Deconstructing Regain: Part One

January 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

But this isn’t a STUMBLE y’all.  This is like head first into the snake pit 800 feet down.

I have gained and lost weight numerous times over the course of my life.  I’m not talking 10 or 20 pounds although I’ve done that too.  But I’m talking hundreds of pounds.  Literally hundreds.  Nothing quite tops the last few years though.  I had all but given up essentially on ever losing weight once I hit 400.  From that point on it was just about surviving and making modifications to my life to get by.   It’s no easy feat to lose 250 pounds and it does take time.  It isn’t something that can be done quickly and so it means for at least a certain period of time I did sustain some longevity in this task.  I was able for about 2 years to solidly alter my lifestyle enough to lose weight day in and day out.

Almost anyone can sustain a diet that is short term.  Maybe a week or even a month.  But to sustain something for over 2 years that enables you to live a healthier life takes more than a short term burst of motivation that will die out.  And the one thing that I hold onto is the fact that I was able at one time to sustain the daily motivation and decision making skills it takes to be healthy.  If I could do it then when I was over 400 pounds and had far less knowledge and awareness about things then certainly I can do it now when I have more knowledge, more resources and more support networks available to me than I ever have.

And yet…here we are.  Continuing to gain and lose.  Cycling in and out of short bursts of motivation.  And creeping higher and higher up that scale.  If I hit 300 again I will do more than cry.  I will feel like I have really lost the war.   I am so afraid that this is right around the corner for me that lately I have felt the need to stop doing pretty much everything I have done up until now to win the fight.  I think what is happening with me is far more serious than what I’ve allowed myself to believe.  And until I really figure out why I keep regaining weight I have lost—I will never win this fight once and for all.

It’s more than me complaining about life situations or circumstances that arise.  Certainly **bleep** happens to all of us.  But in the life of someone who is managing their food addiction properly, it doesn’t need to cause them to overeat.  I cannot simply blame life anymore.  I have to search much more deeply to deconstruct the reasons behind the regain.  Only then will I have any game plan for overcoming it.  I really don’t even think at this point it is worth me losing this weight if I am only going to keep gaining it back.  It’s too frustrating and time consuming.  I either want to find the way to lose weight and MAINTAIN that loss or put the story to bed once and for all and accept life the way it is.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone from the Dr. Oz show.  They had read my “amazing” story and wanted to discuss having me on the show.  I of course had to tell them…gee…maybe you haven’t read my recent updates.  And I filled them in on the last few years of struggle and regain.  Their reply was “You’re still amazing” but….uh..yeah…

They want to showcase the winners.  The people who have DONE IT.  The people who can inspire others.  But what’s inspiring here?? So far I’m nothing more than a case study in how to lose a lot of weight and then gain it back.  Pretty sure no one needs a lesson in that.

I wonder how many other opportunities I have missed in my life due to my weight.  Things that slipped through my fingers because I was shut out.  My weight has affected everything in my life from my relationships with family, friends and strangers to where I can and cannot go aka “fit”.  It’s caused me to lose jobs I might have been hired for.  It’s made my children miss out on events and places they could have gone to.  More than anything it has just dominated my thought life.  Always trying to lose weight.  Always researching new methods or ideas.  It’s like planning to go on a trip every single year of your life for 45 years.  Spending money every year buying the tickets, packing the suitcases and yet never getting to enjoy the vacation.

There just is no point to cycling up and down the scale.  I don’t want to lose 10 pounds just to gain it back.  I’m either going to crack this case once and for all or I’m going to just pack it in. I’m turning 45 in June.  And that’s how long I have given myself to start making progress or close down this blog.  I simply have to start making serious progress (not just with weight loss) but with mentally understanding why I keep regaining weight.  If I cannot do that in the next 4 or 5 months then my blog serves no purpose anymore.

I am going to be brutally honest with myself and with those of you who listen to me.  I ask that you do the same in return.  I know many of you take the time to give me suggestions and feedback.  I appreciate it even though I sometimes do not want to hear things that I know are true.  For some of you who have been reading my blog since the start, you often remember things that I don’t!  It always amazes me when someone will say “Do you remember when x,y, z happened” and it will tie into something that makes me realize things about myself I did not even realize before.

I won’t lie.  There are certain things that do not help me.  For example, lately I have had acquaintances actually make comments to me about the regain.  I would not call them close friends by any means which baffles me even more that they feel it is acceptable to make these comments.  I do, however, understand the comments when they come from people who read my blog.  That is different. I have put myself out there and when you do that you are opening yourself up to whatever feedback you get.  However in real life it is not quite the same.  People that I know in real life do not necessarily read my blog.  They may not even know I have one.  In fact most of them know far less about me than you do!! And yet still they feel the need to comment on my regain.  Believe it or not, just yesterday someone asked me about my new job and if I liked it.  I said I loved it because it gave me flexible hours.  Their response was “Well good then you have time to go run 4 miles on the track.  You need to”

Another “friend” randomly came up to me and said “Why are you letting yourself go”.

It always amazes me how people feel that they have the right to comment on your size or your weight.  I guess I managed to get thin enough there for awhile that I was excused from that.  At over 400 pounds I had gotten used to it.  I even came to expect it.  But after having a break from it, I find it surprising all over again that people literally believe when it comes to your size they can say anything they want.  Two weeks ago I was pushing my grocery cart back to the van and a random man yelled at me from his car “I like your size”.

Excuse me??

Did I ask??

I hate that I must be clearly looking a lot bigger than I think I do.  I hate that this is happening to me all over again.  That I am approaching the life I had before and everything I worked so hard for will be gone.  I don’t care to lose weight for anyone’s opinion.  That doesn’t motivate me.  In fact those comments said to me by people only serve to make me eat more.  I know that isn’t a healthy response but in some ways I just want to give a big BLEEP YOU to these individuals who think they can tell me what to weigh.  Or decide that I will be treated with respect only until I hit a certain number on the scale and then all bets are off.

