Remembering or Regretting

Struggling with our weight can be frustrating, depressing, infuriating, and annoying. I felt all of those emotions and many more. I felt like I had failed my family because I was always so tired that I didn’t want to do much of anything – especially if it required physical stamina. I felt like I had failed spiritually. And I felt like I had failed myself.

It was hard.

Those obese years are ones that I could look back on with so much regret that it paralyzes me. And honestly, for a while I did. I spent a lot of time regretting what I had missed, and regretting what I may have accomplished if I hadn’t allowed myself to get so big. Fortunately, that period of regret didn’t last very long and I was able to put the regret behind me and accept the fact that those years were still good for me and my family, even if they weren’t perfect. After all – who has a perfect life?!

Regretting isn’t very positive, but remembering is. I like to remember some of the hard times I faced as a morbidly obese woman because those memories help me stay focused and on track. When I remember some of those difficult times I know for certain that I never want to be that big again. This helps me when:

I think I don’t want to work out.

I am tempted to eat more than a small portion of dessert.

When the chips are calling my name.

When I’m faced with the choice to be active or sit down.

More often than not I get off the chair and move away from the brownies. Just as I moved away from obesity, I have learned that moving away from temptation and moving towards good choices and more activity is a good thing.

Do you think it’s good to remember where you came from or is it better to try and forget those years?  Diane

38 thoughts on “Remembering or Regretting

  1. Miz says:

    I know for me it is important to remember where I came from so that I dont return there.
    In all aspects of my life.
    not in a selfpunishing way but in a “look how far Ive come. I CAN DO THIS. I DID THIS.” way of revisiting my successes to propel me forward.
    .-= Miz´s last blog ..Big dietary changes in six small steps. =-.

  2. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I must remember. I need to remember what put me in this position again. It was so overwhelming and horrific that I never could have planned for it. I don’t think I could change the 50 pound gain given my past history with food.

    Now those things are a part of my history. Now I know how to deal with and overcome tragedy. Now I can apply my healthy lifestyle habits from before the tragedies and entrench them more deeply. So that when something happens again-which it probably will-that makes me out of my mind with grief and despair I can conquer it and come out standing this time.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Borrowing Trouble From Tomorrow? =-.

  3. Laura says:

    For me it’s very important to remember. I think that weight now is not my main worry, but every time I go out to run, I write it on a diary. My uncles gave it to me for Christmas and I didn’t know what to do with it. I write what I run, the time, the velocity, and things like that. I know that it would be a time when I won’t run faster or further than a month before. I have this to remind me that I don’t go better, but I can go very very bad.

    And the same with weight, but I don’t take a diary on weight. I know my maximum, and I want to remeber it for not returning there!

  4. Sandy says:

    I think it is okay to remember but not to dwell on it. I really need to remember that I did my best, no I wasn’t perfect. But very good thought – no one leads a perfect life.

  5. Pam says:

    I personally think you need to always remember where you came from…kind of a learning from your mistakes type idea. I think if God can forgive and forget, who are we to hold a grudge against ourselves in the form of regret? No one is perfect, and I think its always good to look back on all that you achieved, and when you feel yourself slipping, stop and think — do you really want to work that hard again to undo all that bad again?
    Great post as usual, Diane. You are just amazing.
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Thursday’s Wrap Up =-.

  6. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    “I was able to put the regret behind me and accept the fact that those years were still good for me and my family, even if they weren’t perfect.”

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ve wasted the past 10 years being fat. I get hard on myself (and want to eat). Those years were still good for the most part. I was a good mom (although a bit frazzled).
    .-= Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog ..Kitchen Wisdom (Humor) =-.

  7. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I struggle with this sometimes because of the shame factor. But I can’t ignore the last 30 years of my life! I try to remember all the fun times I had and good people I met *despite* being overweight. You just don’t want to think that one aspect of your life defined who you were (or are).
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog .. =-.

