Ultimate Weight Loss--It's Not What You Think

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For me, this is so much more than simply losing weight. I didn’t get to be 170 pounds overweight because all was right in my world. What pushed me to the point where I woke up one day and found a 385-pound man staring back in the mirror?
I sometimes think that the continued popularity of fad diets, quick-fix weight solutions in spite of their dismal track record is simply because it focuses on the symptoms rather than the root cause. These quick-fix, knee-jerk solutions exploit the panic that people feel when they are confronted by their condition.  Dealing with the root causes requires digging deep and peeling back painful layers of truth until an answer is unearthed. Unraveling knots is a tedious process.
I believe the path to ultimate success for me isn’t in some mystic root or berry found in a remote part of the world or some new fad fitness routine that will magically melt off pounds. How about the latest gizmo that will flatten your problem areas with just a few minutes a day? If the diet and gizmo industry had the solution, why would obesity still be such an issue?
Before I continue, let's focus on the word ultimate, which I used when describing success. Let me define. The word ultimate can be used in a sense that states that the success that you experience will be unparalleled in its greatness, but that is not the application here. ‘Ultimate’ defined in my statement “ultimate success” is the sum total of all your efforts, the final outcome, where you will finally wind up. In my journey I have lost a lot of skirmishes with my eating addictions yet I have managed to lose more than 100 pounds and keep it off in spite of my failings. My success was ultimately determined by my overall commitment to the ultimate end of reclaiming my life, not in day to day perfection in routine.
So where does the path to ultimate success lie? For me, I found it in identifying the hotspots in my life. Like a firefighter, I have put out a wildfire that threatened to consume my very existence. I have endured, fought and continued to fight the good fight; however, underneath the ashes lie hotspots. Hotspots that threaten to re-ignite with a vengeance. The fire could burn again and all my hard work would be lost.
I have found that if I do not address the forces that influenced me to get to such an unhealthy place, I will soon find myself back there again.
My hotspot. 
I am an emotional eater. I have issues that stem far back into my formative years. Issues that linger like a bad dream, ever present, always haunting. The process of uncovering what drives me has been liberating. The first rule of combat is to know thy enemy. The low self-esteem that I struggle with can be crippling at times. However, by setting and keeping small goals as promoted on SparkPeople, I believe in myself, that I am capable, that there is a strong man underneath the weakness.
In making and keeping small goals, faith builds. One thing that seems so common with so many of us is that our minds, over time, have been pre-programmed for failure. We have been tossed around by the yo-yo so many times that we no longer believe it is possible to change things. Yet something still is never extinguished, hope against hope, yearning for change, refusing to believe that the yo-yo is all there is. Our rational mind needs evidence to support belief. If the only thing that we can relate to is the never-ending cycle of failure, then it is difficult to believe that one more try is going to produce results. When we make and keep small commitments, a little here, a little there, slowly each small success builds upon another. Eventually faith and momentum begin to build and success is the ultimate result.
It has been a slow process, but each goal reached brings about a little more healing. I will always have to work to control emotional eating, but now I know that there is more to life than plunking down on the couch after work and eating my cares away. Every mile I run replaces defeat with a sense of personal accomplishment.  This journey is going to last this time. No more stop-and-start, just small, consistent steps leading to a better life.
Which definition of "ultimate" do you embrace in your healthy living journey?

