Saturday, February 7, 2009

Finding A Groove

I've been thinking lately about the people who cut all the junk out of their diets completely, stick with it, exercise regularly, and drop all their weight in record time. I've seen these people around the blogosphere and on message boards, in magazines and on TV. They're the "success stories" we read about and envy so much. And I want to BE them. So I ponder.

How is it that some people seem to be able to do this while others flounder and struggle constantly just to lose a few pounds? I mean, I dropped weight pretty quickly and consistently there for awhile. But I didn't keep losing. I have been doing the lose/gain/lose dance for 6 months. WHY?

I see those other people who say they just cut out ALL sugar and ALL junk because they were determined to get the weight off. They seem really strict to me. But I admire them so much. I have nothing bad to say about them, because for the most part they are succeeding in meeting their goals. And I know it's because of their level of discipline, which is so much tighter than mine is at the moment. Sometimes I feel like I should be able to do that: just get up one day and make promises to myself that I will NOT eat x, y and z and I will exercise every day and I will just be disciplined and do everything in my power to lose weight NOW. Because we all know, if you stick with your program the pounds do come off... at least that's what I have found.

But like so many other people, I seem to fall into the trap of, "oh that looks so good... I haven't had that food in so long... I will just have one serving and then TOMORROW I will have a perfect day." And I do this every day, so that the net result is no weight loss. Sure, I'm not gaining, but that's not my goal here. This is "Escape from Obesity," not "Stagnate in Obesity." I know I'm not alone. This behavior isn't all that different from how I behaved when I was 278 pounds and "wanted" to lose weight... but wouldn't make myself stick to anything long enough to see results. This isn't so different from all the other fat people out there who "want" to lose weight but don't. It's about choices. Caramel popcorn, or a pound gone on the scale tomorrow? Give in enough times, and you stay fat.

Apparently "wanting" to lose weight just isn't enough. It takes action. I've let a lot of things sidetrack me: sickness, stress, worry, other people offering me food. Why can't I be like those other people who just stay on plan 100% and drop 100 pounds in a few months? I dunno. I wish I knew.

Sometimes I get down on myself for the state of my weight loss lately. But it's funny, when I was dropping weight consistently I got a lot of comments from fat folks saying, "I wish I could be like you. I wish I could stick to it and lose weight. It's just not that easy for some of us."

Guess what? It's not easy for me, either. It never was. It takes a lot of focus and determination and hard work to see results like that. And I didn't lose all that weight because I am some kind of superperson or weight loss goddess or dieting guru. I am just like everyone else, and we all have the ability to lose weight (on our own schedules at our own rates) or stay fat. In fact, I've chosen to stagnate for awhile... somewhat subconsciously, for my own reasons. I'd rather lose it slowly enough to get my head around it and KEEP IT OFF than drop it so fast that I don't recognise myself in the mirror and go nuts eating bon bons to get my familiar self back. Don't get my wrong; I'd lose weight NOW, I'd be thin NOW if I could. I don't LIKE not losing. But I accept it while not endorsing it. Does that make sense? I mean, I am okay with myself as far as my struggles go, but I am not accepting this weight. I am not going to stop, give up, make excuses, stay fat. I'm not.

I think it's a matter of finding our groove. A groove is kind of like a rut. We've all been stuck in a rut at times... you get in the same habits and struggle to "pull yourself out of the rut" to do something different and improve your situation. But a *groove* is different... it's something positive. A positive rut. If you can get in a groove/rut where you habitually eat healthy, exercise and lose weight, the result is a lighter body. That's my goal. Instead of skipping around like a scratched record, I gotta get into a groove and STAY THERE. And that takes discipline.

Every time you refuse to let your needle skip out of the groove (by saying no to a cupcake, or forcing yourself to exercise), you make the groove a little deeper... a little more stable. After awhile, you just don't skip out of your groove anymore.

