Living Maintenance - What's the hardest thing you've ever done?




neurodoc
09-03-2012, 10:01 PM
For me, hands down, it's raising children. Which you may or may not find strange considering I am a physician and research scientist with umpteen years of formal education followed by a scad more years of internship/residency/fellowship which is actually apprentice-style education.

What is NOT the hardest thing I've ever done is lose weight, or even maintain it (though -don't get me wrong- it's d*mnably difficult). I subscribe to a blog called The Great Fitness Experiment (Charlotte Andersen the author is both witty and wise as well as a good writer) and she wrote a post about a woman (unnamed) who is apparently also a research scientist and "a rising star in her field" who apparently states that losing 100 pounds is the hardest thing she's ever done. Charlotte then goes on to state that while she doesn't doubt that this woman means what she says, she also thinks it's rather sad, especially that she also assigns it more importance than her degrees, her research or her ties with family and friends.

So, just wondering what you all think. Is there anything harder than the ongoing yearly grind of maintenance? And is there anything more important than maintaining your weight loss? Like, if you had to choose between weight maintenance and some other really important thing (like keeping your job or your marriage intact), which would you choose?


kaplods
09-03-2012, 10:16 PM
I've done a lot of difficult things, but I've definitely put more effort into weight loss than anything else in my life. Far, far more effort than I spent on in getting my BA and MA in psychology, more effort and difficulty than being a probation officer, than teaching college, than all of my hobbies combined...

I've done more important things, but not more difficult things. There are a lot of things I would sacrifice my weight loss for if I had to, luckily none of those things have to be traded for weight loss, in fact nearly all of them will be enhanced by weight loss.

I have found (finally) ways to make weight loss and weight loss maintenance far easier, but I didn't discover them until relativelyl late in life. If I had known that low-carb and birth control would drastically reduce the "rabid" hunger I experienced most of my life, I would have embraced both as early as 12 years old (when my mother and I first realized that my incredible hunger was even worse during PMS/TOM and my pediatritian advised that bc "could" help but that the more common side effect was weight gain).

Too bad we didn't give it a shot, because my hunger is drastically reduced on birth control, and low-carb would have cinched it.

saef
09-04-2012, 07:49 AM
I wonder if you will get different answers from people whose highest weight was about 30 pounds over what's considered healthy and people whose highest weight was 100 pounds or more over what's considered healthy.

My highest weight was over 250; I'll never know how high it got because I'd stopped weighing for several years. I have been overweight for most of my life, since adolescence. The first time I experienced life at a "normal" weight range since my childhood was when I was past 30. It was so thrilling and astonishing that I never, ever, ever wanted to go back to the way I was ...

Yes, losing over 100 pounds was one of the hardest things I've ever done. We aren't having a contest, here, and it's not a competition, so I'll just use my own personal measuring stick.

Yes, it was harder than getting through my 20s and getting a bachelor's degree. (Two separate things, the former more difficult than the latter.) Harder than getting an MFA, even when working on my thesis. Much, much harder than writing a book. Harder than submitting it to university presses and literary presses for three years, rewriting it, reordering it, resubmitting it, applying for grants and scholarships for literary retreats and conferences.

Harder than my job, which is definitely not a sinecure.

Harder than coping with the aftermath of a devastating flood.

As hard as being with & tending to my father for nine months while he died slowly, depressed and furious, of stomach cancer.

All those things went on for a limited span. Even at the darkest moment, I could see there would be an "after."

I see no "after" here. There is no end to this. It is perpetual.

Because what I am doing with exercise and eating is not mainstream or normal, though it's supposed to be a sane way to live, to eat cleanly and exercise. Really it's not and much of the larger world just pays lip service to that notion.

I was in line for an omelet yesterday morning at a hotel brunch buffet. Everyone ahead of me was getting all kinds of stuff in their omelets. Then, finally I was there at the head of the line: "Just egg whites. No cheese. But put in all the vegetables. Yes, all. Extra spinach."

I could feel the people around me getting restive. Their faces were interesting to observe. I made them uncomfortable, even a little angry. Because it was a buffet, it was at a nice hotel on the holiday weekend, and they wanted the default setting to be "indulgence," and I wasn't complying.

My constant noncompliance is very wearying to me psychologically.


JayEll
09-04-2012, 08:22 AM
I can think of a dozen things that have been harder for me than losing weight/maintaining weight loss. Here are a few.

- Having a father who physically and emotionally abused my mother, my siblings, and myself, and trying to cope with that growing up.
- Moving out of my home state to go to grad school at my dream university, and having a breakdown because of the pressure and some unfortunate choices. Dropping out of that school.
- Making bad choices in my love life and paying the price for that.
- Quitting drinking cold turkey.
- Moving across country and finding that I was not as marketable in the East as I thought I would be, and running out of money.

I think that's enough.

But, I haven't been successful at maintaining loss.

