The Slide into Hell: Regaining Lost Weight

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on October 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I was at a party yesterday, and a friend expressed concern for her mother who is regaining lost weight.  My friend is unusual, in that she wasn’t engaging in the typical gossip that happens when someone regains.  None of the “How could she?  She looked so great!”  No speculation about work or marital difficulties or other “logical” reasons the regain might be happening.  It’s just happening, and her mother is in emotional pain.  My friend didn’t ask for weight-loss advice, tips and tricks.  She simply wants her mom to be happy, and, in my opinion, she wants the right thing.    

From time to time, people will compliment me on my “will power.”   They don’t understand that keeping off lost weight is NOT a function of simple “willpower.”  If that were the case then no one would be fat, because the social consequences are too great.  No one who has been a social pariah in the past simply loses the will to be socially acceptable.  People don’t choose to be social pariahs in the first place, and they certainly don’t choose to return to that status or get lazy and allow it to happen.   

From what my friend tells me about her mother, I don’t think she’s weak-willed, undisciplined, ignorant, lazy or unmotivated.  While she had surgical assistance in her loss, the mom understood fully that she’d also need to make “lifestyle” changes after the surgery.  She doesn’t need to be “educated” that fruit is a better snack choice than chips.  She doesn’t need a “wake-up call” or any of the other condescending “help” that we get now from our diet culture.  She knew she was fat, she went to extreme lengths to try to change that condition, and she knows now that she’s regaining. 

Many people have been through or are going through weight regain.  We tip-toe around this topic because it is so painful, and yet truthfully addressing it may be the only way to ultimately ease the pain.  I hope these words resonate and offer comfort. 

Regaining lost weight is a reluctant, painful slide into Hell that I know well.  It includes all of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross stages of death: 

  • Denial  “The laundry has shrunk these jeans!” or “It’s only three pounds.  Who can see that?” That turns into only ten pounds, then . . .
  • Anger  “Sh*t!  Sh*t!  Sh*t!  Why me?  I’m not messing up that bad. I’m not eating that much.”  and
  • Bargaining, “Okay, God, for just three days I’m going to cut my calories to 900 and that’ll jump start me, right?”  Wrong.  Your body won’t allow you to starve yourself for three days after you’ve just lost a great deal of weight, even if you have started regaining that weight (perhaps especially if you have started the natural process of regaining the weight).  Even if somehow you are able to overpower the continual stream of impulses to eat, your body won’t respond to your temporary starvation with anything that resembles a satisfying “jump start.”

The final two stages present themselves simultaneously.   Acceptance accompanies Depression.  Since the finality and quietus of death itself are absent, the final stage of dramatic weight regain is a dreary state of self-loathing and resignation.  The tasks of life – work, family obligations – may serve as distractions from this mental state or they may just make things more tender.  Friends and family don’t acknowledge what is happening, for fear of wounding you, so you make jokes to ease the tension, though you’re withering and dying inside.  In time, however, once the whole messy process has ended, and everyone adjusts to the re-engorged you, your depression may lift.

Do I remember it right?  It’s been a long time. 

What is different about me now is that I have pretty much immersed myself in the science and cultural mythology of weight-loss and maintenance.  I have made it my job, part-time most days, but sometimes full-time.  At first, when I embarked on this pursuit, I was determined to become “an inspiration.”  Like people who have gone before, I hoped to guide others to the magic land of Trim, Fit and Happy.  Instead, I find I’ve arrived at a wholly different place.  Happy is still a good goal, and Fit is a gift well worth adding, but Trim now strikes me as optional, preoccupying, time-consuming and much more complicated than most people acknowledge. 

The broad literature on weight loss and maintenance, objectively, doesn’t support long-term optimism for most people.  For a variety of deep, personal reasons, even MDs and scientists often can’t approach this topic objectively.  They start from the assumption that fat people must be mentally or psychologically broken, and may be (should be) helped to repair themselves, so that they may attain a better, more lithe and socially acceptable, body size.  

I was not broken, mentally or emotionally, as a fat person, and I haven’t “fixed” myself now.  I’m just thinner, and there may be some physical benefits to that, but they don’t come free.  I’m not even smarter, actually.  As I calculate it, I have had 3,640 glasses of wine between my fat body and now.  That had to take out a brain cell or two.

