During my recent struggle to stay on program, I've been talking with Linda, my key-friend and blog contributor, who was also struggling. We were both shocked to find ourselves by the river side (off-program). Now that we're back in the river, we want to share this part of our journey.
Step away from the river side and jump back into the river.
It was hard for me to believe that after five years of being on program, I would found myself on the old familiar roller-coaster ride of on/off program and obsessed with thoughts of being a failure. Round and round I went. I couldn't find a way to get off the ride.

I was finally able to get off the roller-coaster when I decided that feeling good far outweighed the restraints I once had to keep me from eating whatever I wanted. My stomach-churned from unhealthy food choices. I started having lower back pain at night. I felt lousy all day, day after day, for weeks. Then there was the absence of the visceral thrill of the drop in size; after all I had not reached my goal size. I felt like a failure. I felt shame for gaining weight and for wanting to hide.

Linda and I had long phone conversations to talk about our struggles, successes, and to support one another. Despite those inspiring conversations, jumping back in the river didn't happen right away for me. Sometimes I caught a ride on the roller-coaster for days. Other times I did well for a month or longer, but then I returned to the roller-coaster and was on and off program again.

Finally, sick to death of feeling so poorly, I cashed in my roller-coaster ticket for a one-way-ticket back to the river. I focused on how, just a few months earlier, I had been I was so comfortable in my body, full of energy, and living pain-free. I incorporated a daily visualization of feeling good in my body to reinforce my commitment to stay the course.

I reminded myself how happy I was when I last reached the size I am today, to help me push away those thoughts of shame. Today, I choose to feel proud of where I am and where I'm going! No more roller-coaster rides for me. I feel nauseous just thinking about getting on another roller-coaster.

Life is about making choices. Each time I make choices that take me where I want to go in my life, to eat healthy and to exercise, my life fills with hope.
I was so off course and I hit a VERY BIG pothole in my journey. I wrote in a journal how I felt, how miserable, how unhappy, and how frustrated; I got all my emotions out. Then I wrote my plan for the day, In big bold letters:
I continued writing each day how I physically felt, mentally felt, and my plan for the day.
Each day I got stronger.

I really believe writing these thoughts down on paper helped. I was SCARED!!! I had gained weight!!!

I began thinking positively. My thought process changed as each day became another step. I forgave myself.

I do not dwell on where I was. I dwell on how happy I was when I reached the size earlier in my journey.
What about you? Are you struggling to get back and stay in the river? Stay tuned, as we continue to once again share our weight loss journey.

What as that noise? That was water splashing — as you too jumped back in the river!
For those of you struggling on your weight loss story, here's a story from one of our key friends who overcame the many obstacles in her life and successfully reached her goal size. Melissa shares how she went off program three times and got back on program on her own.
It's been an unforgettable four years!
April 19 was my four-year anniversary since hypnosis. To say the least, it has been an unforgettable four years.

When I began this journey I was 42, weighed 232 pounds, was stuffed into a size 20/22 with high blood pressure, a fatty liver and I was a borderline diabetic with a five-year old daughter. I was the epitome of unhealthy.

I will never forget my doctor appointment in November 2011 when I was told if I didn't change my lifestyle my daughter would grow up without her mother; that's all I needed to hear. I called Julie's office and I was added to the wait list. I finally received my call for April 19, 2012.
That call changed my life.

I went nearly 2 ½ years 100% on plan, cycled through maintenance and I have had 3 rough patches of screwing up, because I'm human.
When I went off-program the first time, I chose to disappear and hide instead of owning my mistakes. Since then I learned a valuable lesson: to make the conscious decision to do it so I must own it. Being vocal about it seems to have helped others know that it's OK, shit happens, we're all human, and that by owning it I became accountable. It's made it easier for me to be honest and embarrassed in hopes I can give other the motivation to get back on track. 
I'm happy to say that I'm in a really good place now. What I've come to realize is we are never fully happy with our bodies and this is something I am working on now. I totally went off plan, but I also know that it only brought me more sadness, frustration, and sheer fear of never being able to regain control.

