Six Years of Maintaining My Weight (Or How Not To Be Another Weight Loss Statistic)

I’ve always said I refuse to be a weight loss statistic.

What this means is I want to beat the odds of regaining weight. Oftentimes, we get so discouraged by hearing about the large number of people who regain their weight after substantial weight loss.

What I realized was there are some ways I can make myself successful in maintaining my weight loss. Over this past year, I had more challenges and wonderful celebrations than usual, but I still managed to keep the weight off.

I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned in my weight maintenance journey — the things I know were the most important to me this year. I’m going to start by recapping 2017 so you can understand why this year was a little trickier than others when it came to maintaining my weight.

A YEAR FILLED WITH CHANGE

From a family and life perspective, we paid off all of our debt. We had been following a modified Dave Ramsey approach for the past nine years and had been paying off various credit cards. This year, we bit the bullet and paid off the remainder of my student loan.

In total, we paid off $180,000 over the past 10 years between credit cards, car loans, and student loans. This is a huge victory, and it has brought many life changes. We are now focusing on selling our home and moving into an apartment to simplify our lives. By removing the house mortgage, we will be 100-percent debt free, and we’re extremely excited about this new phase in our lives.

On a physical note for me, this year also brought a lot of change. My menstrual cycle started to become extremely irregular. I spoke to my gynecologist about this on more than one occasion. She assured me I was too young (at 41) to be going through perimenopause.

However, I knew something was not right with my cycle, and there were other symptoms I was struggling with, like hot flashes at night, night sweats, breast tenderness, and generally feeling exhausted. She agreed to let me have a hormonal panel, and we found out my hormones suggest I am going through perimenopause. I have not used birth control in the past, but she recommended I start because they found a cyst on my ovaries.

I haven’t used birth control in a long time, but my doctor recommended I start because a cyst was found on one of my ovaries. Thankfuly, after I took the birth control for six weeks, the cyst disappeared. This was extremely good news, but all the stress and changes in my hormones caused my weight to fluctuate this year. I have usually not gone above 160 pounds, but I reached out to the Half Size Me community in November and shared with them how much I was struggling with my weight. I was hitting numbers I did not like — 161, 162.

My weight usually does not go above 160 pounds, but I reached out to the Half Size Me community in November and shared with them how much I was struggling with my weight. I was hitting numbers I did not like — 161, 162.

The reality is I know that if I don’t honor my commitment to keep my weight between 150 and 160, there’s a good chance it will just keep going up. I also know from experience that suffering in silence, keeping it to myself and hoping it will just get better never works. That behavior caused me to gain hundreds of pounds in the past.

So, I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I shared my truth and was able to get refocused. The scale started trending back down to under 160 (159.5 as of today).

BE CONSISTENT…

As you can see, 2017 was full of wonderful things, scary things, and lots of life changes.

What I have learned is that we all are going to change. Our bodies will change, our lifestyles will change, and this is why I stay firm with my commitment to this statement:

To lose weight, you must do what you are willing to do for the rest of your life because this is the only way to know you will be consistent with it.

This year in My Fitness Pal, I hit over 1827 days straight of logging. No matter how crazy my life gets or how distracted I may be, I know I can be consistent with tracking my food. However, tracking my food does not mean I micromanage my food.

It means that when I eat a doughnut, I write it down. It means that when I have an extra piece of cake, I choose to put it into My Fitness Pal. It doesn’t mean that I “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat certain things, and it doesn’t mean passing judgment. It means being consistent with journaling or tracking what I eat. That’s all.

I also give myself lots of permission to switch out the ways I journal my food. So, if I were to list the things I find are the most helpful for weight loss, the ones that are imperative for weight maintenance, the number one thing would be consistency.

Find a way that you can consistently manage your food. Make it something you are willing to keep up with, day in and day out. For me, it’s tracking calories or points or portion sizes, but I always track. Always.

…AND MIX IT UP

The next thing I find to be important to maintain is finding new ways to keep it interesting. This year, I did a lot of fun physical activities. I added in Yin Yoga. I did a jump rope competition in the summer and a pushup challenge with the Half Size Me listeners and followers.

All of these activities were fun and made my exercise regimen way more enjoyable. I find that by adding in different forms of exercise or giving myself new things to focus on, it keeps the journey exciting and helpful to me.

BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND…

Another thing I recommend focusing your attention on — and this is the one that affects all the others — is your mindset. If you find yourself struggling with the “all or nothing” mentality, with perfectionism, with beating yourself up for not doing a good job, then you need to work on cultivating your relationship with yourself. You need to become your own best friend.

This year, I became Heather’s best friend more than ever. This doesn’t mean any “woo-woo” fluffy stuff. What it does mean is, for example, if I don’t make Heather’s lunch for tomorrow, she probably won’t be able to make as good a choice. I know that situation stresses Heather out a lot, so I’m not going to make her deal with that. I’m going to watch out for her.

Being your own best friend means knowing your own areas of weakness, knowing the areas where you need support the most, and being proactive. That way, you set yourself up for your best-case scenario, and it helps you avoid your worst-case scenario.

…AND LET OTHERS HELP YOU

The last tip I want to offer is that you DO NOT do this alone! I lost weight with support, and I maintain my weight with support. I do not go at it alone. I’ve given that up. I’ve given up telling myself, “I should be able to do this. I’m a smart person. I don’t need anyone. I’m capable. I can do this on my own.”

I used to believe those things, but what I’ve learned is that attitude does not set us up for success with weight loss or weight maintenance. And this year, more than ever, reaching out to the Half Size Me community pulled me back from a possible cliff I did not want to fall over. I know my weakness is food. I know that when I’m stressed, tired, exhausted or frustrated, I’m more than likely going to gravitate toward food.

I need to have safety precautions in place, so that when I feel myself slipping, I have people to reach out to — a place where I know I can be myself, where I know they get me, and where I don’t feel like a freak.

So, that’s exactly what I did. I reached out to the Half Size Me community, spilled my guts, shared my reality, told them about the cyst on my ovaries, the birth control pills, the weight, all of it — and I felt free. Free enough to start making better choices.

So, these are a few the tips I wanted share with you after maintaining for six years. Don’t think that someday it will all just get easier. It won’t because your life doesn’t stay stagnant; it’s constantly changing. Your body is constantly changing. What I have learned this year is that just because my body changes, it doesn’t mean I have to become a statistic. It just means I may have to change a little bit of what I’m doing to make those changes work for me.

I hope you are having much success in your journey. If you need any support, you are more than welcome to join us in the Half Size Me Community. If you would like to work with me personally, you can click here.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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After losing 170 pounds by changing her mindset, developing healthier eating habits, and making exercise part of her lifestyle, Heather decided she wanted to help others who struggled along their weight loss journey. Along with her hubby, Joel, they founded HalfSizeMe.com and the extremely popular Half Size Me Show podcast.