How do you get rid of the "fear of gain" mindset

I am now in maintenance and have been for several weeks - it absolutely terrifies me, with good grounds. I have been here before about 4 or 5 times. I lose weight brilliantly, it becomes my life's work, I become close on obsessed with it, I become almost a scientific genius on everything from glycogen to the latest low calorie foods - recently I have been digesting videos on Youtube like there is no tomorrow on the obesity epidemic and every weight loss programme that is out there.

Something happens to me during maintenance - I take my eye off the ball (I quit logging, stop working out) and BOOM! there I am 50 or 60lbs heavier again. I cannot "relax" and no matter how many times I think I can "eat intuitively" or "know what a proper portion looks like" I can't - I know if I want to remain slim I will need to log until the day I die or someone else makes my food choices for me. At the moment adding extra calories to maintain is really hard, I am trying but I panic about it - logic escapes my mind and this idea that this body I have will slip through my fingers again and I will be obese and hating my body and only able to wear nasty clothes rather than all the lovely ones I have now.

Has anyone found a way to get this fear, obsession or whatever you want to call it out of my head? I want to enjoy my new body and be able to enjoy things like going out without the panic of eating a slice of birthday cake and not logging it right taking over.


  • TeachTheGirl
    TeachTheGirl Posts: 2,091 Member
    I could have written this post myself! I still consider myself too far away from my goal to eat at maintenance, but I think part of that is just the fear that I'm going to gain and gain if I switch too soon? It's all mind games.

    I think maybe ease yourself into it?
  • Gimpdogg
    Gimpdogg Posts: 163 Member
    I tried maintenance and just eyeballing this spring/summer and put on 12 pounds. I think once you've been over weight there is no relaxing. I now know that I will have to weigh, watch, count and stand my ground against the battle of calories for the rest of my life.
  • UpEarly
    UpEarly Posts: 2,555 Member
    You don't ever get rid of the mindset completely!

    I've been on maintenance for going on two years. Most of my good habits have become a lot more ingrained/automatic, but I don't think I'll ever be able to completely take my eye off the ball and completely relax. I continue to log my meals, use a food scale and I continue to rely on my MFP friends for motivation and inspiration.

    It helps that I never 'dieted'. I lost weight through a small calorie cut (250 calories a day) and a moderate exercise program. I took about a year to hit my goal weight (and actually ended up losing 15 more pounds after I hit goal). I don't pay attention to the latest low-calorie foods or diet plans, I just focus on staying active and eating within my TDEE. Most days I eat anywhere from 2000-2400 calories - all 'normal' foods. I weigh in about once a month. It's been very sustainable for me.
  • Hildy_J
    Hildy_J Posts: 1,050 Member
    Perhaps quit the logging but keep an eye on the scale instead, and weigh in just once a week? If you're way over your goal on any given week you can then nip the gain in the bud by logging again.
  • jan3h
    jan3h Posts: 55 Member
    Hi Hazel,

    For myself, in order to keep the weight off, I think I will be weighing my food portions and counting calories for the rest of my life. (Thank goodness for digital kitchen scales and apps like My Fitness Pal which make this so easy.)

    I also realized early on in my journey, that if I wanted to keep weight off I would have to exercise an hour a day six days a week for the rest of my life.

    I know that if I keep track of my food intake and my exercise output, I will be able to maintain my new weight. But I have to keep doing this. It's all part of the new lifestyle I've bought into.

    As for going off track now and again, at the earliest opportunity, I know I must go back to tracking my eating and exercise. And keep up the weekly weigh-ins so that I can monitor how I am going.

    I think that acceptance goes a long way towards beating fear.

    All the best to you and keep your eye on that ball :-)

    Jane xox
  • hazeljordan1974
    hazeljordan1974 Posts: 107 Member
    Thanks guys for all your replies. I think I will need to keep logging - as jah3h said "Thank goodness for digital kitchen scales and apps like My Fitness Pal", it doesn't take long at all to log each day (I probably take 15 minutes on it). I think I am going to need to get close to the wire on my calories at least once or twice a week to prove it won't make me put on weight.

    I think my issue has always been - "I'm done, now I don't have to worry about it" once I've lost my weight - I think I have to face facts that this is a part of my everyday life now and I will need to log forever - I have to think of this just par for the course rather than loathe it.
  • debraran1
    debraran1 Posts: 520 Member
    I'm not at my goal yet, but within 10 pounds. I know in the past it was just not exercising and watching portions that made the weight go back on. I switched jobs, no gym, etc. I also never say "diet", I correct people who say "Are you off your diet?" I'm not dieting , it's a change in my old eating habits. I'm not ( I hope) going back to eating bags of chips and crackers in one sitting, nibbling on candy at work mindlessly, having 2 portions of pasta unless it's coupled with a lighter day that week.

