Gaining Weight and Feeling Like a Failure

I’ve started this blog a dozen times. And, each time, I delete it and start again. I guess because I don’t really know where I want it to go, but I just know I need to get it all out.

So, if this is a rambling mess, you’ll know why.

A year ago today I started losing weight. If you know me at all, you know I’m a yo-yo dieter. I go up and down like crazy, but for the last five years I’ve been consistently gaining. And, I’m going to be really candid and open with you and let you know my highest weight was 257 pounds in October 2016. I was a size 18/20. I was miserable.

I preach body positivity to everyone I meet. And, for the most part, I think I’m great. Even at my highest weight, I don’t think I put out into a world a girl who was tired, fatigued, and unhappy. I think I still made it seem like I had it all together. But, trust me, I didn’t. In February 2017, I decided to give Weight Watchers another try at the encouragement of a co-worker who was going to do it with me. And, for the first time, I felt in control of my life and my weight. As someone who has hypothyroidism and binge eating tendencies, I rarely feel in control of anything related to my weight or health.

For six months, I was 100% dedicated to the program. I worked hard, counted points, cooked three meals a day, worked out six times a week. I went to a personal trainer. I went on hikes. I did things I hadn’t in years. And, I lost 50 pounds. At my lightest, I was 207 pounds and a size 14. I felt great. I looked great, but I was tired.

I was so tired of obsessing over food and calories burned. My job performance was suffering because I took any chance I could to go and take a walk. I thought about food all day. When I was going to eat again, what my calorie count was for the day, etc. I also spent an abnormal amount of time seeking the validation of strangers online. Whether on Instagram or the Weight Watchers connect app, I was always looking for someone to tell me I was doing okay.

Then, I snapped. After August, I just stopped everything. I stopped working out regularly (except I still met my trainer once a week), I stopped counting points. I deleted my fitness Instagram account. I unsubscribed from WW. I just stopped doing everything that had gotten me to that point.

Not going to lie, it felt liberating. For the first time in 6 months I didn’t have to stress about what I was going to eat that day. I didn’t meal prep or cook a healthy meal everyday. Sometimes I ate fast food three meals. I didn’t have to come home and do Zumba on the days that I just wanted to go to sleep.

Fast forward to now. A year after starting my weight loss. I weight 227 pounds. What took me months to lose came back in no time at all. I’m slowly creeping back up to where I was before. And, I hate myself. Like actually hate who I am as a person. I took a few months of joy and turned it into something that’s harming my body. Sure, I like ice cream and fried foods, but not enough to feel the way I feel right now. My skin looks worse than it ever has. My hair is dry and brittle. My nails stopped growing. None of my clothes fit. I noticed the other day after a walk with a coworker that I was out of breath from walking up a small hill. The same hill that months earlier I worked so hard to be able to climb without getting winded. I worked so hard.

Sometimes I think we don’t understand how mental health works. We think that the only thing that makes someone mentally unhealthy is a clinically diagnosed disorder. It’s not. I don’t know what it was that snapped in my brain, but it undid everything I worked so hard for. It told me it was okay to just not care because the world tells me I can love myself even though I’m fat. It told me that working out wasn’t the most important part of my day. It told me that it didn’t matter how great I felt, McDonald’s tastes better.

So, here I am, 20 pounds heavier, sad, and feeling like a failure. And, that’s okay. Because this is the same place I was in last year when I told myself enough was enough. It’s the same physical level I was in last year when I couldn’t walk a mile without getting winded. It’s the same health level I was in when I decided fueling my body with healthier foods was more important. Only this time, I know what it’s like to fail. I know how it feels to hate yourself and to hate how complacent I’ve become.

I don’t promise to be the best everyday. But I do promise to be better than I am now.

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