One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

ASK RONI Q&A

Ask Roni: Dieting My Whole Life

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Roni,
I am not sure you can even answer this question, But here goes. I have been dieting my whole life and now I am fatter than I have ever been. I am so discouraged and just want to know "how do I start?" Where do I start?" I feel absolutely hopeless that I will ever conquer this weight issue. I cant believe I have to still talk about my weight and I am still dealing with this issue. I feel trapped in this fat body and just want out so badly. I wish i could just unzip my skin and crawl out.

Thanks
Tammy

Tammy,

Oh my, I just want to give you a big old {{HUG}}. I feel your pain, I know your pain. Dieting pretty much from the age of 12 on, I continuously got fatter. For 17 years I was in one of two states, losing or gaining. Unfortunately gaining was much easier then losing so my weight crept up and up through these "dieting" years.

I’m not going to rehash my story (click here to read it) but it wasn’t until I was slapped in the face by having a baby with a looming 30th birthday hanging over my head. I realized that it was all the dieting that was making me fat. That regardless of my weight life was moving on. I wasn’t doing things because why? Because I didn’t look like the women in a Victoria Secret’s catalogue? I wasn’t swimming in the ocean because I was worried what I looked like in a bathing suit??

At 29 I finally had enough. How did I "start"? I went out of my comfort zone. I stopped hiding in big baggy clothes. I embraced who I was at that moment. No more excuses. No more perfection needed. I am who I am and that’s good enough.

That mindset prepared me to learn how to eat. I approached Weight Watchers like a class, not a diet. I made a commitment to my blog. I decided the only way I would fail is by giving up and I wasn’t about to give up. I couldn’t give up, I can’t give up. This is my life and I need to make the best of it. For me that means staying conscious and honest with myself. No more sneaking food or finding excuses. No more going off plan. Again, this is my life, everything is ON plan. Face it, count it, move on. No apologies necessary.

Sometimes I think “starting” is actually part of the problem. You don’t need a last meal before you start. If you have a piece of candy your day isn’t blown, you don’t have to “re-start.” Simple make every choice the healthiest choice you can. And if you don’t, no biggie, your next choice is a whole new opportunity.

Tammy, I hope that makes sense. You are right, it is a tough question to answer and I’m not sure I have. About a year ago I tried to collect all my thoughts on this very subject when I wrote 3 Steps to a Healthier YOU! (click here to read it) I’m hoping others can share their thoughts as well. Just know you aren’t alone. Take it one choice at a time and remember there is no such thing as perfect.



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Discussion

There are 20 comments so far.

    ReinventingAmy

    July 20, 2009

    Agreed- that is a very hard question to answer! I think your starting day is TODAY!! :) The way I look at it is what can you do right now in the moment to make a change? For example- I’m sitting here at my desk at work drinking Starbucks. There’s a third of the drink left and part of me just wants to drink it because A) I spent the money for it and B) I’ve already budgeted ‘points’ for it- but really? I dont want it. So in this moment- I’ve decided I’ll just wash the cup out and not drink the useless calories. See! In 2 seconds I’ve made a healthier change. It’s small, yes, but perhaps looking at every moment as a choice- you can make it a healthy one. That’s not to say I didn’t make a bad decision today- heck, I had Burger King for lunch. But, I also realize it’s just one bad decision today. I have the rest of my day to make good ones. So- there’s no “Start Day”. I think if you look at it that way- you’ll always say “tomorrow is my start day”. How to start? Make small changes. Maybe just start with an after dinner walk a few days a week or adding one veggie to one or every meal. No one says you have to be all or nothing. You’ll only set yourself up for failure. Do what works for you and your schedule. I’d recommend starting small and succeeding in the small goals and increase them over time. And the scale? Forget the numbers. Focus on good habits and after a month or whenever you feel you’ve made a difference, jump on and see your great results!

    Good luck!

    Michelle

    July 20, 2009

    It’s one day at a time. It’s one decision at a time. It’s being gentle and focused. Aware of your feelings. I think that first step is forgiving yourself and being determined to silence negative thoughts.

    It’s not about Fat Free Food, nutrasweet and cutting corners all the time. It’s about enjoying life, striking a balance, and emtionally becoming grounded.

