Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Do We Fail At Maintenance?

This question has been haunting me recently as I’ve passed my one year mark of living a low carb lifestyle. Statistics say that once you lose the weight, most people usually FAIL at keeping it off. Why? What is it that makes living a thin lifestyle for those of us who lived the majority of our lives overweight so difficult? Do we follow a program just to get the weight off or do we truly recognize the need and necessity even of shifting paradigms?

The first time I lost a significant amount of weight I got pregnant almost immediately. At that point, I for some reason thought that I could just go back to eating the way I had previously enjoyed myself. After all, it was for the baby right? The pounds began to pack back on, and this was multiplied when we ended up having complications with the pregnancy and losing that baby. But what happened to me mentally? I obviously had taken the mindset that I needed to lose the weight, but not to keep it off. Bad habits crept back in and before I knew it… not only had I gained it all back, but plus some.

I spent the next 2 years yo-yoing before conceiving again and with that (successful) pregnancy I gained over 70lbs! I knew I was overweight, but just wasn’t in “that place.” I always used the excuse “I could never give up my bread… potatoes… (insert your poison of choice here).” So obviously it wasn’t priority in my life at that point.

Slowly, things began to compile and the veil began to be lifted as I started seeing just what was going on in my own life that was hindering me making a real difference. What was it that was hindering me? Me.

I realized that I was serving me. “I want… I can’t give up…. I deserve…. I can’t pass on….” all about the “I.”

What happened when I started losing weight at lightning speed? My thought process shifted, but from one self serving “I” to another. “I want it off NOW.” Patience and self-control played second fiddle to my insatiable desire to go faster and faster. I was encouraged and spurred on with the hope and false information that this was perfect and a great way to lose. And I bought it! Totally! Never-mind what damaging effects I might have permanently been putting on my body. But one thing rang through….

My mom asked me shortly after I lost the weight if I had in actually traded one selfish ambition for another. Is this what had happened? Is this why we have such a hard time maintaining weight-loss to begin with? I suddenly realized that I had still not completely dealt with the heart issue.

I began my journey with good intentions. I wanted to make a better life for myself, my family, my health, and to honor my Lord with my body. But the road to destruction is often lined with good intentions. When the complements start flying that same self-centered thinking begins to creep back in. “If they like me now… just wait till they see me then…” I don’t think that anyone would deny that being on the cover of a magazine is pretty much the ultimate compliment that you can get when you’ve been losing weight. Especially for someone like me who has been overweight my entire life.

Since leaving the Kimkins program I have learned so much. God has blessed me with incredible friends and family who have supported me 100% in everything that I’ve done. One thing that I discovered however is that by not addressing the base line issue that I had forgotten why I decided to begin my journey in the first place. I chose to live the way that God intended me to live. I no longer face a self-serving attitude of more more more (or less as the case may be). I found that I needed to re-adjust my paradigm and realize that successful weight loss and maintenance was not about getting complements or feeling good about myself, while those are definite benefits and perks, they are not the goal. True maintenance begins in the heart.

By transferring my thinking to a goal of honoring God with my body and extending my life in a healthy way for my children and family, it is no longer about “I.” Food is for nourishment first and enjoyment second. At first, it seems like a tremendous paradox… if we didn’t enjoy food so much then we wouldn’t have a weight problem, but if the pleasure was taken out of eating, then we wouldn’t feel the need to nourish. We have taste-buds for a reason. It is a gift so that we can enjoy this aspect of life. But like other aspects it is a gift we seem to abuse.

By over-indulging we seem to counter-act the exact thing that God intended for us. I believe He would much rather us savor and completely enjoy the flavor of a strawberry, instead of smothering it in sugar and bleached flour and taking away from the nourishment and satisfaction that can come from a simple serving of the fruit. When we over-indulge, we desensitize ourselves and our taste-buds to the actual pleasure that can come from eating GOOD foods.

