Why maintenance is tough for me

This was week 134 of my Operation Melt journey that started with my goal to escape obesity and lose over 100 pounds in under a year. These weekly blog posts are about continuing to hold myself accountable while sharing my journey with you. My hope is that something that I am doing will inspire you to try to crush your own goal, will motivate you to keep going and will equip you with some additional tools that have helped me manage my journey.

Why maintenance is tough for me

I had a friend who was in a job where she was a little frustrated. It seemed like there were tons of unrelated projects going on without a solid strategy behind them. She talked to a mentor to both of us and he asked a question that has resonated with me for years. “Are you building something or just doing stuff?”

This friend likes when her efforts are focused on creating something important versus just spinning her wheels on day-to-day activities. That is why she was feeling frustration with her job at the time.

I am essentially wired the same way. I like to know what comes next and that I am focusing on step one that leads to step two and ultimately that I keep progressing. I have been this way since college and have always been focused on the next step. You can call it goal-oriented, you can call it competitive or you can call it whatever you like. But I like moving to the next step and the next step after that and have historically been very impatient about doing so.

In last week’s blog post I announced that the theme of my 2020 Operation Melt journey would be to start focusing on being more content with where I am, stop worrying about fixing what’s broken but continue trying to improve myself daily. I have been thinking about this theme this week and considering some other realities.

I lost no weight in 2019 and am starting 2020 slightly heavier, with substantially more muscle, than I started 2019. I have pretty significant daily weight fluctuations, though I have stopped weighing myself daily starting in 2020. All of these facts tell me that I am likely at my lowest sustainable weight and my weight loss days are officially done.

This makes my 2020 theme even more important and even more challenging. Maintenance is a bit of a mental struggle for me.

Each week I am pushing myself to exercise harder and harder. I am diligently logging and tracking my food. I am reviewing all of my data daily to see what insights I can glean. All of this takes commitment and it takes time. Some people may even say that I am obsessed with it – though I wouldn’t go that far. It is just important to me.

During my weight loss journey all of this daily commitment was building towards my big goal: lose over 100 pounds in under a year. Once I hit the 100 pounds it was building to the goal of seeing if I could get consistently under 200 pounds by the end of the year.

Last year, when I first switched to maintenance mode, I gained a little weight so all of the effort was focused on getting back down to where I had been. Though I never got back to my original low weight point for mostly positive reasons associated with developing my muscle mass. But I was still focused on moving towards a goal.

Now that 2020 is here, and I know I am at my lowest healthy weight, my daily commitment feels more like I am just “doing stuff” instead of “building something” and that’s my struggle with maintenance.

Maintaining is not as sexy as losing. You don’t see the highly motivational daily progress. You don’t get the compliments and support from people around you for not letting yourself gain weight. It also gets even harder when you are diligently tracking your food and somebody asks “oh, are you trying to lose weight?” No, I am not trying to lose weight, but I am trying not to lose ground on my hard-fought achievements. But that isn’t something that everybody understands.

I think there is a clear solution for this but not an easy one. I have to continue giving myself goals to achieve so I am still “building something” but they can’t be weight focused. It is going to be a challenge to rewire my brain to enjoy maintenance but I am up for that challenge. I already rewired my brain to like kale so I know anything is possible!

I just need to stay focused on my 2020 theme: start enjoying, stop fixing, continue growing.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope that my experiences and my tips can help you achieve your own big goals. If we work together we can build a world where goals never die of loneliness!