Weight Loss Support - Where did it go wrong? - Maintenance & regain woes

08-21-2011, 02:14 PM
Dear friends,

I used to be on here every day in 08, losing weight, getting buff, dispensing wisdom :p and so on. I was lean and fit and happy.

And then things got complicated and I gained and gained and gained. It took me a while to come back to 3fc (and I picked a new username :o ) (I used to post as Baffled111) but since I've been back I've seen several women who were losing and starting to maintain when I was but who have since gained weight and are trying to lose it again. There must be a 3 year cycle of gaining and getting motivated to lose again. :)

So I wondered for the re-gainers: where did your maintenance go wrong? What have you learned from the experience that we can all use to be better prepared for next time?

I'll start:

--I love exercise and exercise is crucial to my weight management. But I gradually stopped working out and was too embarrassed to go back to the gym after gaining weight. (And that was after I had gained only 20 pounds!--I was below my current goal weight!) Next time I MUST continue with my exercise program!

--I never really learned to eat with moderation and restraint in social situations. I find it almost impossible to resist food that is in front of me. This time I'm going to practice really learning moderation (using the techniques in the Beck book) so that I have much stronger defenses against food.

--I had not picked a sustainable maintenance weight. It required far too much dedication and when my dedication waned and I started gaining, I surrendered control and let the gaining go wild! This time I'm going to try to maintain a higher and more comfortable weight.

--Slippage. I gradually lost sight of appropriate portion sizes, added extra snacks and added many, many alchohol calories. Next time I'm going to have to stick with weighing, measuring and logging even when it feels unnecessary...

What about you?

08-21-2011, 02:48 PM
I feel the same way as you I also recently came back to 3FC about a week ago because I almost got to my goal and then I messed up. I was down to 155 at one point and to be honest I couldn't tell if I was skinny or if I was still fat and my body was playing tricks on me. I recently went through a horrible break up back in april and pretty much from then on I have been gaining and then losing so its kinda been an up and down roller coaster until I moved out to san diego in June which ruined my whole routine of things. When I was loosing I didn't have a full time job, honestly didn't go out that much with friends, and i had all the time in the world to go to the gym. Now I have a full time job where I sit down all day and there is junk food everywhere and I don't feel like I have that much time to go workout because i am so stressed out and tired after my job. I also have a lot of new friends so I have been going out with them and eating, drinking, all that fun stuff. Its also a lot harder because I used to never keep junk food around the house and now its everywhere because of my roommates and they are eating it but its sooo hard to resist all the time. Last week I came back to 3fc at 183 lbs and after stepping on the scale and seeing that I was sooo depressed. I don't know how I could let myself go after all the hard work I did. I am still sad about it but i am trying to be positive and get back on track. so far I have lost about 5 lbs in the last week so its been good but I just want to be back where I used to be. But it kinda makes me see things in prospective because back when I was 155 i thought i was still fat and now that i look back at those pictures i look really thin....

Sorry about the rant, just kinda had to get it off my chest!

The best advice i could give you is just keep pushing through it and think about yourself first! Its your body and your health! You took a big step in coming back here so you should be really proud of yourself. I definitely think these forums are so helpful and motivating especially when you go off track! Good luck with everything i know you will do great!

08-21-2011, 02:57 PM
--I never really learned to eat with moderation and restraint in social situations.

THIS ^^ is probably the biggest KILLER! Don't feel alone though...I too have lost and regained...actually many people do.

This time is different for me....I learned "moderation" and I now allow myself everything and anything I want...within moderation. By moderation, I don't mean one bite of a cookie...I mean I'll eat 1/2 dozen or better one day...as long as it fits into my daily calorie range. If I overdo it (like I did couple of days ago when I ate 6 Krispy Kreme donuts), I'll cut back the next day and go running or something. It's balance...not deprivation.:)

Glad to have you back.:hug:

08-21-2011, 04:36 PM

Good for you for coming back. I've been up and down a lot in my life (although I only discovered 3FC a year ago so not since coming here). Part of my philosophy this time around was making changes that I can maintain for a lifetime (since I haven't been able to do that in the past!). My latest slip up wasn't a typical one in that I gained 65lbs in my pregnancy but more of using a pregnancy as a license to eat everything. It took a LONG time after pregnancy to get my head back into the game (and I still have 6lbs left to lose to get to my prepregnancy weight).

I've been thinking a lot about maintenance lately and it does scare me. The more I think about it the more I'm wondering if a higher goal does make more sense because it will be more easily maintainable? I really don't have any answers but just wanted to say that I can understand where you're coming from.

08-21-2011, 06:07 PM
I have yo-yo'd way too much. I'm currently back on the downward trend but I had gone all the way back up to 205 when I was so close to the lower 180s! I'm in the high 190s now (I don't want to change my ticker!) and it sucks...

