One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

ASK RONI Q&A

Ask Roni – Not Getting the Results You Want.

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How do you get past the "I’m not seeing results and feel like a complete cow" thing?  I’ve been working my ass off (literally!) and I feel like when I look in the mirror, my stomach hangs lower, sticks out further and I’m going NOWHERE.  Its driving me CRAZY and I don’t really know what else I should be doing.  I run 2-3 miles, 4 times a week, watch what I eat etc, etc, etc.  I just want to lose this freaking weight that WILL NOT come off!
-Amanda

Hi Amanda. This is a tough one. There are 2 separate things I need to address. . .

1. I have no idea how much you have lost, need to lose, are eating, are not eating so it’s really hard for me to give you any kind advice. Which I can’t really give anyway because I’m not an expert. Although that hasn’t stopped me from giving my opinion yet. :)

2. Ignoring #1, I will say that your email saddens me. You are hinging all your success/happiness on things that may be out of your control. Girl, you are running 4 times a week! That is a HUGE accomplishment. OWN it! Pat yourself on the back!

Seriously, I want you to think about what makes you happy. You hint in your email that losing weight will do it. That’s what I always thought too.

Let me be real honest here, I can give you a laundry list of things I still don’t like about my body SINCE losing the weight. I can give you another list of things I don’t like since getting older. My point is you can NOT hinge your happiness on some magical moment when the weight is gone. Life is too short and you will never be perfect.

Let me repeat… you will never be perfect. <–Sorry I needed to remind MYSELF again. :)

You ask… How do you get past the "I’m not seeing results and feel like a complete cow" thing.

You just do.

You realize life is so much more then the way your body looks and what the scale says. You decide "watching what you eat" is something you WANT to do not something you HAVE to do to simply drop pounds.

I’m sorry I don’t have an easy answer for you Amanda. I wish I had some magic formula to share but unfortunately it comes down to slapping yourself besides the head and realizing life is too short to hinge your happiness on your body size.

I realize this is not the answer you were seeking and I hope I didn’t offend. I made some assumptions that may not be true. Either way, I know getting over the body image thing is WAY easier said then done. It’s something I am continually working on myself.

-Roni

Any other words of wisdom for Amanda?



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Discussion

There are 38 comments so far.

    the other amanda

    January 26, 2010

    How old is this email? Because 1) it sounds like ME and 2) thank you. If your not talking to me, that helps because I’ve been asking myself the same thing for WEEKS!

    I am not happy in my body and my husband thinks fixing my stomach(2, 10lb babies in 2yrs-YIKES!) is going to solve all the problems.

    Your amazing Roni and I look at you for inspiration and encouragement! Thank you!

    roni

    January 26, 2010

    It’s IS YOU! I was just going to write and let you know. LOL

    I’m so behind on my questions.. you wrote this to me back in MARCH!

    the other amanda

    January 26, 2010

    LMAO! How funny!

    This whole weight loss thing brings on a barage of problems that I’ve never had to deal with before.

    And quite frankly, it sucks! With 2 smalls, I am at a loss! Although I know what majority of the problem is, and THAT is something I need to just FIX. Get over it and deal.

    Easier said than done!

    Platue-ing at my current weight is the biggest hurdle.

    Thank you again!

    Karen Chatters

    January 26, 2010

    I think I could have written this letter. More importantly, I love your response. “You can NOT hinge your happiness on some magical moment when the weight is gone.” I think I need to make a shirt/magnet/button that say that. And then I need to remind myself of that every day.

    Eating well makes me feel good. Exercising makes me feel good. It should be more important that I feel good in my skin than look good in it, right?

