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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why do they gain it back?

I'm going to be scheduling some guest posts over the next few days while I spend time with our family to celebrate the life of my mother-in-law. Thanks so much to Beth for pitching in to help me out. 



When Amy asked me to guest post I knew that my topic would be The Biggest Loser. It's how I first met Amy and is one of the subjects for which she is known. Then as I sat down to write I knew that, hard as it might be, I would write on "Why Do They Gain It Back?"

Monday morning I had an 8:15 appointment with my Pain Management Doctor. In the reception area I had to sit in an armchair and hope that the arms wouldn't decide to give way thanks to my substantial hip width. They didn't. The nurse came to get me and led me to a scale not unlike the platform scale on Biggest Loser. It's a square silver platform. I took off my shoes and stood nose to nose with blinking red numbers on a black LCD screen. Where will they stop? This time they stopped at 402!

Four years ago I stepped on a different scale and gazed with pride on the 248 revealed there. I had lost, through discipline, diet, and sheer hard work, 200 pounds! And I believed that I had at least another 50 in me. I looked good. I felt good. I could sit in booths. I could stand up from sitting on the ground. My joints didn't hurt. I was friends with my scale and my mirror.

What happened? I've spent a lot of time considering the answer to that question. There are some simple answers and some for which I am still digging. I need to keep looking though because I really don't wish to see 450 again! Here are a few of MY answers:

Routine not as easy at home as it is on the ranch! Okay ... I never went to the ranch! But I was blessed to be able to spend 20+ years as a stay at home mom. And during the 2 year period that I worked on losing 200 pounds I was spending 5 or 6 hours a day at the gym. When I went back to work (clerical) in 2007, long days in the gym were replaced by long days in the office! My schedule was suddenly FILLED with a work day, my family's needs, and housework that I didn't think I would ever catch up on! I promised myself that I would find a way to get back to a disciplined gym routine but something else always came first so I never did.

Support at home is not as supportive! Don't misunderstand me here. My family and friends were overjoyed with my weight loss and my ability to fully participate in life because of it. And they have despaired with me as the weight came back on. And their words are almost always supportive. But when we go out to eat they choose pasta (actually I choose pasta a lot too ... they don't talk me out of it). My family has not stepped up to take over the housework, meal prep, etc. so that I can take time for the gym and make me a priority! I have an awesome husband and in the last couple of years he HAS taken over doing the dishes, grocery shopping, and some meal prep. But I always see the things that still need to be done! Beyond that ... the only support they give me is the positive kind. And some days ... I need a kick in the seat of the pants!

Bob and Jillian aren't there! Most of us don't have, and can't afford, a trainer! During my two years of dedicated gym attendance I watched a lot of people work with trainers. I never hired one. It just wasn't it the budget! But I know that those of us who need to lose a lot of weight NEED someone yelling at us to go further, push harder, reach beyond what we believe to be our endurance limits. Because we will NOT push ourselves that far!

It hurts! Another aspect of not having a trainer, and not knowing our own limits, is that we can, and sometimes do, hurt ourselves and that throws a major wrench in the weight loss or maintenance works! Have you noticed the times on the show when they have all been in a training room with wraps on their joints, ice packs on their sore places, and medics standing by in case of an emergency? I don't have that. So if something hurts ... I stop using it to allow it time to heal. And some times that break in the routine is the straw that breaks the camels back!

Real life happens! 2 1/2 years ago I totaled my car when I ran it into a phone pole. I walked away "uninjured" and blessed to be alive. The next day I woke up in horrendous pain. I've lived in pain since then. Whiplash and neuropathy. No real answers. Too many pills. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with depression and put on more pills. (Most of those pills come with a weight gain side effect.) A year ago we were coping with some serious legal and financial stresses. 6 months ago we took guardianship of a 5 year old grandchild. Every physical issue, every personal, financial, familial stress makes it harder to find the energy to get up and move! And it makes it harder to insist on the need to invest time, money and energy in MY needs!

And finally ... because Amy asked me for a post ... not a book ...