    Good lukc. Roni thank you for this post. It hits home..to a girl who has been losing weight for 8 years and is FINALLY doing it for myself :)

    tammy

    July 20, 2009

    Roni,

    Something clicked in my head when you said you were not doing things when you were heavy and life was moving on. That has been me all this time. Also I do have the all or nothing mentality like Amy said in her comment. I think for me it’s been trying this diet and that diet only to fail over and over again. I really think you just turned on the light for me and I see I have to do this one choice at a time, not even one day at a time but one choice. Thanks to you both!! I will keep plowing ahead.

    Rachel

    July 21, 2009

    Tammy,

    Take a breath. I think Roni gave you a really good idea of how to stop struggling. The truth is that it does start with loving yourself the way you are.

    Here is what I did:
    – Stood in front of a full length mirror and forced myself to see my beauty. I did this every day, while following Weight Watchers, and for me I think I just began to believe that I was already there – already where I wanted to be. I loved myself more than I had ever loved myself and at that time I was still over 220 pounds.

    It real is a mind set. It is, as stated above, one decision at a time. It is actually about a million tiny decisions that you make every day, one decision at a time. Instead of thinking, “I can’t eat that candy bar because I’m fat and I suck and I want to wear skinny jeans” you will hopefully begin thinking, “I don’t want to eat that candy bar because it isn’t good for me. I deserve to fill my body with good things, yummy things, things that taste good and will help me live longer.”

    You have to start by learning to get to know yourself. Be easy on yourself but embrace who you are. Don’t focus on the sizes you are in or that you want to be in. Instead, think about what will look good on your body right now and go get yourself that outfit. Stand tall, smile, look people in the eyes and smile. Know that you are beautiful.

    Then you will have the strength to treat your body to good, healthy food and fun, active movement.

    Hugs to you!!!!

    Louise (mom)

    July 21, 2009

    Just take baby steps, make one small change at a time. I too go to WW and at goal. I remember a sying I got from my leader. “Even the snail reached the ark” Good luck

    Diane fit to the finish

    July 21, 2009

    I, like Roni, lost a lot of weight (150 lbs) and have maintained the loss for 12 years. There were a lot of starts, before I finally decided that I was scared for my health, and tired of being fat.

    Did I mess up during the 14 months it took to lose the weight? Yes. Was I sometimes overwhelmed? Yes. Did I quit? Not very often!

    There were times I ate things I regretted, but instead of immediately giving up like I had in the past, I just moved on. I learned not to beat myself up, but instead look at all the progress I had already made.

    Losing weight wasn’t always easy, but what in life is?

    Dawn

    July 21, 2009

    Amen…..reading Roni’s blog and joining Weight Watchers helped me lose 50 pounds over the course of last winter. This summer I am confident and wearing clothes I would never have worn before. It truly is a step by step journey. Stay focused and never give up it is worth it in the end!

    Mary Anne

    July 21, 2009

    Roni, you are so right about the concept of “start day.” EVERY DAY is start day. If you ate too much yesterday, or skipped a workout, that’s okay, because TODAY is a new day. Forgive yourself, think about what lesson you learned (e.g. I shouldn’t go more than 4 hours w/out food…. or… a handful of crackers as a snack leaves me ravenous in an hour) and then apply that lesson TODAY.

    I have the same story as both of you, and it hasn’t been long enough yet for me to really reflect and figure out what has worked this time, but I have learned some valuable lessons:

    1. “Forgetting” to count points for a couple of days or “blowing it” a few days really doesn’t make that much of a difference in overall weight loss. The weight still comes off, albeit probably a bit more slowly. The kiss of death is when you beat yourself up about it and then decide that this diet thing is just too hard. It’s not the dieting that’s hard, it’s the way you torture yourself about every little slipup.

    2. Other than having a “no quit” attitude like Roni has, it’s soooo important to adopt an attitude of self-love, self-forgiveness, self-WORSHIP! If you can’t get there, go to a therapist and tell them to help you get there. I couldn’t have lost the weight by “punishing” myself for being fat with diet and weight loss.

    Okay, I have to go to the gym now! But I had to respond. Roni, you are awesome, and there are so many out there who need your comforting words!

