Before and After: Losing 40 Pounds and Gaining So Much More

Before and after

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.

Before weightlossMe (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.

Summer- 2015
Before couple fitness
Summer- 2016
After couple fitness

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).

Progress 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!!

Healthy food

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.

Progress pic before and afterProgress pictures

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.
Love yourself

What did I gain from losing 40 pounds?

Everything.

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!

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50 Quick and Easy Ways to Practice Self Care for the Busy Woman

Life is wild. I get it. Your dishes are piled up, you’re behind on work, your kids are running circles around you like savages and your hair has been in a bun since 1997. How in the world is it possible to find the time and energy to focus on yourself and practice self care?

Self care ideas

I’ve put together 50 quick and easy additions to your life to always keep your happiest and healthiest self in check, even during your craziest days.

  1. Wake up early and enjoy the quiet
  2. Stretch for 15 minutes
  3. Drink hot water and lemon
  4. Plan your day
  5. Spend 20 minutes reading a book or magazine
  6. Cuddle with your children or pets
  7. Bake something
  8. Write in a journal
  9. Declutter a room
  10. Watch your favorite TV show
  11. Take a bath
  12. Go for a walk or sit outside
  13. Drink a yummy protein shake
  14. Start a new craft project
  15. Write a loved one a letter
  16. Watch videos of puppies and/or babies
  17. Do your make up for fun
  18. Meditate or practice healthy breathing
  19. Turn music on and dance or sing along
  20. Cook something you’ve never made before
  21. Get your camera out and take beautiful photos
  22. Practice an instrument
  23. Map out your goals and make a plan
  24. Go somewhere for a coffee
  25. Practice mindfulness
  26. Clean out your closet
  27. Call an out-of-town friend
  28. Check out a new blog
  29. Listen to your favorite album from start to finish
  30. Write a short story
  31. Read one of your favorite children’s books
  32. Pick up your favorite food for lunch
  33. Lay out in the sun and soak up some Vitamin D
  34. Go country-cruisin’
  35. Have a glass of wine or two
  36. Listen to an inspirational podcast episode
  37. Read one or two chapters of a book you’ve been meaning to read
  38. Practice yoga with your kids
  39. Take a selfie
  40. Pop a bottle of champagne with a bestie
  41. Go to the gym
  42. Write or doodle in a journal
  43. Try a new workout
  44. Use a face mask
  45. Be playful with your significant other
  46. Treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on
  47. Fill out your planner for the week
  48. Find and watch an old movie or show you liked as a kid
  49. Take a long bath
  50. Remind yourself of your worth with affirmations

We all know how important self care is, but most of us think we don’t have the time for it. All of these ideas can be done in 15 minutes or less (and most of them in under 5!).Self care ideas

Practice self careIf you think the mom life has you too busy, just think of how beneficial it could be for you AND your kids to practice self care strategies together. You will set them up with healthy habits for the rest of their life. If work is getting in the way of your routine, just remember how much more productive you could be by practicing self care every day.

It’s time you make yourself a priority. Let me know in the comments what things you incorporate into your day to stay happy and healthy.

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