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Posted on Sep 28, 2011 in Weigh Ins | 53 comments

The 5 Stages of Grief

Most of you have probably heard of the Five Stages of Grief. You know, you or someone you know has died, or perhaps is dying, and there are five very specific emotional stages they say you’ll go through as you try to cope: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

So with that little nugget of information, you can probably guess that my weigh-in this week resulted in some decidedly grievous news.

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weigh-in: 186.9 lbs
This Week’s Weigh-in: 189.4 lbs
This Week’s Change: +2.5 lbs

What the WHAT?!

I just don’t understand my body anymore. I know that due to my pre-5 miler freaking out I may not have been watching what I’ve been eating quite as carefully this week, but it’s not like I was going on Wenders or anything (that’s a Wendy’s bender, btw. I just made that up. You’re welcome.)

This morning’s encounter with the scale left me on an emotional roller coaster that I’m sure many of you can relate to all too well. I would never, ever suggest that something like weight loss could ever be compared to true grief, of course. That being said, I can’t help but draw a few parallels between the five stages of grief and the emotional state I was in after my weigh-in this morning.

First, there was denial.

Pshhhh, no way. No. Fracking. Way.

Then anger.


Then bargaining.

Please, pleeeease say it isn’t so.

There may have been some slightly more desperate bargaining that followed.

Bargaining some more.

Then depression…

Nope, not melodramatic at all.

Then finally… acceptance?

Very, very reluctant acceptance, perhaps.

My acceptance face might need some work, since I’m still having a little trouble, er, actually accepting it. I know that there are a bunch of factors that can impact a full 2.5 pound weight gain in a week other than eating 9,000 extra calories: hanging onto extra water, my monthly frenemy coming to visit (sorry boys), lack of sleep, stress, blahblahblah. Buuuut… the fact of the matter is that I still gained, even if tomorrow the gain happens to be less severe than it is today. Poop.

I guess all I can hope is that the changes I’ve made help me to win in the long run, and in the meantime I have to try not to let these bumps in the road get me down, right? (Try being the operative word, of course.) And I have to keep reminding myself that despite not being where I want to end up, I’m still lightyears further than where I started (and have pics like this one that Ben took last night to prove it!)

Day 267 - Complete
I think I see those extra 2.5 libbies…

The puppies don’t hurt either.

What’s your post-bad-weigh-in (over-hyphenate much, Gretchen?) emotional roller coaster ride like? Or, in more coherent language, how does it make you feel when you let yourself down? And how do you pick yourself back up?


  1. Ugh, I feel your pain. I’ve been really paying attention to losing some weight this month and The first 3 weeks went amazingly! I lost 5 lbs. Somehow I managed to gain it ALL back this week! I have no idea what the fuck happened.

  2. dude, don’t sweat it! This happens to me sometimes too, it sucks and I get all pissed and resolve to only eat salad and 1/2 cup brown rice for every meal until I get back to where I was and lose a bit… bottom line, it is almost always just water! Actually, I’m not even sure physiologically you can gain weight like that so quickly (other than water weight, or if you’re being kinda irregular). BTW, did you know at any given time you have between 3 and 5 lbs of waste in your gut waiting to er, exit? My suggestion is to drink a glass of water at every juncture you can today… you will be going to the bathroom like crazy and moving some of that waste from your gut, and poof! problem solved…. everyone’s happy again! : ) Hang in there. Don’t be discouraged, you are doing great!

    • I have heard that thing about the gut-waste… blech. But you make a good point, I’ll make sure to keep the hydration up (something I should be doing anyway but somehow always seem to fail at, haha.)

  3. 2.5 is totally your monthly frenemy visiting. I go up or down 2 pounds everyday. I’m not kidding. I know how frustrating it can be though. I’ve totally let it ruin my day before. Just keep on keepin’ on – you’ll be back to normal in a few days 😉

    • “Just keep on keepin’ on.” Pretty much my motto.

  4. I totally try to blame everything on the monthly frenemy, especially that amount of weight. Just start today like it’s a new day and push past what the scale is telling you. Remember that permanent, sustainable change is your goal and that this is just a speed bump. You’ll be back on track before you know it!

    • I’m definitely trying to keep a positive outlook… it’s not always easy but, you know, it’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂

  5. Gretchen— this happens to everyone multiple times on a weight loss journey— I know it’s difficult to accept when you’ve been working hard, but it happens, and the key to success is being able to pick yourself back up and reposition yourself for success. I just blogged about this topic the other day. Everything will even out just keep doing what you’re doing. By the way, congrats on the 5 miler! Awesome!!!

