Five Tips to Get You Back on Track If You’ve Gained Weight

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

I recently looked back at my weight over the past two years. Except for the initial weight gain when I returned from Shepherd Center, I’ve generally I’ve stayed about the same. I felt a little crazy. Despite all of food tracking and measuring, exercising and gym visits, obsessing over ever calorie and measuring food, I was about the same weight. Whaaat?

Around that time, I saw a book called Body Kindness in one of my social feeds. The book promised to “show you how to create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.” Life is too short to be at war with my body, I thought as I ordered it. If I’m not going to benefit from “dieting” and assigning myself a goal weight, I may as well enjoy food and quit worrying so much.

The part of the book that resonated with me was “firing the food police” and seeing food as neutral, declassifying foods as “good” or “bad.”  I gave up recording in My Fitness Pal (MFP), bought foods I haven’t eaten in years and had a lot of ice cream. But food freedom didn’t automatically transfer into more mindful eating, an indifference to “problem foods” or weight loss. When I finally weighed myself after a few weeks, I was up a couple of pounds. That isn’t the end of the world, I know, but if you’re short and already have a few extra lbs., it’s a good warning sign.

Despite my tendency to overeat using the Body Kindness concept, I did love the “Body Kindness” tips. I loved striking morning power poses in the mirror; getting more sleep and practicing more positive body self-talk. I loved feeling less conscious and more empowered. It didn’t lead to weight loss or even maintenance, but it felt good.

I’ve decided that for me, meal planning and food journaling worked; it’s empowering and energizing. I’ve returned to food journaling and my goal to eat healthier. But I also decided to continue incorporating those body kindness tips as I worked toward getting closer to my goal weight.

Until then, I was stuck with a few extra pounds on top of what I wanted to lose before. For inspiration, I visited MFP’s website, where I found these tips to get back on track from MyFitnessPal’s blog.

According to MFP, these five tips will help you get back on track:

  1. START NOW AND START SMALL

Stop saying “I’ll start over tomorrow.” Instead of me focusing on the 22 total pounds I want to lose, I’m going to start with the five pounds I can realistically lose in one month. And I’m not going to obsess over working out for an hour every day of the week, when a nice walk outside for 20-30 minutes will be a good start.

  1. LOSE THE GUILT

It’s easy to feel ashamed, guilty and embarrassed when you gain or regain weight. Weight gain happens, so I’m going to shift my focus from the past and set my sights on concrete actions I can take to move forward. I’m going to set attainable goals and celebrate when I hit them – striving for progress, not perfection.

  1. CONSIDER HELP FROM THE PROS

Whether it’s a personal trainer, nutritionist, medical doctor or therapist, it can help to have someone holding you accountable. I love my trainer, and he keeps me honest. My body is still recovering from the time I spent in bed during my rehabilitation, and my frozen vocal cord prevents me from doing too strenuous a workout. Cash helps me determine what exercises are off limits for the moment and ways I can modify others for the long term. He also knows me well enough to know when to push me a little, too.

  1. MAKE A MEAL PLAN

It’s always helpful to plan out your meals to prevent you from falling back into old bad habits like eating ice cream every day. I started by jumping forward one day in My Fitness Pal and plugging foods into each meal ahead of time. Taking the time to think it out helps, and once I’ve journaled it, the “getting ahead” is more likely to keep me honest than fleeting good intentions in my head.

  1. REACH OUT TO FRIENDS

Tell your circle of influence that you’re working on healthy eating. They may want to join you, and everybody knows that it’s easier when you have a fitness/food buddy. They can help by keeping junk food out of sight or not tempting you with unhealthy food in the first place.

It’s only been a few days since I shifted my mindset, so I haven’t magically lost that weight I gained. I’m eventually going to weigh myself again, and I haven’t lost sight of my goal. Instead I’m going to judge my success by how I feel and how my clothes fit. Weight gain happens and weight loss is hard work, so I won’t give up or feel defeated if I struggle. I’ve got this, and I’m not alone.

Have you ever looked up and suddenly gained more weight than you anticipated? What was your wakeup call? What did you do? And what are your tips for staying on track? I’d love to hear from you.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete = A Clean Start

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

ScaleI haven’t been blogging about my healthy lifestyle as much lately, mostly because I have been a little off of my game. Without getting into the reasons and/or excuses – some good, others not so much – I haven’t been nearly as focused on my healthy living goals in the last few months. I’ve gained some weight, and I’ve been feeling bad about myself. I’ve been mad and disappointed in myself, and I didn’t want to share that with anyone else.

Have I totally undone the progress I made? Not by a long shot. I’ve been a little laxer on working out, but despite missing a few days here or a week there around some injuries, I still strength train twice a week and get three to five sessions of cardio in. I’ve allowed myself a few more treats, especially ice cream, but otherwise, I’m still eating clean. No processed and/or fast food, just a little too much healthy food. Those size eight skirts don’t fit right now, but I’m still five sizes below where I started, and I’m still in the petite section. Still, I have been feeling pretty darn bad about myself.

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how losing the weight was so much easier than maintaining it. During my time in the Doctors Wellness Center 12-week program, I really faced some challenges. Dad was ill and passed away. My beloved dog, Winston, had to be put down suddenly. I lost my cat, Duchess, to cancer. I traveled a lot for work. Yet I was still able to do quite well making some significant lifestyle changes.

I’m sure part of it has been transitioning from seeing a nutrition counselor each week and engaging in a 30 minute accountability session. There were weeks we didn’t talk about food at all, but about an issue I may be having at work or at home. She helped me think out possible solutions and challenged me to implement them rather than drowning my troubles in food. She was a weekly touchstone for me that I don’t have now. It’s probably totally normal to experience some changes as I learn to face my new lifestyle “on my own.”

Another part has probably been finding my bearings as a healthier, thinner person. Until recently, I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose more weight, and perhaps I allowed myself more leeway when it came to portion size and treats. The past year has brought a few extra lbs., but it has also brought me knowledge of what I can and cannot handle in terms of staying healthy and at a desired weight.

I talked to people who know about these things, and they say that a small weight gain is normal and not something to feel bad about. They say that while my weight may be up, soon things will come back into balance and the weight will come back down.

Long story short, things started falling back into place in the last week or so. I realized that the year was halfway through, and it was time to quit the pity party and move forward. I know what to do, and I have the tools and the support system.

Last week, I returned to journaling my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal. Every day wasn’t perfect, but I recorded everything, even the excesses. I also got my fitness mojo back, completing two strength training sessions and did cardio more days than I didn’t. I also started wearing my FitBit again, which has motivated me to increase my steps. Finally, I packed up my size eight clothes that have been taunting me from the closet and pulled out ones that fit a bit better. (That alone has been a huge boost.)

This week, my goals are to continue recording every day, increase my cardio a little more, do at least one vegan day and work on keeping my portion sizes where they should be.

My overall goal is to do my best one day at a time, but I also hope that I can get down 25 lbs. between now and the end of the year. That won’t quite put me at my all-time low, but it will put me in a good, happy place.

So, how have YOU successfully dealt with a setback, health-wise or otherwise? Any special tricks or tips to help get you through the rough spots? What has helped you get your “mojo” back?