It seems to happen more than I’d care to admit, and more frequently now that I’m older. Mainly because I’m not a very graceful person. I’m talking about all of those times that I trip over my own feet or a tiny raised crack in the sidewalk; a step up into the house; a tiny pebble on the walking path … the toe of my sandal; the heel of my sandal. Heck, just my sandals in general. Gracefulness is in short supply these days. If I’m being completely honest, poise and grace have never been part of my DNA.
It’s likely that I’m not alone in that department. Let’s face it, most of us have experienced an embarrassing trip or stumble at one time or another. The first thing we naturally do is to look around to see if anyone bears witness to our klutziness and humiliation. It probably happens more than we realize, especially since so many of us get caught up in walking and texting at the same time.
Those little stumbles – the ones that we hope no one notices remind me of my past food-related/diet stumbles. Falling off the Weight Watcher Wagon generally begins with just a little stumble. A little slip. A little fall. You know what I’m talking about. An extra scoop of cereal in the morning because you don’t want to waste the leftover milk at the bottom of the bowl. Just a little extra dollop of potatoes, or a bite of your husband’s burger or fries. The free cookie or fat, fluffy dinner roll that you “forgot” to calculate that came with your meal. That additional splash of dressing, those free Costco samples of Zebra popcorn or mini pigs in a blanket, or brownie bites, blah, blah, blah. ALL of those “freebies,” those bites, licks or tastes (BLT’s) are in fact, anything BUT free and can end up costing us more than we bargained for.
All of these seemingly innocent “stumbles” with our daily food diary, when added together at the end of the week somehow end up finding their way to the waistband of our pants. Suddenly the buttons on our blouse gape or our skirt refuses to zip. We blame it on a laundry snafu – that sudden “shrinking” of our clothes surely can’t be MY fault!
Of course, we never plan to fall off the wagon. We always tell ourselves, tomorrow I’ll get right back on track and keep my food diary. Tomorrow I’ll eat better. If we’re not careful, all of those little stumbles and tomorrow promises turn into our weight regain nightmare. Somehow we find that we’re right back where we promised ourselves we’d never be again.
Just this past week, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in more than a year. She and I were in the same Celebrate Recovery Food Addiction group a few years ago. Her significant weight gain was unmistakable. Try as I might to help her feel comfortable, it was obvious that her own guilt and shame convicted her before I ever could. What’s really sad, is this friend was the second woman I’d run into from the same group who’d had a substantial weight gain.
Seeing these friends made me realize just how fine a line we all walk when we’ve experienced any type of weight loss. I tell myself DAILY that just because I’ve lost weight does not mean I’ll never struggle with my weight again. The opposite is true. Having lost weight means I’ve got to work harder than ever to maintain the weight loss. I’ve discovered that maintaining a weight loss is every bit as hard – if not harder – to sustain than actually losing the weight.
The problem with most “diets” is that they are just that – a diet. The definition of a diet is: to cause to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules.
People who go on a diet to lose a specific amount of weight for a specific upcoming event (i.e., wedding, high school/college reunion), work hard to shed the weight, but once the event passes, they resume their old ways of eating and quickly regain the lost weight and then some.
If we hope to maintain long-lasting weight loss once and for all, we need to make lifestyle changes rather than just going on a diet. After weight loss we need to continue healthy eating, portion control and regular weekly activities or exercise routines. Yes, ALL of those things we KNOW to do, yet tire of rather quickly. It’s not fun. It’s necessary!
Now that I’ve lost weight, I do allow myself an occasional treat. I love pizza, bread(s) (all kinds) and dessert. I don’t eat any of those things on a daily basis, but I do allow myself an “occasional cheat day.” (OCCASIONAL being the optimum word here!) My cheat day usually falls on the day I weigh-in for my monthly check-in at Weight Watchers. If my weight is at or below my WW goal weight, I usually take advantage of the rest of that day and indulge in those foods I’ve been dreaming about for the last month. (Because I know I’ll have another 4-6 weeks before I need to weigh in at WW again!)
I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for fast food, but I still crave cheese pizza and sub sandwiches loaded with meats and cheese. (The cheesier the better!) If I’m going to cheat, pizza is usually on the top of my list. Not surprisingly, I can only consume small amounts of these forbidden foods for the simple reason that since I’ve eliminated unhealthy treats from my diet, my stomach can no longer digest or tolerate these foods. It becomes an internal negotiation of weighing the pleasure of indulgence to that of a raging stomach ache.
The thing is – if you’re working hard to lose weight, it’s not a bad thing to allow for those “OCCASIONAL” treats. It’s only by completely denying our cravings that we seem to lust after those forbidden foods more than ever; thereby dooming us to automatic failure.
A food stumble or an “occasional” treat can be minimized or corrected if we address it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve tripped up or stumbled to the point of falling completely off the wagon. Don’t let the wagon back up and run over you again. Get up, dust yourself off and climb right back up on the Weight Watcher Wagon. Grab hold of those reins and steer the wagon right back on the designated course.
Losing weight and/or maintaining a weight loss is hard work – that much is obvious. If we hope to be successful WE have to take responsibility for our own actions and our little stumbles. We have to own it. We have to stop assigning blame. We can’t wish it away. We can’t pray it away. No one can walk this path for us. Our weight loss success is up to us. Don’t let that stumble be the thing that causes you to tumble over a cliff to an irreversible caloric crash and burn. That old statement of “God helps those that help themselves,” is not an actual Bible verse. The statement does bear some truth though. We cannot expect God to supernaturally eliminate our excess body weight or cover our caloric stumbles if we aren’t willing to do our part.
He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from tumbling. Psalm 116:8 (NLT)
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. ~Mary Pickford