  1. I just discovered your website via the Fat Chat feed, and what a revelation. Thank you so much for this – it’s just what I needed to hear! I come from an obese family, and was overweight throughout my childhood – I can even recall being on a diet in the 1st grade. In my mid-20s I got fed up with it, and through extreme effort lost ~70 pounds over 2 years. Despite my best efforts about half of that came back in the next 2 years, but amazingly – and through the type of Herculean efforts you describe here – I managed to maintain at that level (35lbs below my starting point) for another 6 years, for 8 years total.

    Then I started my PhD. In a city renowned for its (delicious but unhealthy) food and drink culture. The time to exercise 1.5-2 hours/day 6 days/week, and the money to buy whole grains, veggies, and gym memberships, evaporated into thin air. I simultaneously hit the mid-30s metabolic slowdown, where even efforts that worked in my maintenance and post-maintenance days no longer work. Needless to say, the remaining 35 pounds came back over the last 5 years.

    I still eat a healthy, high carb/low fat/1400-1800 calorie diet most days, and still do aerobic exercise 3-5 days/week, plus commute by bike daily. By all rights I should be far thinner than I am. I’m doing everything the popular press says to do (“take the stairs”, “walk 30 minutes/day”, “don’t drink soda”, etc), and I both eat healthier and exercise more than nearly every one of my skinny friends. Yet my BMI currently hovers somewhere around 32.

    I found the fatosphere a couple years ago and am settling in there, but it’s been a rough ride. There’s so much talk of set points. Well, the rest of my family has continually gained weight throughout their lives, and other than that 8-year oddity, I have, too. I’m not convinced I have a set point, or if I do it’s far above a level that will let me do what I love (my career and passion requires being active outdoors). Instead it’s set me into cycles of eating healthy all week, then “trusting my body” and “letting” myself enjoy some good food over the weekend, then after seeing 1-3 pounds pack on over the weekend freaking out and going back to dieting. Which, of course, rarely – if ever – works. Because it’s NOT as simple as “it’ll all melt off as soon as you get back to your routine”. As IF!

    Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy, that there’s something wrong with me. I mean, just how can a person gain 3 pounds after eating 2000-2200 calories in one day? It’s not just water weight, and it doesn’t just melt off. By the rules of “calories in, calories out” – heck, by the rules of thermodynamics – that just shouldn’t be possible. But that’s my reality. And it’s not thyroid or anything else – I’ve been tested several times. It’s just my body fighting to hold on to any calories I eat, fearing (for good reason) I’ll start starving it again the next day.

    Wow, I didn’t mean to write a book here. This really hit home to me, obviously. Congratulations to you for maintaining for so long – I know the effort it takes, and I’m very impressed that you’ve been able to keep it up for so long. Thanks for writing your story and your findings, it’s so refreshing!

    • I rarely mention this in the fatophere, but I can gain weight easily, too, and I police myself a little to prevent weight gain over my normal range. Back when I used to weigh myself (and we’re talking 20 years ago at this point. I’m 41), I noticed that I could gain 5 pounds in a day if I’d had commercial pizza or other heavy, take-out or restaurant food. Now, I do enjoy eating that type of thing occasionally, but (for example), I’m very alert for “eat less” cues for a few days afterwards, and I don’t eat that way too often – once a week to once a month. I also try not to eat mindlessly, and if I do feel the need to knosh while watching TV or on the computer, I eat things like carrot and celery sticks or homemade popcorn (yes, with butter and salt :-).

      But, I do eat over 2000 calories most days. To experience quick, dramatic weight gain, I’d probably have to eat over 3000.

      And, just as a note, I’m a HAES practitioner, not a weight loss maintainer. At the moment, I’m pretty close to my highest weight; probably only ten pounds or so below it. The idea of uncontrolled weight gain scares the shit out of me. I’m afraid that if I gain weight, I’ll feel crappy, lose mobility – and the health issues that run on my dad’s side of the family – notably type II diabetes and heart disease – might finally gain a foothold. I’m in between my high school weight and my freshman 20 weight right now (closer to the latter) and I’d like to avoid hitting a new high, ever. Luckily, my normal weight range is pretty large: 40 pounds between 180 and 220 where I feel comfortable and can exercise some control. I can’t get below it on the low end without unsustainable habits, and I don’t go over it with reasonable habits, either.

      I can accept being fat. I’ve always been fat. But, I want it to be on my terms. I’ll make allowances for injuries and illnesses, but I want to have the strength and stamina to feel (and let’s face it, look) comfortable at my size. Other than that little bit of consciousness about what I eat – and I was raised by a health nut, so “eating healthy” comes naturally to me – HAES is mostly about physical activity to me. I don’t dedicate a huge amount of time to it each week (maybe 3-5 hours, not including walking), but I’m pretty persistent.

