Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I'm one of the 80%!

Three years ago I lost 32kg in weight following the Weight Watchers program. I went from a clothes size 20 to size 10. Needless to say, I was chuffed to bits. I never felt healthier. And my confidence was sky high. To be able to go into any clothes shop and buy an outfit was unimaginably liberating.

But I was warned that this may not last. I was told that 80% of people who lost weight put it back on again, and then some. I was determined that it wouldn't happen to me. But slowly, over the next couple of years, I started to put the weight back on again. At this moment in time, I have put on 22kgs, and am now back up to clothes size 18.

I am faced with two options. I could try to maintain this weight and accept that I am going to be overweight for the rest of my life. I have just bought some lovely dresses  in size 18 and I feel very good. And being this size hasn't stopped me from being active.

The snag is, being this size has had an effect on my health. The bigger I get, the higher my blood pressure goes and I start to display pre-diabetis symptoms. So I do not have a choice. It's back to watching my weight again.

I don't know if I'll aim to be as small as I was three years ago because it was so hard to maintain that weight. So my aim is to get to a weight that I can maintain, and that leaves me with a normal blood pressure.

Here I go again!

Are you a yo-yo dieter? What do you think is the secret to breaking the dieting/putting on weight cycle?  


TashD said...

Hi Sarah

Thank you for this honest post. I do know what it feels like as I am one of the 80% too. Only I have lost 25-30kg at least 4 times in the past 20 years or so. I am the quintessential yo-yo dieter, which my endocrinologist tells me has resulted in epigenetic changes that have altered my metabolism. This means that now, even on a "normal" calorie intake I will put on weight. I have lost the weight with a hospital dietician, with weight watchers (twice) and the last time was using the 5:2 fasting diet plus phentermine (prescribed by my endocrinologist) to help speed up my metabolism. Each of these times I have also exercised. It usually ends up being about a 5-7 year cycle: 1-2 years to lose it, maintain for 1-2 years then 1-3 years to put it back on again. In the past I put it back on as soon as something got in the way of me regularly exercising or focusing on what I was eating - babies, grief, study, injury, surgery etc. Already I have seen about 5kg start creeping back on due to lots of work travel (conferences! with too much alcohol!), very little sleep and eating "normally". It is very disheartening knowing that this will be a lifelong battle for me, especially having family and friends who can eat and drink what they like with very little exercise thrown in! I try to stay on the 5:2 or 6:1 now and I have to push myself to go to the gym 3 times a week. I have to stay off the alcohol, even a glass of wine during the week will show up and try to get more sleep. I'd love to not have to worry about all of that. Like you, I can still look good when I am heavy, but I look and feel much better when the weight is off. I was worried about being pre-diabetic too and I was aching all the time and tired. I feel so much better when the weight is off and I have a terrible shopping habit, but I think that it's worth trying to keep it off no matter how hard. I vowed that this would be the last time I did it, so as I've seen the kg creep up a bit I'm back on track to lose them before Christmas (and holidays put a few more on!) I hope! If you ever need a partner to keep motivated - you know where to find me! xx

Sarah Stewart said...

I'm with you, TasD - it's so disheartening to know this is a life battle. I find my mental health affects my weight gain and visa versa. I guess I am also mindful that as I get holder this becomes a greater battle, with more at stake. Anyway, glad to know I am not the only one, and will definitely give you a shout when I get stuck :)

Laura Jane said...

Yep - hand in the air!

I have lost 10-15 kg at a time on 4 occasions in my life, each time from a higher set point. I kinda stopped trying for about 10 years, when I realised the only way i lost weight was to get into the pits of self-loathing, and given that I had a very stressful life (disabled child, tricky marriage, frustrated self-development and aimless life trajectory) I chose to love myself and be Largely Positive. I dressed well and was a well presented size 20-22 who slowly developed a better marriage, a career trajectory and worked hard to achieve a lot. My child grew older and less dependent and I accepted myself and my lot. But The impaired glucose tolerance I had had for 18 years finally tipped over into Type II diabetes, and my blood pressure needed medication, then a second medication and still I limped around on a bad hip (not aided by dragging an enormous weight around). I was almost twice the weight I had been aged 21. I could lose about 5-8kg, then would creep back up, never quite tipping my top weight.
Finally I chose to have a hip replacement and having that major surgery at a superior bodyweight was what snapped me out of it. Eventually I could move again without living on painkillers and I determined that if I EVER needed that surgery again I was not going to do it at that level of morbid obesity.
I found a holistic counsellor who specialized in eating disorders, and she helped me unpick some of the roots of my eating issues (self-esteem, childhood stuff). Gradually I began to accept taking care of myself as a higher priority. I have lost 11kg so far (I had lost another 3kg and regained, sigh) and will see the counsellor again for a few tune-up sessions. I have halved my BP meds, and am taking my diabetes more seriously again. I am cooking better, keeping a VERY honest food diary and watching my step count.
I know this is a life-long thing for me (I am 54). I come from a long line of big women, but I also binge eat. I am not kidding myself here. But I feel SO MUCH BETTER already and am still solidly in 3 figures of Kgs, and down 1-2 clothes sizes and it feels great to be able to MOVE. I feel better than I have in 10 years.
Keep it up Sarah! You inspired me to get moving and lose weight, and I watch and cheer you from across the country x