Regardless of all that, the facts are in.  I am losing the battle.  And I will find out why once and for all.  I have a lot more to say as I have already begun analyzing the situation.  What follows for the next few weeks (or however long it takes) will be several blog posts under the heading “Deconstructing Regain”.   Rather than simply list the reasons I believe I keep regaining weight—I will attempt to list the reasons AND the solutions.  Because if I don’t have a solution to the problem then I might as well shut up already.

This post has only served to be an introduction to you for what I plan to write about in the coming weeks.  It gives me a framework and a reason to start writing regularly again.  It gives me a focus and a springboard.  I hope that in some way it can be helpful to others out there one day who also suffer from the endless cycle of regain.  If only we could figure out why this happens perhaps we could prevent it.

 

To prove how serious I am about figuring this out, I will give you a short breakdown of some of the areas I have already pinpointed as reasons why I regain weight instead of maintain the loss.  I will start turning each of these topics into future blog posts with suggested solutions I need to start looking at to help myself overcome it

1. Fear of food.   Not really ever finding peace with food even after losing weight.  Fear of eating/food bc it will lead to a binge.  Wanting to avoid ALL food if possible.  Feeling all food is evil and bad for me.  Not trusting that I can ever find a safe place with food.  Wanting to avoid food rather than plan meals.  No back up strategy for being caught hungry out of the house or in the house.

(Potential Solution:  Counseling, Overeaters Anonymous,  Further Resources)     I have already done both in the past and did not find it to be helpful.  On the other hand, I could just be in a funk and unwilling to try it again.

2. Liquid Only (like protein shakes) is not realistic most of the time and in a family setting.  I still believe it is vital to me         on some level or for part of the day BUT I cannot live on it forever because eventually I get bored.  I have been unable to get back to doing full liquid days as I used to.   I WILL eat off that plan so I have to plan for it realistically.   I need to keep it simple BUT still must have a plan. I have to be willing to plan meals. Refusing to meal prep in advance is I believe a huge problem for me.  It is setting me up for failure.

(Potential Solution: Meal Prep! Obviously….So many resources out there that helps with this.  I just cannot get too overwhelmed or make it too complicated.  When I do that I usually quit which leads me to….)

3. Not keeping it simple.   All or nothing mentality. Comparing myself to others.  Changing what works FOR ME with food and exercise because I feel the need to be like others who I view as ‘better’ than me.  Every time I get in a good groove I fall prey to thinking it’s not good enough.  That my food plan isn’t good enough or my exercise plan isn’t good enough.  Even if it’s working! Why try to fix what already works?? I have to stop looking around and just do me.    I already know what works for me.  I just have to accept that I am who I am.  And I will never be on the level that many are.

(Possible Solution:  Back to counseling again? Seek my worth and value not in the things I do or don’t do but in God’s love for me?)

4. Not exercising consistently.

(Possible Solution:  Figure out why I am not able to keep that routine going for more than a few weeks.  What am I missing? How did I succeed before in establishing that habit and then do THAT again.   I will research further into that one…)

5. Depression/Anxiety  going untreated.  Using food or alcohol to treat it instead of appropriate coping tools.

(Possible Solution: I hate it but I have made an appointment to go back on medication.  Except for a stint on prozac between my first two pregnancies, I have never again found something that really helped me.  But honestly I believe I have a legitimate problem with depression and anxiety which in the past I have been able to manage.  However I think you can relapse back into depressive episodes and I have been in a long lasting one that just won’t go away.  I’m not doing everything I can to address that.  I don’t want to get on medication but you know what??  At this point, I need to try everything in my power to stop using food or whatever else I might use to deal with it)

6.   Spiritually Starving to death.  I have been in a dry spell for far longer than I care to admit.  I don’t know all the reasons why but I know many have walked through this.    It’s actually pretty scary to go from feeling so close to God to feeling as if He isn’t even there.  I know in my heart that I would not have gotten this far in my life if not for God.  And yet I simply cannot feel His Presence the way I used to.  I want to feel the strength and power to overcome these areas of my life.  The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to all of us who ask Him to help us.  And yet I feel as if all I do is wait for Him to answer me with no reply.   What is my solution?  Keep seeking.  I won’t give up.  Nothing will ever work for me without Him.  This much I know.  Recently I have been reading a book by Mother Theresa.  In her letters, she has written about spending many years of her life feeling an almost complete absence of God’s presence.  Who would have thought this about her? I will keep reading this book because it makes me feel less terrible for feeling this way.

7.  Alcohol (transfer addiction) :  You know I hate to admit this but I was never much of a drinker UNTIL I had weight loss surgery and lost 250 pounds.   I now want to grab a glass of wine when I feel anxious or depressed and I never did that before.  Sometimes I get pretty p*ssed off if I’m being honest because I feel as if in trying to address/cure one problem (overeating) I just ADDED an additional problem to my already existing problem.  Like…really??

I do believe all alcohol turns to sugar once it hits your bloodstream.  Unless I give up alcohol completely, I don’t think I will ever be able to stop craving sugar.  Even if I eliminate sugar from my food, it won’t matter if I continue to drink wine.  And I’m not going to lie.  One of my primary problems is that I simply cannot stop going back and forth between the two.  Every single time I try to get serious about my food…I want to stock up on wine.  And every time I walk the wine bottle over to my neighbor’s house as a gift, I go right back to food.  I am a freaking boomerang. I’m a ping pong ball.  I simply can’t keep myself from bouncing between the two.

Possible Solution: Stop going for food or wine when I am anxious or depressed. Obviously. BUT HOW?  Let’s see…back to counseling.  OA? AA? Church programs? Prayer?

