The Music: I Am Facing It

All right.

So it’s been a little over a month since I wrote about my struggles with weight loss. Not the normal, why-is-losing-weight-so-hard struggles that I’ve been talking about for the past two years on whole, but whether or not I want to continue the whole “weight loss” aspect of this here weight loss blog at all. It’s been a month of me trying to make peace with my body, a month of seeing how I feel without also feeling like I need to make excuses to you guys for why I haven’t been posting my weigh-ins. A month of trying to live in my body, as-is, to see how it fits.

Well, that’s the official timeline.

Unofficially, I’ve really been off the weight loss wagon much longer. My last official weigh-in was May 2nd. That’s pre-Reach the Beach, pre-St. Maarten, and pre-Summer in general. And let’s be honest, even my efforts up to that point had been pretty lackluster: gain a pound, lose a pound, gain two pounds, lose two pounds, etc.

I think that now I can officially say that enough time has passed, enough energy has been expended, and enough thoughts have been, uh, thought, that I can say the following:

I am ready to start losing weight again.

Go ahead, roll your eyes. Scoff. Choke back your witty but sardonic remarks (or let ’em rip! Your call).

I understand. Really, I do. I know I’ve been here before. I’ve said these exact words so many times, they’re old hat by now. But that doesn’t automatically negate the authenticity of my intentions, does it? Just like with my original attempt at weight loss, all those months (now years!) ago, I’ve realized that these things just need to happen when I’m really ready for them to happen.

I’m a rebel. Okay, okay, fine, let’s call me what I really am: a brat. Evidently it would seem that I have to do things my way, in my own time, or they’re simply not going to get done. I climbed almost to 250 pounds before I was ready to change my life the first time around. Didn’t I realize that I needed to lose weight at 220 pounds? 200 pounds? Of course! Did I make halfhearted attempts to do so in response to bribes from my parents, subversive messages from the media, derisive looks from my skinnier coworkers? Sure! Did any of them work? Hells no!

I started this blog as a means to keep myself accountable for my weight loss, and it worked wonders for me. At first. I skimmed off 60 pounds and felt like I was on top of the world. But then, as time passed and my progress slowed, and as other things (good things!) started to cement themselves in my life, posting my daily eats and weekly weigh-ins just stopped working quite as well. Things felt perfunctory, and I felt like the only reason I was even still going was because I felt like I had backed myself into this corner with a big sign over it that read “NOT 165 POUNDS YET”. I felt like I needed to keep going just because this one time, over a year ago, I said that I had a specific goal in mind. It wasn’t about me being happy with my weight or my body or my lifestyle.

At the time I started this blog, I was supremely unhappy with a lot more than just my weight. I was in a job that I disliked, I was single, and I was generally just in a pretty low place. Now? I am fulfilling my dream of writing a book, I have a wonderful boyfriend, a thriving social life, and am just so happy most days that I probably annoy the crap out of you. < /brag>

But that doesn’t mean that I still shouldn’t want more for myself. And I think I am finally at a place where I’m ready to take back the original intentions of this blog: not just to lose weight in a vague, ethereal sense, but to put in place one more element of my life that I haven’t been truly satisfied with. I’ve actually been thinking all of this for a while now, but I wanted to make sure that my motivations for this particular recommittment (since there have been so many already) were finally coming from the right place.

So. Now that I’ve steadfastly declared that I’m back on board, let’s address the other part of this thing: my actual weight. Intentions are all well and good, but they don’t mean a whole lot if they’re not followed up with action (I feel like I’ve said this before, haha). This train is leaving the denial station starting now. (Get it? Back on board… train… anyone? Bueller?)

While I haven’t been going balls-to-the-walls with my eating this summer, I’ve definitely been partaking in more than my fair share of eating out and “celebrating”. A little too much Starbucks, and a little too little cooking at home. And though I have been (miraculously) maintaining some semblance of physical activity, that’s definitely not what it should be either (ughhhhh, exercise, bleh). I know that I’ve gained weight. I can see it in my face (and, oddly enough, in my upper arms), and I can feel it in my soul. (What, dramatic? Me?)

So here we are, just in time for Weigh-in Wednesday. Ready? (No.)

