Weight Loss Support - in need of a little help if possible (long)....




bluesurfgirl
05-29-2009, 12:59 PM
Thanks in advance to anyone willing to read and respond (sorry this is so long). My one request is, I am really feeling down, so kindness in delivery (even when giving tough love) would be truly helpful right now. This is scary/hard for me to post, because I tend to be private.

Several years back I gained approximately eighty pounds in about a year/year and a half. (I was probably about ten pounds underweight before I gained). I later lost approximately fifty. And then I regained approximately sixty. Since then I have only been able to lose smaller amounts, five, seven, eighteen, and then I gain it all back.

I feel like I must be missing something, and I really want to be able to get healthy and fit again and stay that way.

I have tried many different approaches over time. I’ve tried introspection and therapy, I’ve tried “just doing it” without requiring that I understand all my inner workings before making progress, I’ve tried being strict with myself, I’ve tried being more lenient with myself, I’ve tried thinking about it more as something I’m doing for my health, I’ve tried thinking more about the aesthetic changes and benefits, I’ve tried a variety of different exercise programs, I’ve tried focusing on the “joy of physical movement” without the pressure of particular results, I’ve tried “talking more about it,” I’ve tried “not focusing on it,” I’ve tried giving myself an unlimited amount of time to achieve goals, I’ve tried using special events as motivators to achieve goals, I’ve tried Weight Watchers and Atkins, I’ve tried reading things and talking with family and friends, I’ve tried joining here (mostly reading more than posting because I often don’t feel qualified to join in, though I’ve tried posting some, including sometimes trying to commit to posting on exercise accountability threads which I later end up dropping out of).

But all the things I’ve tried I eventually fail at or fall out of and end up stalling and then gaining the weight back. I’ve tried to stay positive and keep the mantra of “get up, try again, you can do it, just keep going.” But after years of this I am feeling forlorn.

There are things that are on hold until I can find a way to get healthier, including having children, both because I want/need to be healthy during pregnancies, and also because I want to have developed a healthy lifestyle that I can pass along.

For a long time now I have been trying to focus on healthy foods, whole foods when possible, organic when possible, lean proteins, veggies, low-fat dairy, etc. and exercise several times a week. This seems reasonable (as I think most of the things I’ve tried have been) and yet I can only seem to muster a week or a few weeks of this and then I fail.

I feel like there must be something that I am missing. Maybe fear of being fit/thin again, or not feeling like I deserve to be happy, or self-sabotage, something, I don’t know. But nothing I’ve tried, including therapy, has uncovered a solution. And I am exhausted.

I was fit/thin most of my life. Until of course the dramatic gain in a short period of time. I am a sugar addict, and a binger, but those things were also true before I gained the weight, only causing fluctuations of a few pounds. But I know what it is like to have been fit/thin/strong, which makes me feel like even more of a failure, because I have a reference point that I “should” be able to return to/remember.

I’ve tried to pay attention to what I am thinking and the way I am feeling when I am in a phase of losing weight to see if that will shed any light on the situation. My feelings seem to vary from one extreme to another. Sometimes when I am losing weight I feel confident, like I can actually achieve my goals, but then I start to feel like my body is changing so rapidly and I feel like I am “wasting” away and it freaks me out a bit. Other times I feel like I don’t believe that I will ever be fit again, and those times the changes feel like they are happening way too slowly and like I will never progress to my goals. When I eat clean and exercise, sometimes I feel so much better, and sometimes I feel increased anxiety.

I feel isolated and trapped and I am deeply saddened by my own inability to effect change in my own life. I cannot believe that truly living my life to the fullest in all ways, including having children, is somehow not enough to help me succeed. I am distraught that even the possibility that I am eating my way out of having my own family doesn’t seem to motivate me to take steps to better health. (Just to clarify, this issue of family hasn’t always been the focus, but as time as passed and I have gotten older, it has increasingly become a major concern for me recently.)

And I often feel like the girl who cried wolf. I keep trying to be positive and say that I am going to do it, or that I am doing it (when I’m in the middle of one of those periods of time when I am doing it), and then I mess it up again. I feel like I can’t trust myself, can’t rely on myself.

I think I have really begun to fall into despair and fear that I will always be unfit, uncomfortable and alone. (I don’t feel right marrying the person I am with until I know I can rely on myself to be healthy and raise our children healthily.)

