Read Part 1 here.
I wish I could tell you the number meant something. But hear me when I say, it didn’t. Because what happens when you lose any weight, be it 10 lbs, 20 lbs, even 135lbs, is immeasurable. By a scale anyway. The fact that I had changed my life, my body, and my health is what weighs lovingly more.
I continued to run, nearly every single day for the next few months. In truth, thought that I had to. I was sure that if jogging for 45 minutes every day had whittled me from 268 to 135, then, well, jogging would keep me there too.
For the first time since I’d first stepped on that YMCA scale in June of 2005 and saw myself siding with 300lbs, I…was…terrified.
I hated running. It was no longer fun. I no longer felt accomplished or rejuvenated or energized after I stepped off the treadmill.
I even began to resent The View, my favorite program to pound out four miles to. I felt drained. I felt imprisoned. I thought for sure that the only way I would be thin, stay thin, was by keeping on keeping on. Running felt compulsive, dreadful, punishing, like an abusive relationship. I remember going to bed and dreading, dreading, oh dreading, the next morning when I’d have to run again.
I became gravely depressed. I had heard from at least a million and one people that “losing weight was the easy part, the hard part is maintaining it.” (Very unhelpful, by the way). I started to fear my future. How could I keep this up? How could I run so many miles, so consistently, each and every day, when I hated it so? Oh dear, I thought, this is going to be awful.
I developed sciatica. Essentially, a pinched nerve in my upper left leg. From running so much. From running everyday without a break. From not resting because I didn’t know rest was in the rule book of someone who had just lost half of her original body weight. I had no frame of reference for being, and staying in a normal weight range. I shall one day pen a book, “Maintaining Your Weight For Dummies.” Wait for it.
I stopped running for about a month. One hell of a month. I struggled through sessions on the elliptical and the arc trainer, I tried to walk, I could barely sleep without aching nerve pain in the side of my left bum cheek (you’re glad I have no self-censoring, huh?). I was positive I would pack on any pounds lost. I saw myself back at 268, the same place I started.
But you know what happened?
I did not gain weight. Not a single, solitary ounce.
Now, I don’t generally call bad occurrences blessings in disguise, really I don’t, but I do think it’s true of the sciatica. Had I not developed it, I might not have learned that I did not, in fact, have to run four miles every single day to remain un—morbidly obese. What term should I be using there?
When my body healed from the nerve pain, about a month later, I returned to running, but much more moderately than before. I ran four days a week, which of course, is not entirely moderate to any normal individual. I continued to run like this for maybe a year. And yet again, I found myself hating it.
It wasn’t until I got a job on “Shutter Island,” a film made in my hometown of Medfield, Massachusetts (population 12,000), that I realized I just could not run anymore. The hours were long- 12 hour days at the minimum, five and sometimes six days per week. I barely had time to do anything but immerse myself in Leonardo DiCaprio (and wasn’t that a chore :)), let alone run four miles.
Within a week of working on set, I reached a fork in the road. Working on a Martin Scorsese movie meant I was actualizing my biggest dream to date. It was a job I’d always hoped to have. It was a film, a director, and a cast that meant as much to me as anything could, and I would sooner die than give it less than its due. To this day, it’s one of my favorite life experiences. And though that period files itself in my mind as, ‘That time I hugged Mark Ruffalo and took pictures with Leo,’ the film wasn’t the only beautiful change in my life.
I recall a specific day in March of 2008, when I had just left a day of filming, having driven from set to set to set, high on adrenaline. I got into my car, turned the key in the ignition, and just…stopped. I was supposed to be going to the gym. I just had to get there.
And for the first time since I lost lost all 135lbs, I breathed in, breathed out, and said, I can’t. I won’t.
I decided in that moment that…and I’m being really honest with you here… I would just let myself find the weight I was supposed to be. If not running everyday, or not running ever again, meant that I would gain five pounds, then I would accept each one of them. If ten pounds were in store for me, just as soon as I quit running, then so be it. So.be.it. Truly, I would let myself be. I would live the way I wanted to live, without feeling a tremendous sense of dread each morning when I opened my eyes and knew the treadmill was there, without feeling like my being at a healthy weight for the first time in my whole life hinged on exercise.
I closed my eyes and made near-immediate peace with myself. Not.a.moment.more.
I did not lose 135lbs only to find myself thirteen months later in an unhappy marriage to running. And if I did, I wanted a divorce.