Clearly I struggle way too much with daily life.  Anxiety, depression and simply not managing those random life circumstances as they pop up without turning to some unhealthy coping mechanism (like overeating or a bottle of Chardonnay).  Many of us with addictive type of personalities do this.  Whether it’s food or alcohol or fill in the blank…this is our go-to.  Ultimately I have almost come to the conclusion that THIS is my  main downfall.  And that kind of sucks because I really think that’s a hardwired-into-me aspect of my personality.  I truly believe that I can’t really change it ultimately.  I can’t wake up and NOT be at least on some level that type of personality.

I do, however, believe that God has the power and ability to help me overcome it on a daily basis.  Manage it perhaps.  Or find ways to not let it manage me.  I have clearly been somewhat successful in the past BUT I did not put enough tools into place long term to make my success permanent.   I did many things right when I tried to lose all this weight initially.  I did enough things right to get 250 pounds off.  I will take some positive feelings out of that at least.  I just didn’t get all the way there.  I didn’t address everything that needed to be addressed.

I’m a lot like someone who goes out for a long trek into the wilderness with enough supplies for the first two weeks but not quite enough for the long haul.

It’s time to deconstruct the regain.  Stop complaining.  And find a solution.

Thank you for reading this lengthy “introduction”.  As an English teacher, this would get an F for being an introduction probably! Too wordy and not concise enough.  Yet I just can’t seem to delete any of it.  Thanks for your feedback and coming along for the ride.

I mean what I say today.  I’m either going to start making significant long term progress OR I’m deleting this whole blog and moving on. I really don’t even know if I have any fight left in me. I’m just being truthful.   And if I’m just going to become another statistic of failures, I don’t want to blog about that anymore.  Either I’m going to pull it together or I might as well just go blog about how NOT to lose 300 pounds.  At least I have some real life assistance to give you on that one . At least I can tell you FOR SURE 100% how to accomplish THAT goal.  How to gain BACK 100 pounds is already a book I’ve written.  Shall we go for 200?  PLEASE NO!   Either I’m going to have to pull this thing together or bury this dream once and for all.

I’m going to pull out all the stops.  I’m going to get serious about finding a solution.  I’m going to try everything I can possibly try to get it together before I hit the dreaded 300 pound mark which I thought I would never see again.  I’ll do whatever it takes within my power.  I’ll analyze.  I’ll go to counseling.  I’ll go to OA. I’ll get on meds!  I’ll pray and pray.  And I’ll try like hell to quit sugar and anything else (WINE!) that sucks me in.   But this is it y’all.

I’ve got one match left.

And it’s going to have to make an explosion or the fight is over.   I will listen to this song every day in hopes it seeps into my soul.

God bless you 🙂

 

 

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Marjolein January 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Hi Holly. Imhave been following your blog for about 5 years I think now. I am praying for you. I know you can succeed. I listen to jimmy moore and Jason Fung. Author of the Obesity Code. I find it helpful to radically give up sugar and I know you have done that many times. I hope you will find your way there again and then just keep doing the same old thing over and over. C.S. Lewis wrote that “a long obedience” is important and that is true for all of life. Not glamorous and not exciting but discipline and obedience in the same direction.
Don’t give up on yourself, God granted you more time and health inspite of some speed bumps. Get your shoes on and do a 30 sec walk. Rooting for you and cheering you on.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Marjolein I have read your blog many times and find you very encouraging. Thank you!!!

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Donna January 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Never stop! You are not. Defeated!! We all have bumps in the road some larger than others. But even mountains have been climbed and continue to be.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Thank you so much Donna!

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Rhonda January 28, 2017 at 6:01 pm

I have regained some weight also and I’m not happy about it one bit. I can’t seem to find my mojo and every time I pass by a mirror I see a chub’et staring back at me. I’m right there with you Holly. I’m going to FORCE myself to go for a LONG walk this afternoon. I’ll be thinking of you and hope you get out and walk along with me. Hugs to you, Rhonda

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Rhonda. You always have inspired me Thank you so much!

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Mary January 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm

I want so much for you to succeed. I want that for myself too. One thing you said that really struck home for me was feeling that your plan was not good enough, even though it was working. That’s the way I feel. I have lost 50 pounds, but now suddenly I am questioning my plan even though it has allowed me to lose so much. I don’t understand it. I went from feeling very proud to feeling very insecure about my efforts. I really wish you luck as you find your way. You can do it.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm

I don’t know why I do this either! It’s such a trap I call into again and again. Hard not to compare ourselves but I do think it’s one of the reasons I get tripped up

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Beth M January 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

I’m loving the take charge attitude I’m seeing in this post, and I’m really looking forward to reading what’s coming. I had VSG IN 2011 and have regained half the weight loss, and I know it’s because of the sugar addiction I haven’t kicked yet. At the moment I’m back on track and losing, but can I keep to it? I don’t know. Last year I stayed on track for 3 months or so before slipping back into old habits. I don’t want to stay on this roller coaster either, but it’s better than giving in to the regain. I’m hoping by reading what you have to say in the next months, I’ll make some progress in figuring myself out too.
And on a side note, I cannot believe how blatantly rude people have been to you. It’s shocking, and it’s unacceptable. There’s nothing you can do about total strangers, but with people you know, I hope you call them on it. Everyone has flaws, just because ours are so very visible doesn’t mean it’s ok to be rude.
You have a support team and cheering squad here Holly, go kick some butt!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm

Thank you Beth. I appreciate this so much!! We had vsg same year too! At same place in regain too. This makes me feel less alone. Let’s do this!

