How To Start Again?

At first, maintenance seemed so easy. It was really hard for me to change my mentality from wanting the scale to go down each time I got on it, to hoping it stayed the same. And I think because that switch was so hard mentally, I was much more careful with what I was eating while I got my head around the concept, which is why maintenance was so “easy” at first.

When I think back to that time in my life where I hit my goal weight and then became a Lifetime member, I’m honestly not really sure I ever accepted that I was AT my goal weight. I thought I could stand to lose a few more pounds and while I didn’t want the scale to go up, I didn’t necessarily want it to stop going down either. I was still in weight loss mentality. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin despite being at a healthy weight, and I knew I couldn’t ever be happy with my body unless I did something drastic. So then I did.

Since then, I’ve gone through many phases in my relationship with food. I’ve been in great places. I’ve been in bad places. And since I’ve gone back and forth for my entire life, I guess it’s no surprise this cycle has continued, even though it surprised me. Before the surgery, I thought the complete opposite would be true. I thought that life after surgery would be the final chapter in my weight story. I was SURE that there was no way in hell I’d ever let myself gain back any weight after going through something like that to help my physical appearance. But it turned out to be just the opposite. I think in a way, after I had the surgery, I was so much happier in my body than I was at any of my previous weights that it almost gave me a free pass to eat and live how I wanted, regardless of the impact it would have on my health and weight.

And the healthy habits always slip away oh-so-slowly. An extra glass of wine here. An extra piece of pizza there. A missed workout one morning… and it’s a very slippery slope, especially for someone like me who has the tendency to be very all-or-nothing about so many things in my life.

I’m glad to say that I’ve snapped out of it before I got back to my before weight. I have truly recommitted to doing Weight Watchers and actually went in yesterday, weighed in, and purchased a monthly pass. (More on that in a different post.) While I know there will be ups and downs this time around and always, I feel in a really good place mentally and ready to do this.

A question that comes up again and again, sometimes just in my own thoughts, sometimes when talking with family and friends, and sometimes in emails and comments I get from readers, is how to start again? How to get out from under that blanket of guilt and shame that accompanies regaining weight and stand tall to face reality? How to stop sliding down that slippery slope before you get back to the bottom? And you know, I’m still not sure of the answers, but I do have a few ideas.

1.) Start with accepting the truth and forgiving yourself.

Anyone who has struggled with their weight knows how easy it is to come up with excuses and deny, deny, deny. That picture was just taken from a bad angle. These jeans must have shrunk in the wash. Stretchy pants are just so comfortable, of course I wear them all the time! I think getting to the place where I could admit that I was truly off track was the hardest part of it all. It felt like I was admitting I failed. But I didn’t. I just need to re-start. The time is now. Wishing and hoping that things were a different way doesn’t change a thing. Untagging yourself in pictures on Facebook doesn’t mean it wasn’t you. Not pulling out your summer clothes because you’re not sure if they will fit doesn’t solve any problems. Pretending that you’re not blogging just because you’re too busy doesn’t mean you’re using that extra time towards your health goals.

And the second major part of this step is to forgive yourself. It’s so easy to say mean things to yourself when you look in the mirror, to feel hate, shame and anger for letting it happen. To feel guilty and embarrassed to see people now that you’ve put back on some weight, especially those who complemented your transformation initially. But you know what? What’s done is done, and harping on it is not going to help. Accepting that we’re all human, we make mistakes, and we’re finally getting to a place where we are ready to commit to changing our lives once again is an essential piece of the puzzle.

2.) Set small goals based on where you are NOW.

After accepting that I actually gained some weight back and it doesn’t make me a terrible person, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty – the actual eating healthier and moving more portion of the program. While Weight Watchers is what I’ve found works for me, that’s certainly not the case for everyone. Some people are bogged down by tracking or do OK with restricting certain things from their diet (ie. Atkins, paleo, gluten-free, etc). Whatever works for you is what to do. But the important part is to set goals based on the RIGHT NOW. It doesn’t matter if I’ve run almost 30 races, including 5 half marathons, in my past life. If I haven’t been exercising regularly in almost a year minus a few brief stints, I have to start much smaller than running a half, or maybe even running in general. If I’ve been eating crap for every meal every day for a while, starting with adding good things (fruits and veggies, water, exercise, etc.) to make less room for the bad is key. Set myself up to succeed by making goals that are attainable right now is essential.

3.) Accept that it’s a lifelong journey.

This is the part I always get caught up on, which leads me back to #1 and #2 here. I have to admit that I can never stop trying. I can convince myself the opposite is true as much as I want, but that’s not the truth. I can never be one of those people that just eats intuitively and slowly devours a single piece of pizza, smelling and tasting each bit of it, and then feels satisfied. No matter how much I wish that was the case, or how much I convince myself I am getting there, I’m always going to be the kind of person that has to do a self check and realize I really don’t want to eat the entire pizza, so maybe it’s better that I don’t start. Or, maybe I do want a piece or two of pizza, but I need to move the box out of the room or throw it away to stop myself from going too far. I’m always going to be learning what works and doesn’t work for me, especially as I move into my 30s (in a few weeks – eeeeek!) and go through changes that impact my lifestyle and health.

