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Why THIS time is different

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

I think for many (maybe most) of us here on Sparkpeople, this is not our first weight loss attempt. I know that I have tried to lose weight dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times. A few times, I was even successful--losing as much as 60 pounds. If you look at my weight over the last 20 years, it has steadily increased.

When I started losing weight on August 19, 2009, I thought it was just any other attempt. I really believed that I wouldn't make it through the day, let alone a week or month or year. I did not think that "this time is different" like I'd said so many times before.

And now, 57 weeks and 114 pounds later, I KNOW this time is different. I've learned so many lessons over the past year that have taught me what I need to know in order to keep the weight off. I've learned new habits that would be impossible to UNlearn. Knowing all that I know NOW, regaining all this weight just doesn't seem possible.

I'm not saying that it's going to be easy for me. I know that I'm going to struggle with this my entire life. But now that I've had a little taste of being in a thin body, I just cannot imagine letting myself get that overweight again. Physically, my entire life is different; my body feels so much healthier--the way God intended it to feel.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned over the past 57 weeks, and hopefully help someone else who is struggling to make THIS time different...

*A sweet tooth CAN be trained. When I was fat, I couldn't get enough sugar. While "dieting" in the past, I used to eat oatmeal with 2 Tbsp of brown sugar in it! It didn't sound like a lot to me at the time. This time, I started cutting back on the sugar very slowly and now I can use 1 tsp of maple syrup in my oats, or even just a banana for natural sweetness. I wouldn't be able to gag down a bowl of oats with 2 Tbsp of sugar now! When I first consciously started cutting back on the sugar, things tasted a little bland. However, by keeping at it, I retrained my sweet tooth.

*A taste for salt can be trained as well. When I started eating less and less processed foods, I noticed that I could really taste the sodium in foods where I hadn't noticed it before. I very rarely add salt to anything now, and by eating mainly unprocessed foods, my sodium intake is almost always under the recommended 2,300 mg/day.

*You're not ALWAYS going to be motivated. Sometimes, it's really really tempting to quit. When I'm feeling that way, I think of what a childish attitude that is. The, "I want it now and I can't have it, so I'm just going to quit!" attitude. It sounds a little ridiculous to have a temper tantrum over food. I need to be a grown-up, and being a grown-up means taking control over what I put into my body, and doing what is RIGHT for my body.

*I get right back on track after eating too much. I always account for everything I eat, and once in a while, I eat too much (usually emotional eating). In the past weight loss attempts I've had, I would take that and run with it. I'd say, "I already blew it, might as well get the ice cream I've been craving, and the cookies, and the pizza that I haven't had in FOREVER. I'll just start fresh tomorrow." And you all know how that goes... tomorrow never comes! You keep telling yourself that just one day will not make that big of a difference. Now, since *I* am in control of myself, I realize that I ate too much and I just stop the eating for that day. I continue to count my calories, weigh and measure my food, etc. Even when I went to Minnesota to do the Ragnar Relay with my brother and I gained 6 pounds (yes, 6!!) from not counting my calories, I went right back into my routine. It took me two weeks to undo the damage that occurred in just 3 days.

*I will HAVE TO count calories for the rest of my life if I want to keep this weight off. I proved that when I went to MN. I tried to eat "intuitively" and make healthy choices, but I learned that I "intuitively" wanted chips, cookies, trail mix, etc. ;)

*I've realized that sometimes, LIFE ISN'T FAIR. I used to whine about how "everyone else" could eat a whole sleeve of Oreos, or fatty pizza, or drink fishbowl-sized margaritas and still be thin, so why can't I? Over the past year, I've realized that it's NOT fair, and I had to accept that. I've actually made peace with it now. Throughout my journey, people have told me, "But you have to treat yourself! It's okay if you do it once in a while!" There are a couple of foods that I refuse to give up--full-fat ice cream and regular sugar. I DESPISE sugar substitutes, and I will never use them. I do love frozen yogurt and low-fat ice cream, but I do have to have my full-fat premium ice cream now and again. Those things are my "occasional treats". Other than those two things, I am perfectly fine substituting foods--I make a whole wheat, low-cal pizza, Monster cookies instead of Oreos, light beer instead of margaritas, etc. Those are substitutes that I AM WILLING TO LIVE WITH. Sure, I would love to drink a margarita, but all those calories just aren't worth it to me. I'm happy with a light beer instead.