But guess what? It's mind over matter...
I've gone off program three times and I've had the mental ability to get right back on track without a refresher to do so.
I went back on-program with this theory: the time is going to pass either way, I can make the best of it and follow what I've learned or be miserable and unhealthy again. Time is not going to stop for me and so I need to commit.
Before I knew it, five months passed, and it was honestly mindless.
It's been since 2012 when I was initially hypnotized by Julie and nearly three years since my last refresher. I've got this on my own. So if your still questioning, "Can we get back and lose without a refresher?" the answer is absolutely, positively, 110% yes!
Never give up hope because it's all within you. I will continue this lifestyle, because it's taught me so much about myself and I'm so much happier as a smaller me. 
My weight loss progression during the last four years:
My starting picture taken the night before hypnosis.
April 2012 - November 2012
At my smallest being a size 4/6.
June 2013 at my fittest
September 2013
December 2014
Off-plan from Dec, 2014 back on by May 2015
February 2016
February 2016
Current photo
I guess my point is this: we will have ups and downs. Just be aware that your capable of anything you put your mind to because you have all the power! 

I'm looking forward to see what the next 4 years brings!
Fitting into one leg of my starting size pants
The picture above to show the pants I started with and working my butt off to get my body in just one of the legs, to me that is success! That's my last 4 year journey after hypnosis!
Thank you Melissa for sharing your journey with us. For those of us who have been struggling, it's refreshing to hear from others who have been where we are and have made it to their goal size.

You've inspired me in so many ways. One way, is that I will begin to share more about my imperfect year, so I too may help others who are struggling. Another blog contributor is joining me in posting the successful journey back from the side-trip and on-program once more.

We're all in this together, but it is a solo journey as we make each choice to live a healthy life!
I continue to feel great about the healthy choices I make each day: walking and eating clean. I'm sleeping better and my days are full of optimism. This is my truth and yet this morning I woke up feeling hungover. I had a headache, my mind was a bit foggy, and my body was slow moving. Regardless of how I felt four hours ago, I choose to see this as a positive.
No more hiding - this is where I am today.
Why? Because this means my body is detoxing from the foods I ate. Foods that converted to sugar in my body and my body reacted to as if had been poisoned.

The hangover feeling has passed and I feel great, especially as I just came back from a short walk. I'm on a new road in my weight loss journey and it's exciting to be moving forward again.

I share this selfie of where I am today, because I haven't wanted to be seen in my tight clothes. I'm not hiding anymore.

As I made my morning coffee, I pondered over why I felt this way. I haven't had non-key foods for some time, so why today? Then I realized what's going on: I'm detoxing from sugar.

To better understand why sugar causes hangovers, I did a little research this morning. This article excerpt correlates the similarities between a hangover from alcohol and sugar:
Too much alcohol, just like too much sugar, affects your kidneys, liver, stomach and small intestines, which explains some of what is happening in your body. Dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal disturbances and disruption of sleep are some of the results.

— Source: Body Ecology
Ah, so this is why I've been so dehydrated! My instincts have been been to consciously and consistently drink as much water as I can every day. This is a good thing to do every day, but it's especially helpful to flush out toxins from the carbs etc. that I indulged in.

Many key-friends have said that after their first sessions with Julie they felt as I did this morning and some felt this way for a week or longer. I was one of the lucky ones who actually felt INCREDIBLE from the moment I left my first session. This morning, not so much, but I accept this as part of my journey.

I really like the way I feel when I make healthy choices! It really is as simple as this: I choose to feel good - I choose to eat clean and exercise. I know first-hand how hard it is to make healthy choices when you are in the insane moment(s) of life. I also know first-hand that each time I say no to those foods, it gets easier and easier.

