Welcome, newcomers and old friends, to Debra’s Just Maintaining! For roughly a year, starting September 29, 2010, this blog set about exploring the cultural mythology and science surrounding weight-loss maintenance, especially after “radical” loss (more than 10% of highest body weight). As blog owner, I found myself moderating a discussion involving mostly weight-loss maintainers and size acceptance proponents, two seemingly disparate groups who ended up having more in common than any of us might have expected. It turns out we are all betrayed by the myth that radical weight loss is some hard-won victory, to be followed (of course!) by maintenance, a less challenging, zippy “lifestyle” composed of tips and tricks. It’s much more complicated than that.
This blog is not a “big” blog, but big enough, and certainly has much heart. Over the year it received just over 60,000 “views” of its various posts. Many were repeat visits from people I came to regard as friends, dear friends. We shared a sort of cathartic grief process as we stripped apart the mythology, and discussed from a lay vantage point some of the science surrounding weight-loss maintenance. In addition to the maintainers and size acceptance advocates, we also entertained a scientist visitor from time to time, and a couple of trolls.
The blog is now mostly defunct because I have gone on to other time-consuming pursuits, and I also need time to be a good Mom, and to continue my weight-loss maintenance, an endeavor that I regard as a third- to half-time unpaid job. To be competent at these things, something had to give.
Since the blog is mostly defunct, it’s likely that you arrived here because someone sent you here or you conducted a search for “Weight-Loss Maintenance” or some topic discussed here. A lot of people find this blog with searches to the effect: “Is obesity killing our children?” If that is you, you are looking for this post. Other people are apparently interested in a maintainer’s take on intuitive eating. That would be here and here. And a lot of people want to know what I think about journalist and anti-carb pundit Gary Taubes. Those posts are here and here.
If someone sent you here, it may be because you just lost a lot of weight and said something silly like, “If I can do it anyone can!” Then that person wants you to start with the post subtitled Skiing as Useful Metaphor.
Other reasons someone may have sent you here:
- You said something insensitive or rude about fat people being “in denial.”
- You said something insensitive or dismissive of someone who works hard to maintain a particular weight – along the lines of “but certainly the rewards outweigh any effort you expend.”
- You said something definitively naïve, such as, “science has proven people are fat because of modern breakfast cereals.”
- You announced that you are embarking on a weight-loss process/diet (what number?), and a friend wants you to have a realistic idea of what lies ahead, more so than what some women’s magazine or morning news show may be touting today as a “breakthrough.”
- You are struggling with weight-loss maintenance. Perhaps your weight is sliding. You need affirmation from a kindred spirit who knows how challenging this is, and doesn’t sugar coat it or pop off with “inspirational” platitudes.
If any of these rings true, you may wish to read this blog chronologically and thoroughly, like a book. It won’t take you long; there are fewer than 70 posts. Give yourself the luxury of reading the comments/discussions that follow each post. Many of the readers/commenters are smarter and more eloquent than I am.
Start with the “About” page, which connects with the first two posts, The Unfairness of Weight Loss Maintenance and Weight Loss Maintenance: The Job Description and one additional post, The Slide into Hell: Regaining Lost Weight. That’s enough to read in one day. You’ll want to take a nice walk, let the reality set in, and clear your head. Then, with fresh eyes, slog on through. Click on October 2010 and work your way to September 2011. What you will read between the lines is the story of an angry woman (that would be me) who throughout the year grew more stoic, which is not a failure or something to be sad about. Stoicism is not a lack of joy; it is resoluteness. It is making peace with what is.
If you don’t want to read the whole thing, my personal favorites (in addition to About and its links) include:
- The Ultimate, Automatic, Revolutionary, Breakthrough Classification System for Evaluating Diet Experts
- It’s All Endocrine
- Thoughts on a Peptide YY Study (with a digression on the “N” word)
- Shhhhh, They’re Talking About US! Let’s Listen and the Talk about THEM
- Queen for a Day
- Thoughts on Science, Optimism and Bias
- Thanksgiving Thoughts
Other popular pieces (that received more than 500 views in their initial runs and are not mentioned earlier in this post) include:
- Hey, MD’s: Listen to the PhDs, Please
- What is Maintenance? And Why I Like my Job Metaphor
- Overreactions: The Price of Being a Maintainer?
- Let’s play Fat Roulette! Where Will you Place your Chip? (follow up posts here, here and here)
- As Fearful as I Ought to Be
- More on Binges: A Digression
- Bingeing, Mini-bingeing: Is it Addiction?
- I have Good News, And . . . (Inspired by Arya! Arya! Arya! who, for one week following, used the word “obesities” in place of “obesity” at his own blog. Thank you, Doctor!)
- Thin Privilege
- How Do I Reconcile Size Acceptance and Weight-Loss Maintenance?
I recognize that the other (roughly 40) posts are mostly on science or public policy regarding obesity. I guess some people find that stuff dry, but I loved writing on it and would treasure others reading it.
If you are a long-time reader of this blog, as I leave I would like to offer one last word of gratitude. You have been so sustaining to me. Each day that I would awake to find an email message (or several) that a comment had appeared on a blog entry was a boost to my spirits – even the comments that challenged me. Your comments of late (following my announcement to shut down) have been like having the gift of attending my own funeral. You have shared such kind words and provided much encouragement to continue writing. These past two weeks, I have been quite circumspect as this day approached.
Despite the blog’s mostly dead status, I hope all readers will feel free to read or reread anything of interest, and leave fresh or revised comments for me on any of the posts (WordPress will send me an email alerting me). I will get back with you on the post itself or by email.
Additionally, consider subscribing to this post. This is where I will leave a comment of my own if I decide to open a new blog, or maybe even get that book published that I have drafted and keep grousing about. I think to subscribe you may need to leave a brief word, such as “subscribed,” and check the box asking to be notified of follow-up comments. I’ve never tried to subscribe to someone’s blog comments without leaving a comment of my own, so I don’t know whether that would work.
Much love to you all, dear friends, maintainers, size accepters. Even as you grow wiser and older, may you also keep “maintaining.” What a metaphor! And it beats the alternative.