Apologies NEVER necessary

January 18, 2013 — 30 Comments

Yesterday, I was doing a quick check on Twitter, and I saw a message from one of my very favorite Twitter/Blogging peeps, the inimitable Suzi Storm.  First off, let me tell you a few things about Suzi:  she is a beautiful, smart, whip-funny and passionate person.  She has also had tremendous success working to tackle a weight issue, and lost over 90 pounds in the process.  In the process, she has become a nut about running, and has learned much about living a fundamentally healthier way.  And she still LOVES her beer.  It therefore broke my heart when I saw the following post from her (EXCELLENT) blog http://www.suzistorm.com :


Coming out…

No, I’m not gay (but hey, how you doing hot ladies Winking smile

I run…

In the grocery store when I see someone I know who I haven’t seen since I lost weight…

I say no…

To going out because that means that I *might* run into people who saw me last at my goal weight…

I cancel…

Because I am a coward…

Panic, anxiety, hate…all attacks. I get stronger every day as I work towards being the *me* I want to be but I still struggle every day.

Every day we go to the grocery store…for food or beer…and every day I hide…

This is the hardest post I’ve ever done. I’m not even sure I will hit publish….


to get back to where I was. I loved being there. Strong. Fit. Running.

I took most of it for granted.

Sometimes, suicide seems easier…binge eating…getting heavier….but

I want it all back. And I *WILL* get it back…

But for right now…

(I must insert something here about this picture…I took it at work & this mirror is like a funhouse mirror. We noticed it when the pictures behind of the toilet paper boxes seemed warped, LOL. And as you can tell the bottom part of mirror is bigger than the lower half….but whatever…I don’t want anyone taking my full shot so this is what you get…)


Hello again…now, SAY GOODBYE!!!!


I am SO SORRY!!!!!!!


It didn’t break my heart for the reason you might think.  It wasn’t because Suzi gained weight.  It broke my heart for how it made her feel, and how hard she was on herself.  It broke my heart because I’ve seen so many people who have come so far have exactly the same reaction when they have a major set-back.

I have had more than my fair share of ups and downs over the past 13 years that I have been a Weight Watchers member.  While not at the same degree of set-back as Suzi’s, I was up five pounds over my goal when I got back from Holidaypalooza early this January.  I felt like crud, and I was pretty irritated with myself.  Every single time I have ever fallen off course and suffered a bad weigh in, it was a literal punch in the gut followed by a tirade of self-loathing and regret.  As I reflect upon every one of those moments, I can say categorically that the intensity of the emotional response was completely outsized to the reality of the situation.  I suffer from this false belief that being in control means never losing control.

Just about everybody who deals with a weight issue experiences the sensation of failure and weakness when dealing with a weight regain.  If everyone experiences periodic weight regains, does it mean that we are all failures?

No.  It.  Does.  Not.

We have to constantly remind ourselves of why we gained the weight in the first place.  We are surrounded by temptation.  We use foods for a 100 reasons that have nothing to do with needing energy or nutrients.  We particularly use foods as a form of self-medication.  This is not a flaw.  It is a very normal biologic response, cultivated over thousands of years of evolution.  We were wired to eat and to conserve energy in our bodies.

The problem we experience when seeking to maintain is that we are still surrounded by all of the pitfalls and traps that caused us to gain weight in the first place.  Doesn’t it stand to reason that we will periodically trip up spectacularly?  Obesity and weight issues require a lifetime of effort.  Most good things do.

Given all of this, we really need to cut ourselves some slack.  I never cease to be amazed by the lack of empathy we have for ourselves.  We are truly our own worst critics — meaner than the cruelest Internet cruising troll.

When we regain weight, the only thing for us to recognize is simply that we regained weight.  It stinks, but it happens.  What really matters is what we do when we reach that point.

I was thinking about this in the morning when I was at the gym.  About nine years ago, I pretty much took a finger off while I was lifting weights (a badge of honor among fellow knuckle-draggers).  They were able to reattach the finger (I know, TMI), but I was out of the gym for two months.  Anyone who lifts weights semi-seriously knows that two months off means a considerable loss in strength.  For a type A person such as myself, having to go down 25% on my bench was pretty depressing.  Yet, like anyone who has recovered from a sports injury, I eagerly looked forward to getting back in the gym and returning to form.  I WANTED to get back into the gym.  It gave me a sense of relief and possibility.

Somehow this manner of thinking often doesn’t seem to work when I think about a weight regain.  Somehow it all seems harder and more daunting.  It feels like looking down a long, lonely and rainy highway.  Yet, I realize this is completely irrational.  I know how to get myself back on track.  I know what works for me.  All I have to do is simply do it.