You know, we can all do this. We might not be perfect but I believe we are capable. I honestly believe that for most of us... the ones who don't have our groove yet... it's all a matter of not giving up. As long as we keep working towards our goals we will get there. I'm running at about 80% lately. My goal for the coming week is to run at 99%. I won't ever be perfect but I can give this my best effort, regardless of what life throws at me. So can you. We will get there. Just don't give up.


Ella in an Elephant Costume said...

This post has perfect timing! Thanks!

Jessica @ Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget said...

Everything you just said I have thought and done before. You just reminded me how much I love the groove thing. I am getting there. Still struggling a little but it is getting easier to say no to those cupcakes every day. :) Thanks for the reminder to keep working on the groove thing.
I love this post!!!

Camevil said...

Lyn, like you, the initial stage of my weight loss journey was met with great success. I was over 250 pounds and when I started my weight loss commitment, the weight came off with just a little exercise and changes in diet. However, as we come down in size, it takes more adjustments to keep losing weight. It is frustrating when you lose momentum and hit a plateau or, worse, start gaining again. Boy, do I know that firsthand. However, the only way to get over the hump is to decrease calorie intake and/or increase exercise. Doing the same thing everyday (sticking to the same calorie range, exercise routine, etc.), but expecting different results is, as they say, insanity.

Fitness and healthy eating isn't easy. But it's not too difficult, either. We do things everyday we don't enjoy or which aren't easy, but we do it because we HAVE to. Jobs. Child wrangling. Laundry. Kitty litter sifting. We are a priority and are deserving of the same attention as the less-desirable stuff we have to do.

So why do we put it off? Why do we wait for enlightenment or for motivation to find us? Why do we over-analyze and engage in complicated self-reflection when the answer to weight loss is so simple, so crystal clear? I don't know. But what I do know is that only way I, you, or anyone else can meet real success is to be more proactive, suck it up and just do it. Don't wait to find a groove next week. Your brain might not be on the same page with you by then. Dig that groove today. Otherwise, you're just making goals for the purpose of making more goals.Exercise the body--you're brain has been exercised enough already. If you're knees are too sore to bike, then pick up some weights and just do it.

Keep fighting and keep moving!

VNR said...

Thanks for this!

Lyn said...


excellent comments! I totally agree, especially about not waiting to "find" a groove next week. It's a daily, minute-by-minute process to create our own groove by every single choice we make. It's that waiting until tomorrow/next week/next month that ends up keeping us fat. No more procrastination! Every moment does count. And while it really can be difficult at times, getting into good habits helps so much, and ocne you're in your groove it is far, far less difficult.

Thanks so much for your insights!

Graciela said...

FABULOUS POST...Thank you. This is exactly what I need to do.

Lynna said...

Ouch. I just read the last commenter and was so saddened that somebody would throw stones like that. For what it's worth, Lyn, I see you as far from lazy as one can get. You persevere in spite of physical and emotional difficulties that would derail a weaker person. I so admire your courage and your basic human decency. You are one of my heroes... not because of your size (whether that is 250 lbs or 150 lbs), but because of your compassion towards yourself and others. You go, girl!

Anonymous said...

I have been checking on this blog for a while (since I saw it won an award), but I have never left a comment. I really don't like the comment above from the reviewer who said you displayed "the typical American attitude." You are really struggling with your weight and being really honest about the struggle. Losing weight is not about just deciding to do it and having willpower. You have to find a way to do it that works for you.

At the same time, I do feel that you have been in a bit of a rut for the past several months, and I sense that want to try to take some steps to emerge from this. I have no magic solution to offer, of course. There simply isn't one. I have some suggestions, though, as someone who has been through this for some time, but has successfully lost a good deal of weight (several times throughout my life, but have only recently, at age 45, felt like I have done it in a sustainable and workable way). First, have you ever consulted a nutritionist? That was the beginning of my successful weight loss journey, and I found the $200 I spent for a couple of sessions tremendously beneficial. Here are some of the things I learned: (1) I was not eating enough earlier in the day, and I ended up feeling very hungry later in the day. Just eating more at breakfast and lunch made a huge difference; (2) I was eating some very empty calories -- or rather, make that drinking -- the couple glasses of wine I was having were adding calories to my diet that were not useful (not sure you are doing that); and (3) Fat in the diet is not necessarily the enemy -- I don't buy all of what I read on this website, but I do believe in some of it.