  8. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    Good food for thought! Remembering where I came from sometimes puts me in a dark place BUT that is truly the only way I feel I can move forward. We can’t change our past, no matter how much we want to, but we can learn how to move forward. It is the regrets that either get you stuck or motivate you to change. I try to look at my life as having no regrets when I’m done….
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Just a Hint =-.

  9. vickie says:

    I think of what you are talking about as the woulda/shoulda/couldas. And I agree, in the beginning, they can be paralyzing. Absolutely paralyzing, grief producing, for what might have been.

    At some point, we just have to get pointed FORWARD, learn from the backward, but move onward and upward.

    Quotes from my side bar that I thought of as soon as I read your post today:

    Maria Robinson…Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start TODAY and make a new ending.

    “It’s okay to glance backward; just don’t stare.”
    Stephen M Pollan and Mark Levine from their book It’s All in Your head: Thinking Your Way to Happiness

    “We cannot help the birds of sadness from flying over our heads, but we need not let them nest in our hair.”

    It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. (translated from I Ching, an ancient Chinese text and shared by my psychiatrist.)
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Pseudo Spaghetti =-.

  10. says:

    I love this Diane. I think I have difficulty with regretting and not just remembering. Regret=negative thinking and to remember=positive thinking. I think if I move over to more positive thinking, I can really move past some things. I workout every day. I eat right. The only problem I seem to have is when I get down, I do want to have sweets. For me it’s ok to have some sweets. I just have to eat small portions. I need to remember what it was like when I was down and not the fittest and how that extra brownie made me feel better for that moment and that’s it! Thanks for writing about this Diane. It helped a lot!
    .-=´s last blog ..Tip #53: Wii Active Alternating Arm Raises =-.

  11. Erin says:

    I remember who I used to be and I don’t really like her. I look at who I am now and who I am becoming, and I really, really like her!

    I LOOK back only so I don’t GO back!

  12. Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit says:

    I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about those lost years and squandered opportunties. In truth, they matter not a whit. What counts is what’s staring out in front of me, that vast horizon with health years ahead and all kinds of opportunities yet to grasp hold of. I slip on a pair of my fattest pants from time to time just to remind me of a place that I never want to be, but I’d rather focus on the future than to dwell on regret.

    Thought-provoking post (as usual), Diane.

    Have a great weekend.
    .-= Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit´s last blog ..Drink Your Water Like You Oughter =-.

  13. Mia says:

    I just remember that I was very unhappy, deep deep down. I never want to be that way again. When the scale starts to creep up, I immediately buckle down with healthy habits. I LOVE being happy and healthy!

  14. Sunny says:

    I think my greatest regret was my absence from the family photos that create an artificial history of our family life, you know? I was the photographer anyhow, but I’m sure that’s in part because I wanted to be behind the photograph, not in it. There aren’t nearly enough family photos with me in them, and I regret that. Seriously regret that. But, I temper that knowing I can’t control that any more. I can only be front and center now for all the rest of the photo-taking opportunities we have left together. and so I am.

    But yes, this helps motivate me in times of weakness.
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Uber Busy, Uber Short Post =-.

  15. Leah says:

    I have to be careful I don’t fall into the trap of regretting to the extent of being paralyzed, but just remember enough to motivate myself to keep going.

    This week has brought some regretful remembering, but I’m trying to turn it from negative thoughts to thoughts of how to change for the better.

    Again, a very timely post, Diane. Thank you!!

  16. Diane says:

    I think it is very important to remember where you came from – as it is said those who do not remediable the past are doomed to repeat it.I do think there is a big difference in remembering and being inspired and letting the past drag you down. You can do NOTHING to change any second of the past, so why beat yourself up over it ? All that can be done is to learn from where we were and do everything we can to influence the now so we do not repeat our history.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Squeaks and squeaks and soulutions =-.