I am not willing to have my life revolve around the numbers I see on a scale, my food choices, whether or not to eat a cookie (and feeling bad if I do), etc. ad infinitum. I am willing to pay the price for that, which may be a higher weight than the BMI chart says I should weigh.

I would never choose maintaining weight loss over keeping a (good) marriage intact, keeping my (good) job, etc. Weight loss/maintenance is just not comparable to the importance of those things, in my book. I am more than my weight, I am more than my body's shape and size. I sometimes think that obsession with weight is just a way to avoid the "real" issues in life.

I don't understand how weight maintenance can be as hard as watching a loved one die. Sorry, I don't get it. Something is wrong with that picture, at least for me.

I have to add that I am not in the place of someone who had to lose 100+ pounds. As you can see, at one time I dropped 50. Right now I'm up 30. I do think the viewpoint is different if one has a considerable amount to lose.

Jay

freelancemomma
09-04-2012, 12:46 PM
Great post, Saef!

paperclippy
09-04-2012, 02:07 PM
As someone who only dropped 50lbs, losing and maintaining my weight is not the hardest thing I've ever done. The hardest things I've done are deciding to drop out of grad school and taking care of my dog after his back injury. Weight loss/maintenance comes somewhere after that (maybe about in line with planning my wedding, which was way harder than I thought it would be). I still have a lot of life ahead of me and I expect there will be many harder things in store later.

Maybe it's because I didn't have as much weight to lose, or because I had 3FC to help me, or because I was only 21 when I started losing, or because I have a supportive husband. I don't know. Sure, maintaining can be hard, but it's become a habit. The other things I consider to be "hard" involved a whole lot of crying and agonizing and feeling like the world was ending. Weight loss/maintenance has never been like that.

free1
09-04-2012, 03:23 PM
Had to jump in on this one...I survived law school and a really demanding job and I can tell you that losing weight has been the hardest thing I've ever done. I started with more than 130 to loose. I've gone from a 24W to a regular 12 (and looking at a 10). With school, I could take a break...there was always a summer vacation or a Christmas break. It was not constant though demanding. It didn't require me to change the way I think, to challenge my concept of myself or to summons more discipline than I ever used. It didn't ask me to change the way I express love (usually through food) or to change my form of entertainment/stress relief.

I have 3 children as well. It has definitely been challenging but my weight loss requires 110% from me. I have a great husband and we partner together in parenting. They are in school during the day so I have somewhat of a "break." Not with weight loss and challenging my self image concepts. It is ALWAYS there. I don't obsess over it but it has called me to branch out into uncomfortable areas....like running...in front of a group...okay, in front of men on the trail...:)

I think the importance is debatable. However, making a decision to take care of my health and my body to ward off an early death is pretty important to me. I was MORBIDLY obese at 284+ (that was what I weighed when I finally got the nerve to get on the scale after 3 months of dieting- I probably hit 300). Making a decision TO LIVE....pretty important.

My degrees mean nothing if I'm in the grave. My two cents....:)

kaplods
09-04-2012, 03:50 PM
There's also a big difference between "difficult" and "painful." I agree that losing a loved one is more painful than weight loss, but more difficult? Definitely not for me, so far.

The pain is far more severe, but there was much less required of me to get through it. And I received far more support and sympathy (even from strangers) in coping with the loss.

And there are better role models for the grieving process, and while the grieving doesn't ever end, it usually does get progressively easier over time. I haven't found that to be as true with weight loss maintenance. It's nearly as difficult now as it's ever been. I've found some ways to make it easier, but for the most part the struggle requires nearly as much attention and effort as it ever has.

If giving up the weight loss would prevent a loved one's death, I'd gladly sacrifice the weight loss in a heartbeat (thankfully I can think of no situation in which such a scenario would occur). However, in terms of effort and ability to function in every day life, I'd succeeded more at the grieving process than I ever have at weight loss... much more painful, but far less concentrated effort required.

If by difficult you mean painful, then yes, loss of a loved one is more difficult. However in this thread, I interpreted difficult to mean "the most effort required on my part." In this regard, losing a loved one while very painful, didn't require more concerted effort on my part than has weight loss.

ICUwishing
09-04-2012, 04:06 PM
I can try to represent the low end of the spectrum; I've only lost about 25 pounds and might fight my way to 35, eventually. For me, this isn't "hard". It is an annoyance because I don't get to eat as much as I want to. It's an annoyance because I can't count on my intuition with food. It's an annoyance because I know I'll have to pay attention to these details at least 90% of the rest of my life. Nothing I do, including job, marriage, parenting, friendships, pets, etc consumes this low level of brain activity on such a consistent basis. It doesn't consume every waking moment, and the world doesn't fall in for a week if I eat something really over the top. It's just *there* constantly, like the mosquito in the bedroom, or the 60 Hz hum in the fluorescent lights.

For comparison, "hard" was working full-time on the afternoon shift, an hour's drive away from where I was holding down full-time status as a grad student, which was another hour's drive from where I was living.

