Last week on my nutrition final there was an item about how Picabo Street, Mark Maguire, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Will Smith were overweight or borderline obese at their peaks (in Smith’s case, when he played Mohammed Ali). I thought that was funny since Street was my inspiration for my goal last year of 165.
I marked a low weight at the end of the summer, and have gradually gained a bit, which I was feeling kind of bummed about. But looking back a year I can I’m still 6 pounds less than I was then. I also revised my weight loss goal on Sparkpeople, which had been 152 by tomorrow. I set a starting weight of 160 (which it was about a week ago) and a goal weight of 155 in March.
I guess in the long view I there are landmarks that stand out in my first year of maintenance. Reaching goal, of course. Getting through Christmas and New Years without going off the rails. My first freak out, am I having an eating disorder? Valentines day I did go of the rails, but got right back on.
Studying Maintenance scholarship until my eyes bled. Being invited to help lead at the Sparkpeople Maintenance Tem and getting involved with We Keep it Off. Finally understanding the predictors well enough to let go of my fear that I would fall out of maintenance without realizing it was happening.
Something I haven’t really put into words was when the Spark Solution came out in May. I read it. I had some nice things to say about it. I was relieved by some aspects of it, but came away with a huge sense of alone-ness as a maintainer. That was when I started this site. “Happily Ever After.” The fairy god mother of weight loss has granted all your wishes, and now what do you do with your life?
About that time I decided to join the NWCR according to the broadest definition, 1 year of keeping 30 pounds off. I did, but by the time the materials arrived…
I had started school. This happened over the summer. Reading the maintenance literature had kindled in me the seriousness of the weight management problem. Preventing diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. (Another tidbit from Nutrition class: every cancer besides lung cancer is correlated with obesity.)
And then a bumper sticker I saw on my birthday: “Remember who you wanted to be.” This rattled around in my head in different ways over a course of weeks. I thought about becoming a trainer, a public health researcher, a speech language pathologist, and eventually a nurse.
One of the maintenance predictors Sparkpeople does well with is defining triggering events, or the reason you decided to change your lifestyle. It could be an unflattering picture or a recalcitrant seatbelt, but the NWCR found it was often a conversation with a medical provider or the illness of a loved one. And yet many providers feel their counsel would fall on deaf ears or in some cases ignite rebellion.
I think that’s one reason I would like to become a primary care provider. Not so I can tell everyone I meet they need to lose weight, but to be willing to turn conversations toward long term health. Helping people know that excess bodyfat requires cell proliferation, which gives cancer a foot in the door.
One of my observations from last year was how weight loss was like going to college, and when we graduate we don’t say “well that was interesting, back to reality.” We are supposed to take what we’ve learned and put it into practice. What would I have thought then, if I could see me now.