Monday, April 28, 2014

Everybody's Fat Again

I've been thinking about this for some time, but wasn't sure I wanted to write about it. After all, when someone you know loses a bunch of weight, and then gains it back, you generally don't go up and tell them they got fat again. They know it already. It's not nice to call them out on it.

However, look at all of us "weight loss" bloggers. I include myself when I say that almost every 'big' weight loss blogger I read when I got started... from 2007 to 2010 or so... the ones who were popular and widely read and a source of inspiration... almost every one is fat again. Some have gained back all the weight. Some have gained back most, or half, or just some. But there are so, so few that have kept off a large amount of weight since back then. It's kind of discouraging. Upsetting, even, when you used to be one of the people who read those blogs for inspiration. We read them because they were doing it, they had done it, they made it possible for the rest of us to do it, too. And yet now, everybody's fat again.

I've gone back in my Favorites and looked at the folders I'd labeled "Bloggers 2007", "Bloggers 2008", etc and you know what? About 90% of them are not blogging anymore. I guess we could assume they just got tired of blogging, moved on to other things, are enjoying their new fit and healthy life. I'm sure that's true for some people. But many, many of those blogs had final posts that sounded sad or desperate and were fighting a regain. Many blogs were completely deleted. But some, the brave ones, kept posting... kept sharing their struggle with weight. And very few post updates that they've kept all the weight off.

I look back at the 'buddies' that were new bloggers around the same time that I was... the ones I was inspired to start by, and the ones I lost weight with. And the ones who lost weight after I did. Some of them have talked about regaining the weight. Some have just stopped talking about it and don't post pictures of themselves anymore. Some of the 2009-2011 bloggers have regained a lot of weight, just didn't talk about it, and then finally came out and admitted it. And several who lost a large amount of weight have regained 20 or 30 pounds and decided they can live with that. And of course, here I am having lost 103 pounds and gained about half of it back. I mean, look around at the bloggers... it makes me sad. I could sit here and easily list two dozen bloggers that had amazing, inspiring blogs and lost a lot of weight and looked and felt amazing. But everybody's fat again.

I read some of the newbie bloggers... the ones who are losing or have lost a ton of weight and who say they've got it figured out. They're never going back. They feel so great. They believe they have won. And I remember so many of us, myself included, saying and thinking and believing those same things back when we had figured it out, felt so great, were never going back. And sometimes I read those newer blogs and I can see their addiction still riding on their back like an ominous black demon, waiting... waiting to tighten their spindly black fingers around the throat of their victim. I see it. They don't. They'll see it in a couple of years. They'll wake up fat again and wonder what the hell just happened. How could I let it happen? How could I let it go? What do I do now?

Odds are against us all. Maintaining a large weight loss is statistically improbable. It is a fact, and looking over the old blogrolls just bears this out. Almost everybody's fat again. 

The one thing I hang onto is this: each of us does have it in our power to change that statistic. Perhaps in 2020, they will find that more and more people... higher and higher percentages... of people who lose weight do NOT gain it back. Statistics are not static. Time changes everything. Even though I have had a huge regain, I have beaten the odds so far in that I have kept off 50 pounds for about 4 years. And I can beat them... change them... by losing the rest of the weight and keeping it off. So can you. 

26 comments:

ChunkyFitness said...

It's sad. I miss so many of those bloggers. When I decided to blog again so many of the old 'gang' were just...... Gone.
This weight loss thing is tough. It never ends. I lost 40lbs and have kept it off but I've kind of just plateaued the last two years. Up and down the same 2 or 3lbs. Frustrating. But I'll admit I'm not as dedicated as I was, there was at one point, a very good weight loss support group full of amazing bloggers.
Sadly, not everyone can resolve their demons, weight loss and maintenance are a life long battle for most.

triplets6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyn said...

ChunkyFitness~

I miss them too. I talk to a few of them once in awhile, but some I wonder about. I would love to hear from them even if they regained the weight. No judgement here.

Lyn said...

triplets6~

LOL, yes, a lot of us can relate so well to this battle!

Re: your questions,
1) I did think about lap band at several times in my life. But I have more than one friend who has had a lap band done, lost the weight and then regained it all. Apparently it is common to be able to drink milkshakes and eat ice cream, but eating raw veggies often causes vomiting. So yeah, I could easily regain/stay fat on ice cream alone. Not the answer for me. And I am too chicken to have actual surgery. I am afraid of complications and not being around for my daughter.

2) They never contacted me again after my review. I don't think it was as positive as they would have liked :) But it was honest...

