When Jerry and I got married in October 2013, I had been logging my calories and exercise on MyfitnessPal for 22 months straight, day in and day out, after having started my fitness journey in January 2012. By the time our wedding rolled around, I had been nearly flawless in my food tracking and exercise for nearly two years straight. Unless it was our weekly cheat meal, not a morsel passed by my lips unlogged and unaccounted for. I was perfect in my logging and I had lost 118 pounds because of it.
Then it was our wedding and things just got crazy. The week before the wedding, family arrived in town and it was constant celebrating and catching up over meals at our favorite restaurants and frozen custard at the beach. Our rehearsal dinner was held at our favorite Italian restaurant with decadent and fattening foods, followed by our favorite cookie cake loaded with frosting. The actual wedding reception itself could have been bad for me too, except that I was so anxious and excited that I could hardly eat (a first for this foodie!). At any rate, we had prime rib (Jerry’s favorite), fettuccine alfredo (my favorite), and a variety of other amazing Italian food. Our dessert buffet was to die for, but our wedding guests raided it before we got a chance, leaving Jerry and I with only cupcakes and brownies (still delicious, but we missed out on the cake balls, Oreo truffles, chocolate covered strawberries, mini cheesecakes, and more. Can you tell we’re still bitter?).
Then we woke up the next morning and it was honeymoon cruise time! We started the morning with leftover cupcakes and cookie cake and proceeded to eat nonstop for the next seven days. Anyone who has been on a cruise knows that the best part of a cruise? Is the food. It’s available all the time in the form of elaborate and ginormous buffets, classy dining rooms, room service, and ice cream poolside. For two foodies who had been so incredibly strict about their diets for the past two-ish years… we were in heaven!
We told ourselves that we would get right back to our regimen the day we returned home. In fact, we were looking forward to it after all the gorging we had been doing. But then we got back home and discovered it’s not so easy getting back on track after you’ve been OFF track for two weeks straight. I don’t regret for one minute what we did. We’re only getting married once and honeymooning once, and I’m so glad we lived it up and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. But it’s not been easy ever since.
I wouldn’t say we’re fully off the wagon now. I’d say we’re straddling the wagon and holding on for dear life as we hang half off, half on. Immediately following our return, it was Thanksgiving, then it was Christmas, then it was both of our birthdays in January. We’ve been in a constant state of celebration since OCTOBER! That certainly doesn’t make things easier, but we need, so badly, to refocus.
First things first, we know we have a problem and we’re admitting it. That’s the first step, right? We are struggling and I know why. Before October, we were so strict it HURT. It led us to being successful with our weight loss, but we weren’t always successful in other areas that mattered. Our aim was so laser focused that we often neglected family and friends, to an extent. We were constantly turning down dinner and party invitations because we didn’t want to face the food temptations. Instead, we’d stay home eating our healthier meals. This is not a good way to live. Yes, we want to be healthy, but not at the expense of a normal life. Now, we go to those parties and dinners and we CAN’T fight the temptations. We need to find that happy medium and it’s been a real struggle. We need to be strict enough that we maintain our health, but we also can’t be so strict that we forgo a normal life and relationships.
I so badly want to have a normal relationship with food, but I just can’t. I’ve been successful because of my willpower, not because of my relationship with food. I just want to be able to eat a meal without needing to log it to hold myself accountable, but when I decide not to log it, I usually can’t control myself and I eat more than I should. This is hard to admit. I thought that I would gain a healthier relationship with food after logging for so long, and I have to a degree, but when I don’t log, I just can’t be good. I think I’m going to have to be a lifetime food logger because I need that accountability to keep myself on track. That is frustrating to me.
I also need to get a bit better about my exercising. I used to be at the gym seven days a week when I was first starting out, sometimes for two hours at a time. This was okay for the initial period of weight loss, but it was ultimately not something I could maintain for the rest of my life, nor was it entirely healthy. Now, I aim to get to the gym about three to four days a week, which I feel is sufficient. I used to feel so motivated to go and kick butt though, and now not so much. I still make myself go, because I have to, but I wish I had that same motivation that I used to. I think it’s just rough right now because it’s so snowy and miserable out. I also haven’t been running outside because it’s slippery and disgusting. I’m hoping that with the warmer weather, I will feel that need and urge to run again and push myself. I am definitely looking forward to spring and training for future races again.
So now our celebrations are done, but we’re still fighting the good fight with food and fitness. I used to log like a robot, never skipping a beat, never missing a meal. It was a rare day that I slipped up. Now, it’s a rare day that I DON’T slip up. Right now, I’m just taking it day by day by day. When I have a good day, where I’ve logged all my food and stayed within my calories limits, it’s a victory. It’s a small one, but a victory nonetheless. Quite frankly, we’re sick of starting over. We keep telling ourselves, “we’ll be bad today, but it’s back on the wagon tomorrow!” I’m sick of starting over, but I’m also sick of being so hard on myself. I need to find a balance with food, that despite two plus years of successful weight loss, I still haven’t found. Luckily, I’ve only gained about six pounds back from my 118 pound loss, and I am trying desperately to re-lose those six, plus the last 20 after that. I keep losing a couple again, then gaining it back, so I’m still sitting right around that up six pounds mark.
I hear all these statistics about how most people who’ve lost significant amounts of weight almost always gain it back. I’m determined to beat the odds and be one of those rare people that don’t gain it all back. It’s been so damn hard, and it’s a struggle that I really will have to face every single day for the rest of my life. Some days, I feel like throwing in the towel but I know it will never come to that. I have worked too hard and come too far to ever be my former self again. Some days, it feels impossible to keep the weight off, but you know what? I once thought it was impossible to lose 118 pounds and I did it. SO THERE! 😛