    Liz

    January 26, 2010

    I think we all go through what Amanda is describing – goodness knows I have ranted on BTL about my impatience at the scale – it can be discouraging. But, I think sometimes you just have to not jump on the scale, ignore what you see in the mirror and simply focus on being in and enjoying the moment, knowing that there will be a physical pay-off at some point, and when that day comes, you can stare in the mirror and admire your hard work for as long as you like :)

    Carla

    January 26, 2010

    I also could have written the letter. For me, it is worse since I hit goal. I no longer get the ‘joy’ of a loss and have come to the realization that I’ll never be perfect. I still FEEL as fat as when I started WW 60 lbs ago. To help I try to stay active and get new goals, such as running or doing Crossfit. I’ve found that if I try to focus on a goal other than my weight, I am much happier all around.

    Julie - Big Girl Bombshell

    January 27, 2010

    Amanda,
    We all go through those periods of time. What I find for me was to work on the messages between my ears. If the weight on the outside is gone, those messages are still there. I have been on WW since Sept. Lost 10 lbs in the first month. I have stuck within the 10-12 lbs since then. I tell myself all the good things I am doing, I am changing my life. I focus on all the other things in my life, work on improving those and work on my attitude. Healthy lifestyle isn’t thin. It is all areas of my life. That is how I deal with the scale not moving

    liz

    January 27, 2010

    yep, i agree with you guys. you have to focus on your successes, find non-body-image goals, and also find things about your body you love… focus on the positive and give yourself credit for all your effort!

    Meghann

    January 27, 2010

    Amanda,

    I would just like to congratulate you on all your amazing accomplishments! You have obviously worked hard to create a healthier you, no matter what the mirror or the scale say, and that translates to being a good, healthy, STRONG role model for your children. I am on the same path as you and am having some of the same problems, so you are NOT ALONE!!! But I wake up every morning, lace up those sneakers (with a lot of grumbling and moaning-lol!), and I do what I KNOW will make me feel better for the rest of the day. Keep it up!!! Just doing it is half the battle. (And no, I don’t work for Nike, but they have a point! ;)

    Shay

    January 27, 2010

    May I add something to the already long list of good advice? We need to start looking in our lives for what we are missing. We all think, “Oh, if only I were thin, I would be complete.” But listen to all these other people that conquered their weight problem and realized that they still are empty inside, or at least have spots that still need fixing inside. Why?? Because IT’S NOT THE WEIGHT THAT IS MAKING US FEEL EMPTY INSIDE. What is? Who knows? Something different for each of us, I guess. I am just starting my journey but am working really hard this time to deal with the mind games and not just the weight. This weight is NOT my problem. It is a symptom of my problem. So, while I work on the symptoms, I also need to find a cure for the problem… so that this symptom, or others, do not continue to plague me.

    Nina

    January 27, 2010

    I wish I did do so much exercise right now. You go girl! This is good for you, and you should try to have fun with it. If you don’t, find another exercise which makes you forget about the weight-loss because it just makes you feel great. Because this is what it is about: feeling better and healthier. It’s not about weight-loss alone because the loss is a side-effect of changing your life for the better. Try to let go of mental goals your body cannot reach right now and look around you because you seem to oversee the little good changes. Focus on goals you can reach and celebrate them. And work on your thoughts, too, positive mental visualisation and setup is such an important part. It is even more important than your diet plan, I would say, because it is the thing that carries you through the whole process. Anger usually does not help, especially not if you turn it against yourself. I think it does even more harm than all the superfluous bites of food you hat.

    And that goes for me, too. ;D

    Nina

    January 27, 2010

    Sorry, the last word is “had”. Need to work on my English, too! :)

    Annalisa

    January 27, 2010

    I think that’s the second or third time I read you say “you just do” and I love it. I think we look for the magic answer or a 12 step program of sorts to help fix some inner problem. The reality is, it doesn’t really exist for most of us and I think we get frustrated there’s not a right answer.

    You’re awesome Roni, thanks!

    Leslie

    January 27, 2010

    You know, after losing 100 lbs (10 lbs from ‘goal’), I find that there is still much I dislike about the way I look…but I REVEL in how strong my body is now (at 46).

