Challenges of Life

This post is a sensitive topic for me. It deals with weight loss, weight maintenance and life. As I traveled through a decade of obesity and then morbid obesity, I faced many challenging situations in my life. Life happened regardless of where I was on my weight loss journey. During those 10 years of obesity I tried over and over again to lose weight, but never kept focused. Rather I continually let the stresses of life and the tendency to be an emotional eater distract me from completing my journey.

I’ve had a lot of people in my life who I have helped get on the path to healthy living. As they worked through their issues with food, there were times along their journey that horrible things happened. Deaths in the family, miscarriages, job losses, financial problems, relationships dissolving. These life’s challenges more often than not caused them to falter and stop their attempt to lose weight. Sometimes they got back on track and managed to get where they wanted to be, but sometimes they ended up gaining all their weight back. It always saddened me.

When I see people both in the real world and in blog land struggle with life’s challenging situations I try and encourage them to look at these circumstances as practice for maintenance. Because your life won’t magically improve once you get where you are working so hard to go. Life will still happen and the practice that you get during weight loss in dealing with life’s challenges will serve you well once you lose all your weight.

Often times I have people tell me that they maintained a weight loss until something stressful happened. It’s understandable isn’t it? So often our hold on our new weight is tenuous until we’ve had some trials by fire. I had some trials that happened to me during the weight loss year and during the  first several years after I reached my goal weight.

♥ One really big stress I had was experiencing a reunion with my birth family. As an adoptee I was always curious about my family or origin and thus was thrilled when my birth mother found me. That happened mid-way through my weight loss year.

♦ I had two miscarriages in the second year of  maintenance.

♥ We moved state to state three different times for new jobs. This involved months of separation from John waiting for our house to sell.

♦ Financial obligations and stresses reared their ugly head several different times throughout the years.

♥ And finally, I had four babies after I lost the weight.

I don’t share all of those things to make you say, “Oh, Diane – you’ve been through a lot.” But rather to have you see that it is possible to keep on your path in spite of losses and trials. Not easy. But possible.

What challenges do your foresee that will be placed in your life over the next year? How will you continue on your path to good health while dealing with life’s challenges? Can you succeed?  Diane

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Comments

  1. Another blogger (Helen) has lost her weight AND stopped smoking. And she said that with the NO smoking – she would say to herself “what is the worst thing that would happen?” and then she would visualize it. And then she would say “and if that happens, you still do NOT smoke.”

    That is how I am. How I live now is ME. It is not something that I ‘get on’ and ‘get off’. No matter what happens – I still eat the right foods.

    I think that often the stressers are actually things that were never faced/dealt. And I think that sometimes WE are looking for an excuse – “like yea! (I mean oh darn) I am sick.” as a reason to ‘step off’.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Food for thought =-.

    • Vickie – Great point about how you are living now is the new you. It makes handling all those things that come along possible because you don’t have to change anything to accomodate how you are feeling and what decisions you will make.

  2. Yes, you certainly have been through a lot, but what first comes to mind when I read your challenges is, “Wow, this is a strong, strong woman”.
    .-= Yum Yucky´s last blog ..First 50 Greedy People Get FREE Fiber One Yogurt =-.

  3. I think that it’s the beauty of life..we all have a story. Coming from an emotionally draining realtionship and then gaining 30lbs cause I dealt with the lonliness by eating..I TOTALLY get this. I was at my lowest when I was dating my ex..I lost it for him. Then when we broke up it was food that brought me the companionship that I was craving.

    I think that this posts touches and highlights a MUCH LARGER issue. In that food, for so many people, is an emtional release. A ‘hit’ a ‘drug’. Thus, you can be ‘good’ for six months/one year and lose it all. Baby, isn’t that GREAT! However, if a person doesn’t untangle the emotional strings attached to their lost weight..it’s very easy to get trapped in it again. Further, it’s also about developing a persona outside of losing weight…it’s about totally redefining yourself.

    Hope that makes sense. Great post–as always. ~M
    .-= Eating Journey´s last blog ..the SCALE =-.

    • @Yum Yucky – Thanks for that. You are as well.

      @Eating Journey – We do have a story, and thank you for sharing part of yours. You are 100% right when you say that we do use food in an inappropriate way. The emotional ties are strong. And yes, it makes perfect sense.

  4. In the year to come I foresee a move and possibly an attempt to buy our first home. One thing I have learned to rely upon to deal with any and all challenges in life is a daily session of meditation, absolutely first thing in the morning. It helps to keep me centered enough to deal with any challenge that comes my way and keep up with our healthy habits. Had I adopted that habit during my stillbirth, high risk pregnancy and learning that my son is autistic, i might very well maintained my own 110 lb weight loss.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Non scale victory =-.

