Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happiness in the Process

I have been at this a really long time. Not the Primal thing, but the 'weight loss journey' in general. We are coming up on my five year anniversary of blogging. And before I blogged, I had many, many stints of trying to lose weight, diet, do a lifestyle change, see nutritionists, etc etc. This has been the *only* time in my life I was able to lose more than 40 pounds, *and* the only time I have kept any large chunk of weight off for more than six or eight months. That is a huge success! But it also feels like a failure sometimes, because I am still fat. Yeah, 60+ pounds less fat than I was at the start, but still. It gets old.

This isn't to whine, but to say that when I look back over my blog I see how *happy* I am when I am on a long-term downward slide with the weight. Doesn't matter the method; losing weight and seeing changes in my body and feeling better and lighter makes me happy. Sure, other things make me happy too. But trying to lose weight and not seeing it happen does suck. I haven't ever given up or stopped trying, and I won't. But I can always tell when I am on the right path by the happiness factor.

When I began and was just eating less junk and more produce and starting to walk, I was happy.
When I changed to calorie counting and biking, I was happy.
When I did Medifast, I was happy.

Not to say that all the times in between were *unhappy,* because they weren't... aren't. I find joy in my life, my hobbies, love, my children, little things. But there is this nagging lack of happiness about my body/weight/health/eating. And when that is going on, I am either *not* losing weight, or just losing and gaining the same 10 pounds for months.

I miss the happiness of seeing the weight come off, feeling better, taking pride in my accomplishment. I miss the happiness in *this aspect* of my life... this little compartmentalized eating-and-exercise box I have built for myself. I miss looking in the mirror and seeing a healthier person every week. I miss trading in the fat clothes for smaller ones, and taking progress pictures every ten pounds. I miss that a lot.

I am sticking with this Primal eating because I am hopeful it will be the thing to bring back my pleasure in eating and moving again. I am crossing my fingers and whispering "please please please let this be it" while looking to the heavens. I am wishing every night to wake up the next morning headache-free and full of energy. It SHOULD happen. It makes sense for it to happen. I am eating better than I have in a long time... at least I think I am. But I am not really happy with it, not yet. I have simplified *so much* this week, cutting out things that *might* be an issue: dark chocolate, roasted nuts, milk, lattes. I am cutting down on other things like dairy ad fruit. And yet, the happiness has not come. Granted, I am only 12 days into Primal eating. But when I started those other ways of losing weight, the happiness came in mere days. Two, three days in I *knew* I was on the right track, and that propelled me forward. Now? I am going on faith. *You* propel me forward. Believing in those of you who have done this... believing in the Primal Blueprint... propels me. It's not coming from within. I feel like crap. But I have faith that another week, two weeks, cleaner eating, less of this, none of that, might be the key and I will wake up and know I am on the right path.

Life is good. Happiness is there with my children, in my home, in my daily life... but not in my eating and moving. Not yet. I hope it comes. I won't give up.


Carlie said...

Hi Lyn,
It sounds to me like you are on the right path! You are eating healthy and you have more freedom than on the restrictive packets. And yes, some people might think that freedom isn't a good thing for those of us that have an eating "issue"... But the truth is that the more restrictive the diet plan, the more we tend to fall off of it. And it sounds like you are looking for a lifestyle. I know that you say that you are still "fat", but how amazing is it Lyn that you really only have 40 lbs to lose to be at the low you were after Medifast! Before you had to lose 100 lbs to feel that good! So I think you are doing great! Hang in there and thank you for your reply earlier. I will also keep you updated on how my "plan" is going with the "packet plan". LOL!
Good night!

Carlie said...

Just one more thing...
About "Happiness is the Process" your title of this post...
I have always love the saying: "You won't enjoy the view as much - if you don't enjoy the climb"...
So I intend to make the best of this climb no matter how hard it may be :)
And that is new for me!

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting post. Have you ever thought that you might be addicted to the whole diet process and if you just lost the weight and kept it off there would be a hole in your life? Where you would sort of miss it because you wouldn't have losing weight to distract and occupy yourself? (not implying you don't have other things you fill your time with)

I think it's possible to get so entrenched in the process and the focus of eating and weight loss that we would be sort of lost without it. It can become like a very consuming hobby.

Lena said...

