Which Stairway Are You In?

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control, the program that helped me lose 250 pounds, recently opened a new office on the UAMS campus.  While I’m still technically a patient, I haven’t been stopping by for weigh-ins for several months.  The last time I was there was in November.

Their new office is lovely!  It’s in a much easier to find location, the classrooms and exam rooms are all in the same spot, and the clinic doesn’t share space with any other groups.  If you’re a former of future patient, you MUST check it out.  Park in Deck 2, go down 1 level, and go into the hospital building — it’s just inside on your left.  G600.


As I was leaving the clinic, sticky note in hand with my current weight, I was confronted by this choice.  “Stairway Down” on the left, “Stairway Up” on the right.  What an excellent metaphor for my current situation.  I’ve been living in the Stairway Up this school year, and today was the day to make the right decisions to get back into Stairwell Down.

  “The scales are your friend when you’re losing.  It’s not much fun getting on them when they’re moving the other direction.”  In 1999 or 2000, a professor at my undergraduate institution spoke these words to me as I was happily relating to him a weight loss success story.  They have stuck with me, and they are oh-so-true.  It took me many weeks to summon the courage to walk back into the clinic with my tail between my legs.

From day one, the dietitians always stressed the importance of returning to the clinic in the event of weight gain.  Rather than scold or ridicule, we were told that they would welcome and support us.  That’s exactly what happened.  Margaret, the woman who sat with me at 448 pounds, explaining the program the meal replacements, hugged me and said, “This is nothing.  You can do this.”

This is nothing.  I can do this.  I will do this.  I have done this.  “This” is to overcome the 19.9 pound setback that has come since my last weigh-in in November.  In coming weeks I’ll be sharing a bit about how I ended up gaining, the struggles I’ve faced in maintaining, and the plans I’ve made to get back into the “Down Stairway.”

This story isn’t over.  Who’s with me?

5 thoughts on “Which Stairway Are You In?

  1. linda says:

    Welcome back to the blog Daniel. I have had the same problem in the past . Seems so easy to gradually get back the pounds lost once maintenance level is achieved. Been there many times and I always think oh its only a few pounds, until the day it becomes the larger number of pounds and then I have to admit I need to get back on the wagon, so to speak. And each time I wonder why maintaining is so hard to do. Maintaining seems to me means being able to eat sensibly and also sometimes splurge, but somehow the splurging gets out of hand (life intrudes) and until I get disgusted with myself, or I outgrow my clothes, I somehow don’t realize I am again headed up those stairs. Maybe it’s because I love most all foods and am actively socially, but I seem to have no will power, yet I hate it when I am up those pounds as I don’t only feel awful about the way I look, but I feel physically awful with my weight level up.I think it is easier to lose because you have a goal to get to ( Feeling and looking better) and harder to stay there as the goal was met and now until I feel awful again I some how lose sight of why I lost the weight which is to feel better. Does that make sense and if so how can we all remember the reason we lost weight and really maintain it for life? What Goal can we aim to achieve during our weight loss, in our maintenance stage and onward for the rest of our lives? Perhaps our blogs should talk about this phase more during our loss of weight and prepare for the maintenance while we are losing. Tricks or things to follow for life I guess. What does your weight program lady think about it? Again welcome back and I am glad to hear you are taking the steps down before you get too much higher up!

    • Daniel says:

      Lacking willpower. That’s such a weird thing to say, “Well, yes — I lost 250 pound, but when I see a Reese’s Cup, I cannot say no.” It’s a reality we all face.

      I find myself saying, “Well I’ll just have this one. Tomorrow is a new day.” When tomorrow comes, I say the same thing. What’s helping me now is that I’m back “on the record,” and I’m checking in weekly with my dietitian — Somebody other than myself is weighing me and writing it down. I have accountability.

      I feel the UAMS program did an excellent job of transitioning me from loss to maintenance. Earlier than I was comfortable, we began the discussion of transitioning to planned meals. Before I knew it, I was eating all meals that I had planned on my own. This happened while my brain was still in “loss” mode, but the skills I needed to maintain were being developed in me.

      20 pounds isn’t the end of the world, but it’s 10% of my progress. I’m eager to see where I stand this time next month.

  2. Misfit says:

    I looked at those same stairwells yesterday. I started the program 8 weeks ago, and I’m already down 26.7 pounds. I”m so glad we can cook with those meal replacements. I have really been experimenting, and have made some really good things so far. If I had to choke down 5 shakes a day, I’m not sure I could do it. I’m struggling to find more to do with the potato meal replacement, but I’m working on it.

    I’m curious, did you ever ask for that cajun swai and barley recipe? That looks so good. I’ve never really been a fish person – most are too fishy tasting to me, if that even makes sense. But on this program, I’m learning to change and try new things. That meal looked really yummy. LOL!

    Best of luck to you!

  3. Daniel says:

    I really like the potato meal replacement because it’s not sweet. It can make crispy things (chips, pizza crusts), it can make fluffy things (corn muffins, waffles), and it can be incorporated into more complex recipes like Mary did at No Longer a Grim Girl. Post some things you’ve made with it, and I’m sure we can come up with some new ideas.

    I didn’t get the cajun swai recipe, but I have been grilling fish at home on my George Foreman grill with Cavender’s seasoning. Yum-o.

    You’ve made tremendous progress in just a few short weeks! You’ll be transitioning into nutrition classes soon if you haven’t already. Pay very careful attention, as what you learn in the last 8 weeks will give you the tools you need to select healthy foods once you transition away from meal replacements. Whether it’s sooner or later, you’ll need to know that information.

    Who’s your dietitian?

  4. Linda Cunningham says:

    You know you can do it. You are such an inspiration.

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