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The Pain of the Re-gain

Friday, July 31, 2009

What follows is a Spark Blog I just read, about re-gaining weight. I really related to this because after loosing 15 lbs. with Spark People and regaining 10 of it, I've been starting to loose again. But what the f--- was I thinking last night?? I was pigging out before bed! I guess the point is that I WASN'T thinking last night. Just eating on "automatic pilot". This blog helped me to turn down the volume on my self criticism. Loosing weight is very difficult and clearly I'm not alone in the "Re-Gainer's Club". I feel like throwing up my hands in disgust and saying "I quit! I'm a big failure!", but this blog was the encouragement I needed to just pick myself up AGAIN and keep on keeping on.
The Shame and Pain of Regaining
By: Nancy Howard : 7/30/2009
This past Monday I had the rare opportunity to sit in front of the television for a few minutes before my husband came home from work. While channel surfing, I came across The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring a much heavier Kirstie Alley. I had not seen the original air date of the show, so I was quite fascinated to hear how she regained the weight she worked so hard to lose. Her story was followed by a segment featuring Michael Hebranko, once touted by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the world's greatest dieters. In the early 1990's, this man had lost 700 pounds in 19 months, only to regain the weight he had worked so hard to lose.

What struck me while watching Kirstie chat with Oprah was her humility and candor about regaining all the weight she had lost. I can only imagine how hard that must have been. While there were lots of jokes and jabs made about her downfall, it was as though you could sense her pain and disgust at having put the weight back on. She was honest in saying that she knew exactly why she regained her weight. Like many of us know all too well, she stopped weighing herself, working out and being mindful of the foods she was eating.

This show hit me with such a jolt of reality and one that I could relate to. Thankfully, my weight loss and subsequent regains were never chronicled by every tabloid on the market; but that still did not mean I did not experience a sense of shame and embarrassment each and every time I regained the weight. In the past, each time I had lost a sizable amount of weight only to regain it, I wondered what others thought of me. Did they see me as a constant failure? Someone who lacked self-discipline? Someone who was destined to be overweight for the rest of her life?

Looking back at the few photos I have of me prior to 2005, I can tell you precisely what diet I was on to get me to that weight, only to see me disappear from the photos just a few months later due to the inevitable weight regain-- too ashamed to be photographed. This was my life for the better part of 32 years.

It was, and still is, a struggle to think that I will never, ever regain the weight which is why running has been so instrumental in helping me face my own demon. The demon being that any moment in time can change the course I am currently on.

Why has this journey been so different from so many past failed attempts? Could I find myself in Kirstie's or Michael's shoes next year? I would like to think that I would not, but I can honestly say I don't know. I do not have a crystal ball but what I do know is that I have the support of a great community that will pick me up even when yes, we as experts, lose our own footing.

One very insightful comment came from Michael Hebranko when Oprah asked if he ever considered weight loss surgery. While he did not condemn those having the surgery, he said that his bypass needed to be here--he then pointed to his head. That was one of those Aha! moments! I realized at that very moment my mind has changed therefore, my life has changed. None of us are destined to be overweight for the rest of our lives. It may take some of us longer to reach our destination, but that is not failure. Failure is falling off the wagon and never having the courage to get back on now matter how many times we fall off.

So here's to all us who have fallen off the wagon and found the inner courage to get back on knowing that this is not a life sentence. Others are here to support you and encourage you even when you feel you do not have it within yourself to do so.

This by far was one of the toughest blogs for me to write. While I know I have come so far in my own personal journey, one never fully knows if they have truly conquered the beast. Time will tell, but I am in it for the fight of my life.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    In my way of thinking, there are no failures. Every moment we make decisions - what to eat, how much, when - what exercise to do or not do, for how long, where - it's all just decisions. What some look at as failures, I look at as just a decision - maybe a poor one - but since you were in charge, and you did what ever you did, it was just another decision.

    Every moment we are alive is another opportunity to make a different decision.

    Since I have let go of the idea of failing and really taken ownership of my decisions, life has changed so much - and for the better! I take the time I used to spend beating myself down, and use it to learn and move forward.

    Beating yourself won't burn calories, as hard as you might work at it. Let it go. Make a different decision next time if you aren't proud of the one you made this time. That's progress.
    3110 days ago
    It's so easy to say - I made my goal weight! I'm home free! I can do/eat/act as I want! I can sit on my tail and eat whatever I want all day long! Sorry - not true - not true - not true! Lifestyle changes are what do it and learning that 'falling off the wagon' for a day or two or a week or two or even (gasp!) a month or two (how much can we pack on in a month???) is not the end of the world, does not mean the end of our self worth, but should not be ignored! The house does not stay clean by itself, the dishes don't wash themselves, the food doesn't fix itself, the teeth don't brush themselves - and the fat doesn't burn itself! All take regular maintenance and attention to detail. If it got in bad shape quickly, it can probably be fixed fairly quickly - IF you catch the problem before it gets out of hand. Slow degradation will probably mean a greater problem - and more time to get it fixed! But any step in the right direction is 1000 times better than negative action or no action at all.
    3150 days ago
    Hi great blog thanks for sharing, and very informative
    too. I think we have it better because we are not dieting, people like Kristie are really on a diet with that food program and when they quit it whamo regain. We can do it the right way even if there are setbacks now and again.
    3151 days ago
  • CYND59
    I enjoyed reading the blog. I totally agree with you, loosing weight is not easy but it sure is easy to gain! A few weeks ago I started going downhill and eating all sorts of junk without even thinking about it and within a weeks time, the scale showed I had gained back six pounds! WoW! I was shocked how fast it came back. I had to step back and look at what I was doing. I was ashamed to change my ticker so I left it alone. I got back on track and thankfully, this morning I am back to what the ticker says! I need to be honest with myself and my Sparkpeople friends because we all have our ups and downs.

    It was a wake up call to me that I must stay focused! There is hope for all of us. We Can Do This - Together!
    3152 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this with all of us Linda! I too have been struggling with regaining twenty pounds from my lowest SP weight and I know we just need to keep on keeping on. The hard part for me is mind over matter... SIGH! We can do this though! Why? Because we have each other and we ahve SP... HUGS!
    3152 days ago
    Great blog!
    3152 days ago
    Just hang in there. The rewards are so much greater than the temporary work at it. You can make it.
    3152 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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