The emotional stuff is hard and not all of us are willing to do it! There is a reason beyond the food we eat and the time we spend exercising for why people become morbidly obese. We, at least in my experience, have self-image issues that need to be confronted before we will ever make peace with our bodies! Some of us have histories that we have been stuffing down with the calories for decades and that is a hard habit to stop. Some of us have never know thin and healthy and have no idea what to do with it! At least fat we know how to live with. And there is a very real fear that comes into play when the person we look at in the mirror does not match who we believe ourselves to be. We long for thin and healthy but we aren't sure what that entails and not knowing is scary!

It is not easy to wake up and face a mirror, or a scale, when you have gained back the weight that you worked so hard to lose. Knowing that you need to do it again, and have no guarantee that you won't gain it back, is scary and painful. Some of them will rise up and face that challenge. I'm trying to join them!

Beth is a prolific blogger who is trying to keep up with 4 blogs in addition to a family, friends, job, and gym schedule. You can find her at Beth: A Work In Progress, Testify!, Journey to a Healthier Me, and Faith Walk.

12 comments:

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

For the people on the ranch, they give up life to lose weight. The rest of us cannot do that. We have to fit it into our lives. Really, the ranch is no different than a crash diet, extreme followed by maintenance in a normal world. Tough stuff.

Side note: One of my friends tried out for Loser here in Chicago. She was 5'4" and weighed 304 pounds. Other people in line that day mocked her for not being fat enough. Sigh.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Thanks for hosting me, Amy! Prayers continue for you and your precious family!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such heartfelt sentiments on a difficult topic. I, too, have found myself back to my pre-weight loss days-- discouraged and wanting to making a change.

Jackie said...

I love the last point. The emotional work is painful. On the Ranch, the producers encourage the people to dig and find the link between feelings and their hunger.
In real life, people don't want to "hear about it".
I have not struggled with weight issues, but I have other issues and I know that the key to conquering them is talking about them. Good for you, and nice post, Beth!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

So sorry for your loss, Amy.

I love Beth and what she has to say. It's all valid and valuable. With the cameras rolling and the world watching, people can do most anything (for the moment). It's amazing some people do keep the weight (or much of it) off - given all the odds stacked against that.

xoRobyn

Amy said...

Beth -- Thank you for such an honest post. I'm fighting hard to drop the 25 pounds I gained back over the past year. So much of what you had to say rang true for me. The good intentions, the family first, the not knowing what to do with a thin and healthy self. I've done it before. You've done it before. We just need to figure out how to do it again -- for good.

Mrs4444 said...

It's just HARD work. We're human. We sometimes lose our way. Here's to finding our ways back :)

Amy said...

This comment was left by Ellen (aka Ellie) but was eaten in the Blogger mishap:

For the people on the ranch, they give up life to lose weight. The rest of us cannot do that. We have to fit it into our lives. Really, the ranch is no different than a crash diet, extreme followed by maintenance in a normal world. Tough stuff.

Side note: One of my friends tried out for Loser here in Chicago. She was 5'4" and weighed 304 pounds. Other people in line that day mocked her for not being fat enough. Sigh.

Amy said...

More lost but now restored comments:

From Jackie --
I love the last point. The emotional work is painful. On the Ranch, the producers encourage the people to dig and find the link between feelings and their hunger.In real life, people don't want to "hear about it".

I have not struggled with weight issues, but I have other issues and I know that the key to conquering them is talking about them. Good for you, and nice post, Beth!

Amy said...

From Anonymous:


Thank you for sharing such heartfelt sentiments on a difficult topic. I, too, have found myself back to my pre-weight loss days-- discouraged and wanting to making a change.

Amy said...

From Rawknrobyn:

So sorry for your loss, Amy.

I love Beth and what she has to say. It's all valid and valuable. With the cameras rolling and the world watching, people can do most anything (for the moment). It's amazing some people do keep the weight (or much of it) off - given all the odds stacked against that.

xoRobyn

Beth Zimmerman said...

Thanks for all the supportive comments ladies! And thank you to Amy for going above and beyond to restore comments!