Ask anyone who has been eating healthfully for an extended period of time. Whole, healthy GOOD foods seem to take on an all new vibrancy. Why? Because we had become desensitized to the actual flavors of the foods themselves. I am constantly amazed at how good I feel and the pleasure that comes from eating well. I can now enjoy those moments of healthful eating with greater satisfaction than the food can give me; because I know that I am honoring God with my choices, and I am giving my children a much brighter future with a healthy and participating mother.

While I am still far from what I would call a complete success as far as the maintenance goes, I feel confident that this time it is for good. It’s been 7 months. This time, it will stick. This time, it’s not about me.


iportion said...

I gained 53 with my last baby I want to get 43 off.
I kept the weight off for over a year before this. I lost over 100 pounds. I don't mind being big. I want to be healthy.

Extreme diets with ultra low calories have much lower than average rates but there is hope.

Maintenance rates for most other are also very low but not as low as people think %20 of all dieters keep the weight off weight watchers has 28%. Yes these numbers are still low and can be improved.
A lot of places use the %5 number but this number is from an old and poorly done study over 20 years ago.

Even bad diets can help people lose. So when people say "it's working I am losing" it doesn't mean it really is working go to the same person in a year.
Maintenance is doing what you did to lose weight but you get more food.

Maintenance rates can rise
If the diet is realistic and not too restrictive. While low carb can work for many if a person is too restrictive that lead to binges.
What works for some won't work for others. Some people try to say my diet works so it will work for everyone. Meetings didn't work for me so it won't work for you is not helpful. People who think meetings work for me so they will work for everyone aren't helpful either.

I have a binge eating disorder which is not bulimia related but trauma related. I know if I don't keep my emotions in order I can and will regain my weight again.
Many supper obese binge eaters are actually bulimic. Not all bulimics purge which is why VLC diets can be unhealthy for them and exasperate the problem.
Teens who do vLC diets are more likely to be obese adults.
Some call binge eating disorder as BED but some bulimics. If you have uncontrollable binging going seeking medical help is key.
Journaling helps in the long run for most people with broken eating.

iportion said...

You went through a lot of pain.
All I can offer is a flower of friendship. @-----}-----

twobig said...

well said. I hope you are a success at keeping it off The excitement of losing it is gone and maintaining is hard work without the pats on the back cause you are getting smaller to help motivate you to stay here. I think your new attitude will be a blessing for you to be a successful goalie for life.

size8jeans said...

For me, I have to stay in the "diet mindset" to maintain. And will I ever get there? There's always something coming up and I put on a few pounds and then am trying to lose it until the next event. I've been dieting for 3 1/2 years now and can never hold my goal weight more than a week or two before something happens, I gain a few pounds, and spend the next several week (or months) trying to lose it again. I don't think I will ever see maintenance per se because my body is always struggling against me to be fat again.

Jan said...

First and most....God is there to help us all, your faith is awesome!! You kept it off this long, I can't see you not keeping it off for the rest of your life, with exercise and the strength of God and your family and friends. I to was on KimKins last year, lost alot, but let myself eat for the holidays, gained it back and then some..I find myself back on the journey of losing again, and this time eating healthy and changing my eating pattern for life. I do find it hard not losing the weight as fast as I did a year ago, but realize what I did to my metabolism to a year ago. God Bless you Christin....You did alot for all of us with the exposure of Kimmer.... ((( hugs )))

regandy said...

You are such a blessing, Christin. This blog was GREAT food for thought. I know you will live this way the rest of your life... your LONG life!

Becky said...

Great blog post, Christin!

You are right - our motivation and mindset is so crucial!

Sue said...

I always say losing is the easy part - maintaining is the hard part. I've lost weight heaps of time but always gained it back. Maintenance is a skill I am trying to learn. I also have to ask myself - why do I put the weight back on?
Christin - 7 months maintenance is great - you've learned the skill and I have no doubt you will excel at maintenance.

Lori_Soard said...

Christin, I hope you're feeling better now. I know you can maintain the loss, even though it's very hard. Just hang int here and focus on getting your health back completely. You're in my prayers!


Lisa said...

Christin, I quoted you in my blog today because you are so effin' brilliant! Thank you for your bravery, intelligence and willingness to share your insights!! Much love, Lisa