"Hard" is raising an easy-going (on the outside) 13-year old son with an IQ of 155 who is so paralyzed by his inner requirements for perfection that he'd rather not try to do anything at all, while being married to a full-blooded German who's also a Taurus, and who simply does not comprehend why not everything other people touch is done as perfectly as he can do it.

RedPanda
09-05-2012, 08:20 AM
Because what I am doing with exercise and eating is not mainstream or normal, though it's supposed to be a sane way to live, to eat cleanly and exercise. Really it's not and much of the larger world just pays lip service to that notion.

Absolutely. :devil:


I was in line for an omelet yesterday morning at a hotel brunch buffet. Everyone ahead of me was getting all kinds of stuff in their omelets. Then, finally I was there at the head of the line: "Just egg whites. No cheese. But put in all the vegetables. Yes, all. Extra spinach."

I could feel the people around me getting restive. Their faces were interesting to observe. I made them uncomfortable, even a little angry. Because it was a buffet, it was at a nice hotel on the holiday weekend, and they wanted the default setting to be "indulgence," and I wasn't complying.

My constant noncompliance is very wearying to me psychologically.

Oh I hear you on that! I've just come back from a holiday in the snow, and every morning, I took my 1/2 cup of home-made granola in a zip-lock baggie down to breakfast while everyone else was piling their plates high with greasy sausages, eggs and bacon etc.

Then there are all the constant remarks at work about how "good" I am with my food, and sniping about how I'm "only eating like that to make everyone else feel bad" and so forth.

The constant remarks and looks are certainly draining psychologically.

Mudpie
09-05-2012, 08:52 AM
I too am in the "small amount lost" category. For me weight loss and maintenance certainly isn't the hardest thing in life. It's tedious and boring but it is becoming a good habit and getting easier.

My hardest thing was overcoming a totally dysfunctional upbringing as the only child of a psychotic abusive father and alcoholic mother. I had no other family to turn to or any adults in my life to direct me positively after the age of about 8.

Took me almost 40 years but I'm there. That is my great life accomplishment - becoming a "normal" person.

Dagmar :D

alinnell
09-05-2012, 11:09 AM
I've done plenty of hard things in my life. Some harder than others, of course. Here is a short list:

--public speaking. I'm very shy and speaking to a crowd is difficult to say the least. I managed it over and over while serving two terms as president of a charity organization.

--leaving my husband behind to accompany my friend on a trip to Italy. Seriously. I was terrified. And I'd been to Europe before! I was shaking and crying before I left. I have no idea why this was so hard (even though I had a great time).

--watching my mother die in hospice.

--raising two great kids without them falling in with the "wrong" crowd.

--quitting my dreaded job and going to work with my husband in an industry I had no qualifications for and being responsible for the day to day operations and cash flow.

--moving hundreds of miles away from my home state right after finding out I was pregnant with my first child.

--making friends (that may sound strange, but I'm terribly shy).

But I have to say the single most difficult thing I've ever done was to make the horrible decision to put down an animal. I've had to do it three times and it never gets any easier.

(You notice that losing weight is not on the list. Yeah, it's hard but it's not so hard that I count it.)

dancingirl81
09-05-2012, 04:40 PM
The last year, almost without comparison, has been the hardest year of my life. My weightloss was part of that year... but honestly, it was the easiest thing I dealt with all year. (Except, perhaps, these last 10-12 pounds. They've been and continue to be a PAIN, lol.)

But seriously, weightloss is difficult, no two ways about it. I think it's a matter of what we are dealing with while we lose weight, too. Losing, for me, was the one small pleasure I had this year. When nothing else went right, just being able to get on the scale or look in the mirror and see that I done something good for myself was helpful. It also encouraged me to continue down the path that was getting results. If the weight had been the only thing plaguing my mind, I'm not sure if I would have been as successful.

sontaikle
09-05-2012, 09:51 PM
I'm young, so I'm lacking in the life experience department, but weight loss is one of the most difficult things I've ever done.

One of the most difficult years of my life was the one year of grad school: somehow, someway I did my Master's in one year. Weight loss, however, beats that.

It really wasn't difficult so much as in the process, but more so the mental toll that it took (and still takes on me). Yes, I was stressed when I was going to grad school and working full time, but mentally I was in a good place. With weight loss, I felt as if my sense of self was constantly being messed around with and that I was losing one identity and gaining another. It's difficult for me to describe in words, but I think that saying that I felt as if I were living in another's body sums it up nicely.

I think, however, that one of the most difficult things I've ever done so far was my job hunt. With the economy the way it is and people my age being pushed aside AND how horrible it is for teachers in my area, it was a wonder that I even found a position. My job search only lasted a few months, but it was the most difficult few months of my life. I had so many frustrating experiences and had to face the reality that for the first time in my life there was a possibility that I would have no job—it was just scary and stressful.

milmin2043
09-06-2012, 02:49 AM
By far, the hardest thing I've ever done is to run a marathon while suffering with Parkinson's Disease. My muscles literally locked up when I hit the 20 mile mark, and I had this strange gallop all the way to 26.2. The pain I felt was incredible, but I was so determined not to give up that I think I went into some sort of shock, because my legs became numb. I kept looking down at them to see if they were still moving.

