Tag Archives: set-point

Looking Back

Wow.

I’ve just done something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time – I’ve just re-read the early stages of this blog in full for the first time.  I’ve always wondered how it must read to someone who doesn’t know me, and having had six years pass between when I started this adventure and now, it feels like a different person at times anyway.  On the other hand, I can remember vividly some of the experiences and how they made me feel at the time, so it’s a strange mix.

I read from June 2010 to November 2011 and my overwhelming reaction to it was one of great sadness.  In all honesty, I feel really sorry for that guy, and I feel like I’ve let him down quite badly.  There were a number of real stand-out points – first of all was seeing some real-life evidence of the ‘pile it back on plus more’ reality of my dieting life.  I started this journey at 18st 4lbs, and within the text I refer to my previous attempt, when I started at 17st 8lb.  And here I am, starting again at 19st 7lb.  That’s a frightening trajectory.

I found it quite difficult to read how determined I was that ‘this time it would be different’ and that ‘this time I was never going back’.  To that guy, I’m really very sorry, because as usual, we were wrong about that.  Is it weird to refer to myself in the third-person?  I noticed I’d done that a lot anyway, but I seem to now be referring to myself in both the first and third person at the same time, and treating them as two different people.  Anyway, I hope you get the point.

It was fascinating to see the weight coming off, seeing targets being met and seeing my confidence growing all the time.  And then something changed.  Somewhere around 4 stone off, the wheels started to come off and I really started to struggle.  I was still losing weight, but very slowly, and I was losing control of my eating.  I could see it happening, but just couldn’t understand why.  I couldn’t understand why I was unable to stop myself doing all the wrong things again, and I was terrified.

Having reviewed the dates of my posts, I had seen that there was a huge gap of 20 months where I didn’t post.  I had a vague memory of finding it harder and harder to post as the weight went back on, but that’s not what is actually shown in these posts.  I was still bouncing around near my lowest weight (13st 12) at the time of the last post, and actually sounding relatively positive, but when I jumped forward twenty months to the next post, I found out a little more about what had happened.

I didn’t just stop posting at that time – what I’d done instead was, flushed with my success at losing significant amounts of weight, I’d changed the format of this site into more of a community.  I’d forgotten all about this, but the idea was that if I encouraged more willing shrinkers to come and join me, then I could help them, and they in turn would help me.  I do remember posting a little, but that did all coincide with the time when I started to put weight on with a vengeance, and it didn’t last long.  The community site lay dormant for a year or so if i remember correctly, until I realised I was still paying $30 a month for the site, so I shut it down.

Unfortunately, in the process, I lost all of the posts that I’d made on the community site, along with some posts that had been made by other people who joined in for a while.  The end result is that there is still a large 20 month gap in my posting history, but I do now know that it didn’t happen quite like I’d remembered.

If I’m honest, I’m really pleased that I’ve got this record of the journey – it’s a fascinating read for me, and I think it could be really useful for other people on a similar quest, even if it’s just so that they know that they are not alone.  It needs a happy ending though, and right now, it doesn’t have one.

Th overwhelming question in my mind is whether I have what it takes to keep the weight when I lose it this time.  Obvious question, and to be completely honest, the realistic answer is ‘of course not, but go ahead and kid yourself if it helps’.  The one thing that I find both interesting and promising is that what I clearly couldn’t understand was why.  Why I couldn’t do what I knew I needed to do and why I seemingly had no control.  I can’t begin to describe how difficult it was to read myself going through that torment.

Well at least now I think I do understand why.  Everything that I’ve read about set points and famine reactions provides the answer to that question.  It provides no answers.  Maybe there are none.  But perhaps just understanding that the ‘why’ is my body trying to look after me and get back to where I was before, is enough to make a difference.  Just understanding that it’s a natural process and it’s a reaction to weight-loss that we’ve evolved as it protects us from potential future famine, that at least provides the context, takes away some of the shame and the guilt that comes from the overwhelming lack of control.

I may write more about this, as it seems a little naive not to explore it and see what I can use – more soon.

The Shrinking Man.