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Bonnie January 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

So many of us are in the same boat. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I’ll be praying for you. As for the meds, if your child was struggling with depression or anxiety would you tell them to not take meds? If you had diabetes would you refuse meds? Depression and anxiety are simply mental manifestations of a physical problem–a chemical imbalance in your brain. Don’t be afraid of the meds. Remember that you only fail when you stop trying.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

You said “if your child was struggling with depression or anxiety would you tell them to not take meds? If you had diabetes would you refuse meds” and the answer is of course not!! No I would not do that to them. I have had people say this to me before. So what is my aversion? Honestly a lot of it is rooted in the same problem I need medication for no doubt. Anxiety. I literally fear things like side effects and withdrawal symptoms. I read too much. I read negative reviews and things like that. I’m the person who researches symptoms and then freaks out bc I am 100% sure I have that problem. I have had times in my past where things when undiagnosed or were wrongly diagnosed (even before the recent wrong diagnosis I had) so I stress about not trusting what doctors tell me. Geez…I sound more screwed up than ever just writing this!! haha

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Bonnie January 30, 2017 at 2:33 pm

My daughter struggles with anxiety and depression. I know her resistance to taking medication was that she didn’t want to be seen as being “crazy”. But she is doing so much better since taking the medication. It took a while to hit on the right one but she eventually got there. And we discovered that she has seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy has been a game changer for her. I would think that would be less of an issue in Texas than in northern Wisconsin, though.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I can see where people feel that way. My resistance isn’t so much to being seen as crazy. I figure everyone already knows I am by now (haha…joke of course..kind of..lol) But oddly my resistance is that I am afraid I will take it and it will work. And then it will stop working. And then I will be depressed bc something worked and then stopped working. Also I worry that I will have to get off of it for some medical reason and then suffer withdrawal symptoms. The fact that I worry so much about all of that makes me sound crazy enough that I should no doubt get on the meds asap!! haha And yes you are right. In Texas we have a lot more sun so that part is ok but I did sit under light therapy lamps when I lived in Alaska. That place was where I definitely got on meds for a time!! I loved it but it was hard to live in the dark.

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Terri in BC January 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

As a person who has suffered from chronic depression for over 20 years, and will never get off medication, I suggest you see a doctor who is well-versed in depression/anxiety. When I had my first panic attack that landed me in the hospital, I was fortunate to have my own family doctor as the ER doctor that day. He had just come back from a symposium on depression and this is what he shared with me later: Repeated bouts of depression/anxiety require a special medication regime. At the first diagnosis, you need to stay on medication for 6-9 months – it may take some time to find the right one/combination for you. If there is a second diagnosis, you need to stay on the meds for 1-3 years consistently. If there is a third diagnosis, your brain is now hard-wired due to a chemical imbalance and you will probably be on medication for the rest of your life, and may have to occasionally explore different meds/combos as your body develops resistence. Unfortunately for me, my depression went undiagnosed for over 20 years (a combination of PTSD and then subsequent post-partum depression with a SADS component), so my brain was hard-wired long before, and I was never able to get off meds even the first time. However, I know I never want to back into that black hole again, and happily take my meds everyday. I did have to change meds after 11 years of generic Prozac, and it took a while to find a new combo that worked but I am now stable and haven’t had to adjust my meds even in the winter for several years. There is no shame on using meds, after all diabetics have to take medication all their lives (my grandson was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which has encouraged me to get back to a healthy lifestyle).

I’m no expert, but I encourage you to go back to the beginning, walking 30 seconds at a time, develop a menu of two weeks worth of simple meals to simplify your shopping and meal-prep, and not have to think about food all the time, and by all means, go back to counselling and ask about cognitive behaviour techniques. Please don’t give up on the blog, you have a wonderful way with words and encourage the rest of us with the truths you share about your struggle (as I embark on losing 50 regained pounds).

Take care and know I am rooting for you!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:46 pm

Thank you!! I know you’re right! Not sure why I have this aversion to meds. Something else to ponder but I’m going to address this before it gets worse

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LHA January 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Holly, I think this post is very hopeful! To have stopped and assessed the situation is the very necessary first step to starting to get things under control again. I could write a book about my own struggles with weight, fitness and sugar addiction also, so much of what you wrote rings true for me as well as for many other people reading it I am sure.

Here are a couple of things that help me when I get off track. For me now it is almost always a change in routine that starts my overeating, like a vacation or a holiday. I try to keep the period of time when things are out of control to a very clearly defined limit. For example I might be going out of town for a week. My goal is always the same, and I rarely if ever reach it. I always plan to keep my regular eating pattern the whole time I am gone, but invariably by the time a few days have passed I’m eating some sugar or overeating in some way. Once I get home I feel completely out of control. So, I get up the next morning and take a deep breath and start back slowly. First I make a plan to just eat less that day. No food restrictions, just less food. In a day or two when I am feeling stronger I then go to the next phase, no sugar. This can take a few days or a week. Then I go to lower carbs in general. Finally I finish it up with eating only when I am hungry and stopping eating when I am full. That puts me back at what I have established as my regular eating plan. I do NOT beat myself up for overeating in the first place, and I do NOT try to do everything at once. This has worked for me for the past couple of years and I am maintaining a 90+ pound weight loss. Each time I have to re-establish my better eating habits I am fearful that I won’t make it, that I will regain everything but I just have to block those thoughts. One day at a time, one habit at a time I will get back to what I know is right.

My other thing is that I STRONGLY urge you to get back on psychiatric meds and/or seek counseling for your anxiety and depression. Self-medication with food (especially sugar) was a huge part of my problem and these problems can be treated successfully. Don’t stop with just trying one drug or one dr if it isn’t working. The options are plentiful so avail yourself of them. Leaving psychological problems untreated is dangerous and I really believe this can help you. Sorry to be long winded but I so want to see you feeling good again and getting a handle on these issues. Yes, you have regained some weight, but you are also holding onto a very significant weight loss that you can be proud of! You have lots of people pulling for you, and I appreciate your blog and also all the people who comment because I have learned so much from you and them.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:45 pm

Thanks so much! I like all these suggestions as I know they work and need to put them back into my arsenal! I appreciate how you’ve followed my blog over the years. It means a lot

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neca January 28, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Two things:

Don’t quit on yourself. If you want to delete the blog okay, but don’t give up on yourself!