And for me, I think step 1.5 was to realize that even though I have a blog, I don’t have all the answers, and that’s ok! I’m still very much figuring this journey out and the whole reason I created this blog in the first place was to have a place to document it. So turning away from my blog because I was struggling with my weight was the exact opposite thing I should have been doing. I convinced myself that not blogging regularly was not directly correlated with struggling to be healthy. And that, my friends, was a lie.

But you know what? I’m back. And maybe that denial phase was yet another part of this journey. And that’s ok. After all, I am only human.

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31 Comments on How To Start Again?

  1. Amy
    May 29, 2014 at 9:57 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post! I, too, am a WW life timer who has regained some weight. I must bought a monthly pass too, and I’m setting new goals. It is a lifetime journey!

    Reply
    • Beth
      May 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm (3 years ago)

      You’re welcome, Amy! Good to know we’re not alone, eh?

      Reply
      • Amy's Reflections
        May 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm (3 years ago)

        That’s why I love the WW meetings- it’s a nice reminder that others struggle like I do.

        Reply
  2. Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos
    May 29, 2014 at 10:21 am (3 years ago)

    The journey is always more important than the destination. It’s probably good that you took some time after surgery to “go crazy” in your new body and really enjoy feeling good about yourself, but kudos for knowing when to stop and recommit to the lifelong process of healthy living. You’re an inspiration! Thanks for sharing so openly.

    Reply
  3. Jillian
    May 29, 2014 at 10:28 am (3 years ago)

    I can so relate. I missed your blog, I’m glad you’re back! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Sue
    May 29, 2014 at 10:57 am (3 years ago)

    Been there done that – twice! I’ve hit goal twice, but have never learned to maintain. Heading to my WW@work meeting today to start the journey again. It’s never to late to learn, right? thanks for your words.

    Reply
  5. Natalie
    May 29, 2014 at 11:20 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post!! I am right there with you. I have gained some weight and all your above thoughts have been mine. I returned to WW last week. Still struggling but trying to have more good than bad days. We have done this before and agree, it is lifelong. Thanks again for being honest!

    Reply
  6. Kristin
    May 29, 2014 at 11:38 am (3 years ago)

    After losing 50 lbs a couple of years ago and gaining about half of it back- I can so relate. You are right on the money! Thanks for the inspiration. Glad you are posting again 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lisa
    May 29, 2014 at 11:45 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you so very much for sharing this! I am in the same place as you are and it is good to hear your thoughts and ideas! I had reached goal 2 years ago and since put back on all but 2 lbs of my prior weight. It has been frustrating but also a real eye opener. I have tried to accept my mistakes and move forward to a healthier me. I think by staying accountable has been the hardest thing for me. I kept telling myself I will loose the weight again all by myself but it is a lie. I have to stay accountable and on a program. I hope you keep up your blog and continue sharing your journey!

    Reply
  8. LauraB
    May 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you Beth! We’re all only human and although it’s easy to think that once the weight is gone it magically stays off, we all know that it’s not true. I lost 40 pounds over the last 6 months on WW, which is a great accomplishment. However I still have another 40 lbs to go to be within my healthy weight range and not surprisingly the weight is not dropping as fast as it was in the beginning. I’m having issues wanting to celebrate my achievement, while knowing that I’m only part way through my journey. it’s one step, one meal, one day at at time and it helps so much to hear from others that are facing the same challenges. I look forward to following the next chapter of your journey!

    Reply
  9. margaretedith
    May 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I am really, really good at losing and gaining the same 30 pounds. Blows my mind sometimes. How I will swear “never again!” and yet..
    So, you’re not the only one.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  10. KellyK
    May 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m not at my goal weight yet, but hopefully soon, and knowing some of the pitfalls that will come down the road is great. It must be even tougher because you’ve been so open on the blog so you have an extra step in there-admit it to everyone who follows you. Kudos to you for doing that!

    Reply
  11. Anna
    May 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm (3 years ago)

    So glad you’re back Beth. I thought you were busy with the new job and life and that’s why you weren’t posting anymore! If I would have known you were struggling I might have encouraged you to get back in the game! I appreciate that you share the good and bad on your blog – keep it up 🙂

    Reply
  12. Kristina
    May 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Yay! Beth, whenever I see a new blog post from you, I get SO excited! You’re my favorite blogger and you inspire me so much. I’m glad you want to take us on your journey. I’m also trying to get back on track. Best of luck to you, and all of us.

    Reply
    • Beth
      May 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Aww thank you Kristina – that comment just totally made my day! 🙂 Good luck to you, too!

      Reply
  13. Shelly
    May 29, 2014 at 2:08 pm (3 years ago)

    Amazing post! I do so many of the same things when I know I’ve gained weight. I’m working on being more patient and forgiving with myself. One step at a time.

    Reply
  14. louda313
    May 29, 2014 at 2:22 pm (3 years ago)

    I am really struggling too. I went to the doctor’s and I saw a number on the scale that was 15 pounds higher than my marathon weight (from October mind you) and I freaked out. I have been tracking religiously for a month now – even the splurges. And I have made it a priority to go to my Friday morning meetings. It is just hard for me to realize that I will be struggling with my weight for the rest of my life and I have to fight to keep it off.

