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”.
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 🙂