I fear attention from men. That makes it very difficult to be comfortable in my skin when I start to lose.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:44 pm

I can relate to this. A lot of people feel this way. Thanks for the encouragement

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Nikki January 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Watch the music video for the song Sober by Tool. It’s about our plite <💗💗

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Nikki January 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Watch the music video for the song Sober by Tool. It’s about our plight <💗💗

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:44 pm

I’ll check it out Nikki!

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Just Mom January 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm

This post was painful to read. I could feel your despair and panic and want to comfort you…say warm and kind things to you. Remind you that our Father God loves you and will not forsake you. Even though it feels so dark and desperate.

But I also need to offer a word in season, your season of questions and confusion on how to solve this “regain” problem.

Here’s the thing: The only way to solve a problem is to face it, to name it. (No, that’s not what this post did.)

Your problem is NOT the regain. That is a symptom.

Your problem is overeating.

You are regaining because you are eating too much.

I read your list of regain causers. Shouldn’t “I regain because I overeat” have been #1 on your list? it wasn’t. It was only alluded to in the description of your problem list.

Choosing to use the word “regain” (picky as this sounds) is a passive-avoidant dodge that will keep you flailing and feeling helpless.

Helpless because you are not owning your action; you are just victim to the result: regain.

With a not to OA, try this: ” Hello, Father God. My name is Holly, and I am a compulsive overeater. Please help me.” It’s the first step.

May the Lord take your hand and lead you out of bondage and into freedom.

You are loved,

Just Mom

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:23 pm

I appreciate your comment. I guess I thought it went without saying that I have regained due to overeating. Surely that one is obvious lol. Of course if that realization alone was enough to solve the problem then I guess it would be a short conversation. I am clearly aware overeating is the problem but I also know there are multiple reasons that lead someone to choose overeating as a coping skill. I didn’t think I was being a victim. In fact one thing I’ve always tried to maintain in this journey is self awareness. Even when I do place blame elsewhere I try quickly to own it. I don’t view using the word regain as passive avoidant. Rather it’s just being used as a fact. Some lose and maintain that loss having mastered thentools and skills needed to not regain. Some like me regain. Finding out what they are doing that I’m not doing should help I believe. To be honest I felt like this post was me making an effort to fully face things head on and develop a game plan going forward. However I will take what you’ve said into account and thanks for the input 🙂

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Just Mom January 29, 2017 at 12:46 am

Hmmm. I may not have been clear.

Even though it is obvious that regaining weight occurs by eating too much, regaining–the physical event of adding pounds–is something your BODY does. Eating too much is something WE do. WE can only control what we do and hope that what we do causes our body to respond.

The point is that speaking of “regain” moves the locus of power and control one step away from you and your actions. Sounds picky, but it’s a psychological reality.

I’m sorry I muffed my comment.

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Karen P January 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Get help with your processes. Get help with abstaining. Get help with medication. Remove whatever gets in your way. Your help will help you deal with things that cannot be removed.

Onward and sending you strength and courage to abstain from addictive substances.
Karen P recently posted..Weight Maintenance: From weight loss to weight maintenance- Taking a quick look back over the last 5 yearsMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Thanks Karen!

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Belinda January 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

I just finished reading “Regaining Your Self: Breaking Free From the Eating Disorder Identity” which was written by Ira Sacker, a physician who has treated patients with eating disorders for over 30 years.

I also have lost and gained weight repeatedly over the years and I have to really be in the right frame of mind to lose weight. And I have to immerse my self in weight loss literature to keep motivated to lose.

Many books speak to me like “Shrink Yourself” by Roger Gould. This book by Dr. Sacker was no exception.

Have you developed positive coping mechanisms for handling anxiety or the compulsion to overeat? I struggle with this regularly.

I feel your pain and I hope and pray that you and me both find the solution.

I also have lost over 600 pounds over the years and this is a daily struggle I deal with.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 28, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Thank you for the book suggestions. I will definitely look those books up. I love to read and I appreciate the suggestions

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K January 29, 2017 at 7:20 am

Thank you for your honest rumination.

Maybe, just maybe, your blog serves to demonstrate to those of us who have also traveled the road of life filled with the hills and valleys of the scale that we are not alone. Suffering through the doubts, self recriminations and feelings of not being good enough are all to common to too many of us. And sharing that road in good times and more challenging is better when accompanied by others.

Maybe, just maybe, as I read today in Genesis 50: 20-21 the words that Jacob spoke to his brothers near the end of his life:
… but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then don’t be afraid, I will provide for you and your children…

Your value is not as one who has lost or gained weight. God’s love gives you value. Choosing to project the light of God to the world as you have done over and over through your blog is a testimony to him. I was drawn to your blog because you spoke openly of your faith, your frailties, your failings and your successes. During the next six months, God can move mountains.

But for today, for that is all there truly is to think about right now, just step out in faith in committing to one small healthy habit. Sometimes trying to make all the changes perfectly at once, keeps us feeling less than perfect.

I once read a book about the Vector Principle. Choosing that one small change and focusing on it until it becomes a routine. For me that is about 20 days. That one small step impacts other positive choices I find myself making during the day. If you think of your starting point as the center of the circle by making that one small conscious decision to do something differently, you wind up changing where you end up.

For me at 357.4 lbs having once lost 110 lbs and regained it, I so identify with nearly everything you write. While I will always of course desire that number to be less, it is not the definition of me. I’ve learned that what I eat clearly impacts how my mind and body function. I need my mind and body to be clear and have enough energy to accomplish my job, enjoy my family and be available for God to use me according to His will is really all there is. God can use me despite what the scale says. Both you, so many who follow your blog and I are loved and valued as God’s precious children.

