Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Dec 17

Hate-Loss Challenges Past

Since this blog’s inception I have always maintained that one of the keys to losing weight and keeping it off is figuring out why we abuse food in the first place.  You can choose to agree or disagree, but I believe that every person who has ever struggled with their weight ultimately has a reason why their relationship with food is an unhealthy one, whether they realize it or not.  Because I like to eat is not an answer.



I have received a few emails over the past month or so asking whether or not I will be hosting the Hate-Loss Challenge for a fourth year in January.  My responses stated that I’d been seriously considering it but that I just wasn’t sure whether I could give it the attention that it deserves.


For those of you who are new to this blog, the Hate Loss Challenge was a month long event in which participants carried out a series of weekly exercises that promoted emotional health and happiness. I created this challenge back when other weight loss blogs were promoting month long weight-loss challenges that coincided with New Years Resolutions. I would read as bloggers belittled themselves when they stepped on the scale and didn’t see the results they wanted.  Many were eating way too little while simultaneously overtraining, and ultimately burned out on the act of dieting which would sometimes lead to a binge; then the cycle would begin all over again.


It was my hope that by offering a ‘Hate-Loss’ Challenge and start the New Year with a month of positive affirmations, support and self-reflection a habit would be born, leaving us all feeling beautiful in the present moment, regardless of what the scale said.  Being mentally healthy, I believe, is the first real step in losing and ultimately maintaining a healthy weight.

In the four years that I’ve been writing here, I can honestly say that my Hate-Loss Challenges are what I am most proud of.  I’ve recently gone back and read through several of the exercises we worked on, the difficulties many of us faced and the breakthroughs we shared.    Here is an excerpt from one such exercise that I proposed back in 2012:

This week’s exercise: Think back to a time or place in your life when you formed negative thoughts about yourself. Why do you think you are undeserving of praise?

Was there a specific event that caused you to change the way you perceive yourself?


Is it because you’ve always been reminded of your imperfections or weaknesses?


Is it because you’re not receiving enough positive feedback from people whose opinions really matter to you?


Do you have unrealistic expectations of yourself?


Were you taught these habits from living in an unhealthy environment?


We had a week to think about, write about and discuss our thoughts on this subject.  I learned a lot about myself as I faced some ugly demons from my past that kept me from moving forward in parts of my life.  You can read my discussion post where I answer the above questions here.

That post was one of the most difficult pieces of writing I’ve ever done.  Forcing oneself to come face to face with an uncomfortable part of the past is one thing, but to write about it for all to see is another.  But I wasn’t the only one.  Every participant worked just as hard, confronting experiences that they’d been neglecting yet clinging to for far too long.



After some serious thought, I’ve decided that I will not be hosting 2014’s Hate-Loss Challenge, and for that I am deeply regretful, but at the same time I realize that if I did agree to host, it wouldn’t be fair to any of those who want to join because it is not something that can be done by giving 50 or 60%.  It means too much to me to give anything less than my full attention – something that I simply cannot do this coming year.  I sincerely apologize to those of you who were looking to join, and to end an amazing three year run.

I will tell you this: just because I cannot commit to hosting January’s challenge doesn’t mean that the month of January will be filled with meaningless drivel!  No, I intend on paying tribute to the last three years with some of the best quotes, exercises and excerpts I can find.  And remember – with or without a January challenge, I’m always here for support.



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  1. didi says:

    I’ve been wondering if you were going to host another hate loss challenge. I’ll admit, I was looking forward to doing it again this year, but I understand completely if you don’t have the level of committment that it takes.
    You have gone through so much in the last year! Sometimes a girl wants to go inward privately, and not have to worry about spilling her guts on a blog, and hosting a very emotional and ongoing month long challenge.
    This years hate loss challenge can be you taking a lot of bubble baths, sampling new teas, and relaxing. At the end of the month you get a trophy. :)


    • Ellen says:

      Didi, you have always been one of my most diligent of participants; I will truly miss learning from you and reading your weekly updates. I already regret not hosting for 2014 and will feel the void. Circumstances just make it impossible this year :( I love your ideas for my personal challenge: baths, tea and relaxing? You know me better than some of my own family members!

