When Enough is Enough

When people ask what was the trigger for me to lose 50 pounds, I usually answer “my friend was getting married in Aruba, and I didn’t want to be the fat bridesmaid on the beach.”

That is true, and that is an easy way to say it, but in truth, it was a series of moments that finally made me feel that enough was enough.

Feeling too big in an airplane seat. Feeling gross after a weekend of indulgences. Not being able to fit into the largest size at the store.

I know the stats about how easy it is to gain back weight after you’ve lost it, and I know how much work it took to lose it. I know how happy I felt when I felt really comfortable in my body and the excitement of being able to buy clothes in a smaller size and to know I was taking care of my body.

And most of that has helped me to keep the weight off. That, and that I’ve truly adopted an active lifestyle. Most weeks, I work out at least 4-5 times per week. I’m training for my fourth marathon. I’ve completed 20 halfs and many other shorter races. I honestly enjoy working out now.

But food is a tricky mistress. We have to eat several times per day to sustain ourselves, and training for a marathon, I need to make sure I’m eating enough to both fuel my workouts and recover from them. I know what to eat, but I’m not eating it.

I’m turning to convenience far too often. I have a special love for Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches that I can’t really explain. Nutrition-stat-wise, they’re not bad for you. They’re both roughly around 300 calories, which is fine. Ingredient list? LOL, I won’t even look. Pretty sure it’s full of crap I can’t pronounce. But easy and tasty.

And I’m an incredibly social person, who’s currently working from home and seizing every opportunity for human interaction at night. In NYC, most of that revolves around food. And alcohol. And you all know I love my wine. Now, I’m not saying I’m going out and getting drunk every night, but man, do those calories add up.

In Maine, I had two beers for lunch with my mom, and then later had three glasses of wine over the course of an evening. Was I drunk or making bad decisions other than drinking my calories? No, but over the course of that day, I easily had 500+ calories in just alcohol. I had a lobster roll for lunch with fries. And I felt disgusting. Bloated, my stomach bothering me and just gross.

I typically reach for dresses before pants/skirts just because I find it way easier to grab one garment than put together an entire outfit, but I’ve found myself reaching for dresses lately because they’re a bit more forgiving. There’s some clothes in my closet I won’t even touch because I figure they’ll be too snug right now.

Just as I’ve slipped into this routine of eating for convenience or fun rather than health, I’d like to slip back into eating for health. And thinking a bit more about my food, and making the healthier choice, which isn’t always the easier choice. Thinking through why I want to eat something. Thinking about how that extra glass of wine will make me feel sluggish for my run the next day. Thinking about how those French fries will likely upset my stomach.

Just breaking up a really text-heavy, serious post with a picture of Bailey. Carry on.

I read two interesting posts recently that kind of spurred this one:

One from Greatist about someone who counts calories, even though she thinks the system is flawed, and why. I thought this part was really interesting, and makes sense with why eating real food makes our bodies feel and work so much better.

“Researchers compared the β€œthermic effect of food” (TEF, or the energy your body uses to actually process and absorb what you’re eating) following the consumption of a whole food grilled cheese sandwich (multigrain bread with whole grain and intact sunflower seeds along with cheddar cheese) versus a processed food grilled cheese sandwich (white bread and Kraft singles).

“Generally a person’s TEF is thought to account for 10 percent of their day’s total calorie burn. What this experiment found was that the whole food grilled cheese, while equal in calories as well as in protein, carb, and fat ratios, required nearly 50 percent more energy to absorb than its highly processed counterpart. This means the calories available to your body for storage can be much higher when they come from processed foods versus whole.”

I also read a great post from Emily, who just moved out to Oregon for a new job and is trying to balance being social and making friends in a new town (and um WORKING FOR A BREWERY!) with her fitness goals.

SarahOUaL wrote about giving up sugar/booze to help her meet her own goals.

Great reminders about fueling our body with the right stuff.

I want to break that damn sub-4 in November. I don’t want to suck in in pictures or not wear clothes that I love because I don’t feel comfortable with my body right now.

