Maintenance Part Four: How I wish I would’ve started

For the full details on how I screwed up my maintenance, read here.


But to give you the quick lowdown in case you don’t have that time… It was all in the matter of what I chose to do and what I chose not to do during the dieting phase. The little habits that I did not practice and the little strategies I did not do that I honestly only now can see in hindsight that they would have benefited me a great deal. So just for fun… We are going to give the breakdown of the alternate story.

What I wish I would have done to start…

Knowing that I was coming from a lifetime of struggles with obesity but also body image but also disordered eating but also a brief period of eating disorders but also trauma… Good gravy that was a lot of but also’s. I wish I would have reversed out of everything slowly. 

I spent a lifetime practicing certain habits and behaviors that got me to the point that I needed to lose 135 lbs in order to live, move, smile, have better health markers, and feel better in my skin… You name it.

During the dieting process (which extended through 10 years due to choices to strive elsewhere along the way), I did practice some different lifestyle changes. I’m not the same person I was in 2011. But there were some fundamental pieces that I recognize now that I missed. All things in hindsight, right?

Truthfully, I was not somebody who was able to lose weight quickly. I needed to change multiple things over the course of time and I would see little changes in my body that went along with that. With that in mind, I should have taken my time transitioning into maintenance.

Now I also want to put out there that this is not necessarily the case for everybody. Some people can go into maintenance right away and there’s no issue. They don’t gain weight… really. Their sleep gets a lot better. Their hormones regulate well. They have this great look with their muscles because they are filled to the brim instead of being a little bit more depleted on glycogen. If there is a good deal of weight gain (we are talking more than a couple of pounds), you have overshot your maintenance numbers. 

With the weight gain… Now this doesn’t mean that there won’t be fluctuations. There always will be. But when you look at everything from a more pulled-back view… if you’re in maintenance, you do not gain a lot of weight (exceeding 5 lbs or so).

In my personal experience after the bodybuilding show, I gained about 5 lbs over the course of two and a half months. This is somewhat of a more extreme scenario though. There’s a lot more carbohydrate, sodium, and water manipulation involved in a show experience. Afterward, you have to get to a point where you are “normal” again. And with what I mentioned above… I wish I had been more controlled during this time and the weeks proceeding because I needed to learn how to be in maintenance and for me… that could only have happened with time.

Disclaimer: My coach tried. I didn’t follow his guidance. See the other posts in this series.

With clients…

Something that I do with clients who are like me and have struggled for years, is ask them where they want to start with it all…

  • jump right up to maintenance with the plan to just keep up with all that they are currently doing
  • add in 100 calories at a time and keep up with everything
  • ask them to first adjust their daily activity to the activity that they want to maintain
  • adjust their food to what they can see themselves eating forever first

Quite a few of my clients will increase their steps to get to the end faster but then initially want to regulate back down to a level that is more sustainable for their desired lifestyle. Once they regulate back down to their desired activity level, we would then take a look at whether or not they are maintaining or need to add in that 100 calories at a time.

For the clients that are like me, we go very slow and steady. We talk about the fears that come out during this time. We work on the proof that we won’t really gain over the course of time and that they are not falling backward. They are not failing. They can eat more and it’s okay.

One thing to remember when considering moving into intentional maintenance after a prolonged dieting phase (effective or not), there are some people who don’t know life outside of the diet mentality because they have never experienced that. Their entire life has been surrounding the thought of diet or the action of a diet.

It’s okay to go slow. It’s okay to take your time.

Think about how long you worked on the dieting phase.

It might take just as long to find your new way through with maintenance.

Give yourself room to learn.

I’m so appreciative of you getting to this point and coming on this journey with me.

Full Maintenance Series:

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