Friday, December 3, 2010

Diet Guru: the Secret to Success

Lots of people lose weight. You can find them anywhere: in health magazines, on bookshelves, on TV shows, in blogland, or in your own neighborhood. There are people who have lost very large amounts of weight by any number of methods who preach all kinds of things as "the secret." And we, the obese, read and watch and listen and wonder why not me? How come they can do it and I can't? How do I get a grasp on the elusive "willpower" and/or "commitment" that the successful losers have? Where is it? And we give up because, apparently, there is something wrong with us. We can't stick with it long enough, or stay devoted enough. We lose steam and focus after a while and stop losing or gain back all the weight.

Now, I am not against willpower, or commitment, or motivation. I am not anti-"just do it now." But I was thinking the other day. If someone asked me to speak at a public venue about my weight loss, what would I say? What would I preach? What would be my mantra?

Well, look at me. I am as imperfect as it gets when it comes to weight loss. If you've followed my journey you know that I have lost gobs of weight and then stalled or partially regained countless times because I lose focus, my "willpower" slacks, or I lose steam. I can go for a solid month eating dinners of chicken breast and broccoli and then suddenly I am having a bowl of brownie batter as my evening meal. What gives? Is there *anything* I could share with people who want to lose weight? Am I an example of *anything* good? Certainly not 100% stick-to-it-iveness. Definitely not "staying committed day after day until you reach your goal." Because some days, I just say "screw it" and eat cookies. But you know what? I figured it out. I know what I would say were I given the speaking assignment. I know what I am a shining example of. I know what my mantra would be.

Tenacity.

Tenacity is the quality of being stubborn or persistent. It is holding on tightly and persevering. And that, I have been doing. No matter how hard I fell, no matter if I regained 10 or 20 pounds, and people mocked me and told me I'd gain it all back, no matter if weeks or even months went by without a loss... no matter how often I had to post that I ate too much pizza or drank a bottle of Coke or ate a burrito in the car... I hung on. I held tight to the purpose, even when I was not motivated or committed, even when I was far from perfect. I never let go of the dream. And I dropped 100 pounds doing that, no matter what.

Can someone who feels addicted to food succeed?
Can someone who just CANNOT stay on plan for months on end drop the weight?
Can someone who slips up and eats cookie dough and ice cream go from size 28 jeans to size 10?
Can someone who gains 10 pounds in a month continue on to a normal weight?
Can someone who falls down over and over and just cannot get it 100% perfect reach their goals?
Can someone like you be a weight loss success?
Can someone like me lose 100 pounds and keep going?

Yes. You bet we can.

40 comments:

stggirl said...

Today is my first day on MF. I came across your blog and wanted to let you know that I get your post. I'm glad you said it. I'm glad I can come back to this blog and get reassurance. Thanks for the post.

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for this post! I believe i am being tenacious - in one year, i've only dropped 20 pounds..then 3 more... & then just recently gained back 8. But. I'm not giving up! I'm going to continue to make right choices & it's for life! So i hope, like you, i will succeed. :) THANKS for this post! HUGS!

Leslie said...

YESSSSS! I love this Lyn. It's true. Never give up. Hang on like a pit bull to a slab of steak.

Sarah said...

You have been and continue to be tenacious and inspiring. I appreciate your blog and, for what it's worth, am proud of you.

jennifer said...

"And we, the obese, read and watch and listen" WAIT! you're not in that 'we' anymore ;)

what an inspirational post!

LN said...

Oh yes!!! Love this!

froggy said...

>Can someone who feels addicted to food succeed?<

I ponder over this statement from time to time.

Two family members - one addicted to cigarettes ending her life on oxygen and daily rescue inhaler treatments. Another alcoholic whose drinking brought on early dementia and then the alcohol could be successfully taken away.

What horrendous addictions.

And I always thought, well, at least they could quit. Never, ever touch the stuff again. I can't quit eating, I have to eat to survive. I can quit sugar. And that has been my ongoing addiction and struggle. Now I have to limit carbs (T2). Another item that has to be in my life but I can't abuse.