Also, you have probably seen it, but a real inspirational website is at I just found this from reading the NY Times. Best wishes to you in your journey!

Lyn said...


no worries, I just delete the abusive comments. I figure some people are very sad/hurt/angry about whatever is wrong in their own lives, so they get mixed up and take it out on strangers. Thank you for your kind comments, I appreciate the support! I hope I can always be a positive person and help others in some small way.


Those are some good website, thank you. I have indeed seen a nutritionist, several times, as well as taking nutrition classes. I definitely have the knowledge I need.

When I post my thoughts like I have today, it's just that: my thoughts. I lvoe writing whatever is floating around in my head. And it's always nice to get feedback :)

As I said, I am about 80% of where I want to be (groove-wise) and am so thankful for the improvements in my health since losing the weight. I am excited to see where all this takes me!

moonduster said...

This really hit home for me, especially now when my weight loss is starting to slow down.

You CAN find your groove, and so can I!

Pam said...

You are amazing and inspiring, Lyn. I have just started reading your blog, and your honesty and your journey really speak to me. Keep it up!

Kalexias said...

Great post! I can really identify with what you said.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, once again an "oh yeah" post. You are totally right about the groove. When you get out of it, something disrupts your weight loss, whatever--it's just sooo hard to get back there. I'm trying to find my groove again...

Andrew is getting fit said...

I try to find a balance...strict in the week...slightly less so in the weekend. But it's hard keeping that balance right sometimes.

antgirl said...

I cut the junk gradually. I don't miss it. Some mistake my diet as being strict, but it's just the way I prefer to eat now.

Find healthy foods that are just as tempting. That's what I did. It helps a lot. Then over time, it gets easier as the palate adjusts and the body adjusts. I don't put anything off limits. If I want it, I have to plan for it though. That's the rule. :)

bbubblyb said...

Lyn, I sometimes think people get mental blocks about a certain weight or at a certain point in their life and the block can come and go. I think some of us just think more than others too. I do think weight loss can be simple and it is calories in/calories out but it's also a huge mental game. When we are feeling good mentally it does seem so much easier. I call it the "click" (or groove like you said) and I have it sometimes and other times I flounder. I don't always understand why but like you said as long as I don't ever give up and keep on trying I will eventually get there. I've also come to realize that the weight will come off if I just keep going and even if it takes me 3 or 4 yrs (I'm on month 19) I'm ok with that because I know I'm working on my self and I'm feeling healthier than I ever have in my life. I'm also going to therapy and working on the mental part so that I know I can keep the weight off this time. I think it's about loving ourselves enough and feeling worth it. I can promise you every large person you see doesn't have the love for themselves they should. I hope I will find the love within myself I need, I know I'm worth it. You are worth it Lyn and I enjoy reading your words and I'm glad you're here in blogland with me.

Lucrecia said...

You are so right - if it wasn't so damn hard we wouldn't call it a battle. I'm one who has to give it all up. I can't do things in moderation (if I could, I'd not be where I am I guess). I admire people who can eat just a few bites of something and walk away. If I were to have a bite of ice cream right now I think I'd eat a whole gallon. So those people you see, they may not eat those things out of fear - not some wonderful will power or devotion! You are not losing sight of the goal, at least!

Michele said...

This was great timing Lyn, I have been thinking along the same lines all week. Thanks for reminding me that I just need to find the groove. Keep up the great job!

Lady G said...

Yep I reckon finding your groove is what it's all about. It doesn't have to be the perfect groove - it does have to be one that you can go along in for the rest of your life. I reckon cutting out all sugar, all alcohol etc. might be something that people do on a temporary basis. When they stop, they haven't learnt how to eat SMALL amounts of cake and just ONE cookie - it might an all or nothing thing.

