Are You Prepared For The Long Trip?

gearshiftWhen I first started gaining weight on my honeymoon I was frustrated. The first three years of our marriage saw the scale move up about 45 pounds. Fortunately for me I’m just shy of 5’10” so I can “carry” a little more weight than someone who is 5’3″. Nonetheless, the weight wasn’t flattering nor healthy. And then when I went from merely overweight to morbidly obese after my first pregnancy, well, I was frustrated.

I was also in a hurry. I was in a hurry to lose the extra weight I had so willingly piled on and get “on with my life.” And being in a hurry, I tried numerous diet plans with very little success. Every diet plan promised results, and most of them were fine and decent plans. But no diet plan promised the quick results I wanted. And thus, I didn’t stick with any of those plans long enough to lose more than 20 pounds. And when you need to lose 150 pounds, 20 pounds isn’t much. Especially considering that I promptly gained that 20 pounds back and usually added a few to go with it.

My problem? Well – there were many. But one problem I had was that I was in a hurry and wanted immediate and steady results. As we all know, weight loss doesn’t cooperate by falling down in a steady, slow line. Rather it zigs and zags, hops around, and sometimes stagnates like an ugly green pond full of algae.

And who wants to sit in the same ugly place? I certainly didn’t.  So I would quit when things got hard, or I got bored, or my weight loss stalled.

It’s funny because although I couldn’t tolerate a slow diet plan, I tolerated being morbidly obese for years and years and years. That makes no sense to me at all.

So when I finally started losing weight by following my Fit to the Finish plan, I set out with a different mindset from the very beginning. I gave myself a little pep talk and reminded myself that I hadn’t gained all this weight in two months and I certainly wasn’t going to lose it in two months. So I tried to prepare myself for the long-term road that I knew was ahead of me.

Going into the process with that realization made me much more prepared for the inevitable periods of boredom and frustration that came during my 14 months of weight loss. And bored and frustrated I did get.

Quite frankly, it gets boring watching every bite that goes into our mouths, or at least it did for me. It was frustrating to feel like I was doing all the right things and either no one was noticing or the scale wasn’t moving.  But I was prepared for a long trip so I just buckled my seat belt and kept driving forward.

Because I knew that going backwards wasn’t an option. Because if I put myself in reverse then I would end up gaining the weight I had fought to lose and I knew I didn’t want to do that.

So as you face your journey head on and feel the urge to get frustrated and quit – remember that it’s a long trip. It’s okay to take a detour to “maintain” where you are for a while, but it is important to try and keep things either in neutral or drive. Because if you go into reverse you will most likely get frustrated with yourself and be tempted to permanently detour as I had done many, many times before.

What strategies do you use to prepare for the possibility of a long trip? How do you stay positive when things aren’t going the speed you want them to?  Diane

43 thoughts on “Are You Prepared For The Long Trip?

  1. Sandy says:

    I have reached a plateau or a 5 pound plateau range and I am just accepting my body where it is instead of obsessing about the last five pounds I think I want to lose. Yesterday was my birthday and since all the kids are away now we didn’t need a cake so I bought 2 pieces of carrot cake at the bakery and my husband and I shared one of them last night, saving the other for another day. My new goal is to give up refined carbs and my excess sugar and I think that will help me maintain. I guess that I am staying positive by accepting where I am today and choosing not to go in reverse.

  2. Mia says:

    It is a long trip. For life, in fact.

    I know that vigilance is important. I have a certain number that is the “Red” number. When I see it on the scale, I buckle down with the good habits and get the scale number back down to the “Green Zone”. This number has changed a few times but I am always on watch for it.

    Mia

  3. WaistingTime says:

    I agree we want the quick fix, and it gets boring and frustrating. I think I have finally done the yo-yo thing enough to realize that this has to and will be my last time. I am in it for the long haul. My biggest help this time around has been the internet support I have found with my blogs, the blogs of others, and my favorite diet forum. And spending time there keeps me from eating.
    .-= WaistingTime´s last blog ..Shortest Post for the Shortest Month =-.

