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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Looking back over my many years of weight loss and regain, I realize that I spent a great deal of time either behaving like a perfect angel or a spoiled child. I was the Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats of dieters. The good child in me was the plain, shredded wheat side, the perfect dieter who almost never deviated from plan and would lose weight and get to goal quickly. The little devil in me was the frosted side, the one who resented having to put so much time and effort into managing my weight and would return to eating what I wanted, whenever I wanted to. Until just a few years ago, that side of me had always taken over, meaning that I never stayed at goal for long once I got there.

In addition to working on strengthening my resilience and continuing to dig deep for new sources of motivation to keep going as I focus on getting to my second maintenance anniversary, I've also come to terms with another important aspect of conquering my weight-related demons: acceptance. For me, acceptance means dealing with the things that I have control over and learning to live with the things I can't. I can't change my genes, metabolism, body type or fact that, no matter how hard I try, I can't eat intuitively, so there's really no point in getting all pouty over it. The only place resentment of the hand I've been dealt ever got me was 260 pounds.

Fortunately, now that I'm back down in my goal range there are tools I can use to ensure that I stay there. When I started losing weight again nearly four years ago, I resolved to make moderation a greater part of my life. I didn't realize it then, but that's been a huge help to me in maintenance. I've consistently eaten and exercised in a way that I feel is sustainable long-term and staying as stable as I've been in maintenance underscores the importance of not pushing myself too hard. Yes, I have periods where my motivation is incredibly high, my diet is near perfect and I'm exercising like a professional athlete. I also have my low periods, where I'm eating too much, too often and I'm doing the bare minimum physical activity. But most of the time, I'm somewhere in between. Eating reasonably well, but not perfectly. Working out consistently, but not obsessively. And that's usually when I really feel my best and most confident that I can keep this up for the rest of my life. I might weigh a few pounds more than I do after a month of boot camp and I might look a little fleshier, but I'm also not pushing myself to the point of absolute fatigue with every single workout and I'm not agonizing over the carb-fat-protein ratio of everything I put in my mouth. I accept that I can't maintain that level of fitness and dedication 12 months a year. That's okay. Where I am the other 11 is good enough.

I also feel very lucky to be able to take advantage of the crutches I need to stay on track. I still need to log my food most of the time and I can do that pretty easily here. Yes, I get annoyed with having to do it from time to time, but it works for me and I'm glad for that. I also need a good support system. Having done my first stint on Weight Watchers at eight years old, I always liked the weekly meetings. I was very shy as a kid and probably wouldn't have been able to talk about my struggles if it weren't for the handful of compassionate leaders I had and great groups I was a part of. The meetings also made me feel less alone and I liked how you always had people to cheer you on when you were doing well. With age, I've also come to appreciate just how helpful a solid support system is when things aren't going so well. If support systems sole purpose were to give you a boost when times are good, we wouldn't really need them. It's when things aren't going so well that they become essential and can prevent you from regressing and reverting to old, negative behaviors. There have definitely been times in the past four years that I've been hanging on by a bare thread, but having the courage to stay connected here on SparkPeople and share my struggles has helped me claw my way out of the little ditches I've fallen into along the way. This is the safest community I've ever encountered and I'm so thankful to have found it and carved a place for myself in it.

Keeping up a healthy lifestyle is not always easy--at least not for me. Temptations seem to lurk around every corner and I know how easy it's been for me to get derailed by them in the past. But I don't want to go on reliving my past failures or using them as an excuse not to keep on trying. Sure, sometimes I still want to throw a little temper tantrum about how unfair it is that I can't just eat what I want all the time, but letting go of that resentment has made me feel like weight management is not the life sentence I once thought it was. I have a manageable framework I can deal with to keep my weight and health in check and for that I'm very grateful.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Like a page out of my own book!
    1679 days ago
    Good thoughts
    1695 days ago
    I think most of us have the same issue. I know I do but acceptance is both the solution and the lifeline. emoticon
    1697 days ago
    It's something we will have to work on the rest of our lives. Not easy, but worth it!
    1697 days ago
    I think acceptance is one the single most important things we can do on this journey. For me, it was accepting that I'd let myself wander through life without bothering to take control. I also had a major moment of acceptance when I first started working out again, and I was all self-conscious of my body and how I thought others might see me. I just stopped myself, said to myself, "This is your body, for better or for worse, don't hide it or what you did, and don't hide the body you'll have a year from now thanks to the hard work you're going to put in. Be proud of your body at every moment from here on out, cuz you're about change it forever." I'm lucky to have myself as my own personal trainer I think, lol. It helped a lot to accept who I was and how I looked in that moment.
    1697 days ago
    Thank you. I will probably never be able to eat intuitively and I suffer from the urge to throw tantrums over my metabolism. I am working on acceptance. You have come a long way and you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing this blog. I really needed to read this today. emoticon
    1698 days ago
  • BRADMILL2922
    You have such a great attitude! Acceptance is really a big key to this whole process. You are stronger because of the highs and lows you have dealt with and I have no doubt that you will have many more highs in the future!
    1698 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    Keep trying. It does seem trying at times. Hopefully not all the time though.
    1700 days ago
    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I too have "revolts" when I can't get past the unfairness of having to watch every calorie I consume.