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 189.4 lbs
This Weigh-in: 206.1 lbs
Difference: +16.7 lbs


Okay, just let me absorb that for a minute.

Well, I can’t honestly say that I’m surprised. Actually, that’s a lie. I am a little surprised — that I’m not more upset by this. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a bit of an… emotional… response at first (shock!). But I guess I kind of already knew that if I’d gained enough weight for me to actively notice sans-scale, we probably weren’t talking single digit pounds here anyway. I mean, when you’re 5’9″ and have a large frame, 5 libbies here or there doesn’t really have too much of a physical impact, you know? So gaining 16 pounds in 4 months may seem like a lot — and it is — but we all know just how easy it is to gain weight when your healthy habits take a backseat.

I’m actually feeling, dare I say, optimistic. I thought I would crumple into a ball of hysterics at seeing a number that’s over 200 again on the scale, but it actually makes me feel like I really have something to work toward now. It feels like this means it won’t just be more weeks of back and forth, losing the same 2 pounds over and over again. I know it probably sounds crazy, but it makes me feel kind of like I’m starting fresh. Like, that was Act I, and then there was intermission, and now we’re starting Act II (and we all know Act II is the most exciting one).

Weight Progression

And hey, at least all my size 12 clothes still fit, so that’s something. Does weight redistribute itself differently when you regain it? Huh.

All right, this has been mighty wordy already, so I’ll cut myself off here. Hopefully attending (and speaking at!) HLS this weekend will only further my drive to see this through (though hopefully not in a burns-out-quickly, sensationalist way). The bottom line is, I’m ready. Here we go again… again.


  1. I really think you look great. However, I know you want to lose weight. Have you ever thought about going to a RD about it? Just because I remember how frustrated you’ve been.

  2. Maggiesays:

    You can do it, Gretchen! I think sometimes, like you said, it takes awhile for other things to click into place first. Now that you have more positive energy from the other great things in your life, you can use that energy to motivate you to keep going (and to distract you from obsessing about it to much πŸ™‚ We’re here for you no matter what.

  3. Glad to see you’re back to your goal. Good for you! I think that having the blog to keep you accountable will really be helpful as long as you continue to post your weekly weigh-ins.
    Maybe you should think about why you gained back 16 pounds though. If your lifestyle while losing weight is not feasible in the long term then maybe you need to think about what changes to implement this time around that are more easily maintained in the long term so that the weight loss sticks.

  4. carmensays:

    Gretchen – GOOD FOR YOU! Thanks for sharing this journey with us. You have so many people rooting for you!

  5. I’m right here in the same boat with you! You can do it!

  6. You can do it!!! You just have to get your head in the right place!

  7. Missysays:

    “…and I can feel it in my soul.” That cracked me up. You can do this, one meal, one burst of exercise at a time. Break it up into small parts instead of this “I gotta lose all this weight!”

    Anyhow, never said this before but you are very photogenic.

  8. You do look so great! My story is so similar to yours. I spent most of my life saying I would lose weight “someday”, and eventually I just looked at the scale, which was well over 200 lbs, and I said, “Enough is enough”! I set a goal weight of 140. I got down to about 170, and then stalled for quite some time. Then I gained about 10 lbs and something much like what you wrote above happened, and I buckled down to lose the rest of the weight. Once I got down to 150, I just FELT like I was done, you know? I just felt the most comfortable I ever have in my skin, I like the way I look, and most importantly, any weight loss efforts I made were short term — I bounced right back up to 150 again.

    The reason I’m telling you all of this is because of you saying that you felt you had a sign over you that said, “NOT 165 YET!” — I urge you to not put a static number on your weight loss. Especially because, while you look so great in all of those photos above, I’ve got to say that the 186 picture looks INCREDIBLE. Seriously, you look so good in that photo you might want to just stick around that weight.

    But yeah, you can do this. You’ve been here, you’ve done this. Easy. πŸ™‚

  9. I love you. I can SO relate to this post on every level there is. I feel like a broken record for recommitting myself to weight loss again and again and again. Good for you for facing the music girlfriend!

  10. I’ve also fallen off and gotten back on several times. Good luck to you – you can do it!! πŸ™‚

    • Marcee .... ILLINOISsays:

      Very true for me also Kim.