  4. Marcelle says:

    I love ur blog as you have walked every step that every one of us who are either on the journey to lose or have gotten to the finish line – we can so relate to this entry.

    I find it so sad how so many want desperately to lose the weight and never get to the goals they set for themselves and then others who do…I still dont know what causes this from person to person.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Week 10 on new WW program =-.

  5. Joanna Sutter says:

    One of my personal trainers used to tell me, “you can’t diet forever” which is true! Over the years I’ve learned to just know when my body needs a break from dieting. Usually after a 2-3 weeks off my body and my mind are ready to get back on plan.
    .-= Joanna Sutter´s last blog ..Poor me…more tea! =-.

  6. vickie says:

    Briefly stated, the three laws are: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a net force. Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Laws of motion by Sir Issac Newton)

    I think about that all the time. and agree that holding is better than losing ground, but it is so much easier to have (even a little forward) momentum.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Moving forward, straightening my wheels back on the road, moving away from January =-.

  7. Sandy says:

    Excellent comment Vickie – keep the momentum going even if just a little A new daily thought for me – An object in motion will remain in motion (and it needs to be forward).

  8. Sunny says:

    pretty much what you and everyone has said. But mostly, knowing that it feels SO GOOD, on so many levels, to be a healthy weight again, I’d never do anything stupid to jeopardize that. Ever. I can’t fathom how I ate two warmed dinner rolls at dinner EVERY night, plus meat, salad, AND some type of potato. That’s more starch than I eat in a whole week, now! Crazy. It was just crazy!
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Caution! Losing lots of weight makes your arms shorter! =-.

  9. Carla says:

    I have to agree about having the right mindset. This time I am not just thinking about losing the 20 lbs and then going back to my old way of eating, I am trying to focus on improving my eating habits for the rest of my life.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..How I lost weight in January =-.

  10. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    Good question. When I reached a plateau at the end of the summer I decided to put my ego aside and get professional help from a trainer. What I learned was that I wasn’t working at an intense enough level. It made all the difference to me.

    On another note, my post today is about getting advice from someone who has “been there” vs. someone who hasn’t. I gave you a little shout out at the end of the post because I learn so much from reading your blog. I just wanted you to know how much I admire what you do for people who were in the position that you once were.
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..Do You Look Your Age? =-.

  11. Laura Jane says:

    It is a very long road, and I think it’s really difficult to shift to that mindset. And to realize that what I’m doing to lose the weight will not be very different from what I do when I’m at my ideal weight. I am really trying to think of it as one long journey (maybe with a few – or a lot- of bumps along the way) rather than Diet Effort #1, Diet Effort #2, etc. I think the think that helps keep me going is using positive momentum and looking to the short term rewards of feeling better about making the right choices – not just the rewards of the actual weight loss, which is slow.
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Weigh-in Results! =-.

  12. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    I keep telling myself, “This is MY year.”

    I do get frustrated. I’m making gradual changes this time and keep reminding myself I’m not going to see quick results.

    Reading others’ experiences helps. I love what you said about putting up with the excess weight for all of these years and relating that to putting up with the slow process of improvement.
    .-= Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog ..HFCS and Baby Formula: Can you believe it?! =-.

  13. Lori Lynn says:

    It is hard to be patient because I do want results, but I know that it’s better when you lose the weight slower. I’ve been trying to just have the attitude of eating healthy and exercising more,but there are times where I get these “roadblocks, ” and it gets a little frustrating.

  14. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    Some of the strategies that I have employed are just reminding myself that taking care of myself by eating healthy and working out are ALWAYS going to be worth it in the long run. I feel better and I look better than I EVER have in the past. I really like the fact that it’s okay to maintain for awhile. That’s where I am, even though I’m eating a “losers” calories. My body will adjust eventually, that’s life, and I’m willing to accept it and acknowledge how far I’ve truly come. Thanks for the great post, Diane. Have a great day! 🙂

    Hope

  15. MySensei says:

    We live in a world where everyone wants immediate results yesterday. It’s the long haul that we have to be physically AND mentally prepared for. Just like you said, you have to start with the right mindset before even embarking on your weight loss journey if you want to succeed and keep it off. Such a great post that everyone could relate to!

