Read this post from Lyn over at Escape From Obesity while eating lunch at my desk today:
So much truth there.
This is the second time I've had to lose 100+ pounds. The initial gain happened pretty quickly, and was largely due to stress and illness (and the weight gain very much noted). Because I had previously been fit and active, it was pretty hard to deny the dramatic change in my body. And since I was a teenager, there were plenty of rude comments about it, even if I'd somehow failed to notice.
Like many people with big weight problems, I lost varying amounts of weight on varying diets over the course of many years. Then, back in 2001, I thought I finally had it figured out. After successfully losing about 100 pounds, however, the stars came out of alignment, and the pounds started to creep back on. A big part, I think, was when I started "hiding" from the scale after a weekend of overeating, or a week or two of not exercising. Clothes got tighter, but still didn't look... next thing I knew, 25 pounds were back on. And I tried to diet back down, but could not get any traction. Eventually, I just stopped looking, and one by one all those good healthy habits were dropped. Kept pretending that I wasn't really getting bigger -- even when I eventually had to go back to the plus size department. By the time I finally "woke up" I was back where I started.
Hoping against hope that it doesn't happen again. Frankly, I stayed fat from 2005 - 2010 because I thought it was just inevitable. I could take it off, but could not keep it off. But last November, I just could not take the strain on my body any more. I had to try again, this time realizing that maintenance was going to take work.
Although, as Lyn's blog indicates, she still struggles - it was her and the other struggling maintenance bloggers that made me believe it was possible to give this a go. It doesn't take perfection -- it takes persistence. It takes a willingess to dust yourself off and keep going when you (inevitably) stumble. Oddly, it was KNOWING how hard maintenance is that made me believe I could do it. Weight loss does not, in itself, confer a magical cure for obesity. I have a body that will always want to put on weight if I allow it to. It is something I will have to manage for life.
Although the maintenance phase is still new to me, I am pleased and encouraged that Dad's long illness and all the related work and life stress have so far not undone all of my hard work. I did stop agressively trying to lose weight for the time being (I was about 10 pounds short of "goal"), just to keep my sanity. But I have kept the weight off since June and even managed to lose a few more pounds. If I am being picky, I would say that I have not done as much strength training as I should have, and have not been getting enough sleep. But I kept up with the exercise generally, have been able to improve my running a bit, and kept the eating on track. (Indeed, all those long weeks at the hospital with Dad did not make me want to eat any of the junk food readily available there -- all I wanted was to get back to my farmer's market veggies, pastured eggs and grass-fed meats! There wasn't much healthy at the hospital cafeteria, but I survived on what healthy fare they had and refused the pizza, burgers, and other crap.)
That's all for now -- better get on my 3pm conference call. (Gotta love billable hours pressure!)