  2. NewMe says:

    Ellen, you are one of my favourite people on the Web, so please accept my comments in a spirit of discussion and not attack.

    Although there seem to be many people in the virtual world who attribute their excess weight to psychological issues, there are also many people in the world who are just fat. No one looks to psychological or emotional issues to explain why someone is 4’8″ or 6’5″. If you’re unusually small or tall, people assume that your parents were either very short or very tall and leave it at that. Why is it not the same for weight?

    I come from a family of heavy women. And guess what|? The older I get, the harder it is for me to maintain my already somewhat heavy weight. I do think, on the other hand, that if I had had severe emotional issues, or had experienced extreme psychological trauma, or had developed seriously disordered eating patterns due to extreme dieting, I would have weighed MUCH MUCH more than I weigh today.

    I do not see myself at all in the portrait of the emotional eater, the woman who has eaten herself into obesity to drown her sorrows or mask the abuse she endured. I was just a chunky child, a roundish teenager and am now a slightly rounder, fiftyish woman. Psychological damage does not always underlie a double chin. Many of us just are who we are: a certain hair colour, skin that tans or burns, dry or oily skin, and a specific weight range–maybe high, maybe low.

    This being said, I continue to love your blog and I think you’re a fabulous person. I wish you much love and a very happy 2014!

    • Ellen says:

      I always welcome your thoughts on my blog and get ready, because I am going to agree with everything you said! Absolutely, undeniably true – genetics does play a part on the obesity crisis. In my comment above I stated that one of the ways to losing weight and ‘keeping it off’ was to figure out why we are abusing food. My following sentence should have reiterated that fact, as they were meant to go hand in hand so that was a faux pas on my part. I do not want to edit my post however, because it would make your important contribution to the discussion seem a bit confusing to a reader so I will simply state my full thought here –
      I hold firm in my belief that if one has successfully lost weight, a key factor in maintaining that loss requires counseling, self reflection – some form of intervention, in order to prevent the cycle from repeating itself. Yo-Yo dieting has an underlying cause and until reasons are discovered as to why food is the chosen substance for abuse, the problem will likely continue – one of the reasons why I believe counseling should be mandatory for those wishing to have gastric bypass or lap-band surgery.
      Thank you for bringing a valid point to the table and for allowing me to correct myself. Best to you as well!

  3. Lynne says:

    I just came across your blog and really appreciate your perspective. In the last year I have lost a lot of weight following sessions with a hypnotist/mentalist. Her approach focused on the feast/famine cycle, controlling insulin levels, and choosing proteins and complex carbs as the basis of our diets. No fake food, no preservatives, organic/local when possible. No sugar or sugar substitutes. No scales ever. No calorie counting. No labels. You eat when hungry and you choose a protein first.

    One year has passed. I have been transformed. I feel so completely free and healthy. I have been trapped for so long in the cycle of Weight Watchers – Join, lose a few pounds, play the points game, continue to pay, gain and lose the same 6 lbs over 6 months and quit before the holidays, eat whatever and rejoin in January. That has been my last 20 years!!!!

    I know that I eat when I am stressed. I know I have to exercise to control my stress. I know that giving up the sugar has been so eye opening — I no longer crave sweets, don’t feel like I am giving anything up or being deprived. This year I am focusing on people more and not the food on the buffet.

    • Ellen says:

      Hi, Lynne – and welcome :)
      I am so glad you posted with your comment, and am thrilled to hear that you are doing so well. It sounds like you have found what works for you; that process alone can take quite a bit of figuring out, but once things start ‘clicking’ it’s like there’s no stopping it! Happy Holidays to you!

  4. Laura says:

    I completely understand – if it becomes another stresser, then it counteracts what the main purpose is. Is doesn’t mean that we all can’t set those goals on our own and work to achieve them in a healthier way instead of negative self-talk.

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