    The fear I understand, but fluctuations of a few pounds is normal, if you gain 5, and it's not from a source you know (hormones/sodium) then you cut back and lose it before it's 10.

    That's my plan anyway, relax the low cal a bit, have days when I let myself have a nice dinner without worry and most important, not stopping the exercising. At my age, 50's, I have to exercise to keep things in check. Thankfully I found some DVD's i like and am always looking for fresh ones to rotate in.
  • GnosisGnosis
    It never goes away, to be real. What you have to do is learn to moderate it. I am a compulsive weight-cutter, and I've tried bulking... I can't make it more than 3 weeks without being disgusted with myself as my belly protrudes and my abs start to disintegrate and my stomach is full of bloat and low energy due to eating so much. I look at the diets of HUGE guys like The Rock and Arnold and I know that it's just not for me, because I've tried it, and it makes me feel like *kitten*.

    I found my balance, but it's personal, and it took over 3 years of managing different types of diets. The more you do anything, the more comfortable you get within that mental state, and the harder it is to do anything else. Realize that, at least, the "fear of gain" mindset is super healthy as long as you're not fasting for 2 days because of a surplus or throwing up your excess. When my friends have cake, I sit there and watch them, and 2 hours later they go "Wow, how do I get abs like that?"

    You just gotta find your personal balance and roll with it! Good luck.
  • PhearlessPhreaks
    PhearlessPhreaks Posts: 890 Member
    I tried maintenance and just eyeballing this spring/summer and put on 12 pounds. I think once you've been over weight there is no relaxing. I now know that I will have to weigh, watch, count and stand my ground against the battle of calories for the rest of my life.

    I think this may be the thing... I don't really know because I haven't gotten there yet; I'm still working on staying the course for weight loss, but perhaps you'll have to apply the same discipline to maintenance. As the aforementioned poster said, there is no relaxing. One would think that after all this logging, counting and learning that we would be able to do it without the aid of things such as MFP, but I think for those of us who have this battle will always have to be vigilant.

    Best of Luck to you!
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
    this isnt a dig at the OP, but to be honest i dont really understand why people are so suprised when they stop logging and stop exercising and put on weight... the whole point of this is to develop a healthier lifestyle - regular exercise and keeping an eye on what you eat. if you do that maintenance is a doddle!
  • mikeyrp
    mikeyrp Posts: 1,616 Member
    I know exactly how you feel - I try to log all the time even having reached my goal (although last few months have been poor for personal reasons - I actually lost weight in that time!).

    My mindset is to have an acceptable weight fluctuation but to have a 'cap' which acts as a trigger leading to a weight loss setting again - the cap being - say - 5-7 lb over your goal weight. This way you're not 'always dieting' but your weight always stays under control.
  • pkw58
    pkw58 Posts: 2,038 Member
    I log... And wear my nike fitness band every day to make sure. I get my minimum activity level in. To me logging. My food intake is like brushing my is just a healthy habit.

    I have to estimate all the time. I eat out for work every day. It is very easy to go over calorie and macro wise. Same when I am on vacation. I log every day, and i am committed to doing it the rest of my life.
  • PhearlessPhreaks
    PhearlessPhreaks Posts: 890 Member
    this isnt a dig at the OP, but to be honest i dont really understand why people are so suprised when they stop logging and stop exercising and put on weight... the whole point of this is to develop a healthier lifestyle - regular exercise and keeping an eye on what you eat. if you do that maintenance is a doddle!

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's surprise so much as a disappointment that it's something that still needs to be thought about and focused on, as opposed to being ingrained. As the OP mentioned, it has to do with wanting the feeling of 'being done' with calorie counting; after all, one would think that after 1+ year of counting, measuring and logging that it would be second nature, but no, I guess that's not how it works. (as I said in an earlier post, I'm not there yet, so I'm just hypothesizing)
  • Inshape13
    Inshape13 Posts: 680 Member
    I have been maintaining for close to 8 months the beginning it was very stressful because I am a huge goal setter and there were no weight loss numbers to hit on the scale so I had to change that into fitness goals instead to keep me focused.(adding distance to running, increasing my weight lifting amounts) It really got to me for a while with increasing calories because there was the fear that I would do something "wrong" and the weight would creep back on. One of the things that I did was switch from a goal weight to a maintenance weight range of 4lbs. I hover between 132 and if I see myself getting closer to 136 then I will know that something is a bit off and I will re-evaluate what is going on. Most of the time my weight will rise after a day of heavy weight lifting or TOM, but I don't freak out(used to) because I KNOW that it takes 3500 extra calories to put on a lb and I log so I can go back and see that I am not over by nearly that much and my weight will even out in a couple of days.