  2. In 2002, at somewhere over 300 pounds I decided that my sleep apnea and other mounting physical problems needed to be addressed by weight loss. With no professional assistance I started an exercise and diet program that consisted of more of one and less of the other.

    Over 2 years I lost over 70 pounds and got to a low of 242 pounds. At that point I plateau’d and couldn’t lose any more weight despite significant effort. Since then I’ve regained some of the weight. I’m now at 264 (and by now, I mean today because I know almost exactly what I weigh almost every day). So I’ve maintained 36 pounds of weight loss through menopause and about 6 years. I’m almost 53 years old now.

    It’s a constant struggle. And you’re right: it’s more than a life-style change…it’s at least a part-time job. I tell myself that it gets harder after menopause…but I suspect that it isn’t any harder than at 20.

    I truly appreciate finding a blog that realistically reflects the struggle of maintaining. Thank you for sharing this blog.

  3. I’m sooo glad the two of you found my blog. How remarkable the number coincidences with loss/regain. I have a lot of posts in me, a lot of opinions that fit my senses of reality, but do not, generally, fit current cultural mythology. I hope you all come ’round frequently. Pull me into line if I misinterpret reality or if cultural mythology has anything to offer that I’m missing.

  4. liked this post.
    I have lost quite a bit. I am in month gosh what is it now…
    17 or 18 of this whole weight loss thing…and I went from focusing solely on weigh tloss to incorporating real life into this deal…and while my weight loss slowed down..I feel like I am starting to get a grip on what living the rest of my will be like.
    Not too hard. Yes, some work.. vigilance with the calories…exercising almost daily. But it is worth the effort.
    nice blog.

  5. Chris, it sounds like you are in the “coast” phase after or near the end of the downhill ski that is weight loss (see my post on skiing as metaphor). Treasure the time, and make it last as long as you can. This is honeymoon time, of sorts (jumping metaphors). Enjoy it, extend it, but remain aware of the signals from your body. Keep with this blog — or just note it and return to it later, when you sense you’re on the cross-country course and it’s harder than you’d like.

    I think that soon we’ll get into discussions (other maintainers and me, I hope) about what to do when the endocrine profile changes (and it will) to increase hunger and other lesser impulses to eat, when the amount of exercise required gets discouraging (that happens too) and when the appeal of the rewards starts to flicker, like a TV picture going on the fritz. Your blog philosophy to live simply and deliberately will serve you well, sister. Now that you’ve lost the weight, you would do well to become a maintainer. Yo-yoing has consequences. You are hereby invited to join the club, deliberately. I cannot promise “simple,” but maybe you can help us all in that worthy attempt.

  6. “I was not broken, mentally or emotionally, as a fat person, and I haven’t “fixed” myself now.”

    Each of us are different. I was broken, and am still a fat person, but am currently “fixed” mentally in regards to food and on a path which I cannot help but believe will result in continued losses and a healthy relationship with food (which does not include rigidness – I still eat everything). I started at 380 lbs. in June 2009 and am now about 235 in October 2010. Fixing what was wrong with me was hard work, but the result has been worth it, and no, it wasn’t character weakness, a lack of willpower, stupidity, or laziness that needed to be fixed. It was emotional and esteem problems, a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, habitual and compulsive eating, and a biological cycle that had to be slowly rerouted to another path.

    I couldn’t imagine making weight loss/maintenance the focus of the rest of my life or my job – frankly, the very notion that I’d have to drove me crazy and I was so relieved when I stopped thinking about it all of the time. I dealt with the underlying issues such that I wouldn’t have to devote all of my energy to it for the rest of my life. I may be naive about this, but, for now, I feel pretty “free” and satisfied.

  7. Wow, YesIThink, as I read your post, it occurs to me that I need to have some posts that swing the other way, so to speak. I have been particularly careful not to be triggering to people who have accepted their bodies as they are and ended the yo-yo weight cycle by remaining fat — a reasonable choice, given the difficulty of remaining permanently trim. But I need to consider people like you too.