BUT, apparently I am a glutton for punishment, because I am currently training for another marathon, which will be number 4, and they haven't gotten any easier for me. Doc says I may be addicted to the pain that comes with them? I feel that I am addicted to the adrenaline and dopamine rush that comes with running.

Losing 110 lbs. was not hard for me. Maintenance however is another story and is exactly how others here have described it. So annoying at times I could just scream. It makes me feel like an outsider and a weirdo (not all the time, but frequently), and that can be exhausting.

traveling michele
09-06-2012, 11:38 AM
This is such an interesting post and has left me pondering for days.
I'm going to continue to ponder while I reflect upon my own experiences.
What has been the hardest? Losing weight? I don't think so. Maintenance? That has certainly been a challenge.
Growing up in an abusive family and coming out a healthy person with a strong marriage and family?
Years of infertility and miscarriages?
Caring for my dying mother and father after they abused me mentally and physically for years?
Raising two children with all of their quirks and issues-- including Tourette Syndrome for my older dd, high giftedness for both dd's but particularly my younger (which has its own set of issues), depression for both of my dd's....

It's all hard. But overall I'm still an optimist and I think I have an amazing fulfilling life. I am thankful that my body is strong and healthy now. I will continue to contemplate the hard.

Beck
09-06-2012, 11:50 AM
Hands down, it's been raising kids (still in the trenches with kids ages 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 7) and marriage struggles.

The weight loss, working on maintaining, making the commitment to a lifelong lifestyle change was and is difficult, but no where near as difficult as the other.

k8yk
09-06-2012, 03:37 PM
Hands down, walking away from my destructive family. I was on a sinking ship and only had two choices: go down with it or leave the rest behind and choose life. I made the more difficult of the two choices, life. Most people don't get past life situations like mine (mother and brother were and probably still are heroin addicts).
Nothing will ever be as difficult as making that decision. It's still difficult now, more than 10 years later. And I suspect it will be difficult to live with all my life. But I'm alive and healthy and it's worth it when I consider the alternative.

Edited to add: weight loss and maintenance are cake walks in comparison. But I'd gain back all the weight if it would save my family from themselves. Don't have to worry about that however, because it wouldn't.

chrismon
09-06-2012, 04:04 PM
The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it: mentally and phisically...I am starting to recover... Slowly...

freelancemomma
09-06-2012, 05:30 PM
My two hardest are:
1. Recovering from a crushing depression after returning from Japan, where I lived for over a year and had a short-lived but life-changing romance.
2. Gaining control over my anxiety, which is focused on my kids (now teens). Definitely a work in progress.

F.

goldendoodle
09-07-2012, 03:40 PM
The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it: mentally and phisically...I am starting to recover... Slowly...

This is true for me too. I have had some hardships to overcome and had major achievements, but when I look back it's the obesity that stands out for me. Losing weight this last time was straight forward and maintenance is a struggle, but nothing compared to being obese (particularly as a child and teen).

RedPanda
09-07-2012, 10:40 PM
The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it

This is true for me too. I have had some hardships to overcome and had major achievements, but when I look back it's the obesity that stands out for me. Losing weight this last time was straight forward and maintenance is a struggle, but nothing compared to being obese (particularly as a child and teen).

Me too. I consider becoming successful in my career, despite growing up in an abusive family who continue to resent every success I've ever had, as a major achievement - but like goldendoodle, looking back, overcoming obesity stands out for me. Growing up as an obese child and teen affects us deeply and makes us different from others.

I may look normal, but I'll never be "normal".

Reading this thread, I notice a common theme of dealing with difficult family issues. Maybe that has given us resilience, or maybe dealing with our weight has made us resilient, but either way - we're survivors!

traveling michele
09-08-2012, 12:32 AM
Reading this thread, I notice a common theme of dealing with difficult family issues. Maybe that has given us resilience, or maybe dealing with our weight has made us resilient, but either way - we're survivors!

I've often noticed this commonality. I think some of us deal with difficult childhoods/ circumstances by overeating. I know that I did. I also ate to celebrate good times. The sadness, the happiness, whatever. I had to learn to not tie food to my emotions. Very difficult to do and I'm definitely still working on it.

Mudpie
09-08-2012, 05:13 PM
I've often noticed this commonality. I think some of us deal with difficult childhoods/ circumstances by overeating. I know that I did. I also ate to celebrate good times. The sadness, the happiness, whatever. I had to learn to not tie food to my emotions. Very difficult to do and I'm definitely still working on it.

Yep, I'm there too. And so is DH. We tend to unfortunately reinforce the bad habit in each other. I am now really making an effort (for DH's sake more than mine as I'm "normal" range BMI and he's obese) to stop us when we start down that road.

Dagmar :cool:

RedPanda
09-08-2012, 06:32 PM
I wonder if you will get different answers from people whose highest weight was about 30 pounds over what's considered healthy and people whose highest weight was 100 pounds or more over what's considered healthy.

