I was over at my old Weight Watcher's blog today and reading all the things I had written over there. I was so positive as the pounds were coming off and I was absolutely dedicated to the program and to improving my life. I was moving in the right direction and everything was going my way.
Then I quit and gained back 70 pounds of the 80-something I had lost.
So what happened?
Answering that question honestly and facing the answers without fear are going to be key in my future success. So what can make a person stop caring to the point where they gain back seventy lost pounds? The answer is actually quite simple: there were other things in my life that took priority and I did not feel that I could keep up the effort of dieting during those times. But when I say it like that, it sounds like it was nothing at all. That could not be farther from the truth.
My husband was out of work and money was beyond tight. In fact, some things were not getting paid at all and were falling into collections. Tensions ran high around the house and the daily strain on our marriage was getting harder and harder to deal with. And it is hard to deny yourself that extra helping of jambalaya or that decadent dessert when you already have to deny yourself that pedicure, that haircut, that new pair of shoes, that weekend at the beach, etc. It felt like everything good was drying up all around me.
Then I got pregnant and had to stop dieting for several months. I saw a light on the horizon and life began to look up a bit. My husband even found a job and though he was only making about 1/3 of his prior salary, at least things were looking up a little bit. And then I suffered the crushing heartbreak of a miscarriage at three months gestation. There are no words to describe my grief, really. I could not find the strength to start a diet again, knowing that it was not because I had given birth to a baby and was ready to get back in shape, but rather because I had lost one and that place in my heart would never really heal.
I had no money for Weight Watcher's meetings, for gym memberships, for grief counseling, for healthy food choices . . . for anything really. I was emotionally adrift and in survival mode. I took a part-time job in addition to my full-time work as a teacher, and I buried myself in my work. I didn't look up. I didn't talk to my friends. I didn't diet and I didn't exercise - I just worked and survived.
To make myself feel better, I immersed myself in online gaming and I ate foods that I had previously denied myself - lots of them. And before you ask me if that worked or not, let me tell you that it did. It worked wonderfully and I felt much better. Online I was able to play a character that was not myself - she was a heroine and a great success. My character didn't struggle to pay her bills, she had gold to spare. She didn't struggle with her weight, she was a master chef and stayed constantly active. And as for the foods I allowed myself to eat, even though I knew they were bad for me, they made me feel full and satisfied in a way that I cannot explain unless you've been there.
And the weight came back on.
It came back a little bit at a time so that it was hardly noticeable. And my old health problems started to reemerge. I had to adjust the seat in the car so that I could fit. I had to take a pill again every night to keep from having heartburn and acid reflux. I was out of breath. My yellow skirt no longer fit. Going up the stairs became a monumental task that I had to plan for in advance . . . and so on.
I started having some serious internal dialog with myself around Christmas time. I knew that somehow, some way I had to find my way back to dieting again. But I didn't know how to face the fear and the defeat of having gained back so much. I didn't want to have to admit what had happened to me and to face the hard facts. And I didn't want to have to start all over again.
But here I am anyway - facing the difficult truth, not lying or sugar-coating anything, not making excuses, just dealing with reality.
Tomorrow I will tell you what I have learned and what I have decided to do about it.
Next time you will see less of me!