Why do you think you gave up those other plans if you felt so happy while on them? From reading your blog it seems like you change plans SO frequently and give up really quickly at least it seems that way in the last few months. What is it you are REALLY looking for? Do you think you spend WAY too much time mulling things over, reading, considering this or that, might do this or that? Im asking because you seem to scramble around a lot and seem impatient as well. Yo yo dieting makes it harder to see results as quickly and lets face it.... There is no quick fix. I do think you KNOW what to do but could you posdibly be afraid of success?? I know the goal is losing weight but i wonder if you switch so much just so you have something to blog about? I am not trying to be disrespectful and who knows you may not post my comment/questions but i TRULY am interested in what your thought process is.....

Lyn said...


I gave up the other plans when they stopped resulting in weight loss. I was calorie counting for 20 months with no weight loss. Happiness in the plan was gone. That seemed like a good time to change to me, so I tried Medifast. I lost 59 pounds, then spent more than a year with no new weight loss. Again, time to change plans. I don't think 20 months/1 year is too short of a time before trying something new.

It might seem like a lot of time thinking about the process... maybe 20 minutes a day. I don't think it's excessive. But that's part of how I am. My career is in research. I enjoy it. I will keep reading, learning, and researching all my life and hopefully some of that info will improve my health along the way.

MargieAnne said...

Hi Lyn.

I have not found that 'happy'place I've experienced other times.

One reason .... I'm going over old ground.

2nd I have more health issues complicating things this time. Nothing serious but fatigue has been a problem and If I had children to care for I would not be able to continue.

3rd I'm older .... my age is definitely affecting my get-up-and-so-it.

It does make it a lot harder if you have to drum up enthusiasm everyday. Also you do have a lot of stress from time to time. This takes it's toll.

You are working on all aspects so you'll get there.


NAN said...

Just my 2 cents- I wouldn't worry so much about the number on the scale but more about my health. It seems like you are sick a lot, have many headaches and joint pains. I am overweight but over 20 years older than you and I suffer from none of those. I know you attribute a lot of that to sugar and other carbs. I eat very little fruit because I don't care for it, but I love veggies and have chicken and beans several times a week. I love to bake but I can give it all away. I wish I knew the answers!

Beth@WeightMaven said...

You might want to consider checking out Marc David's stuff. I'm reading his "Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss" book and it basically looks at what "you, the eater" brings to weight loss efforts.

Amy said...

You might be the most persistent person I've ever met! I am really frustrated for you. I don't think I could stick with something that doesn't make me happy, life hands us enough of that. I am hopeful for you, I know you will find what works for you. Are you still taking measurements? They would probably be a better measure of success than the scale, especially if you are weight training.

Jules said...

Maybe it's time to go back to one of the plans that you know worked for you. I'm curious about medifast, since that is the plan I am now doing, were you able to receive guidance from your life coach when you found yourself at months with no weight loss?

Lyn said...

Thanks all, I am hanging in there and sticking with this so I don't look back and say "I WISH I had stuck with it longer to see if it really would help." Yesterday I ate plenty of eggs, veggies, chicken, avocado, and 2 small fruit servings.


I didn't have a health coach. I think that was one of the biggest missing pieces in my Medifast experience. I didn't even KNOW about health coaches until I learned about them on the forums, but I never had one. I did have a dietician to ask questions about food, and twice I called their behavior specialist/counselor, but I didn't even know about him until very late in my journey, after I had lost all the weight I lost on Medifast.

Em said...

I think a lot of us (women in particular) who deal with weight our whole lives use it as a hobby. We put a ton of our emotional lives into weight loss. We feel good when we're losing and bad when we're gaining. We use it as a marker of how things are going in the rest of our lives.

I think it's wise to try to divest a little. Try to pull some of your emotional energy back towards things that mean more to you (family, friends, constructive hobbies). Because I think part of why we spend our lives weight-cycling is that the involvement with weight becomes in and of itself such an absorbing activity. Who would we be without our weight-loss talks, our weight-loss commiseration with friends, our weight-loss routines and blogs and prayers before bed? It would create a vacuum. Divesting also forces us to confront the facts of ourselves and our lives, as in this well-known and super-insightful post by Kate Harding:

What role does the fantasy of being thin, and the cyclical weight loss and gain that allows us to live in that fantasy, have in our success or failure at creating healthier habits?

Vb said...

