I Gained Weight When I Wasn’t Looking!

I rarely weigh myself. It’s a habit I picked up in my early 30’s when I stopped dieting and embraced a healthy lifestyle instead. Till then, the scale was my constant tormentor, dictating how good or bad I should feel on any given day. If I was on a diet I’d check to gauge my progress and get so excited by the results that I’d celebrate by “treating” myself to something not prescribed by the diet. This naturally led to more treats and soon I’d be off my diet. I’d then weigh myself to assess the damage. The inevitable gain would then lead me to soothe myself with comfort food. Another failed effort at weight loss. What a viscous cycle.

When I decided to eat for health rather then thinness, I kicked the scale to the curb and monitored my success in ways that had nothing to do with my weight. I paid attention to how I felt, how my clothes fit, my mood, and level of engagement in my life. I also didn’t eat according to any particular diet. Instead I nourished myself with what I instinctually knew to be healthy, focusing on veggies, lean protein, fruit, beans and grains. No more diet food alternating with junk food, a hideous yin-yang pattern. I was eating for health, and guess what? Not only was I feeling great, I also lost weight! And never struggled with my weight again.

Recently though, I decided to check in with the scale. A few things happened simultaneously that had me wondering what their impact was. As much as I hated to do it, I had to know so I could get a sense of what adjustments I needed to make, so I jumped on. And I was not happy. I gained weight! I couldn’t believe it. But I could explain it.

I had to stop running recently because of a knee injury I developed when trekking in Nepal. The pain was so intense, it had me praying to every healing Guru I could think of to help me get down that mountain without having to helicopter off. Eliminating my runs meant 4 hours less exercise every week.

Around the same time, I traveled four weekends in a row. This had me off my routine and eating in restaurants more often. I typically eat nearly every meal at home, so that too was a drastic change. Oh, and yeah, I’m 49 now, and what you heard about weight and age is turning out to be true for me too.

Strangely, I didn’t panic when the scale delivered its news. And unlike the past, it didn’t lead me to buy Ben and Jerry’s in misery. My reaction was the same as I would have if a client of mine gained weight: assess habits and make any necessary adjustments.

For me that meant taking a good look at my fitness routine. Seeing that I wouldn’t get the results I wanted through a few yoga classes and walking, I hired a personal trainer to work out with once a week. In addition to that I now hit the gym nearly every single day, practicing the exercises he’s given me and spending 25 to 40 minutes on the Elliptical machine to boot. I love it and I am absolutely seeing results. Not only has it helped me trim down, it’s also rehabbing my knee which will allow me to continue to mountain climb.

It’s natural for weight to fluctuate. But the number on the scale is far less important than the habits that got you there. When clients tell me they want to just “get there already” as though achieving their target weight is protection from ever gaining it back, I remind them that the destination is nothing without the journey. Yes, you may want to get there, but you also want to be able to stay there. And to achieve that, you have to build habits that you can sustain so the goal and the practice are all the same.

What do you do to help keep your weight in check? Do you weigh yourself often, or not at all? And when it’s time to knock a few pounds off, what is your go-to habit? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a great week everyone and stay healthy!


Salmon Salad Toast

Here’s a recipe I recently made for a hearty lunch. Two slices of Kalamata Olive Bread, piled on with salmon salad. The recipe below is enough for 2 servings.



  • 1-8 ounce filet wild Alaskan salmon, grilled, baked or poached
  • 1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 -3 Tbsp chopped red onion or scallions
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • Pinch Himalayan salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil


Cook salmon and cool. Flake with a fork into smaller pieces. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve on Nutty Protein Bread or on endive. Enjoy!

Share Your Thoughts...

12 comments on “I Gained Weight When I Wasn’t Looking!

