Starting over, again. What's wrong with me?

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  • For years I've been saying "I'm gonna get serious about losing weight. This time is for real." I start out all strong and stuff but then always fall back into old habits. I make myself SO angry! I want to lose weight, I really do, I just can't seem to stick with anything. Sometimes I think I need someone to just slap me in the face and be like 'stop eating junk, exercise!' I just don't understand what's wrong with me!

    But this time, this time I'm not giving up. I'm at the highest weight I've ever been in and I'm still young enough to loose my weight and completely change my life around. I just think I'm gonna need all the help I can get!
  • I live in Louisville, too! Several years ago I lost the same amount of weight I lost now, and I thought I was serious then, but old habits die have to reign it in. This isn't supposed to be easy! Take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, one pound at a time! You'll get there. I think for some of us we have to angry and down right disgusted with ourselves before this thing works out for us. Keep trying, you'll get there!
  • Hey, nothing's wrong with you because if there is, then something's wrong with me and millions of other people in the world who struggle with this battle. It's easy to blame ourselves because really, we do put the food in our mouths. However, it just isn't that simple. To be honest with you, I honestly feel like there's something wrong with people who aren't obsessed with food (as I am)! From what I"ve read, we are wired to crave sugar and starch and those foods cause sharp insulin surges and drops in our blood stream, to me, if we can lose weight or actually be of a "normal" BMI, then it's some sort of a miracle. That doesn't mean we should give up but what it means is that we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. Dust yourself off and pick yourself up and treat yourself with some kindness.
  • There is nothing WRONG with you!

    Just take some baby steps every day to be healthier. Over time the small steps will add up to big rewards!
  • I think just about everyone here has been in your shoes. So it's a road well-traveled.

    Myself, I really like the Japanese proverb -- fall down seven times, get up eight. You can do this!
  • There was a lot wrong with me when I was a high weight and there is a lot still wrong with when I am at a low weight. And I mean, A LOT. But I realized awhile ago that that there is a lot wrong with most people. Don't think you're the only messed up person in the world. You're not that special.

    And don't be so vague. Specify and pinpoint the reasons you "give up." Either you change those issues within you (easier said than done) or change the environment that will minimize those problems and maximize your qualities (which you very much do have). If you actually need someone to slap you, hire someone to do it. Or get online friends who will do it.
  • Keep at it love. I wish I had achieved this at your age. I so would have lived my life differently if I had. I wish you every success on what is a journey of discovery.
  • "then always fall back into old habits" --> That was a big problem for me too at first, and I realized that I couldn't be on a diet for all my life; instead, I had to create *new* (and pleasant) habits that would be strong enough to top the old (unhealthy) ones. It's not so easy, but it can be done.
  • BWild, like lots of people, this is a pattern with me, too. I've been thinking about it, and here's what I realized:

    When I reach that "I'm so disgusted with myself, I'm starting a diet" phase, it's usually after a good stretch of overeating, weight gain and bad (BAD) food. Nothing fits. I'm out of shape. And roller-coaster eating has made me depressed. It's easy to make an emotional declaration of Diet Commitment.

    But it's funny how much better a person can feel after just a few "clean" days or weeks. My emotional resolve fades after I start to feel better and have a little breathing room in my clothes - and when my sugar hangover is gone. Suddenly the situation doesn't seem so dire, and the newness of dieting has worn off.

    This time, I see that going in. I'm making a non-emotional decision to stop this ridiculous food game. The high drama of past attempts only seems to make it worse in the long run.

    I know we can both do it this time. And we absolutely will. The key is to have a plan and just forge on through, no matter how we feel about it on any particular day.
  • I have been doing this since I was a kid and the older I get the more optimistic I get, but I also get fatter. It seems backwards right? Well I see it as a new lifestyle. Each time I go at I pick up new healthy habits. I drink adequate water, I read labels, I buy organic, I learned to cook and rely less and less on processed foods. I gave up smoking even! I am learning to listen to my body. Each time I try I learn more about myself. I hope this is the try that sticks but even if it isn't I know I will eventually get it right. You only fail when you stop trying.

    You also find things about being healthy that make you happy. Like how awesome unsweetened ice tea really tastes, or how to make 100 calorie pumpkin spice lattes. You find healthy foods that taste great and you learn how good endorphins can feel.

    Keep your chin up!
  • In a nutshell, I think we're l taught to do/try weight loss in ways that just don't work, and we blame ourselves for the failures (because we're taught that too). Even when we succeed, unless we're doing it at a speed that far exceeds normal, we've been taught to see the success at failure, because it's not as fast or dramatic or successful as the people we see on tv and in magazines.