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks Laura

Isn't it funny, but when I think about you and TashD, I see two gorgeous women who always appear beautifully dressed, very confident and very attractive. It's been fascinating reading your comments. Question for I ever likely to be happy with me? That's the crux of things I think, as much as anything.

Sarah Stewart said...

From a reader:

great to hear from you again I gave up dieting years ago everyone around me is dieting at work I made the decision I would reduce my weight when I retire my blood pressure might go down it might not .historically I come from a family of overweight grand parents my mother was a size 16 but life offers so much more than sorting about your weight.

Sarah Stewart said...

From Facebook:

Rachel Reed The weight watchers approach will mess with your metabolism and mental health. I know a lot of people who have had success with 'ancestral' approach - not the dogmatic silly version. It feels counter-intuitive to eat more calories and fat (real un-processed) but it works. Cleared up my lifelong acne and the side effect was getting leaner smile emoticon You shouldn't spend your life 'fighting' your body x

Sharon Smith Disclaimer - no answers below, only thoughts wandering - I think it's more complex than yoyo - yoyo sounds to simple, as if I do the yoyo and this happens. We are what we are in terms of our disposition and genes. Then We have lifestyles that are not naturally Physical - not really what our bodies for made for - evolution has been slow ! We have a relationship and choices with food that thrills all our senses. We are not seasonal or survivalists. We are
Social with food - we miss each other. We don't like to hurt - we feel hurt is bad, as I get older moving requires more courage. It's complex. I am
100% in for staying off the risk lists ... Smaller waist fewer risks - the formula is easier said than done. It is a battle ... It just is.

Sarah Stewart said...

Kelley Stewart Increasing activity but also increasing muscle mass/strength is most important in my body fitness. More muscle mass generally means higher resting metabolic rate. Women who weight train do not get huge. They get lean. And it's great for your bone density.

Junita Lyon Me too
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 14 hrs
Anita Hamilton
Anita Hamilton Sarah I was an exchange student when I was 16-17 so on top of normal adolescent weight gain, homesickness and partying helped me gain a lot of weight (eating KFC, chocolate, etc) that year. On arrival home most people were pretty amused by my weight gain, but I was appalled by my body. I became a runner, I ate little and threw up anything that might make me gain weight. By the end of year 12 I was back to being slim and in 'control'.
Another complication in my environment was that my mum was a perpetual dieter and this made me very determined to never get seriously overweight after I was back to 'normal' when I was an adult. This impacted my willingness to gain weight during first pregnancy, my urgency to return to my pre-pregnant state ASAP after having my first child and so on - again it was about control.
But somewhere along the line something seems to have clicked - I now fluctuate in weight annually and pretty much have decided on an upper limit and a lower limit (it's an 8kg range). So when I'm creeping towards the upper range we (as a family) choose a new way to get back to baseline and support each other through it. This year it is 'I Quit Sugar' and last year it was 5:2 fast diet.
I have decided that my body is ok and I need to keep it in a good healthy range so it can see me through life! I am in control of my weight but not always my life and these two things impact each other but should not be directly linked (ie: I can't control my life by controlling my body weight)
Sorry for this veeery long post - it's a brain dump!!

Sarah Stewart said...

Merrolee Penman Great insights @Anita... As you know I have slowly seen my weight creep up over 25 years..probably 1/2 kilo a year and this year was the year for it to go...thru relearning portion size and adjusting what I ate combined with intensive exercise. So far I've kept to my goal weight and worked to the principles. I've aimed for a lifestyle change that is permanent...not a diet that I go on and off as required....but I do think it is different things for different weight was very stable thru my 20s and the arrival of our 2 daughters..the weight gain came through having an increasingly sedentary job and better income that meant rare treats became an everyday the treats still exist but are no longer daily and are a little taste rather than the whole! And I consciously exercise more..but what works for me won't be the key for the next person....but if I can be part of your cheer or support squad with your new goal then just count me in!