Folks, this has nothing to do with penny pinching, but might be here just for one of you who’s struggled with weight loss too. If you’re here for just the deals, I promise to be back tomorrow morning with oodles of penny pinched bargains for you! (Also know that this is just my experience, and I have no medical expertise to share on weight loss ~ this is only what has worked for me.)
19 years ago I made a New Years’s Resolution that actually stuck. As I’ve shared a little bit about before, I was tipping the scales at 225 as a junior in college, and for the first time ever (I really have no idea why), something clicked and I decided I was just done with being overweight.
This was me as a junior in high school when I was probably around 190 pounds – it was all I could do not to Picmonkey this picture to make me look just a little better but I’m keeping it real here ~ yikes!
I’d always been heavy – I never knew what it was like to shop in the regular size kids department (at age seven I remember my mom moving me up to junior clothing, and then shortly after that to women’s clothing), and it just was part of who I was. I never went to prom, never wore a fancy dress, never even had a single date as a chubby girl. And almost twenty years later, every time I look in the mirror I still see that chunky girl staring back at me.
But somehow I got started, and not so slowly the weight dropped off. By June I had dropped a whopping seventy-five pounds (I know folks ~ it probably came off too fast and I wouldn’t recommend that, but that’s just what happened for me!) I’ve maintained that drop in weight for almost twenty years now, give or take ten or so pounds.
2011 at the Alabama Governor’s Ball – the only time I’ve every worn a formal dress other than my wedding. I think I was at my absolute thinnest there which is about 8 pounds lighter than where I am right now, so I’m determined to get there in the next few months!
So what did I do? I think I decided that New Year that I was just done with being incredibly overweight. I was miserable, had lived my life miserably, and decided I wanted a different future. Here’s the nitty gritty of how that actually worked for me:
- I had a roommate (we’ll call her super-cute-skinny-girl) who was kind enough to actually say something when I began to overeat. It wasn’t always fun, but that accountability helped so much and made all the difference for me. (I can remember every time I considered going to the vending machine she would remind me that we had bananas in our dorm room ~ since bananas were the only kind of fruit I would eat I stuck with those even though Swiss Cake Rolls sounded so much better!)
- It was back in the 90’s when lower fat grams were all the rage, so I limited my fat grams to (I think?) less than 20-25 per day. I forced myself to eat salads, limited my portions drastically, and when we went out to eat I stuck to grilled chicken salads without the dressing ~ not so yummy but it worked! My “treats” were Snackwells cookies ~ I’m not sure they even sell those any more but I had to be careful to limit myself because I could easily eat the entire box.
- I exercised as much as I possibly could (at least an hour five days a week) ~ which is one of those things that has stuck. Almost twenty years later I still workout 4-5 times per week, and feel awful when I miss my early morning workout.
- I weighed myself every 2-3 days (and still do.) For me, it helped me monitor my success and kept me accountable to something frequently. It still helps me to know where I’m at, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was the morning that I crossed under the 200 pound mark (it was the most wonderful feeling!)
- After dropping the initial weight, I read a book which talked about eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. I’ve heard different reviews on the book, but prior to reading it I had never once considered that concept, and I really believe it’s what’s allowed me to maintain the weight loss for almost twenty years. Prior to that I just ate because I could find food nearby. Listening to my body to tell me when I actually was hungry has changed the way I view food completely.
Me with my kids last week waiting to see Santa a few weeks ago
I would love to tell you that I’m a size four or six and I’ve maintained that every day for the last (almost 20?) years, but that’s not the case. However, at 5’8″ I’m a happy size eight or ten, and even though I’ve still never been a skinny girl, it’s oh-so-much-better than the size 22 I once wore. I’m seriously considering starting Weight Watchers this year (I did do Weight Watchers after having one of my kiddos to help lose baby weight) so that I can drop down to my “dream weight” which I’ve never been at. (I keep thinking I’m only getting older and would love to know what a size 6 feels like before I die!)
If you’ve struggled with your weight, I just want to encourage you that it can be done (really!) and YOU CAN DO IT. It’s not easy (at all), and you may never be the skinny girl, but you can be the skinnier girl, and you might just find peace with that. In so many ways, it’s just like pinching those pennies – we have to deny ourselves what we want right now for what we really want.
Most importantly though, know that ultimately (really, truly), your value lies not in how skinny you are, how many times you exercise each week, or how tiny your dress size is. You are absolutely beautiful, incredibly valuable, and so very worthy just the way you are right this very minute (Did you hear me? If not, read that again.) Yes, it does feel oh-so-much-better not to be heavy, but there’s no way to change that without you deciding TODAY and that you want a different future.
To help get you started, here are a few free or inexpensive tools which may help ~
- Weight Watchers – there is nothing that will motivate you like knowing someone is weighing you each week, and the accountability of having other folks with you as you go is just huge. I personally think attending the classes is your very best bet because there’s just something about someone else recording your weight, so I definitely recommend that as my first choice (and may be there this week myself this week!)
- Lose It App ~ my sister-in-law recently tried this out and has done amazing by following it, and it’s totally free! You just have to make yourself actually do it.
- My Fitness Pal App
- If you live in Alabama, try out Scale Back Alabama ~ it’s a free program run by the local hospitals where you join in with three other friends to lose at least ten pounds over the next 12 weeks. I’ve done this several times after Christmas (to lose any weight I gained during the Holidays.) and there’s just something about knowing I have to weigh in for someone else that is incredibly motivating for me.