Heed the Possibility

Recently I have noticed a few bloggers who have been brave enough to admit that they have regained a little or in some cases a lot of the weight back that they had previously lost. Sometimes when a “successful” blogger (successful in this case = lost lots of weight) slacks off or stops writing altogether, it’s a sign that they have had a regain of some or all of their lost weight. I can almost hear the despair in their voices, along with the shame and humility. It’s not a pretty thing to see someone fall after a big victory.

But I think it’s so great that these bloggers are sharing their failures!! Let me explain why:

Way back in the day, after I had lost a significant amount of weight, I said those famous last words – “I’ll NEVER go back to the way I was before!” And I meant it. I was resolved that I would never, ever let myself slip back into the old patterns that led to my weight gain in the first place. I was adamant!

And then…well, life sometimes gets in the way, or a loved one becomes ill, or unemployment comes knocking on your door…and before you know it you’re right back to square one hauling around all that weight (and more) that you had once fought so hard to lose. So you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get it done again and you lose all that weight!! And you say “I’ll NEVER go back!!” And you mean it.

And then…you can guess what happens. Let me tell you, when I said it, I really did mean it. I didn’t want to go back to being fat. And each time I lost weight (twice I lost more than 25 pounds), I was determined that I would never gain weight again EVER. I think, however, that’s the wrong attitude to have – because we ALWAYS have the possibility to gain weight. It CAN happen, and sometimes it WILL happen (more than once). When I had that attitude of NEVER AGAIN, after a while I would let things slide…just a little…and then maybe a little bit more…and I wasn’t vigilant about keeping up with those habits that led to weight loss. I sort of felt like since I was now a thin person, it wasn’t possible for me to become a fat person again because I HAD DECLARED NEVER AGAIN!! Yeah…it doesn’t work that way. Just ask all the maintainers out there.

Seeing these bloggers share their stories reminds us that there is no “end”. You don’t lose weight and suddenly you’re finished…no, unfortunately there will always be a POSSIBILITY that you will gain the weight back, but that can be a motivator to stay the course. If you are aware of what a possible future looks like, you can work to avoid it. If you don’t believe that future is a possibility, will you be as vigilant?

(Side note: My boss recently had weight loss surgery, and since his surgery just over a month ago, he has lost over 50 pounds. He uttered those famous last words yesterday and it was all I could do to say “but you CAN go back and if you’re not careful, you WILL go back!” Right now, he doesn’t believe that you can gain weight after having WLS, but I know that it can be done. I just encouraged him to keep up with his new habits, but I know that he is the type to push the boundaries of what he can/can’t eat, so it will be interesting to see where he is in three to five years with his weight.)

I think that if we can accept the possibility of regaining lost weight, it can help us feel less shame if/when we do regain. I hate to see these bloggers feeling so awful about themselves and having such a sense of despair. These feelings won’t help them reached their goals, but I completely understand why they feel the way they do. It’s hard to have that brass ring in your hand, and then watch it fall away into the abyss.

So if you come across a blogger who has recently admitted to a weight regain, be extra kind to them; learn from them and adjust your course accordingly.

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11 thoughts on “Heed the Possibility

  1. Excellent post, Jill, and one that really hit home with me. It’s so important to remember that weight loss is a journey and there’s really no ‘end point.’ Maintaining health is a lifetime goal.

  2. Much as we’d all like to say we’ll never go back to old habits (with anything, really), that phrase “never say never” was coined for a good reason – it happens. But being aware of the possibility, rather than saying “nope, not gonna fail” is a better way to approach weight loss and maintenance, and can help you adjust and forgive yourself quicker.

  3. Every blogger is brave in my opinion. Being vulnerable and open for all the world to see takes a very strong person. Add on top of that admitting a moment that you missed the mark?!? Well, I say ‘Hat’s off to you!’. Thank you Jill (and all the other bloggers!) for always calling things as they are and also for being so brave…whether you are up, down, across or beneath your goals, you should never be ashamed. We all do the best we can at that moment… but sometimes we have to straighten ourselves out before we move forward. 🙂

  4. Re: your boss. Believe it or not, I know MORE people who have had WLS and REGAINED than I do people who have lost weight the normal way. VERY easy to regain.

    And you know I agree with the rest of your post. If you embrace that possibility, I think that maybe that motivates you to get back on the horse a little sooner? (I went to the gym yesterday 🙂 )

  5. I think it’s important to remember we’re human and we cycle. Those of us who use food cycle with the food. I admire the people who have lost and never gone back even a little bit, but a part of that makes them seem superhuman to me. I’m simply not like that. I was once 230lbs. I’m about 190 now. I WAS 150. I gained back 40 lbs and I’ve been fighting with it ever since. It’s humiliating, but I’ll tell you what – it makes me human. I want to see someone like me who fell a bit and still keeps fighting, and winning, rather than the perfect person I know I am not. But that’s just me!

    • Kyra,

      Bless you for your honesty and for reaching out. I have a similar history: I lost 53 lbs (187 to 134), kept it off for a year and a half — but then regained the 53 and 30 more. I’m so disappointed in myself. I think that if I had reached out as you have done, it would have helped me stop the spiral of weight gain. I hope that your writing about your struggle helps you turn the cycle around.

  6. Great post! I’ve lost 129 lbs and gained about twenty back. I wasn’t a blogger when I lost and gained lol but I completely understand. Every now and then, shame would have me to think that I shouldn’t socialize till I get the weight back off because of what people will think. I shake that off quickly because I know shame and embarrassment are nothing but self imposed prisons and I intend to remain free.

  7. I always appreciate the brutal truths found in blogs. It is a gift to hear different voices doing the exact things I do. Except I yo yo about 30 pounds during the year. Not because I do not know how (my BS is in Nutrition) nor can not afford the delish veggies and quality proteins…more like a lack of focus. You see, it is always easier for me to take care of everyone else but me. Same story, over and over. This Friday, I will begin a Biggest Loser contest at my work. Not because I love competitions but rather look forward to the relationships built among those in “the” same boat. I really appreciate all those who truly share what’s on their hearts and mind!

  8. Just like muscle memory, after a while body is getting comfortable with a exact amount of body weight. When you lose weight and if you stop dieting and working out, its almost ceratin you will regain the weight back in record time,

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