Where to Begin?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve started writing this post, either on a computer or in my head, over the last year a half (!) since I last posted here. When healthy living and weight loss are not front and center in your life, it’s REALLY hard to figure out how to maintain a blog that’s supposed to focus on those very things. But let me just cut right to the chase – I need to figure out how to make those things central again.

You know the all-too-familiar drill.

Giving in to the pizza for lunch at work one time instead of eating your pre-packed lunch, which somehow leads to being unable to recount the last time you actually packed a healthy lunch to bring to work.

Skipping one workout after work one night to do something more fun with friends somehow leads to getting so far out of your healthy routine that it’s a constant fight to just get yourself to the gym one time.

One pound leads to five pounds, which leads to being scared to know how many pounds it actually is because it’s been too long since you’ve even stepped on the scale.

And let me tell you, it’s definitely not for lack of trying, or thinking, about how to get back on track. I’ve joined, quit, rejoined, quit, and rejoined Weight Watchers during this last year and a half. (I’m currently in the “rejoin” category but haven’t yet fully committed even one of those times.) I’ve joined a new gym and a new-to-me yoga studio. I’ve tried lots of new recipes and meal planning techniques. I even tried a 15 day challenge, which required me to stock up on protein powder, which are currently half full in my pantry. But all of these things have been half-assed, if I’m being honest.

I really do want to lose the weight again. I want to be back to where I once was, where I’d be excited to see pictures after an event with friends, instead of feeling a sense of panic when I get a notification that I’ve been tagged in a photo, for fear of how fat I might look in the picture. I want to feel good when I look in my closet to get dressed in the morning, instead of feeling on the verge of tears with my limited clothing options that fit. I want to be the person who feels that something is missing when they’ve skipped a workout, instead of feeling like a champion if I make it once.

Unfortunately, this post isn’t one filled with answers and advice. It’s just a post that’s a real, honest account of how much I’ve been struggling to get back on track. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me what piece of advice I would have for someone starting out on their weight loss journey. Though I don’t feel like I am qualified to dole out advice at this point, what came to mind is something I needed to remind myself of, so I wanted to put it out there for you, too.

Know that you’ll mess up and fall off the wagon, more times than you expect. What matters is not that you are perfect or that you don’t mess up, but how quickly you make yourself get back on the wagon after you fall. Dust yourself off as soon as you are able, forgive yourself, and make your next choice a healthy one.

Question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or given about getting (re) started on a weight loss journey?

51 Comments on Where to Begin?

  1. Carol
    July 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Good to hear from you again. Looking forward to your wisdom.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:03 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks, Carol! Looking forward to having that wisdom to share, again. 🙂

  2. Sarah
    July 25, 2016 at 1:14 pm (4 years ago)

    Whole30!! Life changing, truly.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Sarah! I tried Whole30 and made it to Day 27… I blogged some about the process on here. I can definitely see how it would work really well for some people, but I found myself feeling so restricted and fantasizing about all the things I would eat after the 30 days in a very unhealthy way, so I stopped. It’s not something I’ll rule out to try again, perhaps just more evidence than I really have tried everything! Thanks for sticking with me!

      • Sarah
        July 27, 2016 at 11:27 pm (4 years ago)

        I struggled returning to life after Whole30 too. I think I gained more than I lost. I recently finished my second round and this time it clicked better. I think it might take another round or two for this lifestyle to really become more permanent. I learn more about myself and my relationship with food each time. I would encourage you to think about trying it again. If you read comments on Whole30 boards / Instagram / blogs, you’ll often see that it took people several rounds to get to an easier, healthier relationship with food. Good luck!

  3. Rebecca
    July 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Such a real and raw account of the down times in a weight loss journey. Currently in the same state with myself and my blog “my delightful discoveries” I wish there was some kind of button we could push to restart our will and motivation. Good luck to you and keep your head up. One day at a time.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Rebecca! If there’s one thing you can always count on me for, it’s honesty! Sorry you’re dealing with this too, though. Good luck!!

