August 21, 2014


Continuing with my "while I was away" updates, I want to share something I fell a little bit in love with this summer.

I polled my friends, asking for suggestions on workouts I could do at home while my son took naps. My sister jokingly suggested Sweatin' to the Oldies - but then I found a copy of the second DVD at Target and decided to give it a try. And I loved it!

I am a huge fan of going to the gym. I like machines. I like running. I like biking. But I am absolutely not a group aerobics or Zumba type of girl - I just have no coordination. That said, I liked this DVD, maybe because I could do it alone, in the privacy of my own home, where my confusion and incorrect moves were only seen by myself. At least I was able to keep up with most of the moves - and even broke an okay sweat! I figured, it was better than just sitting on the couch watching "19 Kids and Counting" and waiting for my son to wake up.

Something that was very interesting about the DVD was that at the end, the dancers were all introduced, and beneath their names was the number of pounds that they have lost. Most of them were between 10 and 50 pounds, and there were a few that were 100 to 150 pounds. At the very end there was a man who lost 285 pounds, and the final man lost 704 pounds.

My jaw hit the floor with the last one, and I immediately went online to see if there was any information about him. I found his Wikipedia page, which unfortunately revealed that his story ended exactly as I expected: he regained the weight. All of it. Plus more.

As surprising as it may seem, it's actually not that uncommon. Most people who lose weight regain it, and the likelihood seems to increase with the more weight that is lost. There is so much about weight that is mental and emotional. You don't get to be over 900 pounds because you enjoy eating or because you love food. Even at 345 pounds like I once was, love has nothing to do with it. It's self-loathing, it's a coping mechanism.

I knew the statistic and I swore that it wouldn't happen to me, and still I found myself dangerously close to 300 pounds again after my pregnancy. For super obese people (and formerly super obese people), a pound is rarely a pound. It's so easy to gain a pound, and then three. Three turns to five, and suddenly you find yourself bargaining - "as long as I'm in this decade of weight, I'm fine." And 250 becomes 260, becomes 270, becomes 280. There is no doubt in my mind that I could be back at my highest weight by now.

I saw a fortune cookie fortune on Pinterest this summer that said "no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." I feel like there are layers to that. The basic level is about responsibility, about community, about doing the right thing. But I also saw it as relevant to my weight loss journey: no one decision - good or bad - is the cause of my weight. When I am at my goal weight, it won't be because of one meal or one workout, it will be the result of many, many decisions.

I need to do things differently this time. I need to obsess less, I need to focus on the bigger picture rather then getting devastated by small choices. Mistakes and missteps aren't fatal unless I allow them to become so.


Running Meg said...

I bet I would like Sweating to the Oldies a whole lot more than some of the workout videos I do. Did you feel like you got a good workout in?

The last part of this post is so, so true. Especially the last sentence.

"Mistakes and missteps aren't fatal unless I allow them to become so."

I hope you remember that when you think about getting down on yourself (as we often do).

Melissa @ Faster In Water said...

Really good post!

FogDog said...

I can remember my mom doing swetaing to the oldies when I was a kid and I would sometimes join her. Thanks for the memory.

It is scary to think how easy it it to slip back to the old ways and gain all the weight back. I'm a prime example. It's only recently that I started to realize what you are talking about. Addicition of any kind is mental and emotional and there's never just one event that causes the whole. It's a series of steps in one direction or another and the real questions is "how long can you stay on the path?". Thanks for sharing.

timothy said...

I LOVE sweatin to the oldies, there are actually 5 of them. when I was REALLY out of shape I could barely do them but seeing people way bigger than me kept me goin. and just because most do regain doesn't mean you should give up hope or stop trying. I'm NOT finished I initially lost 80 pounds and I've kept that off for over a decade. it's losin the last 40 where I stalled but I dropped 20 of that over the last year. hang in there, you'll get there!

Lorrie Haley said...

That workout DVD looks fun! I also have scared myself with the statistics. So far I have kept off my 100 lb weight loss. The problem was that I still did not have a healthy relationship with food or my body image. After I lost the weight I obsessed over the scale and every little calorie. I realized that I was still binge eating and still had shame issues. Recently on runsforcookies blog I discovered "Intuitive Eating". My therapist also suggested it. I got a book and self help cds from the library. So far it is really helping me. My goal is to be healthy, happy, and free of any eating disorder.