I don't know if I'm qualified to answer... I managed to lose and keep off about 45 lbs for 8 years. However, I had also lost another 55 lbs that I partially or totally regained and relost several times in that time. Right now, I'm still 20 lbs higher than my goal weight that I first achieved 5 years ago. So I would NOT call myself a "success story" by ANY means. But that said, those top 45 lbs did stay off, so that's something, I guess.
For me, it was something that I *always* knew, deep down, I would have to do at some point. I was obese starting around 5 yrs old and finally got to a healthy weight for the first time at age 27. So it was a long time coming. I spent all of my life dreaming / wishing / hoping that I would magically become a healthy weight but only a few years actually working at it willfully and strenuously.
I definitely had a "light switch" moment -- actually two of them, one at the beginning and one after regaining a lot and having to relose it. The first was a doctor's warning. The second was realizing that my new husband had never seen the best of me, and I felt ashamed and sad on his behalf.
Will this be forever? I don't know. I'm pretty sure that those top 45 lbs are never coming back because it takes long enough to gain all that weight that I do think I would manage to wake myself up before that happened but I'm very very conservative when I talk about my expectations for my future weight maintenance. I'm familiar with the statistics that 98% of people who lose weight gain it all back. I consider myself very fortunate not to have gained back the top 45 lbs and only to have gained back the bottom 55 (and happy to have lost most of that too). I do not have rose tinted glasses when it comes to how unlikely it is that a person who was always obese, and then loses a significant amount of weight, can keep it off for life. It's extremely unlikely if you look at it scientifically.
I recently came to the realization (after lots of reading) that I will be eating 1300 calories/day for the rest of my life. For a long time (many years) I assumed that when I would "transition to maintenance" , I would increase my calories slightly, say to 1700 calories/day, to maintain my weight. This is unfortunately not supported by scientific evidence. Rather the evidence very strongly suggests that 1300 calories is the appropriate daily intake for a previously obese woman who is maintaining a healthy weight.
I actually cried when I realized that. There is an element of loss in knowing that I will always restrict what I eat until the day I die. But like anything in life, there are pros and cons, and the pros outweigh the cons.
So to come back to the question -- well I was initially motivated by the doctor or my husband's misfortune BUT I also re-motivate myself every day or even multiple times/day in order to stay on track.
I'm not a success but I am actively working on it.
I definitely understand the feeling of helplessness and the daunting task of taking on a large weight loss. I do have to say though that even my wake up call wasn't enough for me to make a change right then and there (it's on my sparkpage if you want to read it) I also read about people who lost the weight in about 1 year's time, or maybe 2 if they had an especially large amount of weight to lose. Personally, I have been working on this for about 3 years (I took 2012 off to just 'enjoy the view' and celebrate the fact that I had gotten as far as I did). I'm motivated now by the fact that my body can do so much more than it could when I was more overweight. I actually enjoy exercising-especially jogging! That's my new fun thing. I still struggle with food, and I actually believe that the fact that I started seeing a counselor helped me lose the majority of this weight. I was using food to cope-and I still catch myself doing it (for example right now I'm almost done with this term, and the stress is definitely getting to me!)
Some people just get sick of it, and they change their lives, and while they still experience difficulties in between, for the most part, they experience steady loss to their goal weight. I personally did not go that way. It's been a crazy roller coaster ride of finding out what works for me and what doesn't. It also consisted of feeling like I wanted to give up, then giving up for about a week, and then getting mad at myself and jumping back on it. Everyone's story is as unique as the individual.
Don't feel like you're not normal because something hasn't "clicked" within you. Everyone's motivations, support systems, and rewards are different. I personally am not motivated by wearing cute clothes because even if I could shop in any store I wanted to, my finances wouldn't allow me to shop in any store I wanted. Your own motivation has to come from within you.
I always wonder how does the switch work for those people who are suddenly able to lose weight, keep it off and become a success story? You read the stories of morbidly obese people that were 200 pounds overweight, one day they decided to lose the weight and that's it there was no stopping them. I am one of those that have never been able to succed. I do dream about losing the weight, I think I want it badly enough. However, I see myself fail time after time. I beat myself up, I feel so dissapointed and disgusted with my lifestyle and/or eating habits but then I go straight to the binge eating, non-stop eating, mindless eating. I feel so out of control.
If someone was ever really big, morbidly obese, I m sure they went through this kind of things I am going through. What I want to know is what happened? What changed that made them stop and change paths? What is strong enough to make this change consistent? How can I do it myself?
I feel hopeless, and desperate at times. I feel unable to stop and control my weight gain.
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