      Hey Gretchen …. most women have weight issues throughout their lives. A normal thing for us to battle day after day, as we all know.

      Early on-set arthritis in my hip joints had my surgeon my doc/surgeon give me a kinda-sorta “mini” lecture one afternoon. She said that we ALL have to make (realistic) food choices each and every single day. When you think and focus about that comment, it makes perfect sense. She was also fighting the arthritis battle, and lost 30 pounds to stay slim.

      So, yeah, if I wanted to enjoy good health, and years of living a nice life, it was all my decision. I nixed the excess/overabundance of calories for starters. Reasonable exercise at least 3-4 times a week.

      Having special food treats from time-to-time is great to look forward to. Got to keep it in check. The one thing I miss most is butter! Well, my downfall was always dairy + sugar. No longer.

  11. Keithsays:

    Glad you are back ‘on the wagon’ and proud that you are coming to grips with it. I can vouch for the frustration that there never really is a ‘finish line’. The body-type you inherited (sorry) just tends toward ‘efficient strage of food’! But you have made such a positive change in so many aspects of your life these last couple of years, I am confident you can take back this as well. And you DO have a lot of impressive support.

  12. It sounds like you are in a really happy place in your life! I totally understand how life can get in the way. You can do this!

  13. You go, lady! I totally feel like the Act I, Act II thing is legit. I had my Act I when I lost 45 pounds and have been settled for about 2 years in that “happy place.” But the reality is – I want to lose another 20-30 lbs. So I’m with you on Act II!! And I totally think weight comes back on different once you’ve lost it the first time or gained more muscle. I can’t tell you how many people I see that go “OMG! You’re so skinny!” And I’m like homey, I’m 14 pounds heavier than I was a year ago…” I don’t get it, but I’ll take it!

  14. I <3 you. And you got this.

  15. I put a quote on my blog yesterday that I heard from Chris Powell- It’s not about how many times you fall- it’s how many times you get back up.
    No one is rolling their eyes at anything you’re saying here. Maintaining weight loss is WAY harder than actually losing weight. I’ve re-gained some of the weight I lost- and it SUCKS, and I’ve been “trying” to lose it ever since I started this blog- with no success. But, I know I’ll get there if I want it bad enough.
    To me- it’s just all about feeling comfortable in my skin (which I’m not) – whether that’s at my current weight or 20 lbs ago. I will be honest, that though I’m not happy about the 15+ lbs I’ve gained, I’m much more worried that I’ll just keep gaining- and that’s a terrifying thought.
    Just get in the mindset of what you want- and you’ll be able to do ANYTHING.
    And duh- you look beautiful right now πŸ™‚

  16. Good luck! It sounds like you’re in a good head space to tackle this next step πŸ™‚
    I know what you mean about not physically noticing weight gain. I’m around 5’9″ and have always carried my weight all over, so I can lose or gain 10lbs + and not even notice it in my clothes. It’s a bitter/sweet kind of thing. It would be great to lose 10lbs and a clothing size at the same time, but I would probably cry if I gained 10lbs and had to wear my “big clothes” again lol.

  17. Gretchen! You can do this! Your 186 photo looks awesome btw. I just started getting back into hard-core diet/exercise myself the last couple months and had already started slacking on the diet end. You gave me a kick in the behind, Im going to get back on the wagon too. We got this, we’re Duuuuuuukes πŸ™‚

  18. Congratulations on writing a post like this. It truly means that you want to get back to losing weight. However, keep in mind that muscle weighs more and yes weight can redistribute itself. For example, I’m 160 right now but in the smallest clothes I’ve been in years even when I was 150.

  19. Becci L.says:

    Ah, Gretchen. I totally get where you are coming from! 5 years ago I lost 35 pounds before my wedding. This summer I “realized”, ok, acknowledged, that I have gained most of it back. I’m 5’8″ and currently at 206…most of my clothes from my 170’s still fit but are snug. I do feel that being taller is an “advantage” when gaining weight as it doesn’t show up as fast…but that is also a disadvantage! Just this morning I was talking to my sister about rejoining Weight Watchers (how I lost the weight the first time). I’m glad to see your honesty in this post. I’m with you on your declaration to buckle down…again! Good luck, I can’t wait to follow your journey, and use it as inspiration for my own!