I think the one thing I've learned is it's better to maintain then give up altogether.

08-21-2011, 06:15 PM
Maintaining his hard. I've tried it several times.:?:

In 2 pounds, I've giving it a whirl again.

I do know, you need a program that is sustainable and flexible, but you still have to weigh, measure, go to the gym, and all that stuff. It absolutely, positively, has to made a priority, just like brushing your teeth, or feeding the dog, or going to work or any of thousands of other things we do everyday, cuz, well, that's just what you do.

Now, just to get my brain wrapped around all that!;)

08-21-2011, 06:38 PM
What went wrong with me? Bad Choices! I gave into wants and immediate gratification. My weight slowly was creeping up again! Most important to me...I was not accountable to anyone.

I did not step on the scale because I was afraid of what it was going to tell me! I knew I was gaining weight.

This time, I have made a reasonable weight goal that I think I can maintain and enjoy a splurge once in awhile. I am not willing to exercise to death to stay at a lower weight. So hopefully, I can achieve my new weight goal.

08-21-2011, 07:04 PM
Maintaining is more difficult than losing for a lot of people.

You might want to look into intermittent fasting. It made maintaining very easy for me and I "suffer" from the same social eating food problem.

As for that problem - you just need to be aware. If you eat a little too much one day eat a little less the next.

I maintained for about 8 months successfully with minimal workouts and without counting calories. Intermittent fasting was absolutely key in this success.

08-21-2011, 08:05 PM
I just wanted to say thank you for posting this and being so open about what you've struggled with! I've never really been in "maintenance mode" and as I'm getting closer, it's really really scary! I feel like my "normal" means gaining weight, which I've done consistently at every point in my life I wasn't purposefully trying to lose weight. Of course a lot of things are different, I have good information about food/nutrition/weight management now and I'm very conscious and intentional about what I eat, but it still makes me very nervous for that transition! So, any info on this topic is so helpful, even if it's more of a what not to do :).

08-21-2011, 08:29 PM
I was a normal weight for years, then gained, lost, gained, lost, gained.......on and on.....The one thing I now do that I did not is weigh myself at home occasionally. Being a total Scale-phobic, this is a big step for me. In the past I have bought at least ten scales and then thrown them out because I did not like what they showed me. At one point I found out my husband has a high-quality scale that he keeps in his workshop attached to the garage. He was afraid I would throw it out if I saw it! That may be the reason I have managed to lose.............again.

08-21-2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks for posting. Your willingness to share your experience is motivation for those of us who have regained (which, I would venture to say, is the majority).

Here are some things I've realized over the years that makes this weight loss attempt feel different (more permanent) than other attempts:

1) I'm striving for endurance rather than speed. I'm only doing what I know I can live with for the rest of my life. I know that's a cliche, but this time rather than just mouthing it, I'm really living it. For instance, I've realized over the years that I'm not someone who can maintain a routine of gym-type workouts long term. So, this time around, I'm just committed to getting more purposeful activity each day (my goal is at least one hour, but if I don't make it, I'm okay with that). This doesn't mean that I will never do a gym workout (I just went on a 10-day vacation in which I worked out in the gym most days), but I certainly won't be forcing myself to do it when I don't want to.

2) I'm learning to negotiate with myself. The above activity change is an example, but this applies to food as well. I just got back from a 10-day visit with family / vacation, and I set the following guidelines for myself before I went: a) I would allow myself to eat up to my maintenance calories; b) if a very special occasion arose and I did go above my maintenance calories, I refused to beat myself up over it. I am very proud of myself that I managed to have an awesome vacation and only went over my maintenance calories once. For several days of the trip, I didn't even eat up to maintenance calories. And the best part is, it felt natural, not like suffering. I didn't deprive myself of special foods, but I didn't eat indiscriminately either.

So, to nutshell it, it seems as if the idea of "moderation" has really sunk in this time. I'm hoping that will help with maintenance (once I reach it! :) ).

08-21-2011, 09:45 PM
I joined 3FC back in late 07 and was very active until late 08.

I'd lost over 100 pounds. Was no where near maintaining, but I was certainly much more active, and healthy.

What changed? I married, and moved to a new state. Those were the big things.

The blame lies solely with me, but honestly I was very lonely. The husband was off at work, I was trying to find my way around in a place where I knew no one else. I did okay for many months, but I never really felt like I met anyone that I fit in with.

And then I missed a WW meeting. Worst. Mistake. Ever. I'd somehow convinced myself I didn't need the support, because it's not like I fit in anyways. How wrong I was.

It wasn't overnight, but a bad decision here and a bad decision there lead me to gain it back. 5 pounds from my original high weight I had a "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" moment, and restarted my program re-joined 3FC with a different username, and focused on maintaining any pound I took off.

