When I started my running journey a couple of years ago, I was very overweight. I'm 5'9" and I weighed closed to 260. I had ended a long-term relationship and I looked at myself in the mirror the next morning. And I didn't like what I saw.
While that moment was important, and one I'll remember for a while, the one that sticks with me is what I call my "red flag" moment. It's when my 38 waist jeans weren't able to fit anymore and I needed to get a 40.
I remember that time at the store. I refused, absolutely refused to buy the next size up. 34, then 36, then 38. But never 40. I just didn't have the heart to hit the next set of 10's. So I didn't buy that size and I decided right then and there to do something about my waistline and general fitness.
Fast forward a couple of years and I continue to keep the weight off, and when the waistline gods are good to me, I even lose a little weight. I'm not stepping on the scale as often, but I'm still aware of my weight. Instead of fretting about the pounds, I look at whether I can comfortably move one notch in on my belt. Conversely, have I not eaten well so that I can't hit that notch? I need to be aware if I'm actually loosening the belt to fit into pants.
Have I given up red flag moments now that I'm where I need to be? Not a chance. There is still a weight that if I get close to it, I become extremely careful about what I eat and I up the mileage to increase my metabolism. I get back down to where I need to be, but that's only because I recognize when things have gotten critical.
I continue to have these red flags because I know how easy it is for weight to start creeping back up. It's happened before and I can't ever let it happen again.