  1. AvatarLouise DiSclafani

    As I traveled my road back to a healthy diet and lifestyle, I really think age metabolism is not the real culprit. It’s what we eat and the exercise we do. Without the long story, I got off my healthy track and suffered a great deal for a number of years. When I heard of JJ virgin’s 7 deadly foods to avoid, I listened as most of them had been allergens/ at least sensitivities for me at some point in my life. So I jumped in, Diary free, 90% gluten free, No eggs, chocolate or nuts…allergic anyway so very easy. Stay away from soy and corn as much as possible. Within a couple of months, I lost those 30 extra pounds and my health improved dramatically. I never even weighed myself…just suddenly my clothes were too big and my husband noticed how thin I was. I weigh myself occasionally but never get caught in that. If I vary a few pounds, so what. Eat right and it goes away. Yes I exercise…TAI CHI and some Pilates moves with weights. Feeling good and plan to stay there, it takes some work and a lot of determination. As I’m no spring chicken!!

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thanks for sharing this Louise! So glad to know that those changes made such a big difference for you~ I adhere to all of that minus the nuts and seeds, using them as convenient snacks. I have to say though I’ve been considering altering that to see the impact. I will give it a go when I am back from my next trip and will let you know the impact~
      Have a great week!

  2. AvatarParesh Mehta

    Your blogs are great as always. However this is my first comment on your blog. Yes, age, change in metabolism, change in life style pattern due to incidents changes our physical dimensions and mental feeling.. But willingness to remain healthy leads us to positive decisions and actions.
    I am 53 and trying to keep healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.
    I never weigh myself. Instead I try to feel whether I tired during routine work or fat on my belly or able to take mental challenges and spiritual peacefulness and detachment when necessary.
    I am happy with my grown up kids and wife.
    In my experience, physical, mental and spiritual health is necessary to remain fit and happy. Nutrition play vital role in that.


    Paresh Mehta

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      I agree Mehta! Spiritual and emotional wellbeing are key elements to a healthy life. When those things are in place it is FAR easier to make healthy lifestyle choices with regards to food and fitness. It all goes together~
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am happy to hear you enjoy the blog! I hope to read comments from you in future posts~
      Have a great week and stay happy and well~

  3. AvatarRose Littlejohn

    Hi Barbara, I loved reading your blog today. You have taught me all the habit/behaviors you shared in your blog today…I smiled to myself when I read them. Good for you and agree it is about the journey. Having a trainor has really worked for me and happy to see working for you as well. As far as weighing myself, definitely not a fan as it sometimes has the reverse affects…demotivates me if the results is not what I am looking for. I weigh myself when I see you every 4-6 weeks; however, when I am trying to hit a target goal weight, I weigh myself every 7 days. Also, I blog if there was anything different that happen that week (ie, travel, event, other) that could have potentially taken me off my routine. Keep up the great work and look forward to talking with you soon. By the way, I love all your recipes and will try the salmon salad toast.
    All the best, Rose

    1. AvatarBarbara M Mendez, RPh, MS

      Thanks Rose! Glad you are doing well~ Yes, it’s a journey and as much as we’d all like to snap our fingers and have the results show up immediately, there is so much reward in taking the path. Not only does it make me challenge myself to be better, it enhances the quality of my life in every single way. If being thin came naturally to me, I doubt I’d have chosen the career path that I have AND i wouldn’t know how amazing it feels to work hard in the gym and how that one practice sets me up for the day physically and emotionally. I love the journey…. it requires patience but it’s worth it~
      Look forward to seeing you next month!

  4. AvatarDayna

    Thank you Barbara for sharing about your weight!
    You are always so inspiring ~
    The past 1-2 years have been very stressful & filled with loss of loved ones….. Gaining weight wasn’t an issue. Now that life is calming down & resuming ‘normalcy’ my body is wanting to add a few pounds. So I am working on putting me first & getting to the gym more often, watching out for unhealthy carbs & not being too hard on myself. You’re so right, it is a journey!

    1. AvatarBarbara M Mendez, RPh, MS

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time of it Dayna! But as you said, now it’s time to take it inward and care for yourself in the best possible way. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you! Please keep me posted~

  5. AvatarMarianne Vitale

    This was a fantastic blog,I too have put on some pounds and don’t understand how.My close and life style have remained the same.I guess it is TRUE age and metabolism. Love your notes,best as always Marianne

  6. AvatarDanielle

    Another great Monday morning blog Barbara – and one near and dear to my heart! And, as usual, you have set a wonderful example for us to follow. Keep on trucking…


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