  20. I feel ya girl! I’m totally at the same place. I lost weight and then I gained a lot back, but I’m definitely less devestated about it this time around. Regardless, I’m ready to start losing weight again too. Good luck!

  21. *cheer* you did it before, you can do it again πŸ˜€

    • Marcee .... ILLINOISsays:

      Yep …. you can πŸ™‚ do it Gretchen!

      Start with a food log. This sounds corny, but it does work. Try it for 90 days. You will be shocked at the outcome!

  22. One of my favorite things is getting online to check up on blogs, and seeing that my favorite bloggers are going through the SAME things I’m going through.

    I recently (Monday) faced the music, and weighed in at 202… 12+ from my lowest weight in March. I also thought I would collapse under the emotional weight (ha!) of being over 200 again, but sometimes just seeing the weight and being honest about it is all you need. I took a deep breath, regathered myself, and buckled down. 12 (or 16, like you) pounds is TOTALLY manageable! Then it’s just a few more ’til goal weight. πŸ™‚

    Act II IS the more exciting one! And just think… you’ve already come way farther than you have left to go.

    Go girl!

  23. People have scoffed at me for saying this, but it truly is a journey. I’m sure you’ve learned so much about yourself and life over the last 3 months and it’s all part of your adjustment and growth. Proud of you chica!

  24. Good for you! I find it so admirable that you are so self aware and confidant at such a young age (and I don’t mean that to be condescending). I’d say good luck but I think saying “work your ass off” is more appropriate πŸ˜‰

  25. You will do FANTASTIC. I think you’re at the point in the journey that you needed a little kick in the ass gain to jump start you again. I also think that the HLB community, though supportive, puts weight loss in a taboo area. And who gives a flying flip if you want (and / or need) to lose weight? No big deal. It’s only an issue if it becomes an issue (eating disorder, over-exercising, etc.). And honestly, part of being healthy is being at a HEALTHY weight. And part of a healthy weight is a happy weight because you have to be mentally healthy too.

    Good luck! You are going to rock it. Sign up for a race or something to get you motivated again.

  26. Cheeriesays:

    Wow girl, been reading and loving your blog for a while but this entry smacked me hard! I am also 5’9″ and at one point (about 9 years ago) weighed in at 240. After dieting off 20 lbs at a time as recent as last summer I did reach my goal of 162 lbs…wooohooo. Short-lived however, due to extreme stress I find myself a year later back at 192…ugh! So I am going to pull myself up and join you, no more back sliding and no more excuses. I am a bit older at 52, but this has been a lifelong struggle and I will not let it win. Anxious to read your progress and join you as we reclaim our heath and let go of those extra pounds. I am still also wearing my size 12s, but they are screaming!! Time to give them some relief πŸ™‚

  27. Sometimes you just need to take that step back before you can really get going again. I’m proud of you for stepping on the scale and facing up to what happened this summer- I agree with one of the comments above that given the eventual desire to not “actively” have to be losing weight (eventually getting to “maintenance”- analyzing what happened to cause you to gain back the 16 lbs would be worth it at some point. But I’m glad you’re getting back to it!

  28. Kellysays:

    Gretchen, I’m a long time reader and I wanted to let you know that this post completely resonated with me. I’ve been struggling with my weight loss journey over the past few months and so upset about the 8 to 10 pounds that I’ve let slip back on since December (especially because I’d still like to lose quite a bit more). It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this, and I plan to follow your lead in facing the music and starting fresh. Onward and down-ward πŸ™‚

  29. Catherinesays:

    You can do this, girl! Good for you for acknowledging where you are and choosing to move forward!

    I’m sure you feel at least some accountability simply by having this blog, but how can we, as your readers, help you more? What can we do to hold you accountable (without being the “food police”, haha)? You have so many people who are following you on this journey, and we all want you to succeed… let us know how we can help you!!

