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The overconfidence trap

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hi friends!

It's been a looooong time, hasn't it? It feels like my last blog was ages ago! Simply because I couldn't find any reason to blog. Those of you who had been following my blogs in the past may remember that I always blogged with one objective in mind: to help people. When I had something motivational to say or something inspiring to share. And those past few months these things never happened...

I felt like a complete failure. All the time.

And I had no intention of writing this blog today. But my Camo teammates made me realize that even failures can be helpful when shared. I'm not the only one who struggles! There are many of us out there and we could all find motivation in each other's thoughts and actions. We could help avert the panic. What panic? The one that comes hand in hand with backsliding. With regain. With clothes that don't fit.

I thought that this would never happen to me again. This time everything was different. I hadn't lost weight with restrictive diets like in the past. I had no reason to return to old habits that would eventually bring the weight back. I had learned the rules of the game. Lifelong habits, constant vigilance, immediate action after slight regain. I had it all figured out. The weight would NOT come back.

Go on. You can all give me your "Yeah, right" faces right now. No offence taken.

In fact, I wish I had seen a "Yeah, right" face earlier. When I thought I had solved the maintenance equation. It's not that I thought there was no chance of regaining. I knew it was a case and not just a chance. I knew from the very first moment that this was the strongest battle that I would have to win. I had already been there and I knew that when the weight goal is reached, people tend to overestimate their abilities to maintain that weight. And I needed to avoid this overconfidence. And while trying to avoid it, I fell into its own trap...

Those of us who have tried many ways to lose weight, know the difference between dieting and trying to follow a healthy way of eating that can last for a lifetime. Restrictions almost always lead to the other extreme. But when you slowly try to establish new healthy habits, when you teach yourself how to live healthy with small, everyday changes, when you practice moderation and balance, you have no reason to go back to old, unhealthy habits. So, the weight won't come back, right? And even if it tries to sneak back on during special occasions - like holidays, for example - returning to healthy habits will immediately stop it. It has to be like that, right?

That's where the trap of overconfidence lies.

Because we don't actually go back to bad old habits. We know better!

But that doesn't mean that we can't develop new, sneaky, tricky, harmful ones...




I am 15 pounds away from my lower achieved weight in 2012. If I ask you to assume what has happened, what are you going to think? That I probably started eating junk food again, that I gave in to sweets, I stopped exercising or maybe even stopped caring.

I can assure you, my dear sparkfriends. None of this happened.

I never stopped eating healthy. Ever!

I didn't stop exercising. I took some short breaks but never fully stopped.

What happened to me was... distortion.

Starting with the well-known to everyone "portion-distortion". Slowly allowing the portions to get a little bigger every time was a great way to feed the emotional eating monster. And my waistline at the same time...

Then, it was the distortion of "healthy" in my mind. Homemade desserts are healthy, right? Of course they are. No chemicals, no additives, only pure ingredients that I have chosen for my family. Only they're still desserts. They contain some type of sugar and some kind of fat. The healthy cloak combined with the portion distortion eventually distorted the number on the scale...

Finally, it was the danger distortion.
"Oh, it's just a pound, it will go away."
"Only a couple of pounds. A couple of extra cardio workouts will melt them away."
"Three pounds? Come on! That's nothing compared to the 45 I've lost."
"It's just five pounds. It's not like I went back to 198!"

Do you get the picture?

I'm still leading a healthy lifestyle. I'm still exercising. But the weight keeps coming back. Slowly but surely. It finds a way! That would be a nice, guilty-free way to think, wouldn't it? But I'm the one paving the way for it to return. I'm the one who subconsciously made so many changes to my everyday habits using the healthy cloak as a great excuse.

And now I have to face the consequences. Starting with being honest to myself. With recognizing my mistakes and turning them into lessons. That's the first part of the plan.

The first step is to use the failure. Break it down to its building blocks - mistakes - and use them to build the road to success.

Simple, isn't it?

Yeah, right!
(See? First lesson learned!)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Maintenance is I think a harder journey then weight loss. Just never lose sight of were you want to be.
    1889 days ago
    I realize this blog was done a while back for you, but it nailed it for me today. Thanks for sharing. I have been "cycling" through maintenace for almost 4 years with a 5-15 lb relapse every few months. I recently read an article from Dr. Judith Beck that called this the maintenace cycle. This along with your thoughts encourage me to know that it's not something so wrong with me, but a very normal process for most people who struggle with weight. I have yet to find the perfect plan, but blogs like yours reassure me of the hope in persistence.

    So today, nearly 4 months since you wrote these words, I will carry them with me today and forgive myself and move forward.

    1927 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2008 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. I have been wondering how I gained back 20 pounds in four months. Oh my gosh, that's almost half of the weight I lost! I'm crestfallen. I too was caught up in bigger portions because it was healthier food. I also cut back on my fitness, which was a big mistake because dedicating that time kept the priority in the forefront. Complacency is a slippery slope, indeed.