I did not lose 135lbs to look good despite feeling bad.
I did not lose 135lbs because my sanity mattered less than vanity.
I lost 135lbs because I really thought…I really believed…that freedom would be what I found. And when I searched and didn’t find her…
I woke up.
Those first three minutes after I’d made my decision were quite possibly the most free I’ve ever felt.
Because just the same as I had made my mind up that I would lose the weight- lose it all- forever, I also made my mind up that I would be happy first.
The thing about losing weight is- I thought it would bring me joy. Pleasure and bliss. Confidence. Direction. And when none of those things came in my new skinny swag bag, I kept digging. Sure that they were in there somewhere.
But what I ultimately realized, in my Camry in March 2008, outside of a Paramount Picture, was this: If thin never brought me happiness, then no amount of it ever will. If none of those waif-ish wishes came true after 20 years of promising myself that one day, one day, I would slim, then none of them were to be wished in the first place.
I don’t like to live in regret. In fact, in 26 years, I can only think of three regrets: one of missing my mother at age seven, one of being unkind to a girl who deserved a friend in middle school, and one of telling my father I was embarrassed of him the year before he died.
Those have tucked themselves to bed in my memory. They’ll still be sleeping when I meet eighty.
But what I won’t regret, what I’ll not want to have wasted that precious mental cargo on, is my weight.
A massive part of my losing weight was to finally cut ties with what I perceived to be a fatal, lifelong hindrance. A handicap. I wanted to be free of worrying about my size. I wanted to forget that I was uncomfortable in front of people and just let myself be without feeling painfully aware of how big I was. I wanted to sing in front of a crowd without wondering in the forefront of my mind if my belly sang louder. Do they see the way my pants pucker? Don’t my shoes look too small in size 22 jeans?
In trying to find this freedom, I created another prison. I ran from weight and then I ran from weight some more. And when I realized what I’d done, when depression felt as though it was my default, I said,
I’d rather be what I was than what I am now.
And that’s saying a lot.
I pulled the key from the ignition, pressed my forehead to the steering wheel, and cried for thirty minutes.
And when I lifted my head again, I breathed in-deep, deep, deep- and realized that maybe I would not be as thin as I was, maybe I would not stay there, in that body, at that time… and… that…was…for the very first time…okay. Okay.
…Read Part 3 and *I swear I’ll pay you $20.
*I never keep my word when I use asterisks.
you are an inspiration…can’t wait for part 3! i’m gonna need my 20 bucks though =)
An amazing story that I’m sure plenty of other women will relate to! After losing 25 pounds, I was so fearful that the weight was going to come back on suddenly without me being able to do a thing about it. It was a struggle for me to shed that fear and allow myself to be happy and to just be – even if that meant that I might gain a few pounds back. I can’t wait to read Part 3 of your story!
P.S. I’d argue that you would win against Jay Leno if you two were ever pitted against one another in a “Who Wore It Best?” contest!
That was beutiful, not the suffering part, but the telling. Of realizing what was most important. YOU are beutiful and no way does Jay Leno wear that shirt better!!
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Andrea!
You are so inspiring :)
You know, I had that ‘shoe’ thought today.
I was driving to take my daughter dancing, when it just hit me “Do my shoes look really small on the end of my legs? That must look really weird”.
And the maintenance thing? That scares the crap out of me
I don’t want to be fat, but I also don’t want to have to exercise and diet my whole life.
Everything you say just makes sense!
Wow! What an eye opener. Thanks for sharing.
Your dress in the elevator picture is gorgeous :)
Thank you SO much for being so unbelievably honest and open Andrea. I identified with so much of what you’ve written in this post and I love how you can articulate things so well. Although I’ve never had sciatica, I have gone through periods where I’ve felt like crap because of running so much and so obsessively. Thank goodness, those days are long behind me, but I know what you mean about dreading the next one. Cross training (a month on the elliptical, bike, and other equipment) was how I got around it, and I think like many things in life that involve emotion, learning the hard way is the only way we really do learn. I can’t wait to hear part 3 – you don’t even have to pay me! :P Have a great day!
Just found your blog through How Sweet It Is yesterday. I added it to my Google Reader right away and I am loving it!!! Your story is so awesome, you definitely do not have to pay me $20 to stick around and read! :)
Girl, you are so beautiful inside and out. I love this series of your exercise history. Can’t wait for part three!
