One of my fellow bloggers, whose story has been so inspirational to me, made a difficult and brave confession in her post a couple of days ago. She shared with her readers than she has gained back fifty of the nearly 200 pounds she had lost and kept off for a year and a half.
I cringe on her behalf --- not because she's regained some of the weight, which is so normal as to almost be inevitable --- but because I can so identify with the frustration, shame, and panic I imagine she might be feeling. Please note that I am not trying to put words in Jennette's mouth. She's perfectly capable of speaking for herself (with great humor, I might add). I'm merely imagining that these might be some of her innermost thoughts because, well, they're mine.
I have always been scared about gaining back the weight I've lost. There's always been this little corner of my mind which, no matter how successful I've been, is afraid that I can't keep it up. Never mind that I have kept most of the weight off for a year. I am always aware that this is a battle I must always fight, for the rest of my life. Sometimes, it's harder than others. That's the unpleasant truth that commercial weight loss programs and most weight loss books won't tell you, but part of the success I've had is due to the fact that I have tried very hard not to sugarcoat this process, either to myself or to my audience.
Many times over the past several weeks I've started to type the hard, scary truth that my jeans are edging up on too tight and I haven't had the courage to get on the scale for a couple of months now. Every time I've stopped myself, embarrassed to admit it, both to the public and to myself. I keep making deals with myself that I'll just work on it until the jeans fit better. And I keep fighting off the lurking panic and the ugly little voices --- the Hyenas of Doubt, remember them? --- that would like me to listen to their I-told-you-so gloating and negativity. As I write this, I still can't make up my mind to get on the scale just yet. Maybe I will tomorrow, or the day after. Part of me says reasonably to just get over it and face up to the number. It's just a number, after all, and one I've seen before. Then there's the irrational part, the magical thinking part, that whispers the fantasy that if I don't look, if I don't see the number, it's not real. And of course I know that's ridiculous.
Maintaining is hard, hard, hard. But here is what I am very proud of: my jeans are a little tight, but they are the same size I've been in all year. I have not let them continue to get tighter. I've caught it the creep, and I've taken steps to reverse it.
I've been writing a food plan and mostly sticking to it. Got to work harder not to nibble. I'm very bad about the nibbling.
I have never gone back to my old eating habits. My eating is so much healthier than ever before.
I have been keeping to my fitness goals and have done a really good job of bringing my fitness commitment back to the level it was when I was working so hard on losing. During those two years, I worked out 1-2 hours every day. Now, that is not sustainable long term for most people, and indeed I wasn't able to sustain it over the past year, but during my break (which ends Monday) I've been doing my best to kick it up and re-establish the firm commitment if not the same amount of time daily. I do know that in order to maintain my loss, I have to work out almost every day, and if I want to increase my fitness and lose more, I have to do cardio every day. I sat down this week and wrote out a fitness plan for the next month. I joined Social Workout, recommended to me by reader Rahree (thanks, Rahree!), a fun, free community to help you track your workouts and get encouragement and advice, and joined their New Year Challenge. I've worked out 8 out of 9 days in January, and I've made a great start on my fitness goals by trying two new activities, Pilates and Bollywood dance. I feel confident that if I keep up this fitness commitment, my jeans will soon be loose.
So there you have it. As I write, my legs are sore from my 54-minute training run and all the jumping around in the Bollywood dance class. But I have a calendar with a plan for every day between now and February 12. I may not be quite ready to get back on the scale, but I'm working on a plan to get myself there. And best of all, I am now in a place to tell those Hyenas of Doubt to shut the hell up and get out of my face. Because I'm working. I'm on it. I am not backing down.