How Many Times Did You Try to Lose Weight?

I ran into a lady the other day who told me she had been trying to lose weight ever since the birth of her baby. I asked her how old her baby was and she said, “Oh, the baby is 8 years old!” I laughed with her. Then she said that she had tried to lose weight about 50 times in the past 8 years with no real success.

I could completely sympathize with her plight, because I was obese for 10 years and tried a bunch of times to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers more times than I could count, bought numerous books and magazines on weight loss, joined weight loss groups at my church, and even tried “on my own.”

I rarely stuck with any of those programs for more than a couple of weeks.

The woman I was speaking too then told me that she felt that because she had tried so many times without success that she was destined to be overweight for the rest of her life.

I reassured her that that was definitely not the case. Just because you have tried a bunch of times does not mean that you won’t be able to lose weight. Not at all. I love this quote from Williams Jennings Bryan:

Destiny Quote on Weight Loss

If I had let my many failures with weight loss become my destiny, I honestly don’t know where I would have been today. For sure I wouldn’t be able to exercise six days a week, run a 5K or maybe even been able to have had the four children I had after I lost 150 pounds.

Failure to lose weight is never fun, but it does not have to be a forever thing. In fact, we can learn from our failures and apply what we learned to future attempts to lose weight.

I know I did that.

For example, I learned that I could not just eat whatever I wanted to in smaller quantities to lose weight. Instead I had to change the types of foods I was eating as well as the quantities.

I also learned that exercise wouldn’t make me automatically lose weight, but it did motivate me to make better choices throughout the day and helped me break through plateaus.

I learned that weight loss involved not making temporary changes but instead making changes that I could apply to the rest of my life. (That’s what has helped me maintain all these years.)

I learned that fad diets and “popular diets” may work for a bit but are often so difficult to sustain that I quit them, knowing full well I couldn’t follow that particular plan forever.

I learned that I had to do it for me and not for anyone else. Yes, my children were motivational, but in the end, it was about getting healthy for myself.

If you feel destined for failure because you have struggled to lose weight in the past, banish those thoughts because they only serve to keep you where you are. Instead take stock of the things you learned and apply those lessons to trying again. Remember that you control your destiny when it comes to weight management. You choose the plan, you choose the food, you pick up the fork, you order off the menu, and you can make all those choices to be healthy, sustainable, and permanent.

Did you, or do you, ever feel defeated because you had failed in the past? Diane

16 thoughts on “How Many Times Did You Try to Lose Weight?

  1. Natalie says:

    As far as I can remember, I only went on one diet (just before my wedding) before my 40th birthday. But for the last three years, when haven’t I been on a diet? A new one every couple of weeks. Low calorie? or low carb, maybe that will do the trick. Exercising a lot but not changing my diet … back to low calorie, Weight Watchers, CSIRO. Sometimes I’ve felt like a big failure, but more recently I have tried to think of each attempt as learning more about myself and how I respond to various methods.

  2. Leah says:

    Having tried dieting so many times in the past I was scared to go on a diet this last attempt at weight loss. In fact, I refused to sign up for one; I simply decided to change one bad habit and add in one good habit. For me, the fear of failure stopped me from going on another diet when I knew I had to stop the weight gain, but it also prompted me to begin making those small lifestyle changes that have lead me to where I am today … 70 lbs lighter.

    I think when we come to the point where we admit what we’ve been doing isn’t the best for our health and has to change then we can begin any diet or eating plan and see true success.

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Diane,

    Luckily, I don’t believe in failure as a word. It’s like telling your dog it’s dumb or your son that he’s horrible. These are labels that affect your way of thinking (about yourself and life in general) that’s harder to overcome than the actual perceived failure!

    Speaking of perceived failures, I have lost and regained weight EIGHT times:
    50 lbs/age 14
    30 lbs/age 17
    30 lbs/age 20
    30 lbs/age 21
    30 lbs/age 23
    70 lbs/age 25
    90 lbs/age 32
    135 lbs/age 37

    Isn’t that nuts? But this time, for the first time, I haven’t gained the day right after I reached goal. I’ve learned from each *flawed perspective regarding weight maintenance.*

    And I never, ever feel defeated. As long as I have free will, and as your quote says, as long as I have a choice in my destiny, defeat is like that word failure–they are words. They are not me.

    -Susan

  4. Madijo says:

    I dont even remember how many times or how much weight I have lost and gained over the years. It is kind of sad to think about how much of my life has been wasted doing the same thing over and over again.

    But I agree that I have learned something from each attempt and now its up to me to put all into action.