  17. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    Yes! It’s so important for me to remember how I got here. I need to keep in the front of my mind how my two bad knees will hurt even more if I don’t go to the gym. I’m nowhere near where I need to be physically, but when I feel like I don’t want to work out I think forward (to walking without pain) and back (to how much worse my knees were even a year ago). It’s helpful to remember–but not dwell.
    .-= Tracey @ I’m Not Superhuman´s last blog ..Liar, Liar =-.

  18. shannon says:

    Great post. I think remembering is important. It’s like the quote “being fit is hard. being fat is hard. choose your hard.” When we’re frustrated with tracking food and exercising, I think it’s helpful to remember that we were NOT happy when we avoided those habits!
    .-= shannon´s last blog ..First Garmin Run! =-.

  19. Linda says:

    I saw the title of this post and almost didn’t want to come here! For me remembering is regretting! I am so hard on myself for letting myself be that person for so long. For not having the pictures with my kids when they were little because I wouldn’t take a picture. For not participating with my kids in physical things because I didn’t want people to laugh. For standing back in the shadows so my kids friends and school mates wouldn’t see me and say things to my kids about how big I was and hurt their feelings. So many things to remember! So much regret to let go of! So much more living to do!
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..THE Princess Cake and her Attendants (round 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11!) =-.

  20. Larkspur says:

    So wise, as ever. You can allow yourself to be sad about the things that didn’t go as you would have wished, without letting that destroy the good things about those years. Isn’t it nice that you took care of it before another five or ten or twenty years went by?

  21. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    I am kind of with Roy, Emergefit…. I think like you, remembering is a good way to make me realize never again as well. Regret is more complex to me. At times it can be a bad thing for me as I get in a bad funk. Other times it spurs me to change… I guess it is just where my head is at that time in my life…
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Protein & Protein Powder Recipes =-.

  22. Siobhan says:

    I have a lot of things that I wish hadn’t happened the way they did in my life, some of which I actually had control over (like my weight), a lot of which I wish could have gone another way but worked out okay in the end. I guess I am a Pollyanna because I tend to think more that I’m glad I’ve changed than focusing on not having done it earlier.
    .-= Siobhan´s last blog ..Well, darn =-.

  23. RNegade says:

    I just block it all out. Good, bad, indifferent. Ain’t denial wonderful?

    But seriously. Can’t get bogged down in the past. Otherwise I carry it into today. Gets too messy! Remember happy times. But. Live now.

  24. Alissa says:

    I have a hard time moving away from tempting foods. But I like your take on it. If I think of those tempting foods as something that will keep me obese, I think it would be easier to say no and move away. I’m going to try that out.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Twitter Issue =-.

  25. Brenda Kaye says:

    I have a weird perspective on this right now because presently I am fat looking back on my past of skinny. Five years of fat since I had my last child at 40. I keep hoping the past will motivate me, but I think several of the comments were right…the biggest motivator has to be the present. What I am doing right now in this moment. I tend to wish for the past, dream about the skinny future, and eat what I want for just one more day in the present. This is such a battle for me right now in the present.
    .-= Brenda Kaye´s last blog ..2 Words: STOMACH BUG =-.

  26. Fran says:

    I try not to regret anything that has happened in my life. I’ve had overweight the past 10 years and if I regret that it would also mean those 10 years hadn’t had meaning but they did so I remember the nice things that have happened those years. I’ve never had trouble enjoying myself when I had too much weight.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Friday March 12th 2010 =-.

  27. Sean (Learn Fitness) says:

    I think one of the best things someone can do is regularly do a self retrospective and remember where they came from and how they got to where they are today. Whether it’s starting out and being overweight or remembering when they last were. For me it is a HUGE motivation and like you said it gets you working out and putting down those chips.
    .-= Sean (Learn Fitness)´s last blog ..Weekly Retrospective and Challenges =-.

  28. Josie says:

    I was just talking about this with beej the other day. He mentioned how far I have come in six months and if I ever thought about the fact that it took me years to make the decision. I do have regrets, I need to accept that there’s nothing I can do to change the past. All I can do now is make sure my future is all it can be.
    .-= Josie´s last blog ..Workout Pledge =-.

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