Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are you ready for maintenance?

Hi Friends,

Are you ready for maintenance? Are you close? Have you even thought about what you would do when you finally reach your goal?

Well..I'm happy to share some tips from our own Inspirational World Changer Traci from Choosing Joy!!

Joy - Do you feel like you have more confidence?

Traci - I've been asked this question a few times and the answer is complicated. At first I had SO much confidence and exuberance about how I felt. I noticed I held my head up, walked straighter, spoke strongly. Then there was a subtle change. Before weight loss many of the things I didn't like about how people treated me, I had chalked up to my weight. Once the weight was no longer an issue, I had to face the fact that maybe the problem was ME! That realization really opened my eyes to WHY people regain weight. It's because we lose our excuses for being a bitch, or short-sighted, or any number of character flaws. It is certainly convenient to be able to blame something outside of ourselves for our problems.

Now that some time has gone by with me at this size that feeling of over-confidence has ebbed a bit, to the place I look at situations  more rationally and  reflect on MY part and MY responsibility. BTW, this is where some of my fears about regaining weight come in. If before people reacted negatively towards me because I was fat, and now I know that it was more likely because I was being a bitch--- if I regain weight am I just a fat bitch at that point? That's not a pretty thought, but if all the above is true, then the final statement must be true.

Joy - Have you found that doors are open to you, that were shut when you were over weight?

Traic - I find that I FORCE doors open.  For instance I'm typing this at a training I pretty much invited myself to. I'm less afraid of rejection.  The thing is I could have always opened these doors, but now I just open them rather than WISH they could be open.

Joy - Are you more active?

Traci - Before I lost weight, I hurried home after work to be able to sit and watch TV. On a perfect day, I was able to sit for 6 - 7 hours. Really. Dinner was generally take out for my husband and myself. Looking back, if I moved 3000 steps a day I would be surprised. Not to mention I'm surprised I only weighed 258.

When I started losing weight and working out, very quickly my body began responding and I grew to CRAVE movement. There were months where I worked out AM and PM - 6/7 days a week. Many fitness professionals expressed concern that I would burn out. What they didn't understand was that my body was waking up from years of idleness and there was a feeling of 'catching up'  Unfortunately, the body isn't set up to work out that much and I began having small, cascading injuries.  My left knee started to ache and because I favored it, the right knee began hurting, then the hips, and ankles, and shoulders. Before I backed off to a reasonable level, every single joint hurt with tendinitis or a sprain or an outright tear -  all clear signs of overuse. 

At this point, I was probably 10 months or so into my journey and no where near my goal weight. But I became AFRAID to back off even one day. The injuries woke me up and I started taking off Sundays. Dialing back to idea of "why was I heavy?" I discovered I was using exercise to self-medicate my anxiety. That's when I started seeing a therapist and that was a great idea!! 

Now my activity level is still high, but it's at a sustainable level.  I spin (indoor cycling) 2x a week, strength training 2x a week, running  2x a week, yoga 4x a week, group ex 2x a week, and long stretching after every cardio session. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but it works for me.

Another change is that I TEACH fitness classes. I got my AFAA certification and spinning certification. I teach spinning one day a week and sub in two other gyms.

As you saw, I also am running 5k's now. In my heart, I'd love to train for a half-marathon, but I don't see that happening. One piece of my puzzle is my cross-training. To train for a half, it would be necessary to give up some other activities. Right now, I love what I do too much to give up anything. If in time I find myself bored or itching for a change, I'd look at distance running as a new option.

Joy - Did you change your lifestyle (food/activity level) to avoid gaining back the weight. I actually know someone right now who is mad because she's tried every diet in town and has lost weight, but once she's off of them and goes back to her old lifestyle, the weight came right back.....hummm. I image there needs to be a great lifestyle change to maintain weight loss, right? 

Traci - This is my 3rd trip to the weight loss rodeo. The other two times I was not able to hold onto the weight loss. I approached weight loss then as an event, rather than a new way of living. 

