Maintenance. I kind of hate this term. Someone asked me recently if it was great to finally be in maintenance. I had to reply that I didn’t know because I didn’t consider myself “a maintainer”.
Sure, I’ve kept off the weight that I lost a couple of years ago. In the weight loss world this makes me a maintainer. But I’ve hardly maintained anything other than a commitment to keep improving my health and fitness.
Maintenance implies satisfaction with where one is at. It implies staying static…holding the line…not changing. I don’t feel like this is my life at all. I wanted to say that I’m in the opposite of maintenance, but every dictionary I consulted for this opposite gave me words like neglect…disrepair…ignorance. That’s not right either!
Instead I feel as if there are regularly new challenges and problems to navigate and find solutions for. When life doesn’t present these to me, I have been forcing myself to seek them out…no matter how small those challenges may be. It’s through navigating these challenges that I’ve continued to learn, grow and develop.
In addition to seeking out new challenges to face, it’s important to remember that losing weight doesn’t magically make all the issues related to food, weight, body image, exercise, confidence, etc. disappear. Contrary to promises in popular media, being a smaller size is a not a magic pill for happiness and perfection. Even at 120 lbs lighter than I once was, I am still constantly working on all of the issues that got me and kept me obese for so long. Recovery is more than just losing the weight (but that’s a whole other post…).
Maintenance is where I was for 28 years of my life. Maintenance is what kept me obese and unhealthy. THAT was neglect…disrepair…ignorance. As bad as that sounds, I was comfortable there. Losing weight didn’t get me to “maintenance”. It took me away from that point and helped me learn how to challenge myself and grow.
Actively work to avoid maintenance. Seek out challenges and problems to solve, big and small. Learn from the process of facing those challenges and take that knowledge with you as you keep moving forward and growing.