I found your blog through How Sweet Is also and I’m loving it! Your writing is so beautiful and funny, and you story is completely inspirational! I’m so glad you are sharing it; both to inspire those that need to lose that kind of weight and others just trying to be more active (and hate running :)
I am so jealous of your writing skills! You are amazing and I cannot WAIT for part 3!
wow, what an amazingly honest and open story.
you are a beautiful person inside and out thank you so much for sharing! :)
You, are, AMAZING! I’m so glad to have “found” your blog (by found, I mean I followed @howsweetblog’s advice to read your blog) You are a fantastic storyteller!
I loved hearing about your moment of change – it’s inspiring and I love the way you articulated it. I find myself struggling with the same thing now that I’m down to my desired weight.
Oddly enough, it was my sciatic nerve (right hip for me) that caused me to exercise more. I developed mine due to sitting all day. Only by moving and strengthening my muscles did it “go away” (sort of). So in a way, the same “problem” created two different “positive” results. :)
Can’t wait for part 3!
So I found your blog quite by happenstance this morning. I just clicked through a few links, and – boom – there was your story.
As someone who has probably lost 200 pounds in her life, and as someone who yet again finds herself at her “highest weight ever,” and as someone who decided just yesterday that enough is enough, and it’s time to do SOMETHING – thank you.
Your story is amazing, courageous, inspiring. And I really needed it today, as I attend my first workout class in probably 10 years and hope I don’t break anything in the process.
I just love you. I mean that! You are so real and so amazing. I really think that you need to write that book about how to maintain weight. There are so many people always telling us how to lose weight but then no one tells you what to do once you get there. I can’t wait for part 3. Truth…I have saved all these post on my computer…you are very powerful.
Oooh, I want to hear more about working on the film! How did it happen? It’s my dream!
You’ve come so far Andrea and I applaud you.
Losing weight doesn’t come with a first in line ticket to happiness. I wish it did, because losing weight can be easier than finding (the illusive) happiness.
Thank-you for your honesty, I love it when people are honest and real, after all we are all human and nobody is perfect. I love to read your blogs and you have a great sense of humour. I have 135 pounds to lose and I am desperarely trying to get my head in the right frame of mind and keep it there. Truely a very scary task.
This post is the single reason why i read “healthy living” blogs. Thank you SO much for this post….I’m currently somewhere in the process you just described and struggle with feeling trapped more often than I would like. THANK YOU.
Such an inspiring and well-written story! I applaud you for being so honest and open with your readers…that’s something that I think some “big” healthy living blogs lack sometimes. Bravo!
You already know how much I adore you so I won’t keep telling you. But I relate to every single one of your feelings. I hated running. HATED IT. But did it because it was how I lost weight and that’s what I thought I had to do to keep it off. It wasn’t until I lost too much weight and injured myself that I was able to wake up, stop caring, and start loving myself for the person I am not the number on the scale.
I love your outfits. That dress looks amazing on you!
Thank you for sharing this story with us! Not only are you an inspiration but you are an amazing and engaging writer! I can’t wait to keep reading :)
Once again… you keep insipring me! Thank you for that. I really need it right now! :) I cant wait for part 3!
I really am so happy that I recently found your blog. You are amazing.
11 years ago I lost almost 60 lbs. I went from being the “chunky” girl to a thin girl and much more inside of me changed than my appearance. You are right, maintenance is scary. While loosing you are on a journey.. you are “doing” something…. It’s awful to feel that if you stop for a moment, rest, eat something yummy or don’t exercise you are going to gain. I let it go to my head and I continued to loose (I think out of fear of gaining.) The day that I stood on the scale looking down at 107 pounds I was gleefully happy, but my husband who sneeked a look over my shoulder was shocked.. and upset. I couldn’t see it.. everyone kept saying how wonderful I looked and to gain would be total failure. That was many years ago now and I am at a healthy weight and maintaining. I do know though, those mind games we play with ourselves. They stink.
No $20 needed here :)
these posts are so inspiring and eye-opening. i’ve bookmarked both of them for future re-reading. i know it will do me good to read them several times. thanks for being so honest.
Andea, Thank you so much for sharing your story! I had the same relationship with running after I lost 40 pounds. I can’t wait to read the rest! I love your blog…your recipes are FABULOUS! My family loves them. Your words bring a smile to my face. Thanks again!
