While fearing the unknown is normal, the road to weight maintenance and optimal weight is familiar ground. Warn notches in my belt show extensive experience. Weight maintenance’s limited spotlight remains foreign territory, and boasts a reduced success rate. Seeking a particular number of pounds for removal, a single-digit number on a clothing tag, and proud views in the mirror, highlight several successful stints at weight reduction, while fleeting maintenance followed. Fear of failing lifelong weight maintenance no longer is a future option.

Completing marathons, Outward Bound courses, and fitness programs resulted in reaching summits, while immediately diving off those peaks into failure’s abyss, relinquished my crown of glory to uncertainty, stagnation, and reversal of fortune, marking my unsuccessful journey with weight maintenance. “When you reach the top of the mountain, you are only half way there.” I recognize this reality, yet maintaining weight, its sustainability at any level has eluded experiential practice and success.

Ironically, my strength, climbing down a mountain, exceeds traversing up. On 23 and 30-day Outward Bound courses that took me deep into the High Sierras and Rocky Mountains, my temperament, physical shape, and mental acuity made elevation and ascent the greater challenge, while descending at any rate drew dominant strength. Although views from peaks were breath taking like pieces of heaven, downward slope contained a freedom like flying and soaring like an eagle toward final destinations.

Following every diet and physical success, the weight returned, the muscles atrophied, and failure replaced victory. I reached the top of the mountain without recognizing the halfway point. Post diet, I would eat excessively and unhealthily; following each marathon, I stopped exercising entirely; and subsequent to Outward Bound courses completed, I evaded physical exertion. Like a recoiling, the rubber band snapped back to fat and immobility, large-sized and low-energy, resting at sad and depressed.

Sustainable change requires commitment to a continual lifestyle. Dedication to lifetime maintenance, strength and expertise acquired thus far, maintenance arouses ultimate success, completion, and the second half of the path. Reaching the top of the mountain, the halfway pinnacle for commencement, and experiencing a lifestyle without atrophy, increases strength. Final ascent to weight loss, a peak awaiting maintenance, and “the me” I was meant to be is not a reversal of fortune, but instead a soaring with unfathomable freedom like an eagle’s flight. “Now is my time and nothing is getting in my way.” Freedom awaits lifelong weight maintenance.