2020 was a wild ride. And for many of us, healthy eating, exercise, and self-care habits went flying off the rails.
If you’re feeling ready to get back on track, we’re with you. Three of our editorial team members are making big changes in the New Year, and they’ve offered to take us along for the ride. For the next few weeks, we’ll be following Laura as she ditches her sugar habit and jump-starts her fitness routine, and we’ll be rooting for our dynamic dieting duo, Bill and Mark, as they work hard to drop pounds and improve their health. Here’s to a healthier 2021!
It’s been so hard to accept. To say I’m disappointed in myself would be an understatement.
In 2016, I lost 100 pounds. I was a runner — dozens of 5Ks and 10Ks, six half marathons, and then a marathon. I was in shape. I was skinny. I was in my 40s and the healthiest I had been in my adult life. I was determined that there was no way I was going back to the old me; this was who I wanted to be. But I got lazy. I stopped logging my every bite. I started making excuses to skip runs and workouts. Desserts and sweets became the norm again. And then, a pandemic hit, and any good habits I had left were thrown out the window.
It was a gradual gain, but here I am, at the start of 2021 weighing more than 250 pounds and barely able to run 2 miles (when 3-plus used to be a light day). It’s a hard pill to swallow, but — I have to start over.
As I wrestle with yet another weight loss/”time to get fit” chapter of my life, I’ve tried to put some thought into why this happened, how it happened, and what lessons I can apply to my journey this time around.
1. Accept My New Reality (and be OK with it). When I told my mom I failed, she quickly countered, “You didn’t fail, you just — took a step back. It happens.” She’s right. I’m not a failure. What I’ve accomplished in my 40s — I’m impressed with myself! I took a break, and there is nothing wrong with that. The sooner I quit beating myself up and come to terms with where I am, the easier it will be to find my self-discipline again.
2. Mental Is More Important Than Physical. It’s natural and very easy to fall into a funk and even become depressed when you realize you’ve gone backward. Most of my clothes don’t fit anymore; I’m out of breath easier; I have body pain I didn’t use to have; I see myself in pictures and I’m disgusted; and the heaviest burden: I’m disappointed in myself. All of those thoughts and realities lead me right back into horrible habits and poor food choices. If I want to be healthy again, I need to first focus on and improve my mental and emotional health.
3. I Have The Answer Key. This is perhaps the biggest realization and helps me with No. 1 and No. 2. I’ve done this before. I know how to eat properly; I know how to exercise; I know what to expect when I go for a run for the first time; I know what a 1,700-calorie diet looks and feels like. I’m not going into this blind; I know what worked for me and what didn’t. I’m going into this with a huge advantage!
4. I Have Some Exciting and Fun Accountability. Sharing my journey through this blog will definitely keep me focused. But even better, I have my friend, co-worker, and fellow blogger Mark Spoor as some friendly competition. There will be good natured trash-talking, but there will also be some much-needed support and encouragement with someone going through similar experiences. Challenges are always easier when someone is along for the ride with you.
I have to start over. As difficult as it is to say, it’s my reality and I accept it. Let the weight loss and fitness journey begin (again)!
Bill is the Senior Manager of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He’s been trying to find balance with his weight, exercise, and overall wellness for 15-plus years. As Bill approaches 50, he understands how important it is to keep good healthy habits and take care better care of himself. He has the support of his wife and two children (ages 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the difficulties of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who are experiencing the same. For more on his journey, follow him on Instagram
and on TikTok
News – Healthier 2021: Bill Lost Weight Before — Now He’s Starting Over