    You are on the downhill slope of the ski course now. It also sounds like you are doing it the way I think is best, eating real foods and learning your body’s responses to those real foods before your endocrine panel changes. This information will serve you in the future. (Too bad many doctors don’t recommend you pay attention to this important information. Too bad that many rely on liquid fasts that create weight loss without the benefit of developing self-wisdom.) When I was losing weight, I would brag that I ate anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, I just kept my calories under 1,800 a day. I wasn’t lying, and that amount of food was satisfying. I also told people that I rarely wanted a donut or cheeseburger. That was true too, and remains true today. What has changed is that 1,800 calories is no longer consistently satisfying. As a maintainer, I deal with impulses to eat beyond what will maintain my body at its current (now lower) weight, and I must remain on an exercise schedule that is more intense than most people would tolerate. But it’s not entirely joyless, and I’ve talked about the discouraging stuff enough anyway.

    Here’s my short-term advice for you. Do a “problemectomy” and surgically separate your weight from the other issues that you have worked through. Emotional issues are conundrums, and we all deal with them. A body’s remarkable ability to hang onto excess weight in a society that is horribly fat-hating is another conundrum that you and I deal with, and will for the rest of our lives.

    We humans drag our conundrums through our lives like so many anvils on chains. It is easier to drag one anvil at a time rather than to tie them together and drag them in bunches. Moreover, when we drag them in bunches, especially when we tie emotional issues to weight issues, we make each vulnerable to the other. When an emotional issue resurfaces (and they always do), then the emotion anvil tips up on its point and will not be moved and the weight starts to slide in the wrong direction. Vice versa, if the weight tips on its point, then the emotions slide toward depression.

    Do a problemectomy. Start regarding your weight as a scientific/medical conundrum now (I wish someone had said this to me). Regard your relationship/emotional issues as a different type of conundrum, and feel empowered to get professional help for them whenever you want it.

    Your moniker, that suggests you think too much, bodes well for you with regard to being successful long term.

  8. I had to come back and look at this post today.

    I am now 7 lbs above my peak weight (as measured on doctor’s scales, the only really reliable scales I use.) As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on this site before (but for the benefit of lurkers who might be interested, I guess) I lost about 20 lbs doing stuff that was consistent with HAES, which turned into genuinely doing HAES when I found out more about it. I haven’t kept track of the dates too rigorously, but I stayed at the same weight for a couple years doing that. Then over the course of the last year, I gained 25 lbs.

    HAES is a lot easier to do, emotionally, when your weight is stable. And also when you aren’t frequently reminded of it because you have to wear uniform pants at work that are too tight because you can’t get new ones right away.

    This would also be easier if I knew for sure why I had gained weight and if I am going to continue gaining weight or not.

    The denial is pretty familiar. In some ways, maybe I’m still in the denial stage. I keep having theories for why I would have regained (most recent theory to go down in flames: my appetite overcompensated for endurance-focused strength training) and it may be just that my body has decided to make me hungrier and/or slowed down my metabolism because it decided that it was time to regain the weight. I’m definitely eating less as measured by hunger cues, and exercising a lot more than when I was at my peak weight last time. If I’m eating based on my hunger cues but not tracking calories, and you found while tracking calories that the same number of calories was no longer as good at satisfying hunger, then it would make sense that I’ve regained in spite of that. I’ve also had a couple of TSH tests that have been kind of high, though. Just about everyone seems to agree that under 3 (or maybe under 2.5) is normal, and over 5.5 is abnormal, and both of my results have been between those numbers–just under 5 and just above 3. Oddly, the just-below-5 number is the older of the two and is above my primary care physician’s threshold for normal (4.6) but not my endocrinologist’s. The primary care physician saw that and decided to test it again, but it went down to just over 3, below their threshold for normal.

    I guess the thing to do at this point is to see if I can get my TSH numbers from the past few years (they’d been testing me because of a different suspected endocrine thing that they’ve decided is probably nothing) and see if those numbers are normal for me. If they are, then I think I’m going to chalk it up to my body resisting being below my peak weight. If they’re not, then I think I’ve found my culprit, and probably just need to keep testing and/or getting second opinions until someone will do something about it.

    I’ve also wondered if an elevated TSH could be a normal side effect of weight loss. I couldn’t find anything addressing that, though.

    • Oh, Closetpuritan, I feel the pain. I truly do. And in our society, denial is natural and logical. It’s as natural as regain. Since we don’t acknowledge that regain is a legit, normal reality, what is the ONLY logical reaction to it when it does happen? Denial.

