This past Monday I had the rare opportunity to sit in front of the television for a few minutes before my husband came home from work. While channel surfing, I came across The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring a much heavier Kirstie Alley. I had not seen the original air date of the show, so I was quite fascinated to hear how she regained the weight she worked so hard to lose. Her story was followed by a segment featuring Michael Hebranko, once touted by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the world's greatest dieters. In the early 1990's, this man had lost 700 pounds in 19 months, only to regain the weight he had worked so hard to lose.
What struck me while watching Kirstie chat with Oprah was her humility and candor about regaining all the weight she had lost. I can only imagine how hard that must have been. While there were lots of jokes and jabs made about her downfall, it was as though you could sense her pain and disgust at having put the weight back on. She was honest in saying that she knew exactly why she regained her weight. Like many of us know all too well, she stopped weighing herself, working out and being mindful of the foods she was eating.
This show hit me with such a jolt of reality and one that I could relate to. Thankfully, my weight loss and subsequent regains were never chronicled by every tabloid on the market; but that still did not mean I did not experience a sense of shame and embarrassment each and every time I regained the weight. In the past, each time I had lost a sizable amount of weight only to regain it, I wondered what others thought of me. Did they see me as a constant failure? Someone who lacked self-discipline? Someone who was destined to be overweight for the rest of her life?
Looking back at the few photos I have of me prior to 2005, I can tell you precisely what diet I was on to get me to that weight, only to see me disappear from the photos just a few months later due to the inevitable weight regain-- too ashamed to be photographed. This was my life for the better part of 32 years.
It was, and still is, a struggle to think that I will never, ever regain the weight which is why running has been so instrumental in helping me face my own demon. The demon being that any moment in time can change the course I am currently on.
Why has this journey been so different from so many past failed attempts? Could I find myself in Kirstie's or Michael's shoes next year? I would like to think that I would not, but I can honestly say I don't know. I do not have a crystal ball but what I do know is that I have the support of a great community that will pick me up even when yes, we as experts, lose our own footing.
One very insightful comment came from Michael Hebranko when Oprah asked if he ever considered weight loss surgery. While he did not condemn those having the surgery, he said that his bypass needed to be here--he then pointed to his head. That was one of those Aha! moments! I realized at that very moment my mind has changed therefore, my life has changed. None of us are destined to be overweight for the rest of our lives. It may take some of us longer to reach our destination, but that is not failure. Failure is falling off the wagon and never having the courage to get back on now matter how many times we fall off.
So here's to all us who have fallen off the wagon and found the inner courage to get back on knowing that this is not a life sentence. Others are here to support you and encourage you even when you feel you do not have it within yourself to do so.
This by far was one of the toughest blogs for me to write. While I know I have come so far in my own personal journey, one never fully knows if they have truly conquered the beast. Time will tell, but I am in it for the fight of my life.
Have you experienced a weight loss only to regain? How did it make you feel? If you have lost weight, do you feel it is only a matter of time before you regain the weight or have you accepted the fact that this journey is about changing your life and not just a number on the scale?
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