*Andrea…sorry hit post before I could change it. <3
I injured my IT Band last fall after running Hood to Coast. I was SOOOO freaked out about not being able to run for 2+ months. I thought for sure that I would gain a ton of weight. It was actually the opposite. I lost a lot of weight not running!
Beautifully written. Wonderfully inspiring. Waiting with bated breath for installment 3!!!
I’m so moved by reading this (I went back to read part one). I found a link to this blog on twitter and I’m so glad I took time to click and read your beautiful story. I am that girl standing on the scale looking at a number I NEVER thought I’d see and I’m slowly working on reducing it. But I have fear; the same fear you had that I would have to keep up an ungodly pace and engage in activities I loathe.. all to be thin. I find your honesty so refreshing and it gives me a lift in my spirit and my heart after reading it. Thank you.
I can’t wait for Part 3. I hope you post it soon. I’m so inspired by your story and honesty. You have such a beautiful story to tell that can inspire and help so many people!
I am really happy you wrote this. I think it’s really important for people to know they don’t have to literally or figuratively run themselves into the ground to be a healthy weight.
A-mazing. I love part II! And also very cool that you worked on Shutter Island :)
What a powerful and inspiring post… I almost cried and got chilled by reading it. That’s exactly what I am going thru now but don’t have the courage that you have to let it go cause I still don’t trust myself.
I just need to find a balance between food and exercise. And that might be a lesson for life.
Thank you Connie! Really, thank you. And believe me- you can do this. You can decide it’s time and then be done with feeling bad.
Wow, this was so beautifully written. So honest, thank you for writing this! Looking forward to the next installment..
I just found you blog from ‘how sweet’. I LOVE it! …and thank you for sharing your story! What an inspiration.
Thank you for sharing! I love that you have decided to share your story.
You really inspired me to go for long walks the last 2 days. Even so I am so busy with studying right now I made the time to go for a walk that took me over an hour :) I tried to run a few weeks ago but I guess I am just to heavy at the moment to do the running. But maybe walking will do it for me in the beginning as well :) and I repaired my bike to stop going everywhere with a car :) I just think that maybe I can achieve what you achieved. That would be great :) so thank you :)
P.S. I have an annoying obsession with: “:)” :D
Thanks so much Frieda! I believe you can do it and I’m so happy to hear that you’re out there walking; It’s my favorite activity. And I, too, have an obsession with :)
Dear god you are an amazing writer.
Hung on every word. Every single word. Can’t wait for part 3. You don’t even have to pay me $20 to read it ;)
i feel very similarly to you with the idea of being active for pleasure versus exercising because i HAVE to. honestly, i don’t always share your conviction though that i am doing the right thing. constantly slammed by messages of “get to the gym” or “running is easy,” i feel LAZY sometimes when i admit to myself that i don’t like the gym, or running for that matter. could i stand to hike up my heart rate a bit more frequently? sure. but i’ll take paddle boarding and walking on the beach over a run on the treadmill any day. even if i’m not burning 500 calories a pop. i wish i could find the mode of exercise that i truly love, but until i do, i dont want to force myself to pound the pavement when doing so makes me feel tortured! i exaggerate, but you know what i mean :)
Thanks for sharing. Both part 1 & 2 are a worthwhile read. Look at you now picture shows your vibrancy. Congratulations.
You are such an inspiration! I’m speechless :)
great writing and a great story… I just popped in for the first time from “how sweet it is” and I will continue to read :)
oh my gosh…I totally understand…and cannot wait to read part 3…whether you pay me $20 or not ;)
p.s. If there a before picture? Every single picture I see you are skinny minnie!!
I love your blog and your story. I’m so proud of people who get into shape when it seems impossible, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose half my body weight! Along with the reader above, I wonder if there is a reason you never post ‘before’ pictures? Even with a relatively small 20 lb loss, I hate looking at old pics of myself but love comparing how much better I look and feel now.
Thank you Nicole! Thank you thank you thank you :) I will post before pictures soon. There’s no good reason why haven’t yet, but I will :)
Thank you for this post. I’m so glad I found your blog and I think your story about exercise is so relevant to healthy living. I thought if I stopped formally working out (basically overexercising), I would gain weight and lose everything I had worked so hard to achieve. I finally faced my fear and stopped going to the gym. I felt such a sense of relief and I didn’t gain an ounce even though I’m actually trying to gain some weight. I am waiting on pins and needles for part 3!
