AIM: Through Thick and Thin

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This month we are tackling the topic of regaining weight after a large weight loss–IS IT INEVITABLE??? Well, if you look at the statistics, I guess it is. “They” say that 95% of the people who lose weight will regain all the weight they lost. But that’s not really what we’re talking about.  At least its not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk specifically about me. Isn’t that what this blog is all about? I want to talk about people who’ve lost a large amount of weight–let’s say one hundred pounds,– and then bounce back up 10-20-or 30 pounds. Is that inevitable? Is it the norm? Short answer: I don’t know. I’ve never read anything directly addressing that issue. But I do know what I have witnessed. And I know my own experience.

Eight years ago I weighed 255 pounds.

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Two years later, I had lost 100 pounds.

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(In 2009, at 155 pounds.)

 I maintained it for a while, and then over a period of about 3 years I gained back 25 pounds. Was that because life was extra stressful during those 3 years? (It was.) Was it because I ate too much? (Umm, yeah. Obviously I ate too much to maintain that weight loss.) Or was it because my body was struggling to “return to normal”?

  • My life was super stressful for those three years. I can see it better now than I did when I was in the midst of it. I don’t remember thinking specifically “Oh I can’t stand the stress. I’m going to eat whatever I want.” And the truth is, stress is just part of life. It will always be with us. It was during this time that I worked through a book on emotional eating and discovered that I ate in response to anxiety.Who knew? 
  • Obviously I ate too much. But I didn’t routinely overeat. I didn’t binge. I actually was learning that whole time about eating healthier whole foods. I explored paleo, raw, vegetarian, and even vegan diets. They all have benefits–and some really great-tasting recipes! ( I don’t follow any of those specific diets.) During this time I also explored the thought processes of Mindful Eating and HAES (Health at every size.) I don’t think that these two lines of thought were particularly helpful to me.
  • I do think that there is a huge component of your body wanting to return to homeostasis (its own version of normal.) This is not a popular view, because it means we are not exactly in complete control of what is happening to us.

Right now, here’s what I think happened to me. I lost 100 pounds. That did not even get me close to a “normal BMI” (a number I don’t pay attention to any more.) Still, it was a 40 percent reduction in what my body had come to consider normal. My life was stressful, and even though I had been maintaining a weight loss for several years, I had not truly addressed the emotional component of it. I consider this to be one of the most helpful aspects of my journey. And I believe that there was a component of my body fighting for homeostasis. That large of a weight loss was perceived as abnormal by my body. That is why there is a lot of talk about POW’s (Previously Over Weight) having to be super-vigilant about what they eat. It ISN’T the same for us. During the time I regained the 25 pounds, there were also numerous attempts to lose the weight. Obviously none were ultimately successful.

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(Last November, at 180 pounds. Notice the skillful camouflage LOL.)

I am hopeful that now my body has accepted this “new” weight as normal (after six years!) and that that is why I am currently having more success at continual weight loss than I have  in the past three years. Does that make any sense? So if I am “successful” and make it to my new low goal of 140 pounds (a 22 percent reduction in my weight,) and I am correct in my assumptions, I can also be sure that my body will fight that loss as well, and that I might have a little rebound weight.

And so it goes…

To read more about “through thick and thin,” be sure to check out my friends and maintaining experts:

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!

 

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12 thoughts on “AIM: Through Thick and Thin

  1. I do feel like my body fights me so much more to lose at the weight I am now than when I was much heavier. It can be pretty frustrating some times. I like how when each of us has gained, we still held onto a lot of good habits. That probably prevented ballooning back up to starting weight.

  2. Stress factors aside, I think there’s a component of regain that’s actually quite healthy: exploring new, possibly even healthier, ways of eating.and exercising. It’s also about learning what *doesn’t* work! (I’m good at that one. LOL)

  3. Emotional eating has been my issue for decades. If anything stressful cropped up (2 terminally ill parents over a period of 8 years) I would tell myself I would have to worry about what I ate later…that there was no way I could try to lose weight while I had turmoil in my life. It’s taken me years to address it, but food doesn’t make me feel better, doesn’t make the stress go away, and certainly doesn’t solve anything. I still remind myself of this in stressful situations…Whether I eat broccoli or ice cream, the problem remains.

  4. Thank you for sharing your side of this story. I’m facing the “last 20” lbs and have recently been commenting to a friend that I wonder why I try and lose it when people I’ve watched lose a large amount of weight are putting on 20-30 pounds recently. hhmm…This is all giving me things to think about. 🙂

  5. I agree with you and Lori that I have a much harder time now losing than I did when I weighed 155 the last time. It was like my body was used to the downward spiral. I never plateaued. My body is used to where it is, even though I’m not a big fan. So the question is, how bad do I want it? In the words of Don Henley, not bad enough! LOL Can’t wait to see you soon!!

  6. I just recently lost 35 pounds, down to 140 from 175. Weight Watchers is a great program and I’ve been Lifetime/maintenance for 6 months now, but it is a daily struggle. It seems impossible for me to get back down to the 130 I was in younger, healthier days. So my goal now is simply stop gaining. I’ve been up and down at least 3 times since I gained 50 pound after menopause. I think there has to be a hormonal component to gain/weight loss, too.

  7. I am in the process of losing a lot of weight (my goal is 140 pounds down – I’ve lost 44 so far, since the first week of December). I’m doing this with a commercial weight-loss company (based on research developed at Johns Hopkins) – and my contract includes a requirement for 52 weeks at my goal weight. I think that will be the time when the —- hits the fan, so to speak. 🙂 Keeping weight off is way, way harder than losing it (at least according to the statistics I’ve read) … and losing it is hard enough, thank you! 🙂

    I appreciate your view of the process.

    🙂 Linda

  8. Was it you who published the caulflower (sp?) recipe? It was soooooo good! I started following several new (to me) blogs lately and I’ve lost track. I appreciate delicious veggie recipes. Thanks, Barb

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