I believe the answer is yes.
It might seem like motivation and resilience are traits that we either have or don't--that some people are naturally able to get and keep themselves motivated over the long haul and are capable of bouncing back in difficult times with relative ease--and that no amount of introspection or work can help us overcome our basic nature.
Looking back over my weight loss and regain history, I could have concluded that I was simply one of those people who was not genetically gifted in either of those categories, at least in the longer term. I could get and stay motivated in the short-term, often long enough to lose whatever weight I felt I needed to at the time, but once I reached goal, it seemed to dissipate and I felt aimless. And often a life change or two would be enough to throw me off track, not just for a few days, but for months and even years at a time. Naturally, this led to a diminished self-esteem, confidence and belief that I could take and maintain control of my weight and health. Other people could manage the ups and downs of life without becoming obese, why couldn't I?
Perhaps there was something "broken" within me. Every person deals with negative emotions like stress, sadness and disappointment, but they don't all numb those feelings with food. Some people in my family have suffered from addiction and dependency, likely fueled by underlying psychological issues such as anxiety and depression, so maybe food was my preferred coping mechanism to deal with stress. And even naturally slender people overeat from time to time, but the odd huge meal and few weeks of vacation each year represent a relatively small portion of the overall picture. A resilient person can indulge on holidays and vacations and return to a saner way of eating the rest of the time. This was another way I was "broken". Christmastime, for example, didn't just mean a few days of overeating followed by a return to normal. It meant the undoing of whatever progress I had achieved the previous year and, often, months or years of total backsliding and rapid weight gain.
I believe that these issues were the underlying reasons for my past weight management failures. It wasn't so much that I was eating the "wrong" types of food, had a freakish appetite, wasn't a natural athlete or that I lacked self-control. I just couldn't seem to cope with the normal ups and downs of life without turning to food and when I did that, I wasn't equipped with the skills to bounce back. Just recognizing these patterns was a huge first step in helping me to overcome them. Reflecting on and learning from my past failures--what's often referred to as grit--was the next step. Developing a plan of action to create a different future for myself was the next. Slogging through tough periods doing the best I could came next. And finally, forgiving myself and forging ahead when I wasn't perfect through both happy and unhappy times was the last piece of the puzzle.
It's still not easy and I still consider myself to be a work in progress. Life's ups and downs are inevitable and I have periods of intense motivation and resilience and other times where I just want to eat cake and hide under the covers in bed. That's a dark place and it's not always easy to "pull it together" and snap out of it. But I have become better and I think I'll continue to get better with time. So, if your past efforts have failed, even if it's been a dozen times or more, don't give up on yourself. With some work and a lot of self-reflection, you can take control and change your destiny.
My husband snapped this as I was writing this blog, so I thought I'd add it in. He's says I look both pensive and peaceful when I'm engrossed in something. I guess I can see what he means here.