    Reply
  15. Angel Luis
    May 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm (3 years ago)

    We’ve all been there. Stay strong!

    Reply
  16. Brooke: Not On A Diet
    May 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm (3 years ago)

    There really must be something in the water lately! I’m struggling as well! I’m currently 10 pounds about my original goal and I need to get my butt back on the wagon. I don’t want to lose my job (Weight Watchers leader) nor go anywhere near the weight I used to be.

    You’ve go this! And thank you for being honest!

    Reply
  17. Ryann
    May 29, 2014 at 11:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Beth – this is SUCH a great post and I’m so glad to see that you have returned to blogging! You are such an inspiration and I look forward to reading about this next part of your “journey.” I got down to my lowest weight of my adult life in 2011 (probably a little too low, to be honest) and have since gained 40 pounds due to stress, a new job, etc. I’m down about 15 pounds from there and continue to try to take the weight off, but it is not easy. Thank you for your honesty with all of your readers and reminding us that the journey is never really over (and that’s not a bad thing!). Take care.

    Reply
  18. Carrie B
    May 30, 2014 at 8:00 am (3 years ago)

    Glad you’re back.Your blog is so timely – I think many of us are challenged by weight maintenance. Keep us posted!

    Reply
  19. Debbie Laredo
    May 30, 2014 at 8:48 am (3 years ago)

    Love your blog. So glad you’re back.

    Reply
  20. jane tierney
    May 30, 2014 at 9:50 am (3 years ago)

    Good luck. You know you can do it. We’re rooting for you.

    Reply
  21. mindylipskyics
    May 30, 2014 at 11:22 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post Beth! I have been following your blog for a while now and I feel like we live parallel lives! I am about 10 years older (I turn 40 at the end of June), but our journey is very similar. I lost 99 pounds on WW from 2009 to 2011… I ran many races including a half marathon… but from 2012 to now I have slowly put back on 60 pounds (UGH that is hard to admit!) I recently lost 13 again but it has been a struggle. I ran a 5K in March and ran until the beginning of May, but if I am being honest here I haven’t really run since May 3rd… I have excuses but I need to look at reality. The part about this being a lifelong journey and that it most likely will never be an easy road, and that I have to be intentional for the REST OF MY LIFE is a hard pill to swallow. I’m am grateful for you being brave enough to share your story. You are not alone and neither am I. I will continue to follow your story and most likely will continue to see a little of myself in you! Thanks for being you, thanks for being honest and thanks for allowing us strangers to go on this journey with you. All the best to you! Mindy

    Reply
  22. Robin
    May 30, 2014 at 11:32 am (3 years ago)

    Beth, thanks for your honesty and for coming back! I’ve missed you!

    Reply
  23. Ang
    May 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m glad you are back to posting regularly. I appreciate you sharing your struggles. You are much easier to relate to than a lot of bloggers! 🙂

    Reply
  24. jennifer
    May 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm (3 years ago)

    Beth, I hope you can feel the love from everyone. I’m not a usual poster but I felt the need to one, let you know how much I look forward to your blog, makes my day and lets me know I’m not alone, almost like two bodies, one mind and two, that you are not alone. We are all in this together. So thank you for all that you do. Go get em gir!!

    Reply
  25. Laura
    June 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm (3 years ago)

    I so needed this post right now!

    Reply
  26. Deb
    June 3, 2014 at 3:30 am (3 years ago)

    Perfect timing! About a year ago I decided I was actually pretty happy with my weight. I was still technically overweight but I felt good, was happy, and we’ll, good. But as you said, an extra this or that and suddenly it seems like the scale is against you. I’m up almost 20 pounds from my all time low and I’m not okay with that. Pants are tight, some cute skirts I made don’t fit, not okay. I started my day count over again on my blog a few days ago, started taking did again via my fitness pal, and I started back to the gym and walking. The day count though. I feel like seeing a number signifying the start of something had really helped my mental state in this.

    Reply
  27. Karen K
    June 3, 2014 at 11:06 pm (3 years ago)

    Beth, thank you for being so honest. I’ve made it halfway to goal twice, only to slip up and gain all of it back again. Understanding this is a lifetime journey is the important. I’m doing my best to get back on track now. Your blog is tremendous motivator. Thanks for sharing with all of us on this journey.

    Reply
  28. Patsy Trantham
    September 11, 2014 at 10:09 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Beth, Just found your blog today. I was a WW leader for around 5 yrs and finally had to leave due to weight increase. That was in 2002, I went back 5 yrs ago and lost 35 lbs again. Now I am at my highest wt ever!! It is such a fight to keep it off. Over eaters are addicted to food. We have the same issues as any addict, or I do, when I start I can’t stop. When I am following the program, if I fall off at all, I am lost again. I can’t seem to start over I am so weak. Your blog has motivated me. Thanks for being so honest on here. I wish you great luck and happiness in yourself, no matter your size. I don’t seem to have that right now.

    Reply

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