AIM:Adventures in Maintenance is Shelley, Lori, Cammy, Debby and Lynn, 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!
This month’s topic is What is Different Now? I really gave this a lot of thought and while a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same. I am sort of an accidental maintainer. I had a different number in mind than where I have been at for the last few years, so I never really did hit a goal number and then try to maintain. I sort of slid into maintenance, so to speak, which means I approached maintenance differently. The number is not as important to me now as being healthy and active and being happy.
Of course, there are the obvious physical differences, like smaller clothing sizes, bones that are palpable which used to be buried under fat. It takes a long time to get used to a new body, too. For such a long time I would automatically twist my body to maneuver through aisles or narrow spots when I didn’t need to. I took a long time for my mind to see the physical changes in my body. It still doesn’t always see those changes. That hasn’t changed.
I love to move now, too. That’s a big difference. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows how much I love to cycle. It wasn’t always that way. When I first tried biking, I really didn’t like it. I just wasn’t using the right equipment. It was a cheap heavy mountain bike, which isn’t good for road riding. Once I found the right equipment, everything changed. I think exercise will have to be a post for another day because I could go on forever about that.
Probably the biggest change is my relationship with food. I have always loved food, but put it into categories of good/bad, diet/non-diet. Not banning any foods from my life or considering anything to be a ‘cheat’ really helped change my thinking about food. It’s nourishment for the body and sometimes nourishment for the soul. I think it is okay to be comforted by ice cream once in a while – as long as you aren’t using it to hide from your problems. I do find that I have to pay attention to my food most of the time. I used to only pay attention when I was ‘dieting.’ Now I realize that I will likely have to pay attention for life.
Something that hasn’t changed has been the struggle with body acceptance. I am much better about it now, but it is still hard. It’s hard not to compare to others and it is hard not to compare to the airbrushed famous people as well. My body isn’t perfect, but it’s mine and it does many wonderful things for me. That is certainly deserving of acceptance and I try to remind myself of that daily. I have a scale now that does not tell me a number, which is good because I don’t fixate on a number. It just tells me where I am at compared to when I first set the scale. A voice says “You are X pounds above/below your starting weight.” When you lose (or gain) 10 pounds, it resets that as your starting weight. That’s kind of nice and very freeing to have a measurement without number stress.
I get asked the question fairly often about “How did you know this was the last time?” To be completely honest, I don’t know if this is the last time. There were other times where I was sure it was going to be the last time down the scale – and it wasn’t. I know I am not the only one this has happened to. However, the differences in how I live my life and approach food now give me a lot of confidence that I can keep the weight off or catch the slide before it gets too far.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and, if you haven’t already, check out the other AIM bloggers’ thoughts: