What Shape is Your Journey?

I lost the same 25 pounds about 10 times over 10 years.  I would diet for a time, experienced some success and then assume I had it all under control.  Instead of continuing to follow whatever program I was trying at the time, I would quit and think to myself.  “I can just do this on my own.”  Unfortunately at that time, I couldn’t do it on my own, and would inevitably end up quickly finding the pounds I had lost.  Often, I would end up gaining even more than I had lost in the first place.   You would think that after a few times of this happening, I would have clued into the fact that I didn’t have it under control, but I didn’t.

Each time this happened, I would go through the same psychological cycle. 

1)  I would get mad at myself and think things like:  Why couldn’t I control my weight like other people seemed to be able to do?  I’m just destined to be fat.

2) Then I would get depressed.  I would dwell on the fact that I had to shop in big girl stores, wear unflattering clothes, and feel tired all the time. 

3) And finally, I sometimes experienced fear.  I became afraid to try again because I didn’t want to fail again. 

This happened to me over and over throughout the years. I wish I could tell you exactly how many times I cycled around the same 25 pounds. At least 10 times if not more. It was a never ending cycle of weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, and weight gain. (You notice that it never ended with a loss, but rather a gain!)

Every time my weight yo-yoed around I felt like more and more of a failure. But fortunately, the one thing I didn’t do was completely give up.  No matter how frustrated or fearful I was, I would eventually try again.  Then the cycle would start again.  I realize now, looking back, that I was caught up in weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting, and didn’t even realize it.  Fortunately, studies have shown that although weight cycling isn’t ideal, it doesn’t mean you should just give up trying. 

Weight loss is often not a straight line, but rather is like a meandering creek that takes us into unexpected places. My journey was in the shape of a circle for a long time. I went around and around and got nowhere.

journey

What shape would you use to describe your journey into health and fitness? Was it a circle that broke a bit? How about a line on a graph showing great progress but then many peaks and valleys? Or perhaps you are one of the fortunate ones whose journey has been straight forward and sharp.

Whatever shape you use to describe your journey please know this. A circle can be broken. A line can straighten out, and mountains can be moved. What shape are you?  Diane

By the way, tomorrow I have a small giveaway!

28 thoughts on “What Shape is Your Journey?

  1. vickie says:

    If you look at this journey, for me, it has actually been a pretty straight line – no UP blips. But there have been long ‘holding’ patterns while I maintained. Two surgeries, two years of maintaining, there have been times when I just plain HELD what I had lost and rode it out for a while. But I have (knock on wood) not had to do REDOS (this time). I learned to NOT self sabotage this time. And when I got out of my own way – I made real progress – mentally and physically.

    When I THINK about this journey – I envision it as a mountain. I visualize the learning curve of it to be climbing a summit and then going down the other side. I visualize that all the learning/changing/retraining was getting UP the other side of the mountain. And when I was finally able to APPLY – that got me over the top. But I am totally aware that mountain trails are full of switch backs. And it is easily possible to be on a switch back and not know it – and to end up back in those high heights without quite realizing it. I am very careful.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..don’t even get me started on what people feed their kids. . . =-.

  2. Mia says:

    Diane,

    How often has someone said “You were speaking just to me today”? That was what I felt as I read this. It is early and I just weighed in for the week. Shockingly, my weight is up 2#! I think this is just water; my muscle are so sore and swollen as I started weight lifting again. (Ouch! everywhere!) In the past I would have just quit. This isn’t working! Yo-yoing much like you did with those 25 pounds. But today, I am not discouraged as much as motivated to make a few changes this week. My weight loss was dramatic years ago but recently I decided to loose 10 more pounds for my health. (I’ve been developing arthritis these past few years that continues to worsen.) This means a lot to me and I intend to get them off. (Were your “last 10 pounds” the hardest of all?? That is what I’m finding for myself. It take extra care to loose at this point.) Anyways, your comment about the shape of the journey was poignant. I don’t intend to see any further upbeat next week nor am I giving up to only gain back what I lost plus more.

    Mia
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  3. Marcelle says:

    I went round and round and round and round…up a few kilo’s – lose a few kilo’s from the age of 16…that’s when it started and it continued till this year…
    I’m still in the early stages of maintaining so very scared I continue the circle of up and down, but this time having reached my goal my mind set is very different to the past and because of this I feel I shall succeed this time round.
    Brilliant entry once again.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..I Found My Answer =-.