  5. Caron says:

    I think there are a lot more of us like Susan who have lost and regained multiple times. I have had at least two Weight Watcher leaders who lost weight four times before it “took.” It was usually easy for me to lose weight when I got into the right frame of mind. It was never easy to maintain because I didn’t understand the concept of continuing to do what I had done to lose the weight. I would go back to my old way of eating and gain everything I had lost and more. I still have a struggle here and there, but it is worth it and on I go. 🙂

  6. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    When I ultimately lost the 30 pounds I needed to lose, it was because I didn’t say to myself, “I’m going on a diet.” I had tried that too many times and failed. I didn’t take note of my beginning weight or set a goal, or take my measurements. I was trying to trick myself into it, I think. I just started swimming laps (for just 15 minutes at first) and eating healthy foods, and I said to myself, “Well, let’s see what happens.” The weight gradually (and I mean gradually!) came off. I did trick myself into it!

  7. jenB says:

    I was never overweight growing up … but I think I felt “destined” for it. My mother was overweight and isn’t that just what happens when you get married and have five kids? I didn’t like the weight gain, but I didn’t really fight it either.

    After the last baby … I lost the weight. I actually didn’t even try to start. I went through a stressful situation and lost 20 pounds in a couple weeks. That WAS enough of a change to motivate me to continue (the correct way, with diet and exercise) and I lost 30 more in the next three months and goal to my pre-wedding weight.

    I never stopped working out … but I didn’t really watch what I ate. The weight crept back on through the years. I “try” half-heartedly, but it wasn’t until Mid-May of this year that I actually committed to “TRYing” again. So far so good. Quick, easy loss at the start, it’s really slowed, but I’m still working!

  8. Samiyah says:

    Oh I needed this post. I almost gave up today. I’m working out, eating well and then lose the weight. Then I slacken up a bit, and gain it back. It makes me so mad that m diet is so sensitive, especially since I love food. I love trying new restaurants, I’m a foodie. I just wanted to give up today. But I didn’t I said to myself just keep going. Yes I’m depressed that I’m going up and down in my weight. But I”ll figure out what works for me. I hope soon. I’ve done it before and I haven’t gain any of that old weight back. Now I want to get to the goal, a new goal. But this time around its, hard, its just so hard. I think I need to read your book I am definitely missing a link. Thank you for this post. I need this today 🙂

  9. Lori says:

    For me- this time- it is about plodding along. I have learned so much from my past attempts. The biggest thing for me is to keep going, no matter what and forgiving myself along the way, letting it go, and moving on. In the past I would overeat. Then hate myself and then eat some more. Now I overeat one day. I say thats okay and let it go. Move on.

    The other thing is that I am always telling myself, yes, it tastes good and it will still taste good tomorrow. Instead of thinking I have to show the whole thing down in one sitting.

  10. Lisa says:

    I guess I tried a few times but never saw results so gave up. The reason I never saw results was because I never addressed the food part of the equation!

  11. BlessedMama says:

    Oh, my, I have totally been where that woman is so many times! When it feels like my weight is just sticking to me and seemingly going nowhere but up, I have thought that maybe I should just try and be happy being fat. I suppress my depression and look at the women in my family and just figure it’s got to be genetics. But then, inevitably, I’ll pull myself out of that slump and remember that I used to be fit and thinner, and I don’t want to stay fat any more. I’m having the most success right now than I’ve had in years, and when I’m done, I’ll have to let you know in your comments. Keep these posts coming!

  12. Hope K says:

    I’ve tried several times to lose weight. Usually I was successful. It took me a couple of tries when I was around 30 to lose the weight I needed to lose. After I had my son, it was easy to lose the baby weight because I knew how.

    Then came Seroquel, a medicine I have to take for bipolar disorder. Although it really helps me stay stable, it seemed nearly impossible to lose the weight I gained from that drug. I tried and failed, tried and failed. I decided to make it my mission to lose that weight and started a blog. Through research and trial and error, I have managed to lose almost 30 pounds! I plan on keeping it off, too.

  13. Cindy says:

    For me it has been true that I have had to fail many times in order to figure out what works for me. So far I have learned that controlling my stress is key and the best way I can do that is through swimming. I do not have the quality of my food where I think I need it to be yet but I find I can only handle certain amount of change all at one time. My calories, fat and salt are controlled but, I need to eat more fresh food. I’m making progress and I am happy with that.

  14. Hettie says:

    I am about to embark on a different road to the normal quick fix diets. I signed up with a personal trainer. (Big step for me – I hate gym) I’ve started gaining weight after a hysterectomy and find it more and more difficult to lose. I’ll lose 10 kg but then put 12 back on in less time that it took me to lose it. I hear what you say that exercise might not automatically make me lose weight but if it motivates me to make better food choices then I’ll be very happy.

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