At least, always trying to improve my own habits without expecting myself to be 100% perfect is what works for me! Just got to keep going!

Michelle said...

I love what you said about wrapping your head around it. How true!!!
You are doing amazing keep up the good work.

kristisummer said...

Camevil is right! It isn't easy but variety and increasing exercise and decreasing caloric intake is the only way to keep losing. Try adding weight training to your exercise regime if you haven't already. Weight training has a greater after burn then cardio, and speeds up your metabolism.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lyn,

Just wanted to know I found this blog about what triggers binges, not knowing what the trigger is, etc.

She also talks about her child abuse and while it is much different from what I've experienced or possibly what you have, I think you might like some of the posts.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lyn, I recently found your blog and am so glad I did. I am just now for the past few weeks back "on the wagon" after falling off about a year ago. Then I had a health scare and am now more committed to finding something ONCE and for ALL to end this weight gain nonsense.

I have always struggled with food and body issues from a mental standpoint and have had ALL of those same thoughts as you, mostly, "It's not faiiiiiir. I want to eat X! How come they get to eat X?"

I just found this book called the Beck Diet Solution which actually made me cry because it is ALL about that question you asked, how come some people can?? My husband is like that. He decides to lose 10 or 20 pounds and just DOES it, because he wants to. No struggle, no angst, just boom. I have major drama over everything.

This book is not about food plans or diet or calories, it's about dealing with the endless dialogue in our heads that always sabotage us. I highly recommend, and have also set up a Yahoo group to discuss and do the (writing) exercises in the book together. You (and anyone else) who want to try following this book, are welcome to join.

A Diva On a Diet said...

good post! i wish i was that person too!

Lesley said...

I think a lot of the reason it's so hard to get going is that you still secretly WANT the bad stuff. So, maybe the idea is to train yourself NOt to want it any more.

I'm in the process of doing this using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and a book called Diet Solutions By Judith Beck. I'm seeing some early sucesses in adjusting my thinking and wanting to snack less and take less food and exercise more. It's certainly making a difference in my mindset.

You might want to check it out??

Good luck chuck.

Lesley x

Vickie said...

I am someone that gave it all up (slowly over time) and exercises a lot. I don't think of myself as losing quickly. My loss process took two full years. I am finishing my second year of maintenance. So, I am starting my fifth year of mindfulness. But I guess in blog land - two years might seem quick.

I loved your posting. I loved the comments attached to it! Thank you for writing it.

When I read postings, I rarely read ALL the comments attached, but with this one I did. And you have some really good ones!

I didn't start out to 'give it all up'. It was a learning process, an evolution.

I started with eating at meal time, eating portions, eating more evenly from the food groups. (I was a CARB machine before). And my food just kept getting cleaner and cleaner as I went. I think that this is a pretty normal process for many people that are successful in maintenance. We didn't (tend) to start out with where we are now in mind - we just progressed to where we are now.

Two defineable things happened on the way that got me (personally) to where I am now:
1. I got sick of counting calories and figuring percentages (fat/protein/carbs). You might say - why were you figuring percentages? because at a certain point - total calories doesn't cut it any more (in my experience). It has to be the right kind of food/balance to continue to lose weight. In the beginning - just controlling calories is enough - the further you go - in my experience - it is not. (side note: And I think that fact is why many people can't/don't get all the way to goal.) And as I got tired of the math. I figured out that if I ate whole foods (one ingredient) and ate evenly from the food groups and ate portions (think mutritionist schedule) - I didn't have to count - it sort of balanced itself out automatically. On first glance this might give the appearance of strict - but it totally freed me of all tracking!!!