  16. Erin says:

    “It’s funny because although I couldn’t tolerate a slow diet plan, I tolerated being morbidly obese for years and years and years. That makes no sense to me at all.”

    Wow, this really hits me hard – I’d been stuck with my plateau for almost a year…the good news is that things are FINALLY moving down the scale…but I’m still frustrated. I guess in hindsight, I did so much damange to my body during my obese years that I never stopped to consider how long it will take my body to truly recover and heal itself from that damange. I’m trying to accept my progress for what it is!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..We…Are…SPARTANS!!! =-.

  17. Hadley says:

    I’m definitely in for a long trip. I’ve still got over 90 pounds to lose before I hit a healthy weight. I’ll be lucky if I’m done before 2011.

    Of course, though, we’re never truly done. The trick is not to just hit our goals, but to stay at them.

    Great post, Diane!
    .-= Hadley´s last blog ..A Groundhog Day Resolution =-.

  18. Amy says:

    Phew, yes it is long and boring and frustrating to keep on track for weight loss. It makes me tired just thinking about it! But you are right, it is just as boring and frustrating to be overweight all those years. Great food for thought!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Variety is the Spice of Life =-.

  19. Robin says:

    I think I am ok with a long trip once I figure out what I need to pack and where I am going and how I am getting there. Haven’t figured that out yet.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Portions =-.

  20. Tiffany says:

    I needed this post today! I thought that I was going to have the motivation that I had at the beginning throughout this entire journey and I’m recently realizing that it’s not going to happen like that- it’s about a commitment, not about a feeling.

    I would love to hear about what you did both mentally/physically when you did hit a rough spot or plateu.

    You’re the best! Oh and p.s. I mentioned you on my blog today!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Day #33: Food Friends. =-.

  21. Veronica says:

    I needed this today! It totally sounds exactly like me. I’ve hit a plateau after losing 25 pounds and it does get frustrating, but I know this is a long haul commitment. Thanks…glad I found your blog today! =]

  22. 'Drea says:

    Diane,

    Yeah, weight loss does feel like *a pond of algae* at times. I like the concept of keeping things in neutral or drive. Great example.

    I’m finding that self-talk and pep talks have been helpful…

  23. Rhonda says:

    Hi, I’m back from too long of a break! I determined in my heart that I would not gain all the weight that I lost back after gaining about 10…It scared me how fast it was coming back on. Now, I’m getting back on track. I’ve always loved your blog! I’m in it for the long haul!

  24. Jill says:

    I can so relate to this one! When I first began trying to lose weight, I seriously believed that I could lose 30 pounds in 12 weeks. When that didn’t happen, I chucked the “diet du jour” and set out to find another one. Looking back now, I WAS losing weight, but I thought that 12 pounds in 4 months was pitifully slow. I just think about how I could have lost those 30 pounds in a year if I had just stuck to it the first time!! Thirteen years later, I realize that slow and steady WILL win the race, if only I will stick to it and not drop out of the race altogether.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..The 3 W’s of Weight Loss =-.

  25. Taryl says:

    The thing that helps me with the long haul, quite simply, is telling myself that there is NEVER going to be an alternative that isn’t ‘fat and unhealthy’ without these changes. If leaving my weight up to its’ own devices and my habits unchecked worked with me, I’d have never gained 100 extra pounds to begin with! My eyesight is bad, I need glasses to correct it, and will likely never be without them (justifiably!) without surgery. The same thing is true with my weight – I cannot control what goes into my mouth without food journalling and accountability, and short of surgery that will not change.

    These are corrective aids I need to live my life to the fullest, not some burden I can offload when it is convenient. There is no ‘Taryl’ anymore, without these food behaviors tied up with her. By telling myself there is no end and no other option, it just becomes another part of the journey 🙂
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Well! =-.

  26. Leah says:

    This is a great post and so true!

    Being ready for the long trip is what has made this weight loss journey more successful than past attempts.

    The weight came on in a few years and if it takes a while to get it off I’m okay with that. It will come off eventually, and it isn’t coming back on so I’m happy. 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..That’s a Switch =-.

