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The Horrible Shame Of Weight Regain.

Imagine with me that you’ve lost weight, lots of it. Besides the surreal feeling of elation, what else is happening in your world?

Your family members, those who aren’t overly jealous, brag about your accomplishment; your friends gush at your new figure and clothes; co-workers inquire about what you are doing. When you go shopping for that new wardrobe you’ve always wanted, you drop hints about your weigh loss in the dressing room, and now everyone in the store is excited for you. You haven’t worn these sizes in years and you want everyone to know it!

At your weight loss meetings your support buddies look up to you, envy you, put you on a pedestal. It’s a dream come true and you are relishing in your success.

You have advice to give, lots of it, and it is certainly highly regarded because you are one of the few, one of the 5% who managed to lose your weight. You’ve finally beaten the odds. You did it! Mission accomplished.

You love catching your reflection in the mirror. Who is that trim person with the spring in her step? Could it really be you?! Your favorite topic is dieting. You share recipes and tips and you proudly, yet politely, refuse the unplanned treats that are offered your way. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

As the weeks go by, compliments slow down. Everyone is used to the new you. The joy is there but the excitement just isn’t. You still love fitting in your new clothes, but they’re not so new any more. You’re working just as hard, but there is no longer any reward. No “whoo hoos” at the scale. All that effort just to stay the same! Bummer.

You’re tired of weighing and measuring; tired of planning your food; tired of asking for special meals at restaurants. Your focus shifts to the busyness of life. You’re so confident in your new-found lifestyle that you don’t see the grip of the old one reaching out to strangle you … until it is too late. You’re too busy for the gym, too tired to plan, to hungry to say no. You’re struggling. The tricks that once worked, don’t help any more. Indulgences increase. Your control is slipping. That old beast of desire rears his ugly head. What’s happening to you? Where did the magic go?

You gain a few pounds and start to panic. You wonder if it’s noticeable to everyone else. Soon you realize it must be. You don’t attend your next weigh-in and meeting. You’ll wait a week and get it off before going back. What will your leader think?! You are, after all, the super star. You couldn’t bear those knowing stares that are sure to come. At night you lay in bed, fear rising in your heart, tears on your pillow. How did this happen? Why did you indulge? It wasn’t even worth it! You MUST get it back!

You start out strong again, but by mid-afternoon you give up. Day after day: lather, rinse, repeat.

You’re quieter now. The incessant weight loss chatter is gone. You no longer relish in the limelight and turn down social events. You want to go to your meetings, but you don’t want others to know what’s happened. Excuses and blame are on your lips, but somewhere inside you know that nothing and no one are making you overeat.

The one thing that keeps you from reaching out for help is the overwhelming shame of weight regain.

A similar version of this story belongs to each one of us who struggle with food. I’ve certainly lived it. And I’ve seen it in many who walk through my weight loss center doors. Just as no weight gain is permanent, no weight loss is permanent either.

Our weight teeters daily on our behavior; our behavior on our mindset; our mindset on our emotions, our emotions on our circumstances. As circumstances get harder, emotions rise and our focus shifts. It’s a balancing act. And we must learn how to stay on the wire.

Hard at times? Yes … but worth it.

Losing weight doesn’t make us invincible. Getting to goal doesn’t mean the battle ends.

What most don’t realize is this: it is the shame of our recurrent struggle, not the food itself, that is our enemy. Our pride, and the pride of others in us, is our joy when in our triumph and our self-made prison in our defeat. Prisons are isolated and lonely and keep us in a dark place. It keeps us away from our support and entangles us in the relentless battled of our cravings.

The fact is, part of us likes being on a pedestal, but we don’t belong there. When we are successful, we are no different than when we aren’t. We are still susceptible to cravings. We still have the potential to binge. We’re not cured. We’ve just determined to stay on the wire.

So what’s the solution? Are we to battle the beast day after day after day?

Well, yes and no. Yes, if you have a food struggle, you will always have a propensity to overeat. But no, it doesn’t always have to be a battle.

For those of you who have freely and openly shared your success, it’s time to freely and openly share your struggles. You’re not perfect. No one expects you to be, except maybe you.

Stop trying to hide your weakness, no matter how much weight you’ve lost or gained. Talk openly about what’s happening when you’re “off”, just as you did when you were “on”. Those who are strong today will at some point reach out for your strength. There is no judgment. There can’t be! We’ve all been on both sides! It’s part of life with a food addiction. It’s part of being you. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to talk about it.

Support groups are like the net under the wire. They break our fall, so we can once again climb back to the top. So be vulnerable.

Sharing gives us power over food. Shame gives food power over us.

It’s time to take back control. Learn how to make the struggle short-lived. Climb back up on that wire. Your wonderful journey continues – and will long after you reach your goal weight.

Juliemack said:
Aug 05, 2017 12:00 AM
Thank you so much. I have always felt so alone in this struggle. I guess even the strongest of us need help.

Lettyjurado68 said:
Jul 25, 2016 12:00 AM
Wow! Very true

Edie said:
Jul 22, 2016 12:00 AM
So true :)

Artist80 said:
Jul 12, 2016 12:00 AM
When I first heard you reading it, I was in tears, because it described what I've been going through to a T. Thanks for the wonderful support to your Kimmies.

Rileygrace said:
May 30, 2016 12:00 AM
This is so true! Thank you for sharing, Kim.

Pmriekert said:
May 28, 2016 12:00 AM
Awesome blog, and very true!

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