And just to enlarge on this point, I'll bet you'll get different answers from people who were overweight/obese during their childhood and teen years and from people who didn't start gaining weight until their adult years.

Which is why I find Charlotte Anderson's comment (below) ill-informed and a bit hypocritical. I haven't read The Great Fitness Experiment for years, but as far as I know, Charlotte didn't grow up fat, and has never had a serious weight problem.


I subscribe to a blog called The Great Fitness Experiment (Charlotte Andersen the author is both witty and wise as well as a good writer) and she wrote a post about a woman (unnamed) who is apparently also a research scientist and "a rising star in her field" who apparently states that losing 100 pounds is the hardest thing she's ever done. Charlotte then goes on to state that while she doesn't doubt that this woman means what she says, she also thinks it's rather sad, especially that she also assigns it more importance than her degrees, her research or her ties with family and friends.

We all know that when we meet people for the first time, they are not judging our professional qualifications, or the quality of our friendships and family ties, but our appearance (weight).

To borrow a term from the Fat Acceptance movement, Charlotte's opinion that the research scientist's feelings are "rather sad" smacks of thin privilege.

Kery
09-08-2012, 06:55 PM
I suppose I'm in the "not that much weight to lose" range. Not that 20-to-25 kgs is a breeze, but it could've been twice that amount, so I won't complain too much about it.

Losing weight wasn't really hard when I look back on it. What I truly found hard was coping with the frelling ED it triggered. :headache: Now *that* took years, counseling (when I could afford it), and a lot of self-confronting to finally get to a point when I mostly don't resort to food when I'm unwell. Compared to that, eating like a normal person feels really easy now.

Other more difficult things involved getting back to college while holding a job (part-time, but job all the same, and my timetable wasn't always accomodating, which meant a lot of time lost in commuting). I was frightened just as I was thrilled, thinking that at 27, I'd be the "oldie" who'd be last of her class, due to missing the first year on top of it. It was my third change of career already, and it wasn't an easy choice to make. Besides, aiming for a national competitive exam, where failure can happen even with average grades, I had to give it all to do the best I could, and then hope it was enough.

...And since I'm doing it again, only with a full-time teaching job *and* for a harder exam level, I suppose I'm just a glutton for punishment. :dizzy:

kaplods
09-08-2012, 07:13 PM
It is quite sad that our culture demands that we (especially women, but men too) assign our physical appearance more importance than our degrees, research or ties to our family and friends.

... and if by chance we are obese and do assign more importance to anything other than weight management then we're considered even "sadder," and often are belittled, ridiculed, and sometimes even shunned by those who find us so sad.

And I do wonder what makes Charlotte Andersen ASSUME that this researcher she writes about truly values her weight loss above her degrees, her research or her ties with family or friends. Did the researcher actually SAY this, or is Charlotte just assuming (based on her own biases).

If she is assuming that the researcher values the weightloss above all else, just because she's said it was the hardest thing she's ever done - that isn't enough evidence to support the conclusion.

Even though weight loss is the hardest thing I've ever accomplished, it is NOT the most valued accomplishment - not by a long shot. In fact, to succeed, I had to actually learn to place LESS value on the weight loss. Valuing it less than I was taught I was supposed to, actually helped make it doable.

I didn't lose weight by valuing the weight loss, I lost weight by valuing the health and fitness that the better food and exercise choices brought to me.

Ironically, I didn't get a whole lot of support for that from anyone (other than my hubby and my doctor). Instead I got a whole lot of criticism when I said I was going to focus on health and activity instead of weight loss. I was told to my face (or behind my back) that I was one of those Fat Acceptance, Heath At Any Size "nutcases" who believed they could be healthy at 500 lbs just because they ate a few vegetables and swam a couple times a week.

Difficult doesn't mean more valuable, it just means more difficult. And if any of us value our weight loss above more important things, it's because we've been taught to (or to at least act like it to fit in).

I've gotten a lot more positive attention for my weight loss than I ever got for my degrees or my positive relationships with other people. I also got more financial reward for writing computer code than I did when I was actually performing a much more valuable service to the community in my work in law enforcement and substance abuse counseling.

I never have valued weight loss as highly as I felt I was "supposed to" based on the feedback I received from others, and that's probably largely why I never acheived it until my health and very life was in jeopardy - and yet I received a surprising amount of negative reaction to valuing my health and life above my weight. To the point that one doctor was actually quite disgusted with me because I wouldn't choose wls, despite increased risks of death and complication because of my specific health issues.

When I mentioned the risks, the doctor actually said "I'm not worried about the risks... we can find a doctor willing to do the surgery."

His attitude was that since fat was obviously a fate so much worse than death, what did I really have to lose?"

Our society values money and appearance more than relationships, and those of us who reject those values are often punished for it (and apparently if we do not reject those values and believe the garbage we're taught, we're punished again... or at least looked down upon with pity by the likes of Ms. Andersen).

