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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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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Excellent advice, beautifully written, and just what I need to hear at the moment.
    Thank you!
    1375 days ago
  • v SWEDE_SU
    your blogs always hit the mark - something we all need to remember. particularly the comment that if we don't see it, it isn't there or happening. it's a tough time of year coming up...
    1375 days ago
  • v KANOE10
    This is a great blog and well written! You accurately describe what happens when you start slipping..first it is gaining the weight, then like you say you start not exercising, not posting..Ironically you don't talk about it as you are embarrassed and hope no one notices, but of course they do. I have done this far too many times.

    Your advice to share your struggles with your support is wonderful. It is easy to share your positive side, but hard to share the troubles. It is so necessary and helpful to have support when you are going through this.

    Many people have slipped away. Your blog will encourage people to stay and find support!

    1377 days ago
    Great blog. I needed to see this!
    1380 days ago
  • v STARL_73
    great blog and really hit home. i have some thinking to do. thanks
    1381 days ago
  • v KATHIC2
    You are a great writer and make great points!

    1381 days ago
    Very well said and sooooo very true. I'm going to save this and put it somewhere where I know I see it. Thank you!!

    emoticon emoticon
    1382 days ago
    Your blogs are always so helpful! emoticon
    Thank you so much for all the effort and the consideration in them.

    I can totally relate to many of the cases you described,as I reached my goal weight 6 years ago and then I gained back all of it.
    Now, it's the 2nd time I lost the extra weight and your advice during my maintenance is priceless!

    emoticon emoticon
    1382 days ago
    I wish I had read something like this a year and a half ago! I'm working my way back to my goal. I hope I'm wiser now...
    1382 days ago
    Really liked (and "liked") this blog. I've seen so many people leave SP for just these kind of reasons, but I've never read a blog that addressed this pattern so clearly and kindly and compassionately. Well done!!
    1382 days ago
  • v DALID414
    1382 days ago
    Fantastic blog! emoticon
    1382 days ago
    TY! Advice heeded!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1382 days ago
    Great message! We like to share our successes. Our failures, not so much. When we're slipping is when we need support the most.
    1382 days ago
    Thanks Tina. You are amazing. Really! And given that I'm going through exactly what you are describing, I can assure you that staying in the game, getting support, and being honest about the slips are exactly what is keeping me here.
    1382 days ago
  • v GABY1948
    Great message...thanks!
    1382 days ago
    What a great message and particularly timely with the holidays right around the corner. It's so easy to slip this time of year and backslide. I know I rely on the support of others and need to keep reminding myself how important that is as I continue on my journey.
    1382 days ago
    I have no idea why we run away like that!! But we do. I do it too. When the scale is just stuck, I get so frustrated, and then I just want to disappear. It feels like I'm not living up to everyone's hope. Which is dumb, because no one is counting my pounds as they disappear except me. I try to remember that, but even still, when things get frustrating and such, I have to force myself to be social on here, to keep going, to not run away. :/
    1382 days ago
    Thank you. I have been there and done that. We all need to be reminded why we are here and remember that we have all slipped. The first time I lost and put it back on I stayed away for 2 years (mostly from shame)
    I hope I will never do that again.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1382 days ago
    ChaoticMom, can I help?
    1382 days ago
    I've been slacking, and guess what? I stopped communicating about it. You are right, seems we all have that tendency. Right about now I'm being healthy about every third day, NOT every day like when I started. I could use some motivation and encouragement.
    1382 days ago
    I'm hanging on by a fingernail... emoticon
    1382 days ago
    1382 days ago
    emoticon Great Blog!
    1382 days ago
  • v DIETER27
    This is an awesome blog ! thank you so much for sharing this. It came at a perfect time for me to read this. Thanks again.
    1382 days ago
    This is an emoticon blog! emoticon for sharing this because we ALL need to remind ourselves of this! I read on SP that people who are active in the SP community lose more weight and I totally believe that because support is so very important in what we are doing. emoticon

    1382 days ago
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