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Don't Pull Away When You Need Support the Most

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You start your diet and exercise plan motivated and ready to kick some butt. You have great losses the first few weeks and you feel even better. You continue losing at a steady pace and maybe you even get down to goal. And all along the way, you have lots of buddies cheering you on. Maybe they're at your Weight Watchers meeting, maybe they're here on SparkPeople, maybe they're at your gym--but there are lots of them and you love the encouragement and kudos you get from them as your weight goes down and your confidence soars.

Then something happens. The holidays roll around and you give in to a few too many treats. You have a family crisis that knocks the wind out of you and takes you away from your normal eating and exercise routine. You get promoted at work and you kiss your 40-hour workweek goodbye. Or worse, you get laid off. You stop being so diligent about your meal planning and find yourself at the fast-food drive in ordering a Super-Sized Big Mac Value Meal--for the third-straight day. Your weeks are jammed packed and something's gotta go, so you don't just cut down on your four-times-a-week exercise habit--you ditch it altogether. And worst of all, you start to pull away from your support network. You stop going to your Weight Watchers meetings, you stop checking in with your teams on SparkPeople or you stop going to your favorite spinning class at the gym.

Why? Part of you is embarassed that you're starting to backslide. What will everyone think if they see that you're starting to pack the pounds on again? Part of you was really motivated by the cheers and accolades that you got while you were losing weight and being successful and you just don't think you can handle the disappointed looks and comments on top of the other stress you're experiencing in your life. Part of you doesn't want to face reality. If you backslide and no one's there to witness it, it's not really happening, right?

I've been there before, FAR too many times, and I just want to say to anyone who's struggling and on the verge of giving up, PLEASE DON'T PULL AWAY! I can tell you from the heartwrenching experience I had of regaining almost all of a 115-pound weight loss that the absolute worst thing you can do is run away from your support network. All of the support that you've built up by being active here on SparkPeople and elsewhere in your life was great when things were going well, but now's the time you need to call a lifeline for yourself and take advantage of the support others can give you. Tell your buddies that you're struggling and I think you'll be surprised by how many people are willing to step up and lend you a helping hand to get you back on track. Make your struggle public, or at least semi-public, and admit that you're human. It's okay. No one expects you to be Superman or Superwoman and you shouldn't expect that of yourself either. And give your buddies some credit! They loved you for who you were when you first started out on you journey and will continue to love you even if you gain a few pounds.

We all make mistakes sometimes, we all slip from time to time and we all go through periods where life seems to give us more than we can handle. When that happens, and it's sure to at one point or another, don't turn inward and shrink away. You may get knocked down from time to time but you don't need to stay down for the count. Stay connected with the support systems that helped you be successful in the first place and don't be afraid to lean on those who can best support you when times are tough. It takes a strong person to admit that you need help and reaching out will help ensure that you weather the storm and come out on the other side stronger than ever.
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