When I started this weight-loss thing, I weighed around 189. 190 sounded scary to me because it was close to 200. I’m currently somewhere between 144 – 149 depending on the day, and 150 is that ceiling number that I don’t want to hit. I don’t care if I don’t get back down to my lowest of 135-137, but I just want to get back to feeling comfortable in my body again.

Enough is enough. I’m going to start thinking more about food, more strength training (Uplift later today!) and less wine. Yeah, this isn’t the first time I’ve written a post like this, nor, probably, will it be the last. Weight maintenance isn’t easy, and there are sure as hell will be setbacks along the way. But as long as I recognize them before they go too far, I’m happy.

What’s your enough-is-enough moment and what’d you do when you realized it?

57 comments on “When Enough is Enough

  1. Niki

    Great Post! I just got back from Vegas and I’m having a difficult time getting back into my healthy food routine. My runs are so much harder when I eat poorly!

  2. Jen

    I’ve totally been there too – once when my weight went up super high in high school adn I was just tired of it, one thing after another, culminating in prom, and I just didn’t want to be heavy anymore. On the other side of that, I drew the line when a 00 was too big on me,and I had zero energy every single day. now I weigh exactly in the middle of that, closer to the lower end, and its a much better place to be.

  3. Liz H

    I like this post a lot. While I haven’t had the same experience as you (as far as being a boss and losing weight), but I did get way out of my comfort zone (weight wise) last year. I had pneumonia in the spring and about the time that I was really starting to get my fitness back, I had my idiot appendix out. I stopped even looking at the scale for like 8 months, but none of my clothes fit and I hated to see my legs in shorts or short dresses (also why I adore maxi dresses). I don’t know if I had a single moment of “this is enough,” but when I got to the point that I was hiding my fat arms in cardigans all the time and when I avoided the camera, I knew I had gone too far. Literally within the last month I’ve started to feel “normal” again and I got on the scale… I WAS BACK TO MY HAPPY WEIGHT. I was at a place where I was ashamed of my body, which is a pretty foreign concept to me. It was so depressing and I never want to go back to that place again. marathon training coupled with strength training is pretty much the best combo ever.

    Also: As I type this, I am eating a potbelly oatmeal choc chip cookie, so clearly I still have some work to do in the “eating right.”

  4. Jen

    I’m right there with ya. I lost 130 pounds 3 years ago and had to gain 15 back after becoming TOO thin for my frame. That 15 turned into 35 or so and I still have about 15 I’d like to knock off, but it’s been a huge struggle. Sure, I’m super healthy but I would feel much better about myself 15 lbs lighter. But I say yes to pastries way too often, when I’m not actually hungry, and skip a few too many workouts so I know it really is me standing in the way of that. Weight maintenance is 100x harder than losing weight. Ugh.

    1. Theodora Post author

      yup! Weight loss is much more rewarding because you have tangible results as you’re going down. It’s much harder to just maintain status quo instead.

    2. Heidi

      Hey Theodora! I love your blog so much, you inspire me more than you will ever know congratulations on your weight loss you are one rad chick!

      To:Jen- that is so awesome!! Congratulations on your loss! I too lost a lot of lbs. 123 to be exact. I lost all my weight thru Weight watchers back in 2009. I have 20 journals that I wrote all my points and food in, and all my weigh in records. Last September 2012 I said so long to WW and never looked back, I was so obsessed with what that scale said and was not enjoying my life I was so depressed all the time I have not weighed myself since then,nor do I care to. Maintenance is one of the hardest challenges I have had to face, I know how to loose weight but maintenance is so tricky. I did not feel like I was getting the help I needed as a “life time member” my question was how much exercise, food etc.. In no way am I bashing WW as they gave me life style skills that I will be forever grateful for. I’m just in the same boat as every other woman who has had successful weight loss trying to figure it all out,and enjoy life! That’s why I love Theodora’s blog it’s the real shiz!

