Back in February of last year, I developed a really horrid case of bronchitis and thanks to my various immune-suppressing medications it became pretty severe and wouldn’t go away. At one point The G-Man forced me to urgent care and we only went there after going to the ER first and found the waiting room packed with a wait well over an hour. G-Man was freaked that I would catch something worse so we left there and went to urgent care.
I was so weak and sick he had to go into the exam room with me and there something terrible happened. He watched them weigh me. I couldn’t live in denial anymore. Someone besides the many medical personnel in my life knew how extreme things had become.
I had put on a good bit of weight due to my previous job. Stress and sitting at a desk did me no favors. However, the combination of my deteriorating health and the deluge of medications I was pumping into my body including steroids had created a perfect storm pushing me from needing to lose a few pounds to the dreaded word OBESITY.
The veil had been lifted, a non-medical professional had seen my number so something had to be done. As soon as I could breathe without coughing up a lung I drug myself to the nearest WeightWatchers™ site and signed up. I’m not kidding when I say I drug myself. I didn’t shower or anything, The first morning I woke up feeling halfway human, I looked up the next Weightwatcher’s™ meeting and it happened to be that morning at 9:30. I waved goodbye to the Boy Child as he got on the bus at 8:45 and I immediately left for the meeting.
February through May I did great. I was following WeightWatchers™ Freestyle and loving life. I lost 30 pounds and it felt so doable.
So if you want to read my first sales pitch (just kidding, I’m not selling anything and am not paid to endorse anything by anybody) you can read my take on WeightWatchers™ or what they are now rebranded as WW™ here.
I was at about my halfway point to my goal weight when I became complacent. My WeightWatcher’s™ leader (now known as workshop coaches) even told me this would happen. I stopped tracking my food as diligently and started going over my points from week to week and my weight loss significantly slowed down. I was still losing but at a much slower pace through the summer. Then came Fall and I fell right off the wagon you could say. I lost my mojo and stopped losing all together and even gained a little back, not a lot but enough to scare me into looking everywhere but in the right place for a solution.
Here is what I have learned so far about weight loss in the past 11 months:
You have to have a lot of little reasons articulated for doing it that you remind yourself of daily. It can’t just be an overall, I want to look better or I want to feel better, it has to be specific “WHYs”
For me, I told everyone my Why was for my health and that was a real Why and a pretty big one. all of the doctors told me that managing my weight would help with my discomfort and put less stress on my joints. Plus, with all of the medications I take, my organs take a beating and anything I can do to be healthier can only help them function better under the added stress. You would think to be in as much pain as I am as frequently as I am that would be enough motivation but it’s not. When you feel horrible nearly all the time you do things to self soothe and chocolate has always been one of the most soothing things in my life. I tend to crave carbs and sugar when I’m in the worst flares. When it hurts RIGHT NOW it is really hard to think about how my joints will feel better in the long run if I don’t eat the chocolate cake.
The reality is that my very first Why was that I didn’t want to weight more than G-Man. I was embarrassed when he saw the number on the scale and I didn’t want him to look at me and see that number and know that I weighed more than he did. Of course, he knew I had put on a lot of weight and he probably had an idea that I weighed more than he did but now he had quantitative data and that lit a fire. But as I said, you need more than one Why. Once I cleared that one off my list, I still wasn’t even close to my goal but at least I was the smaller one of our pair again, that Why was gone and that is when I slowed down.
Circling back, the other problem with my health as a Why and the reason that I can’t rely on it as my one and only motivator is that I am now halfway to a healthy weight and no longer considered obese, back to merely overweight but guess what? it’s done nothing to change the way I feel. I’m sure it’s improved my overall health and I know for the sake of my body to function at it’s best being in a healthy weight is best but it has made zero difference in my pain levels or frequency of flares. When I came to this realization is when I stopped losing altogether.
I just spent an inordinate amount of time poo-pooing on all over my original reasons for losing weight so what am I going to do about that because I still want to lose the rest of my weight and reach a healthy weight range? I’m going to find more Whys. Don’t worry, I’ve already been thinking about this!
- My Children – I want to be a healthy example for my children. My kids have atrocious eating habits, I want to model better and cleaner eating. and healthier living. I also want to be around longer for them and even though it hasn’t helped in making me feel better not carrying that extra weight will make my heart, liver, and kidney’s function better which are all at risk due to my medication.
- Wedding rings – I reached a point where I can wear my wedding rings about 50% of the time (when my hands aren’t swollen) I want to lose enough that my rings fit even when my hands swell.
- To be more attractive. This disease has made me feel old before my time and anything I can control that makes me feel better about my appearance is something I need to do.
- Clothes, I already feel better in clothes and I want to fit in even smaller clothes. When I was at my highest weight I was never comfortable. I sat around in sweatpants or leggings and just felt uncomfortable in everything. I am finding now I wear jeans comfortably all day. Now I want to do that in smaller sizes.
That’s what I have so far. I’m sure I will come up with more along the way.
Beyond my Why I have also learned that the Diet mentality is never going to work for me. Telling me that I can’t eat something is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, that will be all I can think about and all I will want until it becomes an obsession. Plus, it feels like diets of any kind create a negative mindset. They set down rules with restrictions and it’s like being told NO and NOT FOR YOU and if you don’t follow the rules you are CHEATING, all negative connotations. Check out my post about WW™ to see why I feel like Freestyle was different (again not a sales pitch, I’m not being paid, just my experience)
As of right now, I feel like I am back on track. I spent sometime in December exploring supplemental material looking for help to find the motivation to get me back to where I was last winter and spring. I may write another post about that little venture too. Eventually, I realized I had all of the tools I needed to be successful because I had already proven I could be successful, I just needed to look at what I was doing and think about what changed for me. I did some journaling, stopped trying to complicate things and went back to simple basics. It’s not perfect but I wasn’t being perfect early last year when I was kicking butt either but I was still happy with the results so if I can recreate that being imperfect I’m A-okay with that.
Ultimately, losing weight is about losing the mental weight 95% more than it is about losing the physical weight from your body. Getting over that cycle of giving up unless you can do it perfectly every time. Articulating to yourself why it’s important to you to make it happen. Finally, identifying roadblocks along the way and learning how to navigate around them by figuring out what has changed in your mindset. What is making you do things differently today versus last month when you were following your plan and being successful.