  4. Lauren
    July 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m a long time reader (and fan!). Two things came to mind when I read your post — sharing in case you haven’t already seen them:

    Gretchen Rubin on abstainers vs. moderators: http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2012/10/back-by-popular-demand-are-you-an-abstainer-or-a-moderator/

    The Joyful Eating Program — focused on intuitive eating and recently launched by some RD bloggers:

    Congrats on taking the first step! Even if it’s not the first or the fifth time, it’s so much better than giving in/up.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:43 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Lauren! Thanks for your comment and for the resources! I have seen the Abstainers v. Moderators concept before, but the Joyful Eating Program is new to me, so I’ll check it out. And you are so right – restarting for the millionth time is much, much better than not trying at all!

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm (4 years ago)

      ALSO – I’m definitely an abstainer for the record!

      • Lauren
        July 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm (4 years ago)

        Same! Hence why moving in with my boyfriend has raised peanut butter consumption to near emergency status since I never used to have it in the house!

  5. Sarah
    July 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Beth, I am right there with you. Up and down over the past few years, not attending WW meetings as often as I should. My best piece of advice is specifically geared towards re-starting a weight loss journey: Get back to the basics and do what you know works for you.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Sarah! There’s at least some comfort in knowing we’re not going it alone, eh? That is great advice. Back to the basics, and also, one step/meal/decision/day at a time…

  6. Rose
    July 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm (4 years ago)

    21 Day Fix by Beachbody! The first round I lost 10lbs and many inches and that was doing the modified workouts due to bad knees, etc. After that I just follow the guide of the containers when fixing meals and have managed to maintain my weight.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Rose! Congrats on your success with the program! My sisters both do the 21DF semi-regularly and I’ve tried a few of the workouts with them. The 15 day challenge I did is sort of similar, but I didn’t try the actual 21 Day Fix. I’m glad to hear you had such a good experience with it and figured out how to incorporate some of the habits you learned past the 21 days!

  7. Katie
    July 25, 2016 at 1:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I literally just signed up for WW again today. I gained weight during fertility treatment, multiple oregnancies, etc. In my mind there was a “reason” for the gain – which there was, but not for ALL the gain. I’ve lost 50lbs since having my last child, but need the extra support and accountability to get back to lifetime. All this to say I’m excited you’re back!! And thank you for your honesty. It is hard.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Damn good for you for having so much success on your own, and for holding yourself accountable enough to rejoin WW and know you need that support to get back to where you want to be! I’ve honestly decided to take it one day at a time for now… I started today with a juice for breakfast, a shanghai chicken salad from Cosi for lunch, and then am drinking lots of water. Gym clothes with me to go after work, and then I’ll head to the grocery store to stock up on some healthy food for the rest of the week. I don’t know what my “plan” is for longterm, and I know I don’t need to have that answer right now, but I do know that I am ready to make some changes and the best way to start is with today!

  8. Beth
    July 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh, how I relate to every word you said. The main thing that really seems to motivate me is an event at which I want to look smashing, such as my high school reunion, a vacation. etc. Day to day gets a little boring, I admit. I lost the most weight on WW Points Plus, and tried Smart Points, but it was too restrictive. I’m a huge proponent of having treats (and yes, sugar) in moderation while losing weight, otherwise I will binge it later! I have tons of great PP+ recipes and snacks if you’d like to try them. I keep track in an old school notebook, and have most points memorized by now. I slipped about 6 lbs, and am coming back with a vengeance, this time because I want to, for all the reasons you listed (photos, clothes fitting better, etc.) Thanks for your honesty, and keep up the good fight!

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm (4 years ago)

      I’ve never had success with picking a date/event to try to be healthy by, but I can definitely see how that would be motivating! I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about SmartPoints, but many people agree with your sentiment that it’s too restricting. WW should let people follow SPs or PPTs, whichever works best for them, even if SP is based off the latest science. So much of weight loss is mental, so if we feel more restricted on a plan even if it’s supposed to be the best, we won’t be as successful.

      And good for you for getting yourself back on track after just 6 lbs. As I’m sure you know, it’s wayyyyyyy too easy for that 6 to turn into 10 to turn into…

      Thanks for staying along for the ride with me! It is definitely comforting to know that I’m not alone in my struggles.

