Not You Too!!
The battle of the bulge, the big bootie, the man boobs, the thunder thighs….
Weight that is up again, down again, only to be up again. When will it end?
Can you — do you relate?
From Svelte to Needing a Much Bigger Belt – AGAIN!
My life is like the current season (16) of the Biggest Loser. I am a former athlete whose weight got out of control. It – the out of control weight gain – happened both times – yes it happened more than once – after continuing my education, almost 10 years and almost 17 years out of college, while working full-time. Only, the second time was far worse than the first.
The first time I gained weight I was in my early thirties. In two years time, while going to school to learn programming, I added 50 pounds to what had always been a rather svelte me. It happened with the late nights staying up until four in the morning to finish a project and eating fast, fried comfort foods. Finished with the program, certificate in hand, I finally got tired of the size of me and my clothes so I went on a journey to melt away the 50 pounds. I did so successfully too. In fact, I kept that weight off for six years, until…
That decision to get a graduate degree. Remember that I said the second time was worse than the first? Boy was it ever. After four years of graduate school, late nights studying or working on assignments, trips to Popeyes or to one of many pizza joints in New York City after class, a love affair with double chocolate peanuts, and my favorite, strawberry power bunch straws, I ballooned – brace yourself – an extra 115 pounds. Say that out loud – one hundred fifteen pounds!!
Things Got Ugly
Here is what happened to me:
- When I walked down stairs my knees hurt so badly that I walked like a woman twice my age.
- I would have moments where I could not walk because my legs stopped working.
- My lower back hurt so much, I could barely move.
- On flights, I could barely buckle my seat belt and my knees killed me from sitting. Sitting!
- When I would go to the doctor, regardless of what was ailing me; my knees, my back, the prescription was always the same: “lose weight.”
Enough is Enough!!
At some point I finally listened, going on another weight loss journey. I started out really good too. I lost 75 pounds, but I gained 45 pounds of that back before I had enough.
- I had gotten fed up with hating the person that I saw mirror each day.
- I had enough of hiding away from friends I had not seen in years because I was embarrassed I was no longer that fit person they had known.
- I had gotten tired of continuously going shopping for bigger clothes and throwing money out the window.
What was happening to me was not only the issues related to the weight gain, but also the mental toll that I was taking as a result of the weight gain.
Again I ask you, can you relate?
Combat the Struggle
If you have been mentally struggling with your weight issues, but you have not yet done anything to change your current situation; if you are trying to change, but are currently struggling, or if you have been seeing results in your changes but are finding it hard to push it further, here is what I suggest based on what has made the difference for me:
1. Have an accountabil-a-buddy: Honestly, without someone to hold me accountable, I would still be hiding away. To change that, I invested in a personal trainer. On the days that I am on my own, I send her an email to let her know what workout I did that day. It is called my “check in”. You do not have to get a personal trainer like I did, but find someone who is supportive, yet who will push you, and remind you that it is a journey. And don't beat yourself up along the way.
2. Track your progress: In this digital age with our iPhones, iPads, Android devices, the internet, there are all types of tools to track your change. You can track how many steps you have taken, how much weight you are able to lift, the time and distance of your walk or your run, and even your body measurements. Check your results from month to month, then give yourself a pat on the back. In my toolbox is my Digifit app to track my runs and cardio workouts, and my Misfit and the app to go with it that allows me to set goals for myself and that tracks my steps and calories, which come over from the MyFitnesspal app. They are all integrated together.
3. Forget the scale: I know you are saying “What the deuce?!! Didn't you just suggest track your progress?” Yes I did. I am not saying do not weigh yourself. I am saying do not depend on the scale. There is an urge – trust me, I know because I used to do it – to weigh yourself often. As in everyday often. If you do that you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The human body is fickle. From day to day our bodies change. Ladies, especially if you are still worlds away from menopause, our bodies are wacky. Weigh yourself once a week or once every other week, on the same day, at approximately the same time. The best way to track your progress, it to let your clothes be your measuring stick. It is a wonderful feeling when those pants that were too small fit you again.
4. Block the noise: There will be people who will tell you don't need to lose weight, people who will say eat some more, but that is the noise. Perhaps they have good intentions, but having a mindset that blocks the noise brings you a long way.
Ain't Gonna Be No Oops I Did it Again
For anyone who may be thinking “You have done this weight loss thing before; losing then gaining back again, what makes you think the same will not happen again?”
Simply these three core things:
1. Determination: I am determined that this way of life is just that: a way of life.
2. Dedication: I was recently asked, “How long are you going to do this [eating healthy and exercising]?” The question implied that there was a stopping point. No, that is called a diet. Diets are temporary solutions, not life long victories. For me, there is no stopping. I am dedicated to maintaining my weight and good overall health.
3. Knowledge: I started paying attention to the moments when I gained weight. In doing so, I recognized that I ate poorly, and too much, when I was disappointed or hurt, making me an emotional eater. The emotional eating turned into not wanting to be bothered with what would keep me healthy. Armed with that knowledge, I know better how to deal with my emotions. Turning to food is no longer the way.
I have shed my last tear over how I look. Each month, with each change in my body and each time I move into a smaller size I gain more confidence and my smile gets wider. What are you mentally struggling with in regards to your health? What are you going to do about it?