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Losing ... Gaining ... and Losing Again

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today is day 50 of my current streak!

Sorry...this blog is kind of long.

One of my Spark friends sent me a Sparkmail recently. She was upset because she had gained back 10 lbs and was thinking of giving up. She said "Its so hard to lose weight, and now I have to lose 10 lbs just to get back to where I was!"

I know how it feels to gain back weight after you've lost it. In 2005, I weighed 260 lbs and I was miserable. I decided to join a women's gym, and go on a diet. The diet I was on was not very healthy...it was way too low in calories, and it was nothing that I could sustain. It was not a lifestyle change. It was a temporary, extreme diet, only meant to help me take off the pounds as rapidly as possible.

In less than 9 months, I lost 86 lbs. Even though I'd been going to a women's gym, I hadn't really pushed myself very much during my workouts, so I hadn't built much muscle or firmed up. Basically, I just looked like a smaller bag of fat. But I was content. I was down to a size 10, and for the first time in years, I didn't have to shop in the plus size department anymore. To me, that was all I cared about.

But once I got down to my goal size, I quit dieting. I started eating more and more...and it wasn't healthy food. I hid my unhealthy eating habits from everyone...but the weight started to come back on, and I sure couldn't hide that! My size 10 clothes got too tight, and I had to go back up to size 12. Then those clothes got too tight, and I had to go up another size, and another, and another. As I went up in sizes, I would put my smaller clothes in the spare bedroom closet. I kept telling myself that I would be able to wear them again someday. But I didn't do anything to lose the weight. I just kept eating. Finally, I ended up right back where I started, at 260 lbs.

It didn't end there, though. The weight kept coming on...and on...and on. I ended up gaining back not only the 86 lbs I'd lost, but also 26 pounds MORE. I was so ashamed. I'd lost 86 pounds...and then GAINED 112 back! I weighed 286 lbs and I felt like giving up. And for a while, I did just that. I gave up, and told myself that I was just destined to be obese for the rest of my life. I knew that the weight would ultimately shorten my life, but I lied to myself and said that I didn't care.

But I did care. I was so tired of looking bad and feeling bad every day. I was tired of aching knees. I was tired of huffing and puffing from the slightest effort. I was tired of being embarrassed by my size. I could list a hundred things more that I was tired of...but to sum it all up, I was just tired of not fully living my life! I finally decided that I didn't want to be trapped in an obese, unhealthy body anymore.

So last March, I got started. To keep from getting overwhelmed by how much weight I would have to lose, I decided to stop focusing on the scale. I got my starting weigh in, and after that I got rid of the scale. Instead of worrying about the numbers, I would just concern myself with being as healthy as I possibly could.

I didn't go on a diet this time. I went on a "Live it." I decided to treat food as fuel for my body, and I wanted to give my body the best fuel possible. So every day became a personal challenge, to eat as healthy as I possibly could. It was so hard at first, but at the end of each day, I was so proud of myself for sticking to my plan and for treating my body with respect.

And when it came to exercise, I made a promise to myself that I would not just pick an 'easy' workout that barely made me break a sweat. I knew I had to push myself. At first, I could barely get through a 15 minute workout, but I forced myself to do it and to give my BEST effort for those 15 minutes. From those 15 minutes, my workout time gradually increased. Even better, my workout INTENSITY increased, too. From barely being able to do step touches and marching in place, I gradually worked up to more and more. I found myself doing exercises that I never even imagined myself being able to do.

I found that I love doing yoga, for one thing! Some of the poses were so difficult at first, but as time went by and the weight started to come off, I found that I could get deeper into the poses and that I could hold them better. I felt my muscles starting to firm up, and I started to get stronger and stronger. My endurance, energy and stamina increased. When I finally got back on the scale again in September, I found I'd lost 71 lbs!

I still have a lot of weight to lose, but I don't even worry about that. I know it will happen, as long as I keep working hard. But my main focus will always be on being as healthy as I possibly can be. And thanks to all the exercise that I do, my body is really firming up. When I reach my goal size this time, I won't just look like a smaller bag of fat. I will be firm and toned.

So if you have lost weight and gained some back, please don't give up. Get yourself back in control NOW. Don't gain it all back (and more) like I did. Get back on track today, and be proud of yourself for not throwing in the towel.

"No matter how far you have gone down a wrong road, turn back." (Peruvian Proverb)

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