*A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. In the past, I was either bingeing or dieting. I would either exercise every single day, or not at all. I would eat a whole container of ice cream, or none. I've since learned that the all-or-nothing mentality is what caused me to quit when it got tough. If I had a slip up, I would quit because my record was no longer perfect.

*Another lesson I've learned is that there are people out there who wanted me to fail. Even some of my "friends". If you want to see who your true friends are, lose 100+ pounds! For the most part, I've gotten a lot of support from my family and friends. There are a few people, however, who would try and tell me how to eat and convince me that it was okay to treat myself "just this once". When I started getting close to my goal, I could see the jealousy in their eyes when someone would compliment me. I used to be "the fat friend" and now, dare I say it(?), I'm more like competition for "the hot friend" :) I've gotten a lot of attention since losing the weight, and a few of my old friends have been bothered by that. The way I've handled this is to just surround myself by people that truly care about me. I don't care to be friends with people that don't have my best interest at heart.

*I've learned it's perfectly acceptable to say NO to people. When I first started losing weight, most people saw it as just another lame attempt that was going to fail... and who could blame them? I had started a diet God-only-knows how many times! When these people would offer me something I knew I shouldn't (or didn't want to, or chose not to) eat, I simply said "No thank you." Those three words will make or break the weight loss journey. I started making my decisions and not letting anyone else sway my decision, and that was that. At first, I could see the skepticism in their eyes, but after I lost 30, 40, 50, 100 pounds, they believed that I knew what I was doing. Now, 114 pounds lighter, *I* get the last laugh!

This was a hastily written blog, so I hope it's not too difficult to read!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I know this is older but man, it totally resonates with me. I know that it will be a lifelong effort, I will always have to watch my calories, people I love want to sabotage me (usually because they feel guilty that I am making progress and they are not), I am allowed to say no, and most important I alone am responsible for every aspect of this journey and me alone!
    1228 days ago
  • JAMY130
    This is an awesome blog, thank you for sharing insights that worked for you. Seems more doable when it's from a real person instead of an article. You are an inspiration for me and one day I want to be an inspiration too.
    Thank you emoticon
    1881 days ago
    Just came across this blog & it's just as pertinent now as when it was written! THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom. I love to learn from successful Sparklers!
    2166 days ago
  • MRS_GLAM44
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    2346 days ago
    That's AWESOME! I am SO gonna have a post like this, on Christmas day! (that's my goal deadline, it's my Christmas present to myself). And it's gonna be AWESOME!

    2444 days ago
    Thank you SO much for sharing. It's truly a help to see someone get done what I want to do, and know it is someday possible for me also. So, thank you. Keep it up and you rock!
    2456 days ago
  • BYRDIE34
    Love this blog... very inspiring!
    2458 days ago
    Great blog!!!
    2462 days ago
    Good for you and sticking to what you believe and doing it for you and not any one else..
    2462 days ago
    you are so right about getting to know your real friends after loosing weight. I have lost about 40lbs but it has been enough to find out those that are jealous and those that want to "hurt" the progress - sad, isn't it? but the real thing is that they are just not worth keeping in our lives.