    And something I LOVE doing? Helping people with my newly strong body. :) We got 30 inches of snow back in mid December. Digging out? No problem! Helped parents, neighbors, people stuck in snow banks, people who didn’t own shovels (apartments). Also, my Mom is fighting lymphoma, and she’s always loved to garden, well, this past summer, I was able to get her garden/yard in the best shape EVER. It looks BEAUTIFUL. We built raised vegetable beds, so she could sit and garden when she felt up to it. :)

    A healthy strong body is a wonderful gift. It may not look perfect. It may not be the ‘perfect size’, but ultimately, if my healthy, strong body is my ‘gift’ for this journey, you know?

    My ‘goal’ for now is to become a runner. I am not, and may never win a race, but I’m going to do it for me. I’m reading my way through John Bingham’s books. I plan to run my first 5k in Thanksgiving. That is my goal.

    I may never LOOK like a model, but I will be healthy and strong!

    (And Roni, I’m BusyMe on Twitter–you’re an amazing inspiration! Thank you SO much for sharing your journey!!!)

    Amanda

    January 27, 2010

    Since my name is Amanda–you could have been talking to me! And let me tell you–I needed to hear this! I know this wasn’t my eamil, but it could have been!! I’ve been trying FOREVER to lose the baby weight (he’s almost 2–well it feels like forever anyway) and it’s hard. It’s harder the older you get and life gets WAY busier with 2 kids than it ever was with one child! You are right, Roni. You just do it. Set yourself a goal. That’s what I did. I’m training to run a half marathon in May. Have I ever run anything before? NOPE! But I’m going to try and give it my all and I will finish that race! I find having a goal works really well for me.

    And 2-ten pound babies–YIKES!! Both of mine were 8.15 and I thought that was bad! :)

    All Women Stalker

    January 27, 2010

    You’ve said all I wanted to tell her. Weight loss is not easy at all. But there are more important things than the decreasing numbers on the scale and the loss of inches. It’s the accomplishments and the challenges you overcome that should be of importance.

    Andrea

    January 27, 2010

    after making my LIFETIME membership last night @ WW, I am happy with my weight/size, but not so much w/ the looks of this size! but, i have accepted it and am proud, SO PROUD of all i have accomplished over the past year! thank you roni! you have a great blog!

    NoCeleryPlease

    January 27, 2010

    Well… if it’s JUST the stomach… you might want to consider a tummy tuck? I lost 140… stomach? no way it was going anywhere. I just had them cut it off.

    I know we’re supposed to be all “self accepting”… but I feel much better since I cut the bits off I was having so much trouble accepting ;)

    mel moyer

    January 27, 2010

    I run 6.5 miles pretty much 7 days a week…I find that my weight can still fluctuate by 10 lbs. and it pretty much comes from underestimating what you are eating. I think so many people think that if they feel like they are excersising alot they will see results.. I have found for myself, I see more results when I tweak my food intake…and having said that I eat very healthy..but even to much of something healthy will not create the calorie deficit you need to see weight loss. When you are truely eating very healthy …you will feel good from the inside no matter what your weight on the outside. I have found for myself that positive thinking produces more positive behavior…and with negative thoughts …comes negative behavior…so I work hard to keep positive even at times when I am feeling bloated, ect.

    love2eatinpa

    January 27, 2010

    roni gave a lot of great advice. there is no perfect size or number on the scale that bring complete and utter happiness to our lives. there willl always be something else you will be trying to attain to reach that point.

    with that being said, have you thought about strength training? lifting weights speeds up your metabolism! and though muscle weighs more than fat and the scale may not show it at first, your clothes will fit loser because your metabolism will be moving along even when you aren’t doing anything. you know how men seem to (grrr!) lose weight faster? it’s because they have more muscle. so keep up the awesome cardio, keep watching your food choices/intake, and throw in some weights and i bet you will move past your plateau.
    good luck!

    Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    January 27, 2010

    I love your response. It takes a long time to realize you will never be perfect, but then you can start loving yourself (imperfections and all!)

    Amanda

    January 27, 2010

    I think so often we dub running as the magic cure. And while it IS the best exercise for weight loss, it’s also a lot of hard work.