  9. Phyllis E. Apkarian-Gaumond
    July 25, 2016 at 2:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for your strength of character shown with this latest posting. My struggle with weight continues, yet in February I fell and broke the femur in my left leg. I’ve been in a nursing home/rehab since, and probably another month, too. I lost 28 lbs almost within a month from the painkillers, the vomiting from the painkillers, and the effort needed to do the therapy. When I stopped the painkillers, I found how easy to put it back on. One pound here, one pound there. I can’t afford to do Weight Watcher’s anymore – fixed income – husband has passed. And yet I know that some day soon, I will be walking again. And I will be able to get back home and cook for myself.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Phyllis – I’m so sorry that you’re having such a rough patch while recovering from injury! While it seems painkillers may work for weight loss, it’s probably not anyone’s preferred method when it involves throwing up! 🙂 There are so many different options available if WW doesn’t fit into your budget, many of which are free. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about MyFitnessPal, which I’ve used some, and is a good way to track your calorie intake. It sounds like right now though, you just need to focus on your recovery and getting yourself well enough to be able to walk again! Weight loss can only be front and center when there’s space for it… Thinking of you and sending you healing vibes!

  10. Annie
    July 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm (4 years ago)

    The best was by one of my best friends and M.D: “Overweight is not the disease, it is the symptom” Meaning, it is more than the choices of how/what to eat. It is a symptom of something that hurts inside. It could be fear, control, anger… I found my triggers and the anger beneath my binges. Good luck, I hope you find your reasons.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm (4 years ago)

      That sounds like a lot of work to figure out the answer to, but I know you are right. 🙂 I always loved the advice about setting goals based on what is in your control and that weight loss should be a side effect not a goal (ie. eat X number of veggies a day, workout X times a week, etc – all things we do in fact have control of).

  11. Nina
    July 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm (4 years ago)

    Been following you for years. I am a life time WW but I gave up on it several years ago (15). I found that eating whole natural foods helped me more than anything. I was eating too much fake, additives in my foods on WW. I think anything low fat is not good for you. I have been able to maintain my weight on eating low carb whole foods and I really only walk on the treadmill a few times a week. It is so much better than trying to count points and having to pay attention to everything you’re eating. Love, love love dark chocolate and eat it every day. And I have my splurge days too.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Nina! From what I gather, the new Smart Points system is largely focused on eating the way you do now, but a lot of people are resistant to it because it feels too restrictive. It’s not rocket science to know that eating more of the stuff that’s good for us – lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, etc – will lead to weight loss, but it’s so much harder to put that into action when you take into account all of the temptations and social influences that get in the way of good choices. Sounds like you’ve figured out a system that works for you and doesn’t feel like too much work – CONGRATS! I hope to get there someday, too. 🙂

  12. nina zotter
    July 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm (4 years ago)

    I was wondering where you were. I loved reading your receipts always cooking something interesting. Looking forward to maybe some new ones.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Throughout this lapse in healthy living, I have continued to cook and create recipes, and do hope to share some on the blog soon. Thanks for staying along for the (long) ride, Nina!

  13. Darla
    July 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve been back at WW for a couple of months now and it (of course) does work. I’ve decided to do a couple of things differently. 1. I know that I’m never going to maintain the perfect weight so I’m trying to make my long term weight goal realistic and that said 2. I know that I will make goal and then I will slip up and have to go back. So I may never let my membership lapse again. I know that I will lapse especially in the Winter and will just have to have a once a year “come to Jesus” event ;^)

  14. Jaime Hof
    July 25, 2016 at 5:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for this post. Its as if you wrote exactly what I have been thinking. I went from a year and a half of working out everyday and being on track to being completely side tracked with working full time, taking grad classes, moving out of state, and planning a wedding for the last 6 months and into that time it easier to order the pizza, skip working out, and not focus on what I need to focus on. I know I need to get back to it and partially motivated but it’s not front and center yet like it once was. The wedding was 2 weeks ago, my classes are done for quite a while, I’m settled in my new house and I’m at a loss for how to regain my drive to work out and eat right. I’ve been debating the 21 day fix when we return from vacation on August 6. So hard. However, thank you for sharing.

  15. CC
    July 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Welcome back Beth!! I’ve missed you and your posts so much!

  16. Bekah
    July 25, 2016 at 5:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Well, here i am sitting shoulder to shoulder with you on the same boat. i was so disciplined and focused before. i don’t know why i can’t stick to it this time around. i dont know how i let myself gain so much weight back. my family jokingly love to say that i’m “always” on a diet. i’m told i obsess over what i’m eating too much… if that’s true then how am I 30lbs over weight?!? anywho… i was too busy this weekend to get to the grocery this weekend so i’ll do that today after work and get back on the wagon tonight at dinner.

    you’re not alone and you STILL encourage me. don’t give up… i know i won’t either.