When you're very fat, you can't win. If you don't treat weight loss as if it were the most important thing in the universe, you're criticised and looked down upon, and if you do treat it as if it's the most important thing in the universe, you're criticised and looked down upon.

The hardest part of morbid obesity is learning to look out for your own needs before giving a fig about anyone else's, but humans are social critters and that's a lot easier said than done. It took me more than 30 years to learn to put ME first and to stop apologizing for it.

Sometimes that means putting my weight loss first, and sometimes it means NOT putting my weight loss first - but either way it means doing it for myself, not because someone else thinks my priorities should be different than they are.

Tai
09-08-2012, 08:01 PM
For me losing 145 lbs was unbelievably hard. It's in a very different category though than getting my college degree or being with my dad as he died from pancreatic cancer. I can't make comparisons to these experiences.

It was most similar in difficulty to overcoming an addiction. Even that is slightly easier in the long run though since once I was done with it I never had to put anymore energy into it. Maintaining my loss is an ongoing effort but I try and strike a balance with it. It's just one part of me that I manage from day to day.

RedPanda
09-08-2012, 08:59 PM
Kaplods - as always - makes some great points, but these stood out for me:


And I do wonder what makes Charlotte Andersen ASSUME that this researcher she writes about truly values her weight loss above her degrees, her research or her ties with family or friends. Did the researcher actually SAY this, or is Charlotte just assuming (based on her own biases).

If she is assuming that the researcher values the weightloss above all else, just because she's said it was the hardest thing she's ever done - that isn't enough evidence to support the conclusion.

Even though weight loss is the hardest thing I've ever accomplished, it is NOT the most valued accomplishment - not by a long shot.

You're quite right - "hardest" is not the same as "most valued".

And as for that doctor who pressured you to have WLS - what the heck? :mad:

neurodoc
09-09-2012, 11:49 PM
Rather than trying to paraphrase, perhaps poorly, what Charlotte Andersen said, here is the link to her actual post: http://www.thegreatfitnessexperiment.com/2012/08/would-you-say-losing-weight-is-the-hardest-most-important-thing-youve-ever-done-the-weight-we-give-to-weight-loss.html
As you will see, the statements about weight loss being not only the hardest, but also the most significant thing the scientist had ever done are apparently taken directly from her biography.

I agree with many of the above posters that there are different kinds of "hard," and that an experiential "hard" like surviving a dysfunctional family (with no end in sight) or maintaining a low body weight for years is different from a temporary/goal-oriented "hard" like getting a Master's degree or losing 100 pounds. And of course, losing 200 pounds is probably harder than losing 50.

alaskanlaughter
09-10-2012, 12:45 AM
i'd have to say that losing weight has been one of the most mentally draining/exhausting things that i've ever had to do...where it's ALWAYS there in my mind, forefront or a little behind that

i've been blessed so far not to have lost a parent, child or spouse or have any including myself go through horrible illnesses...i've been blessed in many many ways beyond that

some of the most emotionally hard things that i've had to do in my life include leaving everything behind to move to a city where i'd never lived, much less visited, without a place to stay or a job to go to....another experience was being on the phone with my sister trying to keep her awake and coherent as the ambulance arrived to take her to the ER, she had a blood alcohol level of 0.44 at the time, the police said that if i hadnt kept her talking on the phone that she could have passed out and died...another experience was walking away from someone who meant an incredible amount to me, for reasons far too complicated to talk about here

RedPanda
09-10-2012, 06:13 AM
Thanks for giving us the context of Charlotte's remark, Andrea. :)

While losing 90 pounds certainly isn't the hardest or most valued thing I've ever done, it's arguably had the most far-reaching effect on my life. I'm a very different person now to what I was at 220 pounds, and people perceive me very differently.

I noted that the scientist was obese as a teenager, and as I mentioned upthread, that experience profoundly shapes our personalities and self-image. I may be projecting my own feelings on to the scientist here, but I'll bet that her weight loss has enhanced her professional image, so that it may be difficult to "unlink" her professional and weight loss achievements.

CharlotteGFE
09-10-2012, 02:25 PM
Hey everyone! Thank you so much for all the discussion about my post! It really means a lot to me when people take the time to read my stuff and it's even more awesome when it generates really good discussion, like this one. I have to say that I have learned A LOT both from the comments here and on my blog. Occasionally there are posts where my readers really school me and this is one of them. The comments on my blog are gold and really helped me shift my perspective about why the weight loss was so meaningful to this particular woman (For the record, I didn't cite her name or book because I got the un-corrected proofs pre-publication and they ask that you don't quote from it until it's published. I will give it a shout on my blog for real when it comes out later this fall.)

Anyhow, I did want to offer my sincerest apologies. It's never my intent to hurt people's feelings or to trivialize another's struggles. I'm grateful to everyone who took the time here to enlighten me (and everyone else) so hopefully I won't make this kind of foot-in-mouth mistake again.

ubergirl
11-22-2012, 09:18 AM
I really enjoyed reading through this thread. Food for thought, and I'm commenting from the perspective of someone who lost 110 lbs but did not succeed at maintaining it.

