One word strikes fear into the hearts of most people in the bariatric community: Regain. By the time you have weight loss surgery, you have attempted and failed more diets than you can count. You pretty much feel like a failure and are reminded of that every time you see yourself in the mirror, or have to go clothes shopping in the fat lady section, or read yet another headline about the “obesity epidemic.” In a last ditch effort, you save your pennies or take out a loan and get surgery. In the back of your head, you wonder if–despite following all the directions to a tee–that it might not work. Yet somehow it does, and you post before and after pictures each month on Facebook, hardly recognizing your melting body.
When you finally reach your goal, you splurge on new clothes. Exercise and eating less have become the new normal. People treat you better and comment about how jealous they are at your new body. You know that underneath you don’t feel as though you’ve “arrived,” your skinny jeans conceal skin that looks like it came out of a horror movie, and you live in constant fear of the dreaded R word: Regain.
Often spoken about in hushed tones, regain is a completely normal part of the weight loss process. Your body stabilizes and finds its new normal. But sometimes it’s a few pounds and sometimes, it can all come back with friends. I remember my sister in law telling me that she was withholding her congratulations until I had kept off my weight for three years.
People who say that weight loss surgery is the easy way out don’t understand the psychological component of it all. That’s why I’m so glad that I have my holistic health coach Laura. I confided in her last week that I was freaking out a bit about my regain over the holidays. Seeing my distress, she asked how much regain we were talking about.
“Three pounds,” I told her, nearly in tears.
“Three pounds?” She said. “Oh my goodness, that’s nothing. I thought you were going to tell me there was a Christmas miracle or something and that you had gained twenty pounds in the last month.”
I had to admit, that did sound kind of crazy when she said it out loud. She then asked me if I was happy where I was with my current weight. I had to admit that I don’t know. Some days I am, some days I wish I weighed less. Or didn’t have my saggy skin. Or had more muscles. She asked if my weight was different on days that I was happy vs days that I wasn’t. I had to admit it was the same.
“What’s that about?” she asked. Hmm, that is an excellent question. I don’t have an answer. Yet. She reminded me that my job is to eat healthy and move and be kind to myself. My job is not to worry about what my body is going to do. That sounds fine and good, and one one level I KNOW that, but on another level I still have the voice in the back of my head telling me I’m not good enough, that I need to lose more, that I’m going to be a failure.
Most of the messages we see online don’t help that line of thinking any. But that does lead me to a movement I’m excited about:
Change Our Fitspo
Kaila at Healthy Helper has an awesome campaign to help us turn traditional “Fitspo” on its head. Now, before I started dabbling in the world of fitness blogs, I had never heard the term. But once you see it you will recognize it immediately. It’s supposed to be inspirational, motivating. But it usually isn’t.
Fitspo isn’t motivating. It isn’t inspirational. It presents a false depiction of reality and sets unachievable standards for our bodies and mind. Fitspo uses shame tactics to guilt us into intense exercise or strict eating practices. ~ Kaila
I encourage you to head over to this blog post to learn more and to join the movement: http://healthyhelperblog.com/change-our-fitspo/
Marathon Training Update
Marathon training is off to a slow but sure start. I was able to get three runs in last week: One at the track, one outside, and the long run with RunGR on Saturday. I am amazed at how much my time has improved. Now when I run with the group, I am actually running with people and don’t have to worry about getting lost because I’m so slow I can’t see anybody anymore! I’ve also come to realize that nobody really cares how slow or fast I am. Everyone is encouraging. I’m starting to really love the running group, and I can’t believe how much fear and shame held me back last year. I CAN do this! I AM a runner! I will be a marathoner in May. And I WILL be a triathlete this year. My goal for this week is to add in biking and swimming.
I’ve decided, after talking with my health coach, that it’s more realistic to plan to do three morning swim workouts by getting up an hour earlier than normal rather than try to get up every morning three hours earlier to take in a spin class, get in a swim, and perhaps get groceries on the way home. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. I’m going to start slow and work my way up. My perfectionist personality is going to have to bite it.
And then, you know, everything else.
So yes, I still have a full time job and DH is training for an IronMan so I am trying to figure out how to keep healthy meals on the table and keep the house relatively clean. Meal prep seems to still be in a really good groove, and my shiny sink is spreading to other areas of the house. It has really helped to start with the sink and make keeping the kitchen clean a habit, THEN move on to the bathrooms. I’ve done some cleaning and organizing under THOSE sinks and feel like I have things under control. Next I plan to move on to the laundry room, which is in our basement so it’s kind of a catch all place with cobwebs and boxes of who knows what.
Just like with exercise, it is SO tempting to want to go all in. To do a cleaning marathon. But I’ve done those before, and no matter how much I tell myself that it’s going to be different this time, it’s just not possible to keep up. This time I’m listening to FlyLady and making the shiny sink a habit, THEN moving on to another room. Trying to engrain habits rather than do a marathon right out of the gate. So far it seems to be working.
Are you an “all in” kind of person or do you need to make slow changes for lasting impact? Tell me in the comments below!