  4. Monica says:

    My weight was a maze – back and forth, back and forth. I think it’s good that you pointed out that no matter what shape our journey takes, it can still end up in the right place for us.

  5. Sara N. says:

    I love this post and just like Mia I really needed to hear this today. Over and over I’ve wondered why I do go in circles and I’d get completely disgusted with myself. But I have made progreess and it’s fine that my journey hasn’t been straight. All that matters is where I ed up.

  6. christieo says:

    I love the title of your post. I immediately started picturing the cirle, then there was a big peak and a big plunge. that same 25 pounds (yes, i found those too!) over and over again are what started the giant climb before my pregnancy. by the end, i was wayyy higher than i had ever seen before, and honestly, i was so scared. it took a year and a half for that peak to become a valley. i hope to keep it a straight line but i am scared of that too. there’s a lot of fear on this journey! that’s why i’m glad to have all of you!
    .-= christieo´s last blog ..Weigh-In Wednesday: The "TAKE THIS CANDY AWAY FROM ME!" version =-.

  7. roxie says:

    My journey has been one of high peaks and low valleys. My weight swings were in groups of 50 pounds. Losing a great amount and then gaining it right back, plus some. Same old story. That went on for a number of years. I’m in maintenance mode right now and there is still some swings, but they are much less. Rather than the W with peaks and valleys, my journey looks now like a mostly-flat squiggly line. I’ll take it!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Diane. You are very inspirational.

  8. Diane says:

    Mine is a wave shape with spirals at the crests ! I lost 110 to get pregnant, gained in pregnancy, lost some, gained it back and lost, got distracted, forgot about it, got back on track, lost, hit a big stall, switched approaches, stalled, lost, changed approach …. I have never beat myself up over it though. It’s not that I have my head more together than others , but instead it is the fact that I have a large port wine birth mark over my right eye that marks me as askew from picture perfect no matter what weight I am at.Because of this I have never been able to see myself as fitting in with any model of anything physically, and therefore I must respect my own uniqueness and find my own path. It may not fit anothers timetable and approval, but I sure enjoy it ! Strangely, the journey can be just as much fun as the conclusion.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..The taste of success =-.

  9. Amy H. says:

    I’d have to say my weight loss cycles are like a three humped camel (if such a thing existed). Started out fine in life, then the first hump. Lost it after I divorced, mainly from depression. Met my new husband and up hump two I went. Lost it on Weight Watchers. Up hump three and down again on WW where I promptly met my goal then started up the camel’s neck. I’m on his nose right now about to fall off into the oblivion of forever weight loss.
    .-= Amy H.´s last blog ..Tampax Series – Number 7 =-.

  10. Jody - Fit at almost 52 says:

    Great post Diane! I loved your analogy!!! Me, mine was a journey… a long & winding journey that kept me learning new things about myself, my body & how to work with my body. The journey never ends. We can keep on learning & honestly, the way our body changes over time & with age, we have to keep learning & stay on the journey train!
    .-= Jody – Fit at almost 52´s last blog ..Challenge Yourself! =-.

  11. Lori says:

    About 4 years ago, I lost about 50 lbs, and hadn’t ever lost that much weight before. Then, I guess I’d had enough, and couldn’t take it any more. I gained about 40 of it back. Since June, I’ve lost 30 lbs, but in the last 2 weeks, I have struggled immensely, and am “teetering” on going either direction. I have a cycle as well, but I’m trying to break that cycle. My first instinct is to restrict after eating too much, and the concept of balance is so hard for me, b/c I start to freak out about it. I’ve been going to a christian counselor for 2 years now, and that has helped, but not entirely. I think the biggest help is keeping up with the exercise, and having a goal of running.

  12. Sunny says:

    I wouldn’t even consider mine a journey, it was so disjointed. I went a full 10 years or more between my only really good attempt in my mid forties, and now. The one or two vague attempts in the past 2 years were totally fruitless, even though I had my younger daughter’s wedding as motivation. I simply didn’t care enough at the time. I can’t even explain why. It wasn’t until I had enough physical symptoms to TRULY worry about my lifespan, that I bit the bullet and decided to make my OWN life a priority. Everyone else’s life and happiness had always been my focus. Never my own. I finally got selfish.
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Happy Hump Day! =-.

  13. Susan says:

    I was definitely up and down. I never followed specific diet plans, but I would just go through phases where I would eat and drink a lot, be heavy for a few months, then fall back down once I lost my taste for all the treats. I started going down for good just by educating myself on calories and nutrition (I seriously had NO idea what a calorie was or what it meant). Even in maintenance, my line is still up and down, but it’s much smaller, and not as long-lasting 🙂
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..A Foodie Kind of Day =-.