    I'm constantly reading and seeking new recipes, meal plans, workout ideas, hoping to find my goldilocks sweet spot. I should really stop looking and just do something.

    Let's keep going!
    2041 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    I know exactly what you are saying as I had been down that road before. I still weigh and measure because I agree, it is way to easy to start having the portions get bigger by eyeballing it. And Greek desserts, oh man, they are so good but yes, very high in calories but I do love them every once in a while! Galactobouriko in particular!
    But we learn as we go, and thank goodness each new day is a day to start again. Frustrating yes, but doable!
    Hang tough and I all the best to you on your journey of being the best that you can be!
    2042 days ago
    If anyone can find their way back (whichever way that might be), I know YOU can!!
    I've hovering at the same number for over a year (lose 2,gain 3,yada, yada), but I have not made as many healthful choices as you have, so I applaud your determination!!
    2042 days ago
    emoticon great blog!
    2042 days ago
    EXCELLENT blog and openness!!! Thank you for writing your thoughts and putting them out here for the rest of us to savor! Totally agree with your honesty. Winston defiantly has some powerful insights!!
    "If you think you are going through hell, keep going"!
    2043 days ago
  • FIREFLY4407
    Awesome blog - you've described what happens perfectly!
    2043 days ago
    I can't trust my eyes. I have to rely on my trusty kitchen scale. Scales have gotten better and easier to use over the years, thank God!
    2043 days ago
  • NEWNANCY2012
    Thank you ! You describe exactly what's been happening to me since 2011 when I weighed my lowest 183. I had lost 74 Lbs and felt so happy, but I knew in my mind that it wouldn't last. Because I have been there before at least thre times in the last 30 years when I had joined "Diet Workshop" in 1984.

    I'm stll here though with the help of Spark people through my literal "up's & down's " "Keeping-off" the first 60 lbs!
    2043 days ago
    I love that quote from Churchill. You wrote an excellent blog. Yes, you can gain weight even when you are continuing your healthy eating and exercise. You can do it by portion distortion or by indulging a little more often in higher carb foods. I have been in your shoes many times. I like your decision to be honest with yourself and learning from your present actions. Many hugs to you my friend. You will get back on track. You have all of the successful tools needed. emoticon
    2043 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15324855
    Oh hon - I am sooooo glad you're back with a blog!!

    Ok, for starters, your blogs are just that - YOURS!! Don't worry about us. We are simply privileged individuals who get a glimpse into your world and your journey when we read your blogs, but their purpose is to help YOU. So you go ahead and blog about the good, the bad, the ugly....the good days and the crappy ones. Because I promise you, your Camo teammates are right! Though it may not feel like it, even those ugly blogs will be just what SOMEONE out there needs to read on any given day. Today, that someone is me.

    I am sending you a giant emoticon for writing this blog. I, too, am fighting with the beast of overconfidence, and am on the verge of backsliding and losing the progress I've made if I don't rein it in immediately. And it's exactly what you described - maintaining "healthy" diet and exercise habits, but slowly expanding that definition of "healthy", until I'm rationalizing 3 vegan chocolate chip cookies for dessert, or a salad with ALL the fixings (I'm talking cheeses, croutons, and loads of dressing) because salad is totally healthy, right?? Hah!! Not like that it isn't.

    But the thing is, we are absolutely capable of losing back any weight we've gained and reaching our goals, because we've already done it once! We know just what to do - it's just a matter of committing to the right choices and reining in those extras. So you are not alone in this part of the journey - I am right there with you. We can get ourselves back on track. emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Wishing you a happy, HEALTHY, weekend emoticon .
    2043 days ago
    You are so RIGHT about the overconfidence trap. We all feel that at some point, and the emoticon we get smacked right in the face with the real truth that we have been fooling ourselves all along.

    But knowing is half the battle..the other half is getting back into the saddle that got us truly healthier in the first place...and then the other half after that is keeping that mindset in stone (or trying to).....and yes, that adds up to 1 and a 1/2, but no one ever said that losing and maintaining was easy, or cookie-cutter, or one size-fits-all...it's tough to figure out and never ending, especially when you think you've got it in the bag too.

    More blogs are needed from you, my friend...you write beautifully! And your thoughts are spot on!
    2043 days ago
    2043 days ago
    With gratitude for you, for your writing, for your sharing, for being who you are...
    Wishing you fortitude (resolute endurance) and good energy, namaste'
    2043 days ago
    I like the fact that you are not a quitter.
    The Winston Churchill quote is so true.

    Blessings to you.
    2043 days ago
    I understand what you are talking about. I'm there too. We can do this! Wishing us both success! :)
    2043 days ago
  • ARAZA30
    2043 days ago
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