    • Thanks, Nicole. Yeah, it’s not the first time that I’ve had to deal with this, so you’d think it’d be easy not to lose my head about it! But seeing the numbers on the scale still get you down so easily. Le sigh.

  6. Try not to let this get you down and just get back to what you’ve been doing and focus on the positive. Keep watching what you eat- calorie counting is still your friend at this point- and keep plugging along. You can do it 🙂

  7. I’d love to have some awesome words of wisdom and hope to pass along to you, but I’m bad about mentally beating myself up for such things as well. 🙁

    Having said that – I completely think it must be your frenemy. Mine would certainly do that to me. (It doesn’t make it *much* easier to swallow though, I know). Hang in there! It’ll be gone soon.

    Loved all the expressions!


    • I feel like my brain has boxing gloves on today. It’s so hard not to get wrapped up in the self-beat-up! But that being said, I’m trying not to let it get me too far down… trying…

  8. Oh my gosh…been there a million times. It’s water…it’s salt…it’s maybe a teeny, tiny amount of real gain.

    And it sucks…I know how much control that number can have over a person. But – the 5 miler was amazing, and you look great.

    And I agree with comments above – water up like crazy today! Water and green tea!

    If you wanna hop on the scale on Friday just to peek, go for it. Otherwise, don’t let it ruin your week, especially since I am sure it ruined your morning. Chin up!!

    • I think that’s the thing that I’m still upset about. Like, I know that I probably didn’t “really” gain two and a half pounds. But I did still gain, most likely, and even if it’s a lot less, it’s not losing. It’s just so frustrating when you feel like you really weren’t that “bad”, too! Ah well… I think you’re right though. I’m not going to be able to resist another desperately hopeful “sneak peek” later this week, hahaha.

  9. “I guess all I can hope is that the changes I’ve made help me to win in the long run, and in the meantime I have to try not to let these bumps in the road get me down, right?” YOU ARE A WINNER – look at how far you’ve come! but I’m sure a wender would be delish right now – ok – bad advice – back on track! YOU’RE A WINNER!

    • Hahahahaha “ok – bad advice”. 🙂

  10. The fact that you are dealing with this little ‘bump’ by working your way through it, rather than drowning your sorrows in ice cream and French fries shows how far you have come on this journey. Keep it up!!

    • I guess that’s true… at least I’m not worsening the situation, right?

  11. I knowwww how frustrating a gain on the scale can be, especially when you haven’t been “bad”! Trust me, I know!! That said, you just ran FIVE freaking miles. Be proud of yourself! A lot of times when you push yourself physically, your body retains water to help heal, so I’m sure next week you’ll see a big loss if you stick to it. Drink lots of water, eat lots of fruit and veggies, and you’ll be back on weight loss track in no time at all.

    • Dang, I hope that is my problem right now too then! I had a PDR this weekend, and the scale is up for me as well

  12. Just don’t let it stress you out! Cortisol is evil in this case. Drink tea and write up a list of why you are awesome instead.

  13. Goood lawd those puppies are so cute! Not the point of the post, but it had to be put out there 😉

    For whatever its worth, the best approach to weight loss (and maintenance!) is to know that it is a long process! Things change daily, and one number will never define the work you’ve put in and the changes you’ve made.

    • I try to tell myself that as well. Slow and steady blahblahblah, right? 😉

  14. It sucks! I know the feeling and I think I go through the same reactions…like why am I working so hard if I am just going to gain anyway…I know an easier way to gain. Then I get over it and realize that all the changes I am making are good for me and I am in a better place than I used to be and I keep on keeping on. You’ve got this!! I bet next Wednesday the scale will be better to you…especially if Aunt Flo is a-visiting. I have that unwanted guest over right now too. Sigh.

    Anyway…cute cute post…love all the pictures…especially the one with the pups and Wenders!!! HILARIOUS! You have a great attitude and that will pull you through!

  15. Hang in there! Whenever I have a bad weigh-in I go through your five stages as well. Then I make plans for how to make the coming week better. Then I tell myself that I will have a big loss the next week because the gain was only due to water weight and all of the planned workouts I have will make that disappear in a hurry. It makes me feel better.

    • Here’s hoping that’s the case for me as well…!

  16. Aw, don’t get yourself down! I can’t help but admit that I giggled a little scrolling through your pictures! Remember [as cheesy as it is], beauty comes from within 🙂

    • Well as long as you were laughing because the expressions were funny, not that I’m funny looking! 😉 (obviously getting a few chuckles was kinda my goal… to distract you from all the real crying, hahahahahaaa)

      • All smiles, no cries! Anddd the THE SUN IS EVEN OUT SMILING for you- that’s something we haven’t experienced in days [or weeks]?!