  5. Jessica @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad

    I can totally identify the airplane seat comment. I remember how uncomfortable I was on an airplane. I was in denial and didn’t put two and two together until I flew after I lost the weight and felt a million times better. I am about 9 pounds higher than my lowest weight. I am at my ceiling. I too want to feel better. It’s not necessarily about the number. It is about feeling good in your own skin. This post came at a great time for me since this in on my mind.

    1. Theodora Post author

      Oops, that was beers WITH lunch. Of a lobster roll + french fries. Although I have definitely had beer FOR lunch on occasion, too πŸ™‚

  6. Katie

    I’m in the middle of this moment. I have a goal for the rest of the year to try and lose a pound a week. I’m not attaching any gimmicks to reward myself, I just need to focus. I spent a year not weighing myself and didn’t lose any weight. Which means its time to slowly get more serious, while still being my fun loving self!

  7. Ash Bear

    Great post! I can’t stress enough how much sticking to whole foods works for leaning down. I have been social since moving here and come to realize that wine and cheese are part of the lifestyle. But, portions are smaller at meals and there aren’t snacks everywhere. Even today, our snacks while hiking were almonds and bananas. Our breakfast was fresh yogurt and fruit. Tonight’s dinner had barely any processed food. Challenge yourself to go unprocessed for one week. Not crazy hippy vegan unprocessed but just whole fresh natural foods like fresh pasta or fresh bread from the bakery, etc.

  8. Lauren

    Found your blog recently and it’s terrific! Ditto on the food being such a challenge. Like you said, I’ve made my life way more active but still have such a hard time resisting cravings.

  9. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    Love this post – been there done that! Usually I gain weight over the summer due to extra social events and loose fitting (but cute) summer dresses. But this year I was already at my “enough” weight when summer started. I started weighing in every week on Twitter, and it really helped. Yeah, losing 6lbs in 10 weeks isn’t exactly a world record, but I got the job done. I’m in my vanity weight range now.

  10. Niki

    I feel ya there! The last 2 months I have gained about 6 pounds due to stress mostly and it sucks! I haven’t been this heavy in about 2 years. For me, it is time to reign things back in too if I want to hit my goals.

  11. Liz S

    I can appreciate your post as I too have gotten to the enough is enough point. Wine, chocolate, dessert, and all kind of eating out are all of the things I’m enjoying a bit much these days. Even today I’m struggling with the idea of a birthday celebration at my favorite frozen margarita joint or getting my act together and going out for a run. I need to shape up my eating habits as I ideally would like to be as light as I possibly can come November 3. My enough is enough point is when I find myself eating junk food despite not really wanting it and making myself sick from it. Who does that?!?!?

  12. Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    THIS! You hit the nail right on the head of how I’m feeling, and also why you’re one of my favorite bloggers.

    I’ve had a lot of these “enough is enough” moments over the years, but then lose my motivation, only to gain back whatever weight I’ve lost. That’s not happening this time. I’m making the mental changes as well (not turning to food for comfort like I’ve done) and hoping it sticks this time.

    Still 60 pounds to go, but at least 10 are gone!

    Thanks for always being real on your blog! (& posting pictures of Bailey, he’s a cutie) πŸ™‚

  13. Diane

    Thanks for this post! I totally get it (minus the whole maintenance thing, still working on the weight loss). I have lost about 40 lbs so far and anve 30-40lbs to go to my goal weight. I love exercise and food (both “healthy” and “unhealthy” food) so you can guess what is holding me back. The post reminded me that other active girls are going through some of the same issues (which I knew, but sometimes “forget”).

  14. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    I think that I am almost (key is almost…) to this same point. Moving to a new city means lots of lunches and happy hours and dinners with new friends and that food totally adds up. I always say that I hate jeans but I think I hate them because mine don’t really fit how they should. Thanks for the post – I am going to focus on the “less wine” and real food part too!

  15. Betsy

    I feel the exact same about dresses and skirts! I’m up in my weight right now and I feel worse about myself when wearing pants.

