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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.
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Do either of the apps you suggested have your recipes recognized within the app? (My fitness pal? LoseIt?) I have been cooking your meals daily and it would be that much more helpful to track calories.
Phoebe - PPP Team says
All of the recipes from the Low Calorie Box are in MyFitness Pal. Hope that helps! 🙂
Brandy Singh says
Ahhhh ok. I was looking for recipes from summer and slow cooker. Mystery solved! ☺️
I wish that I could be like you. I too am at a weight I don’t want to be at. After early menopause, I have not been able to lose weight. My doctor not so kindly told me to lose weight several years ago, and I made great changes, was exercising faithfully 3-5 days a week, did my fitness pal and was eating a 1300 calorie a day limit, if that, and would lose 1 pound, which would be back the next week. I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I can’t seem to lose weight. It is beyond frustrating. No matter what I do, pig out and eat everything under the sun, or eat very little and exercise like a fiend, I am always within this 5 pound range. I actually eat very little now, and still the same old pounds are there. My husband can lower what he eats and start exercising and lose 15 pounds like that. Is there anyone else out there like me?
Hi Karen! I’ve been trying intermittent fasting some (eating within a 8 hour window), but not faithfully through the holidays. I do really think it helps! Read more here –
Liz Miller says
I am 62 this year, and I have always had a weight problem. I am now at my highest (270 pounds) weight. I need to loose a lot, but am being realistic and going for 5-10 pound increments (if I can do it). I am a very strong minded person, who is very straightforward, no time for “oh you look so good”-when I know that is not true. I need to loose weight to drive down my blood pressure and I am borderline diabetic also, this I do not want. So I have to do it this time. I don’t have anyone that I can buddy with or talk to…..my best friend lives 45 minutes away from me…I am pretty much on my own. I am not strong when it comes to food. I LOVE FOOD. I am a very picky eater tho.
Emily M says
I’ll tell ya what. . . I hear you when you say even after losing the weight you “look” the same to yourself. You KNOW you are different, but in the mirror. . . nothing. It’s insane.
Rika Rowland says
You are an amazing woman and deserve to be commended for being so honest and forthright with your information. You have no idea how many women you will inspire with your honesty and transparency. Thank you for ALL that you do. You are a blessing in so many ways!
Nancy Davis says
Just wondering why you don't put Protein fiber calorie content ,would be more helpful if you can, please..
Shari Reed-Sack says
I joined weight watchers 9 weeks ago and have lost 13 pounds since my oh ‘s’ weigh in. This past week wasn’t great, but the plan works! And I’m still eating foods I love. (Apparently portion control was my big problem… oh and not eating because I am hungry)
The same time last year I was a size 2 and now I am a size 12! I watched as the scale slowly crept up as I gained weight until I became my heaviest at 155lbs. I am only 5’2 and this has been devastating to me. I thought it might have been birth control, or my thyroid but it wasn’t. After analyzing my events over the past year I realized that quitting my job had something to do with it and perhaps a little of the weight gain was due to the birth control. But then I realized it was something else…my relationship. I began dating a man that drank almost daily and then I did as well. A couple of glasses of wine a night has turned into two bottles a night. I was then shamed by him when I would say I was hungry or asked him what he wanted for dinner. He would say that he was not hungry when indeed it had something to do with the weight loss pills his doctor prescribed. See he used to be overweight and now took it to the extreme. I began to feel the guilt and the stares when I would eat food. The guilt quickly turned into shame as the weight piled on. At one time we used to walk three miles a day but I was no longer invited to join him as he joined another group of men his age for breakfast immediately afterward. This rejection really played on my self esteem and self worth. I have since separated from this man and have felt a lot stronger since. I can eat without feeling shameful and I have noticed the past couple of days that exercising doesn’t feel like a chore. I used to run 2-3 miles a day however I injured my Acchiles tendon twice. So I started walking three miles and have done this the past two days. I feel much better and it allows me to work through my feelings and weight gain over the past year. I am eating better and using the app that Laurie suggested. I thank you so much for your comment on worth. I have known a couple of people who judge others on their weight and it isn’t fair.
Danielle ~ you’re in my thoughts and prayers! It sounds like the last year has been so difficult for you, but you’re already starting off right and I know you can keep it up. Hang in there and know that you are sooooo very valuable no matter your weight and there is a perfect plan for your life right now that I pray you’ll find in the new year!
Alisha @ The Savvy Bump says
Thanks for sharing your story! You look amazing and you’re super cute in the college picture. I did weight watchers with my mom awhile back and really enjoyed the meetings and the points system. I also like the 30 Day Shred. I hate exercising so it’s hard for me to lose weight that way, I do better with eating healthier. Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead are both great documentaries.
Thanks so much for sharing Alisha! I enjoy exercising but am not the healthiest eater – I don’t mind to eat fewer calories, but definitely love food that isn’t always good for me! I need to check out those documentaries – thanks for sharing! 🙂
Shelly Miller says
Thank you, Laurie, for sharing. Your story is an inspiration. I've since signed up for several of the apps you listed-will let you know how it goes!