I really don't know exactly how to characterize the hardest thing I've ever done, as I've done a lot of things in my life that were challenging, and like most people, I've also confronted some difficult times.

I did not find losing more than 100 lbs hard. In fact, it was surprisingly easy, and extremely thrilling and gratifying.

What I found hard, and I still find hard was all the time before and after I lost the weight, when I felt powerless to change my compulsive eating habit.
Knowing that I'm getting fatter and fatter and still doing the same self-destructive behaviors over and over-- that's hard, it's painful in the extreme. In fact, when I think of hard things, I think of things that I'm want to accomplish, but am unable to accomplish through my own combination of weaknesses. And I have to say that since I've wanted to be slim most of my life and have only spent a few years out of my total fifty-odd at a healthy, normal weight, I'd have to say my failure to accomplish that has been the hardest thing you ever faced.

Once you do find the wherewithal to succeed it feels so easy it's almost effortless.

I can say in my own life that I lost 110 pounds and became a bestselling author the next year. The latter is the proudest accomplishment of my life, the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. But the weight loss, by far, had a MUCH more significant effect on more aspects of my life. It had a greater effect on how people treated me. And during the time I was maintaining it, I was proudest of it.

And it garnered, in general, more admiration.

Go figure.

Briar Rose
11-22-2012, 11:07 AM
The hardest I've ever done is have the courage to kick my abusive hubby out, for over 10 years he'd beaten me regularly, threatened me with carving knifes, dragged me out of bed and down stairs by my hair at 2am to cook him a fresh meal, all when he was drunk, when he was sober he was manipulative and controlling making me believe that I was a useless piece of **** and I was lucky to have him, he made me believe that everyone in the road was talking about me and what an awful mother and wife I was, that they didn't know how he put up with me and how sorry they were for him, it got to the stage where I was afraid to leave the house because of all the whispering that went on as I walk down the road. I just didn't know how I was going to cope without hubby, he'd threatened that if I ever tried to divorce him that I'd never see the kids again, which I believed until I spoke to a solicitor and with the help and encouragement of my friends who thanks to hubby I'd believed weren't friends I got through it and came out the other side, funny enough the depression came after he left :dunno: there are still things that effect me, I can't go in a pub and if I see someone who had to much to drink I turn into a quivering wreck and sometimes I still think that I'm not worth anything, but all in all along with it being the hardest thing I've ever done it's also the best thing I've ever done. :)

Losing weight has been a doddle in comparison!

JayEll
11-22-2012, 11:11 AM
Good for you, Briar Rose!

Jay

Mudpie
11-23-2012, 06:39 AM
The hardest I've ever done is have the courage to kick my abusive hubby out, for over 10 years he'd beaten me regularly, threatened me with carving knifes, dragged me out of bed and down stairs by my hair at 2am to cook him a fresh meal, all when he was drunk, when he was sober he was manipulative and controlling making me believe that I was a useless piece of **** and I was lucky to have him, he made me believe that everyone in the road was talking about me and what an awful mother and wife I was, that they didn't know how he put up with me and how sorry they were for him, it got to the stage where I was afraid to leave the house because of all the whispering that went on as I walk down the road. I just didn't know how I was going to cope without hubby, he'd threatened that if I ever tried to divorce him that I'd never see the kids again, which I believed until I spoke to a solicitor and with the help and encouragement of my friends who thanks to hubby I'd believed weren't friends I got through it and came out the other side, funny enough the depression came after he left :dunno: there are still things that effect me, I can't go in a pub and if I see someone who had to much to drink I turn into a quivering wreck and sometimes I still think that I'm not worth anything, but all in all along with it being the hardest thing I've ever done it's also the best thing I've ever done. :)

Losing weight has been a doddle in comparison!

I 's great that you were finally able to get rid of this man. Being terrorized by those you think should love you is very hard to overcome and you seem to be well on your way to doing that. Good for you! :cp:

Dagmar

Briar Rose
11-23-2012, 11:10 AM
Aww, thank you :)

saef
11-23-2012, 11:39 AM
I can say in my own life that I lost 110 pounds and became a bestselling author the next year. The latter is the proudest accomplishment of my life, the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. But the weight loss, by far, had a MUCH more significant effect on more aspects of my life. It had a greater effect on how people treated me. And during the time I was maintaining it, I was proudest of it.

And it garnered, in general, more admiration.

Go figure.

Uber, congratulations on your book!

Now that must have been all-consuming, and it's very hard to go from one project to another.

Seriously, I'm very glad to hear from you again.

Listen, you can do this. I saw you. You've got it, you know how. And you know it, too.

Are you ready to take action yet? Have you figured out a plan for coping with the compulsive eating issue? Is there a medical professional involved?

pageta
11-23-2012, 01:53 PM
I find this thread fascinating. I can see both sides. Some people haven't lost much, so maybe it isn't the biggest thing they have ever done. At the same time, I've seen plenty of slim people who are high-strung about what they eat and even if they never have been heavy, staying slim has been a lifelong major pursuit.

