Monday Madness: The Cycle of Losing and Gaining

March 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Monday Madness: That day of the week where I talk about some of the maddening aspects of obesity!

The cycle of gaining and losing.  The loop that seems to replay over and over.  The backsliding back into the destructive behaviors.  Has anyone else been through this?  It seems like all my life I’ve been gaining and losing the same pounds over and over.

 Back in 2003 I weighed 364 pounds. And then I lost 104 pounds on the Atkins Diet.  During those years, I used to visit a website for individuals on a low carb diet.  And this is where I shared my experience in an online journal.  I had forgotten all about it until the other day. And there it was. Preserved online.  All my thoughts and feelings from 2003.

 When I read through these journal entries, it was like seeing the pattern I’ve played out hundreds of times.  I start something.  I get really gung ho about it.  I lose some weight.  Then something happens.

  • I eat a little bit more than I know I should
  • I decide to eat a trigger food–the exact foods that I know trigger a binge
  • Some emotion happens (stress, depression, boredom etc) and I comfort myself with food
  • Some external circumstance happens and I stuff the emotions with food

 And with one of those choices the downward spiral begins.

Let me set the stage.  In 2003, I was still married.  Hence the username “armywife”.

I had just had my 3rd child.  We were living in Alaska.

If you look at the top of each journal entry, you will see the date it was written.

I’ve gone through and highlighted some of the things I wrote which I believe were partly responsible for me eventually gaining all the weight back.

 Thu, Aug-21-03, 09:42
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default Armywife’s journal

Hi everyone. I’m 31 with 3 little girls. Ok..so I’m starting this journal a little bit late. I’ve been doing Atkins for 41 days now. So far I have lost 52 lbs. I have a long way to go still but that is ok. Now that I have the key to lose the weight I am just sitting back for the ride.

 The first week was pure hell no doubt about it. I had some of the most severe headaches I have ever had in my life (and I used to suffer from migraines). I am guessing that was part of coming off the sugar and carbs.Well being 5’3 and weighing 309 is no fun especially when your husband is a soldier in the Army and has a body fat of zippadeedoodah!!  The first week was the worst but I began to feel less and less hungry.Things started getting easier. Now I am 41 days in and I can honestly tell you that things are better than ever!
Even though I am still very overweight I already feel incredible. You should see me fly up and down the stairs with the laundry loads. Playing outside with my little ones every day. I have so much energy it’s incredible.
More to come…..

 Mon, Sep-08-03, 09:21
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default

Well I’m back to post again. I have now lost 62 pounds. Each week that goes by I still can’t
 believe it. It is constantly amazing me that I really can control my cravings by carefully paying attention to what sets me off.  It has just done wonders for my life.


________________
368/349/140?

Sun, Mar-28-04, 18:06
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default Sunday

I’ve lost 102 lbs now and I have not been this size in 10 years. I have to say it’s been pretty life changing. I never thought I’d get to this point. I am a size 16 and even though I’m not thin I still look pretty good. I like feeling good about myself.  I think this is the happiest I have ever been.   I am so glad that I will never have to struggle with my weight again.  I can put that behind me.
—————————————————————————————–
368/349/140?

 Fri, Apr-02-04, 07:06
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default

I have had a bad 2 days.  Sometimes I lose my motivation. So that leads to me eating bad things. First for no reason I ate chinese food. Buffet.  Everything. Then the next day it didn’t  show up on the scale. Maybe I thought I was invincible. Yesterday I went to McDonald’s with the  kids and ordered a big mac and 2 filet of fish with extra sauce. That was what i used to get  several times a week in the “old” days. Why would I do something so stupid? Of course it did show up on the scale this time. I only gained 2 pounds but still. That is why I have to stay in this way of life and not let myself slip back down into that craziness where the food gets control. 
__________________
368/349/140?

Old Tue, Apr-20-04, 10:56
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default

Well the inlaws came and went. The trip totally screwed me up big time. I’ve  lost over 100 pounds since the last time they saw me. They are the first ones to comment on my being overweight so I was looking forward to  their reaction at me having lost over 100 pounds.  But no one said a word. Oh there were plenty of comments before when I gained weight but now that I go from a size 24 to a size 16 no one makes a single comment to me. I was so upset and dissapointed.  How much I weigh has seemed to be a constant topic of conversation at every visit until now. After we took pictures during the visit and I looked at them on the digital camera I started thinking maybe I don’t look any different after all. Maybe they can’t even tell that I’ve lost weight.  Maybe all this success I think I’ve had  is all in my head because when they look at me all they see is FAT.  Maybe that’s just who I am.   All I will ever be.  So I let them all go shopping and I stayed home and ate the box of donuts they had brought in the house. then went out and bought another box and another. I gained 10 pounds in a week and found myself back in a binge. So there I was like every other visit where I end up eating secretly after everyone has gone to bed. When they got here I thought I looked great by the time they left I couldn’t fit into the jeans I’d worn to the airport to pick them up. I don’t know what happened but that visit screwed me up.