Would I trade my addictions for alcoholism and nicotine addiction because I could just quit? You don't have to have alcohol and nicotine to live.

I wouldn't. As much as I try and rationalize it - I don't think it is the same. But I pondered it from time to time wishing those family members could have.

The human animal is amazingly complex and I try and remember this and forgive myself.

Siobhan said...

Lyn -- your posts are always so inspirational. I find myself agreeing with so much of what you say. Right now I'm struggling to start losing again, but the point is not that I'm not losing it's that I'm still fighting and won't give up.

bbubblyb said...

You made me want to cuss and say "HELL YES WE CAN" *smile*. It really is about just keep pushing towards the goal we set for ourselves and never giving up. Great post Lyn!!!

twiggy said...

This was a great post for me to ready today. I'm feeling discouraged today, and it was nice to read this - it'll help me stay on plan when times like these happen - when it starts to look hopeless. Thanks!

Tammy said...

Amen sister. :)

Anonymous said...

It is funny, I had a colleague the other day who was shocked to find out I have lost 30 pounds. She had always assumed that I "could just do it." She saw me eating a cookie and talking about running occasionally, and thought I just had it easy, even felt like it wasn't fair that she was working so hard and it was so easy for me!
I share this because I know very few people who don't, at the very least, have to be mindful. I think the people who can just "stop" eating sugar, salt, fat whatever number less than 5--and they have never had a weight issue.
Thanks for another thought provoking post Lyn!
Marie

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Amen sista!!!

Lanie Painie said...

SING IT, chica!

NAN said...

Hey, I like this!

Anonymous said...

You're my hero, I just LOVED this post. I'm so glad I found your blog.

Jen said...

You are awesome! Yeah, you make mistakes, but who doesn't? The important thing is that you get back up again and keep going even after you do. That's very inspirational to me.

Susan said...

I'm with bbubblyb on this - my first reaction was HELL YES also! You're proof, I'm proof, there are so many people in the blog world (and beyond) who are doing it. Is it easy, no. Is it worth it? Are we worth it? Again, hell yes!!

Princess Dieter said...

I completely and totally agree. I was emailing with an online pal and said that persistence was all. Mostly cause it may take years for a flip to switch, but when it does, you're ready. You've been hanging on, learning, preparing, and you're READY when the light bulb goes off, the horn sounds, the switch flips.

I mostly struggled to maintain a 20-25 lb loss for years before I finally got my mojo. Don't know why? I have theories, but nothing certain. But because I held on and kept trying and made sure not to regain all gained ground, when my switch flipped, I was ready to go. I had my tools, knew my calories, had learned things about what my body liked and didn't like, had a blog and support structure...I have been ready for the moment of change-readiness to come.

Sometimes, it's just about the persistence of daily attempts and hanging on....and then it happens.

Of course, then the key is maintaining...and the struggle to maintain while waiting is also practice for that. The big failure is not to regain--and that's a whole other journey.

Jane Cartelli said...

I love being tenacious. Where would be we if we were not tenacious? I would be at your house for dinner fighting you for the bigger spoon in the brownie batter.

Jane~
keepingthepoundsoff.com

Lou said...

Best post I've read today. Can we do it? YES WE CAN! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Love this post!!! So nice to know I'm not the only one who can go from perfectly on-plan, eating healthy, feeling great, to one moment of weakness where I find myself substituting a healthy meal with brownie batter (or chocolate chip cookie dough). But I've lost 40 lbs and just keep at it! Thanks for sharing!!!

CarliAlice said...

Awesome post -- loved it!

Anonymous said...

Like others, I love this post and the one about the "splat". I think for me, I know what "works" in terms of chicken breast and broccoli (plus greek yogurt, protein powder and omelets), but I don't know what doesn't work. How far can I push the edge before 1. I end up on a sugar roller coaster or 2. I don't lose (do gain) weight? AND - I don't know how long I can be in weight-loss mode before my body (and brain) rebel, causing depression and really, really bad eating. When it's easy, it's easy. When it's hard, it's impossible.