    Like some others have said, it would probably be beneficial to look at what happened this summer, and make a plan for moving forward. Think about what specific things need to change (Been going out to eat 3 times a week? Make it 2. Ordering appetizers every time? Make that a once a week treat. Letting yourself get too hungry and then overeating to compensate? Plan your meals out the night before.) Make specific, tangible goals to help you reach your bigger goals!

    Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We believe in you!!

  30. Why do you weigh yourself when you are all PMSing??? You know you basically gain 5-7 lbs that week!!!!!!!
    Anyways, I think you look AWESOME in your 205 pic way better than the sweaty 186 pic πŸ™‚ Love you.

  31. Cindy D.says:

    I’m so glad to see you recommit to your health and weight loss journey! It doesn’t ever really “end” from my personal experience, which is a two-edged sword. But, such is life. I love your enthusiasm for everything you undertake and look forward to reading more from Shrinking Gretchen. Adding losing some lbs to your currently-chock-full-of-happy-things list is nothing but a positive. Go Gretchen!!

  32. Erikasays:

    Hi Gretchen! I love your blog and have been a bit of a lurker but I have to comment on this post! I think you look fabulous and love your clothes! (I am also jealous of your height πŸ™‚ Like you, I weighed myself yesterday (I am also PMSing-bad decision) and was crushed at the number (over 200-cringe). I was down about it all day and I have also come to the decision that things need to change. I do exercise and CrossFit but I feel like I am not losing the weight I want so it is time to change my diet. I will be following you on this journey because it so closely mirrors my own. πŸ™‚

  33. Sarahsays:

    Ummmm but what you fail to mention is that even though you have been enjoying life for the past 4 months, you are STILL DOWN 40 POUNDS!!!!! That is amazing!! Sometimes you have to look at things with a different perspective. And as you said, being taller and having a bigger frame means you carry 5 pounds way different that a 4 foot 11 tiny person. Stay positive and remember to look at things from multiple perspectives πŸ™‚

  34. I stalled out and gained this summer, too. I came back from vacation nine pounds higher than when I left and realized that though most of it was leftover from Pizza/Krispy Kreme night, I probably shouldn’t do that again. Sigh.

  35. Bethanysays:

    Not only did I regain weight in different places after the first time I did Weight Watchers (and lost 25 pounds, then regained 20), but this second time around (I’ve lost 30 at this point), I’ve lost it from different places. That was definitely something I wasn’t prepared for, so beware of that aspect of it too! While it shouldn’t bother me (especially because I have been successful at my weight loss), I have had some difficulty coming to terms with a smaller, but different shaped body. The most frustrating part? Clothes that fit when the scaled said 10 more pounds than I weigh now (and 10 is a TON on my tiny 5’1″ frame) that don’t currently fit. That literally blows my mind! I keep trying to remind myself that I’ve done a great job and am healthier without that extra weight, regardless of where my body chose to shred it. πŸ™‚

  36. No rolling eyes here girl! You have to be READY to be able to lose the weight. There are times in our lives when we just can’t do it. That is OK!!! We’ve all been there!
    SOOOOO excited for you! Can’t wait to see your progress as you keep working toward your goal. We are all here for you cheering you on! You look great and I can’t wait to see how FABULOUS you will look AND FEEL!!!
    Rock on, lady!!!
    PS-Isn’t it awesome how things can really come together in our lives? You are really coming along and this is just one more piece of the awesome puzzle that is Gretchen.

  37. Susansays:

    Gretchen, you are a beautifull girl at any size but you have my support all the way from Oz! Sounds like there are many girls in the same boat (me included) and you are inspiring us all. Keep up the great work and never forget your amazing accomplishments to date πŸ™‚

  38. Laurelsays:

    You`re awesome, Gretchen. Seriously. What would be the point of a blog in which someone said “hey, I want to be smaller” and then they were? We all read it for the journey and the lessons, not the success, though we all certainly hope you have it (whatever “it” is) someday.

    How are you planning on getting back to weight loss? I’d love to see a post about your plans for Act II!

    • Jane Fsays:

      “What would be the point of a blog in which someone said β€œhey, I want to be smaller” and then they were? We all read it for the journey and the lessons, not the success, though we all certainly hope you have it (whatever β€œit” is) someday.”

      so true. well said.