This journey to have energy and feel good in my own skin is a constant study in learning about my own mind and body. I have to eat in a way that my body has taught me to treat it once I finally at 50+ started listening to it and God’s leading rather than trying to make it do what I thought it should do. I applauded your self reflection and knowing that what works for you is unique to you, right and true for you. Choose you. Consider this life your research project that you are publishing as you draft!

I applaud you for reflecting on the genesis of your choices. Humans are like onions. We peel off one layer of understanding only to find there are more beneath. To get to the core of oneself, it must be done as painful as it can be.

You talk of what to do when that lie of the addiction is calling you. Reach out in those moments. Type. Write. God has blessed you with this gift of self reflection. Pray yourself through it. LORD! You tell us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace that passes understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Forgive my rambling. You definitely make me think! Have a blessed day.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment . I have read it over several times. I appreciate it very much. I will check out the book you are talking about. I believe very much in the power of building habits at a small pace and I think that it is one of the critical elements I have not mastered yet. Thank you for the feedback and the encouragement

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Karen P January 29, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I thought of something else, If it helps you to know change is painful, but I found it much more physically painful to be drawn into food addiction time after time (40 years) than to face the daily, hourly, and frequent pain – both physical and emotional of food addiction.

Here’s to choosing to withdraw from the addcition knowing that feeling pain is bearable (it is!!!) Onward Holly. Don’t let the disease or the stinking thinking keep you from a full life, your kids, your career.

Keep going and it does get better.
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Kristi January 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I am so excited to read what you figure out. We’ve talked before. I’ve lost a bunch of weight (169.8 at the moment) and kept it off for 14 months now. I walk religiously and do NOT cheat at all because I am in the same boat, worried that if I start eating something sugary or high carbed, I will lose it. I read a post one time from you that stated it so well. Sugar is like a drug to some of us. There is no middle ground. It is rediculously hard to deal with those restrictions especially when teens and husbands are involved but in my case at least, it is necessary if I don’t want to be 333 pounds again!
I know you can do this. Keep reading your bible. Even if you don’t feel Jesus walking beside you, He is there and will never leave you NO MATTER what your weight is. The farthest you can be from your gracious heavenly Father is one step.

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Wendy January 29, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Hang on, Holly.

One day at a time.

Maybe even sometimes just one hour at a time.

We eat an elephant not by sitting down to eat the whole thing at once, but by taking just one. bite. at. a. time.

Lifting you up with love and light, coming at you across the intertubes 🙂

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm

I remember this quote and it is so timely Wendy!! Thank you!

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dianne January 29, 2017 at 6:55 pm

God only gives us what we can handle, right? But he also has given us ways to seek out support and help us bear the burdens we face. We live in such a wonderful time where we can seek out help, via counseling, meetings, church groups etc. Don’t give up if one doesn’t work. Having a good counselor is about clicking with them. They definitely need to be able to tell you the truth and sometimes be harsh, but i know for me, i feel like i am able to unburden my soul with a good counselor. so don’t judge them all by a bad experience, just check that list and keep on moving.
i’ve been a long time reader and i totally believe that you can do this. you’re stronger than you know and sometimes we need to fall a few times to learn how to pick ourselves up.

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Melissa January 29, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Hi Holly,
I’ve been reading your blog for years however, I’ve never commented. I relate so much to each of your writings. When your doing well and when you are not doing well. On or Off..losing or gaining. The food obsession. Hating food/loving it. I also have done no sugar and no flour with the 12 step support group Food addicts in recovery anonymous. I was successful but found the program too controlling and eventually left.

I can really relate to your all or nothing mentality with food and the need to be perfect. The depression and the anxiety I have also suffered with for years. I’ve found medicine helps me tremendously. I look at it as I do not have to suffer when there is medicine to help.

I hope you can find peace in your relationship with food. The psychology of why I eat is always a tangled web. Please, don’t give up. I would miss your writing. I have never read so many of my thoughts around food put so well on paper (a blog) than the way you are able to write them. You are NOT a failure in my eyes but an inspiration.

Hang in there! I’m on this journey with you.

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Margaret Wolfinbarger January 29, 2017 at 11:56 pm

I have finished reading this entry with tears.because I know exactly how you feel. I live it every single day. But I refuse to give up because the alternative is worse. If I’m not fighting forward, I’m dying. I do believe God helps me and He will help you. Discipline is, well, hard.

I wish I had perfect answers. Some of us are destined to struggle while we live on this earth. Anxiety and depression are big hairy adversaries. But He is BIGGER still! You must not lose heart.

Holly, it sounds like you are at a crossroads. But for those of us whose bodies are prone(cursed!) with obesity laden cells of doom, we live at the crossroads. Coming to terms with that is essential for you.

The other day I told a dear friend who has regained all of her weight that I was so grateful she hasn’t abandoned me. I love her and would be devastated if she stopped being my friend simply because I was having more success than her. Real friends care about the you inside. But you know that.

Please let me know if you ever need encouragement. We all do! Please don’t quit.

“Losing weight is hard. Maintaining weight is hard. Gaining weight is hard. Choose your hard.” – anonymous

“Just keep swimming!” – Dori
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Michelle January 30, 2017 at 2:30 am

Hi Holly,
I don’t know if this is the first time leaving a comment, but it feels like I just needed to. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now & I at has really spoken to me. The amount of weight loss is not the same but the feeling of desperation is. When you said if you couldn’t figure out why you couldn’t lose the weight & keep it off in the next 4 to 5 months your blog serves no purpose anymore, man that was a gut punch. Only because that’s how I feel, but with my life. I’m just so tired of this back & forth, up & down, 38 years fat & miserable & & 2 years slimmer but only somewhat happier. I gained almost 60 percent back, had a mental breakdown, lost my job, my friends, had to move back in with my parents & hardly leave the house. I’m terrified to have someone see me fat again, I know they’d just laugh.
I hope things work out for you, you have more to lose than I do. I just wanted to say I was pulling for you, & you had inspired me.

