When I first began writing this blog, I did so with the purpose of documenting my weight loss story in real time. Over the past four years, this blog has evolved into documenting my love for running, races, and just general life shenanigans. During those four years I lost weight, gained weight, maintained weight, lost weight, gained weight, lost, plateaued, lost, gained….well, you get the picture. It hasn’t been an easy battle. I loved following blogs of others who were in the same boat as me and others who had chosen to document their struggles and triumphs on the world wide web. My Instagram feed became littered with transformation pics, before and afters, progress pics, daily food journals, and post workout selfies. I was okay with this because I loved connecting with others and seeing the highlight reel of their life and staying up to date on their progress. I, myself, had posted pictures of a similar variety. Last spring (2014) I was in a great place. My running was stronger than it had ever been, I was fitting into clothes I had never dreamed of wearing, and for the most part, I felt confident. However, there was still a piece of me that couldn’t be happy with where I was at. I would look at photos and cringe at how I looked. I would pick apart every single detail about how I could have sucked in more, or there was major cellulite bulging out of my shorts, or how my face looked puffy. I was never satisfied. Looking back at those photos now, I could almost cry because when I see how I looked last year I literally had my dream body. When I imagine what I want to look like forever, THAT is what I looked like last year. I just couldn’t see it at the time. That devastates me.
So, today I want to talk about a topic that I never see talked about. Weight maintenance and weight gain.
I never see bloggers or Instagrammers talk about this. You may be able to tell about the struggles through a picture here and there, but it never gets discussed. Bear with me.
At the end of last summer I began student teaching in order to obtain my teaching license. I went out and bought a whole new teaching wardrobe since I had a smaller body. I just knew that being on a set schedule everyday would help me stay on track and even help me become stronger in my running. Boy, was I wrong. Lunch trips to the local hibachi joint, candy from my students, cookies and donuts in the teacher workroom, and late night binges due to stress were not in my favor. School started too early for me to workout before work (I don’t feel safe running alone in the dark) yet I would leave work feeling so stressed and sluggish that working out was just not on my agenda. I gained a few pounds. Nothing too major but it was at least slightly noticeable. In November I started training for my marathon. I just knew that this would be the kick in the butt to help me continue my weight loss journey but it didn’t. It left me feeling more tired, stressed, and hungry. By the time December rolled around I had probably packed on 10 pounds.
Come January I got an interim position teaching high school. All hopes for being on a routine went out the door. One of my student’s parents owned the local Krispy Kreme for crying out loud! I was able to get in my weekly runs after school and during my planning period but I still had an awful relationship with food. I couldn’t outrun my diet. My long runs on the weekends boosted my confidence but the scale was still getting higher and higher. I did a half marathon in February and had a time I was super happy with even being about 20 pounds above what I was when I formerly had the same time.
In the weeks leading up to the marathon, I just became really depressed. I hate saying the word depressed because it’s not truly what I was, but I was just down. My clothes didn’t fit right, I was flabby all over, and I didn’t know if I would be able to do 26.2 miles. At times I thought my body would fail me, but in reality I was the one who had failed my body. The marathon came and went and that euphoric feeling of finishing vanished quickly. I decided to give myself two weeks before running again because I was SO.SICK.OF.RUNNING. Seriously. Running seemed so pointless. Well, those 2 weeks turned into longer than that and before I knew it, August was here and I had packed on 30 pounds. Yes, you read that right. I gained 30 pounds this summer. Nothing prepared me for the major emotional downward spiral that can come after a marathon.
I weighed in this week and the scale said 255 pounds. That’s three pounds heavier than my absolute heaviest of 252. I could cry just typing that. It’s embarrassing. It’s terrifying. It’s shameful. And I have no one to blame but myself. I am the one responsible for every workout missed and for every calorie put into my mouth.
Nothing in my closet fits..not even my fat jeans that I kept around just for kicks. My workout clothes don’t even fit. I’m lucky if I can get my sports bra over my head. I got REAL job teaching 8th grade and had to go waste more money on new clothes so that I would have something to teach in. It pained me to pay money for clothes knowing that there is no way I should be in that size. I am horrified to see myself in photos.
