Saturday, March 16, 2013

Finding your e-support on Weight Maintenance Island

Harbor Seal arrives on the beach

I love the way that Dr. Berkeley from Refuse to Regain blog and facebook page often refers to weight maintenance as an island. I also love the show Survivor. 

I arrived a little over a year ago, for the third time on weight maintenance island. This time, it was very different. I changed up most of all how I ate, slept, and how I exercised.I also picked my own tribe of weight maintainer blogs for my electronic support. (my blog roll is on my page, scroll on the right, down the page).  Picking the right "tribe" for weight maintenance support was key.

Birds of a feather, flock together

I find all weight maintainers inspiring. We have a lot in common and can learn from each other, despite our dietary or exercise differences.

Finding the right group of frequent supporters is key- in my opinion. I determined early on that looking at pages of foods  that weight maintainers or "healthy" food bloggers who eat in moderation was just not a great thing for me. My definition of health changed- so what I read had to change, too.

I had to unsubscribe from several blogs who liked to feature frequent photos of biscotti, muffins, M&M's, ice cream, and cookies. Looking at photos of prior binge type of foods is just not the healthiest thing for me to be doing. I don't do moderation, so I no longer use those blogs as a tool for maintenance. Same thing for Pinterest. I love pinning Paleo style (non "treat"), gardening and inspiring travel photos. I only subscribe to boards where photos of sugary, fried, bakery, and junk foods will not pop up into the feed.

I made a firm decision to get away and stay away from the Standard American Diet. Part of my first year transition was to change who I "hung out with" online.

My favorite blogs evolve over time as I find new blogs, or sadly, as some of my favorite blogs go radio silent. Along with bloggers who eat clean, had major weight transformations, Paleo/Primal template bloggers, I also find myself loving the blogs of weight loss surgery successes. All very inspiring.

So, when you reach Weight Maintainers Island, find your tribe for your e-support. I think a structured support group during the first year of weight maintenance would lead to a higher rate of success of keeping the weight off for many.

What worked for me

1. Finding other bloggers who maintained like I did or inspired me.
2.  Continuing to find new blogs that inspire-other's blog rolls. Also,  See Tirza's list at Maintaining maintaining
3.  Being selective about what support I needed.
4. Finding a good reader for my iPhone (feel free to share your google reader transition plan)

What did not work for me:

1. Reading the blogs for weight loss and weight maintainers that frequently eat junk food.
2. Not reaching into other media for weight maintenance support
3. Not using a good support network- online or in person
4. Not reading daily, even if for 5 minutes, to keep my head and my day's plans on my main priorities.

Do you change up blogs or maintainer support people over time?

Turns and gulls- a mixed group


  1. I've definitely changed the blogs I read over time. I find it very difficult to read blogs where people talk about moderation and intuitive eating and they weigh close to 300 pounds and haven't changed much in a couple of years. I "think" they want to lose weight but they make it way too easy to stay where they are.

    I also agree on the junk food bloggers. I know it is hard to work all day and come home to hungry kids but pizza, fried chicken and Chinese takeout are terrible choices for you and your kids. And, if you are ordering on the phone, you could have made dinner while you wait for the delivery guy. Sigh. :(

    1. So true, Caron! The amount of time to order out and wait is longer than cooking something up quick. Just have plan a little in advance. I batch cook to avoid this scenario.

  2. Awesome as always, Karen. I have my core of blogs that I've loved from the get-go; they're well-written, regularly updated, of a similar mindset, and make me think. There have been some I found useful for a while that just faded out of interest for me. One very popular one written by a really sweet woman, that took a huge turn in the wrong direction really kind of disappointed me, weird as that sounds to say about someone I don't know in person, and I rarely read it anymore, though I still have it bookmarked and check it out from time to time. When a blogger loses focus and starts talking about being kind to themselves and forgiving repeated screw ups and literally planning to fail and then rationalizing it...I'm generally outta there.

