Starting Over

I’ve had to start over a few times in the last few years. When I decided it was time to lose the weight, I had minor setbacks. For example, I’d fluctuate up and down the same few pounds or I’d hit plateaus that lasted a really long time. I was lucky in that when I finally set out to lose 100 pounds, I never gained it back. A common occurrence is for people to lose a significant amount of weight and then for whatever reason, gain it all back and more. I am so grateful that wasn’t the case for me. That does not mean I had a perfect time of it.

Gaining Weight

The first set back was in 2009. After losing over 100 pounds, weighing in at the lowest 143, I proceeded to gain 16 pounds. On New Year’s Eve my weight had gone up to 159.5.  What was the reason for this weight gain? I was eating the same healthy way I’d eaten to lose the weight. I was still exercising 5 days a week. In fact, I was training for the Shamrock 8k, the Hood to Coast Relay race and the Reach the Beach 55 mile ride.


The reason: medication.

I started taking a medication that caused weight gain. It was slow at first. A pound here. A pound there. Then I was 5 pounds heavier. I told myself it was no big deal. I was still under 150 pounds (my goal weight). I told myself that it was the training. All that running I was doing. I was gaining muscle. Excuses, excuses.

I peaked at 160 pounds. I was 10 pounds OVER my goal weight and not happy. I was angry that no matter what I did–how much I worked out–I could NOT lose any weight. What gives?? I saw a nutritionist. I saw my personal trainer again. I was feeling depressed. I’d come so far and here I was: a clique. Someone who lost a lot of weight and was gaining it back. Then it dawned on me. The medication. Maybe it was causing weight gain? Maybe it was making it impossible to LOSE weight?


I was right. I stopped the medication and immediately started losing the weight. Two pounds in fact.  It took about ten months but I lost the 16 pounds I had gained on the medication. I didn’t do anything special: just my normal eating, calorie counting and vigorous exercise.

Injury

The next set back I had was last September. I successfully ran Hood to Coast and was feeling really good about life. I was prepared to immediately start training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon. I went for a run a week after Hood to Coast and realized I was injured.  Overuse of my IT Band. Suckage. That meant months of no running.

I went a little batty at first. I was sad. I was angry. Depressed. Stressed out. Anxious I was going to gain back all my weight. Then I snapped out of it and pulled myself together. I had to find alternatives to running.

I did physical therapy (which was a negative experience), acupuncture (also negative), massage therapy, lots of yoga, stretching. In the end it came down to this: I had to start all over from scratch. I took 6 weeks off from all running and then I started the “return to running program” my sports medicine doctor put me on. I was starting all over. Walk, jog, walk, jog, eventually run…


In the end it came down to listening to my body and let it heal. I had to switch things up. Changing my workouts ended up being a GREAT thing. It ended the boredom I was feeling.  I started lifting weights just to have something to do and fell in love with it. Weight lifting was something I’d avoided for a long time and it ended up being the BEST THING I EVER DID. I immediately lost those last 5 pounds I had gained. My body changed. I got toned. I felt better. I felt STRONG.


I was happy with the changes and even when I was “cured” from my running injury I still lifted weights because I realized just how important it was. The injury ended up being a GOOD thing!

Starting Over

Starting over doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. It doesn’t have to mean failure, either. It’s all part of the journey.


When I was trying to reteach myself how to eat healthy I had many slip ups. It was hard breaking a decade of bad habits overnight. If I had a “bad food day” I started over the next day. The next day was a clean slate, no mess ups. A new day meant I started at zero and could make better choices.

Remember: starting over doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Keep moving forward and you will be okay.

QUESTION: How many times have you had to start over? What helped?

 

28 Responses

  1. It’s easy for me to start blaming myself when I feel like i need a fresh slate… but we do all make mistakes and sometimes that fresh slate is a good thing.
    In July 2010 I got a stress fracture in the 3rd metatarsal in my foot. It was horrible and incredibly painful but went away after a few days of rest so I thought i was fine. I proceeded to work 5 12 hour shifts in a row and that did me in. I had to wear an air boot for 6 weeks and could not urn for over 2 months. I was in hell. Once I started again, I felt like I couldn’t run more than half a mile without having to stop and catch my breath and that feeling of defeat lasted all through the winter until I started training for a half marathon that I ran in July. Everythings better now.
    It takes time. And patience (which I don’t have much of.) And trust in your body.
    Eleah recently posted..Mexican Joint + Berry Picking

    1. That stress fracture sounds excruciating! I had to wear that same air boot for a few months after I had ankle surgery. It’s not a fun experience.

      You made a good point about trusting your body, too. After my ITB injury and I was able to run again, I felt scared to. It was like every ache, pain, normal thing was suddenly a new injury. I still feel nervous about running and keep my mileage low as a result. 🙁

  2. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve started over! I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was 15, probably. This time around, even after losing 50 lbs., I’ve hit a wall and, in a sense, I feel like I’m starting over right now. I haven’t even dropped lbs. yet, but I have a new focus on eating well and working out regularly, and working out in a different way with my new trainer. Still, I’d like to see the lbs. start dropping again. Allowing myself “treat weekends” and “treat days” has become hard for me to control. There are days when I just eat what I want and stuff myself and I feel miserable, but it’s almost like I’m not even in control of doing it. Those are the days I’d like to see fewer and fewer of, the way it was in the beginning…it’s a struggle!

