I’m Debra Sapp-Yarwood, and I’m on the National Weight Control Registry. With behavior control alone (no surgery), I have maintained more than 55 pounds of weight loss (roughly 27% of my highest established weight) for more than eight years. According to empirical, evidence-based research, this places me in a minority of less than 3% of weight-loss maintainers. If this sounds like bragging, read a post or two. I’m not a gushy proselytizer. I’m here simply to share truth about weight-loss maintenance, a process that is unfair and difficult, and a subject that our culture ignores or misrepresents. We assume that maintenance is the logical, slightly easier, continuation of weight loss, which we portray as a glamorous, thrilling, game-show pursuit. How funny and wrong!
I hope to attract at least four kinds of readers. I would treasure support and wisdom from fellow maintainers. I also welcome curious people who are considering losing a lot of weight (more than 10% of your body’s current weight). My wish for you is that you think critically before entering fully into the process of radical weight loss. If you cannot protect your losses for the long haul, you may wish to adopt a different life strategy. A lot of research indicates that weight cycling, or yo-yoing, is more damaging to your health than remaining fat while exercising regularly and eating well. Moreover, there is nothing more depressing than regaining lost weight. Third, I welcome readers from the size-acceptance community. It may seem ironic that I love and admire this group of people, since I appear to have rejected my body’s preferred size. In truth, this group keeps me sane as I figure out what it means to live in a body of any size. Finally (and with mixed feelings), I welcome “experts” — scientists, medical doctors and such. You will find some of my posts hard to take, but nothing would flatter me more than to think that my site may contribute to your understanding of this complicated process.
In any event, whether or not you decide to lose weight (and maintain those losses) or accept your body at its current size, my greatest hope is that you may live joyfully most of the time, eat healthfully most of the time, exercise most days and treasure whatever body happens. That seems like the most sane and sustainable way to live and keep any body healthy.
You have seen a recent photograph, above, and I suppose it’s only fair to show you a “before” image.
I chose the blog title “Debra’s Just Maintaining” for two reasons. Weight-loss maintenance will be the primary focus, and it’s a complex enough topic to merit a full blog. However, from time to time, the “Just” may assume its other meaning. Social justice is my other passion. Wouldn’t it be lovely if weight-loss and maintenance happened on a level playing field? Wouldn’t it be even lovelier if all aspects of our lives were fair?