    For me it hit home, about six or seven years ago when I was barely losing even one pound a month (long story as to why I couldn't lose faster, but essentially I was virtually an invalid), and I complained bitterly to my doctor that "I should be able to lose at least 2 lbs a week like a normal person," and my doctor reminded me that I was doing far better than "normal." Normal was losing nothing. Normal was losing weight for a few months, getting discouraged, and gaining all the weight back plus some extra.

    He said that I was doing extraordinarily, that my one pound a month was amazing, because most people (even people of any size) just don't maintain a loss of one pound a month. The decide they're failing and they give up, even when they're doing better than average, average isn't considered good enough.

    We're taught to see weight loss in black and white... We're either succeeding tremendously, or we're failing miserably, and we've defined successful weight loss in such a way that 90 to 95% "fail" and even among wls patients more than half gain all their weight back. We set ourselves up for failure when we do "everything right" (when everything right means the way we're taught to do weight loss).

    To lose weight successfully, you have to learn to break all the rules we don't even know we learned (we just do what we've always seen people around us do... we have very few role models for successful weight loss).

    The books "The End of Overeating," and "Refuse to Regain," helped me tremendously. They made me realize the only thing wrong with me, was believing all the erroneous myths about weight loss. I didn't have to fix myself, I had to fix my food environment and the way I defined success.

    The End of Overeating goes into all the physiological reasons weight loss and giving up overeating is difficult (I'm not lazy, crazy, or stupid... I'm just human).

    Refuse to Regain is a book about maintaining weight loss, but it applies equally to weight loss. Even though I still have a lot to lose, I learned a lot from this book, and it made me see maintenance as something I needed to do from the very first pound (if not before, because even maintaining my highest weight would have been more successful than gaining, which I thing I would have been unable to avoid if I hadn't changed my lifestyle).

    I also had to learn to see the many shades of gray. When I made mistakes, I had to judge them based on my pre-dieting behavior, not on my idealized behavior. If I slipped up on my food plan, instead of deciding that I was worthless and doomed to failure, I had to recognize that my slip-ups were becoming less frequent and smaller. I need to make progress, I don't have to be perfect (which is very very lucky for me, because I can't do perfection).

    My doctor helped me realize that my lifelong weight loss struggles have been like running a big city marathon. I assumed I was failing (and dropped out of the race) because I saw the thousands of people ahead of me and assumed I was in last place, only because I couldn't see the tens of thousands of people running behind me. At some of my most successful moments, I FELT like the biggest failure... and it wasn't because I was a pessimistic idiot... I believed what I was being told, by friends, family, doctors, wellness authors, women's magazines, the media and our culture in general. I believed the common wisdom, and the common wisdom was (and still is) wrong about a lot of things.

    I had to learn that for me, low-carb is the only way to go. On a high carb diet, the more I eat, the hungrier I get. On a too-low carb diet I feel like death warmed over, so I had to find a happy medium. A diet low enough in carbs to control my hunger, but high enough in carbs to keep me from passing out at the lightest of physical exertion.

    I had to stop blaming myself and start HELPING myself, and it's almost impossible to help someone we don't like or don't respect even if the person is ourselves. To help someone, you have to feel at least some compassion or sympathy for the person (or even pity in a pinch, though that doesn't work very well either because you can't pity someone AND respect them).

    And so I started treating myself like my own best friend, NOT my worst enemy and I forced the compassionate me to confront my inner bully. Every time I tried to say bad things about myself, I chose to defend myself to myself. I reminded myself that I was a decent human being and needing help didn't make me weak, it made me strong (I joined TOPS a non-profit weight loss group that is quite inexpensive to get that help)... and I didn't have to try to punish myself thin (which didn't work anyway).

    Instead, I decided to use weight loss as a way to pamper myself thin. To make the yummiest choices in healthy food (seeing the good, healthy food as a way to reward myself, not punish myself by focusing on the food I couldn't or shouldn't be eating). When I slipped, I reminded myself that I deserved better (not that I deserved more stringent punishment).

    I looked for ways to make eating better and exercising more enjoyable. Focusing on what I wanted in my life, and ways to make doing better a whole heck of a lot of fun.

    I looked at exercise as grownup playtime, so picked movement that I thought would be fun (the only activity that's 100% fun for me is swimming, so in other activities I had to manufacture or force the "fun" factor... using a step-counting pedometer on my shoes so I wouldn't forget, and trying to beat yesterday's step count even by a couple steps, walking with an MP3 player full of very upbeat music....)

    If you focus on all the ways you've messed up, you'll always give up, because we're programmed to give up in the face of repeated failure.

    We're built to believe that if at first you don't succeed, try try again (and if you still fail, give up and find something you're better at).

    We build so much failure into the system of weight loss that almost no one can feel successful.

