I'm pissed: I've gained back eight pounds. Here's my plan for taking it off.
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By Shaun Chavis
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So here's the blog post I do not want to write. I've gained 8 pounds. As you may remember, I had surgery early this summer. I was in bed for about a week and a half and moving pretty slowly for about another month after that. So, I gave myself a weight-loss and walking break. Unfortunately, it was too much of a break!

Instead of being downtrodden, I'm pissed—for working so hard to get that weight off, only to regain it. I wish I hadn't, but I am not ashamed. I don't believe shame gets you anywhere good, especially when it comes to weight and body image. (There are numerous studies linking body shame with eating disorders.) Instead, I'm the type to come up with a game plan. Here's mine:

Step on the scale more often.
People who weigh in on a routine basis do a better job of managing their weight—there's even research to support the benefit of daily weigh-ins. The "break" I gave myself included a long-term "no weigh-in" pass. (Weight Watchers folks, you know what I'm talking about!) But before surgery, I got on the scale twice a week. Frequent weigh-ins not only kept me on task, but I began to see a pattern of fluctuations from water retention, hormones, etc. Once I knew what the pattern was, an extra pound or no change no longer freaked me out. I knew it was just my body doing its thing and I was able to see the big picture. I used to have scale-phobia, but once I started weighing in a lot, I began to see the numbers as pure data—information I needed to reach my goal.


(Getty Images)

Get a weight-loss or fitness buddy.
I have a few one-on-one weight-loss buddies. Mostly, we check in with each other via email or Facebook.

Read inspiring books.
My trainer just gave me a tattered old copy of Covert Bailey's The New Fit or Fat. (It's a 1991 edition; the updated The Ultimate Fit or Fat is also available.) Yes, I read diet books and research every day at work, but this one has a familiar, comforting feel because I read it years ago and found it full of great information. Bailey says that if he were overweight and needed to lose 50 pounds, he would just walk and walk. Then and now, that seems so approachable. I think, I can do that!

Do something new.
I love walking, but since I've regained what I walked off, I've got that "been there, done that" feeling. I took inspiration from the women in Health's "I Did It" success stories; many do something competitive to make themselves stick to an exercise routine. So I've signed up to walk a half-marathon in Mobile, Ala., in January. I also have a friend who is going to walk it with me. We won't be able to train together because he lives in another state, but we'll keep tabs on each other as we train. I'll count him among my fitness and weight-loss buds.

Speaking of "been there, done that?" I discovered the new Ben & Jerry's Flipped Out while recovering from surgery. Mercy, it's delish! Makes you feel like you're a kid again and you just got something special from the ice-cream truck. But I've had my treat. Now it's time to move on.