For me, I would say weight loss is one thing, but the surrounding issues make it a completely different beast. It's one thing to stick with a plan long enough to lose the weight. It's another completely to keep it off. I am no expert. While I haven't gained back even half of what I lost, keeping it off certainly is not a mindless task.

I would say the weight issue in my life is like an inoperable cancer. It is so intertwined with so many areas of my life that there is no way it could be set into a tidy little box. And like some have said, it is an ongoing issue rather than something that happens and then is over.

I would put certain family issues - unresolvable differences that have to be dealt with again and again (same issue, different scenario) - as equally difficult with weight loss. I have mastered neither. The fact that I am still here and still trying is the only halo-worthy thing I might have done.

Some people say marriage is hard. I wouldn't say that. I have three children, and while they are a lot of work, I wouldn't say parenting is hard. I also have a four-year college degree, which some might say was hard. Yes, it was a lot of work, but going to class every day and turning in assignments was just something I did. It didn't require the motivation and soul-searching that weight management requires. So I would put weight issues in a completely different category than marriage or parenting or earning a college degree. Those are all things that I just do.

I would like for weight management to be something that I just do, but I am by no means there yet. I'd like to be, but then again I wonder if it is even possible. There are a lot of good habits that I have learned, things that I just do. But I have so many more bad habits that linger on.

This is one post I'd like to print and put in an envelope that I don't open for five years. It would be interesting to see what time and water under the bridge do, if anything.

pluckypear
11-29-2012, 01:12 PM
The hardest thing I have ever done is to become conscious and to take action. I began therapy two years ago. I am a food addict and am learning to be healthy. I realize my parents did not parent well. I have cut most of my family and friends off because they were co- dependent relationships which are harmful. I phoned CAS on a sibling due to neglect, leaving my 5 year old niece alone with a 9 year old bully (brother) and a feeble old woman. I am preparing to write a goodbye letter to my mom. For being a narcissist and staying with my alcoholic father which forced me and my siblings to stay.

So seeing reality and taking action is the hardest thing for me. It is hard to stay awake when everything around me is trying to lull me to sleep.

JohnKY
12-01-2012, 01:48 AM
Wonderful thread. Great to be reminded that everyone faces huge trials and challenges. Of course maintainers prevail! We've got to be the most steadfast, determined bunch in the culture. We've swam upstream through the cascades of ghrelin. Daily fighting off the most primal biological drives. Baptized by fat and fire. Our obesity a temporary condition, a chrysalis, from which we have emerged, changed. /rant



Changing my dietary habits and lifestyle all at once wasn't easy. Neither was maintaining through all the crazy stuff that's happened over the last 12 years. But I think the toughest thing I've had to do is cope with a chronic illness. It's amazing what you get used to, but sometimes I've had so many complaints at once, it's been near overwhelming. A couple times I thought I'd certainly die. Medical professionals have offered a lot of conflicting advice and been of truly limited usefulness to me. So it's been a great journey of trial and error and having to work through most of my problems myself. I'm fine with this now. For a while I railed at the injustice of it, but now I recognize it as a waste of my resources. I will continue to see doctors for diagnostic procedures, but I know my health is in my own hands. That's feels like a large responsibility, but I know everyone, regardless of whether they realize it or not is in a similar boat.

memememe76
12-05-2012, 02:44 AM
Having gone through law school, there is no question in my mind that losing weight and maintaining my weight loss were/are much more difficult for me than getting my stoopid law degree.

It's not like I didn't work hard to get where I did academically and career wise. But I never felt I had to go beyond my personality to achieve those goals. I'm naturally intellectually curious. I am inclined to read and engage in political/philosophical discussion. My academic pursuits were generally supported by my friends and family (expected, really).

And I am positively reinforced by my academic choices and actions by virtue of a well-respected career that is paid relatively well. And that is reinforced on a continual basis (even if I sometimes have bouts of pure hatred for what I do for a living).

Eating heathily, exercise, controlling my portions--that exerts tremendous effort on my part because those actions are opposite of what I would naturally prefer to do, ie. eat poorly, lie around, and eat as much as I can handle. I don't exist in an environment where making healthy choices is easy.

There's also the fact that I could one day win the lottery and never read a book again and only watch episodes of Jersey Shore. I would still have my law degree. But I still have to maintain a certain lifestyle to ensure I maintain my weight loss. It is never ending.

And as posters have already mentioned, just because one thing is more difficult doesn't necessarily mean it is more important. Properly installing my IKEA furniture was more difficult for me than getting my law degree as well. It don't mean that IKEA furniture is all that significant. But DAMN, it's hard!

If someone said that fighting an alcohol or drug addiction was more difficult than getting some degree, who would disagree? Is food addiction not seen in the same light? Also, if the person had suffered from anorexia or bulimia, would the response have been the same?