Like so many women, I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I hit adulthood. I remember getting bigger my senior year and by the middle of my freshman year of college I had gained 45 pounds. I tried hard to take it off, with no success. From there I moved in with a friend in another city and only got bigger from there. I hit my highest weight at 195 and had never felt worse. I’m only 5’2, so at 195 I was nowhere near healthy.
Me (on the right) at highest weight- 195 lbs.
This led me into a very dark time. I was suddenly so aware of my body. I wore dumpy clothes because I thought I’d look ridiculous in something cute. I wouldn’t get intimate with any guy, because I was disgusted by myself and I knew they would be disgusted too. I held deep-rooted resentment towards my friends who, in the prime of our lives, were meeting guys and going on dates and never worrying about their bodies. All of this led to me being stuck in a sickening cycle of unhappiness.
Thankfully, I made the decision to move to another state which inadvertently led to me getting back in shape and loving myself again. My ability to love myself made it possible for a man to love me too, which is what happened when I moved back to Kansas and met the person I’m with now. And like so many relationships, we both gained weight over the first three years together. I was back where I started.
In January 2016 we decided to do something about it and with the support of each other we went full speed. Mr. LBN lost 80 pounds and I lost 40!
Here is what I learned about the whole experience:
1. Don’t say no to strength training!
It really burns my butt that we grow up being told women should worry about cardio and stay away from the weights. Why oh why did I have to wait until I was 27 to learn how amazing strength training is?! Here is an example of what strength training can do… there was only a 5 pound loss between these two pictures. (Notice my shorts don’t look like undies in the second picture).
2. Don’t ignore all the diet rules you’ve heard your entire life.
There is a reason people tell us to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water everyday! It truly is important and really will make a difference in your transformation.
3. Don’t starve yourself.
I thought we all learned this in the sixth grade, but I still hear girls talk about it. You are only hurting your progress by starving yourself. It is not a myth that your body gets worried when you keep it from eating and then goes into fat-storing double time the next time you give it food. Starving yourself is only making it harder and who doesn’t want to eat?? That’s one of my greatest joys in life!!
4. Keep it simple and fun!
My diet consisted of salads and finger foods (fruit, veggies, cheese, meat, hard-boiled egg, etc). Every week I would cut up cheddar cheese and celery sticks, boil eggs, and bag up pepperonis, carrot sticks, and whatever else would be easy to throw in my lunch bag every morning. For dinner, I had salad. On the weekends, Mr. LBN and I would pick something new we had never tried and we’d cook together. We were eating great food and having fun at the same time. We never missed our old diet of fast food and whatever I felt like cooking that was in the cabinet.
5. Pick a plan or challenge to do with a partner
When I first started, the main reason my motivation didn’t fizzle out was because I found fitness challenges on Pinterest and did one at a time with a friend. It was helpful to have something with specific instructions, especially when I was still a gym newbie and didn’t know what exercises to do.
What did I gain from losing 40 pounds?
I love myself. I’m proud of myself. I actually like to go shopping and try on clothes. My relationship has never been better. We have a deeper attraction to each other because we know how hard we worked together to get in shape. I have more self worth and confidence.
Am I trying to tell you that you can only have these things if you’re skinny? Definitely not. But everyone has their sweet spot and it took me losing weight and getting stronger to hit that spot.
What changes would you have to make in your life to gain the self confidence that you deserve? Or have you already hit your sweet spot? Tell me about it in the comments!