Small Discussion: Getting Back from Gaining Back – Getting Past the Shame of Regain and Moving Forward from a Place of Enough
Margo is proud to FINALLY be a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member (who has lost-then gained-then lost-then gained-then lost 73 lb). Often called “the lovechild of Nate Berkus and Charo”, Margo has lived a life full of design, salsa and bellylaughs, with just enough drama to make her want to stick around until the end. In addition to Nacho Mama’s Blog and her weightloss-related podcast, Nacho Mama’s Podcast (iTunes & Stitcher), she is also a cast member of the award-winning web series “Mommalogues” on Sheknows.com and a regular contributor to Mamiverse.com. She has been blogging since 2005.
Having struggled with obesity since birth, in 2013 Margo realized two of her lifelong dreams: to acheive a healthy BMI and to appear in an exercise video with Richard Simmons. She is very excited to finally have the time to devote to her third lifelong dream: to prove that Doritos are laced with crack.
Jennifer began blogging in 2006. Her blog, originally Yet Another Weight Watchers Blog, was a way to chronicle her struggles to get back to her Weight Watchers Lifetime goal weight. She is still working on that goal, and her blog has been rebranded Perfect in Our Imperfections. Her focus has expanded from an obsessive chronicle of scale ups and downs to her search for a sustainable, satisfying lifestyle that might also help her get into her skinny jeans. Along the way, she gives her commentary on “The Biggest Loser” episodes, shares her makeup finds, trains for sprint triathlons and road races, and reviews books on healthy living.
So far the blog is pseudonymous, though this conference will probably blow her cover, however thin and tenuous it is. She is an assistant professor at a small University in the Toledo, Ohio area, where she lives with her husband and her two cats.
As the discussion started, both women admit to have had their ups and downs with weight loss and wanted to have a discussion about what happens when you gain some weight after having lost weight. Margo talked about her personal struggle with weight had been a life-long struggle and she knows all too well the emotions that come from gaining weight after losing some. Jenifer also has also had a similar life-long struggle with weight loss. Margo started off by making a great point saying, “there’s no finish line, where everything’s one and you’re better for the rest of your life. Some things don’t get better; the people who didn’t like you before, still don’t like you after you’re done.” We’ve all regained weight before and when it happens we feel like we’re the only one and everyone else is doing so well. But it’s important to remember that that’s not the case.
One thing that many admitted to doing was comparing themselves to others, which in turn makes you feel worse about your weight gain. “It’s tricky for me to not get into the comparison game, comparing our weight gain to others’ weight loss. People talk about their weight loss more than their weight game so it’s hard to keep that perspective.” –Kelly @nothankstocake
The discussion then moved on to how people approached the subject of weight gain/weight loss as it pertains to your blog. Some felt it was risky to be open with your weight loss. Early on one blogger found out people who were finding her blog were part of a forum where people where ‘shredding’ bloggers who had regained weight. It wasn’t constructive, so she didn’t read it. With losing weight, it’s important to celebrate the victories and change no matter how big or small! Celebrate the new things you’ve accomplished or started doing (running, crossfit, weight lifting, etc). Focus more on the new things you’re doing!
Discussion also mentioned that many attained their goal weight but found it to be unsustainable and that it caused them to think about what was healthy for them in the long term. The phrase ‘Lose it like you’ll live it!’ was shared and resonated with many in the room because sometimes you can’t live the life you want after you’ve reached your goal (you end up counting walnuts, measuring cheese, etc).Margo posed a question to the group about sharing on their blogs about eating disorders and if they had received any negative feedback from readers. Some admitted to blogging about binge eating/eating disorders and found the honesty to be so freeing and didn’t receive negative feedback. People were able to identify it and were so supportive, but you’re scared that people are going to be negative and critical. But by being open and honest on blogs, people have found that they’ve created a community of followers and supporters.
Kari @myweightingplace talked about losing 165 pounds and then gained 20 back and felt like she had failed and that it’ll be hard to get back to where she needs to be. Some people felt it was important to just stop weighing and focus on the overall well-being and accepting/loving yourself and found themselves to be happier but acknowledge that acceptance is a practice and it’s hard to achieve. Margo reminded the audience to remember why you want to lose the weight in the first place, but respecting and valuing yourself at whatever size you are can help that you with acceptance—“we all came to blogging for a reason, mostly because of our weight.”
Some people stopped blogging because they felt like they have gained their weight back or because they don’t want to talk about their weight anymore or that they were no longer inspiring other people because they themselves weren’t having success. You see other bloggers who are just busy and are able to maintain weight loss and feel like you should be able to do it and so you keep trying but you feel like you’re not keeping up with the Joneses). But participants encouraged one another saying you have to take care of yourself the way you are; accept yourself the way you are conditionally and in that moment. Say it, repeat it, and believe it. “You have to create your own dynamic voice and you’re in this weight loss world and it feels as though if you’re not losing weight, you’re not inspirational because some people want to go to those people who are losing weight but at the same time some people want to go to the people who are just like them—struggling and trying to find their way.” There is this belief that if we’re not losing weight we are not as awesome as we are. But we ARE awesome!
Feeling bloggers shame because you’re pregnant and you’re SUPPOSED to be gaining weight but how do you live in a place where the scale isn’t the goal or the judgement that makes it a good or bad day because ultimately the goal is to be at a weight where we don’t have to obsess about a pound. It’s interesting to be forcefully removed from the weight loss and trying to deal with that mentally but I wonder if there is a way to do that when you are trying to lose weight.
The group agreed that your blog is YOUR voice and no one has the right to tell you what YOUR voice should be and that you have every right to talk about what you want to talk about. No one has the right to tell you what you shouldn’t talk about. Margo also reminded everyone that it’s better to have lost and gained than have never lost at all in terms of your health so even when you lose weight and gain it back you still get the health benefits. Even if you gain weight, it’s important to celebrate the victories and change no matter how big or small! Steve @SteveGrayFTW brought up the point that you need to celebrate the new things you’ve accomplished or started doing (running, crossfit, weight lifting, etc). He’s done things he never thought he could do. Focus more on the new things you’re doing! Don’t focus so much on the number!
Gwyn @Gwynsperation talked about the need to be ‘real’ with followers and yourself because sometimes celebrity weight loss can give unrealistic expectations of success but sometimes she’ll post about the parts of life that aren’t so pretty and followers appreciate it. It’s okay where you are, if you don’t want to weigh yourself it’s okay. Someone can and will always relate to you. We’re at fit blogging, we’re not at skinny blogging or weight loss blogging. Your idea of fit is whatever fit means to you: mental, emotional, health, etc. We’re a part of an awesome community and no one can take it away from you.
Starting over was a common thread: it’s an opportunity to embrace! You don’t even have to say anything about it on your blog. You get to be right where you are and continue moving forward. It’s an opportunity, not a burden or a failure. People who know you in your everyday life don’t really know/get what you’re going through. Social media and blogging gives you the ability to reach and relate to people who understand what you’re going through.
You can do it. Whatever it is you want. Know that you can do it!
This session was live blogged by Dominique @myhealthyfitnessjourney.