Coping with Weight Gain: Getting Back on the Horse
I hate to admit it.
But I have gained back about 10 of the 15 pounds I lost last year! I vowed to keep the weight off, after my hard won loss. I gained the weight back over an eight-month period where I enjoyed three great vacations with unrestricted eating. After my last trip, I got on the scale and was shocked by the number I saw! I am rarely hard on myself, but when I saw that three-digit number I winced. And I felt bad.
I can’t say that I have never gained weight back after a period of weight loss. But this time I was over confident. I thought I had figured out my “formula” for permanent weight loss. But I was wrong. Oh well. I know I have a lot of company on this quest.
It is very difficult to change ingrained habits. All of our habits, good and bad, take a long time to develop. They are like a deep groove created by a wheelbarrow that takes the same path every day. It’s hard to keep the wheel out of the track! It wants to go back in.
It takes a long time to acquire good and bad habits. Think of how many times you told your kids to brush their teeth, hang up their coat, make their bed, wash their hands, and say “thank you.” Sometimes Moms and Dads feel like broken records!
And yet, as adults, we don’t have to think about brushing our teeth! We don’t ask ourselves if we “feel like” making our bed, hanging up our coat, or washing our hands before we eat—we just do it automatically.
Bad habits are rarely taught. We are more likely to acquire them by imitating the important adults in our life. We always made exercise a regular routine in our family—so no big surprise; our adult kids are gym rats too. We didn’t smoke and they never developed the habit. Of parents who smoke, their children are much more likely to develop the habit. It’s monkey see, monkey do all the way!
So I have to get back on the horse. I have to stop feeling sorry for myself, let go of feeling defeated, take a deep breath, and forge a new path forward. That’s the big challenge isn’t it? It’s much easier to be hard on myself and give up. But each time I have lost some ground, I have learned something new about myself. It’s a challenge but I’m not giving up. Life is a learning experience and lets face it, we often learn a lot more from our mistakes or failures.
So what are some of the lessons I have learned this time around?
Weigh yourself. One of my strategies for self-delusion is to avoid weighing myself and convince myself that I haven’t gained any weight. Studies show that weighing yourself weekly is important in keeping your weight down. Recent research shows that weighing yourself daily resulted in greater weight loss and better maintenance. The feedback from your scale is a reality check that is hard to ignore.
Keep a food diary. There are some great online tools (e.g. http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ ) for keeping an accurate food diary that automatically calculates the nutritional value of what you are eating.
Figure out portion size. Those of us with weight problems are always eating too much! How much is 4 ounces of salmon? How much is a half a cup of ice cream? How much is 4 ounces of steak? A food scale and measuring cups are a great reality check and can re-train your eye.
How much do you really need to eat? Do I really want a whole sandwich or will be happy with a half of sandwich? Do I really need “seconds” of the main course? So much of eating is habit, pure and simple, and has little to do with appetite or whether you are full. Taking a few moments to think about whether you are hungry can help.
Share your challenges and success with weight loss!