    But I love your attitude that weight management is not a "life sentence", and I'm going to work hard to adopt it myself!
    1700 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    Good blog, you can do this!! emoticon
    1701 days ago
    You can do it! Congrats on your maintenance streak!
    1701 days ago
    Great blog! I feel like the same can be said for me. I need to keep track of fitness and nutrition to stay on track. Otherwise I will justify just about anything. Thanks for sharing!
    1701 days ago
    I loved your blog today. Thanks for sharing so transparently with us. It really helps me. I've been struggling lately with the "poor me! I really want to EAT! symptoms" I hit the scream weight yesterday and pulled back. Today I'm down under the alarm weight, and I want to get back to my goal. I, too, appreciate the SP community - especially the maintenance team!
    1701 days ago
    What a great blog. Acceptance is such a wonderful trait to have for life - in this weight maintenance game, but also in life in general. When we accept who we are, how things are, where we are, instead of resisting and trying to force change, suddenly life flows...
    1701 days ago
    Glad to see you are feeling more yourself. It is always nice to hear from you and your very real, human approach to life emoticon
    1701 days ago
    1701 days ago
    Great blog!
    1701 days ago
    1701 days ago
    You have indeed carved yourself out a place here, with all you contribute to the weight maintenance community (the most important part of Spark, IMHO!!)

    Like you I get pouty from time to time about the work required to maintain and just "don't wanna": last night saw me scarfing back a huge bowlful of popcorn: air popped, sure, but then doused in plenty of melted butter!! And freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt!! This morning I got up, tracked the popcorn for yesterday, noted I was about 800 calories over the 1400-1500 which is the max I need to maintain, said "oh well" and . . . yeah. This is MY metabolism and it's up to me to manage it, but that means "sustainably". Have eaten much more likely today and got a good brisk hike in too.
    1701 days ago
    emoticon Getting there is only half the battle, the maintenance is hard, too. Good job!
    1701 days ago
    Amen! Balance is hard for us with "perfectionist" tendencies and "control issues"... but it is essential to getting to a stable maintenance of health! Well said.
    1701 days ago
    Great blog! Acceptance is the key to all of life's problems and addictions. Once we accept then we can take the right actions toward a better life. You are a great role model for us all!
    1701 days ago
    You are doing really well, Tina! Thank you for continuing to share your experience. The support goes both ways and you are very inspiring! YOU Go GIRL!!!
    1701 days ago
    1701 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Thank you for sharing this. I can really relate to the resentment you talk about - not being able to eat whatever I want all the time. I'm still working on letting go of that, but you give me hope.
    1701 days ago
  • EFFECT25
    Good to hear this from you. For now I am in a hopeful state that one day intuitive eating will work for me. At least this is my dream. But maybe there will be a day that as you I will accept that only with control and awareness I can maintain my balance.
    1701 days ago
  • KANOE10
    You have a very positive approach to maintenance. I have found the same thing. There are times when nI am highly motivated and am really on track. Yet the normal day to day existence is moderate healthy eating. Yes, a few pounds will creep up, but I eventually get them down.
    Having a healthy lifestyle is not always easy..and yes there are temptations.
    I so much agree with you about the value of support. As maintainers we often have struggles that no one else knows about. The unconditional support at Spark allows us to be honest and confront our concerns. I have not maintained for over a year before. I think a huge factor in reaching year 2 is the support from the Spark Community.

    You are doing great, Tina. Be proud of yourself for figuring out the best way to stay healthy for you. You inspire everyone.

    1701 days ago
    emoticon for sharing your story with us! Through all of your high's and low's you have come out on top because you are now a stronger person, and you realize that success isn't about working yourself out until you fall on the floor or eating perfectly all the time, but it's about having a balance! I think that success comes in small packages! I have come to realize that it isn't about being perfect, but accept our imperfections! We will make it as long as we never give up! God bless you on your journey through life! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1701 days ago
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