So rewind the clock to 10th May 2017 when I went to my Wednesday Wellness Check-in and that was the night I got to my GOAL weight! I was dancing at the scales, with tears of joy and the most amazing feeling of personal achievement I can honestly say I’ve ever felt. My wonderful WW Coach Helen was overjoyed for me and we hugged in excitement.
So, what happens next? I really didn’t know... I was handed a gold key to add to my 10% keyring, a unique gold members card and a luxury gold wallet with information about maintaining. And lastly I was advised I needed to eat more daily SmartPoints. Eat more? Surely I’ll put on weight won’t I? I didn’t understand the logic.
I’d spent the last 6 months learning about the programme in my meeting, on social media, the magazine, Connect, the website there was oodles to help me on my losing journey but now I had to learn about maintaining. I knew from experience that I had to keep going to my meeting as when I nearly got to goal several years ago I stopped going thinking I’ll just get on with it on my own, but that’s when the weight piled back on and more.
What worked for me to lose weight was planning my weekly meals using my cookbooks and weekly planner for one hour a week. It just become a habit and I knew this was something I would continue to do at goal.
I did spend my first couple of months after getting to goal playing with my daily SmartPoints and not always increasing them as recommended. I actually continued to lose weight which ended up helping me with clothes as I’d been in between sizes at my initial goal.
Reading through gold members posts on social media started to really help as they would talk about how much harder it was to maintain and how difficult it was to know how to keep focused, but everyone would always say the same……keep going to your meeting and how you needed to deal with the emotional side of things.
Other members were so supportive at these times helping you to understand your emotions and how you could help yourself by understanding that the disappointment of gains, and any food indulgences or 'snackcidents' are all part of maintaining and its just what happens and learning to accept them, but also learning how to just get straight back on track and remember its all part of the journey.
The emotions of a gain were painful at first as I didn’t know what to expect with maintaining. I hadn’t thought about the fact you would go up and you would go down and you might stay the same as I’d been very lucky with my weight loss, having a steady loss every week whilst getting to goal. You soon learn though from your own experiences that this is how it is, but it is how you then deal with these results each time that is key.
When you get to goal you need to work out how many extra daily SmartPoints will help you to maintain. It takes a few months to really see the progress and what works best for you as we are all so different. So I was advised don’t look at the results just over a week, so as suggested I have always looked at my results every month instead. Looking back to September 2017 when I got to my lowest weight of 10st 3lb, I now fluctuate each month by the odd pound or two and have averaged at 10st 5lb over the last 10 months with sometimes a 3lb gain in one week vs a 3lb loss over 3 weeks. Its all about learning to accept these as part of your journey.
My wonderful WW Coach recognised the need for an additional incentive for goal members and came up with her own Gold Star monthly sticker reward card where you would get a gold star for every month you stayed at goal. This not only helped gold members in our group but helped those still on their weight loss journey. It also helps to encourage gold members to keep going to your meeting. For me going back to mine was my saviour as it gave me the reason to keep at it and I always keep my WHY at the back of my mind.
I still get anxious when I approach the scales and I don’t ever expect that to go but I now know that it is what it is and I accept what the scales say. I’m overjoyed if I stay the same but that doesn’t happen that often if I’m honest, if I have a gain I know why and I just accept it, if I then lose that gain its a whoop whoop moment. Whatever happens Helen is there to support.
My WW Workshop is not only great for me but I know how beneficial it is for other members to be inspired on their losing journey as I always contribute to discussions and share my results of maintaining, the good and the bad. I know my WW Coach appreciates all of us at goal to contribute as it inspires other members. It really helps to drive my focus and it also acts as a great night socialising with friends I’ve made. Helen certainly always keeps us all laughing and as you can see laughs at herself too.
I continue to use social media to help keep me on track by sharing my food ideas and my transformation photographs to remind myself how far I’ve come. Its really helped me stay focused. We have a great community of support online and its been a great way of making new friends to share our journeys with, but to feel less lonely on what started off as a lonely journey. Some members have become great friends who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with on a few occasions and share many a laugh online and in person.
I still get non scale victories at goal just as did when I was losing weight including buying my first ever pair of skinny jeans. Even though they made them when I was a size 18 I’d never had the confidence to wear them so feel so much more comfortable with myself when I look in the mirror and see myself in tight hugging clothes.
I don’t track everything in the app every single day these days, I just don’t always have the time, but I do have a much better understanding of what I’m eating and how my body knows when its had enough, but I do keep a note of my SmartPoints even if in a notebook or sometimes a scrap piece of paper does the trick.
It’s taken time for me to adjust and understand my body, but more so the emotions that come with it all. Dealing with your emotions of maintaining definitely has a big part to play and is a great learning curve to help you gain more confidence in not only the programme, but finding happiness and confidence in yourself.
Maintaining is harder than I imagined, but remember we are all different and therefore will also be different at maintaining weight and so you must find what works for you. But all in all it definitely works if you keep track, keep going to class, keep moving and keeping your why close at hand all the time, its truly helped change my life for the better.