3 years of maintaining 100 pounds lost means time for some honesty again

3-years-of-maintaining

The first note I ever wrote about weight loss was called “Time for some honesty”, where I was admitting that I was trying actively to lose weight and had already lost ten pounds. I remember being shocked by the fact that I was so successful with the weight loss even in just the first few weeks and that I didn’t even feel deprived or hungry. People often hide trying to lose weight and their loved ones don’t always know if they are allowed to ask about weigh loss. But I decided to do it differently–openly.

Thank god that’s how I did it. I could share my successes, people could ask me for advice about weight loss for themselves, know I was ok with compliments about my appearance change, and cheer me on as dozens of annoying exercise statuses filled their news feeds. I think sharing my journey with you all is a big part of its success.

But when people post to Facebook they are mostly focused on successes, rarely honest about struggles. But I want to be. If we don’t know how much everyone struggles, we think we’re the only one who do. So I want to be honest about the fact that while I’ve maintained my 100 pound weight loss (with fluctuations of about 10 pounds), it’s been a struggle and continues to be. I  still sometimes feel out of control around food, I still sometimes eat out of boredom, I’ve had SO many weeks well over my calorie budget, I had a week where I was definitely eating like someone with a binge eating issue, and there were a couple of months when I stopped logging and started eating poorly the way they say you shouldn’t let yourself do in maintenance. Stuff like this is something I’ll always struggle with. But the fact that I still weigh in the 160s (versus the 260s where I used to be) means I’m doing okay.

Another issue that is so important to this whole matter is body image, which is something that is so missing from the weight loss conversation as a whole. The best way I can explain this is: don’t assume that a good body image will follow automatically from making your body better (even setting aside the subjectivity of the word “better” in this case). In my case, I realized recently that the fluctuations in my body image throughout my life were uncorrelated with my weight. As a result, I’ve recently started taking an active role in improving my body image, and I’m happy to report that my progress has been incredible. I feel much more confident and happy these days than I did six months ago. I would encourage anyone who is unhappy with their body to consider seriously how to divide their efforts among body improvements versus body image improvements.

Since the goal of this weight loss isn’t the weight loss itself but life improvement, I’d also like to share something else I’m working on recently: de-stressing and relaxing. I attacked undergrad with a vengeance; I spent it wrapped up in to-do lists and endless studying and research. Matt and I were long distance at the time, which made it easier to be that way, but there were a lot of people in my city that I missed out on getting to know better because I was so wrapped up in my studies.

Now in grad school, I’ve changed my priorities. I make time for husband, family, and friends (which can be a lot to balance when you have not only new friends but also family and lifelong friends in your same town! It’s a good problem to have). I’ve also recently started taking time to myself, because although alone time was something I had never understood the merits of, I now find relaxing by myself worthy for its own sake. I’m still really new to this but it’s been really rewarding so far.

I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress happiness-wise and am more at ease than I have been in the past. Nevertheless, I’m still a hugely anxious person and I look forward to continuing further in the direction I’ve been going.

I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts, experiences, struggles, successes, etc.

As I’m a huge fan of before and after pictures, I took a new one. The best thing about is that the first time I put the “after” dress on, I wasn’t confident in it. That took some work and now I feel great in it.

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