The road to success – so close and yet so far

I was back on my way and this time I was determined to make it the road to success!  I had achieved 30 pounds weight loss in the 12 months since returning to Weight Watchers after having a baby, which left me with 30 pounds left to lose.  There had been the occasional small gain here and there, but for the most part I was cruising along nicely and I felt good.

What could possibly stand in my way?  Because I had already experienced a similar level of weight loss before having my baby break, I had some preconceived notion that it would be plain sailing because I knew what I was doing. And yes, while I had learnt the basics – how to plan, healthy food choices, portion control and being active.  I had no idea about the way my body would react to the transformation it was going through.

I had been morbidly obese for years and it seemed like on the whole my body was very comfortable with that.  My mind and spirit on the other hand would no longer settle for that and knew that I could be a better version of myself, indeed, my best self.  It felt like I was in a battle with my body to get rid of the excess fat.  As my weight reduced, my body seemed to resist more and more.  Another 4 months passed and the gains began to become more frequent, it may have only been half a pound gains but it was just not what I wanted to see on the scales.  Then I hit another dreaded plateau, 4 whole weeks of staying the same!  What’s a girl gotta do!

Yes, there were tears and thoughts of throwing in the towel.  I’d come so far, I was 80 pounds lighter, my health had improved, I’d dropped dress sizes, all great reasons to celebrate so surely it didn’t matter if I just stopped now.  It was at this point that I became most grateful for my Weight Watchers leader and meeting group.  Having the support and encouragement of people who have experienced the same struggles and truly understand was and still is invaluable to me.  They rallied around, allowed me to let my frustrations and emotions out, picked me up and helped me plan what I would do in the next week to get me moving again in the right direction. (To read more about dealing with plateaus click here.)

Photo of CC
80 pounds weight loss – getting closer to goal

They didn’t let me quit and in reality it wasn’t what I wanted to do either.  Many people are able to achieve weight loss success independently or through online programmes but personally for me, the meeting group played a major part in me getting to my goal and maintaining it.  I’m happy to say the following week I registered a 2 pounds loss at the scales, which meant I had less than 1 stone to go.

I’d often heard people say that the last few pounds are the hardest to lose.  Now I know from experience that they are not wrong.  Success doesn’t come easy.  It’s also said that ‘anything worth having is worth fighting for’, once I hit the home straight, it would be a fight to the finish.

Soli Deo Gloria

Diversion – Life Happens!

So there I was in the midst of a ‘baby break’.  Sometimes when you set out to do something, life just gets in the way.  I didn’t rush back to Weight Watchers after having the baby,  I believe it is important to make the most of the different stages of life and I was thoroughly enjoying a new social life with baby club friends.

It was in the back of my mind that I was only half way to my goal but I was getting to grips with caring for a young child again.  The trepidation of getting back on the scales and facing the weight gain wasn’t something I had the courage to face at that point.  I found excuses for myself, my weight gain would be entirely because of ‘baby weight’, it would have nothing to do with the bad eating habits I had slipped back into.

I was forced to buy larger sized clothes because my pre-maternity clothes still didn’t fit and I even wore maternity clothes long after the baby arrived.  Two years after last attending I took the plunge and returned to Weight Watchers.  I joined a meeting in my local area, one of my new baby club friends was already attending so I instantly had a WW buddy.  I tipped the scales at 16 stones 4 pounds,  16 pounds heavier than I was the last time I weighed in before the baby.  In my mind I was still a Weight Watcher,  the new member hope and excitement soon gripped me.  Thankfully I didn’t have to take the baby along with me, so the weekly meeting became a little ‘me’ time, spent with adults.  A time that was just for me about me. Some weeks it was the only time I left the house alone.

Photo of CC after baby break
Restarting the journey after a ‘baby break’

My WW buddy also told me about an aerobics exercise class she attended, which sounded like a great way to aid my weightloss.  Until then in my life I’d only really attempted home exercise,  so I had to pluck up the courage to venture into a group situation.  It took a couple of weeks for me to overcome my fears that I wouldn’t be able to do the exercises, or keep up with the pace, or I’d look ridiculous in gym wear and most of all, I was just too big!

Once I’d put all that to the back of my mind, I went along to the class and hid away in the back of the crowd.  It was so challenging, I could hardly complete any of the exercises but somehow I really enjoyed it.  What I didn’t enjoy was to complete agony and muscle pain I had for the next few days, I could barely walk.  Gradually I built up my ability and the weekly class became a must.  I looked forward to it and didn’t want to miss it.  I’ve always been a bit competitive, so I pushed myself to do bit better each week and felt determined to keep up with the pace.