What about you? Have you been hiding? It's such a ridiculous thing to do, but shame can be a powerful force to reckon with, but you too can move toward a viable solution. I've dropped a lot of weight on this program and my recent gain cannot negate what I've done.

If you're struggling to get back on program, flip on your turn indicator and get back on the road to healthier choices. Believe that it is within you to make the changes you need to make. You can stop the insanity at any moment. You can tap away, push away, the call of sugars and carbs right now and continue your weight loss journey today.

Step away from unhealthy choices. Go shopping. Go for a walk. Go for it. You can do this.
As I traverse this new territory on my weight loss journey, I move forward, back and forth, or sideways. I acknowledge I am not a failure. I am a human being who is learning how to navigate my journey. I learned an acronym this week that resonated with me: FAIL = first action in learning.

The FAIL concept is that when we try something new we don't usually get it right the first time around; our first step in learning is to fail. We learn from our mistakes and then we move on to success.

I've been caught in a pothole and I'm learning how to not only avoid them, but how to get out of them without causing too much damage. Beating myself up for my choices doesn't help. Learning how to negotiate (with myself) to make healthier choices does.

There are moments when I feel optimistic and hopeful and moments when I don't. I choose to see this as an opportunity to learn what I can from this experience - and I have learned a great deal.

I've chosen to change course and to return to the river once more and I bring the new things I've learned with me, such as when I eat well and exercise:
  • I think more clearly
  • I have more energy
  • I feel joyful
  • I have more to give to others
  • I feel good about myself and my life
  • It feels good to be me
Notice how this list doesn't include the negative side of not eating well? That's because another lesson I learned is to look back at the positive moments at the end of each day. When I do this, I sleep better and my perspective on life improves.

I learned a few other things during this new phase of my weight loss journey...

The Right Foods
It's much easier to stay on program when I have the right food in the house. I shopped for groceries first thing this morning and "what's for dinner" is an easier question to answer.

Quick Protein
Having protein ready to eat is always a good choice. As I approached the cash register this morning, I grabbed a cooked chicken and told the cashier I changed my mind about the package of uncooked chicken I was going to buy.

Keep it Simple
Today I wanted to keep my meals simple and easy to grab. I'll cook tomorrow, but today I'm setting myself up for success by keeping it simple.

A little while ago I was hungry and it was wonderful to walk into my kitchen, toss some olive oil, onions, garlic, and kale into a pan, and within a few minutes serve them in a bowl with sliced chicken on top. Protein and exceptionally healthy greens - yummy! Plus leftovers for a couple more meals.
Kale with garlic and onions topped with roasted chicken.
Yesterday I made ginger tea and poured it into small ice cube trays. I drop 1 ice cube into my glass of seltzer and I instantly have a delicious drink. I'm adding this technique to my new bag of tricks. BTW, this drink is also delicious if you add a shot of vodka.  

What about you? Are you on track with your weight loss journey? If you're not, join me in changing course and getting back on track today!
My journey back on program has not been easy nor has it been perfect. I have several weeks where I'm doing great and then BOOM - not so great. Sometimes it's just a one time thing and other times it lasts a day or two. When I eat non-key foods, like carbs and sugars, my body wants more of the same. The key is to not eat those foods and eventually they stopping calling your name.
Little Mean Girl is always pointing me in the wrong direction!
Sunday morning I poured hot frothed milk into my coffee and discovered the milk had gone bad. I jumped into my car and backed out of my garage to get milk at a nearby gas station, as the grocery store wouldn't open for a few more hours.

I maneuvered the quick turns within my neighborhood toward the main road and that's when Little Mean Girl, one of my inner critics, started talking.
Turn right! You can get milk AND something sweet to have with your coffee!
"Oh no! Not this early in the morning!" I thought to myself.

Time seemed to slow down as I approached the main road. The battle with Little Mean Girl was less than a minute, but as I waited for an opening to make my turn, the inner dialogue kept repeating over and over like a dusty needle caught in a groove of a vinyl record. My mind was caught in a loop and I was having difficulty clearing the dust.

