How to Navigate Weight Loss Setbacks

  • Each time I’ve sat down to write this post, the focus has changed.

    • At first, I wanted to discuss how I achieved my first official (since January 2010) 10% weight loss.  Yahoo!!  I passed the blue line on the chart below.
    • Then I wanted to talk about how treatment for my RA, including a couple doses of IV steroids, caused water weight gain.  However, that excess weight dissipated in just a few short days.
    • At my house we had a very, VERY long Memorial Day weekend complete with ER visits and lots of comfort meals at home.  Strangely enough it was in the middle of that weekend that I touched down below that 10% weight loss line.
    • The week following that accomplishment has been full of even more roller coasters, landing me exactly where I was two weeks ago.

    So where do I start?

    Weight loss is never a straight line journey.  There are going to be ups and downs (see my 2-pound chocolate cake story).  I have been anxiously awaiting the time I could announce that I finally lost that first 10%.    Crossing the next line has been a huge motivation for me in recent months. 

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    Like many patients, I want to lose 20-30 percent of my initial body weight (from January 2010) which would put me around the same weight I was at age 20.  However, losing just 5-10 percent is medically significant and I have already achieved that.  Big kudos to me.

    Why do I feel so temporarily discouraged?

    I could be that while my mother was home during the days over the Memorial Day weekend, I ate everything right alongside her.  However, she doesn’t need to lose weight and has a stomach which gets hungry after only a few short hours from her previous meal.  In contrast, I might eat 2 cups of carrots with a low-calorie salad dressing for lunch if I feel like it when I’m home alone.

    On the days that I was in the hospital outpatient infusion center, I had some tough experiences and found myself ordering comfort food for my meals.  That first day, I was there so long as to have two complete hospital meals but in the process I did discover a great chicken caesar salad entree.  That’s what I had the second of infusions and I felt good about it.  

    This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went down to North Carolina to visit some friends.  These couples are very active and have highly active children.  Food was a huge focus of the time we spent together and I ate right alongside the other parents.  Between that and a dose of steroids last week, I come home and found that I was 9 pounds heavier than the week before.

    Nine pounds!!  Not the direction I wanted to see the scale move.  However, I had weighed at night which was not part of my routine; and I knew it was primarily water weight as I felt it throughout my body.  

    The next morning I weighed again - four pounds less than the night before.  During that entire morning, my kidneys and bladder were working overtime and I literally peed away another two pounds by 2:30 pm in the afternoon.

    Where am I now, physically and emotionally?

  • So this morning I weighed myself, again.  (By the way, I don’t recommend weighing yourself more than once per week.  I am just a little OCD and curiously watching the changes so I would know how to present this story.)

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    I am in exactly the same place as I was two weeks ago at 246.5 pounds.  This is not too terrible; it just isn’t below the 10% line anymore (by a whopping 1.8 pounds, lol).  The situation is not one to be upset about, especially since I already know that my pattern of weight loss has predictable bounces in it. 

    Perhaps I have found myself too interested in the numbers and not paying attention to how I feel when I eat modest, nutritious meals.  And judging by the way my summer pants are falling off my hips, I’ve got plenty to be grateful for.

    And the excitement continues...

    Two weeks from now I will be on my very first cruise.  My boyfriend and I are joining some other friends on a cruise to Alaska.  I’ve never been to Alaska, nor on a cruise.  Two firsts for me.

    It will be interesting to see how well I handle the challenge of having endless buffets of food at my fingertips.  However, I hope that means I will also have endless offerings of highly tasty and nutritious foods from which to choose.  Temptations will abound; but after 5 months, I believe I have gained the knowledge and skills to choose wisely. 

    So that’s what is going on in my world.  What’s going on in yours?  If you are trying to lose weight, how is your journey going?


    June 7, 2010
    Weight: 246.5 lbs


    June 13, 2010
    Weight: 241.2 lbs
    Blood Pressure: 113/73
    Pulse: 71


    UPDATE: Just 24 hours after having written this post, I weighed in at my lowest ever since January at 242.3 pounds.  The excess water is gone and my new bathing suit fits wonderfully.  This is just the boost I needed to stay motivated.


    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: June 09, 2010