All Aboard the Struggle Bus!

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All Aboard the Struggle Bus - stack of donuts

When I lost 70 pounds, if someone had told me how much of a struggle keeping the weight off would be, I don’t think I would’ve believed them. Now I would probably jump up and down pointing at them screaming, “YES!!!!!”  I’m having a tough time getting my motivation back. I talk about my struggle in my blog posts Getting Back on Track and How to Beat Emotional Eating, but the reality is IT’S HARD!!!

Most days I wake up ready to get back on track. Some days I’m successful, others not so much. I have a fairly busy life. I have a husband, a four-year-old, and a full-time job. On top of that I have a lot of side projects I’m working on. We have also just completed a major home renovation project that turned our house upside down.

I am a homebody and my home is my sanctuary. Any time things get hectic or chaotic at home, it directly affects my mindset and everything I’m working on at the time. The home renovation project required us to move everything out of our family room and bedrooms into our living room. We had very limited space in which to live our day to day lives. Adding to that chaos there were a lot of contractors coming and going for months on end. To top it all off, the dust and debris that settled on every surface of the house made for a major clean-up effort. We’re two months out from completion of the work and I’m still cleaning tabletops and other surfaces because the drywall dust is never-ending.

All this to say that disruption to routine really affects me, especially when it comes to losing weight. I get stressed and proceed to eat my feelings. I try to balance out the stress with exercise but finding the time for that has gotten more and more difficult. Just as the home renovation work was progressing, my son stopped taking afternoon naps on the weekends. Afternoon naps were the time during which I got on the treadmill, put on my headphones, and watched mindless TV for an hour while running my stress away. Now that naps are no more, finding the time to get that “me” time back is a lot more difficult.

I can ask my husband to help out and let me take the time for me. The problem I run into is that I feel guilty. I shouldn’t feel guilty, I know that, but I do. It’s something I’ve struggled with. He assures me I shouldn’t feel guilty, that it’s okay to take the time to do the things I want to do. This is definitely a “me” thing and something I’m working on.

Going Back to Basics

So how am I dealing with all of this? I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. I find that going back to where I started to be the best course of action. I review all the steps I took early on, as well as the tools I used to help get me through my journey to date. Doing this helps me remember my goals, why I’m doing this, and the tools I used to be successful. These things are still relevant and are at the core of my motivation and success. It’s helpful to revisit them whenever I feel myself struggling.

Reviewing my Original Goals

When I decided to embark on this final weight loss journey I thought about what it was I wanted to accomplish. I knew I wanted to lose weight but that was as far as I had gotten. Taking the time to think about  what it was specifically that I wanted to achieve was a helpful exercise. It allowed me to come up with my own list of goals that included losing 70 pounds, gaining more confidence, and easing the aches and pains that I had started feeling in my joints. I also wanted to stop feeling tired all the time. These became my baseline goals for my weight loss journey. Over time I have honed these goals and adapted them for any changes that have occurred in my life, however the baseline goals remain pretty much the same.

Revisiting My “Why”

While I was setting my goals, I also thought a lot about why I wanted to reach those goals. What was it that was motivating me? Why did I want to put in the hard work necessary to achieve those things? My “why” was mainly centered around me. I was tired of feeling and looking bad and I hated being fat. Another thing I realized was that I wanted to see what happened when I finally stopped giving up and went after what I truly wanted.

My other “why” was my family, specifically my husband and son. I wanted to be healthier for them so that I’d be around for a long time and felt I owed it to all of us to do this. I didn’t want my son to be embarrassed by me as he got older for being “the fat mom”, I wanted to do it to be the best version of me that I can.

Remembering How Far I’ve Come

Any time I begin to waver in my resolve, I look back at my “before” pictures. I compare them to where I am now and it puts in perspective just how far I’ve come. Do I want to waste all that hard work by giving up now? Do I want to go back to being that unhappy, overweight person? I also look at my weight loss tracker and look at the steady path downward, how happy and excited I was every week to see that number get smaller.

Looking back at those things helps strengthen my resolve to keep on moving forward. Below is the graph of my weight loss journey to date. As you can see weight loss journeys are like roller coasters, there are a lot of ups and downs. As long as the overall trend is going in the right direction, you’re on the right path. When I saw that mine was trending up, it made me even more motivated to buckle down and get back on track.

Revisiting Old Meal Plans and my Essential Tools

I like to go back and review all the meal plans and tools I used when I first started on this final weight loss journey back in January of 2017.  The meal plans have a lot of my “tried and true” meals and recipes that I have used over and over. I also like to try to remember tools like my Essential Tools for Weight Loss.  Little things like measuring cups and spoons, my egg cooker, my pineapple corer – those are the things I used daily when I was losing weight successfully. I try to incorporate each and every one back into my daily routine and meal prep because I know that combination of meal plans and essential tools work. There’s no sense in recreating the wheel.

Finding Time to Exercise

Even though I feel guilty when I do it, I’ve started asking my family for more time for me – just an hour a day a few days a week to completely focus on myself. During that time I unplug from the outside world, hop on the treadmill, and plug into some of my guilty TV pleasures. Right now I’m watching Season 14 of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team during my treadmill time.

Being Kind to Myself

I’ve had a rough summer emotionally. On top of the major home renovations, my father passed away. When I got the news that he had died, I went into taking-care-of-everybody-else mode. I focused on taking care of my mother, helping to get things in order, and making sure she was okay. Putting all my energy into that, I didn’t take the time I needed to grieve his passing. I can feel that weight inside but haven’t yet fully dealt with it.

Finding an Outlet

We bought our current house three years ago. When we bought it we knew we wanted to do a lot of projects and renovations over time. The biggest renovation is the one we just completed. I have a long list of projects I want to do personally. For some reason I have had a hard time getting started with any of them. I know what I want to do, but taking the first steps has been tough.

Remember my good friend guilt? It plays a role once again. I feel guilty for taking the time to do things that I want to because I worry about feeling like I’m neglecting my husband and son. With anything, identifying the obstacle is the first step to overcoming it. Instead of letting that guilt stop me, I have let myself feel the guilt and moved forward with the projects. I recently completed a small project that included making something for my son’s room. That small project, Making a Giant Cozy Corner Pillow, was enough to get me excited to do more.

Digging into the Underlying Issues

I know there are many things that can hold me back or cause me to stumble (or not even start). Chaos, guilt, and grief have all played a role, as has fatigue from having so much to do while trying to balance all the different areas of my life. The combination of these things have definitely contributed to my struggle. When I take the time to figure out what is at the heart of my struggles I can better work towards addressing those issues.

Figuring it out, acknowledging it, and putting together a way forward is therapeutic. It also equips me with the tools to deal with other issues when they arise (which they inevitably will). Personal introspection and reflection is what helps us grow. Instead of accepting that this is just how things are, it’s important to dig deeper and really know yourself.

There Will Always be “Something”

I wish I could say staying on track and maintaining motivation is easy. I wish weight was a non-issue for everybody; however, if it wasn’t weight, it would be something else. There will always be something. Instead of fighting it, embrace it and face it head on. Start each day with the intention of staying on track. Some days you will be successful, other days you might not. The important thing to do is to keep trying.

Figure out your own ways for managing the process. Come up with your own list of “how-tos”. Figure out what it is that is causing you to struggle and what you need to do to get past it. You’ll find that you learn a lot about yourself, as well as develop the tools to deal with the next struggle when it comes along.