The traffic thinned out and provided an opening for me to turn. I pushed past the loud sugar calls and turned left.

It felt as if I was going against the laws of gravity to make this turn, but I did it anyhow.

I only needed to push beyond that moment and to set my trajectory toward the destination I where I wanted to arrive, to silence the calls of sugar and carbs.

Each time I hear these calls, I need to repeat this process:
  1. Turn down the volume on Little Mean Girl.
  2. See the choices and the consequences.
  3. Set my trajectory to where I want to arrive.
  4. Take the correct turn.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Repeat.
The other side of this turn is sweet success, which is far sweeter than anything Little Mean Girl has to offer. Nothing tastes as good as sweet success!

What about you? What do you do when you hear the calls of sugar or carbs?
Yesterday I had some disappointing news. Fortunately I had a meeting scheduled for 20 minutes later with my tax guy, which distracted me for two hours. Learning a refund is coming soon cheered me up. However, my 10-minute drive home was torture. Little Mean Girl insisted "if ever there was a time to treat myself — this was the time." Are you wondering if Little Mean Girl won this battle or I did?
Theresa vs Little Mean Girl
Here's the dialogue that went on in my mind all the way home...
I want nachos or pizza with a cold beer and then ice cream.

I'll be home in 10 minutes where yummy pumpkin sausage soup is at home waiting for me. All I have to do is keep driving.

But if ever there was a time to treat myself — this is it!

Keep driving.

My favorite pizza shop is coming up.

Keep driving. 
As I drove past the pizza shop I didn't even see it; I just kept driving. As I waited at an intersection for the light to change, the sound of my turn signal seemed in sync with my heartbeat and extremely loud. As I made the turn, I had another thought.
Thai Place! Yes, I can stop there for a drink.

Keep driving. I can make the same drink at home. 
As I turned into my complex, I felt a great release of pressure!
I'm home — I made it!
I heated my creamy key-friendly soup and I was happy that I stayed on program, although a third bowl was more than I needed. As put down my empty bowl, I thought about what I just did: I chose to stay on program and I chose not to indulge in the foods I was craving earlier. I stood my ground:
Eating never solved anything. No amount of pizza, nachos, ice cream, or other unhealthy foods solved anything in the past and I know that would only result in making me feel worse later. Saying NO to those foods is sweeter than anything I could have eaten; success is so sweet!
After my recent struggle to stay on my weight loss journey, I'm happy to say I've been steady on this course for some time now. Yesterday gave me the opportunity to see that once again I committed to staying on course.

What about you? Are you committed to staying on your weight loss journey? If you're struggling, what's stopping you from making a commitment right now to get back on program? Put away the guilt about what you should have or could have done and start again right now. You can do this!

Related Post
Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Today's key success story comes from Sue, who tells herself every day “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.” Her daily mantra is working, as Sue is eight sizes smaller than she was a year ago!
February 20, 2015 vs April 6, 2016
Believe in Yourself and You Will Be Unstoppable

This week I celebrated my 1 year Julieversary and I cannot tell you how happy I am that I found Julie and the Key lifestyle. When I started on April 6, 2015 I was a size 36W and medically a borderline diabetic. My feet, hips and knees hurt, I had trouble climbing stairs and felt tired all the time. In general, my Doctor was concerned with my health and current weight so she recommend Julie Kibe’s Key Hypnosis Program as her other patients who went to Julie had been very successful on the Key program.

I signed the wait list in December 2014 and April 6, 2015 attended my first session. After session one I came home and wrote down everything I remembered Julie telling me and did the same with session two and three. I have to say that I am so thankful I did that as I often read my notes from the sessions which helps keep Julie in my head, me on program and in the river.
March 5, 2015 vs March 30, 2016
No longer does food dominate my life. I now eat to live, not live to eat. Eating when you are hungry and not when you are not, at first was a real challenge for me. My husband always lived by the clock, so no matter if you were hungry or not he wanted to eat, especially breakfast.

