Monday, June 24, 2013

What do I know about weight loss and regain?

December 2001Me in 1978reading on the couchMe with glassesEighth Grade Graduation, 1984perm
collegewithbighairSummer 19901991 formalRace for the Cure, 1993Wedding, 1994glamourshot
In Italy, 1999First Triathlon, 2002 (corrected)Half Marathon in 2003Another goal picture2003 Chicago TriathlonHigh School Reunion 2003
Me with BrieJenniandJesse1August 2005December 2005KeyWest 028Me with Jesse
Me, a history in photos, a set on Flickr.
In preparation for my FitBloggin' discussion with Margo on "Getting Back from Gaining Back: Dealing with the Shame of Regain," I am sharing a series of photos and a little of my personal story to give a sense of my history with weight loss and gain.

I was a normal-weight kid but was always very weight-conscious, as everyone in my family was. People on both sides of my family tend to be heavy. In high school, when I tried to diet, I would come home every day and eat whatever snack foods I could find (my mom would hide snacks intended for our lunches so that we wouldn't eat it all, but this just turned it into a treasure hunt). I gained a lot of weight in those last two years at home.

When I got to college, I started to really weight-cycle. I lost about 15 pounds in my first few months of college, and spent a lot of time and energy trying to get even thinner, then overreact and eat a lot of junk. Dealing with adult relationships for the first time didn't help -- if there was a problem with my relationship, I was convinced it was because I was too fat. I started running my junior year of college, but like everything else, I pushed myself too hard.

After college, I had trouble adjusting to graduate school and living with my boyfriend (now my husband) for the first time. I gained some weight during graduate school and then a lot in my first few years of marriage. I don't have pictures of myself at my highest weight, because I tore them all up. Because of injuries and illness, I stopped running completely, but didn't replace it with any other form of exercise. I felt really hopeless, and working in a real estate agency where we all ate fast food and lived on stress didn't help. I had some ups and downs but mostly stayed up.

I decided to quit real estate and let my license lapse. I finished my graduate degree and started on a better career path. But I was going out and partying with friends and drinking a lot of alcohol, so my weight stayed high (see the Santa hat picture).

Right before my 30th birthday, I decided to train for my first Danskin triathlon. I had no idea whether I could do it, but I trained for six months and finished just fine (photo with the yellow and black top and red medal). I continued to do races, including my first half marathon (purple top). I did Weight Watchers and quickly got to my goal weight (bicycle photo). I did the Chicago triathlon (shivering photo in swim cap) right before my 15-year high school reunion (photo with black dress and husband). I thought I had it all figured out.

I didn't have it all figured out. I couldn't stay at my goal weight for long. I tried everything (strength training photo) but I would lose some weight and then regain (husband's graduation photo). I would join Weight Watchers again, lose some weight, and then give up and regain. I found the program very hard for me to stick to.

I have been weight cycling like this since about 2006. This is when I started my blog. I have been continuing to train for races and triathlons, and trying a lot of different things with my diet to try to find a sustainable plan. Along the way, I've met great people at BlogHer and online, traveled to meet with blogging friends, and gotten a PhD.

I think that for me, the real key is self-compassion. Punishing myself into weight loss through any kind of an extreme regimen is not sustainable. I thought, when putting this together, that it would be hard to look at the higher-weight photos or I would feel terrible regret looking at the thinner photos. Nope, they are all me. I do feel some sadness for all I put this body and mind through over the years trying to lose weight so I can be happy.

I have come to the conclusion that the happiness has to come first. I'm committed to living a full life and, though I am still working toward weight loss, I am not making it my only goal. I have a lot to offer the world and I am tired of letting my weight be the reason I am holding back.

I can't wait for the discussion at FitBloggin'. I look forward to hearing everyone's story and talking about how we can each find a sustainable way to reach our own healthy weights.


  1. bon voyage Jen! fab post :) best of luck for your session!

  2. Predictably, when my web log yesterday known as out Weight Watchers for having a failure rate hovering right around 100%, folks hurried responsible nearly 100% of dieters for “just doing it wrong.” the parable goes {that nearly|that nearly|that just about} everybody fails at weight loss as a result of almost everybody equal their diet and goes back to their recent habits/doesn’t have the resolution to stay dieting/doesn’t have it off “right”.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07