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CTUPTON 6/11/2019
What a wonderful blog. I like having the male viewpoint for a change. Good job! christine Report
MSROZZIE 12/28/2018
Great inspiration. Stay focused on your goals. Keep Sparking! Report
I think I’m an emotional eater too. I focus on food too much. Maybe I should shift focus on exercising; it could serve as a distraction. Report
PEGJW111 11/18/2018
Great pointers. We are all so different and have to identify and face situations that have led us to an unhappy place. It takes time and commitment for all of us. We can do it!!! Report
I'm an emotional eater myself. Sugar seems to be my go to fix Report
Robert, you inspire me to keep reaching for my goals, and to keep writing! Report
Great article! Report
So well thoughtout & meanungful to my journey. I am going to pin it. Report
Love this! Report
Wow! Just what I've been thinking about, my own demons. I guess we have to recognize them to stay them. Thank you for sharing this part of your Life Journey! Report
Wow. I have been struggling with my own personal demons lately and this article was RIGHT ON TIME! Report
I love this article ... oh so much truth here: it's not so much the daily routine that we are following in our quest that makes the big difference but the real committment that we make over the course of time that leads us to the ultimate success. Thank you so much for this motivational piece. It really reinforces the goals we have set. Report
Thank you for sharing! Small goals make my life manageable! Keep up the good work! Report
Thank you for sharing. Emotional eating is very difficult to control, but I know that it is possible. I'm also learning to have Good Food on hand when I do give in, instead of some junk. Report
Robert Wadhams...I have to ask, are you Robert Wadhams Spewak? Because he recently lost 71 pounds... Report
Thanks so much for the inspiration. Report
Great blog. I am also an emotional eater and your words are very helpful. Thank you for sharing. Report
Robert, What an amazing article. I appreciate you sharing these personal things and I admire your success. I think you should consider writing a book! Thanks! Report
"Ultimate" is a great thought for creating a positive vision of my future life and to choose healthful activities and food in my present. Report
Thank you for sharing this...I relate! Report
Thank you so much for this blog - and for sharing so honestly!! Parts of your story echoed my own and I really identified with your past struggles - that said, you are doing FANTASTIC!!! It's very inspiring to read about and see the changes as they happen on your journey....keep going...you are inspiring so many others to keep trying yet another day. :) Report
Great insight (as always), Robert! Though I have finally been at goal weight and have been somewhat successful at maintaining. Continuing this lifestyle and weight loss and improving upon my successes will be a lifelong journey....and at times a struggle, though well worth it! I am blessed to be able to continue it in your footsteps! Report
This is an excellent blog. You have indicated that cravings are less important than hurt, anger, and frustration we feel in not looking after our own health. Your metaphor,"the fire beneath" will stay with me and help me on.
Thank you for for sharing your wisom.
Nancy Report
Really appreciated this. Sometimes I define ultimate as 'last'. Ok this is the ultimate and final time I will start eating healthy (because it is going to last forever). Your approach is better in that it takes into account the trips and falls that usually make me define ant stumble as failure. I ultimately want to be healthier and my steps are taking me, ultimately, in that direction. Report
This blog was very inspirational. Fate brought me to read this as I feel I have some in common with you. I am also an emotional eater, and right now I am very emotional and trying so hard to stay on track. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Thank you for being such a great example to those of us that feel like hope is just wishful thinking. Report
After reading "WHY WE GET FAT AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT" by Gary Taubes' I know I have to avoid the sugars/starches that spike my INSULIN and make me fat. I love his book. He has clips on YouTube. Report
Great inspiration. Report
Great inspirational words. Can identify a lot-lost 105 lbs. Thanks for making it your goal to inspire others and for your insights. I have no doubt you will go all the way in meeting your goals.
:) Report
Well said all. What I have discovered recently in life is what I do in life, I don't focus on the weight I have to lose....but I instead focus on MY PERFECT WEIGHT !! Since that it has become more enjoyable for me. If any can, watch, read, or podcast.... The Secret. Let this open your mind, your heart, your determination to the greatest gift ever created............ YOU !!!
Great blog! thanks Report
Thank you for a this blog which describes how I feel.
I thought at one time I was destined to be a huge obese women. But somewhere the hope was still there that there was a chance. Now two years later and 198 lbs I believe in myself and work each day to not slip back into the old habits.
Keep up the good work. Never give in, believe in yourself. Report
What a thoughtful post--thanks! Report
That was the ULTIMATE blog!
Thanks for putting into words what so many of us, in our own ways, deals with each day. I didn't even realize I was an "emotional eater" until I got really serious about getting fitter and healthier... now I catch myself and marvel at how much I see it not only in myself but others around me! (Don't worry - I'm not judging or even pointing out... just observing and learning) I've really seen that in our society, it is not only common but pretty much part of the culture to celebrate / console / answer *all* cravings... with food and drink.
