Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Let Your Guard Down

First of all, I want to thank Natalie for entrusting her audience to me for a day. I am honored and I truly appreciate it.

I have been blogging about my weight loss and fitness for over fifteen months now. During that fifteen months I have seen a lot. I have made new friends. I have read great stories. I have seen successes, and and I have seen failures. It's those successes and failures I want to tell about today.

I wondered from the beginning what separated those who succeed from those who fail. What is the difference? Early on in my weight loss journaling I made a couple of friends, both on a weight loss forum. We encouraged each other daily. It wasn't long until one disappeared. I wrote her a personal email, and she assured me that she just needed some time away from the stress of dieting. I haven't seen her since. The other fellow kept up with his program for a while. In fact, there was quite a long time that he was somewhat of my inspiration because I didn't want to see him succeed and me fail. Unfortunately, about June of this year he began to slip. Now he is no longer anywhere to be seen. Despite my personal emails to him, he cannot seem to get back on track. What happened here?

Many of us talk from week-to-week about falling off the wagon, binging, or blowing it. Many of us do this from time-to-time. I used to think that these one meal or one day indiscretions were potentially fatal to us. As I have matured some in my thinking, I realize that we can generally get through a mess up somewhat unscathed. The problem lies when messing up becomes our habit. That, my friends, is where I have seen many a dieter lose their ability to stick with it.

Sometimes this happens innocently enough. In fact, I can think of two examples off of the top of my head that happened lately. Two people I have been following for some time who took a week off for a vacation. Did they go hog wild? No. They just took a little time away, letting their guard down just a bit. They were both strong in their resolve, so there was no doubt they would come back from their vacation and get right back at it. Unfortunately, in both cases they found this much harder than they expected. While both seem to be back on track right now, I don't believe either one will tell you that it was easy.

The point of all this is that many of us need to realize what we are up against. We are fighting for our lives, in many cases literally. Most of us have had a number of years of very unhealthy living, and some of us have been doing it a lifetime. Those habits can remain there for the rest of our lives. Granted, while we are succeeding, they are dormant, but the moment we give them a crack to get through, they are back in our lives in full force. That means we have to remain diligent, even when we let our guards down in other areas of our lives. If we don't, we create an opportunity for those old habits to slip back in. If they do slip back in, they are much harder to break the second time around.

So what do we need to take away from this? First of all, even when we are taking some needed time away, we need to be sure and stick to some form of our program: some exercise and some restraint on what we eat. That way we are still following those habits that have brought us success thus far. If we take a cheat meal, we need to just make it one meal and get right back on track. Don't let the cheat meal turn into a cheat day, which then turns into a cheat week. Last of all, if you start feeling like you may have lost your stride, continue to surround yourself with those who are succeeding. You will garner strength from that. Strength that you need. Strength that we all need.

you can find steve's inspirational story at


Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Steve. A great post! Shame the link is missing.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

mr. nonis said...

Wow, what a great post from Steve. These are definitely words to live and lose weight by!

Natalie, I'm really proud of all your progress so far--more than anything, for you creating those healthy habits.

South Beach Steve said...

Friend of the Bear, the link is

Anonymous said...

Great guest post Steve and as always...very relevant.

Yum Yucky said...

Steve is the greatest. And it's great to hear more of your story. :D

Anonymous said...

What a great story! It's so true, you need to surround yourself with people who are successful when your losing weight, it's very helpful.

By the way, nice to meet you! Just found your blog and it's wonderful! Congrats on your weight loss.