I finally got a handle on that and just started cooking for him. I have been able to adjust many of our favorite recipes to be Key-friendly, as well as trying many new ones from Key friend’s posts. If hubby wants to include potato or rice in a meal, I cook it separately for him. This has worked well when family is over for dinner as well. Everyone has been so supportive.

Remembering how BAD I want this, seeing myself at my goal size, believing in myself, and remembering Julie telling us “If you get out of the river, it is so hard to get back in” has helped me stay in the river and on program. I have kept a journal of my Key journey, how I have felt, what challenges I faced, how I have successfully dealt with them to stay positive, what I am eating daily, recording NSV’s (non-scale victories), and taking measurements to track my progress.

I think keeping a record of my Key journey has really helped me stay honest on the program. Today I am a size 20W. I have gone down eight sizes and have lost 48 inches; 15 on my bust, 19 on my waist, and 14 on my hips.

I know I still have a long way to go to reach my goal size, but I am already so much healthier and no longer borderline diabetic. My energy level is great and I can now walk or climb stairs without breathing hard.

I walk almost every day and track my activity with my GearFit to hit my 10,000 steps. I admit it has not always been easy, but I recognize my mindset has had so much to do with how I make it through the day.

I want this so bad and I tell myself every day “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”

Year two here I come!!

— Sue
Regardless of where you are on the weight loss journey, in or out of the river (on or off program), believing in yourself is a essential to your success in reaching your goal size.

After months of struggling I'm back on program and as each week passes I'm feeling lighter. I believe in myself and I am unstoppable!
Throughout our weight loss journey, we experience a series of events that help us change. When we discover things that hold us back we've learn to let them go. As we embrace these changes, our lives change in profound and positive ways. When one of our key-friends sought inspiration and instead uncovered a food trigger, she chose to let it go.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all Wisdom.
— Aristotle
What I Recently Discovered About Myself

After 2 ½ years following the Key Program, and 9 sizes down (probably in the ballpark of 130-150 pounds lost), I discovered something disturbing about myself. Even though specific cravings are rarely an issue for me, the food addict is still inside me, and is always close to the surface.

I sometimes watch shows like Extreme Weight Loss, The Biggest Loser, or My 600-lb Life. While my newer, healthier self can certainly relate to many of the victories and lifestyle changes that the participants experience, the strongest connection is to the addict—the inner demon that whispers seductively and promises to numb all the stress.

My 600-lb Life is the worst. In footage of hugely obese people that are bedbound, most unable to even clean themselves of urine or feces—footage that is certainly meant to appall or invoke sympathy in the audience—the part that strikes me deepest is the eating. Every single one of those people, as they are filmed eating enormous amounts of insanely unhealthy food, talks about the escape and comfort that food offers them.

It should HORRIFY me to watch them killing themselves, bite by bite. It should revolt me. Instead, the addict in me pokes me and says, "I remember that feeling. Don’t you want to forget everything for a while? Get lost in that hand to mouth rhythm of eating yourself into oblivion? We’ll just do it once—just to see what it’s like again. Remember how good it felt? Remember how it made the world go away? Then afterward, you can go lie down and nap the day away—everything else can be put off—wouldn’t that be nice?"

At times like that, it takes all my mental strength to remember the reality of my life pre-Julie. Life WASN’T nice.

I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without panting.

A slow quarter mile walk around the block would exhaust me for the day—and I considered it exercise!

I couldn’t walk into a room without looking around for the chair that looked like it would hold me.

I was ALWAYS the fattest person in the room—there was certainly no blending in.

I couldn’t cross my legs. My knees hurt constantly.

My skin was bumpy and rough.

I had constant issues with IBS, due to the huge amounts of carb and grease-laden food that I’d eat at once—there was no relaxing in a restaurant after a meal—we had to get the check and leave immediately, because it was guaranteed that by the time we got home, I’d be running for the bathroom.