  3. I am totally hitting refresh after I finish my marathon. I’m a bit burned out from running (marathon training will do that to you!) and I am not losing any weight. I need to pump some new excitement into my workout routine so that I actually want to work out! I’m tempted by Zumba, Pilates, and weight lifting. I’ll probably always run a bit–just take a break from long distance for a while. Hopefully the switch keeps me active and helps me drop the last few pounds!
    Becky recently posted..10 days…

    1. I think burn out is common. I definitely burned out training for Hood to Coast. I trained for a year. That’s a lot of mental issues for a year. Getting obsessed with training, running, not doing anything fun, never seeing friends because I had to “run” all the time. I was definitely in need of a mental break by the time I got physically injured.

  4. I had to “start over” many times throughout my journey and still do. I don’t know if its really starting over over, but its more going back to the basics to get myself on track. I think the difference between people who lose the weight and keep it off and those who gain it back is that they stick with the behaviors that helped them lose the weight in the first place, rather than going back to their old lifestyle. It seems like you have that down pat!

    1. Yes, that’s a good clarification. I didn’t think gaining 15 pounds from a medication is technically “starting over”….not like gaining 100 and REALLY starting over. And yes, the people that are successful are the ones that keep doing their healthy habits that lost them the weight in the first place.

  5. Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing your honest journey! I love a story of weight loss that isn’t cut and dry! That’s encouraging! I lost 15 pounds early on this year but have plateaued for several months now (habits remaining the same). Just added a Spin class twice a week and started to see the scale inch downward again at last. It’s so frustrating to put in so much work and see very little result. What motivated you to push through your plateaus?

    1. Sometimes switching up activities really helps get out of those plateaus.

      I hit a LOT of plateaus when I was losing my weight. Some were just a few weeks, others were months long. It was definitely frustrating. At the time I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I just kept exercising and counting my calories. I told myself that giving up was NOT an option. I was losing the weight, period. So that got me through the plateaus.

      One thing I do suggest: weight lifting. I wish I had started lifting weights years ago. That would have sped up my weight loss, and helped with plateaus I think.

  6. Wow. I needed to read this.

    I have TWO injuries right now. (Shoulder and back) and I feel like I’m just watching my last year slip away. It’s depressing.

    This helped. Thank you, Lisa!

    1. I’m so sorry you are going through this, Michelle. I watched Michael go through horrific back pain all winter long. I was powerless. I couldn’t help. I couldn’t comfort. 🙁

  7. Lisa,
    I lost 120 pounds in 1989 and gained them back in 1992. That was starting over. It was a slow start because it took me until 2003 to get it out of my head that I had to start over. I thought I was just continuing where I left off. I had the mentality that XY and Z worked the first time I could just do XY and Z again. You know what you get if nothing changes?

    It was when I accepted that I had to change my actions and my thinking that I understood that starting over was not a punishment. It is a gift. It means I am not a failure, I am progress in action.

    By the way, I do not think I ever really told you how I prayed to the calorie and fitness Gods for your continued recovery during those months that you could not run – and how excited I was for you when you found new outlets and then your running feet!
    It was all so inspiring. I know who to contact when my knees give out and I need encouragement to get my body going.

    Jane~
    Keepingthepoundsoff.com
    jane Cartelli recently posted..Finding Beauty in All God’s Creations

    1. I’m glad that you had a positive outlook on starting over, and did not give up. I think losing weight (especially a significant amount) is often about the journey and struggle to do so–not necessarily about achieving the goal. When I reached 100 pounds lost it was rather anticlimactic for me. Sure I was excited to reach the goal but I had been living this “healthy lifestyle” so long by then that it was the “norm.”

      You never told me you were wishing me good vibes last year but they were definitely felt. I am glad that my set back last year was relatively minor. I may not be 100% but it opened my eyes to other activities I could do. I didn’t have to just resort to running.

      I hope your knees are okay!

  8. I think you summed it up just perfectly when you said “starting over doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Keep moving forward and you will be okay.” I could not agree more!

  9. I think I start over about twice a year! I just have ebbs and flows–right now I’m in a phase of feeling very motivated about eating right and maintaining my weight, and since the phase is a few months old I’m about due to start feeling lazy. I wish I could figure out what causes that and head it off! Throughout my food cycles my exercise has always stayed consistent, though, so the damage is never more than a few pounds and I always cycle back around. And always tell myself this is the last time…maybe this time will be the time the “good” phase sticks around for real!

    1. Are your cycles season related? It would make sense to me that you feel less motivated during the winter months. It’s hard to motivate myself much when it’s dark and rainy out!

  10. I’m learning that we are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for… and that there is a lesson in everything we go through (even the crappy eating days, the days when you skip working out and watch tv while eating cookie dough instead). If we keep growing and never give up, we’ll invetably find something that works and makes us happier!
    Elina (Healthy and Sane) recently posted..Diet free living: another lesson learned

  11. Not really…though the holiday season is tough. I don’t have a problem with exercise motivation (even though I live in Portland, too–I just move inside in the winter). Motivation to stay on track with eating right is what sometimes fails me. Right now what’s working well for me is to be pretty strict with myself during the week and allow myself some leeway on the weekends. This is something I haven’t tried before, so here’s hoping this is the one that fixes all my problems forever. 😀

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