    1. Norma, my slippery slope thinking (that kept me regaining or maintaining at a high weight) had directed me to eat a lot of junky food. It dawned on me today that I will dodge a lot of chronic diseases by not spiking my insulin and glucose all over the place. Eating half a bag of M&M's would lead to the whole bag... you know. It was when I got "tough" with myself that I could get to the new normal.

  3. When I first was gathering information on Lap Band, I read ANY Lap Band blog (maybe you did the same with paleo). Then I started getting really picky which I would read, because a lot freaked me out, when they rang my "disordered eating" bells. I don't mean to be judgmental, maybe they are OK, but it wasn't OK for me to read. Maintenance for me can NOT be about a liquid diet, for instance. Sort of like you not being able to read about all the carbs. Also, I don't like blogs with tons of "food porn" pictures, lol. Unless it is food I can actually eat! That is why I love Shelly/"eggface's" blog. I think paleo seems to have similarities to what most WL surgery folk are told to eat - high protein/low carb. I know there is a lot more than that to paleo, but it is a connection. :-)

    I like a couple of blogs where people have lost a lot through "just diet and exercise" but not if they seem almost "arrogant" about it, you know what I mean? I feel it promotes the same kind of exclusivity that I found in some religions! I wish them all the best, but I choose a more inclusive "tribe" (to quote you!). My tribe supports everyone. My tribe would understand that life is long, and what works at one point, may not at another, and support should be generous and abundant, not narrow minded and judgmental. As long as we are promoting being healthy, we have something in common. If the blog is also fun to read, and provides me any tips I can use - WIN!

    1. Hi Cheri- LOL- yes, I read all the paleo blogs- I backed off the paleo blogs where they make a lot of paleo cookies and treats. I so do not do that. I like Shelly's (world according to egg face). She's a So. Cal local.

      It's a long road, to change up mind sets. I'm excited to follow you along. Good luck.

  4. Hi Karen, I'm delighted to be on your maintainer list.
    I tend to like blogs from those who eat real foods to maintain. I read lots of blogs. It's my potion. I am inspired by persistence and candor. I'm not perfect and I suspect other bloggers are not too. Thanks for sharing your list. Here's mine from 2012 with a full list referenced. I'm sure I'm missing a few.

    1. Thanks for your blog list, Tracy. I read many of those bloggers. I'm not perfect either, but I do catch myself a lot sooner this time around.

  5. I agree with you Karen. To Cheri above re your comment I think initially I was one of those people who were almost religious about it because it was like I had found the way and needed to show others. I do think I have moderated over the months (hopefully) and now chat rather than preach :)

    I like to support others trying to lose but I stop following when all the excuses start to come in like "I was naughty" or "I'll do better tomorrow". I've seen it over and over and just don't need that kind of blog in my life. If people don't make real changes, total life changes then I just don't think they are serious. I am serious about this and it helps to see others achieving that holy grail of weight loss - maintenance!

    1. Lynda, total red flags- mostly with the words "I decided to indulge myself". "When will I ever be in France/Italy/Greece/State Fair/Grandma's special strudel again?" My urge to over eat does not go away when I travel. Neither does my gluten sensitivity. 24/7 here. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. While I plan my food, and prep my food, and mindfully eat my food, I do not want to think about food 24/7. I want food to just be food in my life, not the be all, end all. So, I am with you in avoiding the too many food pictures and food talk blogger sites.

    I think you cover very good points in this post.

    I think it helps to look at what we each WANT and then look for information/support which will help us, reinforce those goals.

    I think it is super important to look at where people actually ARE when reading blogs. Your side bar clearly states where you are. Mine does too.

    It always worries me when I see people sort of worshipping bloggers, when I am not sure the newbie understands where that blogger really is in their practice. I am not saying everyone has to be perfect, but it is really alarming to see the practices some bloggers talk about as if they are working, helping, when they aren't. I think this is true with comments also. Have to read carefully between the lines and know people's personal practices.

