Giving Up or Gaining?

The other day Vickie asked:

Do you feel that all you have done is give up things? I have read many a blogger that feels like ‘thing’ (food) after thing has been taken away from them in their weight loss process. I personally feel as if I am moving toward things (healthy food) rather than away from things.

I’ve been asked variations on this question a lot – as I’m sure many of who have lost weight and changed your lifestyles have. It’s a common question and one that I thought would be interesting to talk about.

It’s true that when we are in the process of:

  1. losing weight
  2. changing our relationships to food
  3. improving our fitness
  4. learning healthy eating

That there seems to be a tendency towards taking away things. For me personally, I did give up a lot of unhealthy habits. Most of those habits were related to food choices I made, such as: visiting drive-thru restaurants all the time, eating sweets all day long, relying on high fat snacks to get me through the day, eating huge portions at every meal, secretly hiding food, and much more. So when I look at the bad habits I gave up – Yes, I did give up some things that I previously held dear.

I gave up all the things I listed above and after the initial shock to my system I realized I didn’t feel like I gave up anything important. Rather I was able to see all the things I had gained and all the ways I was moving into a healthier and happier zone.

Of course it was initially difficult to wean myself off my daily dose of chocolate, but once I did I felt better physically than I had in years. And in addition to physically feeling better I also felt emotionally stronger because I wasn’t relying on a chocolate fix to get me through my day. Instead I dealt with emotions that came up and used the healthy tools I had learned to get me through hard times. Exercise, talking it over with friends, and eating healthy foods were all more positive ways to deal with stress than eating a pound of chocolate.

Looking back I see that even though my weight loss took but 14 months, the journey never really ends. To this day I still find myself reaching FOR the ultimate goal of eating right all the time and always doing the right kinds of exercises for my body. I don’t look back and think about all I gave up, but look forward to a healthier, longer life.

Where are you? Do you feel like you have given up too much, or can you see all that you have to gain?  Diane

44 thoughts on “Giving Up or Gaining?

  1. Susan says:

    I feel that we get more than we give up when we make the decesion to change our eating and exercising habits! I’m with you on trying for the gold ring of eating right all the time and exercising daily.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Update on my Depression =-.

  2. Danielle says:

    The only thing I think I’ve noticed that I’m really giving up are the stomach aches from too much fast food or high fat content foods. Not really a bad thing to give up, and I definitely do not miss it. I still have fast food on occasion, but it is once or twice a month now instead of a couple times a week.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Slow and steady (Week 8) =-.

  3. WaistingTime says:

    I had not thought about it… so I think that is a good sign that I don’t feel that I have given up too much. This time around, I feel more like I have made changes. And I have added (lots of vegetables, for instance). Yes, sitting in a restaurant while others ordered great sounding meals and I did not made me wish I could eat anything I wanted. But I am so much happier eating healthier.
    .-= WaistingTime´s last blog ..It’s a Blog Eat Blog World =-.

  4. Dr. J says:

    Although I can’t really relate this to weight loss, I can understand the process when I think about my going to medical school. Without going into the long story, I wanted to give up and quit school 1000’s of times but I would not let myself do it! I took it one day at a time and stayed the course in spite of it all and finally, one day the clouds parted and I finished, a doctor and proud that I had made it!
    .-= Dr. J´s last blog ..Lab Notes: Flaxseed – A Natural Way to Lower Men’s Cholesterol =-.

  5. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I feel like everything in life is a trade-off. Give up this, get that. Yes, eating healthy is giving something up. You’re giving up greasy fried foods, fast food, mile-high slices of cake, etc. But you’re getting a lot, too. You feel better, you’re healthier. Maybe you’re even giving up a heart attack or diabetes in the future. I think the same can be said for a lot of things. Having kids you need to give up doing whatever you want, whenever you want it. But you’re getting a lot in return. Giving up “bad” foods is a trade-off but one most people find worth it.
    .-= Tracey @ I’m Not Superhuman´s last blog ..Your Questions, My Answers =-.

  6. Emergefit says:

    I have been on both sides of this; fit, obese, and fit again. Coming down off my trip to obesity, I had to give up what I felt were a lot of new friends; fat, sugar, excess, and instant gratification. It helped (and still helps because I still battle this daily)to think of those friends similarly to the bad friends that lead me to make bad choices. That is, not really my friends at all.

    In this context, truly seeing these friends as the enemy, it can feel less like I gave things up, but it is still a battle.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..Shower Power… =-.

  7. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I do miss my favorite candies and treats. Occasionally. Especially when my kids are all yelling at me for hours (or at least it seems so) or perhaps if my special needs daughter gets worse.

    What I hope to do is to find new ‘go to’ outlets. Things I can do anywhere, anytime, where I used to eat. I’m getting there. Sometimes it isn’t always cooking an awesome healthy meal, or exercising. Lately it’s been about knowing I’m maxxed out and taking a nap, or calling a friend while I sit down and relax. Two things I never used to ‘indulge’ in.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Getting Back On Track =-.

