How I Lost 50 Pounds and Made Changes That Stick

It’s a new year and along with that, come the inevitable resolutions – to do more, to be more. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions and stopped making them a long time ago for two reasons:

First, I think waiting for a certain ‘day’ to begin making changes in your life is a signal you’re probably not ready or your motivation might be off.  Second, I’ve learned real happiness does not depend on doing more or being more – true happiness and contentment occur first internally; knowing and understanding that you are enough just as you are right now. Sometimes we are so filled with shame, we can never accept this truth and instead look for ways to ‘work’ our way into feeling content, happy, and worthy.

Which is why most New Year’s resolutions remain unfulfilled.

Diet, weight, and body image seem to be a catalyst for lots of resolution material, so today, I thought I’d share with you part of the story of how I came to terms with my weight, lost 50 pounds, and have kept it off for almost 5 years. You might be surprised to know only a small part of my success depends on conscientious eating habits.

I should tell you, I am not naturally thin, genetics are not on my side in this area and neither are the diet and exercise habits I learned growing up.

For most of my adult life, I struggled with my weight and energy level.  My life was plagued with yo-yo dieting combined with binge eating to relieve stress and mask pain. I made excuses for why I didn’t exercise, always blaming outside circumstances, my job, the demands of motherhood and being a wife, etc. I had an excuse for everything I wanted to do, but wasn’t doing. My excuses were keeping me from living the life I wanted to live.

In 2010, I was at my heaviest and unhappiest. Having suffered financial problems in 2008, new, more serious problems were beginning to surface in my marriage. I was coming to realize that I was unhappy in almost every area of my life, and it was showing all over my body.

I hate looking at pictures from back then. even today, as I am writing this post, I struggled with including the  'bad' pictures from when I was at my heaviest. I don't want people to see me like that - and I don't want to admit I let things get so out of control.  But the struggle with my weight is real and if my goal here is to be vulnerable and open, then you need to know it. People who didn't know me back then are shocked when I tell them I was once 50 pounds heavier -  but it's true, pictures don't lie. Even the most recent images put me on edge. My body is hardly perfect and I can hear the naysayers exclaiming, "who the hell does she think she is? Losing weight and posting it all over her blog?" Indeed, who the hell do I think I am? I think I'm someone who did the emotional and physical work to do what needed to be done. And it wasn't easy either.

In 2010, I stopped making excuses and started taking responsibility for my own health. But the one change that made the most impact was in my mindset. I simply began to believe I was worthy and deserved to take good care of myself – for me, this has been the one and only key to long-term success.  Once I began to believe in my worthiness, the rest fell into place.

The process of losing the weight began one day, one step at a time – I joined Weight Watchers online. Weight Watchers is an easy way to self-monitor your intake and retrain your brain on eating habits. Within 6 months I had lost 30 lbs. and was back to my ‘normal’ size 6. 

But then something amazing happened. As I began to value myself more and more, I started putting exercise into the equation. It started slowly, a promise and commitment to walk 20 minutes a day. Then, that wasn’t enough - so I added some sprints to that time. Within 3 weeks, I had dropped 10 lbs. and after a few months, my body began to transform. Adding a consistent routine of exercise dropped me to a solid size 0, where I have been for close to 5 years. About a year ago, I joined a fantastic gym and began strength training, which I love and is now part of my regular routine.
Fitness success to me – is going out each day and just doing something; anything really – if I can do that, I’m successful. I literally have no other fitness goal. Now, I am happy to say, that eating well and regular exercise are a normal part of my life – I feel great and it started because I began to believe I was worth it. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can… 

Here’s to a new year – let’s make it great!