My Maintenance Journey

Once you reach your goal weight you start a six weeks period called maintenance.  At the end of the six weeks if you are maintaining your weight no more than two pounds above, and sometimes below, your goal weight you are awarded Lifetime membership with Weight Watchers.  This means that as long as you continue to weigh-in once a month at no more than two pounds above your goal weight you no longer have to pay your weekly meeting fee.

I became a Lifetime member in April of 2009.

I lost 130 pounds and 43% of my total body weight.  My starting BMI went from 49 to 27.  I went from a size 24 jean to a size 14 and a XXL shirt to a M/L.  I feel great!

The great thing about being a Lifetime member is that you never lose that status.  I am always a LT member and if I am above my goal weight I only have to pay a $9 weekly fee.  If I was to leave WW for an extended period of time, I would only have to pay one $9 fee to re-join and continue to pay each week I attend until I am back at my goal weight.  It is a HUGE accomplishment to be a LT member with WW.

I am so lucky to have WW as a part of life.  My maintenance journey has seen ups and downs and twist and turns.  There have been smiles, tears, celebrations, and setbacks.  I continue to learn so much about maintenance with each passing year.

During my first year of maintenance, I didn’t add back any additional points, as suggested, and therefore I continued to lose weight.  Since I was not yet at WW’s goal and instead at my doctor’s goal I thought I would continue to lose more weight and see where my body settled.  I got to an all time low of 165 pounds and was wearing a size 10/12 by my 30th birthday.

During my second year of maintenance life changed and I wasn’t spending as much time in the gym as I previously had.  When you lose a large amount of weight it is hard to re-identify with yourself and in doing so we trade one addiction, food, for another, exercise.  My work hours also changed as our dispatch center merged with another center.  We had twice the work with no extra staff.  Our hours were long and our work weeks were longer.  I was tired and really struggled with the guilt of not being at the gym as much.  I gained back the 10 additional pounds lost and was again at my goal weight.

My third year of maintenance was all about learning acceptance.  I had to accept that I was still a successful maintainer despite once being 10 pounds below goal.  I had to accept that I just couldn’t sustain that low weight and that I was still healthy and active.  I had to accept that I could no longer wear my size 10/12 jeans and that my size 14 was an okay size to be.  I really embraced eating whole foods and started to focus on good nutrition as a whole.

Towards the end of my third year of maintenance I really struggled with my weight.  I was over the top end of my goal range, 177 pounds, for about four months.  Mentally this was very difficult.  I often felt like a failure but I had absolutely no reason to feel this way.  We can be our own worst critic.

My fourth year of maintenance I dropped back into goal range, 173-177 and stayed there for the whole year.  Year four was pretty carefree and I felt like I found my groove.

I started off 2013 in goal range but as of late I have been struggling.  I am dealing with a back issue as of August and my weight is ever so slowly creeping up.  As I start to feel better I am increasing my activity and staying committed.  I will always attend my weekly WW meetings, even if I have to pay $9.  The weight is coming off slowly but it is coming off. 

My fifth year of maintenance has been learning how to navigate new territory.  I've never been 10 pounds above goal so I am working through the mental aspect of that.  I am forever thankful for my amazing support group.

Years six through nine of maintenance are all sort of a blur. These are the years I struggled the most and I now find myself above my goal weight by almost 80 pounds. Sometimes it is within those struggles that we can evaluate who we really are. I've learned that loving yourself takes time and that we should always be kind in what we say to ourselves. While I have lost my way several times over the last few years, the main take away is to never ever give up. As I slowly work my way back to a healthy weight and a healthy mind, I will also work harder to appreciate myself more. When I was at my lowest weight I didn't really stop to appreciate it and instead worried about all the lumps, bumps, and excess skin. I am approaching 10 years with Weight Watchers and I can say that through all the ups and downs, I am still not 300 pound Lindsay.

The best piece of advice I can give is to ALWAYS stay connected to your program and your journey.  Attending my weekly WW meetings and connecting with my online WW community friends has been wonderful.  I have so much support from family and friends, all of whom love me no matter what my size or shape.

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