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Long time maintainers how do you do it

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  • kpodarukpodaru Member Posts: 133 Member Member Posts: 133 Member
    I'd like to hear from other folks who've maintained their weight loss for several years or so.
    What do you do to maintain?
    What sort of lifestyle changes did you make while losing or after that made it easier (or possible?) to maintain your loss?
    And, are you active/do you exercise regularly?

    What works for you?

    Thanks. It just seems with all the discussions about LOSING weight, hearing from some long time maintainers would be helpful. Since THAT is one of the biggest challenges.

    cheers

    i started my journey to get back in shape jan 1 2012 and have kept it all off, if not lost more inches and gained more muscle. at 39, i'm in the best shape of my life; even better than when i was in my early 20s.

    i eat clean 99% of the time. to me, the food we eat are choices we make and i choose to eat well in order to feel and look well. if i want the odd dessert, i save that for when it's truly worth it (ie. i eat my one fav dessert on my birthday and i eat the hell out of that). what we eat is what will either help you maintain, lose weight or gain weight so i choose to eat healthy. i know what foods work for me and i stick to my staples. this has helped me the most.

    in terms of lifestyle changes - getting healthy meant learning what foods work for me and what exercises work for me. i stick to my 5-6day/week workouts and coupled with clean eating, that's helped me maintain what i've lost and these days, i've lost more inches due to cutting out grains (that started out as an experiment to fix my skin and sensitive gums) and starting a different type of exercise in the past 6 months.

    since i started, i have worked out 5-6 days a week. i've since stuck to that and have increased to 7 days a week just because it's nice outside and prefer to be outdoors doing things instead of being indoors.

    so for me: maintenance has always been about food and staying active. if i'm at home, i'm rarely watching TV but i'm doing something/moving around.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Member Posts: 19,329 Member Member Posts: 19,329 Member
    So many wonderful and diverse replies to this thread. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply.
  • snowflakesavsnowflakesav Member Posts: 644 Member Member Posts: 644 Member
    I have maintained for 8 years. I admit to bouncing around with the last 15 pounds and regaining that amount and losing it. My highest weight was 191. I am 138 now.

    I move more now than I did.. Walking shopping chores.
    I weigh myself nearly every day
    I know that vacations and holidays are generally going to involve restricting afterwards to get back ontrack

  • SarasmaintainingSarasmaintaining Member Posts: 1,027 Member Member Posts: 1,027 Member
    I don't think I've responded to this yet-great idea for a thread Sabine :)

    My two year maintenance anniversary was last month-

    What do you do to maintain?

    -16:8IF (eating window 11am-7pm most days)
    -daily weigh-ins, that I track on an app
    -always follow serving suggestions
    -use my food scale on a regular basis
    -spot check days with occasional food logging on MFP
    -sort of follow the TDEE method to figure out my calories

    What sort of lifestyle changes did you make while losing or after that made it easier (or possible?) to maintain your loss?

    -I didn't really change anything major, except make my weight/health a focus in my life

    And, are you active/do you exercise regularly?

    -I did not exercise at all during my active weight loss phase, but after I transitioned into maintenance I realized I needed new goals, to help keep me focused. I now change my fitness goals by season, and for spring I'm walking 2-6 miles a week, and then doing two body-weight strength training challenges (push-ups, squats). After the challenges wrap up, I'll take a week off and then start my summer routine-walking and then 3 new strength training challenges (pull-ups, lunges and crunches)

    What works for you?

    For me-the most important thing about weight loss and now successfully maintaining is mindset. Once I got my head in the right place, everything else fell into place :) I'm constantly evaluating what I'm doing, seeing what's working/not working, and adjusting as necessary. I'm in this for the long term and I'm having a lot of fun with it!

    edited May 2015
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Member Posts: 13,348 Member Member Posts: 13,348 Member
    rainbow198 wrote: »
    Very useful thread. Would have been so helpful to read when I was first starting out! Thanks for starting it OP!

    I lost 80 lbs in 2012 - 2013 and have been maintaining for 2 years this month! I never yo-yo'ed prior, I was just content being overweight but it came to a point where I became obese and needed to make changes.

    - Being aware of what I eat is very important. Whether it's a holiday, vacation, my birthday or a rainy Tuesday if I consume it I write it down. I enjoy all foods in moderation, but again I'm mindful about what I'm eating.