  39. Tears in my eyes as I read this post! Thank you so much for your honesty. I got down to 180 in 2010 on an extremely low carb, low calorie diet. I was probably only taking in around 700 calories a day. It wasn’t healthy, and it sure as hell wasn’t sustainable. Unsurprisingly, I started gaining it back almost immediately. And then I just kept gaining and gaining. I got married this past October, and I couldn’t even lose the weight for my wedding. I just didn’t have it in me. I weighed around 215 at my wedding, and now I am up to 230. I honestly cannot believe I’ve gained 50 pounds, even though I, too, feel it in my soul. I avoided weighing myself for almost a year, and when my trainer finally forced me to get on the scale, I wasn’t even upset as much as I was relieved. It felt strangely comforting to admit it to myself. I realized I was avoiding the issue because I was so mad at myself for not losing the weight for my wedding, then I realized–am I going to carry this around with me forever? I finally forgave myself for being heavy at my wedding, and I think I’m ready to move forward. We got this, girl!

  40. Sarasays:

    Hola! This is the first time I’ve commented on your site, but I’ve been reading for a few months now (found you via RunEatRepeat’s relay blogs) and I have to chime in that I’m basically in the EXACT same spot. I joined WW in October of 2010, steadily lost until June 2011 (44 lbs, with 20-30 to go) when things came to a screeching halt. I maintained, more or less, until this spring, when I ran a half marathon, then after the half my body freaked out. I have tried to get back on track but my stubborn body isn’t having it and gains weight at the slightest indiscretion. It’s very frustrating and I’m now about 15lbs higher than my lowest, too. My pants have finally become noticeably tighter and it sucks so hard. What stinks is I never stopped going to WW meetings or tracking my food (save for being on vacation) or exercising (though obviously not as much as I was when I was training for the half–I had to take the running down a notch as my body needed the break!).

    I too have that pioneer metabolism (I like to say that my Polish peasant ancestry gives me the body to be “strong on plow”) and I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do. I know I need to be stricter as I’ve been eating/exercising pretty decently other than when I was on vacation (and this makes me SO BITTER that others can eat more/exercise less than me and weigh much less)and clearly that’s not cutting it.

    But, quite frankly, I don’t wanna. It stinks to always be the Debbie Downer at the party who can’t drink more than one drink and can’t eat the cake, and no, I can’t go to that all-you-can-eat buffet.

    But, that said, I’m not going to give up. I (and you, for that matter!) haven’t struggled and fought with this so hard and for so long that I’m just going to walk away from it.

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one out there, so thanks for that and good luck!!

  41. “Like, that was Act I, and then there was intermission, and now we’re starting Act II (and we all know Act II is the most exciting one).”

    YES. I know exactly what you are talking about. I feel like in a lot of ways we are in the exact same place right now. It’s pretty cool though because I know we are both ready for the next act. Let’s do it.

  42. You can TOTALLY do this! Thank you for sharing your struggles and being honest..such a tough thing to do. I have been seriously struggling myself so this gives me some great inspiration!

  43. Lindsey Bsays:

    This is my first time commenting on your site, and I have to say I am so impressed with how you are handling this. You are an inspiration to those of us who still have more to lose and have faced slipups of our own.

    Can’t wait to watch you rock your new plan! Thanks again for your honesty.

  44. Katiesays:

    I am totally in the same boat. It’s not easy but we can do this.

  45. Bethsays:

    Finally catching up on my Google Reader- I saw your post before this was about PMS; are you sure some of the 16 pounds isn’t water weight? I bloat like none other when my period is set to start/the entire time I’m on it/a few days after and can easily ‘put on’ 6-10 pounds that whooshes away once I’m done. Not sure how often you weigh yourself or anything, just thought I’d add πŸ˜‰ Maybe it isn’t so bad!?

  46. Gretchen – Was so nice to meet you and attend your presentation at HLS this weekend. I am with you on starting a round 2, and thank you for inspiring me to do it again too.

  47. Lisa Nidasays:

    Even at 205, you look amazing! The happy glow adds a lot, plus your body just looks really healthy and great. Not to diminish your new decision to plow forward and get back on the wagon, but…I think you look great, and I love you.

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