__________________
368/349/140?

Mon, Jun-21-04, 08:40
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default

Well I am off the rails again. I have gained back 18 pounds. Not good. I am fighting to lose the same exact weight I’ve already lost once before.   Eating a lot of snickers lately. I should not have touched one. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s amazing how you think you are SO in control and one bite you are back in chains.
__________________
368/349/140?

 Fri, Jun-24-05, 11:59
armywife3's Avatar
armywife armywife3 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 328
Plan: Low Carb
Stats: 364/346/140 Female 65
BF:
Progress: 8%

Location: Alaska
Default Here we go again

I have not visited this website in a long time. The only reason I am here right now is because it is my birthday–33 years old. I guess when you register they take note of the birthdate and send you an email. I had lost 104lbs. It is shameful for me to say I have gained it all back plus some.I guess I just am a professional eater. I obviously can’t handle any of the foods that I keep imagining I can handle. I knew this at one time but I did it anyway. And I just kept on eating until I am now back to the biggest size ever if not bigger.

Reading through my loss and regain of 104 pounds, something stood out to me.

The pattern is always the same.  I start out great and I’m motivated.  Then as time goes on, I lose my motivation.  I begin to cheat here and there.  Eat things I know are my trigger foods.  Then something happens like an external circumstance or an upsetting situation–and there I am again head first into the food.

So time to do a little psychoanalysis on the highlighted statements that stood out to me.   That degree in Psychology had to be good for something, right?

Mistake #1:  “Now that I have the key to losing weight I am just sitting back for the ride”. 

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is anything BUT sitting back for the ride.  You have to be a constant and active participant in your new way of life.  You can’t just chalk it up to a good food plan and some exercise.  You have to change your whole mindset and your whole way of life.  It’s not easy.  And it takes an overhaul of everything you are used to.  But if you act like a passenger just sitting back for the ride then you’ll end up right back where you started.

You can’t be a passenger in your weight loss journey.  You HAVE to be the driver!

Mistake #2:  “I am so glad I will never have to struggle with my weight again. I can put this behind me”

There will never be a moment where I can say this is all behind me.  There will never be a time when I don’t struggle on some level or at least on some days.  Even having had weight loss surgery, I still have the heart of someone who wants food.  Food for comfort. Food for stress. Food for the taste! It’s a battle in the mind.  And although I have a pretty good grip on it now, that could be gone tomorrow if I think for one second that the war is over.  There will always be an effort made.  Exercise takes ongoing effort and commitment.  So does eating the right food.  This is not a temporary thing. It’s a permanent way of life that you must constantly work at.  And we have to know that from the start.  If we don’t understand that then our wrong thinking will pull us back into the pit.

Mistake #3: Sometimes I lose my motivation so that leads to me eating bad things.

The motivation you had on day 1 will not sustain you if you don’t constantly look for ways to motivate yourself.  How do we do that? Finding some activity that you like and enjoy.  If walking doesn’t do it for you, try a Zumba class. Or tennis. Or swimming.  Tired of tuna fish and baked chicken? Find  more interesting recipes. But keep constantly looking for ways to shake it up.  Keep deploying new things so you never get bored.  You have to see boredom as something dangerous.  Because often it’s the culprit of you falling off the wagon.

Mistake #4: Maybe all this success I think I’ve had  is all in my head because when they look at me all they see is FAT.  Maybe that’s just who I am.   All I will ever be. 

Ah yes…the comments of others.  The approval of others.  It’s the kind of thing that can build us up or break us down.  And when you let what others think about you become what YOU think about yourself then a storm is coming your way.  We have to surround ourselves with those who spur us on.  Encourage and inspire And we have to be careful with what thoughts we allow to take up residence in our mind.  Do you let just anyone into your house? Do you just open the door wide and not care who walks in? Then why do that with your thought life? Guard it. Protect it.  And fill it up with what keeps you moving forward.

The cycle of constantly dieting…constantly gaining and losing is a maddening one.

Frustrating. Time consuming.  Life draining.