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Becky Martinez January 30, 2017 at 4:36 am

Hi Holly,

I LOVE your blog & hope you hang on & continue your weight loss journey! I started Weight Watchers in Feb of 2011 weighing 298. By the end did the year I lost 83 pounds. Super many major life changing events have happened every year since including becoming my parents caregivers, the death of my dad, my mom falling & blinding one eye, losing one of my brothers in a motorcycle accident, being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, & 2016 injuring my back during exercise. Since 2012, I have lost and gained and lost and gained half a bazillion pounds! If I had maintained rather than ever gained any back, I could have been to goal 10 times over already!

I was doing AMAZING in 2016! I recommitted to WW on March 5th & was kicking butt! I tracked my eats and moved my body for over 200 days straight! I got all the way down to 204 losing 95 pounds total…I had never gotten that low & hadn’t seen that number since freshman year of high school! When I hurt my back I couldn’t go to the gym for 5 weeks…it was awful. Taking care of my mom full time keeps me at home much of the day except for doctor appointments and taking her to her exercise class 3 times a week. Losing my “me time” at the gym (my happy place) was depressing. I was able to lose a few more pounds during September reaching my 95 loss by the first Sat in October. Sadly I wasn’t wven excited about hitting 95 because I had missed so much time at the gym and my shape was changing…less muscle, more fluff. 😔

The second week of October I went on a road trip with my niece (she’s my age) and my 12 year old daughter. We had soooo much fun, even with my busted back, back exercises, & my ice pack. My biggest mistake was stopping tracking my eats. I think back and think I ate so much fast food & extras just because. I was out of control. I struggled to get back on track after she went home because I missed her so much, then the holidays came, etc. I did go back to the gym consistently, super modified, but I was back!

I still struggled to get my eats under control…tomorrow, tomorrow, to never.

I followed the old WW program because I knew it by heart. It worked when I worked it as all programs do! I fight with myself over switching to the new program. In your post you wrote about not comparing yourself to others or doubting your methods when they are working…this really hit home for me! No matter which program I choose, if I follow it, I will get amazing results!

I don’t like how fluffy I feel! I want to lose the weight & get past my addiction to food. I have used it as a companion and comfort all of my life for as long as I can remember! I want to change, I need to change, I’m going to change! I hope you do & will too! I want this so bad for both of us…for anyone who struggles with their weight!

Sending big hugs from California!! xoxo

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GDOG January 30, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Hi Holly, I’m a long time reader and infrequent commenter, but I just wanted to remind you that you have the same value as a person at 150 pounds or 350 pounds! If you are able to maintain your weight at 300 pounds and still do all the things that are important to you, like walking with your kids, driving a car, or going to work, why not? Massive permanent weight loss is really difficult, and very few people ever achieve it. Try not to be so hard on yourself, and remember that you don’t have to be thin to be happy!! <3

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate the feedback very much and I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I really do!!

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Bethany January 30, 2017 at 7:38 pm

I have found that I am a food addict and that OA is helping me. I’m still struggling and I expect I always will. But the support of my sponsor and other OA members helps me every time I talk to them.
You are not weak or lazy or ignorant. You have an emotional, spiritual and physical malady that requires more than just diet and exercise can provide.
It works if you work it. Good luck!
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Elisabeth January 31, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Such an emotional blog to read. What is it with us women we have to be perfect at everything we do.
I have found myself that I had to let go with the all or nothing attitude – its a life crushing way of thinking in many ways.
I am 50 now it was only 3 years ago I was finally able to let go of this mind-set and the result was that I lost lost 100 pounds and kept it off. Its ok to have a piece of cake and then move on, I realised that is what slim people do. If you instead have to be “perfect” you might as well eat the rest of the day or even the rest of the week as you screwed up the perfect. That is what kept me 100 pounds overweight for so many years. A huge part of the process was normalizing the way I thought about food and just live and be happy. It was a huge emotional relief to be able to finally let go.
Just a thought.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 31, 2017 at 4:10 pm

What a wonderful comment to read!! I agree with “LIFE CRUSHING”. I had to put it in all caps bc it really is life crushing. What weighs more than my behind? The stress of worrying all day every day about the weight of it! The worry of it all becomes a mental weight! A life crushing one. Perfect description. I wish I could move on from one piece of cake. I have to always eat the whole freaking cake. WHY??? I think it’s because I am wired strangely with the way I react to sugar. I want it proved scientifically that some of us are and some of us aren’t. Because if it isn’t a legit scientific issue than that means it’s a mental one. Or a moral one. That i just am doing it out of weakness. But anyway, I digress. The point is that you have said here we should not have to be perfect. A perfect weight. You know maybe if I could have been happy at 170 all would have been fine. But no….I had to get all the way down to 117. Perhaps that was never a realistic goal?

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Lou February 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The author of “The Happiness Project” (Gretchen Rubin) said that after reading a book on how bad sugar is, she completely dropped it from her diet and has abstained from it for years. I wish I could do that. I agree with you, Holly, that some of us are wired differently.

I know I am. I can go a few days without processed sugar but after a few weeks, if I can get that far, my body has to have it in some form.

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Sandi January 31, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Depression is a big part of my eating problem. I was scared to see a doctor about it for years. It finally got so bad I didn’t have a choice, I had to go. I was so scared of the meds and did have side effects for awhile, but I’m so thankful I stuck with them. It took six weeks to get past the side effects, but so worth it. I never want to go back to that black hole I was in. It’s important to discuss your weight issues with the Dr that prescribes the meds. The meds don’t fix the eating problem for me, but my quality of life is so much better. My weight is always going to be an issue for me. I think we all have to figure out what works for ourselves, it’s such a complicated problem. The most important thing is to not give up.