3) I don't think juicing is meant to be sustainable (at least not a juice fast) but more of a "reset" to get your taste buds off the processed junk and to give your body a rest and time to heal with lots of living nutrition, enzymes, etc. I think I will try to actually juice fast for a couple of days, and then gradually replace the juice with whole veggies etc and stay off the grains. I do think having a glass of green juice most days is a healthy way to get the greens in when you don't feel like having a salad or cooked greens.

Thanks for the compliments :)

LuckyMama said...

I'm one of the new bloggers with a lot of weight to lose. I noticed the same thing early on - there were a lot of relapses.

The thought of a relapse after all the work is so incredibly discouraging, so I try to read the blogs of those who have gained weight - lessons learned. If I can learn from the mistakes of others, I'm gonna try my best to indeed learn!

I hope to be a statistical anomaly.

The big thing is that you're still here. Documenting your struggles takes courage and helps others more than you know...probably even more when it's difficult.

Karen said...

Lyn,

I'll bet if you checked on the about page of every successful long term weight loss success story, you would find that it took multiple tries and large weight regains to get there.

Roni Noon (Roni's Weigh), Heather at Half Size Me, Diane at Fit to the Finish, Lisa Eirene at 110 pounds have all had multiple tries at weight maintenance with some re-gain before finding long term maintenance.

Also look for Vickie (frequent commenter here, private blogger), ,Sarah@bubblyheart (twitter) Kelly at Curvy Fit Girl, Marion at Affection for Fitness. Barbara Berkeley's followers. Members of OA, WW Lifetimers, 3FC maintainers, Dotties Weight Loss Zone- maintainers. Success stories at Mark's Daily Apple or Paleo NonPaleo (Alison Golden) I started a non-commercial group of weight maintenance bloggers who are at various stages of weight maintenance. http://gardengirlkp.blogspot.com/2014/02/no-grains-no-gains-weight-maintenance.html

Here's my 2 cents.All my opinions. Not one single one of us is a rock star. We are all normal people. We ALL have one thing in common. We put problem solving into our plans. ( all of us had to overcome different obstacles), and ALL of us took action as life changed. My diet changed up in the first year due to menopause and a dairy sensitivity.

There is a time to teach and be a student. When the student is ready, the teacher(s) will appear. It's less about willpower and more about effective problem solving. The answers were inside of us.

Instead of looking at gainers/regainers- look at the long term successes- see what worked for them, then go about taking ONLY what works for you and trying it. You can write your own ending and it can be what you want it to be.

Good luck! You have a large reader ship. Leverage your blogging platform to sign up for support and trade for blogging (weight loss support groups- low/cost affordable), listen to podcasts, interview the people listed above.

You are worth it. We are worth it and stronger together. Good luck. It took me 40 years. I did not quit. Each re-gain taught me and brought me here. Karen P.

MB said...

I was just thinking about all those weight loss superstars who wrote books and appeared in national campaigns who have, like me, regained what we fought so hard to lose. I'm in that '09-'11 group who lost 101 pounds and regained most of it. It's sad and frustrating and not the first time I've been back here. I really thought I had it all figured out. This time was going to be different but it wasn't. I have to believe I'm learning something with each attempt and will eventually figure out how to lose it for good. Maintenance is a bitch but I'm determined to beat her. Rock on!

LHA said...

I know plenty of people who are not bloggers who lose/gain/lose/gain, and some of them have even had weight loss surgery. It is a struggle for all of us, and as far as I can see it never ends for anyone completely. Yes, I know the smug feeling when you think you have found the "answer", and I know how quickly that smugness can turn to shame and depression when things don't keep going in the same direction.

Personally, I look at it now as a daily battle which I cannot afford to lose. I have given up some of my destructive behavior, but not all of it yet. As long as I am still trying and working toward my goal and seeing some success I feel I am actually winning the battle in some small way.

By the way, I totally agree that you have beat the odds and deserve to be congratulated for maintaining a 50 pound weight loss! Too often we just dwell on our shortcomings and don't celebrate our successes. Thanks for continuing to blog.

Margaret said...

I'm one of those people who lost a lot and have kept it off 8 years and counting and I can tell you what every single person who got off the lose/gain cycle knows, that people still yo-yoing don't.

What you do to lose it, you have to do to keep it off.

So, for example, if to get to my goal, I was on a program of 1500 calories a day and work out three days a week. To maintain, I have to stay on 1500 calories a day, three workouts a week.

The day I switch to 1600 calories a day and two workouts a week, I'm gaining. Does that mean I never, ever ever break my calorie limit? Of course not. But I watch the scale like a hawk.

When I see more than a two pound gain (after a vacation, wedding, holidays) I check my eating habits and find where the extra has snuck in. And get it out. Then I'm back at goal in a snip.

