been working out what maintenance looks like for me. For one thing, I'll be weaning off the phentermine. I've already started this, missing my afternoon dose several times a week. Soon I will just be taking one half dose once per day. Then gradually won't be using it at all. This is *tentative* though because I am not going to tolerate a gain of more than a pound or two. If I find I am struggling to maintain without it, I may stick to the half dose for longer, or take it on days I feel the need. Eventually I won't take it anymore at all (at least until I am ready to start losing again), but if that takes awhile I am okay with that. Another important part of my maintenance is that I weigh every day. That means I weigh even after a trip or a high sodium day or a day where I ate took much and am worried that I gained. It means I will weigh in the morning and record it on my chart. I also will use that information to react quickly to any gain. I know I will fluctuate up and down a pound or two just as a course of nature, but more than 2 pounds means I WILL be working that weight back off immediately. No excuses... just cutting back on carbs and amounts and getting on the bike to help burn it off.

As far as what my eating and exercise look like for maintenance, I don't ever plan to go back to a "carby" way of eating. I like my diet now and can live with it for the rest of my life. If I want a piece of "regular" bread or cake I can have it; I just balance it with the rest of my day, limit the amount, and limit the frequency. As a general rule, if I want something sweet or bready, I choose keto recipe versions to enjoy. That's how I've been losing weight so I believe it will continue working for maintenance. I know I will be hungrier without the phentermine... I already am, sometimes. I am filling that "hunger gap" with vegetables and some fruit. Real hunger can be taken care of by eating a bowl of green beans or some baby carrots; I don't need an extra serving of a casserole or a burger. I still have protein snacks when I need them because a small amount of protein is enough to satisfy me. Exercise has to keep increasing; I'm going to keep walking daily, working in the yard, cleaning, being active. I think I'll start recording my bike rides again on my Virtual Mission page, and will keep working on my arms with lifting, too. I would *love* to try paddleboarding this summer but think I may need to strengthen my legs a bit more first (riding the bike regularly should help that). I'll be swimming several times a week this summer too.

That's what maintenance will look like for me... eating pretty much the same as I have been the last month or two, adding some produce to meet hunger, weaning off phentermine, closely monitoring my weight on the scale and never gaining more than 3 pounds without reacting and removing it, and exercising more. And of course, I'll keep working on the mental and emotional aspects of the weight loss through writing on my blog, talking to my counselor, and learning to accept what I am seeing in the mirror.

9 comments:

Joy said...

Really looking forward to reading about your virtual rides again. I loved them the last time.
J x

Laura said...

You CAN paddle board! When I started paddling it was on my knees. I stand now but on your knees or sitting is a great arm workout! And sometimes there is no graceful way to get off a paddle board but you’ll figure it out the more you do it. Just always start into the wind so when you’re tired it helps you back and when you start out don’t go any further from shore than you can swim back and use that dorky leg strap.

Anonymous said...

Friendly tip - Paddle boarding is an insane workout, but you must work on your CORE first. You seriously won't even be able to stand on the board with weak core muscles.

Carole Medley said...

Yippee! I know you will do your best, Lyn. I am so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Lyn - that's a great milestone! - Beth

Susan R said...

Go Lyn! I am so proud of you for your persistence!

Lyn said...

Thank you for the support! And thank you for the tips and encouragement on paddleboarding. I have wanted to try this for years but was too nervous. I am really excited to try it now, maybe with one of my kids or friends. It would be so cool to have a form of exercise that I really love, at least for the summertime :)

heidi said...

Your maintenance plan is quite similar to what I do. I lost from 261 (I'm 5'6 1/2") down to 175 in 2013 and have maintained sub 200 ever since that time. (I was 183.0 this morning). I lost the weight and have maintained the loss with very little exercise. Unfortunately weight loss is 90% kitchen and 10% exercise for me. I am one of those unfortunate people that experience a HUGE increase in appetite with increased exercise. I find exercise often leads to binge behavior for me. (I get so hungry, I end up eating more than I planned to eat, then feel like I've "failed" and end up binging). I DO try to exercise for health reasons, BUT when I am struggling with weight gain, I recognize I need to dial in my eating and focus on that. I think weighing EVERY day and recording it has been fundamental in preventing regain for me. It's importance can not be overstated. Every time in the past I gained a lot of weight in the past, it was accompanied by months of ignoring the scale. I stick to a low carb plan in general and sometimes have deviations, like you plan on. I've done this long enough now to really recognize how much eating more carbs increases my hunger and thus my struggle. I try very hard to ONLY eat treats that I really want. I gained a lot of weight over the years eating junk like little debbie cakes or spaghetti, neither of which is even a food I really enjoy. I make sure now, that I am either eating really nutritious food (vegetables, healthy fats, good protein) or that I am eating a treat that is 100% what I wanted, and hopefully in a portion that won't send me into a subsequent tailspin. It is a hard balance to achieve. I also use my jeans as a reality check. I have two pairs of Levi's 505 size 12R jeans that I wear a LOT to keep myself aware of what state my body is in. They are comfortably tight. Once they become uncomfortably tight, I know I need to know it off with the treats. Once I can't fit them at all, it puts the fear of god in me. I think a lot of us who have been really big struggle with body dis-morphia. I want to warn you, I work really hard to maintain this weight loss at sub-200 pounds. Sometimes I feel really dejected about how hard I work and yet am still so chubby. BUT, life is VERY different at sub 200 pounds and 250+ pounds. People treat you differently and what you can physically do is so different. I pull out old fat pictures and look at them when I get to feeling like my struggle isn't "worth it". It's shocking to see how big I used to be, because in my head, I'm not that different now. I finally, after these 4 1/2 years, feel like this 180-ish pound woman is who I am, and probably now am ready to lose to sub 165 mentally.

Anonymous said...

I was waiting to see if you would start exercising, and now you say that you have already started lifting weights, at least with your arms! That's great! I think it's one of the most rewarding ways to exercise, and can yield such quick results, too. I'd love to hear you talk more about it.