AIM: What’s Different This Time

“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.

21 thoughts on “AIM: What’s Different This Time

  1. I took what's best for me and kept that behavior or habit. I also had to look at silent things like bloodwork -CRP and Ha1c and my waist measurements. Also how much upper body strength that I have.

    I had to accept that grains and dairy were both keeping me inflamed and from sleeping properly. That by eliminating foods like jelly beans and most processed sugar I could turn off the urge to binge and emotional eat when stressed.

    It's so worth it. Becoming an expert on myself was key.

  2. Miz, I totally agree. I just wish my health insurance company would realize that I know (and my doctor knows) what's best for me, too! LOL

    Karen, it was my blood work that actually kicked me into weight loss gear in the first place. It's jelly bean time of year…are they the least bit tempting to you?

  3. Great post, as always, Lynn! Moving away from what we know to be our best way to live is uncomfortable, but in a good way. And if we recognize it soon enough, we have a better chance of remembering where we put the flippin' darts. 🙂

  4. I think it is learning *how* to live and not just what to eat that is important to maintenance. It seems to me that is a common thread in our posts that how we live has changed.

  5. I remember reading your blog when I was dieting and being stunned that you would pack and bring food with you on road trips…that was when I first began to realize that maintaining a weight loss didn't just happen – you had to put effort into it. It was a light bulb moment for me.

  6. That's right! (referring to Shelley's comment.) I think your blogs about traveling with food was the first place that I heard that something like that was possible! And maybe should be the norm.

  7. Lynn, I read all five of your blogs on this important topic. Now I've got an idea for a blog of my own on this topic–Top 10 Reasons that THIS Time is Different! I loved all the opinions and beliefs and reading about what is working for everybody else. I know nothing works for everybody, and like you five AIM bloggers, I have picked and chosen along the way the things that work for me. I do think the most important aspect of maintenance is knowing that there is NO END. There is not a point when you can “eat again!” I remember in the past, looking forward to the day I got to my goal (and this is the only time in my life when I actually hit my goal, every other weight loss attempt, I just got tired of 'dieting,' and QUIT, of course immediately regaining every pound I lost PLUS a few more), so that at last I could eat anything I wanted AGAIN. This time I knew it was truly a lifestyle change. I know that sounds cliche and gets old, but it really is true. I salute this new AIM blogging effort, plus I've found some fellow maintainers who blog beautifully, and I need all the help I can get in this struggle to KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF!

  8. You were the one whose blog I first found and it was your writing about your journey that both inspired me to stop regaining weight I'd worked so hard to lose AND to start writing about it. So for every one of those people who say, “you look fine the way you are,” remember there is someone, somewhere like ME saying, “thank you from the bottom of my heart.” I don't expect you to be perfect in your maintenance journey and heaven only knows, a divorce turns any life upside down, all I ask is that you be honest in your struggles as well as your victories because THAT is what keeps people like me keeping on!! This AIM series is wonderful. I am so glad you are all my friends.

  9. Love this! Learning how to eat AND do what is best for you – so important!!! I thank god learned that early on.. trained the family & friends that this is the way it was going to be with me – how I ate, bring my own food if I wanted to, not eat when we were at a restaurant if they did not have something I felt was right for me.

    I love this series!!!

  10. Great post Lynn.

    I don't talk about my weight loss outside my blog. When I tried to talk about it with one of my best friends she also said I looked fine and why should I lose (more) weight. But I don't feel fine at this weight and that's when I decided to do it myself with the help of my blogger friends.

  11. Lynn, jelly beans are so NOT tempting. At all. Funny thing happened to me when I started eating clean, unprocessed foods- I could start to taste the chemical crap they put into processed foods- think jelly beans, sugar substitutes, etc.

    Plus- a few jelly beans is like a beer to an alcoholic. A few candy corn = crack. It doesn't stop there.

    I decided at age 45 that

    1. I've tasted all the jelly beans I need for a life time.
    2. I want to live 45 more years without an addiction driving my life.
    3. I want to live those years as healthy and pain free as possible.

    No jelly bean is worth that. Helps that they taste like crap now. 😉

    I also know that hitting the 100 calorie snack packs and servings of jelly beans spiked my glucose and insulin levels so much. Sure I could have 100 calories of jelly bellies. And a case of type 2 diabetes along with it. Silent, chronic, lurking in the background…

    A few raisins are like skittles now. Not often, not many.

    That's what's different this time.

  12. While I have not hit my goal, I am 20 pounds away from it and right at the place you seem to be. Many tell me how wonderful I look, I know I feel so much better, but there is this nagging voice in my mind that refuses to let me be lazy and stop here.

    Thank you for sharing your honesty. It's good to know I'm not the only one who struggles with the last 20 and who refuses to settle.

  13. inspiring read, I like the way you make and pack your own meals when going on trips, that is something I have never thought of doing, until now.

  14. Learning how to eat actually is a problem for myself and alot of people. I might not have hit dairy queen but I thought I was doing good with a medium and wings from pizza hut

  15. I definitely agree with @Phen375 this is an inspiring read to those who have lose their faith in gaining back their self confidence.

    Females who are in the age of 40's and 50's should aim to control their lives in order to realize their worth I think that's what AIMS is all about.

    Way to go girls!

  16. I also find that learning what to eat is important as what you think is OK, may not be as good as you might first think.
    I have just done some research for a family member who was looking to loose some weight before going into hospital.
    I made her a spreadsheet detailing how much calories are in food and what foods contain carbs, and how much etc.
    It certainly opened my eyes, I recommend everyone to do their research.

  17. I really appreciate all the work you guys put into the AIM posts. I accepted long ago that weight was a lifelong journey for me and whatever changes I adopt I'll hae to be able to live with forever.

    I successfully lost 50 lbs by restricting calories and watching fat grams. It took me about 8 months to do it. Now, I've read a book by Gary Taubes called Why We Get Fat. He has really challenged my beliefs. Since I've been at a plateau for a long time, I decided to try what he says the science recommends: low to no carb. His ideas are much like Atkins…fat is good for you, the more fat you eat, the leaner you'll be, carbs and sugar are the root of all evil (and fat on your body.) Even though this goes against everything I've been taught, I seem to be losing weight.

    It makes me wonder, now that you guys have reached goal, do you ever entertain new and radical ideas like this? Or do I just latch on to them because I'm desperate to keep losing? I know different things work for different people. I just don't know if it's possible for high fat/low carb to be the answer.

    Taubes' research is compelling. I've written about a lot of it on my blog

  18. yeah, weight loss was part one. This is now part two. Instead of a trough, peak and then trough again I hope it plateaus out now.

    Guess the most important thing is mindset..

  19. Having been sort of 'unplugged' since my round of back troubles this last month or so, I learned about AIM through reading Cammy's mention of it in her blog post yesterday. I am beyond thrilled that such a fantastic team is exploding onto the maintenance scene because frankly, it's been pretty quiet, as you well know. Everyone tells you how to get there, but once you're there, the support dwindles. Thank you for putting this together for me, for other maintainers, and for those about to be inducted. xo

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