    1. Good point, Vickie, on where people actually are and if the info on the blog is current. My travels have me doing and eating and my mind set is so much different a year out. I'll change over this year too. Now that I have my food template down,it's down to the small tweaks.

      All good point about the other bloggers.

  7. I am new to maintaining and find that my blog roll is in need of a big change. The interesting part is that I find some hard to give up since I start to feel like I sort of "know" them. Which is crazy because I don't. I am finding that as I am moving from actively losing to maintaining that what I need is different.

    When losing, I wanted blogs of other people successfully losing. Seems I was terrible at finding them. I found people who had lost and were maintaining or people who were spiraling down. I even had to give up reading blogs for awhile. I just didn't really identify with anyone.

    I am glad now to find that I am identifying more with maintainers. I am still working out the kinks of how to do this and I appreciate you and your list. It gives me a good place to land. Thank you.

    1. A, I just checked out your blog. Wow! you are doing great. I know that my health coach told me to start identifying with the thin me and to take a lot of photos of myself.

      It's a major mind transformation- loosing a lot of weight. Glad you are continuing on your path and reading the blogs. :)

  8. I have had to go through the blogs I follow! I simply can't keep seeing recipes that have a lb of butter and 3 cups of sugar in them.
    Yes I've had my own ups and downs but I do stick to healthy eating for the most part and am always looking at ways to improve.
    Can I say I love your blog :)

  9. Hi Karen! I'm a new follower of your blog. Totally agree about your list. I no longer read bloggers who 1) gripe about everything and constantly make excuses; 2) eat junk food, restaurant food, and just high calories in general and 3) just have a generally bad attitude about health, eating, and fitness--because their bad attitudes impact me unless I stop that. Your comment of "birds of a feather flock together" is so very true. We need to surround ourselves with the right people who will support us and uplift us.

    I recently wrote a blog post called "The Toilet Function of Blogging" talking about how blog commenters too often enable excuse-making bloggers who are being destructive to themselves and others. I suggested that we not read or comment at all on that sort of stuff. It was my most highly viewed and most commented upon post this year.

    :-) Marion

  10. Totally get this post! When I first started reading blogs, I read ALL of them! I couldn't get enough. Slowly I started to realize that I didn't like a lot of them...they were promoting disordered eating or something unhealthy (i.e. not having a job and spending all day running, then yoga then weight lifting....! Too much exercise!!).

    Now I focus on reading my favorites and the food blogs that have healthy recipes. I eat whatever I want in moderation, so while there may be posts about beer and cheesecake and pizza...those things were eaten in moderation and I like to read other blogs that are the same.

    I do wish there were more maintenance blogs, though!

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  12. Karen, I love the self preservation of not exposing yourself to, what Norma and others probably, refer to as food porn. About a year and a half ago, when I found myself out of control with my binges and really pretty desperate, I rejoined a support site that was and for all I know may still be, very popular. Previously it had no advertisement but when I returned It proudly sported ads from companies that touted "healthy" food. On the margins it flashed, alternately, photos of tiramisu and chocolate fudge cake. I was in tears! I wrote to one of the webmasters and she feigned surprise, she who had banned me years before, for suggesting that eating low calorie voluntarily was not that different from WLS and indicated that I wished to try it before I ended up NEEDING wls. I was banned for discussing "unhealthy ways of eating".
    In any event, when the photos continued to distract and distress me, I left the site, which was actually quite helpful in other ways, since it offered great support from some of its members. I could not see how I would manage to keep any control while those pictures taunted me while I was attempting to regain control over my binge eating.
    I do not read many blogs but I really enjoy the ones that are well written and are informative, even if the blogger is not (always) successful. Sometimes the comments provide information that I would otherwise not know. Your comments on Lyn's blog is an example of such an experience for me. I enjoy just about any blogs that provide information, such as Norma's and Screaming Fat Girl, whose perspective is comfortably familiar to me due to her profession, which is the basis for her approach to weight loss.