Yesterday I asked a friend of mine named Gina if she would consider an interview because she has one of the best regain recovery stories out there. Last night another friend came forward when I was telling her about Gina and wanted to offer her story too. She is a WLS vet like Gina but did not want to be identified because she has never told people at work. I will call her Carly.
Yvonne: Carly why did you want to tell your story?
Carly: I regained 50 pounds and I was ashamed. I didn't want to show my face until I got most of it back off.
Yvonne: I wish you hadn't felt ashamed, you lost so much but I know that doesn't matter when you start to beat yourself up. Unfortunately I think that's why some of us disappear from our support system. I wondered where you were because you didn't answer me until recently. What happened?
Carly: I started testing the waters after 3 years. I was doing fine for 3 years and I got over confident. I screwed up.
Yvonne: I wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself. Why don't we call it a life lesson instead? I've heard that phrase before "testing the waters"...can you explain what that means to you?
Carly: It means that I decided to have a little this and little that and was sure that I could knock off that ten pound regain when I wanted to. I was eating things I missed and I "thought" I was deprived and I "thought I was rewarding myself. Instead I deprived myself from what I wanted and that was to keep the weight off. The stupid part is that I had to give up that crappy stuff to lose the regain so I should have never started it in the first place. I didn't miss it for 3 years and it started with a little taste. To be honest I sometimes had more than a little but I would think that I could start over tomorrow so I might as well eat it anyway since I had already blown it for the day.
Yvonne: I so get that. I did that for years and years. A lot of people thought I was on a binge but I was just making up for all the things I had skipped for several days. Now I look back and wonder why I thought I had to eat junk and sugar in the first place. By the way, you are not allowed to call yourself stupid OK? :) How did you get back on track?
Carly: I was really mad because I didn't want to go on another diet. Another damn diet. After I got mad enough I decided that I would get it off. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've got five pounds to go and I'm never going to mess it up again like that. I'll fix it as I go along. I wish I had listened before I regained but I thought I had it made after doing OK for so long. I ate great for 3 years and then started to try things that got me in trouble. I tested the waters and I nearly drowned. I deprived myself from my weight loss, not that stupid food I didn't need.
Yvonne: What changes have you made and have you come up with any "absolutes" that you won't do again?
Carly: I followed your suggestion about sugar and I don't eat over 8 grams. I weigh every day and I don't freak out. I know that if I do what I need to do I will get there and stay there. I finally realized that a few minutes of junk food is not worth what it does to me. It makes me want it more and I started feeling like it was the same as drugs! I mean drugs could be fun too but at some point I have to stop so it's better to never start.
Yvonne: I understand that better than you know. I have a story about eating Quarter Pounders when I was below goal. It made me crave them and it wasn't until I didn't have one for a long time that I forgot the craving! There are so many people that think I'm too tough on this sugar and junk food thing. I have to be careful EVERY day and adding sugar and junk food would definitely make me gain weight. If I am struggling to keep the weight off why would I eat sugar and junk? If you are able to it and keep it off, more power to you! I can't do it but I'm super happy for anyone that can.
Carly: That's what I thought I was going to do. Then one day it's 5 pounds, then 10, then 15 and every time I thought I'll start tomorrow. It was sort of insane that I was eating that stuff when I was trying to lose weight. I mean really, I'm not at goal and I'm eating crap. The weight made everything in my life unmanageable.
Yvonne: I call that feeling you get "looking through the weight regain glasses"...when everything in your life gets messed up because of the regain. I got an email from you once that sounded just like you were looking through the weight regain glasses.
Carly: Everything was messed up but the truth was that it was only the regain that bothering me. I would have had those other problems anyway but I'd rather have them when I'm thinner.
Yvonne: I've explained many times that life will always be life and you'll always have something not going exactly like you want but I would rather tackle those glitches as a thinner person. Thank you Carly! You've been really helpful. Will you answer questions if someone asks?
Carly: Of course. Thank you for your support and thanks for not giving up on me.
Yvonne: Sweetie I'm so proud of you and all you've accomplished. Don't give yourself a hard time for anything in the past...it's gone.
I wonder just how many feel lost and ashamed due to regain when they shouldn't. So many pull away from their support system when they start to get overwhelmed and I have talked to many that just won't show up because they think we don't want them around anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shame and guilt are two things we can ill afford to feel and they suck the life out of you. Please.... if you are one of the "lost", come back to your group, your WLS friends or a therapist. I will be following up with Gina's story who proved it is never too late to turn it around. Please feel free to leave a question if you have one. You don't have to use your real name.
Big hugs, Y
You can see the post on my blog online HERE