    Thanks for sharing this list. You are very inspirational - you have come a long way and for you to sharing your journey and what you have learned means a lot to some of us who are struggling to continue right now. Thanks!
    2494 days ago
    I have just started SP and you are a real inspiration!
    2535 days ago
  • GRAMMY441
    Great blog with lots of good points. Thank you for sharing.
    2545 days ago
    All I can say is thank you. Thank you for your words, for the time you took to write them. I hope to write something like this very soon...
    2553 days ago
    Thank You. So many things you said hit home with me. I am glad to know that there are other people out there facing the same problems and over coming them. Very encouraging.
    2554 days ago
    AWESOME blog and insights into this journey. You've learned it, applied it, and worked hard and are dedicated to doing so from now on, you deserve every bit of attention and compliments you get! You look absolutely gorgeous!! Keep up the great work. Thanks so much for sharing!
    2554 days ago
    These are great lessons you've learned! Thanks for sharing them. I get scared sometimes that I will fall back into old behaviors and undo all my hard work. It's nice to know there are so many people out there who are on the same path as me and SUCCEEDING over long periods of time. I guess I'll just have to keep reading great blogs like yours and reminding myself that it can be done.
    2555 days ago
    I am so encouraged by your writing. I've added you as a friend and people like you are the reason I know I'm in it to win it this time. I'm so grateful for you sharing your wisdom and journey! emoticon
    2555 days ago
    I love this, and I ESPECIALLY appreciated you likening wanting to quit with throwing a temper tantrum about food. I will keep that image in my mind as I work to teach my 2 kids that throwing tantrums is not the way to deal with things - I guess I have to walk that walk, too, huh? Thanks for the reminder. You are SO inspiring. emoticon emoticon
    2555 days ago
    Thank you for sharing - this blog is so inspiring, I agree with and have experienced all your observations. Keep on keepin' on!
    2555 days ago
    Congrats on your 5K run!!! Your right about asweet tooth can be trained as well as fried and processed food. I don,t care for any of that stuff any more. My body tells me. I,ve just started to do an interval jog walk with LS cd. You have a lot to be proud of!!! Cherie
    2557 days ago
    Even though I've lost a significant amount of weight, there are still things I needed to read in your blog. Thank you for writing it.
    2560 days ago
    Wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing!
    2560 days ago
    You are a great writer and it wasn't difficult to read at all. But so many times I said - that's me or I've done that or said that. And I know what it feels like to be the fat friend that doesn't have many friends. I know that the people that stick with me now and throughout the journey will be the ones by my side in the end!

    One thing that's a big issue for me (even though I know it shouldn't be), is proving it to my soon to be Step-daughters. They are all teenagers and perfectly thin and never have or will have a weight problem ever in there lives and they met me when I was thin and happy - and have watched me gain 75+ lbs in the past year and a half and I so badly want to lose it to prove that I can! They have seen me start and fail a million diets...they have gone to Walmart at godly hours and bought a ton of junk food with me! Because who doesn't want brownies at 2am?? But I honestly think they liked and respected me more when I was thinner and not that I want to win them over by getting thin - I just want to prove that I can finally finish something I start and that it's not as easy for everyone!!!

    2560 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/14/2010 5:08:07 AM
    Thank you for adding me. I have a long journey ahead of me and when I feel discouraged I'm going to read your page.
    2561 days ago
    You are amazing and you should be so proud. NO ONE said this journey would be easy, but if it was - would it be worth it. You did it = you focused and made it possible. Congratulations to you. I am like you= there are certain things I will NEVER give up. Condiments- like salad dressing- I use lite but typically do not really measure, and I also LOVE ice cream but I will eat both- lite or regular. Also = JIMMIES- (choc sprinkles) CAN NOT live with out them. It would be uncivilized.
    2561 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing this! We can all learn something from this one! I have lost my first 20 lbs. with 124 to go! Your page is really an inspiration to me! Thanks again! Terry
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    2564 days ago
    I have been working out for months now and still am battling the same 20 lbs. I wonder if you can give me some advice on the eating end of it. I KNOW that i am getting enough exercise in but to no avail. I am at the same weight as when I started in May.

