Starting and maintaining a new lifestyle is not all sunshine and roses.

Sometimes it just plain sucks.

Yes my friends, dieting has a dark side, and one thing I promised myself when I started this blog was that I was going to write the ENTIRE story, not just the happy chapters.

So allow me to take you on a journey into the dark side.

Sometimes dieting is hard. I post a lot of inspirational stories on the blog, but truth be told dieting is not always inspirational. In fact, I post these stories so that you, or myself if I am looking back, can remember these moments on the darker days. Truth be told, sometimes dieting is just plain hard. The cookie dough cravings, the I have no time for anything but fast food days, the if I have one more salad I may throw up moments.

Yep, been there, done that.

Sometimes I want progress to move faster, sometimes I feel like my body fails what my mind wants to accomplish. Sometimes, I just want to sleep in instead of getting up early for a class. It’s hard. Don’t let anyone try to convince you it’s not. Anyone who tells you their weight loss was easy, is lying to you. Plain and simple.

Sometimes it’s ugly. When people see before and after pictures of me they are amazed. “Mandi you look so amazing!!”  Yes, my body has changed in so many positive ways and its completely transformed.  I see that. But don’t think there aren’t ugly sides to dramatic weight loss. I have parts of my body with hanging skin that I’ve been told will never go away without surgery to remove them.  Loose skin happens with large volume weight loss. My bat wing under my arm, my stomach, my thighs, they are all there.  You can’t lose a huge amount of weight like 100 pounds and not have some ugly side effects.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept. I’ll never forget sitting in my doctor’s office when I asked her what I needed to weigh to be considered “normal”.  At first, I got super excited when she told me that I only had 15 more pounds to go. Then she followed it up with a big dose of reality that because of my age, body type and genetics, I probably will never hit that number. Gee Doc, thanks a lot.

Sometimes you fail. When you get up and grooving on a diet you think you are on top of the world. You are motivated, tough, strong, nothing can stop you.  But truth be told, you don’t win every single time. Sometimes you fail. Failure can come in many forms: Sometimes you fail on your perfect day of eating and pop a chocolate in your mouth, sometimes you fail on a workout by not being able to do that last rep, sometimes you fail simply because you didn’t know those grapes were really high in carbs.  Failure is a part of this journey, and it happens a lot.

Sometimes the pants don’t fit. Oh the days when you find a cute pair of jeans that you just love in your size and no matter how hard you pull they won’t zip. Or the moments when the pants fit yesterday, but are really tight on your butt today.  Those are awful moments, so let’s just move on…

Sometimes he/she loses faster than you.  It never fails, I’ll just have weighed myself and lost like .2 and a friend of mine will tell me that they lost 10 pounds that week.  I’m well aware, that I’ve sometimes been that person to others as well.  Unfortunately, for all of us there will be people we read about or come across that are losing it faster and easier than we are. Everyone’s journey is different and so the length of our journey and how long it takes to reach our destination is all different.

Sometimes you still see the fat. I always thought if I ever lost 100 pounds,  I would look at myself in the mirror and feel like the skinniest person in the world. Oh if only I was 100 pounds lighter, I would be SO SO skinny!!  Yes, there are moments I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the windows of the Y as I walk and notice my flattened belly and “see the skinny”. But, not all moments are like that. I don’t always see the weight loss.  I still have those moments in front of a bathroom mirror where I still see the fat. No matter what, I still have the days were the flaws shine brighter than the positives.  Losing weight doesn’t automatically make the critical side of your brain disappear. I really wish it did.

Sometimes not everyone is supportive. There are friends of mine who are really supportive of me. They are there for every high and low, there to cheer me on, there to remind me to laugh at myself, and always there to lend support. However, a bitter pill to swallow on this journey is that not everyone is supportive. I have friends that have never congratulated me or commented on my weight loss, ignored it, are negative about it, tease me that I am “obsessed with working out”. I know its hard when you are the happy and want to shout it from the rooftops and sometimes you run into people that would rather you just keep going as if nothing happened.  This used to bother me, and I would wonder why they weren’t happy for me. But,  you know what?  I look at it differently now. Some people are just not meant to be your cheerleaders, and some frankly don’t know if they should say something to you about your weight loss or just treat you like nothing happened. It doesn’t mean they can’t be your friends.  So, it’s okay if not everyone is cheering you on…but hang on to those cheerleaders because they are amazing!

