When I was losing weight, everything felt like a party. I lost 100 pounds, and it was time to celebrate! When the party was over, I was left with all the cleanup.

I believe that there is a misconception that once you lose weight, you’re all better or fixed. The reality is that you still face many challenges socially and emotionally.

Words like, “You look fantastic!” get thrown around all the time. Words like these are foreign, and suddenly we’re in the spotlight. I kind of felt like I was driving down the street with ACDC blasting out the windows. This new focus can bring anxiousness that might cause you to backpedal into old habits again, sabotaging yourself.

Many people knew me as “the lady who lost 100 pounds.” Many people assumed that now that I looked great, I could take on the world and strut my stuff. Emotionally, I was still 200 pounds. My heart and my mind needed more time to catch up with my new body.

Family and friends also are trying to acclimate themselves to your new lifestyle. That can put a strain on the family dynamic – old habits that are hard to break. Many of my social outings were connected with food, so I missed many meetings or had to change what I ate from the menu. I lost friends who I deeply cared about, because they didn’t understand the changes I was making. I finally had to say to myself, “That is their loss.”

Those of you who have gone through weight loss and have experienced any of these feelings, please know that you’re not alone. Here are some ideas that help me stay motivated:

Have a plan. I write out what I have eaten for the day, so I can see it and be honest with myself. I also map out my workout plan for the week, so I can lay out clothes and prepare for the next day.

Have different goals. Whether you want to run your first 5K or try out a new bikini in Hawaii, it’s important to have little goals along the way to help you keep your eyes on the prize.

Have support. If I’m tempted to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos, I will text or talk to my friends to help with temptations. Then I’m less likely to eat the garbage. I also ask them for a “pep talk” to remind myself why I started this journey.

Find new outlets. Whether you want to try hot yoga for the first time or try painting or take a music class, finding new activities can open up new doors. Finding new songs on iTunes, taking a walk or looking up inspirational quotes help me light the fire again.

Be realistic. This new lifestyle is forever, so forgiving yourself is important. Then jump back on the horse! I allow myself a treat day, so I have something to look forward to.

Above all love yourself and never give up.

Sarah Meader is a second-grade teacher living in Omaha who lost more than 100 pounds in 2011. Now she competes in triathlons and is currently training for a 10K and working toward her yoga certification.

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