My only advice to all of us who think we might be regaining is this:  don’t avoid the scale!  Get a weigh-in every week no matter what, and I will almost guarantee you that you can avoid a weight gain.  Regardless, once you do regain the weight, all you have to do is jump right back in and start running back to healthy.

As one of Suzi’s fan noted on her blog post:  “You’ve got this!”  And she does.

So Suzi, you don’t need to apologize to anyone, least of all yourself.  It took courage and strength for you to lose the weight in the first place, but you did it.  It took courage for you to learn how to become a runner, but you did it.  By the way, it took huge courage for you to confront the issue the way that you did.  You’ve shown nothing but character.

Indeed, you’ve got this.  And as one of your Twitter friends, I’m proud of you.

And for everyone else who has experienced what Suzi has, know this, you’ve got this too.

Stay strong!


30 responses to Apologies NEVER necessary


    I think you might be the nicest person I’ve ever encountered on the internet!


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    Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. This is my third time at Lifetime in Good Standing. The first time I lost 80 lbs, gained 85 back. Lost 90, gained approx. 95 back. Now I’m down 100 and will be at goal for two years in April – the longest I have maintained, and the key is not avoiding the scale. Every single week I face it – even if I know the results won’t be good. That has been the key.

    I agree Dave – no apologies Suzi. You did it once, you WILL do it again. The WW family is right here behind you!


    Hey, You are the Weight Loss Boss. Her blog seemed about weight loss to you, but it seemed about how people identify her to me. She seems to be dealing with illusions around herself and others perceptions. Keep in contact with her.

    I haven’t read your book yet. I don’t know the answers to yo-yo dieting. Your blog does well in speaking to not being shameful. YOU GOT FIRED UP!!! Wonderful!!!!!!

    I look forward to reading more and blogging.



    I’m a nursing mother and I have a letter that I’ve written about some of my concerns regarding WW tools. WW has done the research and knows that nursing mothers have different needs than the general population, but in my meeting and online, I have to manually calculate pp and good health guidelines. Will you please read my letter and respond? I sent it to support and received a form response that didn’t indicate that the feedback actually was heard?


    I have the honor to say I know Suzi…you hit the nail on the head Dave when you spoke of her courage and accomplishments…as a fellow ww, Suzi, you are truly an inspiration!!!


    I too have the honor to say I know Suzi, (and Lisa! ;-) ) Not only do I think Suzi is amazingly strong and awesome, I totally get everything she said…..as a fellow 100+ weight loss loser…….and this past year a fellow re-gainer that has been avoiding people because it feels like failure, I get it. As Weight Watchers, I think we ALL get it. No apologies Suzi, no self-flagellation……Suzi, you ARE strong, ….running and fit again…..no problem. I am reminded of a story I heard recently in a meeting……a man worked for a big company, they entrusted a project to him which cost $10million. The project didn’t work out. He was called into his boss’ office and he went in, head down, ready to resign before they could fire him. “Fire you?” his boss asked…..”Why would we fire you when we just spent $10 million on your education?” No Failure, Only Feedback!


    This blog and Suzi’s are why I have such infinite respect and crazy love for you both. This is what’s real. This is life. I so appreciate your honesty, your empathy and never ending support. We’re all in it together. GROUP HUG!!!!!!!!!


    Usually when I respond to your blog I do so proudly using my name. I have gained 9 pounds in the past few months and have had my highest weigh in since I originally lost 60 pounds 5 years ago. I am a WW employee and I had to actually drop my pants to make this month’s required weigh in within the healthy BMI range! I wish I could just blame it on the holidays but it started before that and just continues. I agree with everything you said in your blog except “All I have to do is simply do it.”. Remove the word “simply” – if it were simple, well, neither you nor I would have the jobs that we do :-) I know I need to get back to a meeting as a member but this is the busiest time of the year and I have been working non-stop. I can’t wait until I can get back to my normal routine!


    It’s so hard to not beat yourself up when you feel like you failed especially at something the personally means so much. I think lots of us have undone some/all/plus some of our weightlosses before, but the big part if admitting it and moving on. I know that hate of myself and I have remind myself every time I slip that it’s just a learning stage to help me be a stronger slimmer me in the future. Good Luck to Suzi, I hope she finds herself again and is kinder to herself as she goes along. Take care all.


    Reblogged this on Larry Chalew's Blog and commented:
    We all have our ups and downs it is part of life the key is being focused on your goal but not letting that goal be the focus of your life.


    First I want to say I have followed Suzi’s blog for a long time. I have read her blogs as she gradually gaining the weight back. Then when I read her blog yesterday I really wanted to contact someone at Weight Watcher’s to get her some help. She just does not know how much she has helped me in my journey. From the time she lost weight to her gradually gaining it back. She just is so brave to blog about her successes and loses.