I am hoping that I’ve missed something important, whether obvious or hidden, something that will help me understand what I am doing wrong and how I can turn things around. If anyone has any ideas about what I’m missing or doing wrong, I’d be thankful for the insights/help. I’m trying to leave no stone unturned.

(I’m not sure when I’ll be back at the computer, maybe tonight or this weekend, but I will read and respond to any suggestions, but it may take a day or so since we have out of town guests coming in. I just thought I should mention this in case it’s a day or so before I’m back. I don’t want to seem absent or ungrateful if anyone has suggestions.)

Thanks. :)


kiramira
05-29-2009, 01:17 PM
:hug:
I think you've expressed what we all have or are going through.
I just have a couple of questions for you to help you unlock what is going on... What happened to cause you to gain all that weight in a short period of time? and
Are you afraid of getting married and having kids? Is this person REALLY the right one for you??? And do you REALLY want kids??? Be honest because your weight may be an excuse for NOT getting married or for not having kids--it may be the cloak that is letting you be "true" to yourself. And there isn't anything wrong with this, just you won't be happy unless you are true to yourself, wherever that takes you in life...you are strong enough to handle life changes, but you need to recognize where you are and what you really, really want.
I'm not being harsh -- my friend was really, really large and didn't want kids until she was thin but just never GOT there...and when she realized that the relationship she had been really deep down wasn't the right one for her (she got married out of fear and loneliness and because he was a really nice guy) she dropped over 100lbs and is now a marathon runner.
Maybe you need to look at what happened to cause you to gain weight, and if you are going in the direction that you really, really want to go...
:hug:
Kira

mandalinn82
05-29-2009, 01:28 PM
OK, here's the one message I think you really need to hear.

Everyone fails.

Everyone, from the person maintaining crazy amounts of weight, to the person who is struggling to lose the same weight over and over, fails sometimes. We eat something off plan. We skip a day of exercise. We have an event we don't know how to handle and eat way more than planned. It happens to EVERYONE. Period.

What distinguishes the person maintaining the weight loss from the person that is struggling is, 9/10 times, attitude. So, when I have an "off" day (or even an "off" week when traveling, or because I'm in a funk...whatever), I always have a CHOICE. I can say "Well, I botched that up, what a bad bad failure I am, I can't succeed at weight loss, I might as well just throw in the towel and eat this box of cookies". OR, I can say "Well, that wasn't the best choice. Nothing I can do about it now, except get RIGHT back on plan and stay there".

I wonder if the anxiety when losing isn't tied to your fear of "failing" again. I know lots of people here on the boards have weights that they approach that they have NEVER gotten past...hitting that weight is SCARY, because it starts to make them think they're going to "fail". That fear can prompt overeating, which confirms that the person "failed" and just makes the issue worse. The alternative, of course, is to say "My past experiences don't determine what I can do NOW, so let's just keep on plan and see what this body can do". Again, it's perspective.

So in terms of "what you're missing" that can help, I think it's a basic sense of confidence in yourself that you CAN, with work, do this. And the way to build that confidence is to string together a few perfectly on plan days, regardless of what that plan is. I'd recommend a basic, moderate calorie counting plan (maybe starting at 1600 a day and working from there?). Eat healthy foods. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Drink lots of water. Get some exercise, if you can. And string together a few days of that. Then string together a few more. And WHEN (I truly believe this is a "when", not an "if") you slip up, recognize it, think about what you might do differently next time, then let it go and get right back on plan.

And if you do that, I think you'll start to see those "failures" as really insignificant little blips in the grand scheme of things. So long as you get immediately back on plan, you'll keep moving toward your goal anyway. And then maybe, just maybe, they won't seem so scary.


healthfreak
05-29-2009, 08:30 PM
I think you have to first dig deep inside and find out what you truly want before you can decide on what course of action to take in respect to weight loss.

Windchime
05-29-2009, 10:00 PM
I would also suggest that you have a good physical exam to make sure that you don't have a thyroid problem or PCOS. Both conditions can make it extremely difficult to lose weight. Also, are there any medications that you are on that could be causing you to have difficulty losing? These conditions are probably not as common as we might think, but since you've struggled for so long, it's worth checking out.

Another thought: Think back to when you first gained. Did anything significant happen in your life at that time? Marriage, moving to a different city, loss of a loved one?