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Jamie February 1, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I read this post with tear filled eyes. I can relate to so much. It’s all so exhausting (if I was handwriting this, I would underline the word 5 times for emphasis!) I just wish I had a normal relationship with food. I can’t pretend to have any advice for you, but I’m bookmarking to come back and see what your much smarter readers have to offer. Here’s the only nugget I have. I am currently reading a book called The Big Leap. Very slowly, because it’s hard to sit with, emotionally. It talks about self sabotage, and how at the root, I have an “upper limit problem,” an internal thermometer for how much success, love, happiness, etc. I’ll allow myself to experience. When I go beyond my upper limit (life, weight loss, whatever gets good) I unconsciously pump the breaks and do things to self sabotage. It’s a tough read for me and most definitely the complete answer, but another tool in the never-ending battle. Today, I’m sending good thoughts to you and I hope you continue to share what you are learning.

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Jason February 3, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Hey. I just found your blog today. It’s fascinating as I read your posts from several years back and also read this one. I want you to know that your blog is giving me ideas on how I can actively pull myself back together. And I can completely empathize with this post. I was 308lbs. I got down to 227 lbs. Now, a year and some change later, I’m at 316 lbs.

My issue is a mix of just not dieting and quiting exercise altogether. I’ve thought about how I lost my weight and really it amounted to quitting fast food and soda and killing myself with exercise. My diet never truly got an overhaul.

I just want you to know that I appreciate this blog. I’m in the same boat and starting the same journey over again. On the upside, you’ve done it before so you know you can. Just like I know I can. Honestly…I’ve always wanted to punch people that told me that because it just reminded me how far I let myself go. So forgot I said that. Don’t punch me.

Just. Just know I believe in you, even though I’m an utter stranger. For some reason, it’s easier to believe in others than ourselves. So maybe while I’m believing in you, you can believe in me and we can both kick this thing for good.

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Cary Cain February 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Please know that I am praying for you daily! I have over 200lbs to lose and can relate to almost every word that you graciously shared with us. I am working hard on myself as well. Trying to figure out why I am unable to continue to lose, and keep it off. I am going to a group called Celebrate Recovery. It is a Christ centered 12 step program. It is not specific to food but is such a blessing to me. Thought I would share with you as you search for help! Again, continued prayers.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 8, 2017 at 7:34 pm

I have CR at my church. I tried it once years ago but I think I will pop in again and see what it’s like now. Thanks for the suggestion!!

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Kyra February 8, 2017 at 7:18 pm

OK, I’m way late to the comment party going on here, but honestly I think the only thing worth saying is “GO YOU!!!”

(And also, when someone comments on our weight, I think it should be totally excusable if we accidentally trip them as they’re leaving. That should be a thing. Really. I know, I know. I never would. But in my mind? They’re totally flat on their faces.)
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 8, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Kyra! I love your comments. I love your sense of humor. And I must immediately go read your blog!

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Lea G February 10, 2017 at 3:10 am

Hi Holly. I’m a long time reader and a big fan of yours. I was super obese or morbidly obese the majority of my life so I can relate in that area!
Please don’t give up and disappear. Did you ever read the blog 700 pounds is as bad as it sounds? A guy named Josh wrote it. He deleted it over a year ago. Just disappeared. I always wonder about him, hope he’s doing OK. Symbolically it seems like a step into a dark/darker place.

Win or fail, just remember your kids will still be there, relying on you. I know our motivation has to come from within, but that is some lingering motivation there. I am cheering you on, sending love and prayers. YOU GOT THIS.

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Lou February 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm

THIS is why I love you so much. You get me, you get all of us, but you put all your stuff out there, you’re much braver than me. I think I need medication, too. I try to lose weight but the very afternoon of the day I start trying, I get home and realize at the bottom of a chip bag that I’m supposed to be cutting back.

I love how you said, “Always trying to lose weight. Always researching new methods or ideas. It’s like planning to go on a trip every single year of your life for 45 years. Spending money every year buying the tickets, packing the suitcases and yet never getting to enjoy the vacation.” THAT IS ME. I could easily teach a course, become a researcher or explain most diets to anyone willing to listen.

And comments from people on my weight…YES, same here. My neighbor’s roommate offered me a Snickers, my neighbor added, “not that you need it.” Another neighbor was remembering when I moved into the area and she added, “Remember how skinny you were? Look at you now! hahahaha!” I would never, ever, ever, ever DREAM of making any remarks about anyone’s appearance. “Wow, that’s some goiter you have! You look hideous!” NEVER. I’m going to have to start opening cans of whoopass. I’m just too nice. I smile and walk away.

Holly, I get you completely. Food addiction is real and painful. I’m feeling my annual desire to join OA. Dunno if it’ll get me anywhere, but anywhere other than where I am might be good.

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Lobster February 24, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Hi, I just wanted to reach out in support. This is one of the most honest and vulnerable blogs I’ve ever read and I want to tell you that I appreciate you sincerely putting it all out there – most people can’t do that, no matter how hard they try.

You’re a worthwhile person no matter your size or what you look like and your struggles, while real, are things that everyone deals with… so you’re not alone. We can all relate in some way.

I’m thinking of you and sending strength.
Lobster

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Anna April 24, 2017 at 5:47 am

Nice post…

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Becca Putnam October 2, 2017 at 7:57 am

I would like to know how you are doing and remind you that you have worthwhile things to say no matter how much you are up or down. Your struggle is the struggle for so many of us. Being fallible makes you relatable. Please don’t disappear from your blog or waste time on shame for being human. I’ll try to do the same. I hope you are out there enjoying life.

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