    Dave what looks like what need to happen at Weight Watchers is to maybe educate Life Timers a little bit more. Maybe come up with a Lifetime meeting once a month or every quarter. I always hear members say that Weight Watchers is in the weight loss business but not in the maintaining business.

    I have been at goal for two years. I was one of those ones that did leave 8 years ago and came back three years ago with all my weight. This time it is so different. Yes Weight Watchers does gives us the tools to lose it however I think that Weight Watchers have a loose or missing link in their program. This really needs to come up in your next meeting, supporting Life Timers a little more. Honestly if I had not educated myself a little more by reading other Weight Watchers’ blogs of member that maintained and the ones that did not. Just to here a Weight Watcher employee that have to reply anonymously because she or he is over goal weight is so sad. And to say that they had to pull down their pants to make goal.

    I am just happy that you were aware of Suzi’s post.This blog that you wrote I am ever so grateful to you and this will help a lot of Lifetimers to stay at goal.Weigh in every week and do not miss a meeting and you will stay at goal..

    Betty Gathers


      I totally agree that Lifetimers agree with this comment. I’ve also been to Lifetime 3 times and this time I’m 70 pounds from there, but I rejoined again 3 weeks ago and totally charged. But its hard, once you get there, its basically like congrats and see you.


      I agree with Betty. I lost 30 pounds through WW the first time to become a lifetime member (and a staff member for a few years). I lost 40 the second time. This time, with the wonderful PP program (and amazing ActiveLink I have no doubt I will get to goal. My real goal, though is to stay at goal. For a long long time (the rest of my life would be nice.) I am reading your excellent book, and recently read Jennifer Hudson’s Book and Liz J’s Success Book. All are excellent. But I want to see Liz’s maintenance book (please – could she write it? Pretty Please?) I want a charm key ring for a year at goal, and one at 5 years at goal, and one at 10 years at goal. I want support. But you don’t get money supporting me one I am a lifetime member- and I totally get that and how it doesn’t work in your financial model. So I’m unsure of what the answer is. All I know is that pounds into a journey where I will lose 40 is that the skills I need for maintenance are what I’m really after now. I think the WW is the very best it has ever been, Dave. I think that has a great deal to do with your leadership and vision, and I thank you for that. You are truly modernizing the organization and helping it reach and impact a much larger group of people. I love your message of “always welcome” and i know I am. I just don’t want to come back home with 60 pounds ever again.


    Losing weight and maintaining it two of the most difficult things to do, with maintaining probably THE most difficult. But how often have you seen someone learning to do something difficult–say, learning a new dance step–and doing it over and over to get it right? That’s what we have to do. We’re always a work in progress. Maintaining is part of the learning process, and goal weight doesn’t mean our learning is over. We practice the things we want to learn every day. Some days we get it right, and some days we don’t. But we keep on keeping on. Hang in there, Suzi.


    I was also struck by the comment “All I have to do is simply do it.” I think that is part of the reason why we beat ourselves up so much when we fail (or fall). If we think it is simple but fall short, well, … But if we believe in the challenge and work towards it step by step, setbacks are just detours and every small victory can be acknowledged and celebrated.


    I felt I needed a larger format to respond to this issue. Check out my response here: http://www.sizezerokitchen.com/2013/01/on-other-side-new-perspective-on-obesity.html


    Opportunity for Weightwaters to help us through retreat-cooking-school, or local or regional cooking experiences.


    Both my wife and I are in WeightWatchers, I am a life-time member (lost 40lbs and have kept it off for 1.5 years) and she is about to having lost 90lbs (2 year process, now at goal)! We have a suggestion, maybe two.

    1. Why not sponsor a Regional cooking retreat where we could sign up and attend a series of cooking classes helping us to discover unique ways of cooking very delicious meals.
    2. Why not have an option like Dream-Meals? This exists locally and teaches you how to cook interesting meals and during the time they have the items they are using in the food preparation that you can purchase.

    We would pay to attend either of these,

    Sam & Shirley Hershey

    M6786544 Shirley
    Reg # 115694306
    Sam ltm: 03069857

    We attend the WW meetings in Vista, CA.


    Needed to hear that. Thank you!!


    Thanks for sending me to her blog. Excellent…and glad to be back OP (former lifer)


    This is one post I really needed to hear right now. I have been gaining back some weight for the last six months I even thought of giving up but I still go to my WW weigh ins every week. I will not give up! Suzy’s story is very inspirational and she will get through this and so will I.


    Hi David Kirchhoff,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog and I’ve had great success as a Weight Watcher for the past year and a half. I’m writing here because I’ve never heard back from regular WW channels.

