Maintenance – A Big Ol’ Lie?

      3 Comments on Maintenance – A Big Ol’ Lie?

Last week I weighed in at 127.2, a full seven pounds above my goal.  I’d had a rough week with respect to eating (family reunion + hockey tournament = #food), so it wasn’t too surprising.

I put forth a lot more effort this past week in watching what I ate.  Corn tortillas instead of flour, smaller portions of things, less alcohol.  We went to the fair, and although I did share an elephant ear with the family, I counted it as best I could.  (I counted it as ¼ of a funnel cake in the Weight Watchers app, because “elephant ear” is not in their database for some reason!).  I also walked a TON on Thursday, despite the fact that I got new shoes last week and they ended up giving me a REALLY bad blister (on my arch…I buy shoes with maximum arch support for my flat feet, and clearly my other shoes were well past their prime and weren’t giving me ANY support). I walked over 14,000 steps at the fair, and my foot was killing me by the time I was done.  😮  But on the bright side, we had some good news:

I got first place for my “candid” photo.  That just absolutely made my day, because I was super-proud of that picture.  So was the mom of the subject (one of Jamie’s football teammates.) 🙂  My jams did okay; I got a few thirds, but my strawberry took second, which is really good, I think, because there are always a ton of entries in that class. The real winner was JJ, though…

He received a first for his animal picture AND for his awesome cinnamon chocolate chunk cookies.  🙂  He was so excited, lol!  I think mostly because he knows he’ll get $6 in prize money. 😉

Despite my aching foot, I still got in plenty of running in last week, because I’m training for the Detroit Half Marathon, which I’m running with my friend Toddra.  Toddra is doing a novice plan (she has run a half before, but it’s been a while), while I’m following my friend Katie’s “Finish Strong” plan, which did so well at getting me to a PR in the spring.  I did speed work on Tuesday (second day with my new shoes; that’s when my foot first starting hurting), and then an easy run on Wednesday evening. (Postponed both to help my foot heal and also to account for giving blood Tuesday morning).

I postponed Friday’s run until the evening, and then on Saturday I ran again with my girlfriends.  I had eight miles to do on Saturday, while Toddra had six, and our friend Jen (training for a Labor Day half) had 12!  What I love about my running girlfriends is that we all find a way to get it done, whatever miles we each have on our plan.  Jen ran to our meeting point (her parents’ house), then the three of us ran 6 (actually 6.5 because we calculated the route wrong—ha ha, poor Toddra was so ready to be done at 6!).  After Toddra left, Jen and I ran another 1.5 so I could get to eight, and then Jen ran back home…poor girl ended up with 14 total miles! 😮 But she loves running, so it was no big deal to her.  Crazy woman. 😉

I purposefully did not “swap” all my FitPoints for food last week, and I ended up with 21 FitPoints leftover.  That’s a lot, especially for me! (I usually eat all or almost all of them.)  With all that exercise and good eating, I was confident that I’d lose that most or all of that 3 pounds I gained.  I mean, the three pounds seemed like a temporary gain due to one poor weekend of eating, so I wasn’t too worried. The results…well…see for yourself…


When I saw that I was both disheartened and frustrated.  I worked hard last week, I really did.  As I wallowed in my self-pity for a moment (ha!), I starting thinking about maintenance and how much of a misnomer it is, at least for me.  In the five years since I lost the weight, it seems like I’ve spent much more time trying to get “back” to my goal weight versus trying to maintain it.  So…I decided to actually look.

I have a spreadsheet with all my logged weights since I first joined online Weight Watchers in 2004. (Sadly, I cannot find my original Weight Watchers booklets from when I lost the first 50 pounds back in 2000-2001.)  I decided to set a baseline starting with March 2013 (as opposed to when I actually got to goal in June 2012).  I chose that date because I had just started running around the time I got to goal, and with all that new exercise, I know my body was in shock and was dropping pounds like crazy, so that I actually got down to about 7 pounds below goal!

I used 115 as my goal weight until July 2015, at which point I decided that it wasn’t a realistic number for me (2 years and 2 marathons later, I think my body got used to the running!) and reset my goal weight to 120.  So I had a little over two years with 115 as my goal, and then two more years of striving for 120.  It totals up to 234 weeks of weight “maintenance.”  Would like to take a guess as to how many of those weeks I was actually at or below goal?

Would you believe…23 weeks?

Yep.  That means that of all my time on maintenance, I’ve actually only spent about 10% of the time in actual “maintenance” mode.  So the other 90% of the time, I have been actively trying to lose weight.  That doesn’t sound much like “maintenance” to me!

Now, to be fair, I realize that trying to lose 5-8 pounds is very different from trying to lose 80 pounds, but still…I can’t help but think about my former “vision” of maintenance, back when I was still losing weight to get down to goal, and how much it differs from what I’m actually experiencing.  The reality, at least for me, is that there is rarely a time when I’m not worried about my weight.  It’s sad, in a way, but then again, it is my reality.  Maybe if I were better at this whole process, it wouldn’t be, but then again, if I were better at this whole process, I wouldn’t have had to lose 80+ pounds in the first place, right??

I have no words of wisdom about all this. It is what it is, I guess.  But here’s something I guess I can take away from these last 5 years that is positive:

That was me, last night, after running 3 miles while JJ’s hockey team did off-ice conditioning at a local park.  I could’ve just sat in my car working on bills or pictures, or I could’ve gone over to chat with the other hockey moms and dads.  But although those were both tempting, I just couldn’t get away from the idea that it was the perfect opportunity to go for a run…despite the fact that I had already run almost three miles that morning! It was hot, my foot still hurt, and I was tired, but I did it, and I actually had a great time.  I saw new things, witnessed some beautiful views, earned a bunch of FitPoints, and best of all, I felt energized when I was done.  Just look at my face in that picture…I look happy, because I am happy.  I love this whole crazy running thing, because it makes me feel great.

So, yeah, maintenance-that-isn’t-really-maintenance totally sucks and is hard, but I will definitely take that over being 80 pounds heavier and miserably sedentary.  Any day!!

And I’ll end on a really positive note…the photo I took of the sunset over the River Raisin last night in Monroe (while I waited for Jamie to be done with football practice).

Just another lucky shot!

Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “Maintenance – A Big Ol’ Lie?

  1. Kitty

    Congrats on the fair wins for you and your son!

    It is always interesting to go back and look at data. So many insights to be gotten. I know that idea I had in my head of getting to a maintenance weight and then just maintaining without bouncing up and down hasn’t been what happened to me. And, I know that for me if I don’t pay attention to striving to stay there then I do end up way above. In other words, even if you end up a little above your maintenance weight and are trying to get down a few pounds that is way better than not doing the striving and then ending up way above (which is what would happen to me).

    1. steph Post author

      You know, that is a very good point! Being vigilant over 5 or so pounds is way better than waking up one morning and being 30-40 pounds overweight! Thanks for the insight, and for stopping by!

  2. Paula

    I could relate to your comment “seems like I’ve spent much more time trying to get “back” to my goal weight versus trying to maintain it. “ I lost 30 pounds back in 2010 which put me 1 pound below goal (120) & then lost another 10 due to illness. But then the tables turned & I got week but regained. I have been fighting it & finally got within 5 pounds of my goal & I am stuck. I want to get to goal by year end so next year I can claim maintenance.


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