Stay here with us. We will help you figure this out.

p7eggyc
05-29-2009, 10:28 PM
In your therapy and thought-work have you come across issues of perfectionism? I struggle with this a lot and it manifests itself in lots of ways but the red flag I heard from you was I don't want to marry my partner until I 'fix' this about myself and the idea that you can't have children until you know how to live a healthy lifestyle. Both seem really admirable on the surface but I'd guess they aren't coming from a healthy place. Your partner loves you and you'll do lots of things as a parent that won't be 'right'. I would encourage you to maybe do some reading around that issue and see if you find any nuggets there. For me, perfectionism results in all-or-none thinking. I fight it all the time. I figure if I can't do something perfectly (you name it...eat, exercise, clean the house, whatever project), then I don't do anything at all.

One book I've been wanting to track down and read is 'I Thought It Was Just Me' by Brene Brown. You can see her blog here at ordinarycourage[DOT]com and she just completed a read-along of the book with podcasts and whatnot that you might find interesting.

Hang in there. We are all works in progress and you will find your way through this maze. Keep posting. I got so much out of the work I did on a similar weight loss site several years ago and it's right where I came back when I needed support again.

Peg

Lori Bell
05-30-2009, 08:38 AM
You mentioned that you were underweight at one time and also have had binge related issues. Do/did you have a named eating disorder such as anorexia / bulimia? Have you considered counseling?

midwife
05-30-2009, 10:37 AM
This really struck me:

I keep trying to be positive and say that I am going to do it, or that I am doing it (when I’m in the middle of one of those periods of time when I am doing it), and then I mess it up again. I feel like I can’t trust myself, can’t rely on myself


I just have a second so please don't take my briefness as brusqueness! What happens the moment after you mess up? We ALL mess up. Well, at least I do. And what set apart this latest weight loss journey (maintaining 50 lbs lost since 8/08) versus my efforts where I lost and regained was this: getting back on plan. Now it's gotta be a doable plan so think about what you need and want out of a plan that you can stick with for life. No one is perfect (it's true--it's even in a Hannah Montana song! ;) ) Please give yourself some credit for being human. It is what we do MOST of the time that counts. So have a plan in place for WHEN you mess up, cause it's gonna happen. I had to learn to kick the perfectionist mentality to the curb----that has made the difference and got me out of the regain cycle. So far!

Niecy
05-30-2009, 11:45 AM
I agree with Windchime. You need a COMPLETE physical.

The parts from your post that stick out in my mind are the fact that you gained weight in such a short period of time and then also your thought process. PCOS, thyroid and even diabetes can do these things. These diseases can sometimes APPEAR to be bi-polar or manic-depression episodes where you go from euphoric to depressed. But it is not bi-polar manic-depression at all. Your hormones play an important role in EVERY single cell function in your body. From weight, to state of mind, to energy levels to everything. A recent study shows that thyroid hormones are needed for even the cells in the lining of your eyes. So even vision can be affected.

I would suggest you especially get tested for thyroid and PCOS and possibly diabetes. Sugar highs and lows can also affect your moods greatly.

Aside from the weight gain and mood swings, are you having any other physical symptoms that would signal a problem? Adult acne, anxiety attacks, hair loss, fatigue, aches and pains, low libido, skin changes, digestive changes, sleep disturbances, pushing others away and trying to isolate yourself? I had ALL of these and many more and it took 10 years before it was diagnosed. Most people aren't diagnosed until they ASK to be tested. Before all of this, I was treated for "depression" and "post traumatic stress disorder" and also prescribed sleeping pills. I needed NEITHER of these drugs or the therapy for PTSD. I needed thyroid hormones. It was that simple. But everytime I told the doctor of my symptoms, it was OVER-ANALYZED into something that wasn't there and totally missed what was.

I am editing this to add that if you do some initial research on hypo, you might blow it off because a lot of articles talk of goiters. I did initially blow it off because I never had one of these (if I did it wasn't large enough to notice on both self inspection and sonograms). They did say the sonogram showed it was "lumpy". Kind of just like the rest of me, lol. Also, the year I was diagnosed, my daugthers 6th grade teacher, a classmate (we are talking 12 yrs old here), the classmates mother and another mother of a classmate were all diagnosed. It was extremely weird, and as we all compared symptoms we found that some of us were worse of than others, me being the worst probably because I went undiagnosed for many more years than the others. The 12 year old was the only one with a goiter. The one thing we did have in common was the weight and also foggy brain. So it is a lot more common than physicians once thought. I am not sure why the sudden epidemic of these autoimmune related diseases, but like diabetes, the thyroid diagnosis rate is on the rise.