The Marathon of Maintaining a Weight Loss

After gaining weight following a fateful Girl Scout Camp weekend in the mud (injuring both of my Achilles tendons,) I realized I had to get back in shape or I’d continue to gain.

In October 2007, I began eating better. Then I started exercising. Slowly the weight came off and I got more fit. In July 2012, I hit my goal weight, then went a little lower as a buffer zone. I lost 70 pounds and for the most part have kept it off – with a few ups (in the winter) and downs (in the summer.) Right now, at the beginning of summer 2018, I’m about 10 pounds over my goal weight, but am feeling strong and fit from I gaining muscle. Because I’ve been focusing on losing the weight and then getting fit and strong for the past 11 years, I feel younger and am more active now than I ever felt during my forties.

Two weeks ago, I ran the Cleveland half marathon race. Tomorrow, I’m trying something new – a 14 mile duathalon that includes two miles run, ten miles bike and two miles run. I’ll let you know how it goes!

the marathon of maintaining a weight loss
Chris running in the Cleveland Half Marathon on May 20, 2018.

I believe that staying fit and keeping the weight off is a lot like a marathon. It’s a challenging road of finding the right mix of exercise, sustainable recipes and mindful eating patterns. Just like in a real marathon, there are hills – both up and down. There are water stations of support, along with wide open empty spaces where your mental toughness has to get you through.

Music, mantras and crowd support makes a big difference.

Sometime I think it is my activity level of running and biking in the summer that makes it easy to not be hungry. I just feel more focused on fun. But maybe it is the cold, overcast days in the Ohio winters that make me feel like eating and hibernating.

Regardless of the season, I have to be on the lookout for emotional eating. Whether it is too much grazing from a fabulous potluck before the Jimmy Buffet concert, birthday celebrations with double chocolate cake, or giving in to the cravings of “comfort food” following a loved one’s doctor visit – if I give in to emotional eating, it derails my successful efforts in the marathon of maintaining a weight loss.

I have found that there is a lot of support and many resources for losing weight, but not many available for maintaining a weight loss. If you’ve been a loyal reader or podcast listener, you know that one of my goals for the Becoming Elli website and community is to become a great resource for maintaining a weight loss.

Here are some of my more successful weight maintenance tactics:

* Getting on the scale everyday – especially when I don’t want to. Most days I find it routine to get on the scale and record the weight of my body. It’s even more important to weigh on days after an event, when I know it’s likely I’ve gained a bit.

* Keeping track of what I eat using My Fitness Pal. When I first was losing weight, I went to Weight Watchers and logged things on a paper tracker. Then later, I tracked on the WW app with smart phone. Now, when I do track, I use the My Fitness Pal app. I like how it shows the macros. It also works with FitBit so days when I’m super active and need more food, I can eat more while not going over. Even with the ease of an app, why is it easier to measure and track exercise and my weight, but not to measure, weigh and track food? Even when I was seriously dieting, I find it difficult to track my food, let alone weigh it on a scale before the meal. That is a subject for a whole separate article!

* Signing up for a race, then training for it. I’ve heard that there is a calculation that every additional pound adds xx number of seconds on to your time.  Maybe 10 seconds per mile? Being “in training” helps me consciously make decisions about food, instead of just digging in.

* Saying “No, thank you” to fancy desserts. In many ways I am lucky in that I don’t really crave fancy desserts. Unfortunately, if they are sitting in front of me, I will eat them, partly because everyone else is. It’s odd. I wouldn’t seek out cake or mousse or whatever, but if everyone else is eating it and I don’t conscientiously think about it, I’ll just eat 600 calories of non-nutritious, high-calorie sugar-filled dessert.

* Thinking about my joints and ligaments. I’ve heard that every extra pound on your body feels like xx pounds on your knees and joints. Maybe 5 times? This tactic is wonderful motivation for me to really continue exercising but make sure I don’t overdo it.

* Making my “go to” recipes. There are various meal plans that I fall back on time and time again — things I love to eat, that are nutritious, satisfying and delicious. You’ll find some of the recipes that I have shared are ones that help me to not regain the weight.

Do you feel like you are running a marathon for maintaining a weight loss? If so, what maintaining strategies and tactics do you use? When you get a chance, please leave a comment below or email me at Chris at my Becoming Elli email address. I’d love to hear your strategies!

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