    I’ve found that once I become content with my running (distance, speed) that’s when I start to see myself plateau. But, when I consistently push myself, I see results on the scale too.

    So, if I could help Amanda (my name is amanda, too, so this is as much for myself as it is for her!), I’d say to keep pushing in the running category. Every mile burns a little less than 100 calories. So, for a good workout, a 5-mile run is a great goal. And by pushing toward this goal, you’re bound to see results on the scale provided the extra miles are coupled with extra calories.

    :)

    McLauren84

    January 27, 2010

    Great post! I’m feeling particularly frustrated with the scale today, so I needed to hear this. I’m just trying to remind myself to KEEP GOING. I’m not setting weight loss goals, because ultimately your weight isn’t exactly under your control. We all wish we could say “I will lose X amount of weight by X date” and have it magically happen. The only things I CAN control are my eating behaviors and activity. Sticking to my plan is my goal. I’m judging my success not by the numbers, but by the changes in my lifestyle and how I feel that result from that commitment.

    Paula

    January 27, 2010

    Right on Roni!!! Your advice is the same thing I discovered on my own. The scale and the measuring tape is not going down but I am jogging 2 miles 3-4 times a week. I eat healthier –while not always cuz I love me some mexican food, but for the most part, I am mindful of what I put in my mouth. Sure there are areas that I NEED to improve. But I’m working on it and LIFE IS JUST WONDERFUL.

    Thanks for the reminder

    Sandra

    January 27, 2010

    As someone who woke up and weighed in this morning with a POINT TWO POUND LOSS, I so needed to be reminded of this! Thank you all!!!!
    You know, when I think about it, it’s these thoughts that, if given reign in our head, are what puts the weight back on and sends us into the weight up/weight down/weight up dieting yo-yo. If it weren’t for these thoughts running in our heads, the weight loss industry wouldn’t survive, we’d all be content with how our bodies are adapting to exercise and diet. It’s the “all or nothing” sydrome that we struggle with. Hugs Amanda! I’m right there with ya, fighting the “messages”. We will win!

    Losing Weight Daily

    January 27, 2010

    You’ve got the attitude already. Regular workouts, healthy eating, a mind towards fitness. Rock on.

    I think two things that are easy to forget in the weight loss journey are the mind and the muscles. I would suggest having your body fat percentage checked if you don’t already. It’s often a better indicator than weight and you can get it done professionally with the doctor and get little indicative check-ups with an at-home measurer thingy (mine is built into my scale). You reduce your body fat percentage by shifting the weight from fat to muscle. Strength training is key to weight loss – when 5 pounds of muscle is a fraction of the size of 5 pounds of fat, and muscle burns more calories at rest, you’re going to see results. And a woman’s physiology will not “bulk up” without *excessive* weight lifting, so you’ll be able tone and build strength and maintain your feminine beauty.

    The other side of the coin is the mind. And this is nothing more than an honest, introspective, emotional journey through what you’ve carried your whole life. For me I carry a lot of emotional pain from childhood and my body reacts to that chronic stress by trying to protect me through fat. (Primeval body systems only know stress as “about-to-starve,” emotional stress is perceived the same way and our bodies store fat. I’ve now made it a major part of my program to explore, identify, and attempt to resolve those things I’ve carried so long.

    LWD

    Alison

    January 27, 2010

    The Body Image Workbook by Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D. has some really useful exercises for learning to love your body or at least like it :P There are some stupid ones too but your mileage may vary you might love the ones I hate. All in all I definitely learned alot about myself and my body from it.

    Erika

    January 27, 2010

    It is kinda sad that we try so hard to except ourselves – especially when the people we love except us just the way we are. I work out daily and use to watch what I ate super close and felt like I was getting no where. I still workout but have stopped paying attention to what I eat (or don’t eat) and just eat throughout the day as I feel hungry and stop when I’m full. Since doing this I have noticed a difference in my stomach and I also don’t crave things and end up overeating anymore.