  14. brenda says:

    For me, losing weight in the past was restricting myself and losing weight, but not noticing that it was my bad habits and food choices that got me there. I figured I would lose it, it would be the end of that and I could live and eat what I want.
    It wasn’t until the lightbulb went off and I realized I had to change my habits and eat healthy for THE REST OF MY LIFE.

    On biggest loser 3 weeks ago, some of the contestants went home for a week. The guy that continued to lose weight went home and took control! He cooked healthy meals for his family, went to the gym in the morning for a hard work out and then got his family out enjoying family time together and being active! I thought to myself “He’s got it!!”. The others all followed their families around going out to eat and crying that “they” couldn’t enjoy the things everyone else was and feeling sorry for themselves. I’m afraid they will proably go back to the old habits a year after finishing biggest loser.
    .-= brenda´s last blog ..Great Give-a-way! =-.

  15. Jules says:

    I’ve actually never thought much about it. When i workout AND “diet” i have success… in the past when i stop working out is when i don’t have success. In the past I’d say my path was a pretty good graph on the rise, small peaks and valley’s. slow and steady. BUT then this last 5 years hit and it’s been all downhill. When i really put my mind to it… i can do it. staying in mantenance mode has always been the hardest for me. This time around (before getting pregnant) my graph was a meandering graph with the usual valley’s that life throws at you. And that is A-OK with me. Slow and steady is all i care for these days. 🙂
    .-= Jules´s last blog ..HOLY MOTHER OF DONUTS!!! =-.

  16. Leah says:

    Another one for me to print out.

    The first shape that came to me was “round”, so I guess a circle.

    Or more like a heart monitor, steady, steady, then a drop or a jump, then steady again. Except that my “steady” was steady at a heavy weight for my height. I might lose a bit, but then I’d gain it and stay at that weight for a while. Then I might gain even more, but I’d lose that and stay back down at my heavy weight again for a while.

    Now I can’t even think of anything except rolling hills with a few potholes that make me stumble, or a nice lemonade stand or yard sale on the side that distracts me from where I’m heading. I always see the horizon and the possibilities, but it’s just something in the far off that maybe I’ll actually get to someday.

    Wow. You made me think on this one, Diane. I appreciate it. 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Overcoming and a Jog =-.

  17. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I love Dr. J’s quote above.

    I was certainly going in a circle for a while. I think I truly changed the direction of my journey when I focused on making small, healthy changes every day. Constantly moving towards a healthier life really focused me on making the best choices I could in all aspects of my life.

    I love that you point out the importance of not giving up. So often we hear how bad yo-yo dieting is, but giving up out of fear that you may gain the weight back is worse I think.

  18. suzanne says:

    My journey would definitely look like a roller coaster! I do so well for quite a while then i just give up, then i do it again and again. I do have to figure a way to stop this.
    .-= suzanne´s last blog ..A review! =-.

  19. Fran says:

    My journey hasn’t been a journey. At 25 when I started living together with R. I had a perfectly good weight. I gained about 5 kg’s in the next years and decided to lose that with WW in september 1999 and I did, on December 31th 1999 I was back at my old weight.

    I maintained that through May and then my Dad died and within a few months I went from 73 kg to 89 kg. Since 2000 I’ve been trying to lose that and the last few years I’ve been hanging around 85/86 kg. Sometimes gain a bit, sometimes lose a bit.

    Since I’ve started running in March of this year and later added other exercise to it and started blogging I’ve been losing slowly without too much struggles.

    So I have to thank you: for motivating and inspiring me. You’re one of the people who is helping me to finally reach my goal weight which I’m getting more secure about every day that I will reach that.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Wednesday November 4 2009 =-.

  20. Kat says:

    Thank you for this post Diane. I seem to take a couple of steps forward and one step backward. I refuse to give up though. I lost 20 pounds over the summer and have been holding still since mid Sept. My goal is to drop another 15 by the end of the year. I wish it were a faster process for me, but I am so grateful I am maintaining a 60 pound loss.

  21. MackAttack says:

    Oh a giveaway! How fun! I’ve been gaining and losing the same weight for so long. Part of me is afraid that when I get to my lowest I’ll bounce back up. I see people that just lose weight and are done with it and I can’t relate, thank you for sharing your story!
    .-= MackAttack´s last blog ..warm outside =-.

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