Wow Andrea. I’m in tears. Your story is amazing and I really feel like you could easily write a book. I find myself waiting for another chapter- excited about what else you are going to write. (and I knew you were from MA- I’m from Natick!)
I read Kara Gouchers blog today and she mentioned the word “free” and “freedom” too and what it means to her. http://karagoucher.competitor.com/2011/04/06/i-am-not-afraid/ It’s amazing to me what a simple word can mean to so many people. I’m glad you found your freedom and that you are at a happy weight.
PPS- What did you do on the set of Shutter Island? So cool! I was a film major!
That’s such an amazing revelation. It’s so inspiring, now I’m just wondering how to reach my own happy place with food and my body.
Thanks for the leadership!
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What wonderful words you have. I too have struggled with explaining to others (and myself) why I can’t just be happy 100% of the time since losing weight – I have other struggles, just like everyone else! And I don’t know about you but even years later, I still feel that “the fat girl” is a little bit alive inside. She’s died down, that’s for sure, but I think she’ll always be a part of me – and that’s ok, too.
PS – didn’t know you were from MA! I grew up in Framingham and live in Worcester now.
thank you for writing this. thank you so much.
i lost weight from running too, and that’s how i kept it off. i ran when i was tired, i ran at 5:30am if i was busy after work, i ran 6 days a week even if i had sore legs and shin splints. i ran myself crazy and i ran myself to an unhealthy (for me) 107 pounds.
i have since stopped running and over the past few years gained some of the weight i lost back. i don’t care though because i’m happy. i’m happy not spending an hour on the treadmill every day, i’m happy not being a size zero, i’m just happy. back then, when i was running all the time i was miserable. sure now i wish some days i was 10 pounds lighter, but if i never lose 10 pounds again i guess i’ll be okay with it, as long as i’m always this happy.
So beautiful, Julie. Thank you and it’s a pleasure to meet you :)
You are so inspiring Andrea. You truly amaze me.
I remember thinking that being “thin” would make me happy. It doesn’t. There is so much more to it than that. So much more. Right now, I’m probably about 20 pounds heavier than I was when I was at my smallest, and I am SO much happier now than I ever was then.
Now, I’m off to read part 3. :)
Thanks so much for this post.
Back during my senior year of high school, I lost about 35-40 pounds using pretty much the same method you did. I’m now 32 years old and the mother of 4 and I still live in fear of being overweight again. Other than my pregnancies, I’ve stayed within a couple pounds of 130 for over 10 years but I just haven’t been able to shake this fear. And now I’m starting to get obsessive about maintaining my exercise routine which I find really difficult to manage with 4 little ones at home.
So your moment of release in your Camry 3 years ago really spoke to me. I want freedom from fear. And your post has encouraged me to seek after it. Thanks for that.
Oh, and I love your blog:)
I am going through the same thing right now, with exercising. I just can’t seem to stop. This really inspired me to help, so thank you, for being so honest. You’re amazing.
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I just want to say how inspiring and amazing you are! U are none beautiful girl inside and out, and I love your love for life! I love leading a positive and living each day to the fullest kind of life, and I really enjoyed reading a lot of your posts! Great to meet you one here!
Love what you said about your mom in that one post, my mom is everything to me too, she is my best friend and a amazing woman!
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Thank you for an honest assessment. I appreciate your perspective so much; I’ve never had to struggle with weight very much but I am trying to regain my waistline and keep my health at age 53. Your writing has given me new inspiration. Carry on, please!
Love, love, love. Amen.
I just came across your blog on Pintrest. Thank you for this, this is exactly what I needed to start my own journey!
What an unbelievably honest and heartwarming story so far. I really am intrigues about part 3. I too, found this blog though Pinterest and I’m so excited to read the rest of your site. Fabulous, fabulous writing!!
Thank you for this wonderful site! I am going through this whole thing round 2. I never got down to my goal weight, but lost 80 pounds and was still pretty happy, but couldn’t lose more without starving myself. Somehow a year later I gained 40 back and am kicking myself in the rump daily about it. The stress of trying to lose again is probably wreaking havoc on my body when I probably just need to calm the heck down and listen to what my body needs!
I am actually left breathless after reading your story, because I can relate to all you have said done and gone through. Thank you so much for writing it so eloquently, and giving words to those thoughts stuck in my head at times. After 2 kids I am battling the bulge but know that even after the weight is gone I’ll need to maintain It somewhat but that ultimately the weight is only part of it, because after having 2 kids and not working for a living I have to find who I am and what I need to do to maintain a balance emotionally.