    So build in the success. For me that meant changing my focus from weight loss to weight maintenance. From the very beginning "this time" I put maintenance first.

    In fact, I had failed at weight loss for so many years, that I didn't think I could accomplish it. However, I had lost 20 lbs "accidentally" as a result of sleep apnea treatment (my doctors said it would probably happen, but I didn't believe them because I'd never lost weight accidentally in my life).

    When I lost those 20 lbs, I didn't know what to do. I didn't think I could lose weight without ultimately gaining more than I started with, but I decided that I could try to keep the 20 lbs off, and focus on "not gaining,?" and would try to lose just one more (For two years I succeeded at the not gaining, but failed at the losing even one more).

    Every time I got on the scale (and at first it was many times a day) I forced myself to celebrate the "not gaining." And if I did gain, I forced myself to celebrate the weight loss I had maintained.

    For example, over the past 10 days or so I gained 10 lbs with TOM (which isn't unusual and most of it is off already), but even at my highest this week I was able to celebrate at least 95 lbs of maintenance, even though I had gained 10 lbs).

    Of course that probably seems easy to say now. It wasn't quite as easy to celebrate the loss of only the 20 lbs I initially lost. When I lost 21 lbs, I really whooped it up. And I did go up and down sometimes, but only a little because I never gave up because I thought "what's the use," because I really and truly had learned that every pound counts, every bite counts, and there is no starting over - only moving on (so the "blown it, will start fresh tomorrow stopped making sense).

    If mountain climbing was like weight loss, no one would survive it, because every time someone stumbled they'd throw themselves off a cliff so they could "start fresh" tomorrow or Monday.

    We are throwing ourselves off cliffs, and we're sustaining bodily injury (and emotional injury as well) by all the falls we've survived. Every fall (and let's face it most of them aren't falls, they're head-first leaps), but they all whisper to us "Give up, you're no good at this. Call it quits and try something you're better at).

    Weight loss is difficult, and getting it right takes a lot of work, patience, and most of all "unlearning" all the nonsense we've been taught to engage in by watching how most people (at least the folks we're allowed to see) do it.

    We're taught that losing less than 1 lb a week is failure (even though more than 90% of people trying to do it, don't even manage the 1 lb a week. So if almost no one is losing less than 1 lb a week, shouldn't 1 lb a week be considered crazy, rapid weight loss not slow or reasonable weight loss?)

    Why does being in the top 75% feel like failure if we're not in the top 10%? (I think it's that marathon thing. We see the folks doing better than us, and we're conditioned to ignore the people doing worse. We don't even see them when they ARE right in front of our faces).

    Hang in there. That's the only secret. Realize that just haging on, even by the skin of your teeth IS success. In fact, it's mad success. Just not giving up (even with no weight loss attached, yet) and working at sticking to a food plan (even if you're not very good at it, even if you're lousy at it) just "hangin in there" puts you in the lead, not trailing in the dust.

    Just coming here is the beginning of successfully acquiring healthy habits.

    Focus on the successes and you'll feel the excitement and motivation to building on them. Focus on the failures and you'll feel like giving up.
  • Mememe - "You're not that special"

    I had to rush to the loo I was giggling so much!

    Bwild - I'm at that point in my " new lifestyle" that I normally give up - but I have found 3 things that keep reminding me why I can do it.
    1. An eating plan that doesn't deprive me and doesn't consist of "diet food"
    2. An exercise regime that I love (walking)
    3. This forum.
    All 3 keep me motivated, focused and living my life.

    So, forgive yourself, be honest with yourself and move forward - one day at a time!
  • Most of us have "been there, done that" when it comes to failing at weight loss and having to start all over again. But that is exactly what you do... never give up! But to make it successful, you need to learn to think of it as something positive; not a dreaded "diet."

    There are lots of ways to help make it fun and positive... great challenges and check in threads, etc. here in the forum can help a lot. Sharing often with others experiencing the same thing helps a lot. There is so much support here in this forum so hope you decide to stick around and become involved.
  • I'm right there with you. Last year I lost nearly 50lbs, only to turn around and gain nearly all of it back due to emotional eating. I have been determined several times since then to turn things back around but I have not been successful. This last week I almost reach my highest weight and I decided enough is enough. I'm hoping I actually make it to goal this time!
  • I second kaplods' recommendation for the book The End of Overeating by David Kessler. It's not all something wrong with you -- a lot of it is something wrong with the food environment that we find ourselves in.

    I just finished an interesting book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg -- not all about food but, as you surmised, bwild, its the habits that are more the problem than the food itself.

    I also find the books by Judith Beck helpful. She uses Cognitive Behavioral Techniques to help you change the bad habits and build a better food environment for yourself. If you try her books, be sure to visit the Beck forum here at 3FC for help along that path.