    Elisabeth

    January 27, 2010

    I think that you answered this question very accurately. The only way that I had any success with getting my disordered eating under control is when I stopped focusing on my weight and the way I looked. Focusing on the things that my body is capable of doing is much more challenging and realistic. I constantly set new goals for my body to achieve: 5K, 15K, 1/2 marathon, marathon…now a triathlon. I also have a specific ab performance goal to meet within the next year.

    I threw away my scale, underwent some intensive therapy (I was bulimic though…), and now I care about how I’m DOING…not how I look.

    Lynette S

    January 27, 2010

    Thanks Roni – so important to remind ourselves that perfection isn’t realistic. you rule.

    Nadine

    January 27, 2010

    Hooray, so well said, Roni! I am glad that Amanda not only saw herself in it but got to see your reply. You hit the nail on the head a couple of times, but I’ll just say this…all of life’s problems will not be solved “when you lose the weight” — and don’t wait for “when you lose the weight” to do the things you want to do (now) — we are all so much more than a number.

    I LOVED what you said about going from eating healthy for losing weight purposes to doing it just becuase you WANT to…its better for you all around.

    Amanda, if you’re plateauing at your current weight and not happy about, then CHANGE something…add weights to your routine, shake up your menu…SOMETHING. A plateau means your body has gotten used to your current level of WHATEVER it is, good or bad.

    N.

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    January 27, 2010

    When I stopped worrying about fatness and worried about my fitness I wasn’t so preoccupied with weight. And the weight eventually did come off but I was more proud of the races I ran and the things I could do with my body than the little imperfections I still see in the mirror.

    Jody - Fit at 52

    January 27, 2010

    I hear this alot & many times it is a plateau. But other times, a person has to take a new look at what they are doing. Log your food. Most do not know really how much they are eating. Change up the workout routine. Our body gets used to the same ole thing & as we lose weight, it also becomes harder to lose too. Mix it up & make the body wonder what is going on. Are you drinking your water, are you picking at food during the day, are you snacking a bit more than normal.

    I have lived thru many hormone phases & going thru the perimenopause now & believe me, I have to fight to keep myself right where I am at & that means pushing myself big time! Not saying that you are not doing that but even wne I was working out hard, I still had to mix it up & try new ways to get the bod moving!

    AMEN SISTER!!!!!!! Well said, as always! I needed to hear this too, so thank you!

    Laura Jane

    January 27, 2010

    As many have said, you’re definitely not alone! I practically could have written that. My body is pretty slow at losing weight even when I’m rigorously counting calories and working out regularly. My body just doesn’t lose weight fast. (Granted, until this week for the past couple months, I wasn’t losing because I was actually not exercising very much and was very loosely counting calories – sometimes that’s why it doesn’t come off.) Unfortunately, I personally have not yet managed to accomplish most of my goals or stick with my healthy eating/exercising very long term, so I can’t tell you what to do. But I am an expert in what not to do! My advice would be: DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Don’t even think about it. I have made the mistake in the past that when my weight loss got slow or stopped, I threw in the towel. I can’t tell you how much I wish I hadn’t, and where I’d be now if I had kept on going. But I am now really, really trying to focus more on how I feel when I’m eating healthy and enjoying being more fit rather than just looking at the numbers on the scale.

    Kelly Fuller

    January 27, 2010

    You rock Roni!

    Arlene

    January 28, 2010

    I needed this post … I’m feeling like a complete failure. Everything in my life is out of control right now, including the eating. Need to stop and reverse course before I start gaining all that I’ve lost.

    Jayhawk Girl

    February 1, 2010

    Interval training! Run as hard as you can for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 seconds. Do this six times to start with. As you get better at it, increase the amount of time you run to 60 or 90 seconds, but keep the rest time to only 30 seconds. Up the number of times you do this from six to eight or ten. Trust me… It’s hard and you’ll want to pass out when you’re done (if you’ve done it right) but it’s worth it because you’ll start to see results again. Have you ever seen a big sprinter? Me neither! :-)