    I’m really interested in helping WW grow it’s business in the electronic spaces – I think tools like the tracker, scanner, and the WW community sites are a really powerful part of your program, but as a technology expert, I see some big places that you could improve. I see this stuff as a key element of growing and maintaining Weight Watcher’s as the best weight loss/weight maintenance program, bar none, and I’d really like to be a part of it.

    Since I’ve submitted resumes and never heard back, I figured I’d give it a shot at contacting you your blog, and see if you had any need for more people in this arena and/or what the current WW plans are for the future here.


    WeightWatcher, web development manager, architect, and security geek


    Thank you for such a powerful post. I appreciate reading your blog and am looking forward to reading your book.


    I don’t know Suzi but I do understand her feeling. I am a LT currently at goal & previously strayed as much as 10 pounds up from where I am now. The magnitude of my struggle is less, but my mindset was similar. I was less affected by my peers than I was by my husband who is very weight-fixated. Over the years, it led to my having self-esteem issues which led to me not undressing in front of him and only weighing myself when he wasn’t around peeking over my shoulder at the number.

    This last year, I have learned that I can’t change his behavior; I can only change my own behaviors, beliefs, and actions. I have been seeing a counselor for the last 8 months to address my feelings and I am learning that my weight “issue” is less about what I am putting on my plate and more about what is going on between my ears. Many of us are sensitive to what we think others think about us. Weight loss or gain is, unfortunately, a very public battle we fight because people can see whether we are winning or losing just by looking at us. Until you take control of your own stinkin’ thinkin’, you may allow yourself to be a slave to what you think everyone else thinks of you.

    NO ONE is “done” fighting the weight battle when they achieve LT any more than someone is guaranteed a lifetime of marital bliss by walking down the aisle and saying “I do.” LT is a milestone but the work continues. One of the best WW meetings I attended kicked off by asking all the LT members at goal to stand and receive applause for continuing to attend and maintain a healthy weight. I don’t know what the answer is for supporting LT-ers better, but I don’t think WW can provide the counseling some of us need to feel better about ourselves and react better to what others say/think about us no matter what our size. I would encourage Suzi and others who feel as she does to find a professional counselor to talk to about it. Sometimes when you get the mental/emotional stuff sorted out, the body follows. Good luck to all who walk this path.


    WOW. I have been there. I have been a weight watchers member since 1987.
    I orfiginally lost 203 pounds and made lifetime. I kept my weight off fo over 2 years and even trained as a leader and lead classes for most of the 2 years I was at goal.
    For a lot of reasons, mostly life, I started to put my weight back on. Slowly at first but it finnaly caused me to have to resign as a leader. I put 149 pounds back on. After 19 years of struggling to get back It finaly clicked again. I am down right at 83 pounds and with 66 pounds to go I will be back at goal. I don’t worry anymore about how long it will take because I know it will happen.
    For anyone struggling my advice is just keep trying. It will click eventually. This is not a race. There are no time limits. Many times I would give up but after a while I would come back and start going to meetings again.
    We have all heard the saying that the journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step. There is a second part of that.
    It is, The first step of your next journey is the one you use to reach you destination.
    I had a leader tell me this maybe 23 years ago and it took me 22 years to understand there meaning.
    I understand how hard it can be to face up to a back step. The outside world will judge this as a weakness. One of the biggest thing that has kept me comming back to weight watchers, (and it makes me really proud to call myself a weight watchr), is that we have all ben there and do not judge. We all pull together to help if we can.
    If you are sick- you go to the doctor. If you are struggling with weight loss the best place to go for help is the meeting room.
    I know. I have been there and will be as long as I am alive.


    oh my gosh, i just finished watching the utube of jennie and i’m so inspired by her story. it makes me think of one of my members who is morbidly obese and uses a walker to get to her meeting from her car every week. her husband graciously takes her as she continues her journey. i know she can do it now, i must be honest and had my doubts, however i’m amazed at the resilience of this 54 year old jennie. thank you sooo much for giving me more opportunity to enhance my members and myself in this journey our life, by taking one small step, i am the possibility of action and encouragement for all humanity.


    Awesome response, Dave!


    I have suggestions of very simple things that I think weightwatchers should be offering us as members. I feel like the routines and spaces is missing the boat. If you’d like to talk, please email me at elaanbroch@gmail.com


    ow…Sherry, sorry to hear your situation,you are so unklcuy. I and an entrecard member too. I wish i won’t face this problem and wish you good luck too!Hope your problem will be solved as soon as possible.Have a nice day !

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. On the Other Side: A New Perspective on Obesity | Size Zero Kitchen - February 12, 2014

    […] I am on the heels of a major milestone in my weight loss journey, I was truly saddened to read a post by David Kirchoff (the CEO of WW) this week. He spoke of a woman named Suzi who gained her (lost) weight back and is […]

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