A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Factors associated with successful maintenance

on July 2, 2014

I got my new drivers license in the mail this week and realized that for the first time, the weight on the card is my actual weight. I was definitely underselling myself when I told them I weighed 270 4 years ago. I almost told them 270 again this time out of habit before I realized I could actually tell the truth without being embarrassed by the number. I almost threw the old license out, but I think it is definitely one of those anchors I need to hold onto.

Sort of an exciting NSV to actually weigh what my drivers license says I weigh :)

Sort of an exciting NSV to actually weigh what my drivers license says I weigh 🙂

To celebrate entering year two of maintenance, I’ve spent a lot of time this week reading research on successful weight maintenance. I know, I know – I’m a geek for celebrating this way. 🙂 I also celebrating by requesting the enrollment packet for the National Weight Control Registry so I can be part of this research in the future. I read a couple of really interesting papers about the behaviors and mental attributes associated with maintaining weight loss successfully. The things I’ve read over and over again (maintain your increased activity level, weigh in regularly, eat breakfast, maintaining a low calorie diet) were definitely in these papers as well but I found some of the other factors associated with successful weight maintenance intriguing.

The longer you maintain, the more likely you are to continue maintaining. This was particularly true after the 2 year mark, which means as much as I feel successful now at 1 year I need to remember that I’m not really over the “hump” yet. Maintaining weight loss for more than 2 years decreased your risk of regaining weight later by nearly 50%. Conversely, the more weight you regain in the first year after reaching your goal weight, the more likely you are to continue to regain.

Having a medical trigger for your weight loss is associated with greater long term success. This is definitely a mark in my favor, as my biggest drivers for losing weight in the first place was my blood pressure and my brush with diabetes. I am still grateful every morning I DON’T have to start my day with two blood pressure pills and a finger stick for my blood sugar. So long as I keep that in mind, I hope I can keep these healthy habits in my daily life.

Eat consistently, including weekends and holidays. Participants who maintained a consistent diet across the week were 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight within 5 lb over the subsequent year than participants who dieted more strictly on weekdays. I can understand this one, personally, because I would have a hard time reining myself back in every Monday morning and could definitely “cheat” a lot if I regularly allowed myself to cheat on the weekend. I know there are people who make this work but I doubt I’ll ever be one of them.

Reaching a goal weight you are happy with is associated with greater success long term. In a study using interviews to compare maintainers, regainers and healthy weight individuals with no history of weight loss/regain, participants who were happy with the goal weight they ultimately reached were more successful at maintaining their weight than those who felt like they needed to lose “just 5 pounds more”. I think this speaks a lot to self-love and self-satisfaction. For me, I know, being unhappy with myself always leads me to unhealthy eating behaviors like binging. Similarly, other data has shown that depression is associated with increased weight gain, again speaking to the importance of our mental status in our relationship with food.

Thinking of yourself and your successes primarily in terms of your weight and your shape sets you up for failure. This is why it is so important to have goals other than the scale and see victories other than the scale!

Weight maintenance definitely requires a different mind set and set of skills than weight loss, in my experience and in research studies. I really wish Weight Watchers could offer the kind of education and support for these issues unique to weight maintenance in the same way they do for weight loss, whether that was some kind of periodic weight maintenance focus group or even more reading material online or in the books offered at the centers.

For me, this is a constant learning process and that means lots of self-evaluation (and processing that self-evaluation by writing about it here with you guys) and lots of reading about other people’s experiences and research. I’ll keep you posted as I come across other interesting studies, because there is more out there than I realized!

Articles to read on weight maintenance

Byrne S, Cooper Z and Fairburn C. “Weight maintenance and relapse in obesity: a qualitative study.” International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 955-962.

Wing RR and Phelan S. “Long-term weight loss maintenance.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005) 82, 222S-5S.

Resistance bands hurt when they snap back on you!

Resistance bands hurt when they snap back on you!

PS I’ve started my new half marathon training, complete with a prescribed strength training regimen. I was working through the exercises Monday night and my husband was serving as the timer for each move. He laughed at me for struggling with the coordination of squats with shoulder presses using a resistance band, until he tried to do it himself. He popped himself with the resistance bands twice and I confess I laughed at him! Those moves required a lot more coordination than either of us realized. 🙂

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8 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Factors associated with successful maintenance

  1. My weight being factual on my license is one of my goals! It currently says 170 and I weigh 284!!!! LOL

  2. YAY I am so excited for you that you feel proud to put that correct weight on your DL! Such a great feeling I’m sure!

  3. Fantastic post~! I love the license comparison pics! I’ll need to remember to do one of those when I get down to my actual DL weight! LOL Way to go!

    • Absolutely! It’s funny all of the little victories we take note of doing this. I didn’t realize that this was a significant one for me until I almost threw away the old license.

  4. Kristin says:

    WOW!! WOW!! WOW!! You’re so amazing and soooo gorgeous!!! XOXO!!

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