  5. Challenges of Life – That’s what it’s about Diane. You hit it on the head. No matter how much weight you’ve got to lose, you have to change things around in your mental state or you are never going to be able to stay strong during the years and decades after.

    My upcoming challenges? Finishing school, possible marriage, new career. That’s what I’m focusing on and hope that I will maintain through it all like you have.

    • @Diane – I do the same thing in having a quiet time for reading my bible and prayer every morning. I am glad that you are looking forward to the challenges ahead of you knowing that you are centered and grounded. I wish that you had been able to maintain that tremondous loss. But you are moving forward now and doing a great job!

      @Tyler – Thanks so much. It sounds like you have a lot of positive changes coming up! I wish you all the best.

  6. I lost my job in a layoff. While I’m optimistic that I will find another one soon I have had to make a lot of lifestyle changes, but I’m careful to make sure that I don’t sacrifice my health and wellness. My gym membership is a priority and eating healthy meals is, too. I’m just a little more price aware.
    .-= Joanna Sutter´s last blog ..Holy Guacamole =-.

  7. I’ve been one of those people you described who do okay and then when things happen fall apart. I’ll lose 35 or 40 pounds and then bam, a difficult situation comes along, and the 40 pounds comes back and brings 10 more. That’s how I got to where I am.

    Can you please write sometimes how you dealt with those challenges you described without going off the deep end?

  8. I got a divorce a few years ago. It was one of the hardest things for me. I gained more weight even though I hadn’t lost weight yet. So I really need to take this to heart and think about how I will handle things if I ever get this weight off in the first place!

    • @Joanna – I didn’t realize that you were in a layoff situation. How stressful. And yet how impressive that you still maintain your great attitude and commitment to your health!

      @Sara – It’s okay that you’ve had your struggles to keep up with the weight loss during times of challenges because it sounds like you are really moving forward now. I will write about that!

      @Monica – So sorry to hear about your divorce. I hope that you will be able to find healing. You can lose the weight – I have faith in you!

  9. Brilliant entry as every word you say is so true.

    I have had many struggles in the short time I was losing the weight and now while maintaining…I do feel my weight is the only area I have total control over at the moment…this thought hit me while running on the treadmill today.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..2010 Diary =-.

  10. Thanks, Diane, for another great post that makes me think hard about the changes I need to continue to make to stay focused. I am staying in Chicago this week puppy sitting for my son and dil and this is day two of rain mixed with Chicago’s infamous Wind. There’s a gym and pool in the building but I am a country bumpkin and the cameras creep me out. Yesterday I was very tired and achy from travel and very little sleep so I was not good food wise but today I am determined to do better. Since my son works for an airline there is more travel in my future and I need to learn to overcome the inherent pitfalls NOW!

    Thank you for the tough love, Diane!
    Cindy
    Dayhiker on SP

    • @Marcelle – Very interesting that you feel that your weight is an area of total control for you. I think that sounds like a really healthy place to be.

      @Dayhiker – I hope that you can try out the gym in the building. You will probably forget about the cameras after a few minutes! (Maybe?) It takes practice to get comfortable with new things like traveling. I think you are doing awesome!

  11. I have a dear friend who’s trying to lose weight but can’t deal with all the things that are currently happening in her life. She says food is her only pleasure at this time and she just can’t quit. I mentioned your blog to her and hope she has the chance to read this post, because I’m sure it’ll touch her deeply.

  12. That’s me. Losing weight like a champ when the road is smooth. Then the emotional or practical challenges come and it’s all lost. My biggest fear is that “life” will happen during my weight loss, and it has really helped me to read about people’s challenges while still staying on the path.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..The Long Haul =-.

    • @Ka – I hope she comes by and takes a look. Aren’t you a great friend in trying to help her out. I used food like your friend is. As a solace and a comfort.

      @Beth – Life will happen, and you can still lose your weight, and then maintain it. Those challenges can give you practice for the future. You can stay strong!

  13. Funny, but MOST of the trials & tribulations of my life came just in the 18 months before I started to gain this weight. I went from 135 pounds to my high of 298.
    I lost 27 relatives in a span of 18 months. 27.
    So, I turned to food for comfort. Why? Because my “comfort” was my Nan and Pop, my Aunt (who was my best friend) and they had all died.
    So, I ate myself into ill-health. Perchance to sicken myself, die, and join them?
    I don’t know.
    But I was sick with food-consumption and grief for 16 years.
    Since January, I’ve come down from 298 to 237. The grief is gone. I can think of each lost family mmeber and smile.
    I can smile. My biggest victory!
    .-= GeorgiaMist´s last blog ..Walking with a purpose! And… A GIVEAWAY! =-.