As time went on I saw the benefits in my fitness and energy levels as well as on the scales.  Twelve months after returning to Weight Watchers I had lost another 30 pounds, bringing my total weightloss since originally starting to 70 pounds.  I was creeping along slowly but surely, I was heading towards the home straight to my goal. Having the break probably helped to strengthen my resolve to make it to my goal weight.  Getting there would prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

Make your Christmas a cracker!

With the holiday season well underway and the big day just around the corner,  you may be wondering how you’re going to make it to the New Year without piling on the pounds.   As a Weight Watchers member for 13 years,  I’ve had a range of experiences during the festive season.   My post Christmas results have always reflected the approach I’ve taken and my actions during the holidays.

Like many people,  my Weight Watchers journey began in the month of January,  I seized the New Year spirit and resolved to lose weight.   By the time I encountered my first Christmas as a member I had reached 54 pounds weight loss and felt pretty good about myself.   At this point,  my view of Christmas was a no holds barred 2 weeks break from thinking,  pointing or tracking anything I ate and drank.   To me this meant I was free to indulge or should I say over-indulge.

Christmas photo of CC before WW
The Christmas before I joined Weight Watchers – 19+ stones

My festive treats actually began in October when the supermarkets began running the promotion on tubs of chocolates.   What a bargain,  a whole tub of my favourite chocolates for £4,  I bought two tubs.   But despite being placed safely in a cupboard to be saved for December, those chocolates didn’t see the end of November as the “I’ll just have a couple” phrase became one of my daily sayings.

After getting caught in that trap for 3 years in a row,  I finally learned that if I don’t want to eat a tub of chocolate then I don’t need to buy promotional tubs of chocolate in October.   Now I just don’t buy them at all.   My children get an individual chocolate selection box,  which is more than enough for them.   As for myself,  I buy a chocolate advent calendar,  which gives me manageable individual pieces to enjoy one a day.

In reality Christmas is a season rather than a day.   Like all events and occasions,  it requires some thought and planning.   All the tools and strategies learnt during the year become very useful at Christmas time.   I know what my danger zones are so I mentally prepare myself if I don’t want to indulge at that time or simply have a little less than I would if I wasn’t thinking about it.   I also make sure that I stock up on my favourite healthier snacks so that I’ve got an alternative to reaching for whatever goodies are on the dining room table.

One strategy I particularly like is to make a personal decision about what type of season you want to have… maintain the loss you’ve already made, to register a loss at the scales after Christmas or to be comfortable with a weight gain.

Photo of CC at Christmas
My first Christmas as a Weight Watchers member after 54lbs loss

After my first Christmas as a Weight Watcher,  I gained a whopping 9 pounds in the 2 weeks between weigh-ins.   It took me a full 6 weeks to lose those pounds and get back to my pre-Christmas weight.  The following Christmas my weight gain was 5 pounds, which took 2 weeks to get off and my third Christmas registered a 2.5 pounds weight gain.   As I believe, ‘when you know better, you can do better’.

The difference over the years has been the experience and knowledge I gained not just about making better choices but more importantly about myself,  what I wanted and what works for me.   I’ve always tried not to beat myself up about not sticking to my best intentions and plans,  I try to use so called ‘failures’ as learning experiences and move forward.

For many years I’d heard about people who can lose weight over the Christmas period.   I thought it was a myth and wondered what kind of people they could be,  until it happened to me!   Two years ago,  I made a firm decision that I wanted to maintain my weight.   I continued to plan and track my meals in the run up to Christmas Day.  I decided not to track my food & drink on Christmas Day itself and Boxing Day and to resume planning/tracking on the 27th December.   I also planned in some exercise for the days that I would be at home, all in an effort to balance Christmas indulgence and healthy lifestyle.   The result was a surprising 0.5 pound weight loss!   This may not sound like anything to shout about but I was absolutely delighted. It opened my mind to what is possible and what I am truly capable of achieving.

Photo of CC Christmas 2018
Christmas 2018 – maintaining goal weight

Now this Christmas,  I find myself in a good place – at my goal weight.   The introduction of the Weight Watchers Flex/Freestyle programme with the emphasis on including more high protein/fibre foods with meals, suits my tastes and lifestyle.   I will again be keeping my meals healthy during Christmas week,  making sensible choices when attending functions and indulging on my favourite festive eats & treats on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.   I’ll be twirling my hula hoop to some Christmas tunes and probably racking up some Fitbit steps in the January sales.

So how will you approach your festive season?   Whatever you decide,  the most important thing is to enjoy yourself.   After all ‘tis the season to be jolly!   Have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.