95% of us will gain all the weight back, plus some. That’s what they say. That’s the statistic.
Not much hope available! No encouragement whatsoever. I’ve actually been there several times myself — in the 95 percentile. So how can this time, THIS TIME, be different?
For many people weight loss is a chronic endeavor. All too often the shedding of pounds is a temporary event followed by a steady regain of lost weight. Most popular diets are unsuccessful in the long run because they fail to address the multi-faceted nature of what successful, permanent weight loss entails: m.a.i.n.t.e.n.a.n.c.e.
Maintenance is a boring word. But it’s an important one. It’s where you can really get caught up because there’s no daily/weekly set goal. There’s no one there at the scale to say Woo hoo, you did it.
When you reach the maintenance phase it’s all about what happens after you lose the weight, when nobody wants to talk about it anymore. You’ve done what you had to do and now you’ve got the rest of your life to live.
Valerie Bertinelli, author of “Losing It” [and Gaining my Life Back One Pound at a Time ] and more recently “Finding It” [Satisfying my Hunger for Life without Opening the Fridge] has written about her two-and-a-half year weight-loss story. She is funny, blunt, and says so much of what I want to say.
“At the time, I weighed 132.2 pounds, down 40 pounds from when I had begun a very public diet earlier that spring. I had already surpassed my original weight loss goal of 30 pounds and at some point — I had failed to note it on my calendar — I had gone from losing weight to being on maintenance.
I had talked about maintenance for months as if it were a change of life. But I had no idea what it was really about. I figured I would learn once I got there. Then I got there and wondered what it was that I was supposed to be maintaining. My life was in flux — it wasn’t work-in-progress as much as it was simply work. As I would find out, maintenance was exactly that — more work.
And it was life work, not losing-weight work.
If my weight was a barometer of the rest of my life, I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. In addition to concern about my weight, I also knew that I could be better, kinder, smarter, more disciplined, compassionate, patient, and loving. I wanted to feel like I mattered. I yearned for a lightness of being that couldn’t be measured on a scale. I wanted to feel whole, peaceful, and connected to a Higher Power even if just for a few moments.”
That’s exactly what I want for myself: Wholeness. Peace. Connectivity. I want to feel like I matter. I want to feel like I made a difference somewhere, to someone.
And I feel like I’m precariously perched on a high cliff or a tightrope where I could freefall back into old destructive, self-loathing habits. I feel like I’ve come to one of those turnabouts in Idaho Falls, where I could literally go around all day if I didn’t know which direction I was heading.
I’ve checked my own barometer. I also recognize I want to be better, kinder, smarter, more disciplined, compassionate, patient, and loving.
Maintenance is not just about the calories we put into our body. Its trying to figure out why we gained that weight in the first place and really tackling those inner demons.
Weight, for me, is a symptom of what’s going on emotionally. It’s about not being able to give a voice to all the emotions I feel and the stress that comes with that impairment. It’s about the choices I’ve made in life that led to stuffing my feelings and trying to calm them with a mouth full of food.
I so want to be in the 5 percentile! I so want to win this self-imposed civil war. I so want to be able to concentrate on something else more important and more self-building than my weight for the next 30 years.
And I want to quit hiding from the one person who could help solve my problems: me.