Through Thick and Thin (Borrowed Title)

**Sorry the photos in this blog are so tiny**

There is a blog I read often called Lynn’s Weigh.  Lynn and four of her blog friends, DebbyShelley, Lori, and Cammy, write a monthly blog on a weight loss/maintenance related topic.  The topic for May is “Through Thick and Thin.”  You can read each of the blog posts by clicking on the high lighted name.
"Through Thick and Thin" poses the question:
After a large amount of weight is lost, is some weight gain inevitable?

They aren’t talking about gaining ALL the weight back.  For those out there in internet-land that are maintaining a large weight loss (100+ pounds or more) it can be difficult to maintain.  In the short time I have been reading Lynn’s blog I have learned about her struggles with maintenance and gaining back 20 pounds.

I call it the in-between.  You are not your former self at the highest-weight-you-have-ever-been but you are also not at your goal weight or the lowest-weight-you-have-ever-been either.  Often those that are doing some sort of long term maintenance find themselves somewhere in the middle. 
I feel like the Biggest Loser contestants experience this.  Since the weight loss is a competition and money is the prize, contestants will strive to lose as much weight as possible before the finale.  But is this super low weight really maintainable?  It might be if you continue to live in a house where your food temptations are limited (minus Allison Sweeney of course) and going to the gym is your full time job.  Naturally, these contestants have to re-enter the “real world” where your full time job pays the bills and rarely do those bills get paid by spending eight hours in the gym.
Attainable weight and Maintainable weight are two entirely different things.  Almost anything is attainable but without the tools needed to maintain it that part can be tough.  Plus attaining a super low weight might make you feel good at first until you realize how much you have to give up to stay there.  Is skipping all future social outings really worth the cost of holding onto a vanity weight?  Only you can be the judge.
Usually, the in-between isn’t a bad place to be. The mental struggle can often be the hardest as wrapping you head around “gaining weight” is difficult.  Regardless of what in-between weight you might be at right now it is important to remember that you are NOT at your heaviest weight and you are STILL a success!!
I am sort of at an in-between even though I maintain my weight within my goal range set with my doctor.  I no longer weigh 304 pounds (my starting weight) but I also don't weigh 165 pounds (my lowest weight).

This photo is the one I carry in my purse when people ask to see a before photo.  It was taken in October 2006, a few months before I joined WW.

This photo was taken when I weighed 173 after getting my Lifetime in April 2009.

My first year of maintenance I continued to lose weight.  I really wanted to get to goal and be a free paying member but I wasn't sure where I wanted to settle.  I wanted to see if my body would continue to lose more weight and try to get to the WW goal vs my doctor's goal.  Since I never increased my points to include the maintenance points (you add 6 PPVs to start out when you reach goal to try and get your body to stop losing and level out) I continued to lose.  I reached an all time low weight of 165 pounds. 
This photo was taken when I reached my all time low weight of 165 pounds.  It was taken at my 30th birthday in October 2009.

It only lasted a year.  By April of 2010, I was back up to 173 pounds.  I remember feeling very stressed out during that year and feeling like a failure.  Perhaps 165 was not a maintainable weight for me.  I know I was spending less time at the gym and I had changed my eating to include less processed foods and more whole foods.  Our dispatch center also merged taking on extra troops with no extra staff resulting in long shifts and extra work days each week.  Eventually I had to realize that I was not a failure and that 165 was just not a weight I was going to be able to maintain without extra work or less food, both of which I didn't have the energy to commit to.

The photo on the right of my blog with Kenyon and I is the most current.  It was taken in October 2012 where I weighed 174 pounds.

This is a photo I took of myself at work last month. 

Through the years, my weight has gone up and down within a nice easy-to-maintain range.  It looks like my highest weight on record is 181.8 pounds and that was in September 2011.  While some of the photos are small (need to figure out how to fix that part), I see that I still look normal...regardless of my in-between weight.
We just returned from vacation, which I can never go out of town and not gain weight, and I weighed 180 pounds when we got back.  While this is only temporary, I can feel it immediately.  My middle feels thick and "squishy".  I don't like that feeling.  I was discussing this with my friend Mark on a recent hike.  I believe that being aware of that feeling is what will keep me at my goal weight as I am more aware of my body now then I was at 304 pounds.  That awareness is what helps keep me on track and gets me back on track after vacation and any other time I spend off-program.

If you are struggling with an in-between weight, be kind to yourself.  I am 100% sure it isn't as bad as you might think.

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