Good luck and massive respect, I cannot wait to see how you travel your journey and what truth you find for yourself.
Thanks again xxx
I can totally relate to that feeling you had when you first arrived at the Y at 268. The only difference for me is that I’ve been there before. I’ve lost the weight before. And I remember how rewarding it was, but I was too young (17) to appreciate it as much as I should have; to realise the long term benefits. Now I’m sitting at 23, heavier than I have EVER been. Ever. And all I can remember is how hard it was. And I keep punishing myself for letting it get this bad. Again. But the way that I went about it last time was all wrong. I lost the weight in a sprint, and fell short for the marathon. I tried to carry on running when I hated it, and as a result I rebelled from it completely. I really want a success story like this. For me the success won’t be losing the weight. It will be keeping it off. And being happy whilst doing so. Your story has really inspired me. Showed me that it is possible. Thank you.
You are all over Pinterest, sister! What a beautiful story to read, and well written too! You’re amazing. Keep the beautiful light inside of you burning!
Found your story on Pinterest and wow, I feel like I could have written this. What a moving, honest, REAL story. This is me right now. Over the past 2 years I’ve lost 70+ pounds. I remember what I felt like before this… alone, hiding behind the weight. Now, I’m the smallest I’ve ever been my entire adult life and honestly? I still feel like I’m alone and hiding behind my weight. It’s the most bizarre circumstance. When I’m at the gym for the 7th time in a week, re-working my schedule just to make sure I could get a workout in, running until my calves are burning, driving home not even feeling fufilled, actually feeling uphappy… and doing the same thing the next day, I’m wondering — what for? Obviously, for my health, yes. But this routine is really out of fear. I did this in order to live my life and I’m actually getting in my own way trying to do that.
I commend you and I thank you for sharing your breakthrough. One day I will get there. :)
I found your story on Pinterest. I appreciate your honesty and can relate to some degree. I lost 40 pounds about 5 years ago. Before I lost the weight, I was curvy, but I generally felt good about myself until I saw some bad vacation photos taken with some very skinny friends. I set a goal weight that would have equated to a loss of 25 pounds, and when I reached that goal, I shot for another five, and then another five, and then another five. Even when I reached 40 pounds and was a toned size 4 (and weighed less than I did in high school), I just could not be happy. I still wanted to weigh less, and I still saw myself as a curvier girl (and not in a good way). I became a slave to my workouts, and I grew to resent them. I hurt myself a couple of times by pushing too hard. I hated on carbs a bit too much. I was a lot less happy than I was at 40 pounds heavier.
Since then, I’ve had one baby and am pregnant again. I’ve gained a bit more weight than the recommended number this pregnancy, and I am finding myself obsessed again. Your story is helping me to put things in perspective a bit. I just started working with a trainer, and I am focusing on being healthy in my pregnancy, and then I hope to shift more to performance-based goals than a number on a scale. I just wanted to say thanks for opening my eyes a bit, and for making me feel like I am not alone in these feelings.
You have me reaching for the kleenex here. Of course I am checking out part 3!
Thank you for being so honest about what most mattered to you – the hurtful things you said or did (and as we all do). The sharing of that – and the acceptance of that – seems to be cathartic. In your honesty I am able to be too- so, thank you!
PS: I got up off the couch today and walked. The whole time I thought, “If she can do it, so can I. She lost 135 and I only have 1/2 that to lose. I can do it – just for today.” Thank you for changing lives one person at a time.
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I lost 20 lbs and after having two children and being 6 ft tall at 180 I felt disgusting, nothing fit properly I was unhappy and I was exercising to save my life because I didnt feel good. After that 20 lbs I went shopping and everything fit, but when I looked in the mirror I looked disgusting, all I could see what fat, fat and more fat. I couldn’t look in the mirror and soon the weight came back plus five pounds, Ive been sitting at this weight for 3 years and cant shed an ounce, worse is that I dont want to exercise because Im afraid of getting back to where I was being unhappy and still being fat. I hate being a size 12 and knowing that is considered a plus size…
You are an inspiration to all of us, keep up the great work and motivation!
Thank you. Thank you. This is what i have struggled with nearly EXACTLY for the last 5 years. I am finally coming to peace with my body and the freedom to be and not to be a crazy running person who relies so heavily on excercise it controls every aspect of her life. Thank you.