  8. Deniz says:

    Oh man! I feel really strongly about this one and I agree 100% with what Vickie said about moving towards things, not away. I agree with you too Diane, it’s a lifetime’s journey and I’m still moving forward along it.

    I’ve GAINED so very much along the weight loss journey so far, aside from the initial goal of shedding my fat suit. Things like self respect, a measure of fitness, an understanding of how my body reacts to different things (including stress), a better functioning body, improved health and a positive future to look forward to. I have also REGAINED the love of good fresh foods and, better yet, the ‘me’ I really though had disappeared forever.

    So have I given up on ‘things’ too? Well, yes I guess I have, but it is stuff that really wasn’t all that vital to be honest. Stuff I didn’t need, and probably didn’t actually want… even if I thought I did. Things like a chocolate bar at tea break every single day or curling up on the sofa with a multi-pack of crisps and a book, rather than getting out into the fresh air and enjoying the sunshine.

    One big thing was that I didn’t say that I could ‘never’ have ‘x’ or ‘y’ or ‘z’ again, just made the decision to eat things moderately and fully appreciating them, so I rarely felt truly deprived.
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..Trying… in every sense! =-.

  9. MySensei says:

    You really nailed it on the head. At first it does seem like we are giving up so much but in the end we are really moving onward and upward from unhealthy living. We are changing not only what we put in our mouths, but our way of life in the process.

  10. 'Drea says:

    When I’m dealing with a plateau and believe that I need to adjust my calorie intake then I start to think about *all* that I’ve given up but, overall, I do think about the gains and how much better I feel.
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..RX For Sunday Blues =-.

  11. Tony the Pink Panda says:

    Well, this is a hard question because it depends on my mood and whether I feel like I’m completely following the plan or going off track. In general though, I believe I’m a lot more knowledgeable about my own thought processes with regards to food and what I can and can’t do, in order to stay on track.

  12. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I think this comes down to what moderation really is. Do you honestly *need* to have cookies every day? Or is it a habit? And if you cut down to 1 cookie a day to start, and then 1 cookie every other day – you are still having cookies, just not all the time. Sometimes I think we feel that we are owed that treat and that it has to be food.

    I think we owe ourselves and our bodies health and fitness. Sure, there is plenty of room for treats, but that is what they should be, treats – no part as part of every meal or snack.
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Cold eats =-.

  13. Sagan says:

    Sure, I think we’ve all had to “give up” stuff, but it’s definitely WORTH it! And the best part is that our tastes change as we get healthier… I hate the taste of Coke and Pepsi, for example. I used to love them. Now they just taste gross to me.

    When I focused on losing weight, I viewed it as a game: I thought it was fun to read labels and count calories and try to push myself beyond my expectations with exercise. It was actually fairly easy for me to lose weight that time, because I just had FUN with it.

    Of course, that was before I had a bit of disordered eating, so now I don’t always think in that way… but it worked really well for me at the time.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Reader Mail from the Sisterroommate/traveller: Losing Weight Overseas =-.

  14. Chad says:

    I don’t feel like I’m giving things up. I think that’s the main difference between dieting and making lifestyle changes. When you’re on a diet, you are giving certain things up, and eating only the things on that diet. But with lifestyle changes, you’re not cutting things out, you’re just choosing healthier foods, and if you have a slice of pizza or a piece of cake every now and then, no big deal, right back to healthier eating with the next meal!
    .-= Chad´s last blog ..Karma: I Hate You… =-.

  15. Fran says:

    The truth is that I haven’t given up that much but I should give up some things. Although it won’t feel like I have to give it up because I know it’s not good for me.

    For example, I love wine and usually drink a bottle from Thursday night to Sunday, that’s 4 days and we all know that alcohol is a calorie bomb. Would I miss it? I don’t think so. Same goes for chips or cookies at Sunday tea: it’s a habit that has to be replaced by a healthier choice.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..Zandvoort Circuit Run, 5K, 03-28-2010 =-.

  16. kwithme says:

    This weight loss is totally different for me. It is the first time, I don’t feel like I am giving up more than I am gaining. Even in the early weeks. The way I started was to add healthy foods and activities. I tried to eat loads of veggies and fruit. I decided to only indulge in the things I loved. I thought about how I really felt about a certain food. For example, mashed potatoes, they are ok. I don’t hate them, but I certainly don’t love them. So, I don’t eat them anymore.

    I also don’t force myself to eat healthy things that I don’t love. I only like an occasional salad, so I don’t eat one everyday. It would be a quick route to failure.