2. I stopped getting sick. My knees totally stopped hurting. I stopped having pain all over my body - every day. I stopped having asthma/allergy trouble. I stopped getting migraines. My skin cleared up totally. So, at that point - it was totally MOVING TOWARD HEALTHY and not at all giving up anything (food). I pick healthy and feeling GOOD every single day over junk/processed. I have not had a cold or the flu in several years now. And when I get a migraine - I can figure out what food (or combination of food/weather) gave it to me. And what my exercise/strengthening has done to help all my body parts is amazing!

In my experience the people who eat as your post starts out to describe ("I see those other people who say they just cut out ALL sugar and ALL junk because they were determined to get the weight off. They seem really strict to me.") might not FEEL strict at all. I do not. I FEEL free from pain. I FEEL very free in my food.

I stock the house with what I eat and am slowly moving my family into eating as I do.

And do you know what is happening with them?

They are not getting sick either. My kids and husband have not been ill in several years now. (watch the whole house will have the flu now that I said that).

A lot of all of this is getting the taste buds to adjust. When they have adjusted to REAL food - and are not responding to all the additives - what happens is that the processed does not appear attractive. It starts to have the same UNappeal that cigarettes have. When the taste buds are used to the over taste of processed - they have to kick in and be able to taste again - and it takes a while.

Michelle said...

What I do when I see something that looks SO good that I NEED to have is I tell myself, "okay, if you want it so bad, you'll still want it tomorrow. If you want it tomorrow, you can have it."

Rarely do I want it the next day - it's just an impulsive eating problem. Once I cut out my impulsive eating, it was a lot easier to treat myself (because they were more planned) and I stopped feeling the guilt at eating something on impulse.

TNelson said...


Thanks for a well-written very thoughtful post. I have saved it to go back and re-read again and again. I need to understand and make this concept a part of my life. As I've said you are a wonderful writer - I think you should consider a book!

new*me said...

beautiful, thought-provoking as usual Lyn!

I was one of the "perfect cases" for the first 3 months........and I lost weight fast. But, I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I stared at 307 and hadn't been exercising. It shocked my body.

Now that my body is used to eating healthy and exercising, it doesn't often give off the big numbers anymore. I know I would have to start a marathon to do that. I can't really cut any more calories.

The thing I have learned is I can have a meal or a day off, but just one. When I used to go off "diets" it would be for a year at a time. This is why I know it's a change in my life this time. I think when the click in our brain happens, we are on the right page.

somebodys mother said...

Love this post!It touches on something that is critical for me in my quest for my best me. A lot of diet advice says to reward yourself (in a non-food way)when you hit mini-goals. I never really needed rewards. Seeing the weight come off, the increased energy, etc., is the best reward in the world for me. When I am losing I feel good about myself and continue to do the things I need to in order to lose. This feeds me emotionally in a positive way. But when my loss slows down or stops I don't feel as good about myself and I start sliding in my eating and exercise. (Getting my groove on vs. being in a rut)
What I realized I needed instead of a reward when things are going well, is a boost when things are slowing down.
For me there are a couple of things that I do for a boost. First, I check to see how my bras fit. Most of us (women in general) are wearing the wrong size bra. It is amazing to me how much better I look and feel with the right bra. I am a huge advocate for getting fitted for a bra. When I feel good about me the eating right and exercise comes so much easier(getting my groove on) One of the other things I do to boost myself is to dress a little better. I love this one because it doesn't cost any money and times are tight at my house.
I am pretty much a jeans and t-shirts kinda gal. When I start sliding into the rut, putting a little more effort into how I dress can make a world of difference. And I do mean just a little effort. Wear a shirt that needs to be ironed instead of a t-shirt, put on some nice shoes, wear slacks instead of jeans, under no circumstances should I stay in my work out clothes all day even if it's a Saturday. When I am dressed better I feel better about me and then I treat myself better. Which means eating well exercising, believing that I deserve the best life has to offer. What might boost you out of your rut and into your groove?

Diana said...

So true! We can't be perfect and have to allow ourself to be imperfect in order to be successful at this.