  16. Katie

    The info about the whole foods v. processed is incredible. I’d never heard that before! My enough is enough was about a month back when my weight all of the sudden became a conversation with my family and friends. The internal struggle that I always thought I hid well became exposed and gossiped about and it was awful. I just signed up for my first half marathon in January and WW and started blogging about my journey to keep me accountable. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Mom

    Remember what we learned about the Lobsters, if it doesn’t measure up throw it back in the sea!!!
    Keep on trying, there will be setbacks, but you will always get back on track again

  18. Louise Rothwell

    I hate my clothes being tight. I track everything I eat and run about 15 miles a week. Weight is tough. I play around with 5lbs which is enough for clothes to be tight.
    With cooler temps coming, running long will be easier and I always have a race or 2 or 4 inthe agenda!!
    Loved this post.

  19. Chrissy

    This post spoke to me! It’s such a tough balance. I have found as I age, it’s harder and harder to maintain my goal weight. 150 is my ceiling point too and I am fighting like mad to get away from it. My lowest was 135 which I held for about a minute πŸ™‚ I find really sticking to routines and finding a buddy to exercise with really helps me. Today’s post was great because it reminded me that I am not the only one = thank you!

    PS I loved your mom’s comment – mothers are always right.

    1. Theodora Post author

      You’re right on the routines. I’m in an exercise routine but out of a regular routine and feeling like a fish out of water trying to figure it out still.

      And yeah, moms are totally always right. (Don’t let her see this comment :))

  20. Katie

    This post could have easily been written by me!! I went to the doc yesterday for a knee injury (boo) and they weighed me. I was shocked at the number and no amount of ‘it’s just because I’m dressed’ comforted me.

    I lost about 30 pounds close to ten years ago and I work hard to manage those sneaky little pounds that creep back on. What sets people like you and me apart from those who can’t maintain their weight loss is the recognition when a change needs to happen AND acting on it.

    You will break sub 4, you will feel confident and sexy (you already should!) and you will keep working. Because you’re awesome like that πŸ™‚

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Katie: You mean you didn’t take off like 15 pounds for your clothes? πŸ™‚

      “What sets people like you and me apart from those who can’t maintain their weight loss is the recognition when a change needs to happen AND acting on it.”

      Very true. We’ve done this before and we can do it again. I’ve cut way back on the processed food since getting back from Maine and haven’t had wine since Sunday. Little things and I’m starting to feel a bit better already.

      And you know, re: feeling confident and sexy? I went to Uplift tonight and as I was lifting and looking in the mirror, I thought “ok, I don’t look *that* bad.” I’m not starting all over, I’m just buckling down a bit more.

  21. Laurin @ Be Well Body

    I can so relate to this! I lost a lot of weight about 10 years ago and I still don’t feel like I’ve “conquered” my weight loss struggle – it will be a lifelong challenge for me to stay in control of my relationship with food.

    Have you ever heard of the Half Size Me podcasts? They are free on iTunes and are really inspiring – the host is super passionate about maintenance and she interviews others with weight struggles. It’s good motivation to stick with it and to really respect maintenance for the tricky beast that it is!

  22. Meghan

    This is a really great post, and perfectly timed. This summer I have overindulged way too much, and while the snug clothes bother me, it’s definitely the frequent stomachaches and just knowing I’m not being healthy or good to myself that has been the tipping point. I mean, it’s fun to drink a bunch of wine with friends, and eat all sorts of rich foods, but some sort of balance has to be achieved between the two. It’s a work in progress for me πŸ™‚

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Meghan: YES. Honestly, I’m not crazy about how I look right now but it is really the constant stomachaches and super sluggish-feeling running that’s pushing me to make changes.

      Ah yes, wine and rich food will always be a work in progress for me. Especially since one makes the other so hard to resist πŸ™‚

  23. Victoria

    I have nothing to add, except that maintenance is REALLY HARD. I gained back some of what I lost last fall, and it wasn’t easy to lose that…I’m not back at my starting point, but man, this is no fun.