  14. I also had two miscarriages (between my first and second children)… strange thing is, I can’t even remember what weight I was at when they happened. I guess some events in your life are so pivotal they make other things seem secondary…

    I also wanted to comment that not all of those “life challenges” are negative. Some are positive (but still stressful) – vacations, celebrations… I have to learn to treat those challenges, as part of my life and not be overly restrictive OR use them as excuses for derailment…
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Day 158 – My Sense of Calm =-.

  15. I like this, it’s so true. My friend who had been trying to quit smoking for the 10 years I’ve known her always went back because of stress. I tried to tell her that there will always be stress but then I can be the same way. Right now my husband and I are struggling financially so badly, makes it very hard to eat healthy but at the same time it’s no reason to overeat. I’m right now focusing on making the best choices I can with what I have available and to not eat when I’m not hungry.

  16. I don’t forsee any problems this year or next year at all, but I know we never foresee things. I have bad things sprung on me in the past, and they may leave me emotionally in pieces, but, when things do happen, I will try not to lose sight of my origial goal. Here’s how I look at it: Life is unpredictable. You cannot control it. You CAN control what you put into/how you treat your body.

    And I know I can succeed. I will succeed. :) Have a great weekend!

    -Hope

  17. I know it sounds simple, but I just have faith in myself. If something happens that causes the numbers on the scale to creep upward, I just KNOW that I have it in me to make those numbers go back down. Weight maintenance hasn’t been that hard for me so far, I eat foods I love, have fun exercising and know when to treat myself. There have been a lot of things since then that have caused me to overeat, and gain a little weight. But I never for one second doubt that I won’t be able to get that weight off again. All maintenance takes is just a little confidence ;)
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Ups and Downs =-.

  18. This is a great post and one worth saving for me. I dream of reaching my goal, but sometimes I’m nervous because I”m so worried about being able to stay thin for the rest of my life.

    This fear is one reason I really love to read your blog. You’ve kept the weight off and you still had life happen in the progress. I am encouraged that it can be done when I see how long you’ve kept your weight off.

    Thanks for the serious post. I needed it after what I’ve been feeling all week.
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Weigh-In … Each Day Counts =-.

  19. One of the real lesions I’ve learned in life is that it will hit you with challenges from directions you can never anticipate!
    I was talking to someone about this one time and they said,
    “Situations do not make the person, but rather reveal the person to themselves.”

    You have done well, Diane!

  20. Yes, you have had some hard struggles to overcome. You deserve a huge pat on the back for getting through them and also for telling us and helping us see that we too can get through them as well.
    For me, it has been a biggest struggle when my son is in the hospital or having a major surgury (which seems like it is a yearly thing lately). My husband and I are stuck in a small room together, stress at the highest levels. I would often forget or not want to eat for fear that the doctors would come in at the moment I left the room. Then the choices in the hospital cafateria would be awful.
    Now that I am much more concious of my health, My husband and I
    -take turns leaving the room and walking around the 2 blocks of the hospital. Or if it’s cold or raining, I go to the stairs and walk up and down the 7 flights.
    -after my son is settled into his room, I drive 5 minutes away to the grocery store and buy a bag of apples, instant oatmeal, whole grain bread and deli turkey, baby carrots and pretzels. We label our foods and keep them in the family room refrig that is located on the childrens hospital and we make our own meals and snack on veggies instead of vending machine junk.
    We have found that we are much more relaxed and feel better just by doing these new habits.
    .-= brenda´s last blog ..For the love of Paper! =-.

  21. Diane, you never cease to amaze me! You are the definition of persistence & survival thru all odds! Yes, you had your years of not BUT look what you have done since you started the turn around & you made it thru all that!

    I know I have some challenges coming up BUT I have had worse in the past living thru the death of my parents & having to take care of my mom thru her death from cancer along with some other things. Thru it all, I have relied on exercise & the support of my husband & family to get me thru & both have not failed me. I expect that will get me thru anything.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 51´s last blog ..Fall Pumpkin Protein Breakfast Cookies & MORE! =-.

  22. If anything, I find your post so encouraging to me! Because life happened and you still maintained. It can be done with focus and commitment.

    I am slightly worried about what will happen in the next year. I am PLANNING on having another baby in the middle of my weight loss, when I get below 200, and we want at least four more children, total, if the Lord chooses to bless us with them. While that is a wonderful thing, by it’s very nature it almost requires a little weight gain and disruption to life’s daily pattern. I only hope that I have now solidified the habits that are needed to healthfully drop weight post-baby, so I can make a predictable cycle out of the gain and subsequent recovery.

