123: Maintenance and Tackling Fear & Doubt | Chris Dolley Update

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Chris Dolley (ep #69) has kept off 100 pounds for 8 years. Chris returns with maintenance tips and discusses how fear & doubt have driven personal growth.

“I want people to know they can do it.”

If you missed Chris’ first session, click here.

Exercise and Pushing Herself

Now that she is in her goal weight range, Chris participates in lots of races. She is going to run the Rome Marathon in 2015. This will be her 4th marathon.

“Ten years ago if somebody would’ve told me that, I would’ve laughed all the way to McDonald’s. I wouldn’t have believed it.”

In June of 2014 Chris joined the “newbie wave” for her first triathlon in Grand Rapids, Michigan near where she lives.

Chris shares that because she almost drowned as a kid the swimming portion of the race was the most intimidating and actually terrified her; but she pushed herself and did it anyway. During the swim, she said her brain was running on a loop saying:

“I’m scared and I’m freaking out, but I can do this.”

Chris has set a goal for herself of doing one triathlon per year, just to keep up the process of making herself swim. Sam and Chris discuss the benefits of exercise through swimming if a person has painful joints, is recovering from an injury, or (as Chris experienced), wants to help out their running pace.

Chris discusses the importance of a support system, especially the support she gets from her husband. During the running of her 3rd marathon, at mile 25 Chris discusses how she hit a wall, and called her husband to say: “This is it. I quit. I’m done.”

He used her usual motivation language back to her and said, “you can totally do this!” She finished the race, and credits part of her ability to face these kinds of challenges to succeeding in her weight loss journey.

Mental Toughness

Chris and Sam discuss the fact that even when a person has reached their goal weight, doubts and struggles don’t just automatically disappear. Chris has a friend who also has lost 100 pounds, and they sometimes discuss how maintenance can be tougher than dropping the weight.

“It’s a lifelong journey. It’s never going to stop. And it’s never going to be autopilot.”

Chris discusses mornings when she doesn’t want to exercise, and doesn’t feel like having a healthy breakfast. But, Chris says, “You do it anyway.”

At the beginning of a journey it might be discouraging to hear that maintenance is tougher than losing the weight. However, as Chris says:

“It is totally worth it. Feeling good is definitely the reward.”

Additionally, Chris shares that looking forward to the next years of life as healthy years is a great feeling.

“Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest.”

Chris uses the phrase “Don’t let the doubt in” as a way of encouraging herself through the difficult periods of maintenance.

Maintenance, Food and Tracking

Chris says that even in maintenance donuts call to her just like they do everyone else, and “I have those days when I crave sugar.

Chris shares a strategy she uses for staying on track is that on Saturdays she still works out; but she doesn’t log her calories and she eats what she wants. This “day off” helps her stay on track for the rest of the week.

Chris discusses that Saturday for her is not a cheat day, and she doesn’t used the day to eat 4000 calories. But for her it is a good mental break to not track food for a day, and allows for a meal out or to eat something you have been hungry for during the week.

Chris and Sam discuss the big difference between binging or being able to have a little indulgence on occasion, and how and indulgence is something you control, rather than a binge, which controls you. At least one meal per week Chris advocates eating little treats of some sort, saying otherwise if you severely restrict all decadent foods then the first time you eat that food you are more prone to have that indulgence turn into a binge.


4 years ago when her mom died Chris discusses that since they didn’t have the best relationship when her mom passed she experienced a “ton of guilt.

Even though Chris was running every day—which helped her process her grief—it took her a few weeks to get her eating back on track.

“You have to pull the car back on the road. You don’t have a choice.”

Current Goals

Chris begins her marathon training later this fall, so she currently runs 3-4 times a week. She also rides her road bike and is trying to get into weight training.

Chris discusses that she loves cardio and hasn’t yet found a weights routine that lets her feel the way she does with cardio. So she is currently exploring ways to make lifting weights more cardio-ish, such as kettlebell routines.

Chris loves hearing from people who connected with her story, and finds hearing about the journeys of other people on a weight loss journeys are very inspirational. She loves the mission of showing others that change is possible:

“I want people to know they can do it.”

On Chris’s Workout Playlist

Contacting Chris

Chris Dolley Photo

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