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''Helping Others Reminds Me Where I Was''

Keeping the Weight Off with SparkPeople Member SUEBEE42

Sue (SUEBEE42) lost 65 pounds and says she's now the same size as when she was sixteen! Learn how Sue has been maintaining her weight loss for the past nine months.

Sue Before Sue After

What challenges did you face after reaching your goal weight?

The first major challenge was eating enough. My daily calorie range increased by about 400 calories, which was like a whole extra meal! So I made sure to track my food intake every day for four months, giving myself plenty of time to adjust and learn what the "right" amount of food was for me to maintain my weight. I ended up increasing my portion sizes a little bit to make sure I got the right amount of calories each day. And I actually lost another 10 pounds beyond my end goal, over the course of a few months.

The second challenge was to just relax. Yes, maintenance is still work, but as long as you've made real lifestyle changes and created permanent, healthy habits, it's not so bad. I did gain a little weight over Christmas and on vacation (a recent cruise), but it all came off again very quickly when I got back to my regular routine.

Are there any strategies you currently use to help you maintain your weight loss?

I just keep up with the healthy habits I developed when losing the weight. It helps that my husband still wants to lose another 50 pounds himself, though—that keeps me in check. I remember that he's still trying to lose, so it helps me to continue to make healthy choices.

Has the SparkPeople Community helped you keep it off so far?

Yes, I think the Community has been VITAL to my success, both while I was losing weight, and now while I am maintaining my weight. Initially I joined the site to join a specific SparkTeam (BNL Buddies), so the Teams have been important to me since day one. In addition, helping others in the Community, whether it's answering questions or just offering support, helps remind me where I was, and keeps me where I am.

Which SparkPeople tools do you use now? Do you still track all of your food and exercise?

I tracked my food for four months after entering maintenance, and then decided to experiment with not tracking anymore, to see if I could do it on my own. So far, so good! I do still track my exercise, though.

Do you have any advice for someone who's about to reach their goal and enter into maintenance?

First, don't freak out. Increasing your calories to a maintenance range will NOT make all the weight you lost come back. I see a lot of people on the Message Boards worrying about that. As I mentioned, I lost an additional 10 pounds after going into maintenance mode.

Second, realize that all the changes you made during your weight loss journey don't simply end. Yes, they adjust a little, and your calorie range increases a bit, but that's all. You still need to keep up the exercise, and the healthy, balanced eating. If you made the changes slowly, and turned them into routines you don't even think about anymore, it's a non-issue.

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Member Comments

    Thanks for sharing
    Thanks for sharing
    Thanks for sharing
  • Being able to look back with having to go back is a gift.
  • I reached my goal in April 2013 and gradually added back in calories. I also started a more intensive exercise program and ended up losing another 20 pounds. Still track my food and exercise as that works for me and by now is second nature.
    Funnily enough I'm at 2,000 calories/day for maintenance which was where I set my calorie goal when I started!
  • Great info, thank you! I am approaching my goal weight and I have been thinking hard about maintenance. It isn't that I am afraid to add back calories but I have swallowing issues and it is hard for me to eat more than what I already do. But I am sure I will manage. I am also working more on strength training and trying to ease back a little on the cardio. It's a work in progress - my body might be at a good weight but I still need to tone/firm and stay fit!
  • I am not yet at my goal weight, but your article is very encouraging. Thank you!
  • Thank you so much for sharing! You have reinforced that it is necessary to do what I have been doing so very much-struggling-p
    articularly with raising the calorie level. It helps so much to not only read recommendations, but hear from those for whom it works!
  • Congratulations on your sucess. I am also a Sue who is doing maintenance. At first I thought it almost seemed harder than the weight loss phase but I've just increased my exercise as well as my calories and am doing OK.
  • I really liked this article. I recently reached my weight loss goal and I have really been struggling with the increase in calories. I was so stressed about increasing my calories and gaining all of my weight back, so this article really comforted me. Hopefully I can slowly increase my calories and stop stressing about gaining weight! Thanks for this!
  • Just a little "I'm Human" update to reinforce my own advice! LOL!

    I changed jobs a year ago from an active retail job to a more sedentary design job... and have been struggling! I slipped on my eating habits, too, and as a result have gained 25 lbs back. But it ENDS NOW! I'm back to tracking my food, and I WILL lose it again in 2010! This time FOR GOOD.

    So, I haven't failed... you only fail when you give up! I have just realized I am human, and I need to be sure I keep up the healthy eating habits along with the exercise (which I never stopped doing). :)

    I didn't feel right letting this article stand while I am not maintaining at this very moment.

    As my grandmother would say, "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!" At least I am not starting at square one, eh? ;) Best of luck to everyone on reaching their goals! :D
  • I will very soon be in the maintenance mode and this article is so helpful. There is a certain amount of anxiety about adding calories and not knowing what the results will be. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving me new hope that I don't have to regain that 50 lbs that was so hard to lose!
  • Nicely said, Sue. I hadn't thought about maintenance until reading this and suddenly realized I am 8 lbs. from goal! But my original goal was to lose 50 lbs., but later decided I may stop at 40 since I will get so wrinkly considering my age. (And I can't afford plastic surgery,) I am just going to play it by ear and see how I look with 8 more lbs. gone. Thanks for the great tips.