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11 Years of Maintenance – “Back to the Future” Spark Edition

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

How ironic to be celebrating maintenance the very week we are being urged to celebrate with food.
While I can’t travel to my alternate future like Marty McFly in that 1985 movie, I can imagine where would I be now if I hadn’t had that AHA moment nearly 12 years ago.

Where would I be today if I hadn’t found Spark People?

I had ignored the pounds added year after year, decade after decade. With forgiving fabrics and the sizing creep of the fashion industry (see note at end), I even continued to wear the same size while my measurements continually INCHED upwards (pun intended). I just accepted weight gain as an inevitable part of aging.

If I hadn’t found Sparkpeople:

I would have continued on the same path and now would be dealing with even more weight to lose. Dragging around extra pounds would likely have resulted in a reduction of my activity level accelerating the weight gain pace even more.

I certainly would have given up running by now. My grimace-like smile in the above photo after my slowest 5k time ever, was me wondering how to turn things around.

I would not have realized that every extra pound translates to at least 4 pounds extra pressure on my knees. So by now the extra weight would mean about 160 pounds of extra pressure that my joints had to absorb with each step. Not a good thing at age 73.

I would have continued to assume that I was consuming the proper amount of calories. After all, I was running 20-30 miles per week and cross training at the gym. I needed 4 slices of pizza, right? I’m sure I’ll burn it off.

I would have continued to assume my portion sizes were appropriate even as I scooped my ice cream into a soup bowl and my plate of spaghetti looked like Mt. Vesuvius.

I would have become an “active couch potato” after retirement. That’s a person who does a workout and then sits around all day. Without job responsibilities I can see myself “resting on my laurels” because of my morning workout and rewarding myself with TV and snacks. Now I understand that I need to move some throughout the day and the nutrition tracker makes me face facts.

Fortunately, I DID find Spark People. Maintenance requires diligence, but it’s definitely preferable to year after year of weight gain and the cumulative effect on my life.

My only regret is that it took me so long to confront reality. It’s amazing to me that in all those years I never seriously tried to lose weight. You would think that at least I could have figured out how to stop gaining.

So if you recognize yourself in any of the scenarios of my former self, it’s never too late to turn things around. Your future self will thank you.

I realize that my story may not seem as impressive as those who have lost huge amounts of weight and faced physical and life challenges. However, my continuous gain as I aged from age 35 to 60 happened even though I was extremely active and fit and my only beverage was water. So the “easy” advice often given “to move more and drink water” didn’t apply to me.

Note: Measurements for Size 10
The 1960s – 32.5, 25, 34.5
Today - 38, 30, 40.5
The fashion industry did me no favors by padding their bottom line while I padded my bottom.
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