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How long is a typical maintenance break?

Hi Heather--thank you so much for your sane, practical, realistic advice. I am so grateful for you. So I have almost 200 lbs to lose. Whenever I drop a lot of weight, I get a 7-month 'honeymoon' where I lose 60 to 70 lbs. Then I hit a wall and quickly regain everything. This time, I am planning on taking a maintenance break after I lose 30 lbs. It will be a new thing for me to hit pause during the honeymoon and the thought fills me with panic. What if interrupting the honeymoon means losing the thread and not dropping anymore weight? I am reaching an age where I desperately need to lose all this weight and keep it off. I feel like it would help me to have some idea of how long maintenance breaks typically need to be, and what some of the pitfalls to watch out for are. I plan to take another maintenance break after the second 30 lbs, and probably continue that pattern until I'm done (assuming I can be done--arg). Really hoping this will make a difference, and I won't just drop 60-70 lbs again an pop back up to the 380s. Thank you!!!

You already answered my question!

Hi Heather--I joined the community and read the materials for the maintenance break challenge in May, so I will withdraw my question (Dated 1/28) because you already answered it. :) Thanks!

Staying motivated

Hi Heather, First and foremost, I want to thank you for what you are doing. Your podcast has literally changed my life, and you helped me break the cycle of diet and restrict. I took a maintenance break for the first time in September and I could feel myself breaking the cycle. Thank you. Your level headed and kind voice has become the voice in my head. A little about me: I’m petite, 5’4, and have bounced up and down between 155 and 229 my entire adult life. After I had my son 6 years ago, my weight settled at 205 and I maintained that for 3 years. I have lost 30 pounds over the last 2 years and currently am at 176. I love my body and have made peace with how long this takes, but man, sometimes the process just *gets* to me. As a petite woman it is so easy to slip into maintenance that I just get discouraged. Typically, I am active so 1800 is losing a pound a month, but then it’s maintenance when I let up on the exercise. (I run 2x a week and weight train 2x a week ) How do you keep yourself going through these tough weeks when you just feel fluffy and the process gets you down? Thank you for everything you do. You’re amazing. Bonnie

Follow-up from January 11 coaching call

Hi Heather, This is a follow-up from my January 11 coaching call. My task for the last month was to work on maintenance. I have gained and lost the same 20 lbs several times. Last year, I lost the 20 lbs yet again but have now regained 6 - 8 lbs and I am determined to break the cycle. Per our call, my goals for the past month have been to see what it looks like if I (1) track and eat at 1600 calories a day; (2) calorie cycle; and (3) weigh myself consistently. I have never attempted maintenance in any planned fashion before and never tried calorie cycling. The first week and a half was a bit rough due to a work trip and some lengthy commitments but I kept at it. I'm very happy with how it's been going! Eating at 1600 calories is a huge relief (compared to the 1200 previously) and it feels doable. I might be able to increase the calorie amount and still be at maintenance but probably not very much. My weekly weight averages have been 122.64; 122.28; 122.16; 121.83; and 121.1. I plan to try this calorie allowance for another four weeks and then increase the amount incrementally, perhaps to 1700 a day, and see how it goes. It appears that I'm slowly losing weight at 1600, which is very surprising to me because my activity level has been darn near close to sedentary/lightly active. I'm 48 and 5' tall and I don't exercise well in cold. Thanks for the advice and everything you do! I've been listening to you off and on since 2012. The off times have been a "gaining" time and the on times were when I was losing weight, of course. Paige (aka Pam)

I hate tracking

Hi Heather! It's Melissa from episode 542. I'm so thankful for our call last year while I was pregnant, and am happy to share I now have a healthy 9 month old baby. I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight (kind of happened naturally around 3-4 months post-delivery) but would still like to lose 10-20 pounds (wherever my body decides it wants to live). If you'll recall, I used to struggle with orthorexia and have a difficult time with pressure related to calories, etc. Well, I now realize that extends to ANY kind of tracking. I've tried many different iterations of tracking over the last year (Ate app, paper pencil, even calories for a bit), and will do well for 2-3 weeks with a method before becoming bitter, in my head, and looking up restrictive diet plans. I've fortunately not gone down that road (a huge win for me), but I think I need to accept that formal food tracking is not a habit I can maintain long term. I maintain my weight naturally with my current way of eating (basically the 3 plates, 2 bowls method), but am having a hard time figuring out how to approach sustainable weight loss with such an 'anti-tracking' mindset. Any core habits I should focus on outside of water/walking/fruits and veggies at each meal? I'm not great with those so that's where I'm starting, but would love any other guidance you can have. I hate feeling 'stuck' at this weight, but it's also not worth the toll on my mental health to force a long term tracking habit. Thanks in advance!