    Love from Texas!!!

  17. Sally
    July 25, 2016 at 7:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Beth! Thank you for writing this and for trying again. Since hitting lifetime, leaving a job, moving, and caring for my mom through a terminal illness I have had a lapse too. Somehow I’ve been able to maintain within 5-10# of my goal weight but have not been able to get back there. And consistently tracking food/SP has just not been something I am doing. It’s funny how even in this time with limited social obligations or temptations (new in town without many friends) I am still having trouble with food — likely because I’m using it for comfort, distraction etc.

    I do hope you keep writing – it helps me so much to have the (virtual) companionship of others in this struggle.

  18. Mindy
    July 25, 2016 at 7:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Welcome back to to blogging! I was so excited to see your name pop up on my feed! As for the weight thing, I know full well that it is an ongoing struggle. I’m very, very, very slowly taking off the weight I gained over much of 2015 and early 2016.

  19. Jillian
    July 25, 2016 at 9:04 pm (4 years ago)

    What a nice surprise to see your post come up in my feed! Don’t be too hard on yourself, as frustrating as it is, you’re not alone. I have faith in you and hope you reach a point of contentment in your journey.

  20. Jennifer
    July 25, 2016 at 9:44 pm (4 years ago)

    I cannot believe the Timing! I was just on your site last night!! Been hoping all this time you would come back to us and thought I would check on the off chance I missed something. And here you are!! Thank you for taking that leap. You are an inspiration!

  21. Kiki
    July 25, 2016 at 10:30 pm (4 years ago)

    If only we knew all the answers. It’s frustrating. After successfully losing over 75 lbs over two years ago .. I have basically put most of it back on for reasons that are both in my control and out of my control – Poor choices and an injury. its definitely a life long struggle for myself and I don’t know that it’s ever one I will completely win.

  22. Ruth
    July 26, 2016 at 7:16 am (4 years ago)

    My advice would be: just worry about today. Make good choices today, celebrate your success for today. Put on repeat.
    Don’t think about tomorrow except when you have to pack your lunch tonight.
    Just put your head down and plow thru till it’s suddenly a habit again. Lol, it seems to be my way to get things ok again.

  23. Jen
    July 26, 2016 at 7:46 am (4 years ago)

    Welcome back, find a way to put one foot in front of the other. Looking forward to following your journey.

  24. Pattie
    July 26, 2016 at 9:12 am (4 years ago)

    Hi!! I’m so glad you are back! It has been YEARS since I’ve been to a WW meeting. But I try to pay attention to what I eat. I also run 3 times a week. This summer I saw my weight creep up to about 10 pounds above my comfort zone. So I knew I had to do something. I’m doing Whole30 now. and it is super restrictive and I hate it and I am constantly complaining. But I think it is working. maybe. I’m only on day 16, so we’ll see how things are a month from now.

    good luck. there are no easy answers or a quick fix. Just keep at it and know you have support

  25. Elsa Barbi
    July 26, 2016 at 9:38 am (4 years ago)

    I’m in the same EXACT boat… wearing the same jeans and no longer feeling comfortable in my own skin. I weighed in last Sat and was just fed up with myself. Went straight to the store and stocked up on all good foods. Went to the gym and concentrating on weights, no cardio. I was once within 10 lbs of my goal and now I’m 24 lbs away. I still go to meetings. I’ve also made a promise to myself that I will only have a drink if I actually make plans to go out for a drink, whereas I use to drink every time I’d go out for dinner. oh and I actually started tracking everyday again, so I’m not worrying about losing weight because I trust WW. You know it really works!

  26. Linz
    July 26, 2016 at 10:46 am (4 years ago)

    Oh my god, I can so related to this. Hit my lowest weight 6 years ago and currently just 30 pounds away from my heaviest. It is so frustrating when we know exactly how to do lose the weight but can’t quite make ourselves do it.

    My problem right now is consistency my current goal is making habits. I used to never even think about going to the gym after work, now its a struggle instead of something I just do. I used to never even think about a diet made mostly of veggies but now that’s a huge problem.