      I wish I could help you sort whether this is a natural/normal regain or otherwise. I pray your doctors are not the kind that marginalize regain or simply think you’re lying about your “lifestyle.” Or, if they are, I hope they betray themselves with their own words so you can know to go elsewhere. The one thing I can say, I’d probably trust a specialist, the endocrinologist, over a generalist only because the information that a specialist receives and processes is targeted and likely to counter some cultural assumptions. A generalist is trying to keep up in so many areas that he or she just has to take shortcuts in some areas (such as weight) and operate from assumptions — the simplistic “Eat Less Move More” paragdigm.

      I am so confused by thyroid issues. I wish I could shed light, but I haven’t been able to sort through the “noise.” So many opinions. Some radical (which doesn’t make them wrong, but makes them harder to evaluate). I just don’t know. Ack!

  9. Thanks for the response, it does help.

    I guess we’ll see about the doctors and their attitudes. I was definitely nervous about bringing up the weight gain with them, but they did look at my last TSH test, see that it was high, and order a new one, rather than just dismissing my concerns or implying I was looking for excuses. This doctor (and all other generalist doctors I’ve had) does seem rather busy, like they don’t really have time to listen to you and are focused on getting you in and out. Perhaps they have been too busy to marginalize me so far 🙂 I’m kind of worried that I’ll be viewed as noncompliant or troublesome for trying to get my numbers directly, but oh well. (They initially didn’t tell me my TSH numbers either, just that they were “normal” or “high”, but didn’t resist telling me when I asked them.)

    Oh yeah, another piece of my denial was that my weight gain wasn’t in the same areas as last time. It’s almost all thighs, hips, and belly. And pants size is a lot less precise than bra size, so I thought, “My pants size is the same as last time, but my bra size is much closer to its recent size than its peak weight size, so I must still be below my peak weight”. (Last time I had both more breast fat and more back fat.) I’m not sure if this means anything WRT possible health issues or if it’s because I’m on a different birth control pill than I was last time. I didn’t notice fat redistribution at the time I was actually switching pills, though.

    And yeah, I’m not having much luck figuring out a consensus on thyroid stuff. There seems to be a lot of disagreement. Hard to know if the radical stuff will soon be the new consensus or is just woo.

    One thing I’m hopeful about in a weird sort of way is that if I do have hypothyroidism or something, I will start getting other symptoms or less ambiguous test results that will more clearly tell me if there’s something wrong and what it is, so that it can be treated.

    When I get more information I think I may try and crowdsource in the fatosphere to see if anyone’s experiences might shed light on whether this is a natural gain or not. In addition to the TSH tests, I’ve started keeping a food journal and I do have a food journal I kept for a month during my HAES maintaining days (the purpose was to get an idea of how my food was balanced among the food groups). (At least, I think I still have it somewhere.) I won’t be able to get precise calorie counts or anything, but it might tell me whether I’m dealing with an unexplained increase in appetite or unexplained weight gain while eating the same amount of food.

    • You are approaching this right. That’s all I can say. More important than the Doctors not marginalizing you (and I liked your note of irony), you are not marginalizing yourself. You’re also taking several angles. I’m with you on that. I think it’s a productive use of time and I hope it yields wisdom.

    • Seeing your comment on my blog reminded me that I’d been meaning to come back here for an update. I seem to have stabilized at about 15 lbs above my previous peak weight. I didn’t do all the things I was planning to do–for one thing, I couldn’t find my old food journal, so I don’t have an objective way to compare amounts of food in the past vs. now. I did get a TSH reading from before the weight regain and it was in between the other two TSH readings (I think 4.2), so I’m going to assume that my TSH is normal for me, especially since I don’t seem to have any other symptoms of hypothyroidism.

      Interestingly, I went to my endocrinologist a few months ago, and my prolactin levels were elevated and the endo thought I’d have to go on medication for it, but then they checked again and they were below whatever cutoff they’re using. This is the first time that they’ve thought I would have to go on medication (even though in the end they decided I didn’t.) (The reason these things are getting checked is because they think I may have a prolactinoma [small noncancerous pituitary tumor that secretes prolactin] but aren’t sure [the part they aren’t sure about is the “secretes prolactin” bit, vs. “does nothing”]–I keep having borderline numbers–so they’re keeping an eye on it.) Based on my internet research, prolactin doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on weight, but I wonder if it’s having an effect on me anyway. My placeholder theory, though, is that my body was okay with being below its peak weight for a while, but then decided it wasn’t.