    - Saving calories for weekend really helps me. I eat a little less calories during the week and eat a little more during the weekend. It keeps me balanced so I don't lose weight or gain. On a typical week Friday night's are pizza nights, I usually go out to eat on Saturday night and cook everything else at home. Being doing this since losing weight and I haven't gained...maybe some water weight, but that goes away in a day or two easily.

    - Eating larger meals less frequently really, really, really helps me. In other words I unintentionally IF and it keeps me full and happy. I learned mini-meals and snacking all day was not a good fit for me.

    - Staying active daily. Not just to burn calories, but for my heart health, to keep my health numbers in healthy ranges and to look good naked and be physically fit. Speed walking, lifting and Pilates (all with no gym membership) has given me my desired figure and keep things firm and tight.

    - Honorable mention: I rarely drink calories. I make smoothies, shakes and freshly squeezed OJ/grapefruit juice and fresh lemonade at home, but I mean things like store bought juice, pop, alcohol etc. My tastebuds just changed and I just don't want it.

    I'm pushing 40, in the best shape of my life and look and feel better than I did in high school/university. Feels really good.

    Everything I'm doing I can do for the rest of my life, but I'm still always reading, researching, learning and growing.

    ^^ loving this reply and well done @rainbow198 you rock :smile: I totally agree with all of your points and maintain very similar strategies :)
  • 47Jacqueline47Jacqueline Member Posts: 7,034 Member Member Posts: 7,034 Member
    I lost almost 30lb over 2 years ago. I've maintained within 5lb of my goal weight of 128 for that time, currently at 126.5. I lost 2 additional sizes after reaching maintenance.

    I maintain because I changed the way I related to food when I started MFP. My life doesn't revolve around what I eat, when I eat, how much or how little I eat, where I will eat, how I will prepare my food, etc. I don't ascribe personality traits to food: it is not good or bad.

    Basically, I no longer have an all-consuming involvement with food, which leaves me with a lot of time to do other stuff, like work out, read, go to movies, ride my bike, get together with friends, run a new business, have a couple of hobbies, etc.

    For food specifics, I eat anything I want - I don't want a quart of ice cream or three pieces of pizza at a sitting (except for sometimes). My only two "rules": I drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day; I don't drink my sugar.
  • pedidivapedidiva Member Posts: 199 Member Member Posts: 199 Member
    Matahairi~~

    Thanks for the book recommendation, "Thin for Life". I downloaded to my Kindle and have found it very instructive. Everyone else, thanks for your posts. I am not close to maintenance, but have found your posts very helpful.

    Thanks
    Pedi
  • Bizurke51Bizurke51 Member Posts: 190 Member Member Posts: 190 Member
    I'm transitioning to maintaining right now.

    How many of you simply eat what you want as long as you stay under ur budget?

    Do you pay attention to macros?

    Have you experienced a situation where u gained body fat but weight stayed the same?

    I'm very active so once I get back to my calorie maintenance budget I will have A LOT of extra calories to eat each day. I'm trying to figure out when it's ok to use them on a treat food or how often.

    My plan is to always stay under budget for the day/week.

  • Mischievous_RascalMischievous_Rascal Member Posts: 1,799 Member Member Posts: 1,799 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    I'm transitioning to maintaining right now.

    How many of you simply eat what you want as long as you stay under ur budget? Me, but I make sure I get enough protein and fat. Carbs fill in the rest.

    Do you pay attention to macros? See above, lol.

    Have you experienced a situation where u gained body fat but weight stayed the same? Yup - I had to take four months off from the gym due to injury and that changed my BF by about 2.5%. Bone density changed, too.

    I'm very active so once I get back to my calorie maintenance budget I will have A LOT of extra calories to eat each day. I'm trying to figure out when it's ok to use them on a treat food or how often. Enjoy your treats! :)

    My plan is to always stay under budget for the day/week.

    I've been maintaining for a year and a half now, and it's WAY easier to do it with exercise. Those few months away from the gym were a bit of a struggle. And even though I'm pretty good with my food (I don't bother measuring and weighing anymore) I'm still always going to log.
  • Bizurke51Bizurke51 Member Posts: 190 Member Member Posts: 190 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    I'm transitioning to maintaining right now.

    How many of you simply eat what you want as long as you stay under ur budget? Me, but I make sure I get enough protein and fat. Carbs fill in the rest.

    Do you pay attention to macros? See above, lol.