Ice Queen said...

You damn straight! :D

You my dear are a shining example of the word tenacity and you inspire me every day. Thank you for being here.

mog said...

Excellent post!

spunkysuzi said...

Oh yes we can!

Beth said...

So true, it's the staying with it that matters over time, not much else.

I keep telling myself that as each new day arrives. Just stay with it, just stay with it. The days will add up and even if I fall and fail and whatever, just get back up and carry.

Keep calm and carry on...

Jennifer Juanitas said...

Excellent blog. You nailed it! Tenacity. But, what struck me most about your blog is...you still call yourself obese. FYI-You are not obese anymore heck, I doubt you are even in the BMI-overweight range. You look healthy to me! Wear it proudly! Thanks for your blog, I always enjoy it. ~Jen

w0rld4vamps said...

Thank you. I needed to hear it. Thank you.

w0rld4vamps said...

Thank you. I needed to hear it. Thank you.

Ariel said...

I disagree with you on so many of your food choices. I really do. But I empathize with you on so many other aspects of your food struggles!

For example: Today I binged. Actually, this week I've binged. Last week too. And not even on my normal binging foods. Oh no, I've been binging on produce! Cooked produce, but still. It was fresh produce when I bought it...

Changing my eating habits from crap to the good stuff has left me struggling to keep up with discoveries of new (healthy) Trigger foods. But I know it's okay, because you've struggled with these exact same issues, and so I'm not alone in this journey.

And what is it that I binged on today? Sliced cucumber dipped in ranch dressing. I used to do the same thing, only with oreo cookies and milk. Today I'm both proud of myself and disappointed at the same time.

Tomorrow I will do better, not in spite of what I did today, but BECAUSE of what I did today -- because of what I learned from today. I now know that *surprise* cucumbers can be a Trigger food for me. So how will I deal with this next time? Instead of whipping out the ranch dressing, I will try spices. I will try a variety of spices until I hit the one that does it for me. There's no willpower here. I was never good at having willpower. What I do have is the ability to ADAPT to new information -- such as finding a new binge food.

And you know what? Knowing that I have a low-calorie alternative to an old favorite is actually exciting.

Diandra said...

This is a great post. (I'd add that it gets easier, the more you know about food and metabolism and stuff, but maybe that's just me...)

Anonymous said...

I've decided to lose weight, and started a blog. And today have seen your success story blog! Wonderful, and very well done! You seem much younger than I, but I am also "Keen" and I shall start tomorrow! Now I am asking both Lyn and other girls: Wish me luck please folks! keenonlosingweight.wordpress.com

Caitlin said...

Lyn, ever since a friend first shared one of your posts, I have been reading with rapt attention. This post is a great example of why. Your journey and writing are riveting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Julie Lost and Found said...

what an awesome post! I really need to read this today. You are such an inspiration..and were one of the first blogs I ever read, and one I continue to read.

Congratulations on your weight loss!

Grace Matthews said...

You are an inspiration. I am glad I hopped to your blog. I have been struggling with my weight for years...my whole life pretty much. Right now i am at my heaviest and it is so depressing. Thank you for lifting me up.

Megan said...

This is such a gift. You are such a gift. Thank you!

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

Love the latest post! You are such an inspiration (as always!). :)

~Kellie

Molly Dougherty said...

Girl, you inspire me so much. You're smart, you're in touch with your own feelings, you "get" the issues you have with food, and you're documenting it for the rest of us. It really helps. I describe this as a journey, one that I will be on in one way or another for the rest of my life. And I often "slip" and eat something that technically I shouldn't. So far I haven't gained more than 5 pounds back without being able to lose them again, but I have essentially stalled at 45 pounds with at least another 100 still to go. And for some reason I'm OK with it. I think I will break my 45 pound plateau and keep going, because I'm what you are -- tenacious. You are a very perceptive and intelligent person and we are all privileged that you choose to share your journey with us.