What's wrong with me? ... I'm human. Since I can't really do anything about that, then I'm going to have to work with it. The good thing about being human is we have some great potential for adaptability.

Lesson learned: Can't do this alone. Lesson learned: I'm always going to be working on my behaviors with food.

08-21-2011, 10:28 PM
It took me more than a decade and a huge health scare to try to lose weight again after regaining after my last weight loss venture.

Like this time, I did it sensibly. I exercise 4-5 times a week (now I do 5-6 times). I watched what I ate (calorie counting) but if I felt hungrier, I ate. I didn't starve myself. I felt great. I felt strong and then I got derailed and gained the 50 pounds I lost (235 to 185) and added 40 more. I gained all that in a span of 2-3 years. Most of it in the first year.

I have puzzled over what happened. I thought I had a binge eating disorder so I started to see a shrink. he said I didn't have a binge eating disorder but unearthed a lot of other stuff and helped me deal through my mom issues. I think a dozen or so things all contributed to my total loss of control. And that's what it was - a total loss of control. I could not avoid eating - and eating a lot and then, discouraged, I gave up the exercising too. I vowed I would never diet again. It was so hard being such a complete failure.

That's why I total get people like Oprah and Kirstie Alley. If they can lose that same sense of control as celebrities, it's even easier as an ordinary person without the spotlight.

So... I was terrified to try again, but then my health forced me to face my demons. Turns out I had overcome my emotional eating when I dealt with mom issues and with telling my husband to stop making comments about my food choices because those comments led to me HIDING food which was even worse!

But even now... I analyze everything so that I don't fall back into the same horrific downward spiral I went last time - yes, avoiding the scale, avoiding the doctor - everything... just to not face the demons.

I truly hope that this time I have found the right path... but how will I know? they could come back tomorrow, in a year or ten years.

Edited to add. I found 3FC again. I had joined many, many moons ago. I can't remember if it was in my initial weight loss in 1998 or when I tried to reel myself in during 1999-2000 school year. I didn't even remember my user id name.

08-22-2011, 04:48 AM
I can relate to the repeated losing and gaining. Good luck, all.

08-22-2011, 07:54 AM
Thank you so much for posting, and I hope that this is the last time you have to lose weight. Hopefully through your experiences and others, we can ALL stop the cycle of gaining and losing.

Good luck! Since you're able to reflect on what you did wrong, you clearly learned from your mistakes and will ensure you don't repeat them. I wish you the best of luck this time around!

I've never been on maintenance before (not intentionally anyway), but seeing experiences of those who have been both successful and unsuccessful will hopefully help me and other "losers" maintain their goal weights.

08-22-2011, 09:00 AM
Giving up and not caring!

08-22-2011, 09:05 AM
It might have started with a cookie. Not really, but when losing I had always felt if I ate a cookie I would gain all the weight back. Then I ate a cookie, and didn't gain anything. So... next time I had 2 cookies and before you know it I had slipped in a lot of my eating and went from maintaining to gaining...

08-22-2011, 01:19 PM
I think I get that too, Heather. I start to believe that the whole calories in/calories out thing doesn't apply to me after all! It's a fatal error!

08-22-2011, 04:58 PM
It might have started with a cookie. Not really, but when losing I had always felt if I ate a cookie I would gain all the weight back. Then I ate a cookie, and didn't gain anything. So... next time I had 2 cookies and before you know it I had slipped in a lot of my eating and went from maintaining to gaining...

Thank you for this, this is what happened to me as well in the past. I am currently near the weight I was at when I started doing this last time and I can see some of that trying to grab hold of me but I am way more aware of what is happening and your post was a great reminder as I actually did have 2 mini cookies today.

I think too that I am at a healthier place mentally right now, I have a lot more appreciation and love for my body the way it is right now and not a future ideal of me.

08-22-2011, 05:43 PM
Maintaining is more difficult than losing for a lot of people.

You might want to look into intermittent fasting. It made maintaining very easy for me and I "suffer" from the same social eating food problem.

As for that problem - you just need to be aware. If you eat a little too much one day eat a little less the next.

I maintained for about 8 months successfully with minimal workouts and without counting calories. Intermittent fasting was absolutely key in this success.

When you say "fasting" do you mean all day with no food, or just veges or what? I did a no-food-at-all fast (no food one day; 900 calories the next day) about two weeks ago - with exercise - and finally lost those impossible-to-lose pounds, so I know this works.

I think that an occasional splurge is absolutely necessary, at least for me. After dieting for weeks, I went off the wagon this past weekend and binged for three days, eating whatever I wanted. It took me four weeks to lose one measly pound, but only three days to gain two(!) However, it's still only two pounds, and in the grand scheme of things, it's part of long-term dieting. I'm not going to feel really guilty for enjoying myself and gaining two pounds. I'm sure to gain a few here and there over the years. If I fret and stew of something this trivial every time it happens, what's the point in dieting? But I understand that gaining LOTS of weight doesn't apply to this. :D

08-22-2011, 07:55 PM
This may be strange to say, but it's really good to know I'm not the only one who has these same struggles...