    Have you experienced a situation where u gained body fat but weight stayed the same? Yup - I had to take four months off from the gym due to injury and that changed my BF by about 2.5%. Bone density changed, too.

    I'm very active so once I get back to my calorie maintenance budget I will have A LOT of extra calories to eat each day. I'm trying to figure out when it's ok to use them on a treat food or how often. Enjoy your treats! :)

    My plan is to always stay under budget for the day/week.

    I've been maintaining for a year and a half now, and it's WAY easier to do it with exercise. Those few months away from the gym were a bit of a struggle. And even though I'm pretty good with my food (I don't bother measuring and weighing anymore) I'm still always going to log.

    Thank you for your help. The 56 lbs must never return
  • chipotlejamchipotlejam Member Posts: 4 Member Member Posts: 4 Member
    So much here that I identify with.
    I've lost 70lbs, never to return!
    So, how do I maintain? It's my way of life now. I'm 65, a UK size 10, with a BMI of 22. I'm 5ft 6 inches and weigh 140lbs.
    I weigh daily, wear a fitbit, log everything I eat, eat what I enjoy, enjoy a drink, but above all, it's my mindset that has changed.
    I also watch those sly carbs and rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and cakes have made way for simple carbs like vegetables and pulses, which I pair with fish and chicken.

    It's taken me a long time to get here, physically and mentally. But I'm here and that's what matters.
  • cenandracenandra Member, Premium Posts: 270 Member Member, Premium Posts: 270 Member
    My story can be found here: themotivationalgirl.blogspot.com/p/poison-called-diabetes.html

    Maintaining for over 6 1/2 years now and loving it!
  • aisforamyazaisforamyaz Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    I have been pretty much maintaining (with a couple of slips here and there) for about four years. I walk daily...my goal is at least 10,000 per day, which for me is about six miles. I have a fairly active job that keeps me moving, but mostly it's continuing to log my food and make better food choices than I did in the past. A lot more veggies and fresh fruits and less sugar (I am a sugar addict, so that's the hardest). I don't really deny myself anything I REALLY want to eat or drink, but I am mindful of portion sizes (did you know there are FOUR servings of ice cream in a pint of Ben & Jerry's and not just one? I found that out during my weight loss process! XD)
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,404 Member Member Posts: 39,404 Member
    Bizurke51 wrote: »
    I'm transitioning to maintaining right now.

    How many of you simply eat what you want as long as you stay under ur budget?
    I suppose that depends on how you define "whatever you want". I don't keep a diary and I've maintained for over 2 years without logging...my philosophy is that maintaining a healthy weight is simply a bi-product of living a healthful lifestyle...this includes eating "right" and in appropriate quantities and exercising regularly. My diet consists largely of tons of veggies, some fruit, plenty of lean sourced protein, healthy fats from things like avocados, nuts, and olive oil, some whole grains and legumes.

    I don't think I would be able to maintain without logging if I ate the SAD or anything remotely resembling it. That's not to say that I never have pizza or I only eat chicken and never a bratwurst or something...I definitely treat myself to stuff like that, but it's not a daily kind of thing. I'm not much into stereotypical junk foods like commercial baked goods, etc. I do eat desert most nights...usually dark chocolate.
    Do you pay attention to macros?
    I have a general idea of where they stand, but really I just focus on having a well balanced and nutrient dense diet. I don't log so I'm obviously not tracking my macros down to the gram...which I think is kind of crazy anyway and IMO, people obsess far too much over their macros for very little benefit. I think they are a good thing to be aware of, but I don't find it at all necessary to obsess over them to maintain weight and be healthy and fit.
    Have you experienced a situation where u gained body fat but weight stayed the same?
    No...not sure how that would actually happen.
    I'm very active so once I get back to my calorie maintenance budget I will have A LOT of extra calories to eat each day. I'm trying to figure out when it's ok to use them on a treat food or how often.
    If you have calories to consume, you have calories to consume...it really doesn't matter.
    My plan is to always stay under budget for the day/week.