    Thank you
    2567 days ago
    I am at the beginning of my journey, and I am also 5'4". I can't wait to be where you are and I am ready to take each day and make the most of it! I love that you don't cheat, but instead work whatever the food is into you calories for the day. I have been doing that and instead of feeling weak for the indulgence I feel strong because I still made my nutrition goals for the day! Keep it up! You are an inspiration to those of us with a long road ahead of us!
    2567 days ago
    that is a fantastic and inspiring blog and it just flowed emoticon for your words of wisdom
    2569 days ago
    You are ROCKING IT girl!!! emoticon Brava!!!
    2569 days ago
    Thank you! for sharing and God bless you and contnued success in reaching all your goals in life.
    Have a great week!
    2570 days ago
    Girl i could NOT have said it better !!! i am so much like you !!
    2571 days ago
    This blog does not seem to be written in haste. I am very motivated by what you have written! Congratulations and you look great!
    2571 days ago
  • KATIE3403
    I really loved what u had to say. I think knowing that someone else has a sweet tooth and over came it is much motivation that it can be done. Everything you talked about is what I see myself going through right now so thank you for sharing your story I know now that I am not alone. Great job and keep up the good work
    2572 days ago
    WOW! Well said! Pat
    2572 days ago
    I so loved this blog! Thank you for sharing your is possible, isn't it! You are doing an amazing job!!
    2572 days ago
  • BEEBEE75
    Inspiring, encouraging blog. Yes, we have all been there, done that. I wouldn't even be able to count all the "diets" I've been on. And I am the "all or nothing type" also.

    You have done an amazing job and should be so proud of yourself. Keep it up, and have a happy life. You deserve it.

    2573 days ago
    This was a great entry. Thanks for sharing. I agree with all of it. I've been there with the all or nothing and am trying to stop. I am also working on saying no to the people I love when they want to go to Olive Garden or go get ice cream and a whole bunch of other things I don't need in my life right now. Again, thanks for always sharing with us. You are an inspiration.
    2573 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! You inspire me to start taking care of myself, sometimes I just don't know where to begin though. Your transformation is amazing!
    2573 days ago
    you make me happy
    2573 days ago
  • -SHE-WOLF-
    There is not much i can say to you that has not already been said, but i sure am in complete AWE of the achievement you have made. You should be so very proud of yourself, i feel proud for you.

    Wishing you nothing but Love, Laughter, Happiness and Sunshine in yer wee Heart on your continued journey.

    I'll be a Howlin' at the moon for you tonight...SheWolf

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    2573 days ago
    This is my second time losing while on spark. After reaching my goal the 1st time, I quit tracking, quit measuring my food and quit smoking. It didn't take long for the weight to come back. This time around I plan on tracking forever, weighing my food forever and of course I've already quit smoking forever.
    2573 days ago
  • BYEBYE12
    I have been struggling with a sweet tooth lately and I am working hard to get it on track. I know in time I will get there.

    Congratulations on your success. You are absolutely right that this is going to be something to work at and master each and everyday. Your insights are definitely helpful to others.

    2573 days ago
    What an absolutely WONDERFUL blog!! So insightful! Thank you so much for sharing...and inspiring...

    - Michelle
    2573 days ago
  • MASE72
    Great Post! emoticon
    2573 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I'm so inspired by you, and know eventually I will get there too. Your tips will help me, realizing I'm not the only one that has and does struggle with this journey!!!! THANK YOU!
    2573 days ago
  • VETGRL06
    Great blog! Thank you for these words of wisdom! I really needed them right now! You are truly inspiring!
    2573 days ago
    You are such an inspiration to a women like me who has 100+ pounds to lose who is just starting their Spark journey.

    However, I did find one misprint in your blog....

    There is NO WAY you are only "competition for the hot friend." Katie....YOU ARE THE HOT FRIEND! Revel in every minute of it! You deserve it! emoticon

    Congratulations to you and thank you for being such an inspirations!

    Best wishes,
    ~Mel emoticon
    2573 days ago
    2573 days ago
    Great post.
    2573 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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