April Snow
08-22-2011, 08:29 PM
I think it is really hard to wrap your mind around the fact that as hard as it is to LOSE the weight, that is just the beginning and that you may have a tiny bit more flexibility but that you have to continue to remain vigilant forever in order to keep the weight off.

That's one reason that I am not setting a final goal at this point - to a certain extent, I think my final goal will find me. It will be a point where I either just naturally stop losing weight, or it will be when my ability to remain committed to the current strict phase of my weight loss plan fades. At that point, I will switch from active weight loss to the pre-maintenance phase my plan has. It's a long period where you gradually start to add back foods that are not allowed during my current phase. It's still pretty strict but it's MUCH more flexible than what I do right now. If I am happy with the weight I am at that point, then that will become my permanent maintenance goal weight. If not, I will work on maintenance until I feel ready to put in the full effort to lose again.

And I am just going to have faith that this is going to be the time I FINALLY can do this, once and for all.

08-22-2011, 11:47 PM
This may be strange to say, but it's really good to know I'm not the only one who has these same struggles...

Ditto. :)

08-23-2011, 08:15 AM
I had lost around 3 stone going from 12 and half in 2008 to 9st 7 in early 2009. I maintained this until February 2011.

For me i just couldn't do it any more. I had my 21st birthday party at the end of January. So i had to look good. This however but a lot of pressure on me because it meant i couldn't "take it easy" during Christmas, my first set of finals in Janurary and then top it all off a week long holiday in lanzarote literally the week before the party. To make things even worser when i had tried on my size 6 dress initially it was too big (at the start of December) and it had to taken in!

So add to the fact i was under a lot of emotional stress with family problems, facing the end of college, relationship troubles. It took all the strength i had to make it through December and Janurary. I had promised that i would allow myself Feburary off from strict dieting to "make up" for what i had missed out food wise during those two months.

During this time my gym also didn't have a scale so i gained a LOT of weight. I think in a way i really couldn't have prevented what happened as i had a mental and nervous breakdown at the start of Jan and i literally had no more strength left to deal with any aspect of my life. I spent pretty much the first 6 months of this year in a deep depression. I also developed chewing and spitting disorder (hurray).

Yet i feel good for taking the time away from being regimented with myself and i have learnt is the importance to slow down. It was a really bad idea to have a holiday before my 21st party as this meant i was under more pressure than i needed to be. So as a result i am now easier on myself.

I have also learnt that you *must* weigh yourself. This was how between June of 2010 and Jan 2011 i never went above 10 stone.

A minor thing is that you have to be active and going to the gym for an hour then sitting at home all day wont do it , you have to just have an active life in general

Last but least, plan and prioritise. As an earlier poster pointed out you have to put maintenance up there with brushing your teeth

08-23-2011, 08:36 AM
Dear friends,

So I wondered for the re-gainers: where did your maintenance go wrong? What have you learned from the experience that we can all use to be better prepared for next time?

What about you?

I've gained and lost in cycles since I was in middle school and I'll be 50 in two months. At this point, I've decided to redefine maintenance to include some amount of weight fluctuation. I am working on strategies to keep them to a minimum.

Here's a few things that have happened to me.

- One problem I've had with maintaining in the past is that I naturally vary several pounds due to TOM. Men can have a 5 lb "red line". I couldn't, because I'd gain 5 lbs and have serious PMS cravings at the same time. At that point, I might say "screw it!" and a train wreck would follow.

- In the same vein, I also tried a 10-lb red line, and that didn't really work either. I live in the Northeast, and I naturally gain weight every winter. I think I have a touch of SAD, so seeing my red line get crossed when I have PMS AND the winter blues was also not a recipe for success.

So, I guess my red line lesson is that I need to have a flexible red line that takes the season and my own cycle into account.

- Sometimes, life happens. I have gained weight during particularly stressful times. I just did not put a high enough priority on maintaining my healthy habits. In retrospect, making that a priority would have helped me deal better with the stress of the situation, though it was hard to see that at the time.

- When I am off-track, I don't weigh myself regularly or check myself out nekkid in the mirror, and I migrate towards forgiving outfits (like stretchy pants or sweats). Then my head can deny what is happening. I've tried vowing to continue to weigh myself, and that just hasn't happened. What *has* worked is getting rid of all my larger and stretchy pants and vowing not to buy any that are larger (I rationalize that I don't want to spend money on pants that I won't look good in anyway). It didn't keep me in my goal weight range, but it did give me the reality check I needed to get back on track.