Any activities were passive ones—reading, watching TV or a movie, going on the computer.

I’ve decided that I need to stay away from the show My 600-lb Life. How odd that a show that should terrify me into eating healthy, is instead a trigger to the food demons lurking inside me?

If I need motivation, from now on I’ll stick to the exercise based shows—the ones that remind me how far I’ve come, and how wonderful it feels to be healthy, active, and have a fun, fulfilling life.

So screw you, food demons! Be gone!

— Anonymous

Where are you on your weight loss journey? Are you embracing the opportunities to stay motivated by letting go of things that are holding you back?

I made a decision to embrace what motivates me to stay on my journey. I've been struggling for many months and I'm proud to say I am back on program. I too am letting go of habits and events that are triggers.
Ingrid's weight loss journey is about more than losing weight; it's about her future health. Her decision to make healthier food choices altered her life in a big way: no more inflamed or painful knees. Today when Ingrid sees foods full of flour and sugar, she doesn't see them as yummy temptations, she only sees the pain those foods once inflicted on her body.
Ingrid: Before and After
Ingrid's Story
Hi Theresa, I've read your blog for a few years now, but I've never posted anything on it. I have really enjoyed reading your post and other people's comments.

I went to see Julie in November 2013. It really changed my life from the first day that I walked out of there and in many more ways than just weight loss.

Like your earlier post, Done with Demons, I too struggled with going off-and-on the diet. In the past two-and-a-half years (don't laugh) I think I've gone to five or six refreshers. I would think I could handle eating cookies, cake, and/or chocolate (I'm a sugar addict) and be able to then go right back on program, but I was not able to. The sugar cravings would get a fierce hold of me and not let go. That is why I went to so many refreshers.

Fast forward to August 2015. I learned how to do hypnosis on myself. I created recordings of my own hypnosis and listened to them. Although listening to myself seemed kind of weird to me - it worked great! So now I can do this without Julie.

Bear with me, now it is March 2016. I have completely given up flour and sugar for good! And this last time, of giving them up for good (LOL!) is sticking, without me even using hypnosis on myself.

I learned from going off-and-on and off-and-on the flour that I have a gluten sensitivity. Every time I quit eating flour, I did not have issues with my knees and toes. Every time I ate something with gluten in it, my knees became inflamed. I reached a point last year where I had emergency surgery on my knee; at that time I did not know I had a gluten sensitivity.

The only thing I learned from the surgery in Feb. 1, 2015 was that I had arthritis in my knees. The hospital never figured out why my knee blew up the way it did. Of course I figured it out four months ago. It was from eating gluten! If you have arthritis and it gets inflamed, it can be because of gluten.

I wish the doctors had told me that, but of course they didn't. I had to learn it myself from going off the program and then eating real clean again. I no longer touch anything with gluten, which is all the cakes, cookies, pies, bread, pasta, etc., with a 10 foot pole!

I did not enjoy the nine months it took me to heal from my knee surgery, which had no diagnosis from the hospital. Now when I see those foods - I don't see yummy anymore - all I see is pain.

I also gave up sugar for good at the end of December when my short-term memory was going. It was very noticeable that I was losing my short-term memory. You know it is noticeable when your young children are making fun of you for it. I couldn't or wouldn't eat sweets made with flour anymore, so that just left chocolate! I really believe I was getting dementia from all the chocolate I was consuming.

It got to where a few times everyday I could not remember why I had walked in a room. I couldn't remember my kids' names sometimes. It was bad! I knew it was the sugar doing that to my mind, so I quit on my own and I have never looked back.

I read something recently that really hit home to me. It said one of the reasons why people do not stay on weight loss plans is because the dangers are not real enough for you. The sugars and flours that we eat can cause a lot of damage down the road - but because it is not imminent - people don't stop.

Well, I guess it got real enough for me!