    Jodi

    July 21, 2009

    Once you accept that the changes you are going to make have to be made for life – not as a means to an end, it gets easier. One “bad meal, day or week” doesn’t matter. You’re doing this forever, so it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal. You don’t want to go for the rest of your life without a cookie, or a fast-food meal, so occassionally is okay and it won’t de-rail everything. Stick with it – you can do it. I’ve lost 145 pounds and maintained it for 2 years. If I can do it – anyone can!

    kit

    July 21, 2009

    I love the comment about not having to have a re-start because of one bad choice! Thanks!

    Lady Downsize

    July 21, 2009

    Roni, well said. Change Tammy’s name to Sheri, and you have just spoke right to me. You will find the the visual that came to my mind with your words amusing. It’s like running a race. If your pants fall down around your ankles, who cares if they see your underwear. Pull them back up and get moving, because if you stop now you’ll never win the race.

    Welcome to my querky mind, and thanks for your words. Can I clip part for my own blog. I promise to make sure where it came from.

    Paige

    July 21, 2009

    Tami,

    I spent 10 years of my life trying to find the right time to “start.” Finally, I realized that weight loss and maintenance is something that has to be dealt with every day. Small healthy decisions add up and make all of the difference in the world. As I began to make good decisions, I began to get results.

    My main piece of advice is to stop and think…about every decision that you make…not just food related. There are so many times that I would eat ten cookies or more, just without thinking…because they tasted good. I never would stop long enough to think about the damage I was doing to myself emotionally and physically. The joy and rush of the food meant a lot to me at the time; but then afterwords, I would always be mad at myself to the point of self loathing and depression.

    Also, find something that you like to do…walking, running, fitness classes…something that will get you moving that you enjoy!

    As everyone else has said…it’s all about good decisions and finding a balance that works for you!

    Jenn@slim-shoppin

    July 21, 2009

    I have to agree with what Roni said too. I’m a Weight Watcher lifetimer who lost 60 pounds, but gained it all back!! Do I wish I could have stopped myself, after say, gaining 5 pounds, or 10 pounds? Of course! I have lost and gained the last 5 years, and last year I started eating healthier and this year, adding portion control and exercise. Time goes by so fast, if you make small changes every day, they will add up!!

    You can do it!!!

    Well said Roni and so true.

    Tammy

    July 22, 2009

    Wow thanks for the advice and wisdom from everyone, I feel inspired and like someone just gave me a pair of wings! :-)

    rollercoaster

    July 22, 2009

    Tammy, I totally relate to you and your struggle. I think everyone’s comments have been wonderful and right on. If you are wondering “how” you go about changing your mindset and you don’t mind reading a few books, go to a group I formed on BlogToLose called “Normal Eatiing” and there are a bunch of resources for you under one of the discussion topics.

    I would always hear things like what was written above and it all made sense to me but I didn’t know what to “do” to get there. These resources helped me so very much. Good luck!

    Tammy,
    You can do it! Find a plan that works for you and just stick with it. There are no quick fixes, and it takes a lot of hard work and determination, but if you stick with it you WILL see results. Keep us posted :-)

    debby

    July 22, 2009

    The one thought (okay, two) that changed me were,

    1. What I’m doing now is not working. I have to do something different.

    2. Whatever I do, it has to be something I do for the rest of my life.

    It has been a time-consuming thing to educate myself about what was true and what is healthy, and how to cook healthy food that tastes good, and how to exercise, etc. etc. etc. But it has been totally worth it, and sometimes it has even been fun. For sure, I love the new food I eat every bit as much as the old food.

    Alison

    July 30, 2009

    Someone in my weightwatchers meeting recently hit goal, after 130 pounds. One thing she said when she talked about it after getting her award is that when she looked at her weightcard her weight had gone up almost 1/3 of the weeks, not alot but up. She took 3 years to lose the weight. She said in the past that going up would have caused her to quit but this time she stuck with it and despite going up 1/3 of the time she ultimately reached her goal and she realised it’s not a perfect journey where you lose every week. She said embracing the gains helped her get through the plateaus.
    At any rate I guess I’m saying see it as a journey, one that doesn’t require perfection, don’t put arbitrary dates for goals and it will be alot easier, that I have learned from my own journey. Find something you can live with this is a lifestyle change NOT A DIET and go for it, no need for elaborate plans on when you will start, today is a great day and good luck to you.

    Jacques Vetere

    June 6, 2011

    Hey! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!