Good luck Shelly – you’ll do great! 🙂
I’ve been driving all day today (8 hours with three kids by myself – long story but I had to make the trip without my husband so no time to catch up on these!) I cannot thank you enough for all your sweet words and encouragement ~ you all are just the kindest people ever. I did come home and look at that picture and wonder WHAT ON EARTH I was thinking sharing this, but hopefully it will encourage someone out there.
Blessings to all of you and Happy New Year!!!
I lost around 40 pounds two years ago using My Fitness Pal and it has been wonderful! Wonderful to look in the mirror and like what I see. Wonderful to look good in my clothes. Wonderful to feel good and not want to stay home cause I’m fat! The past couple of months I kind of lost control and the pounds crept up, but I’m back counting calories now and the weight is coming off. Portion control is everything. Thanks for posting, Laurie!
I’ve been at my lowest post-pubescent weight now for a year and a half. I never, ever, thought I could get down below what I was before I had Olivia (my first child) but then I started running in addition to doing weight watchers. I don’t know if going soy/dairy free helped, but it sure makes it easier to NOT cheat. 🙂
I know you’ve seen me at my heaviest weight, and you’ve seen me now, so I know you know how much I’ve lost. Sometimes, I still get discouraged about my weight, when it creeps up by a pound or two. but I still pull out my before and after pictures to remind myself of how far I’ve come.
Wow Lori, I would have never know :). Good for you!
Tara Ward Collier says
Thanks for sharing.
Hello!! Thanks, ladies for sharing all your stories!! You look great Laurie!! I exercise but I still have to watch my portion control!! It’s hard!! I heard about the Lose it app, going to download now.. Y’all keep it up!!! Thanks again for sharing!!! Happy New Year!!!
In 2005 I had weight loss surgery because I had topped the scales at 297 pounds. I lost down to 219 in 2 months. I began having complications and gaining weight a year later and In 2009 I had to have the surgery reversed due to complications. I weighed in at 330 pounds!!!! Talk about discouraging!! I struggled from May 2009 to Jan 2013 and all I had managed to keep off (gain, lose, gain 🙁 ) was 11 pounds. So Jan 2013 something clicked and I tried ww (got tired of keeping up with. Points etc no time for meetings), beyond diet (clean eating=EXPENSIVE) and then I started ACE. I do not take it as regular as I should but it helped me be able to push back from the table until I could get my portions under control. For months no soda, sweets etc. I now weigh 280!! I am 150 lbs from my ultimate goal but I take it one day at a time. I still take ACE and watch portions but I began to drink sodas and eat sweets more so this year I am beginning a caffeine and sugar detox on Jan 1st (30 day goal) as well as continuing working out (started about 3weeks ago) 3-5 Times per week. I am serious about my weight loss!!! The difference is my mindset, in the past I wanted surgery or pills to do the work but now I do the work and my pills help me (natural ingredients). I have a goal to lose 100 pounds my Dec 31, 2014 thanks for sharing your story. I didn’t know that you struggled too. I really need to stop assuming that all normal weight people have always been that way. Lol.
You did just fine! You told a true story that we all have lived. I, too, had to go to juniors then women’s before Jr. High. Back then, they didn’t make cute plus sized clothes… I looked like an old lady every day through High School. I lost around 100 lbs in my mid twenties, It felt great. I never got below a size 10, but Weight Watchers helped me get there after my initial weight loss with exercise. Now, Mom of 4, I am back in a 16. I am considering Weight Watchers again, but it’s hard with 4 minions under 8 running around the house and homeschooling. I drink too much coffee, sleep too little, clean all the time, and eat when I can. I keep saying… when they get a little older (2 year old twins)… But I have a feeling I will use that excuse when they are 16.
I think I will resolve to join and be accountable thanks to your story.
Keep up the great blog! I LOVE IT! You are personable and have not gotten lost that human aspect that other blogs do when they become successful! Thank you again!
Jen, are you local? I have four kids, too (ages 8-2) and I go to a Saturday morning meeting. It gives me a little “me” time away from the kids, and I still get that moral support from the meetings.
Vicki Coble Tucker says
I have been using MyFitnessPal and love it. I lost 30 pounds in seven months last year. It was a struggle because I love to think about, prepare, smell and taste food. I also have a thyroid problem that makes it harder to lose. I walk 2-3 miles a day six days a week and climb 12 flights of stairs every day. I feel better than I have in years. I have about 10 more to go but I took a break from losing and just focused on maintaining for November and December. My family and friends have been very supportive. I have a 14 year old daughter that I am trying to teach by example that you can eat things in moderation and that exercise is a good thing. Congratulations on your loss and keeping it off.
angela lee says
This past year I realized I was the heaviest I had ever been. So I decided I needed a change. I downloaded the app MY FITNESS PAL. I began counting calories, which I know sounds like a pain. After a little time doing it I began to just know how many calories were in what. I did a 1400 calorie diet and had 1 cheat meal a week. I do love food and I if I don’t get a reward I wouldn’t have stuck to the diet. I’ve lost 25 lbs and it feels so good. I lost the bloat in my face so now i don’t feel overweight. I have 50 more lbs to go to be at my ideal weight. So here’s to a stronger thinner year!
Love that!!!! Thanks so much for sharing – and I know you’ll reach your goals in 2014. 🙂