Three Maintenance Cheers

Three Maintenance Cheers

To begin, some maintainer’s statistics…

Weight that I decided to maintain at: 85.0kg (13st 5)

Average weight since getting to my target: 83.0kg (13st 1)

Average weight in the last month: 82.8kg (13st 1)

Away Eating days in the last month: 12

Average daily steps in the last month: 9,785

As the last month includes Christmas and the New Year, this is not too bad at all. There has been a tiny upward trend in my weight, but it’s only a slip of a few ounces, so it’s not a slide yet!

I have thought a lot recently about my much-blogged personal rule – Keep it Simple. I made it a rule three years ago because I soon found that getting down to a good weight was a tough target – just on its own. I knew that if I also had a second target (for example ‘eat healthily’) everything would become too complicated, and I would fail with both targets. I see all the time on the forums that people are trying to lose weight, move house, give up smoking and start a new job, all at the same time. Good luck to them, and I hope they succeed in everything, but I know myself well enough to know that I would make a mess of all of it!

I have found that maintenance is a tricky business. Unlike weight loss, where I had a simple and single target of restricting calorie intake to get to a good weight, maintenance is a bit odd because the target is just ‘stay the same’. I find that impossible, because weight naturally bobs up and down, and I sometimes introduce some more turbulence by eating out for days on end, etc. So my target in maintenance is ‘Eat carefully, but if you haven’t been very careful, restrict calories until your weight goes back to OK, but if you restrict calories too much and go below your OK weight, ease off on calories restriction until it goes up to OK again. But be careful – don’t overdo it, because you don’t want to be fat again!’ This is not the snappy sort of target that I like, and I certainly won’t be sticking it up on the fridge door! In fact I made it worse for myself by deciding to record my daily steps, so I should add …’and walk 10,000 steps every day’.

That’s complicated enough, but two things have happened recently that have given me very good reason to remember my rule of Keep it Simple:

(1) I have taken a much bigger interest in my alcohol consumption, recording my daily units, so I have to add to my maintenance target ‘…and don’t have more than 14 units in a week’. I then thought that I was nearing target fatigue, because my weight has become more erratic than usual – I have begun to worry that I was becoming unfocussed and (to quote Wise Woman Sprog) overconfident and undercautious. On balance, though, I thought things were OK, but then…

(2) Nutracheck has added much more nutrition information to their database. ¬°Ay, caramba! This information is really interesting, but what is it telling me? I filled in my diary for a typical day, and it told me that my fat was half of the limit (and saturated fat very low), my carbs were on the limit, sugar was not far off double, protein was a bit over and salt was a bit under. The sugar was nearly all from fruit and carrots(?!), so whether that’s a problem or not I don’t know. To be honest, if my fat was double, carbs were zero, sugar from carrots was 450%, protein was 10% and salt was 0.3% I don’t know whether that’s a problem either. And I don’t really have the time or inclination to educate myself to find out – probably a symptom of target fatigue! All I really took away from the analysis was that my calories were 400 under and my exercise was 700 calories, which struck me as rather good.

What am I going to do then? I think I am going to apply Keep it Simple to my maintenance. Every day, after my morning weighing, I am going to look at whether (1) my weight was the same or less than yesterday, (2) yesterday’s steps were over 10,000 and (3) yesterday’s alcohol units were zero. I will then play a little game of Three Maintenance Cheers – if all three are OK, I will come out of the bathroom (naked as nature intended), and give three loud cheers. Actually, I started this routine a couple of weeks ago, and my wife is delighted to observe that Three Maintenance Cheers will probably be a very rare ritual! But that’s it – I will care about those three measurements, but (unless unanimous medical science insists) I will not care about anything else, because doing so would break my Keep it Simple rule.



  • Sprog says:

    Steve, as you know I am a great fan of your blog and I always read it with pleasure. However today is the first time I have laughed (guffawed, more like!) out loud – and as I write this I am still giggling at the idea of the three maintenance cheers!

    “Keep it simple” has worked so well for you over the past three years it seems unnecessary to complicate things … “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s my wise (?!) opinion!

  • LouC.Lastic says:

    Hurra, hurra, hurra – what else is there to say except thanks for the “naked bathroom” image – I suspect Mrs M is also enjoying that spectacle :-)

    Hope to be joining you in Maintenance Land in the not too distant future – could be quicker if I stick to the virtual cheers rather than the physical ones with a glass in my hand but we all (you, me and Sprog) know I find that somewhat of a challenge!

    • barbyc says:

      loved this latest blog steve, being type 2 diabetic I thought I would keep track of my carbs and sugar while the opportunity presented itself.
      big mistake – my carbs are indeed in line most days but even an overdose of carrots will take the sugar way up let alone a banana or heaven help me some grapes.
      I have just had my annual nurse mot review and my sugars and cholesterol levels are fine, 0.1 away from last years readings 1 up, 1 down so no worries there.
      so although I have left the big tracker on (just in case I want a quick peek) I keep it turned firmly to the calorie/fat columns as before and disregard any red notifications at the bottom totaliser.
      no I won’t even do that anymore, i’m going right back to turn them off. KEEP IT SIMPLE
      thanks for your wise words.

  • Steve Marshall says:

    Hi Sprog, Lou and barbyc,
    Thanks very much for your comments. Blogging is an odd thing in a way – unlike forum posting (where you often get quick feedback) you don’t hear much back after a blog, so you start to wonder whether it’s like talking into the Grand Canyon. So I’m pleased, and especially pleased if a blog has been some help, or even made you laugh!

  • Anonymouse says:

    Loved the blog! I never wanted the extra nutrition info, and I don’t adhere to it because I seem to be within range for everything on the days I manage to stick to the plan. But “Keep It Simple” is great – and simple!

  • Nannyd says:

    Hi All
    I am a new maintainer of 3 months, I have lost 32lb which is wonderful. However I am well aware that maintaining is a totally different animal. So far so good even over Christmas. I am adding a couple of hundred calories a day for 3 or 4 days a week then the rest is diet range. Time alone will tell. No more Yo Yo for me. As for the sugar I had the same query so asked Admin They advised that as most of my sugar came from natural foods then it was ok to be over.
    You have done so well Steve and I follow your progress with hope for myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × six =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>