I've been reading you for years now, and of all the soul bearing posts you've written, this one saddens me the most. It really sounds like you're trying for a quick fix. Medifast- the weight came off quick. You gained it back quick too. I was encouraged when you decided you wanted to eat real food and made your way to your interpretation of Primal. Now, it sounds like since the weight loss might be slow, you want to give it up? If you've done a lot of research on your body and what actually happens when we eat certain things, then you know you are repairing yourself from the inside out with a real food, blood sugar stabilizing diet. If the weight loss is slow, sometimes painstakingly slow, isn't that worth it in order to have the repairs made to your system and therefore regain be nill or incredibly slow as well (to the point where you don't just wake up 40 pounds heavier, you have to really TRY to regain). I guess what I'm saying is that you earn exactly what you work for. If you're looking for a quick solution, you'll get it, but not without a hefty price, which I'm my opinion is what you are struggling through paying currently.

Lyn said...


It is not about it coming off quick. This is hard work. It is not coming off AT ALL. Yet I am continuing on with it, through the miserable headaches and exhaustion. Does that sound like someone giving up to you?

I suppose some people think I should go on for months like this because it is somehow "fixing" things, but I do have my limits. If eating this way for a month results in me being so tired, headachey, and cranky, it would be ridiculous for me to continue, in my opinion, weight loss or not. Paleo/Primal is not the miracle answer for everyone.

I am eating eggs, avocados, vegetables. I am not eating anything off plan. I think 3 or 4 weeks of this should be enough to tell me whether or not I should continue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first anonymous poster--the desire to always be on "a plan" of some sort seems to be mentally consuming for you. You keep taking your extensive knowledge of personal likes, dislikes, cravings, and of what is and isn't good for you (learned through trial and error), and trying to force them into a pre-constructed diet box of one type or another. Square peg in a round hole, etc, etc.

You know that you feel good with moderate exercise and eliminating processed sugar and carbs. You have posted many healthy, satisfying recipes that fit this bill already. How about just living? Or take some of the energy used to decide what "plan" to try next to figure out why you feel the need to follow someone else's instructions to achieve good health, when you have already accumulated so much knowledge on your own? I absolutely know that saying "just eat a moderate diet," doesn't always help, but there is such a thing as overthinking the process. You might be tricking yourself into believing that you, personally, CAN'T find the answers on your own. I think you can!

Kristine said...

Please, Please, Please hang in there. I promise it will get better. I have been Primal for 6 weeks now. I took me 2.5 weeks to get through the fog. I was grumpy, lethargic, bad headache, pissey, and I couldnt remember a thing. Then all of a sudden I woke up one day and felt great. Hubby on the other hand felt great after a week! I just hung in there. Over the past 6 weeks I have learned so much about my body, and you will to Lyn, I promise.
I think you should really not focus on the scale, put it away. Let your body adapt to this new way of eating dont stress about it.
One thing I warn though, dont expect to lose loads of weight each week. it just wont happen. I have lost 8 pounds in 6 weeks, I am a big girl too, 231 lbs. I have however lost FAT this time instead of the water weight I always lost before. With those 8 pounds I have went from a tight 20 to a comfortable 16. How in the world is that possible.
Anyways, hang in there, you can do this!

Lyn said...


"just living" is what got me fat in the first place, and not having a plan/being more lax is what got me this regain. I spent months trying to 'wing it' and not stress about a plan, not count calories, just eat healthy stuff 'intuitively' etc and here I am 40 pounds heavier in the end. I think it is *awesome* that some people can *not think* about it, just eat healthy, and not gain. But that's not me. Almost five years of blogging, severa stretches of trying to *not* have a plan, and it's never worked well for me. I gained, every time. I have to pay attention to what I am eating and doing, or I will end up 278 pounds again in a heartbeat.

BTW, I hope it doesn't sound like I have no life outside of weight loss. It *is* what I write about here 99% of the time, but that's because that's the focus of the blog. It is not the focus of my life.

katie said...

Have you gone to MDApple and typed in migraine and or arthritis in his search box? The forum comments are very enlightening and helpful.
Gluten a big culprit in both instances also in autoimmune diseases (RA Lupus etc)

Theresa said...

My first reaction to this post was the exact same as some others. Losing weight is a time consuming distraction that would leave a void..... I think this is where I am at too..... Or maybe just me and not you if you disagree! :) food and weight loss in particular takes up far too much of my life.

Caz said...

Lyn, it seems to me like you are looking at Primal eating and taking the wrong messages from it.

For example, you seem to have gravitated towards the bacon, the custard dishes (it may all be organic but I would not touch maple syrup unless I was maintaining!), the chocolate - i.e. the puddings and the snacks. I think they are fine to have every now and again but I think you have them too often. The focus should be whole foods - meat, veg, sweet potato, oils, avo etc and trying to cut down on the snacks.