Sometimes you have deeper things to fix than your diet.  One thing I learned on this journey early on is I had a horrible relationship with food and I had a lot more problems to fix beyond the amount of carbs I consumed in the day. I had to learn that food could not make me happy, not cure boredom, not comfort me. These deep dark problems are a lot harder than counting carbs, I can assure you.

Sometimes the food tastes bad. Not every recipe in the world that you try is going to work. For example, I thought cauliflower crust pizza was going to save me from my pizza craving. I made it and spit it out. Literally. It was so bad.  Other times I’ll read Pinterest posts claiming that zoodles taste just like pasta! No they don’t.  Sometimes diet food tastes like…well diet food.

Sometimes you doubt yourself. This one may seem crazy to you, but just because I’ve been able to be successful and lose 100 pounds does not mean that I don’t have those moments I doubt that I can do it. I have those days that I can’t see the forest through the trees. I have those days where I think I’m 2 seconds away from giving it all up and going back to my old ways.

Sometimes you eat the chip. There are times when your willpower is as strong as steel, and there are other times you find yourself elbow deep in a bag of chips. Just eat the chip and move on.

Sometimes it hurts. It’s kind of ironic that I am in the best shape of my life, but yet the most pain in my life.  People that see me now sometimes tease me that I walk like I’m an old lady, because there are days in the week where I walk with a distinctive limp.  This is because, I’m SORE.

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Don’t let the smile fool you in this pic. I had to post a “Sweaty Selfie” for a group I follow and so I smiled…but seriously  I could not get up from my couch for like an hour after my run!

I work out 7 days a week, so I’m no stranger to the pains and soreness that come along with this journey. So although my body feels fantastic some days, there are days I’m walking like John Wayne. Today sore, tomorrow strong.

Sometimes there are…err undesirable…side effects.  When your body is adjusting to a new way of eating, sometimes you have to deal with less than fun side effects. Constipation, “low carb flu”, headaches, fatigue. These all happen while your body is catching up to what your mind wants to accomplish. These too shall pass…

Sometimes your body will let you down. This one happens to me a lot. There are days when I go to work out and in my head I see myself as Rocky.  I lift weights in Body Pump class once a week, and when we get to shoulder track, I watch others around me lift so much more with their shoulders. And there I am struggling to keep up.  In my mind I think that I can do that for sure…but my body tells me otherwise. Yep, sometimes no matter how motivated you are, your body will let you down.

Sometimes your down-line goes straight. This is something that is the most frustrating to me in this process. I’ve been really lucky in that I was able to lose 106 pounds in 7 months. So each month in the process, I would weigh myself (I used to only weigh myself monthly) and I would see these huge numbers, huge downward trend. First month I lost 17 pounds, next month another 18, my downward line was pretty vertical, month after month I received big results.

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See that beautiful down line.  Well, let me show you what it is now….

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Yep, it’s pretty straight.  Flat-lined. I’ve hit a plateau, and I have not lost weight in approximately 18 days. There is nothing more frustrating than a plateau. I still watch my diet religiously, I’m still working out everyday, yet the scale is being as stubborn as my 6 year old when I try to get him to eat broccoli. Sorry, ain’t happening. 

So, yes there is a dark side of dieting. The sooner we accept the bitter, the sooner we can taste the sweet. Yes, these moments are there, but take hope because I can assure you they are such a small part of the journey.  These moments don’t last, and are far out-shined  by the happy, much brighter, moments.

So if you are going through this process and having one of those days, those days when you can really only see the dark side, just know that that is completely normal, that I go through that too.

Just keep walking through the dark until you see the light again!

R.C.

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