    The best way it ever worked for me was to start small. Change 1 thing at a time instead of overhauling all diet and excercise at once. When we try to change our entire routine we set up for failure. Focus on a healthy dinner or lunch, then let that habit trickle down to the other meals. Focus on 15 minutes at the gym and watch your time grow along with the intensity of your workouts.

    At least that’s what I’m telling myself to do right now! So glad you’re back, looking forward to following this chapter of your journey.

  27. Robin
    July 26, 2016 at 2:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Hey, are you living in my life space or what? ditto, and ditto to all you wrote. You rock Beth!

  28. Suzy
    July 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm (4 years ago)

    So glad to see you back! You honest account of your journey is wonderful.

  29. Carol
    July 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Going through the same thing at the moment. Well, not the same – I never reached goal. I’ve just rejoined after a 2 month break and hoping I can stick with it. Good luck to you!

  30. Kate
    July 27, 2016 at 1:07 pm (4 years ago)

    Good to hear from you, Beth! I’m sure this was a scary post to write, but it takes a lot of guts to be as honest as you’ve been! You’re definitely not alone! The best piece of advice was to stop comparing myself to anybody. Whether it’s comparing myself to other people (my friends who can eat anything or drink beers daily and stay thin) or to my past self (I used to be able to run xx miles now I can barely run for 30 seconds), it just gives me ammo to beat myself up. I’m proud that I can catch those thoughts now and focus on what I can do right now.

    Showing up is the hardest part and you already did that. Best of luck!

  31. Adrienne F Norris
    July 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m so glad you’re back!

  32. Kelly Steinhilper
    August 3, 2016 at 11:44 am (4 years ago)

    I’m so excited to hear from you again. Five years ago I began the journey to lose 60 pounds. I started Halloween of 2011. It took me 16 months but I did it. I stayed within 5 pounds of that weight for 2 years but this past year I’ve seen it inching up farther than I’d like. I’m about 10 pounds higher now. I’m refocusing my efforts to lose this 10 pounds (I’ve never in my life lost more than a pound a week) by Christmas. I’m training for a half marathon and using a pr in that race as my motivation rather than focusing on the diet part. Things that help me are exercising at least 40 minutes a day 5 days a week, I eat vegetarian and I track everything I eat in myfitnesspal.com. It really is a constant challenge but I agree with your approach. It has to be something you can live with day in and day out. You only live once and it shouldn’t be remembered as a diet. It should be fun packed, fried packed, family packed and wonderful. Somewhere in there is the balance 🙂 Good luck to you – I’m excited to read about your success!

  33. Khaleef (Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet)
    August 9, 2016 at 5:13 pm (4 years ago)

    Beth, I am in the same position that you are in. After losing 75lbs I started having back and shin problems and gained 100!! So recently I found myself weighing more than I ever did before – after losing 75lbs in public with a blog, YT channel, and social media. So now I have the embarrassment of having failed in front of everyone and hoping that my vow to get back into shape doesn’t sound hollow because of it.

    Anyway, I’ll be here rooting for you! Btw…I’m already down 9lbs in about a week just from eating fresh food at home.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your success!

  34. Laura
    August 9, 2016 at 7:24 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m so very excited to see you back again! I see so much of myself in your post….I too have done the “rejoining of weight watchers without actually committing” too many times to count. This past week I’ve really done well with choices and tracking without making myself feel like I’m on a “diet”. I weigh in tomorrow night, hoping for the best!

  35. Alexa
    August 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Beth,

    I’m so happy you are posting again. I used to follow your blog regularly (never commented before though) while I was on my own weight loss journey where I lost about 80 lbs. Fast forward two years and I have gained it back, and the shame of “failing” at maintaining my weight loss has been so painful. Avoiding family get togethers, skipping parties and events just because of the shame I feel. So I totally get why you didn’t want to come back to the blog – but I am SO PROUD of you for confronting your fears and sharing your journey with us. Your honesty and positivity are two of the reasons I really enjoy your writing, and I’m so happy you are back. We are all in this together – and we can do it!!

  36. Mary
    September 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm (4 years ago)

    I just found your blog today, and I just wanted to say, I feel like I could have written this entry myself. It’s always comforting to know that you’re not alone! Best of luck to you (and me) as we get back on that wagon again!


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