    My husband also JUST decided to go forward with starting a new business while working at his old job. It has been a long time dream of his and he had my total
    support and excitement, but it requires he be gone additional hours each day to complete the work – from 6 am to 8 pm Monday-Friday, and most of the day Saturday as well. I confess I am worried that in loneliness and stress of managing the kids and house essentially alone that I may slip back into emotional eating. In this case I am just going to grit my teeth and focus – journaling food and lots of prayer are what I need to depend on, rather than the crunch of a chip. So yes, life happens but you and many others prove that one can thrive regardless, and that is what I intend to do.

    I agree with Vickie that this is ME, my new normal, not something I have the option of putting off and on when life gets hairy. I planned my habits to fit into the long haul and by the grace of God I will work at maintaining, because the other option is a non-option if I am being a good steward of my body and resources, and focusing on life’s real priorities.
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Strange Week. =-.

  23. When we’re able to hold strong despite the challenges we face, then we know that we’ve really made it.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..POM Wonderful Blogger Harvest Tour Recap =-.

  24. The biggest challenge that I’m preparing to face is to have babies. I see people regain and am so worried that through the pregnancy I will gain a lot. I thought about waiting to lose weight until after I had kids but why wait. I need to start now, so I did.
    .-= MackAttack´s last blog ..Fiber and a giveaway! =-.

  25. Sometimes I think just getting to goal and experiencing the effects of my new body on others (while comparing their reactions to how they previously regarded me)will be a huge challenge. In fact, I think that fear of that very thing contributes to my being sort of stuck with 25 pounds off, 25 more to go, and continually sabotaging myself so that I don’t continue to lose. I’m giving a lot of thought to this phenomenon, and have been discussing it with a blog friend. As usual, you bring up very relevant issues regarding weight loss, Diane. Thank you for your continued support of and dedication to those staying the course and those fighting the fight.
    .-= Leslie Erickson´s last blog ..Insert Frowny Face =-.

  26. What an important post. I think it shows that it’s so important to learn to deal with life, and everything that comes with it, in other ways than with food. And ultimately that’s what makes one successful in maintaining weight loss and living a healthy life. And I think that’s also a big reason why many diets don’t work. They don’t focus on working through all the emotions and making changes in how we respond to all the challenges that we will face in life. And we all will face them at one point or another.

  27. This post spoke SO much to me Diane. I am mot going to outline my situation – but I have put a link to MY blog if you are interested.

    Life is always full of challenges – and although I am currently stuck in my weight loss journey I know only too well that life will continue to be full of challenges (although hopefully fewer than I have had over the past 21 months!) So what do I gain by giving up on my weight loss goal when life is challenging ? Absolutley nothing.

    The journey goes on .
    .-= Sally´s last blog ..Day 28 =-.

  28. Wow Diane… you really have been through a lot. Good for you on overcoming all the trials that life sometimes hurls at us.

    The only big things happening to me in the next year will be the birth of my niece and my wedding/honeymoon in May. And those are both reasons to lose weight! (Well, bad health is a reason to lose weight, but still.) I have kind of lost my momentum in the last three weeks, and I have realized that nothing at all is stopping me from hitting my weight loss goal by my wedding day. I can do this, and it will take planning, forethought, and the restraint I had at the beginning of this year- I am doing so well, there is no way I can let myself slip up at the halfway mark. Did you ever fall into the comfort zone? You know, the mentality where you stopped tracking for a little bit because “you have a handle on what you’re doing” but you saw your weight creep back up a half pound at a time? I am definitely going to nip that in the bud immediately.

    As an aside, I have to tell you- I read your blog every single morning, and I almost never comment because I get your posts via e-mail. So every morning I lay in bed and read your blog from my BlackBerry. It’s an awesome, inspiring way to start my day. Soooo… here I am telling you that I *adore* your blog :)
    .-= Jess´s last blog ..Motivation =-.

  29. The most terrible thing that happened in my life was losing my Dad to cancer. And that’s when I gained and gained. That happened in 2000 and I’ve been trying to lose it ever since and never succeeded up to now.

    I don’t foresee any challenges for next year but you never know if one of your loved ones gets sick or worse passes away.

    As you know my dog was very sick a few weeks ago and after she recovered I thought by myself: this was really stressful and you didn’t go overeating again. For me this was a confirmation that I’m on the right path.

    I really admire you that you write such inspiring and think-over posts every day!
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Friday October 23 2009 =-.

  30. Just a note to let you know that looking at your site tonight stopped me from diving into the fridge in a state of total upset and emotions….

    Thank you.
    Theresa