The Thing No One Ever Talks About

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.

when i thought i was still morbidly obese.

when i thought i was still morbidly obese.

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.

looking large.

looking large.

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.

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12 thoughts on “The Thing No One Ever Talks About

  1. Wow thanks sooo much for sharing. It’s hard to talk about but so very important! I weigh myself on a regular basis. It’s been hard to justify that lately because everyone is pushing to ditch the scale. For me, it’s a way to hold myself accountable. I don’t go crazy if I go up a few pounds but if I’ve been slowly creeping up all week I evaluate what my diet and exercise looked like that week. I’m glad you’re trying to make lifestyle changes instead of extreme dieting. I really believe that’s the best way for weight maintenance. I wish you all the best with your journey!!

  2. If I remember you did the Flying Pig in May, same as me, right?? It was your first??
    If it helps, I am just now getting my fitness mojo back. That marathon kicked my booty for real. Between back pain and just plain running fatigue, I just wasn’t feeling the steps. But now, I feel the running desire growing stronger. It’s been 3 1/2 months. Should it have taken that long … probably not. But I think out bodies demand the rest that it needs.

    Get up, shake it off, and refocus. You can do it!!

  3. Been there. Totally been there. The up and down cycle of weight gain is so hard and is way more complicated than I just ate too much or missed a few runs. You’re right – it’s about how you feel inside and then that feeling just spirals. Realizing that it’s happened/happening is the hardest part and then that feeling of starting all over again is even harder. You know how to do this and what it’s going to take and you’re strong enough to do this. You’re a marathoner – you know how to push yourself. Personally, I need some cheat/binge foods to have around when I need them. Fudgsicles and string cheese were my cheats. I realize that’s not exactly healthy but you gotta do what you gotta do – and it was better than ice cream I guess.

    Think strong. Be strong. Celebrate success. Move on from failures.

  4. We can do this together girl!!! You got a lot of people cheering you on!!! Remember Momma’s your #1 fan!!!!💪💪💪🐎🐎🐎🐴🐴🐴

  5. I understand the food struggles. My story isn’t exactly like yours, but I do struggle with food a lot. I’m a work in progress, and so are you. One thing that helps me sometimes when I’m considering eating something I shouldn’t is that I tell myself, You know what that tastes like already. You’ve had a million donuts (or whatever). It’s nothing new, so don’t bother. You’ll just feel guilty after. Having that talk with myself can really help me out. I’m rooting for you, girl. You can do it.

  6. Oh, I feel you on this! In a way, losing weight is “easy”…you burn more calories than you consume. Easy equation. Maintenance is hard! Figuring out what to eat and how to workout without spending too much time working out is a totally different kind of math. It’s why rapid weightloss is so rarely maintained. It’s why people gain weight while training for marathons (added stress) and after (mental fatigue from over-training).

    I don’t have any advice, but please know you’re not alone! And while your journey back to your ideal weight may be an uphill battle at this moment, it’s not a lost battle. You absolutely can find a different form of exercise that brings you joy and makes you happy to workout again, and you’ll get used to teaching and the weird schedule and the stress; you’ll learn to manage it better.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. You definitely are not alone. I’ve struggled for years. I was overweight as a teen and my highest weight was 230. I’m down right now to a low for me but scared that I cannot maintain this weight that I like. Struggle every day. Stress plays a big part and food cravings. Sugar, bread all those things are my weaknesses. Yes, and wondering why others can eat the way they do and not exercise and not gain. I heard a quote once about that and all it was is “that is not you” so here we are in this struggle. You know what works and I know you can do it. You’ve had the best training and all those people are still there for you.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this. You definitely aren’t alone. And I’m not a doctor, but PLEASE read the book “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. If you are like so many people, and like I am, it’s not all about how much you eat and exercise, but the fact that certain foods are just always going to keep you fat (carbs and sugar). It’s NOT easy when you can’t just eat anything you want despite how active you are, but you want to talk about maintenance? This was my final solution. I changed my diet for good (based on what I read in the book – which is NOT a fad diet), lost weight, feel better than I ever have in my life, and am free from the terrible roller coaster of weight gain/loss and cravings that dictated my entire life. No restriction (except eliminating entire foods, which is hard but why would you continue to eat something that makes you “sick”?), no hunger. Just eating the right foods that my body will process correctly and not store as excess fat. Everyone is different, but I can’t express enough how learning how insulin, sugar and hormones really work within our bodies has changed everything for me. I wish everyone could find this peace with food and eating, and ultimately their bodies, so I HAVE to say something about it here 🙂 Give it a read and good luck.

  9. I can really connect with this post today. I am still running but running alone doesn’t help me keep the lbs off. I used to go to the gym on my lunch breaks 4 out of 5 days a week and I ate healthy meals and snacks all day long. I was eating more meals than ever but losing weight because the portions were small and they were packed with good things. I let that go slowly and gained 25 lbs like it was nothing. I’m in the same boat with clothes. Nothing fits, not even gym clothes. Last week I started back on my meal planning though. I haven’t gotten myself back in the gym yet but I am trying to work on the food first. Once I’m comfortable there, then it’s back to the gym. I’m down 2 lbs since starting last Monday so I just have to keep it going. You will reach your goal. You will get there. Just make those small goals and reach them one by one!

  10. Such a great post and oh so true and hard to talk about. I have gone up and down my whole life, knowing it would be a struggle my whole life, I’m not kidding myself. But between mid 2012 and mid 2013 I lost 30kg and felt amazing. But over the next say year and a half I gained half of it back. WTF !!?? I felt great losing the weight, how, why? There’s just no reason for it. It’s like one day you look in the mirror and think what have I done? The panic of not being able to do up those small skinny jeans was suddenly very real. And it’s not like “hey let’s put on 15kg this year and have a great time doing it” It’s kind of like it just happens, we get complacent. And it sucks. I’m clawing my way back now and almost back to that 30kg weight loss but heck it’s hard the second, third, fourth time around. I’m just taking one day at a time and surrounding myself by positive people. And the fact that my hubby is completely on board is helping. But yep, it’s hard. And you are being open and honest and real and that’s a huge step. Good luck with it.

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