I was an all or nothing gal for a long time. This time I've accepted that I can't be 100% on all the time with food and exercise. I'm just human and I screw it up sometimes. No worries.

I think that's why this time, I know it's different. This time I will succeed because I've accepted that I'm flawed at this, I can't be perfect 24 x 7.

Great've got it figure out. :)

lost41in08 said...

Love your blog! So many of your posts I can really relate to.

Like so many of your readers, I have struggled for years to find my groove, and last summer I finally found it.

There are 3 things that have helped me get in a groove...and stay there. We all have different things that work for us, but I hope this can help just one person:

1) Build on the small successes; don't focus on the big picture.

I began with 119 lbs to lose. That was way too overwhelming to me, too far to go to really keep on track! So I decided to divide it up into 10 pound goals. Each time I reached a mini-milestone, I reward myself with a special "non-food" item, a Bath & Body shower gel, a new pair of shoes, something that I consider a splurge. I'm now closing in on the 60 lb. mark, which is huge for me, it's the HALF WAY mark. Put one foot in front of the other, build one small success on top of another...and before you know it, you've lost a bunch of weight!

2) Cut out flour and sugar.

I know this sounds extreme, and I'm by no means a health nut, but it's made a HUGE difference this time for me!

Every time I've dieted in the past I suffered from headaches, cravings, and that feeling of 'starving'...all the time!! The carbs we eat (before I would do those 100 cal packs) feed the body's sugar craving and then it just wants more. With me, it was so consuming that at times I could hardly focus on other things, I was just hungry all the time. This time I do not have any of that. I eat a wide variety of foods (love Mexican and spicy foods!) and eat veggies, fruit, grains, protein, dairy...and I feel full and satisfied.

3)Get support for your journey!

Having someone to cheer you on is a HUGE benefit. There are lots of groups out there, I joined TOPS, a great organization, and one of the more economical ways to go. I need that weekly accountability!

Hope these help, I appreciate your blog so much, and hope this year will be really good for you, that you'll get in that groove and start losing again.

Thanks, Lyn. We're all cheering you on!

Heather said...

well, as one of those people who has cut out all the bad stuff and has been pretty successful, I can say - its not easy. And it still isnt easy. there are still days that I think, what if I were to buy X when Im at the store? so the temptations are there. everyone still has their struggles and they will likely be there. but it is very true what you said about a groove. when you have it, it makes passing up those temptations easier. thats why when my groove is suddenly put in disarray like going on vacation or traveling, its hard to focus and I do get off track. but when your in it, its great!

The Better Idiot said...

Thanks for your comment and nice post!

Scale Junkie said...

I've found that in the past my biggest problem is that I get into a groove and then say "hey this works, I know how to lose weight" and then I lose focus all the while thinking I "know" how to do it but thats where the big fat word ACTION comes into play. Wanting isn't enough, its follow thru and taking the actions necessary to get there. Now I just need to lather rinse repeat about 250 times and the pounds will be gone.

Karen in Tennessee said...

YES YES YES!!!! I have finally found my groove! For months and months I kept trying to get started but I could never string more than 2 or 3 days together before I found myself at Walgreens buying their 3 candy bars for $1! Now I have completed 6 weeks and have lost 18 pounds...and have even been walking the last few weeks!!! It was all about finding that groove and now I am filled with confidence that I will keep going. :)

Lyn, your inspiration was so key in helping me get back on track. THANK YOU!!!!

Ria said...

I love the groove analogy. I was in and out of my groove 3 separate times last year. During the periods when I was in, I lost weight very consistently, and when I was out I actually gained some back . . . roughly 75 aggregate pounds forward and 15 aggregate pounds back.

Accepting that this is a lifelong process with no "finish line" helped me get over my frustration with myself for not staying "in the groove" more consistently last year - even if I had, I still wouldn't be "done" and staying in my groove will take effort for the rest of my life. In case you haven't already seen them, here are links to a couple of great blog posts in that vein.

I'm with you on giving it 99% this week - you're right, we CAN do this.