    Also, I started this journey with a 5 month process of changing to healthier options, getting used to the tastes. THEN, I started limiting portions so I could lose weight. It was much easier dealing with mild hunger when I was not missing the fat and sugar and salt of my former lifestyle. When I ate, it was something I was used to being satisfying. Baby Steps.

  17. rebecca @ durch dick und duenn says:

    man this is a toughie i just barely touched on today.

    some things are easier to give up than just have small amounts of.

    also, i think to maintain the kind of life that you want to lead, your always giving something up.

    like a previous commenter said, i like healthy alternatives! they make giving up the bad stuff not as bad!
    .-= rebecca @ durch dick und duenn´s last blog ..Dieting vs Life Style Changes =-.

  18. Marcelle says:

    With doing Weight Watchers I dont feel I have given up anything…I can have whatever I want within my points allowed or now that I am counting calories, calories allowed…but as the time went I made better choices and gave up things cause I wanted to, not because I was told I have to…there is something very powerful in that…I feel I have gained a healthy lifestyle so I’ve gained…
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Back On Track =-.

  19. Katie says:

    Excellent question. At first I felt like I was “giving up” stuff but that only lasted for a few weeks. Now, every week that goes by shows me more exciting things that I’m gaining by turning my back on an unhealthy life focused around eating.

    I believe that if you can’t turn your back on those bad foods, if you continue to l-o-n-g for certain things to eat then you really haven’t made a complete mind shift and when rocky, emotional times hit, it’s too easy to turn back to your “old friends”.

    I realize now that those “old friends” were actually the biggest enemies I’ve ever had in my life. Those enemies have the power to ruin what your life could be. It’s hard for me to long for those things anymore.

  20. empower me photo guy says:

    I think weight loss is all about focussing on the gains. If you can visualize the improvements in your health and appearance that you will achieve, you will be empowered to stick with the plan. A positive attitude is your best friend here!

  21. Leah says:

    Great post!!! So spot-on for me, Diane.

    It’s a process I’m still working through. As the spring dawns I am feeling much more inclined to appreciate that I can control my portions and limits extras. The “giving up” isn’t as hard now.

    Little by little. 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Jumping In – Day 3 Update =-.

  22. Taryl says:

    The vast majority of the time I don’t feel like I’ve given much up – my diet is SO moderate and liveable that there isn’t much off limits, just quantity controls. And especially compared to how much health and vitality I have gained, I have a hard time bemoaning ONLY eating a serving size of dessert, you know? There are some things I choose not to eat with any frequency anymore, and I am certainly moving more and eating much healthier fare, overall, but I enjoy it! The food is satisfying, I’m not starving, and my body feels great… Hard to feel deprived when my quality of life is so greatly improved!

    I think dieters that focus on their deprivation are setting themselves up for an unsustainable lifestyle and regain… If you hate your lifestyle you’re making it a lot more difficult on yourself to stick to it. That’s not what it’s about for me… Give me a snail’s pace weight loss for ease of adherence, comfort, and forever-maintainable losses ANYDAY over a fast loss that piles back on.
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Bad news 🙁 =-.

  23. John says:

    I definitely feel like I gave up things but they weren’t making me happy and eventually would have led to me being unhealthy on top of being overweight.
    I still occasionally want some ice cream or other junkfood but think of what I’m gaining in health,sleep and mobility and it usually passes pretty quickly.
    .-= John´s last blog ..Back Once Again =-.

  24. zaababy says:

    What I’ve given up. Let’s see. I’ve given up eating large amounts of food. I’ve given up hating myself and the world around me. I’ve given up hating my clothes! I have NOT given up chocolate! I guess I haven’t given up very much at all. Instead I have GAINED the whole world. My entire life is opening up like a beautiful flower.
    .-= zaababy´s last blog ..Day 327–Promised Pics–before and after, and my new bike courtesy of Jack Sh*t’s contest! Oh, and weigh day. =-.

  25. jenn says:

    Great post!! For the most part I feel like my choices are gains. Once in a while I feel sad about sugar b/c it’s the one thing I felt like I had to give up in order to gain freedom. Usually the moment passes very quickly.
    .-= jenn´s last blog ..“They” say what? =-.

  26. Kat says:

    I am really trying to focus on what I am gaining as opposed to giving up. It is kind of frame of mind and it works so much better for me than focusing on what I am giving up. I love that my endurance is increasing. It is pretty cool…:-)
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..And the winner is…. =-.

  27. Sean (Learn Fitness) says:

    I used to feel like I gave up a lot and I’d try to make it up on free days. After a while I realized how bad I felt on those days and how that bad food isn’t necessary and besides I felt horrible for a day or more afterwards. Now I enjoy a nice splurging meal per week, not grease ladened.

    Other than the perception of losing food choice the gains in energy, health, happiness, comfort, confidence and drive far outweigh all losses!
    .-= Sean (Learn Fitness)´s last blog ..My First Healthy Giveaway =-.

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