Once you realize that the program never ends, you are seeing clearly. And you see why finite programs like Medifast, Juicing, etc. might work in the lose stage, but doom you in the maintenance. You can't keep doing what got you there to stay there. It's pre-destined to fail.

I have been both where you are and in maintenance since 06 and I'll pay the price for the rest of my life to stay at goal. I can't take the stigma and depression of the yo-yo anymore.

But that's a personal decision. Some people say no, I can't live with such restrictions. I hate it. It's too hard. And I respect that choice. But delusional thinking drives me bananas. If you are considering anything "until I get to my goal weight" you still don't understand.

I say this so you can consider your own choice and know the pros and cons of each.

Best,
Margaret

Deb Willbefree said...

Karen,

Thank you. Yours is the first truly hopeful comment I've read in a long time.

Like Lyn, I've regained 50 pounds of what I lost and have been treading water for 2 years, losing and regaining the same 10 pounds. Certainly, no odds beater am I!

Being reminded that it often takes several lose/gains for most to take hold of that maintenance ring has given me hope.

Deb


Lyn said...

Margaret~

I think you are right that you, personally, needed to do the same thing for weight loss and maintenance. But I do see many folks who use one method for losing and another for maintaining... Karen (above) for example lost her weight on Medifast and has done a phenomenal job keeping it off with a Paleo style eating plan. Seems everyone has to find their own path to better health.

And Karen, I appreciate all that you shared in your comment. I think I remember you saying that during weight loss you were a student of maintenance; I am working on that as well, reading the maintainers blogs and learning from what has been successful for others. That's very helpful!

sezza182 said...

This is the sad truth, It made me feel down - I've lost 80lbs and every day is a constant battle not to gorge on delicious food like all my thin friends can do.

I think what we don't realise is that there are a myriad of emotional reasons behind eating, and we live in a world where people celebrate and reward ourselves with food. That combined with bad genes and an inactive lifestyle, the odds are stacked up against us.

I am only 26 and I know I will always struggle to look and feel the way I want. But the benefits far outweigh the short lived food-drug highs. I still enjoy a treat but I know there are consequences if I indulge.

Hope you can keep up your positivity. I enjoy reading your blog.

Deniz said...

I do agree with ChunkyFitness that "weight loss and maintenance are a life long battle for most" and also very much agree with Karen P that "You can write your own ending and it can be what you want it to be".

It isn't easy - in fact, it's damned hard. And it is an open-ended deal, not just something you do before life returns to 'normal', which makes things even more of a challenge. Margaret is right in this, and I feel she may have a point when she mentions "finite programs... which might work in the lose stage, but doom you in the maintenance". But you are right too when you talk about the possibility of doing something different to maintain long-term after losing the weight in the first place - in fact, that's my own experience. I lostprimarily by calorie counting and moving my backside (which was a particularly lazy one!), but I now maintain (by the grace of God) by staying low-carb.

This whole thing's actually why you always were, and always will be an inspiration to me (and many others) - because you 'get' this 'forever' part absolutely and you never give up the battle. You've shown it again here when you talk about the stats and say "I can beat them... change them... by losing the rest of the weight and keeping it off".

Go girl - you'll do it and prove 'em all wrong!

Carla Birnberg said...

((sharing))
such a great post.
so so so true.
it's a roller coaster.

Monique Noel said...

I miss The Princess Dieter (Mir). I often wonder what she's up to.

bbubblyb said...

I'm still here lyn, and still doing my best to maintain. I've come to realize we have to be happy in our lives and love ourselves where ever we are on the scale. Of course we have to learn new things and put in the hard work day after day too which of course some days is harder than others. It's hard but I've realized it's definitely worth my effort. Will I ever get to a size 8 well I don't know and honestly I'm good in my size 10/12. We just can't ever give up on ourselves and working on the inside I think is the most important thing.

Elizabeth said...

I'm one of the newer bloggers who has both a positive and negative story to tell.

The positive: I had weight loss surgery 9 years ago and lost 90 pounds. Despite a pregnancy since then I've managed to keep off more than 60 pounds of that initial weight loss over the past 9 years and I don't consider myself fat.

The negative: I was battling the "baby-weight" that I couldn't get off after my son was born and started my blog 2 years ago to help motivate me to lose those 30 pounds. Which I did. But you're right, this winter I've gained most of it back and I've stopped blogging. But despite being heavier than I was before I'm not fat, and I have to keep reminding myself of that as I tend to think the worst of myself.

My take-away from this is that losing weight and keeping it off is very difficult but still possible. My journey with my weight is constantly changing with the hills and valleys of life but once I get my motivation and focus back I can do it again. I will do it again.

I also need to say thank you to you for your post... it's a reminder that blogging, writing, is essential to my success. I've stopped not because I've regained some weight, not because I have nothing to say, but because of stress in my life. But, those are the times I need to write even more. I'll be back at it soon.