Oddly enough, I eat more now than I did early on in the process. At the beginning, I was all about denial, denial, denial. Eat nothing, live on air. That approach did not serve me well. Gradually, after working with a nutritionist, I adjusted my diet to about 1800 calories with a 45% carb/30% protein/25% fat balance.  At the beginning, I was eating maybe 1000 calories - mostly carbs. How I did not injure myself more is a right mystery.

I actually had a conversation with myself early on, in which I said "You've had all the fettuccine Alfredo, french fries, fried chicken, buttered potatoes, fried shrimp, potato chips, Snickers bars you're ever going have. Accepting that fact NOW will help you years down the road."  And I have. Those favorite foods have become very rare treats. VERY RARE!!  That conversation ended up being very important in setting up my intention that this is a  new way of living. As long as I want to be at this weight, there are certain key foods for me that must, must stay OUT of my diet. There are no other options.

I've had people tell me that they can't live with "_________."  I respond with the same answer, "then don't live without it, but accept the impact on your weight loss. You cannot have it both ways."

Another thing I did was put in what I call "safety nets." My safety nets were my very close friends who know a lot about me and promised me early on that if they saw me doing the wrong things they would do whatever they needed to get me back on track. I also became a fitness instructor, and am earning my Registered Yoga Training - 200 level. At first all of these things  were needed. Now I can look back and recognize they are no longer vital; as a visual, I'm no longer on a tightrope, but more on a balance beam. I have some play.

One more comment on food. I'm currently sitting in a meeting where there are donuts, cookies, and brownies available to me - less than 3 feet away.  I haven't had a single bite, although I certainly could. Why don't I? I look at those items and recognize they are processed, filled with unhealthy fats and sugars. I don't choose to put those ingredients in my body. They do not fuel what I need to do adequately. Now, if there were fruits, veggies, and homemade sweets, I'd be piling my plate up. Sugars are not a problem as much as artificial ingredients.  I pre-planned and brought healthy snacks I enjoy eating and know are what I need.

Joy - Why did you quit blogging? Do you have another blog that features health and fitness? Was blogging a tool that helped you stay on track? 

Traci - Blogging was a great way to share what was going on in my life. But I began a new job and my attention became quite scattered. Things have settled down and I'll be posting more and more

Traci - Just a couple of random thoughts I can add.

Joy, I was a 100% honest, and perhaps raw with my answers. These are some things I wish I'd been told months ago.

This process is hard because of the fundamental changes in food, activity, and self-acceptance.  However, it is worth EVERY SINGLE  BIT of effort I've put in. But something more subtle. I am worth this effort not because I'm at a normal weight but because I'm a human being with my own unique wonderfulness. I was always worth it.  

I look back at the person I was - 250+ pounds, a total couch potato with horrible eating habits, on 9 different medications, mostly related to excess weight.  There was a time that person disgusted me - fat, lazy slob. Now I'm in total awe of that person. With all her faults and limitations, she had the courage to change. She had the courage to take that step into the unknown. She was far braver than the present me is. The current me KNOWS a lot from personal experience. The me of July 2011 had only hope - and acted on that hope. Amazing.

My message to anyone trying to lose weight is this. It's long term. You CANNOT lose 100 pounds until you have lost 7, or 18, or 39, or 72. Every pound counts. Do whatever you have to do in your mind to get yourself to know that all the way down to your core. But also know it's exciting. For those just starting on that journey, I'm a tinge jealous because the ride is so fabulous and exciting. Enjoy it!


WOW Traci - You are an Inspirational World Changer!! Thank you for sharing!! Every time I have read your story, and these maintenance tips I get teary eyed, goosebumps and it fills me with excitement to keep on with my journey!! Thank you so much for your encouragement, knowledge and guidance!! 

Anyone else out there who has a question about maintenance? You can ask Traci questions at her blog Choosing Joy.

Anyone else on maintenance? Do you have some tips to share? Please email me at

Have a fit day!!


  1. I can so relate to your answer to number 1.

    I was just scrolling through your pictures and wondering how you lost years in addition to pounds. You look younger in the most recent shot than you do in the oldest one. Good for you!

    I haven't forgotten your request for my story. I've been winding up a big project and have company in for the holiday. I'll get to it soon. Thanks for thinking so highly of me.