Sorry for the long post, but I just want people to understand that Julie's program is more than just about losing weight, it is about your future health. It is easier to change it now than it will be down the road when you have dementia or Alzheimer's.

A study was done by the Mayo clinic on diabetics. It stated that if your are diabetic you have a 220% chance of getting dementia and/or Alzheimer's. My father, before he passed away, was diabetic and about a year before he passed away he got Alzheimer's and then passed away from a stroke at the age of 71, a textbook case. The study might as well been about him.

So the next time you think about the yummy sweets, flour, and processed foods (going off the program), think about the harm that is really in store for your future if you continue to eat these foods which are so bad for you. I do - whenever I looked at chocolate now - all I see are memory erasers, and I have a very strong aversion or repugnance from it!

Oh, and by the way, my short term memory has improved quit a bit since I have quit eating sugar. I no longer walk in rooms anymore without remembering why.
Thank you Ingrid for sharing your story and for reminding us that when we are tempted by unhealthy foods, remembering the bigger picture of our lives can help us stay the course: the choice we make in this moment determines where we go from here. Each time we choose healthy foods, we get closer to our goals, we maintain our goal size, and we keep a distance from the pain unhealthy foods causes our bodies.

One bite of anything isn't worth the consequences that follow. It has been my experience that "just one bite" of off-program food leads to another, and another, and another, and an uncontrollable desire for MORE. The promise we make to ourselves, to start again tomorrow, never comes. Somewhere after that first bite, we throw away our chances of reaching our goal size. Somewhere after that first bite, we feel a loss of control in making healthy food choices, our former lives creep in and the pain from our former returns.

Pain comes in many forms. The aches and pain your body feels. The pain of all your clothes being too tight. The pain of feeling trapped. The pain of feeling hung-over from the foods you ate the night before. The pain of seeing friends and family having gained weight.

What about you? Have you been on-and-off several times? Are you having trouble staying on-program? Think about Ingrid's message and ask yourself: what kind of pain are those off-program foods bringing into your life?

 Eat clean and say NO to off-program foods now; tomorrow will never come.
Today's post comes from our key friend Chrissie, who shares her perspective on maintenance and the afterlife. The afterlife is what many refer to life after reaching your goal size. Not giving up on yourself is key to reaching the afterlife.
This new lifestyle that we committed to isn’t easy. Losing was easy. Maintaining is hard. Let’s face it, we have (probably) all failed many times with other weight loss programs, and we’re seeing higher degrees of success with this one, so let’s celebrate that.

No, you are not a failure if you put on weight during and after completing maintenance. That’s what you’re supposed to do. The key is recognizing and reacting in a timely manner.

I suck at that. I always go to the point where my pants feel like they’re splitting me in two before I jump back into the river. I just so enjoy my wine and cocktails, and bread, and occasional bites of sweets… that become more and more in volume and frequency... that I delude myself into thinking that I can enjoy them without consequence. I deserve to enjoy them after all the hard work I did. WRONG. I can’t stay fit and healthy by repeating my failed patters of yesteryear.

My 3+ year maintenance pattern has been:
  • Lose in the river for 2-3 months,
  • Put it back on over the next 4-6 months,
  • Start over.
If I could only react more quickly it would never be so hard. I refuse to think of this as failure though because each time, when I’ve made the commitment to myself, I have honored it without a single cheat - ever. And I've never been to a refresher. I am a stubborn woman who refuses to quit on myself. But I need to work on my reaction time.

I think that it’s important for each of us to stop thinking of ourselves as failures because we have to return to the river. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Julie said that she also returns 2-3 times/year, and she’s been at this for many years.

Losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is very hard. But I’m not giving up. Are you?
Chrissie you are an inspiration to the rest of us and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.

The afterlife is not just some far away dream, but it takes making the right choices to transform this dream into reality. Life is full of choices and we get to choose what our life looks and feels like. If your life feels like a black and white movie screen, perhaps it's time to make other choices to change your perspective.