Going back to when I first began losing my 100 pds, I vividly remember when I had lost around 20 pds sitting in the car with my best friend. I remember her congratulating me on my loss and asking me a question only a best friend can ask without being pummeled. She asked me, 'do you think you will lose all of the weight and keep it off?'....a funny question for a 17-18 year old to ask and a good question for another 17-18 year old to ponder. I remember sitting in the car and thinking that she brought up a good point, CAN I do this.
Well, let's fast forward to now....
I have lost 100 pds. I have maintained that loss for 6-7 year. TIME FLIES!! Geesh, I still remember when I decided to lose weight.
These are a few things I've learned along the way:
~Weight fluctuates. This is normal. Why do overweight people like to think our weight shouldn't fluctuate once we lose weight? Normal sized people tend to go with the fluctuations. The idea of fat jeans became real and comforting once I lost my weight. Now I have fat jeans! And skinny jeans. It's quite liberating. I have also learned that my weight fluctuates depending on the season. In the spring/summer, I tend to lose weight...fall/winter I tend to gain. Surprise, suprise?
~Determination, not mojo. I am a part of a lot of weight loss forums (see: obsession), the number 1 thing I see for people who have not attained their goals is "I need to find my mojo"...well, I am here to tell you, Mojo is an ugly beast who tends to hide for very long periods of times. Let us be determined to make our goals. I have adopted the determination, not mojo motto and it seems to work...most of the time!
~What you do today may not be with you are doing tomorrow. I say this because, we are humans. The very nature of being a human is change. Why do we expect that once we start something, we will always do it? Embrace change and evaluation. I went into this year thinking I wouldn't diet all year. Well, obviously, my intuition to eat was larger than my intuition to stay the same or lose. I re-evaluated and now I am back to journaling. It's ok! I did 20 sit-ups this morning, I probably will forget to do my 20 tomorrow...but it's ok! (must remember to do sit-ups tomorrow!)
~Cravings happen. OK, my biggest pet peeve is the notion (I had a professor who used to say "notion" ALL of the time...I thought it was cool and sounded smart. I use it whenever I can!) that if you overeat, you have binged. No, you are possibly satisfying a craving, it's not a binge. It's ok. Cravings are ok and normal. We are people; our bodies will crave certain foods. We may overeat these foods on occasion. The key is not to overeat them everyday. Now, I do binge and I know a lot of overweight and normal weight people binge. Binging is a whole 'nother story for a different day. Sometimes cravings do lead to overeating, which can lead to a binge. That's still ok in my book.
~Racing to GOAL is probably not the smartest thing to do. Yes, we all want to get to goal. Goal is great. Who doesn't want to scream "GOAL" when they hit it? I haven't hit my goal, whatever that might be, but when I do, I probably will be screaming to everyone GOAL. I say racing to goal isn't very smart because the point isn't to get to a magic number. We all know how to diet. We have all dieted. The point is maintenance. The point is enjoying the journey. If you can enjoy and learn on your journey, you can maintain. We learn so much while we are losing. It's always good to take note to those lessons vs. ignoring them. We all got fat for a reason, right? Learn the reasons and work through them.
~Accept that once a fat person, always a fat person. This is something that hit me about 3 years into my journey. My ex would always tease me about attending Weight Watchers meetings, using artificial sweeteners, etc. He would always says, "you are in your 20s, you can eat what you want!"... One day it occurred to me that I was not like an average young 20s person. I could not eat what I want and I never could eat what I wanted (unless I wanted the weight with the eating). After that light bulb moment, I spent a LONG time hating my body, hating being fat, hating having to watch what I ate FOREVER, hating, hating, hating. It took probably a solid 2 years to come out on the other side and accept that this is who I am. I can't change it, so I better go with it. I still have moments of dread that I can't just go hog wild or be normal around food. But as time goes by, it gets better. I always tell people that there was a grieving process for me. People look at me like I am crazy, when people think grief, they think death. But we grieve throughout our life span and grieving that my body is naturally fat is something I had to go through.
~Taking a break from weight loss is OK. The number 1 question I get is "How long did it take you to lose"...when I say "5 years", the automatic response from most people is a look of 'OMG, it took her sooooooo long'. People want a quick fix. We are an impulsive society. But peeps, that does not work. It took me 5 years to lose the weight. Throughout my losing, I would take maintenance breaks. I probably lost on average 20-25 pds a year, then I'd maintain 6-7 months. I did not plan this, but it became a pattern of losing for me. I am so thankful for that pattern of loss. I think if I had gotten to 100 pds lost in less than a year, I'd be over my start weight.
~Learn your limitations. My mom once told me that I knew my limitations with regards to weight loss and dieting. When she said that, I didn't really understand what she meant. When I thought about, I realized she was right. I did know my limitations. During my periods of loss, I would always have danger weights or danger sizes. I also always have two sizes in my closet. When I got to where I was wearing a size up from my normal size, I would rein it in. So, learn your limitations. I have danger weights. My danger weight changes with time. It's normally about 10 pds higher than my current weight.
~Don't get rid of ALLLLLL your fat clothes! I always cringe when I see/hear another person say with victory, that they threw away all of their fat clothes. Why do people do this? I assume it's the notion (love that word) that if you throw it away, you won't gain. But hello peeps, clothes are expensive. The risk of regaining is higher than the risk of maintenance. Why set yourself up for failure? I always have 2 sizes in my closet. My proud size and my oops size. I, of course, always want to be in my proud sizes, but oops happen. Sure, get rid of clothes that are ridiculously too big. I don't have any more size 24s hanging in my closet, but be realistic. Don't throw away everything. It's ok to keep a size or two up.
~Obsession! Whoa... No one wants to be considered an obsesser. But hey, when I was losing, I was obsessed. I watched/read all thing weight loss. I think it sort of has to become your identity for awhile. I do think food can be an addiction, which presents as being overweight. Addicts have to learn about their addiction, so why should we be any different?
~Everyone wants to know the magic key to weight loss and maintenance. Is it weight loss surgery? No. Is it Xendedrine? No. Is it eating between the hours of 9-10AM? No. Is it eating after dark when noone is looking? Hmm...I need to try that ;) I am willing to bet, it's not. Well, what is it? I am going to have to go with being stubborn and persistence. Things we all have without even having to spend money. We just have to utilize and maximize these skills.
I am not an expert. I am sure other people's experiences will be different, but these are just some pearls of wisdom I've picked up to help ME along the way. I thought it would be nice to jot them down. Maybe one of these will help another person.
It's friday! And it's always quitting time. Woohoo...