“AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!”
“The more I know, the less I understand
“All the things I thought I’d figured out, I have to learn again.”
From the song Heart of the Matter by Don Henley
I can’t find my darts. I’ve looked everywhere. They’re a pretty metallic blue with a silver band around the middle, and they have a solid grip that helped me shoot a fair number of bullseyes back in the 90s. I was hoping to resurrect those glory days at a pub I discovered a few weeks ago. But alas, my lovely blue darts have gone missing.
When we were in the process of forming AIM, we discussed the “hows” of maintenance. We’d all lost weight several times before and failed to keep it off, so we talked about how the “hows” this time were different. Lori summed it up this way: “Maintenance isn’t always hitting the bullseye, but it’s continuing to try with every shot, and sometimes taking a step back to sharpen the darts.”
Maintenance was never something I’d taken seriously. Whenever I got to a weight goal, my first thought was, ‘Finally, I can eat again!’
When I got to goal on March 12, 2007, what was different this time was that I’d spent two years, two months and 12 days learning how to eat rather than merely eating as a means to an end. To some it may seem obvious, but for me I had to learn that it wasn’t smart to celebrate goal with a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard and a corn dog, and that a sleeve of Thin Mints wasn’t a reward.
Maintenance is different this time, too, because I’m not maintaining alone. As much as I’d like to not talk about last weekend’s “white food” high or admit my lame excuses for not exercising, “confessing” my struggles to and celebrating my successes with others who also struggle and succeed keeps me connected to my original intention for starting this journey: to honor myself by living a more healthy lifestyle.
But just as I seek the counsel and camaraderie of people who “get it,” I still sometimes lose my intentions to the words of others who don’t. For instance, I’ve not kept secret on my blog or amongst my maintainer friends my desire to lose the 20 pounds I’ve gained since my divorce in 2010. I mentioned this recently to a few people outside my “weight world” and their response was, in a nutshell, “Why? You look fine the way you are.”
Well hand me the bread and pass the butter! I look OK, so I can stop all this paying attention nonsense! Dessert? Yes, please! I’m tired this morning? Forget the gym!
“As if…” whispers the maintainer inside me.
And that’s what’s different about what’s not different this time.
This time, it’s not about looking fine for other people, or, to a larger extent, merely accepting myself as I am. It’s about taking that step back and sharpening those darts.
I know what’s best for me and I know to not measure my intentions against other people’s expectations. Sure, I admit I take in the comments (“You don’t need to lose any weight!” or, my favorite, “You were too skinny before.”), and I live with them for awhile, maybe eat a little more than I should, but I have the capacity and – more importantly – the desire to reign myself back in, to remind myself of my priorities.
I may have lost my pretty blue metallic darts, but I’ve not lost sight of the bullseye, and that’s what makes all the difference this time.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts, and if you haven’t already, check out what my fellow AIM bloggers’ have to say about this subject.