No one ever talks about this. I have felt so alone in this battle of increasing weight. People talk about how they are 2 pounds down this week or all of their non scale victories. I don’t read about people struggling with their food addiction, binge eating disorder, and recently developed hatred of exercise. Am I alone in this?? I have felt so incredibly isolated during all of this.
Why does no one talk about how hard weight maintenance is? It seems like every time I get near my goal weight, I lose sight of my goals and gain sooo much. Up and down, up and down. Now I’m really up and I don’t even know how to get down.
The thing is, I know what it took to get to my goals. I know the restrictions it took for me to look good in all my pictures from last year. I know the hunger headaches I had from not eating enough. I know about the 3 and 4 hour days at the gym trying to work harder. I know about saying no to friends who want to have lunch so that I won’t be triggered into a binge. I know about cutting out all of my favorite foods yet still constantly thinking about them.
Deciding to lose weight is a huge commitment. Deciding to maintain your weight loss is an even bigger commitment. It’s hard. It’s lonely. It’s difficult. It’s a process. It takes time and effort. If you have ever lost weight at all then you know that. It is harder to keep it off than it is to lose it in the first place. And it honestly pisses me off that no one ever gets real and talks about it because it is SO common. Like, I’m pretty sure the stats show that a good majority of people who lose a significant amount of weight generally gain some if not all of it back. In my case, you gain more back.
The other day I was out to eat with some teacher friends and I was struck by how darn good my food tasted. It tasted good. It tasted real good. And then I thought how unhappy I was that I don’t fit into any of my clothes and how I am now at a higher weight than I have ever been at. It almost doesn’t even seem worth it to try to lose the weight again. What if I just gain it all back again? What if it takes me many years to get to goal? What if I never make it back to where I once was? All of those questions cripple me with fear. Honestly, it seems easier to just love and enjoy food and not worry about what my weight is. But deep down, I know that I will never be truly happy at this size. I won’t be happy knowing that I can’t buy clothes at a regular store. I can’t be happy knowing that I’m not reaching my full potential.
So where am I going with this? I’m just addressing what people who lose weight usually don’t talk about. I’m really just airing my grievances. I have been a total failtrain at weight loss and I’m confessing. I’m letting you know that I haven’t been honest. I’ve just flown under the radar and just stopped talking about all things running, health, and weight loss. I’ve let myself down and I’ve let others down.
After a long summer and a few long weeks of August, I think I’m finally ready to dust myself off and get back on the horse. It won’t be easy. It won’t be pretty. But I’m going to try. I’m going to do it the right way. That means no major restrictions. No strict diet of only chicken and oatmeal and yogurt. I’ll definitely eat those things but my life won’t depend on it. I’ll spend a healthy amount of time at the gym which means no more 4 hour gym days. I won’t let it be the end of the world if I have one two many rolls at dinner with friends. I won’t allow myself to starve for the sake of shedding a pound. I won’t beat myself up over the number on the scale. I will lose weight at a healthy pace and not focus on the negatives. I will set small, realistic, and worthy goals and I will reach them. And when I reach my goals I will set new goals that include maintenance. My lifestyle will be sustainable and not just a fad diet. I can do this.
Please, if you have struggled with weight maintenance, falling off the train, gaining weight, falling out of love with exercise, or anything like this then please know that you are NOT alone. People everywhere are in the same boat as you but they just don’t always talk about it. It is easy to share the joys and the ups of your journey. It is hard to admit defeat and failure. But you are not alone and there are so many people struggling just like you. And if you are in the weight maintenance stage and have been doing good, then always reach out and support those who aren’t doing as great as you. Lift them up, encourage them, and offer them your support. We are all in this together. Weight loss is hard. It is super hard. If it was easy then obesity wouldn’t be a thing. Just know you are not alone.
I promise to start keeping it real around here with my real thoughts and emotions along with real photos that aren’t me using camera angle to look a certain way. Honesty is the best policy. Thanks for reading/listening to me.