If you've read my blog you know that I pretty much went up and then down, then plateaued, then down again. It took over four years.
I'm about to climb up on my soap box. I know my way isn't everybody's weigh but it did work, so draw your own conclusions.
It's actually pretty easy to lose weight right? I had success in high school losing 40 pounds over a summer but eventually it came back on and from there it was just up and up. No secrets to that one regain, I just wasn't ready. When I had my ah-ha moment in 1999 I was in college and had no real stress in my life. Sure there was "drama" but nothing like what would come in 2007 and nothing like what had caused me to gain even more weight starting 1997.
All life has drama and stressors though. At all times. It's just relative. I find that when people perceive their life to be stressful (wether or not it actually is I don't think is terribly important) or when everything is a major catastrophe then weight loss becomes a way of feeling in control. With everything else spiraling, changing yourself for the better is so appealing. So righteous, "Look what I can do even though my world is falling apart." But what happens when your world is done falling apart? (Admittedly for some it never does, there is always more drama.) You are left with this foreign body and nothing to motivate you. Maintenance is not about control, it's about living. If you don't give yourself the tools to keep it off along the way then why even bother?
On the other hand are people who are just sort of bumping along with no real hindrances. Their weight loss is only sustainable as long as life keeps it nice and easy. They are also in control but like the above it's an illusion. As soon as they must cope without food, they often can't and the weight comes back on.
So what is one to do if they want to lose weight and keep it off?
Realize that this is not a zero sum game.
When things are overwhelming the best thing that you can do is take care of yourself. This does not mean starving yourself to keep on losing weight. Or jumping into a bag of cookie head first and saying fuck it. MODERATION is required. This is not easy to learn and comes only with much practice. Weight loss is about patience and making peace with ourselves. The end will come someday when you get to a happy weight and the tools you acquire along the way, especially when life is beating you down will be crucial in maintaing a loss. Getting to goal shouldn't mean you start living then. You should be doing it all along.