So anyway - congratulations on all of your awesome achievements to date, thank you again for being an inspiration SPARK - and continued best to you on your journey of a lifetime. I'll be right alongside you taking those small and consistent steps in the right direction toward my ultimate goals!
"In making and keeping small goals, faith builds." So true. Now, if I can keep going long enough, I'll know it to be true for me with weightloss and eventually maintenance. Gotta work on making clear and focused goals. Report
What an amazingly insightful blog! It puts into words the nebulous ideas that we all are reaching for. I am an emotional stress eater and that is the hardest part for me - the realizing that food is my fuel and not my best friend! Thanks for this encouraging post that shows me that it is possible to overcome and reach the "ultimate" goal. Report
Wow. Great article. I love the analogy of the the "Wildfire" (out of control eating) and the "Hot Spots" (triggers to the old lifestyle). Having lost 125lbs, I can totally relate. I've kept it off for several years, but the urges to slip back into that old "sit on the couch and eat whatever you want" lifestyle are always there. It's a constant battle, but each day I choose to be healthy because I never want to go back to being obese and miserable again. That's what motivates me to keep moving on! Report
Thank you for reminding me that it's overall committment and not daily perfection that matters most. Your success is inspiring - I'm glad my journey brought me to your words today. When I started SparkPeople in January of 2011 at 204 pounds (too much for someone 5' 2"), I really believed that I wouldn't make it; that I was doomed to fail. I had a pre-programmed mindset. But one by one the little successes came and I have been learning that the pre-programmed mindset is a sham! Still I have days (and weeks, and sometimes months even) when I do not progress, or worse yet, I fall back...and the little voices eat at me with niggling little words in my brain, saying 'failure!', 'stupid!' 'what's wrong with you?', and of course - the words I loathe and fear the most: 'you can't do it...you might as well give up'. But I have not given up. Perhaps I am just too fearful of what would happen to me if I did give up - I would be adding to that awful statistic of people who lose weight only to gain it back and then some. I have to fight the niggling words in my brain with my own words describing what is real and true: 'I feel so much better than I did 50 pounds ago', 'I look so much better than I did 50 pounds ago', 'I have friends that support me and that understand what I feel', and, 'I CAN!' along with the cement of my new mindset: 'I WILL!!!'
Thank you for your well-written blog, causing me to think and make necessary adjustments. And congratulations on your wonderful successes! Report
Well said. Thank you! Report
Very well written, I am both an emotional eater and a boredom eater. Bordem is easier to overcome than emotional. Getting better at figuring out the why and how to avoid food when I am in a state. Thanks Robert for you insight! Report
As an emotional eater myself, I know how difficult it is to turn around a lifetime of habitually, mindlessly turning to food to soothe hurt feelings and all the old (and new) pains that life can bring. But I can't give up hope either. I do believe that it is possible to change, and you have proved it. What an inspiration that is to me! Thank you for this wonderful blog! Report
Thank you Robert, I agree Know thy enemy but work on small goals! Report
This really touched me..."Yet something still is never extinguished, hope against hope, yearning for change, refusing to believe that the yo-yo is all there is." Thank you.
I will be doing my first 5 mile run event Saturday all due to Sparkpeople inspiration. Report
Emotional eating is a constant battle. Great insight Report
Great insight here. I think this statement is very liberating. "My success was ultimately determined by my overall commitment to the ultimate end of reclaiming my life, not in day to day perfection in routine." Keeping our eyes on the goal will get us there. Thanks.
So proud of you Robert! You are an excellent source of encouragement for all of us! Keep working friend....Keep working! Report
Well said - thank you! Report
This was very well written and very inspirational for me. I love the idea of small steps developing confidence and strength for your overall goal. You are going to do it this time and you already have a better life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Report
I totally agree with your idea of ultimate. Ultimately, I'd like to be free of emotional eating, but unfortunately, it will always be ready to snare me! Report
Great blog...thanks for sharing!!!! Report
Great blog, thank you Robert! Report