But analyzing  behavior patterns and seeing where they tripped you up might just keep you from taking that wrong turn again.

And I’m hoping this will be the case for me.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

~TMcGee~ March 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I used to be a member (well, I guess I still am lol though I don't post) on that website. I remember the layout and everything. Just by reading your own responses to the highlighted areas, it shows that you are in a completely different place mentally. You are healthier not just physically but it's very obvious by your writing that you are healthier emotionally too. I know you are still on your journey to get to your weight loss goal but something just says to me that this time..everything has clicked and you have the map spread out in front of you and you know how to keep course. 🙂

Reply

Staci's Slimdown March 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm

This is a very good post. On my blog, I am always either up or down. I have a problem with staying consistent. Right now is an UP time… and I keep saying that I hope it lasts!! LOL. I hate to look at it that way, but just like you said… all your motivation can be gone by tomorrow. I hate eating my words, so I'm careful to say "hope, think," etc. Ugh. Oh it broke my heart to read of your triumph and then it all going up in smoke. And your in-laws… HOW RUDE. I know EXACTLY how you felt when you were waiting for that first "OMGosh! You look so good, honey! You've lost so much weight!" and instead got nothing. That hurts. Bigtime. It also makes me turn back to food to cry my eyes out with instead of working harder to prove them wrong. WHY???? I just don't know. 🙁 Praying for you!

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Frickin' Fabulous at 40 March 5, 2012 at 3:16 am

If we only "got it" the first (or second or third…) time, right? You are 100% correct- unfortunately we will never be able to "sit back and enjoy the ride." It is one of the biggest commitment we will ever make, committing ourselves to a healthy lifestyle and therefore a longer life. The rewards definitely outweigh the effort.

Reply

Linda Sherwood March 5, 2012 at 4:29 am

Dieting is so frustrating. I would work for months to lose 10 pounds and gain them all back in one weekend of bad choices.

I was blogging back then. I need to go back and review some of my old posts. I've been writing about my weight since about 2006 with regularity. Before that, I wrote about it but not as often. What nuggets of wisdom can I glean? 🙂

Reply

Diane Fit to the Finish March 5, 2012 at 4:37 am

My heart breaks for you when I read through this, because I can empathize with all that you went through. I am so glad that you are not just content with losing pounds, but you are learning new lessons that will get you where you want and deserve to be. Good for you!!

Reply

Lee Ann March 5, 2012 at 6:34 am

Good analysis. You're right—we always have to be looking for motivation. I've also realized that my struggle with weight will be LIFELONG. I will never "win" in the sense that I can leave this struggle behind. This will always be my battle. Even with surgery. It gives me an edge, but I could sabotage it if I'm not careful. And I KNOW EXACTLY what you mean. A few Christmases ago, I had busted my butt to get to a certain weight, made my goal and then my in-laws said NOTHING. NOT A WORD. They hadn't seen me in six months, so they had to have noticed. It hurt me. I was seeking that approval, that recognition I felt I deserved after all that hard work. Well, now that I'm smaller than my in-laws? Still—not a word! It's funny too because when I was obviously gaining weight after each child my MIL would ask, "Are you still doing Weight Watchers?" Uhhhhh—-NO! Duh!!!! So she certainly would recognize my gains. Oh well. Now? I don't need their approval. My friends in Blogland and in real life have given me so much support and encouragement, and now? That's enough for me.

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Lori March 5, 2012 at 6:48 am

Been there…done that…Your reflections are very wise and I am thankful to have access to them. Thanks Holly!

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Lisa Buettner March 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

thank you for sharing!! such a great post

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Lisa Buettner March 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

thank you for sharing, such a great post. I can totally relate!!

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Tina @ Blazin' Bandit Girl March 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

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Lap Band Gal March 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Hi! I am your newest follower 🙂

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Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

Hi, also a new follower, you're blog is helping me right this second. How transparant you are via you're blog. Kudos to you, for sharing you're weightloss journey, thank you. I am on Weight Watchers not even following the program, and at the same time have a WLS consultation coming up. I have friends who have had WLS and I constantly ask questions, and visit the web for information. But am scared of weight gain if i do have the surgery. But visiting blogs like yours is truly helpful and inspirational.

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MandaPanda March 9, 2012 at 5:44 am

This could've been me! Through Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach and the grapefruit diet. Same cycle, same pattern.

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Grizzlyrider March 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

Love your posts, you're saying what I wish I was able to say. You truly have a talent for saying what we are all feeling. So inspirational.

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