    If you're trying to maintain then why would you be striving to stay under your budget?


    edited May 2015
  • ddmusicaddmusica Member Posts: 50 Member Member Posts: 50 Member
    I started maintenance over a month ago, after losing my goal weight of 40 lbs. It is a lifestyle, and I love it. I maintain at 1500 calories, and workout 6 days a week. Love lifting weights. People actually think I weigh less than I do-- It is strange to wear a size 4 and weigh 133 lbs. (I'm 5'5" tall), but that's where I am. I attribute it to the weight lifting. As far as food, your body gets used to this lifestyle, and eating more than you need just simply doesn't make sense. I'll be 47 on Wednesday, and I feel better than I did at 37! :)
  • girlwithLiongirlwithLion Member Posts: 8 Member Member Posts: 8 Member
    Matahairi wrote: »
    There is a great book I read called "Thin for Life". It gives great examples of how people maintained their weight loss over years. My best advice? Make MFP part of your life just like checking your email, voicemail, and bank balance, etc every day.

    What I tell my patients who want to lose weight and maintain is this:
    Think of tracking your intake and exercise is like tracking your checking account. Would you ever go to a store and swipe your debit card without ever knowing what your balance is to spend or what the price of the item your buying is? Eating without tracking is exactly this.

    Who would ever go to Best Buy and just start writing a check for the prettiest washer and dryer or fanciest computer just because you were "hungry to have one"? Blind eating is just like blind spending.

    Would any of us irresponsibly ask the question, "Hey when can I stop checking my balance at the bank? It's getting old seeing how much money I have or don't have every day . I just want to relax and spend freely and assume that I have unlimited funds available". Or how about, "Hey, I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks...can't I just blow a bunch of cash that I don't have and just worry about the overdraft fees later when I get home?"

    I would hope not.

    Your friendly Registered Dietitian

    This is brilliant. I have frequently avoided the term "dieting" and used the terms "calorie budgeting" instead but it never occurred to me that permanent calorie budgeting makes just as much sense as permanent monetary budgeting!!! Loved the expansion of this analogy.
  • besarobesaro Member Posts: 1,859 Member Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    the thing that has worked for me for the past 2 years is chasing the those last 5-10 pounds. would i be thrilled to get to my original goal weight, yes! do i like having something to shoot for. it seems to keep on track. what that says to me is tracking my calories, my exercise and being aware of my choices are the things that have made me successful.

    as to the guy who was pissed about being told its meaningless if you can't keep it off for about 5 years. sorry it was put to in an offensive way, but statistics show that 95% of all dieters gain their weight back after 5 years. yes, there are exceptions (Arent we all snowflakes?)
  • rainbow198rainbow198 Member Posts: 2,263 Member Member Posts: 2,263 Member
    Thank you so much @RunRutheeRun! You look awesome by the way. :) I hope you are still doing well!


    rainbow198 wrote: »
    Very useful thread. Would have been so helpful to read when I was first starting out! Thanks for starting it OP!

    I lost 80 lbs in 2012 - 2013 and have been maintaining for 2 years this month! I never yo-yo'ed prior, I was just content being overweight but it came to a point where I became obese and needed to make changes.

    - Being aware of what I eat is very important. Whether it's a holiday, vacation, my birthday or a rainy Tuesday if I consume it I write it down. I enjoy all foods in moderation, but again I'm mindful about what I'm eating.

    - Saving calories for weekend really helps me. I eat a little less calories during the week and eat a little more during the weekend. It keeps me balanced so I don't lose weight or gain. On a typical week Friday night's are pizza nights, I usually go out to eat on Saturday night and cook everything else at home. Being doing this since losing weight and I haven't gained...maybe some water weight, but that goes away in a day or two easily.

    - Eating larger meals less frequently really, really, really helps me. In other words I unintentionally IF and it keeps me full and happy. I learned mini-meals and snacking all day was not a good fit for me.

    - Staying active daily. Not just to burn calories, but for my heart health, to keep my health numbers in healthy ranges and to look good naked and be physically fit. Speed walking, lifting and Pilates (all with no gym membership) has given me my desired figure and keep things firm and tight.

    - Honorable mention: I rarely drink calories. I make smoothies, shakes and freshly squeezed OJ/grapefruit juice and fresh lemonade at home, but I mean things like store bought juice, pop, alcohol etc. My tastebuds just changed and I just don't want it.

    I'm pushing 40, in the best shape of my life and look and feel better than I did in high school/university. Feels really good.

    Everything I'm doing I can do for the rest of my life, but I'm still always reading, researching, learning and growing.

    ^^ loving this reply and well done @rainbow198 you rock :smile: I totally agree with all of your points and maintain very similar strategies :)
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