    I don't think that I will ever be fully comfortable just letting loose and not worrying about weight gain or giving up logging, but I have come to terms with that. You will begin to feel more at ease with time and you have done really great losing the weight so just relax and come up with a plan and go from there. Best wishes!
  • 302cupcake
    I read an article recently that described maintenance as not staying at a target weight but as having small and ongoing gains and losses. This really struck a chord with me and has changed how I look at the future.

    I will still track everything and weigh myself frequently, but I not stress a little fluctuation because stress equals eating for me.

    I also read that the most successful maintainers exercise at least 6x per week and I know that when I have lost weight in the past, the food part was manageable but the exercise diminished.

    Setting a weekly exercise goal has helped me keep my focus.
  • BrandNewFabulousMe
    Congrats on reaching your goal!!!!
  • eels4peels
    eels4peels Posts: 229 Member
    I Agree with mikeyrp. I've been maintaining a 130 pound loss for about 2 years. I still am very aware of everything I eat and exercise regularly. I have cut back on the cardio. I used to do about 6 to 8 hours of that a week. I also lift weights more often to keep my metabolism up. I have about a 5 pound cap on my weight. If it gets too high and my clothes are feeling tight I will automatically go back into weight loss mode and make sure to get that back off. I still record my food intake, just because it's a hard habit to break and it gives me the support I think I need to keep this weight off forever. I think there's always a fear that you may gain your weight back considering how often you hear about this happening. But I think as long as your truthful to yourself about your decisions with food and exercise you will succeed in keeping the pounds off.
  • BigMech
    BigMech Posts: 420 Member
    I've been maintaining for almost 2 years now. I still log most of my food, and I exercise more now than when I was losing the weight. To me, not being mindful of what I was eating and how much of it was what got me into trouble in the first place, so I am not going back there. Can some people get away with not tracking what they eat and maintain a healthy weight? Yes. Can I get away with it? Heck no!

    I think it's important to remember how hard you worked to lose the weight, and how much better you feel now that you have. It helps you stay motivated to continue a healthy lifestyle.
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,570 Member
    This is an interesting thread.

    I have recently realized I love maintenance.

    Now I have religiously logged practically every bite I've put in my mouth since I've joined, and am on this site several times every day. But I'm not 'obsessed', it's just what I do after I eat. It's a habit without a strong emotional component. But then, I'm 54 and have never tried to lose weight before either.

    I lost my weight slowly, but pretty easily. It was tedious because it involved all that logging, but it wasn't hard. I found foods I loved to eat and I ate those. I cut way, way back on the couple of things that were using way too many calories - cheese, large glasses of whole milk, and bread. I shrunk my portions, but ate a quarter cup of good ice cream every night.

    I love maintenance because I have gotten my pedometer (now fitbit) out again and have worked harder at hitting those numbers. I can losen up and have good bread every once in a while and still hit my calories. I still log everything, but am more relaxed. I wake up every morning grateful and happy that I feel thin. I've been enjoying dressing well.

    All of which suggests to me that YOU may already have talked about the things you need to do. You like information. Therefore you know that the research says that most people regain within 6 months. You know the things that predict you will be in the minority of people who keep the weight off:

    - daily exercise of probably an hour
    - continue logging
    - weighing daily or weekly and staying in a tight, narrow band.
    - go back onto calorie restriction immediately if you get out of that band
    - don't limit types of food - eat food you love. But watch your portions and frequency of high calorie foods. That's what logging is for.

    From what you say, I would suggest that you stop focusing on the FEAR and GUILT and WORRY part. Focus on the POSITIVE emotions. It DOES feel really good to be thin. Really ENJOY the food you do eat. One thing I have learned in this journey is that I get as much or more pleasure out of eating small portions of great food than larger portions. The first bite is the best!

    I also have learned that it's not worth eating crappy food. I try hard to only eat food I really like. No 'low fat/diet' food that tastes lousy and artificial. Full fat, real sugar, real food. Good meats. Wonderful vegetables. And yes, small helpings of fantastic deserts. Life is too short.

    That's what the log is for. To make sure you enjoy yourself, but don't over-indulge. If you are mindful of what you eat, you really will find that savoring what you eat helps you become more satisfied, not hungrier.
  • Vivian06703188
    Vivian06703188 Posts: 310 Member
    I look at it like a lifestyle change. I started this to get healthy and have a better body. If I stopped logging and watching what I ate it would be like giving up on being healthy. If you eat for health you do it for life. :)