  27. Jenn@slim-shoppin says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think a lot of people fall into that category including me. If I started a certain diet, and didn’t see results right away, then I would think I needed to try something else, and until I found what that something else was, i would give myself permission to eat whatever until the next diet began….No more of that though for me! Slow and steady wins the race!
    .-= Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog ..Smoothies =-.

  28. Anonymous Fat Girl says:

    Great post. I think back to all of my failed diet attempts and it all came down to be inpatient and wanting it to happen right away, now, now, now. Well it doesn’t always happen quick. Sometimes change comes slow.

    I think I’m over that hill and on my way down the other side this time because I know it’s going to take time to get to goal, and I fully embrace it. I’m learning so much about me and at the same time I’m forming a new “me”.

    When I get a little down on myself and gain 6 lbs or only lose a few inches, I’m not going to throw in the towel, I’m even more determined to keep pushing. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve made a choice to not give up or if it’s the fact that failure is not an option anymore.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..Real Life Success Story: Cy Jones =-.

  29. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, you know I blab endlessly about the life long thing. People probably get tired of me BUT it is life long. It takes time to put it on & it sure as you know what takes longer for it to come off! And then life & the bod changes. If you don’t get used to the long road trip now, well, it ain’t gonna help you! Patience & consistency is the key!

    PS: Yes, still comment luv issues ! 🙂
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Tuesday at the Gym & My Cardio Workout =-.

  30. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    I’ve been pondering and writing about this very topic today! (So stay tuned…*g*)

    It helps to take a ‘big picture’ approach to this whole weight management process, rather than focusing on just the scale or tape measure. To me, that’s the equivalent to watching every mile of the odometer tick over on a really long road trip.

    I much prefer keeping the car on the road while also enjoying the scenery along the way. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Happy Healthy Hearts =-.

  31. The Chubby Girl Diaries says:

    I used to calculate how long it would take me to get to my goal weight. And instead of keeping the goal in mind or really even paying attention to the benefits I gained on the way there, I would focus on the date.

    If it didn’t happen fast enough, then usually I would lose interest.

    In my opinion, one of the keys to keep a continued interest in weight loss is to surround yourself with other people who are losing weight and who are excited about it. Having a circle of support, especially in the very beginning is so darn important!

    Great post!! 🙂

    ~Kellie
    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..Ch-ch-changes =-.

  32. Mackattack (Beth) says:

    That’s why I can’t lose the weight with low carb. I need to like how I’m losing my weight to keep going. I’m eating whatever I want in moderation and losing weight super slowly. but at least I’m losing!
    .-= Mackattack (Beth)´s last blog ..Running Fool =-.

  33. Shelley says:

    So true, it has to be a new lifestyle, rather than a diet, otherwise you just head back up when you stop. You’re such an inspiration to those of us still on our journeys.

  34. Susan says:

    “It’s funny because although I couldn’t tolerate a slow diet plan, I tolerated being morbidly obese for years and years and years. That makes no sense to me at all.”

    This always gets me too. I didn’t want to commit to a long-term weight loss plan, but at the same time, I was okay with being overweight for years and years. One day it really just clicked that I was “in it” for life. Even if my weight goes up and down, and my activity levels vary, my mindset is forever changed.

  35. Quix says:

    I had the same thing happen – I would eat healthy and exercise for a while and then nothing would happen, I’d get bored, and quit. Jan 2007, I sat myself down and said, “self, we are going to do this slowly, and we are going to keep at it until we are done and happy, even if it takes a year.” Well, it took just over 2 with a few “maintains” in there, but I kept at it – and I’ve maintained the loss for a year now. I just can’t even imagine going back. I love running WAY too much to get too heavy again to keep doing it…

  36. julie says:

    Patience was SO hard to learn wrt weight loss, but I think just accepting that it was how it had to be, has made it possible for me to stay with it. It’s taken me 1.5 years to lose 50 pounds, very slow, but what were my choices? Should I have started bingeing again? I didn’t like it, but this was/is my new lifestyle, whether it worked fast or not.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..Thanks. Please shut up now. =-.

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