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

I haven't been blogging for long, but I too have noticed that many people have stopped blogging when they gained back the weight. It's like they are embarrassed by it. I also made this mistake, but I eventually went back to blogging. The truth is that blogging keeps me accountable. When I stopped blogging, I no longer felt that I needed to be careful with my choices. There was no one to judge me. The reason I like reading your blog, and many others like you, is because it's real. Weight loss and living healthy is a life long challenge. I prefer to read how others are dealing with things - good and bad. I find the most inspiration from the people who are struggling, but keep trying.

Karen said...

I also ditto what Margaret said. The window is very very narrow between sustained weight loss and sustained maintenance and re-gain. I too could not take the pain of the yo-yo. To many years, too painful.

A few days/weeks and the balance is gone. Reversing the trend is serious business.

Weight maintenance at a lower risk weight is a much, much longer life phase.

Taryl said...

Well maybe it is an anecdote but I began in Oct 2008 and have slowly and surely lost 120 pounds from my high weight, even with two (now three) pregnancies mixed in. And my regains have not been bigger than ten to twelve pounds (that happened once in 2009 and then just the last two months, but I'm still below my original goal weight).

I agree many folks have dropped off the radar but not all of us, and I know many, many women doing the kind of plan I use (low carb as a lifestyle, with tweaks as needed ) who have maintained their losses. But it takes making hard and sometimes unpopular choices 95% of the time. It also takes not quitting and not going without accountability. A lack of accountability seems to be the kiss of death for many bloggers, when they become ashamed and hide.

I'm grateful I'm not fat again, but it's never a distant thing and could happen all too easily if I gave up or went nuts with my plan. I know what works and what doesn't, what makes me fat and what makes me remarkably resistant to fattening. The hangup seems to be buckling down and doing it when I'm not in the groove, as in the past few months.

Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes every day is a struggle. That's all part of the journey, though!

Gwen said...

More proof of why Karen is a weight loss maintainer guru for me. :)

I, too, lost significant weight in 2009. (over 70 lbs.) I gained all but 10 of it back by late 2012. I now stand at 69 lbs. lost since Sept. 2013. For me, it boils down to finding a program that you TRULY believe in the science behind it, AND that you embrace fully for LIFE. That you feel so passionately about, you have no choice but to stick with it. It's learning and accepting what foods are toxic to you, and living your life accordingly. It's about creating your own mantra or creed, based on what you belief, and reading it to yourself every morning as you develop new health habits. It's about being consistent so that your results remain consistent. It's about turning junk food from 'delicious, don't deny me' mentality to 'that is pure poison and it turns me off' mentality.

At least, that's what's worked for me. I've never been this long into successful maintenance, and I'm feeling confident that it IS for the rest of my life. We each get to decide what kind of weight loss statistic we are going to be, no matter our circumstances.

Good luck.

I Miss My Collar Bone said...

"The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don't like to do...They don't like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose." - E.M. Grey

Catherine55 said...

Great post -- and great perspective! Many props to you for keeping 50 lbs off for 4 years!

I'm a 2008 blogger (and bandster), and while I am not blogging much lately, I am happy to report that I have not gained my weight back. I've been at goal for a long time, and I am hell-bent on NEVER GOING BACK. NEVER!!

How do I do this? I force myself to get on the scale every day. When the scale is up, I watch what I eat more closely. When it's down, I do what I want within reason. The key for me is not letting 1-2 pounds become 5... become 15... become... you get the idea. Staying on top of it regularly keeps me from backsliding in a scary way.

skinnyhollie said...

This post cracked me up a little bit... I love your honesty! And you're right... the original "gang" has dwindled.

I'm still here. I haven't re-gained (I'm actually around my lowest) but I also haven't reached my goal. I'm happy that I haven't thrown in the towel and I will keep pushing until I get it right.

Lyn said...

It's good to hear from some of you who are succeeding at maintenance or keeping your loss off or even just still there and trying. I agree that sometimes it takes a lot of restarts/attempts to get to goal weight... I hope to get there myself.

MargieAnne said...

This is a great post with lots of interesting comments too.

I am still stuck at the weight I came to many months ago. In fact I am 6.5 lbs less than Jan 2013.

Recently I choose to no longer get caught up in the stress of weight loss ..... hoping that sooner or later my metabolism will kick in again so I can work away at my weight goal once more.

Living life, feeling well, eating for heath are my current goals. That means my main concern is learning to cope with stress since it is the key to health for me.

I am happy to say I am sleeping better than for a long time. One major key is working.

Blessings

$20 off a $30 order at Dietdirect.com! Click coupon link below.