  17. I just get really mad at myself, then brush it off and continue what I’m doing knowing that regardless, I’m moving in the right direction. But don’t get down, especially with all the awesome progress you’ve made since starting your journey!

    • Working on the “brush it off” part… 🙂

  18. Im so sorry. but I will say your pictures defiantly made me laugh. i defiantly get really ticked when the scale doesnt go my way. Just pick yourself up- today is a new day. And you just ran a 5k. thats awesome and something positive to think about!

  19. Girl, I was SOBBING this morning in the shower. I hate gaining weight, especially when it’s like 2 pounds. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I’m doing EVERYTHING right. It can be so frustrating. I love my scale, but I fully understand why some people don’t weigh themselves. It can truly be a nightmare.

    PS: I want to make shirts. And have a bloggy shop. How do you do dat? (Yep, I said DAT)

  20. I feel ya Gretchen. Seeing that number on the scale go up is really hard and totally sucks sometimes. I try really hard to keep a positive outlook though. Tomorrow is another day and you have the whole next week to get back on track and figure things out. That is a good thing about using the scale because now that you see it went up you can just refocus your efforts.
    If I have a not so great week at the scale I either take my measurements to see what my progress is there or think about all the good things I did that week( workouts, races, tasty meals, etc) or just think back on how far I have come in my journey. I mean you have lost over 55 pounds which is amazing! So be proud of that and keep on keeping on. You can do this! 🙂

  21. youre killin me 🙂

  22. Hi Gretchen! Don’t worry I am sure it’s water weight and with fall coming, I think we are all trying to get our winter coats started to stay warm. 🙂
    Can you tell me where you got your Schnauzer shirt? I have a mini Schnauzer (see my blog for pics) and I’d love one of those shirts.

  23. I like to tell myself it’s water weight. Or I need to hit the bathroom again.

    Honestly, I just tell myself to use it as motivation to make this week even better!

  24. Gretchen – I just stumbled onto your blog and cannot peel myself away from the computer now (even though I need to go make some dinner).

    I am floored by your progress and accomplishments thus far!! 60lbs is FLIPPIN’ amazing sister, seriously go tell your +2.5lbs to go kiss it! Giving those 2.5lbs all the power is the worst thing you can do for your weigh loss journey right now.

    Whatever you resist persist and grows stronger (yes you have that kind of power) ;).

    Don’t lose sight of all your hard work, now is the time to shift your focus on all you HAVE accomplished (maybe make a list to re-visit when this self-sabotaging voice chimes in) and just watch next week you will be pleasantly surprised how a simple shift in your thoughts can create such rapid results.

    No deprivation or crazy amount of exercise needed…

    Easy peasy 🙂

    You are KILLING it sister, keep up the amazing work!

    • Thank you so much Nichole! Keep on keepin’ on, right?

  25. It could definitely be your period. I know that I gain like 3 lbs when mine is on it’s way. Have you ever thought about talking to an RD? Just because I know that you’re frustrated with your plateau and maybe they could offer up some suggestions.

    • I haven’t really seriously thought about seeking professional weight loss help, but you may be right that it’s time to start considering it. Hmm…

  26. I have had so many days like this. Where I step on and I’m honestly like WTF?!?!! When I feel like I’ve done everything right. It is SO hard not to let it ruin your day. Remember that you and your success are not tied to that number. You are SO MUCH MORE. You have accomplished so much, and like everyone has said, there are a million reasons why this would happen and it is most likely not an accurate representation of your real weight. Every single time I begin…that time haha…I gain 3 lbs and every month it is lost by the end of the week. So really, if you’re like me, you probably actually lost .5, it just hasn’t shown up yet! 🙂

  27. I know it’s hard gaining weight when you KICKED ASS running! But you honestly look great, because of how well you put yourself together! Your outfits are super cute and you have stylish hair.
    I think looking cute is way more important. Who cares if you have some extra 2.5lbage!

  28. I love the humor you bring to even a slightly down post! I hate that when I think I’ve had a good week and then I gain. I think the way to handle it is to let yourself “grieve” then get back at it because to many times I’ve decided well I blew it so who cares now might as well eat whatever.

  29. Weight gain always sucks, but I think you handled it well. I love your writing style and your pics were fabulous. That weight will be back off before you know it! keep up the great work.


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