Today I’m wrapping up my So You Want to Lose Weight, Here’s How series, which gave an overview of how to lose the extra weight, how to transition into maintenance and then today I’m going to be blogging briefly about the maintenance phase and how it’s different than the weight loss phase. I have so much to say about all of these phases yet, but with my posting schedule, (1-3 times a week), it’s hard to fit it all in! So for now I’m posting some general information about these phases, and then as my blog progresses I’ll dive into the details a bit more. Ok, onto maintenance!
There’s a LOT of information out there about how to lose weight. And there’s a lot of people who are really good at losing the extra weight. Some of them are even able to keep the weight off for a few months after they hit their goal weight. But, the part that most people fail at is long term maintenance.
Statistics show that the failure rate is anywhere from 80-95% for long term maintenance success. Chances are you know people who have lost the weight but have regained it back. Or, you’re in that boat yourself. And when it’s all broken down it doesn’t matter what plan you follow-the failure rate is high across the board.
I’ll be spending a lot of time on my blog really dissecting maintenance, so today I want to just touch on why I believe so many people succeed at weight loss, but then fail at long term maintenance. I’ve been in maintenance for around two years now, but I still hesitate to say that I’m a successful maintainer. This is because I’m very aware of that failure rate. I know what I’m up against, and I’m in this process with my eyes wide open, so to speak.
Weight Loss VS. Maintenance
First things first-realize that when you transition into maintenance you’re not done, but in fact are really just getting started. So many people have the mindset that hitting their goal weight is the final goal, when in fact the weight loss phase is probably the easiest part in this whole process. I know that losing the weight can be challenging, but there’s a few things that are happening during the weight loss phase that don’t happen during maintenance. I believe those things are what causes many people to succeed at weight loss, and their absence is what causes most to fail at long term weight loss success.
- Time Frame: the weight loss phase is for a short period of time-usually a few months to a couple of years. The maintenance phase is for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. That can be a very long time. So many people get frustrated at how long the weight loss phase is taking them-now imagine that times 30 or 40 years. Yeah, it’s pretty overwhelming when you actually think about it! Along with this-with time comes all sorts of obstacles. I’ll be blogging a lot more about this later on, but there’s lots of things that can pop up and derail you when you’re in the long term maintenance phase.
- You’re Seeing Results: you’re seeing noticeable changes during the weight loss phase, which help keeps you motivated. That doesn’t happen in maintenance. You’re not buying smaller clothes, you’re not seeing smaller numbers on the scale. You’re not receiving compliments anymore. It can be very hard to stay motivated when almost all of your motivators are now gone.
- Losing Weight is Exciting: the weight loss phase is exciting because you’re focused on the ‘new’ you. Maintenance is the total opposite-lots of same old, same old. In one word-maintenance can be a whole lot of BORING.
- Mind Set: during the weight loss phase every pound (or ounce) counts. But when you’re in maintenance you start playing mind games with yourself. You see the scale start to creep back up and you begin justifying it. What’s a pound or two when you’ve lost so many? And suddenly that extra pound or two is now 20, 30 or more pounds and you’re back where you’ve started. I’ve already blogged a bit about Mindset, and this is a topic I’ll be revisiting again down the road, because I think it’s a huge piece in this whole process.
Ok, terrified of maintenance yet? I sure was when I realized that it was time to officially go into it. During mytransition period I spent a lot of time reading everything that I could get my hands on about maintenance, and the picture wasn’t pretty. That dismal failure rate really seems to be true. I know so many people who have lost weight, only to gain it back. This turns into a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, which wreaks havoc on your body and health.
I knew from blood work panels that my glucose number was directly tied to my weight, so that added another layer of anxiety to this whole thing. I HAD to successfully maintain, or I knew where I was headed.
It’s not all doom and gloom though-there are people who are successfully maintaining. I’ve spent a lot of time studying some of their stories, and while I’m aware of what I’m up against, I’m also confident that I’ll be a long term, successful maintainer because I’m doing some things that have set me up to stay on track. I’ll be blogging more about maintenance soon-stay tuned!