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Struggling with the whole maitaining & resting on my laurels thing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Well, I decided I didn't trust that cheap analog scale I bought that weighed me in so far below what I thought my weight was, and it didn't align with the numbers on my Dr. scale either. So I returned it and got a digital scale. The good news, I'm still below my goal weight. The bad news, I'm not really in the low 160's. Okay, that's not so bad news, I never really believed it and I fudged the number up a bit from what that analog scale said on my weigh-in progress here on Spark. So I feel like I just finally got an honest scale, that's all. I'm not really upset I'm not really 162lbs.

In the past week or two I'm noticing that the skin on my arms and torso seems to maybe be tightening up a smidgen. Not a lot, but enough that I'm hopeful I won't always have that little bit of excess skin flapping around reminding me of who I was. Not that being reminded of what I've done and where I've come from is a bad thing, to the contrary, of late I've started telling those skin flap affectionate things in the mirror because they are a testament to how far I've come. Still, since my profession puts me firmly in front of people and often in costumes not of my choosing, it's easy for small things of self-consciousness to get blown out of proportion. So yes, I will probably always strive for as much perfection, or at least as few visible flaws, as humanly possible. :)

But all this got me thinking, maybe it's time to start looking at that last 10-20lbs or so I could lose if I choose. Granted, I don't feel a huge impetus to get smaller, I'm actually kind of happy with where I am, but I'd be well within healthy ranges even if I lost another 20lbs. Besides, if I start to lose it and I realize I look too skinny, I can always stop, right? But now that I'm losing the fear and disappointment of the excess skin-flaps, there's nothing really holding me back. Besides, I must admit, I still have a hard time eating as much food as is required to hit those huge numbers of calories on the food tracker when I'm in maintenance phase here on Spark. I don't like the anxiety I feel and to be honest, I don't still quite trust that I can truly eat that much and not gain. Okay, yes, for about 6 weeks now I've done it and that old analog scale stayed about the same, but still, it's going to take awhile to hit my head and stick. So, maybe I'll take it very slowly, say, plan to lose 10lbs by the end of summer, going for less than or just 1 lb per week, something like that. Seem reasonable?

What do you all think? Am I rushing too quickly away from maintenance phase? Should I sit with the anxiety and learn to cope with it more, thus giving my body more time to acclimate to a stable weight? Maybe that's part of it, I'm a bit afraid; I've gone through a lot of phases in my life with weight, trying to lose, trying to gain, trying to eat more to please the medical people in my life or trying to eat less to please the people I auditioned for, and there's even been times, for short periods, where I just didn't really think about it much one way or another. But I realize now, as I write this, I've never in my life tried to maintain-- to just stay at a weight. And it's not a comfortable place for me, yet, though to be honest, I can't tell you why that is.

Maybe it's that maintenance isn't all that glamorous. Not that there's no external accolades, I don't mean that, because honestly I don't think anyone's going to notice a few pounds this way or that, it's just, there's not fight, no struggle, no real, tangible goal. It's stasis...I'm striving for stasis. Where's the sexy in that? Change..now that's movement, that's direction, that's going someplace. Maybe not a better place, but it's going. And maintenance is just staying in place, resting on your laurels...oh heck, resting..BINGO...Cassandra does not like sitting still and being. Cassandra is a Do-er. A mover, a shaker, a dynamo. There's the crux of the matter...I don't want to sit still. I want, no I need, to be pursuing something. Anything. Just so long as it's active.

So maybe I need to reframe this for myself? I need to see maintenance in another way? To those of you in maintenance-- how do you let go of actively pursuing a weight loss? And if you start to let go of the things that helped you lose the weight, such as hyper vigilance in food and exercise tracking, did you see weight start to return? Or did your skills and habits keep you where you needed to be, so that you could pour your energy into some other life goal?

Is it normal to find it hard to let go of something you've been really successful at?
Is this partly fear that I now need to go forth and focus on other life goals? Like my finanaces and really pouring my attention into my career and making some bloody money for a change. Now that I'm not fat, the life of a starving artist has lost some of it's glamor--lol, well, maybe not glamor, but I've got a MUCH SMALLER safety cushion to fall down on if I can't make enough bread to fill my toaster! Of course, part of this may be fear that I won't be so wildly successful or find it so easy to pursue a goal that isn't so tangible and thus easy to quantify and track. That's not as easy as tracking calories or carbs, now is it?