  10. Yeesh. What a mystery you’re trying to solve. It’s so hard to be an objective detective when it’s regarding your own body. My two cents: your placeholder theory is as good as any the doctors ever come up with. This field of study is so nascent. Any day the verdict on prolactin may turn another direction. I’m just grateful that your doctors continue to take you seriously, continue to run tests and continue to keep their “eye on” your endocrine profile, and not just turn to blame-the-victim strategies.

    Meanwhile, I’m wrapping you in warm thoughts. A plus-15 position on the scale from previous high just sucks. You didn’t mention anything about how you’re feeling about all this — whether your clothes are hurting you, for example — but I know it’s got to be exasperating. You can read all the HAES lit in the world to improve your mood and reassure yourself, but it doesn’t make you feel better if your clothes are pinching you — a continual reminder of your mystery predicament. Moreover, if you’re not sure what’s happening medically, it’s hard to know when to shell out for new clothes (and possibly adjust your brain to embrace a new size). Sigh. Warm thoughts.

    • Clothes-pinching is no fun. Shirts mostly still fit, and I’ve bought some new pants. The only problem is my work pants–I wear a uniform at work, and lately we’ve been having trouble ordering new things. It’s a little hard to pick things up off the floor, for example. If my weight has indeed stabilized I’ll be OK, if slightly uncomfortable, until we finally get our new uniforms, but I do worry about it sometimes. It is easier to be OK with the weight gain emotionally when I’m wearing clothes that fit. I think I’ve never been quite as vulnerable to “feeling fat” as most women for whatever reason, and I think spending time in the fatosphere has helped with that even more, so it could be worse. I do find that at this weight, when I’m in small group doing some sort of fitness activity (e.g. yoga class) I am now much more likely to be the fattest person there, which makes me feel self-conscious at times. I occasionally worry that someone will say something to me about it. I just got done with a family reunion. The only person to say anything about my appearance was my grandfather saying I “looked great”, though.

      At my recent physical, they talked to me a bit more about my eating than usual. (I think I may have volunteered more info than I sometimes do; they also had a student asking me the questions, who may have asked slightly differently than normal. I basically told them that my eating was fairly healthy, but I probably eat more than “they” [generalized experts, real and self-appointed] want me to, and my dessert consumption was a little high. This isn’t different than before the weight gain, except probably the exact amount by which I exceed “their” recommendations for total calories.) The doctors haven’t linked eating/weight to the prolactin thing, though. It may help that the prolactin thing has been with me for a while (~5 years?)–before I started losing weight, let alone before I started regaining.

      I do also think sometimes about how, because I didn’t start regaining until about 6 months after I’d moved back to the area I’m from, the people will remember me as a “success story”.

      Thank you for the warm thoughts.

    • P.S. Although wearing a uniform means it’s currently not as easy to get work pants that fit, it does mean fewer purchases of pants that I need to personally make.

  11. My one thought: Give yourself the luxury of feeling GREAT about being the largest person in a yoga class! Imagine what a welcome sight you are to first timers showing up who may be wearing Lulu Lemon yoga pants that came from the humiliating secret drawers. You will make them feel welcome and wonderful about making a healthy decision. Yoga saves so many people’s sanity.

    I would have blogged on this had I not been defunct. If you didn’t hear about it, recently, Lulu Lemon was called out (exposed by its own floor staff) for only displaying yoga pants up to size 10. You could get 12s (but no higher!) if you asked a sales clerk, then you’d be escorted to the drawers where they were folded out of sight. Can you imagine?!?!

    People feel self-conscious their first time at any exercise class, regardless of size. How great that you are an ambassador for health and sanity, regardless of size!

    Oh, and I lied. I have a second thought to share: I “get” that “success story” thing. At my lowest plateau, I was 16 pounds (by this morning’s scale) lower than I am now. I’d be delusional to think that it wasn’t noticeable, so I feel glances (especially at occasions with people who knew me when) that may not really be happening. Unspoken (imaginary?) judgments: “Is she letting herself go again?” I know that’s crazy thinking, but I also acknowledge that it’s real and hard to fight. At one point, I was up by 21 pounds from lowest plateau, but this summer I’ve had a break from school and been engaging in more intense experimentation with my weight loss and maintenance. Since my BMI is over 25, no “expert” would call what I’m doing disordered, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, regardless of BMI.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  12. I see the font is weird, so I’m going to clarify. Above, 12s = twelves. Not 125.

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