  24. Margaret

    Thank you for writing this. It’s honest and inspiring. So many women feel like this, or have felt like this at some point, but you put it into such great words. It reminds me that I, too, can get through this.

  25. Kiersten

    Great post. It is nice to know that other people struggle just as much as I do. I just can’t seem to get to that point and stick with it lately. I get so frustrated with myself and feeling gross and I will clean up my act for a couple days and then I slide right back into my unhealthy habits.

  26. Marie

    The thing is; fat can be a great motivator when you are actually fat, but your never quite prepared for the maintenance part of the lifestyle. So many people get rid of fat only to gain it all big when they reach a level of contentment. Then you’re fat again, and discontent again, and the cycle begins again.

  27. Lauri

    Thanks for always being so honest about the struggles with maintenance and slipping back down that slippery slope and not ebing all “oh, I stopped stressing about losing weight and the weight just FELL off” like a lot of other people/bloggers. I think I’m THIS close to enough is enough right now. I’m up 8-10 pounds from where I really want to be and where I was and it’s harder this time around. I’m actually afraid to get on the scale. I exercise like crazy and eat well most of the time but I think the times I don’t are binges and I need to get back on track. I need to start tracking everything again and not allowing myself ALL the treats all the time. liek Ican eat 1 cookie but I don’t need 10…Of course I say this as I’m headed to a beach weekend with friends where I know there will be too much beer, wine and snacks….

  28. Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut

    Even as a health coach, I admit, sometimes it sucks being to mindful while eating…which, is just about every time I eat. But you know that term “embrace the suck”? Well I try to do that when I’m struggling with making a good choice. Sure, it’s easy to make good decisions when it feels effortless, but it’s the times you push through and say no to the second (or third) glass of wine that will help you reach your goals and feel good in your own skin. Of course, there are moments when you do need to enjoy a bottle of wine or your favorite dessert without mulling it over and over in your mind. But I try to make those moments count and not have them too frequently – otherwise the “treat” becomes a regular occurrence and doesn’t seem as special. Sometimes you have to hit a frustrating point to start making changes again. It helps remind you that passing on the bread basket and resisting a trip to the froyo store really is worth it. I know you can get back on track!

  29. Meghan

    This post comes at a time that I really needed it. A few months ago I had knee surgery and have been out of running and will be out until the end of this month. It’s been really easy to “treat” myself since it was summer, friends in town, etc.

    And while I’ve still been working out it’s not the same as running and I’ve watched the scale creep ever closer to that danger zone as well. Too much food in and not enough calories out. I too lost a bunch of weight and don’t want to put it back. While going through the closet and not being able to comfortably put on the “skinny” pants is sad, knowing that I am not taking care of myself is worse.

    Thanks as always for gentle nudge in the right direction!

  30. Kate

    Thank you for such a honest, insightful post. Really hit home for me based on where I am too (I was actually reading while sitting at a bar, sipping wine and eating french fries… )

  31. Anna @ Fitness Γ  la Anna

    I totally feel you. (TMI alert) I have been going through a pretty harsh break-up and had to move to the city – I was living in the country with my ex – and have been meeting up with friends on the daily, which means I have been eating out and drinking way too much recently. Although I have maintained my exercise, I have definitely been feeling the extra pounds from the alcohol and agree that it needs to be cut down in order to reach fitness goals.
    Think of the vino you will have when you crush your race goal πŸ˜‰

  32. Ashley

    I am absolutely having an “ah ha” moment with the article you referenced on processed foods. I’ve been told by so many of my friends and family that have traveled abroad that they lost weight when they stayed there for long periods of time — and that it was likely due to eating REAL foods and the fact that other countries don’t eat processed foods like we do. I heard it, but never understood it until now. So simple, but so challenging.

  33. kim

    perfect timing! I am at a low point / high weight. Even though I just ran a half marathon, I’m not where I want to be. Thanks for the additional kick in the pants to motivate me!


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