So it seems I still have some stuff to think through and work out. But just to be safe, I'm going to go ahead and put in that 10lbs weight loss goal and feel the relief of the daily calorie goal numbers come down. It's nice to know that's still there for me to make me feel good. And of course having all of you to share this journey with and talk to. Thanks.

As always, thanks for reading me. Feel free to chime in with a comment below. :)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, thank you all for the suggestions. Definitely some points to ponder.

    I don't think I want to keep diet and exercise goals the top priority at this point, I want to apply these tools to other goals, both personal and professional but have yet to really figure out how to create a system of tangible tools like what I have for this goal I reached. Also, I admit, I worry a bit if I don't continue the intense focus that somehow I will backslide, so to speak. I know partly that's irrational, because I know me, I just tend to worry unless I'm working my butt off, but I know that it does happen to a lot of people, too, so some concern is justified and genuine I believe.

    Anyway, this is a great conversation with lots to consider and we've got plent of time to work it out, don't we? Since this journey to health and then maintaining that is a lifelong one. Right? :)
    4028 days ago
    Like GRACEFUL said, we've been discussing my own issues in this arena.

    I'm still trying to figure out how this works, how to maintain, how to accommodate the additional caloric requirements of a triathlon training program, etc. etc. etc.

    I experienced a 15-lb bounce up, and am just now bringing it down again. It involves tracking more carefully, and keeping my calories under 2000.

    My "body fat" estimate by BIA has gone up, but I think some of that is because I'm no longer retaining water lately. In addition to everything else I'm juggling, it appears that my reproductive system is slowly coughing to a halt, which causes weird PMS-like symptoms that last for months instead of days.

    It could also be related to the fact that I'm not lifting as often as I had been. (doh)

    Anyway, where I stand right now it's a cosmic juggling act, and I'm just trying to keep track of all the balls in the air without letting too many of them drop. Some of the ones I'm particularly focused on right now are the tracking because no matter what stage I'm in they seem to be really important for me.
    4028 days ago
    I like what "Oldmom" had to say. You need to reframe your goals. Look at what other things you want to accomplish in your life and strive for those. The weight will take care of itself as long as you don't go to one extreme or the other.
    Don't know if you track everyday or not but if you do, then try not tracking for a day or 2 a week and then see what happens. I think you have enough new and good habits now, to sustain your body. Now you need to sustain your mind with other things.
    Try to focus on your life and where you are going and how you want to get there...

    See you Sunday,
    4029 days ago
    -Is it normal [snip]?

    I'd say yes, or certainly not abnormal. Real change is often difficult, even if unsuccessful at something... because comfort with doing something has little to do with success. It's difficult to give up the things you are comfortable with. It sounds to me like you are comfortable with weight loss and not so comfortable with maintenance.

    Ultimately, how your diet and fitness fit into your life is your decision. If you'd like to spend less time and energy on it, who are we to say not to do so? By the same token, for both our own comfort and your success, we don't want to see you backslide.

    Given that you may not be comfortable with maintenance, you could do something I thought of during discussions with 4A - tapering your loss rate. If you plan to lose 1 lb per week for 4 weeks, .75 lbs/wk for 4 weeks, .5 lbs/wk for 4 weeks, then .25 lbs/wk for 4 weeks, then at the end you have lost 10 total. And perhaps you have acclimated yourself more to the idea of eating more and keeping your weight stable. Maybe you will have found something else to focus on, too.
    4029 days ago
    I hit my "goal" of BMI 25 over a year ago. I'm now at BMI 20. I keep reducing my goal. I think that is okay. I lost 55 pounds right at 1.5 pounds per week. When I was BMI 25 I added some food. I lost 25 more pounds at an average of 2 pounds per month - about .5 pounds per week. I've lost another 6 pounds at closer to .1 pound per week. There have been times when I think I'm too skinny. But then I live at that weight a month or two and I'm ready to lose a bit more.

    I think it is reasonable that you don't know what you want to weigh until you get there. Moving a goal weight down isn't a problem.

    I have some of those same feelings about maintenance not being exciting. Yes, I think we need to reframe that. We need to celebrate time goals, like a month, 3 months, a year. We need to set new fitness goals. Right now I'm working hard to reduce my body fat percentage. Some people run or pick another fitness goal. Staying active on SparkPeople helps you keep up your streaks and communicate with other maintainers.

    Congrats on your success to date! You can achieve the weight you want.
    4029 days ago
    Have had many of the same thoughts lately...just blogged a bit about it myself, actually...check out my latest blog! :-)

    4029 days ago
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