Primal/paleo is also about fixing yourself and about health before weightloss (and everything Vb said). I think the latter follows the former. And that just takes time. And I think you really need to include a bit more exercise in your regime - one of the legs of primal is strength training,sprinting, moving around.

In defence of Primal, you are eating stuff which is off plan. You have been eating huge amounts of dairy, uncured (fill of rubbish) bacon, chocolate, etc - you have only cut back on those things in the last day.

If you have a look at the forums on MDA, there are people who have had to tweak and eliminate and hang in there for months before they lost anything. You are not at all alone in that. There are a lot of people on there who have limited their range of "on-plan" foods far more than you have in order to lose weight (cut out the nuts, cut out the chocolate, etc).

I think you need to give proper primal, not your version, a good go before you throw in the towel.

Anonymous said...

You are incorporating way too much sugar in the form of fruit in your primal diet. Keep it at 5 grams or less per meal. 15 grams max per day.

Jeanette said...

I hope you hang in there with the Primal diet... when I went Paleo, I felt great IMMEDIATELY, but my boyfriend had some serious headaches and grumpiness for almost a week.

I attribute that to the fact that I was ALMOST eating paleo before I went paleo, while my boyfriend wasn't... so he was going through a tougher detox period.

The body rebels with withdrawals when we all of a sudden switch to a non-processed, no-wheat diet... and detoxing is never a fun process.

So whether you stay mostly primal or all primal or give it up... please, please, please keep eating clean (non-processed), in the long run, it will do you the most good.

Kristine said...

You have to have a plan, just stick to it, dont even think about it. You have a plan but you make it your life plan. Not your weightloss plan. Once you do that life will get easier.

Anonymous said...

You may be feeling so lousy because this type of diet has been shown to increase inflammation, according to the latest research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Lyn said...


I am going by the info on Mark's Daily Apple that comes up when I search the site. Dark chocolate and dairy are ON the Primal pyramid, and I have been using them in moderation, certainly not 'huge amounts' of dairy. And you can read Mark Sisson's approval of bacon on his site: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-quick-guide-to-bacon/#axzz20MH48S3c

That said, I decided to cut back on dairy, bacon, and nuts this week already, in a previous post.

So if I am doing it all wrong, it is because I am trying to learn from that site. I am NEW to this, I am just learning every day what is Primal and what is not. I think I have done pretty well for the last 13 days. I am no expert but I am doing the best I can.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed how many experts post their opinions here! But they all say something different.

Lyn don't let the critics get to you! Your menu is primal and it looks very good. I love that you re-evaluate every week and change for the better. I have faith in you! Don't let the critics get to you. Keep going and doing what you know is right.

Anonymous said...

Wow! "paleo" "primal" Call it whatever you want, if in the end it works for you it does not matter...make the adjustments that work for you in the long run. And, yes, take the time to research and consider the options for as long as you need. Folks who have lost weight and kept it off are able to because they have figured out what works best. It makes no difference what you call it. You can pull information from many different "diets" and make your own. Who know one day you may write your one book with your plan and convince everyone it is the be all and end all. I for one lost 65 pounds over six years in several "rounds" never gaining any back but stalling and then rethinking. And, now everyday I keep thinking. Would there be a "hole" in my life if I stopped? No because it would be clogged and stuffed up with the food I was consuming and the weight I was gaining the minute I stopped. Lyn, you may not be losing now, but you have successfully stopped the path of gaining you were on. That is a big think for the average yo yo dieter. Keep doing what you are doing as long as you are no longer gaining. Your epiphany as to what you need to stick with to go the distance will come to you.

Em said...


Lyn, Mark Sisson linked to this blog today, and this piece both spoke to me and made me think of you.

Allison Clow said...

What a beautiful reflection. I feel like all I have thought about the last 20 years of my life is losing weight and how I haven't been doing it. It is so fustrating! I am losing weight now but, it is such a SLOW process. I am afraid I won't have the steam to make it to the end. Ugh. It is nice to know that there are other people on this journey.


Caz said...

Hi Lyn

Sorry, it wasn't meant to come across as an attack. I suppose my message was meant more as a "don't give up - there is so much still to do and there are different ways to experiment with it. Keep going and investigating" than a "you've failed" message.

I really think the bacon they speak of is organic, uncured bacon (we don't get that here so I don't know what it's like) NOT the commercial nitrate-filled bacon.

Keep going! It takes time and you must explore.