You are so beautiful, and so is your story. Congratulations and good luck with happiness :).
I am speechless…i have no idea what you are about to say, if it will confirm some things in my mind or show me i am crazy…but i am in, subscribing, and waiting with baited breath…
Thank you so much for sharing your story, it really touched me so much and made me realize a lot of things inside myself. You see, I suffer from a eating disorder and struggle with it every single day because I feel its the only thing that will bring me closer to other people in my life, meaning being a certain size, shape. Your story helped me today, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Your hilarious! No wonder you have so many friends with you in those pictures, I bet your a riot to hang out with. Wish we lived closer and we could be friends. I love your perspective, I feel inspired and excited to adopt it too. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this awesome blog, what a great blessing it will be to sooo many! PS Love, love your photo captions! Part 3… bring it on!
I’ve been struggling with the weight-loss process for the past two years. I went into it for all the wrong reasons and now I am trying to remind myself of the good reasons so I can continue being successful. I too hate exercise. Thank you for the encouragement to do what is healthy and not always what is skinny. :)
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I always jogged to lose weight and as much as it hurts my knees and joints and I hate doing it, I keep doing it because it works, even if I do have asthma. This was really an inspiration … can’t wait for part III
I have just reached the 80 pound loss mark! And I am now going to have to maintain. I am fearful also. But I didn’t exercise to get it off. And I won’t have to exercise to keep it off. I ate all the wrong foods to put it on; and ate all the right foods to take it off.
My doctor assures me that now I know. I know what to do if the weight starts to creep back on. He also assures me that moderate exercise 4x a week (20 min of cardio and 10 min of weights) won’t hurt. And it will make me stronger to live longer. So, I will continue my brisk walks and 10 min. upper body weight workouts.
And I will pray that when 2 or 3 pounds come knocking on my door, I will have the courage to eat the right foods and not give in to temptation so I can take them back off!
I love feeling free! I love being able to walk and climb stairs without huffing & puffing. I love sitting in theatre seats without painful hip pain from too small seats! I love getting on the floor and getting back up all by myself! No chair needed! :0) And I love shopping for clothes in the “Misses” department!
Please, God, help me maintain what you helped me achieve!
Thank you for your inspiring Blog…..I will be checking in from time to time. And adding you in as I pray for me. Blessings! Sandy
I too struggle with weight, I’ve been looking for an honest inspirational blog & thanks to pinterest I believe I’ve found someone who inspires me. Thank you!
I’ve recently gone through a similar revelation. For years I forced myself to run on the treadmill 4-5 days a week, no fewer than 45 minutes at a time. With my new job and school at the same time, I haven’t had the energy to do that anymore. I was afraid that cutting back on running would lead to instant weight gain overnight. But honestly, I’ve found that just switching my workouts to walking for half the time has led to similar (if not better) results than running was producing. Weird how it all works! Thank you for sharing your story, it’s a nice reminder that I’d rather be happy at my body’s “intended” weight than unhappy and killing myself to be 5 pounds smaller.
I wanted to tell you that I understand…….. thank you for your insight!!
I love your story. I work at a YMCA as a membership director so it was cool that you worked out at a Y. ALso, I have been running for the past 4 months and developed a pain in my left butt check down into my left foot and couldn’t figure out what it was and now by reading your story I think its siatica. I am going to the doctor tomorrow and can hopefully confirm this, thanks!
I wish I would have been so lucky to keep my weight off..3 years ago when I was a sophomore in high school I lost 45 pounds, and I thought I would be extremely happy. As if losing weight would change my whole life. Instead, even after I was skinny.. I would just still obsess about my weight 24/7, and I was always thinking that I was still fat. It wasn’t until I put most of that weight back on that I realized how blessed I truly was to have the body of my dreams without even realizing it. Now, I’m a sophomore in college.. after having a knee surgery and recovery I’ve put on 25 pounds back on and I’m miserable. I want to be able to eat, and I want to look how I did without going through the pain I went through a few years ago. However. My goal is to lose that weight again. I’m determined!
creative writing.. great story.. good sense of humor :)
I am new to your blog. I have struggled w/ food & yo-yoing weight. I love your honesty. I love your sense of humor. And I love that you gave yourself freedom. Thanks for sharing!
Oh my gosh! You rock! You have inspired me to finally do it! Honestly! This is my new favorite blog and I will read it every day to get my inspiration! Thank you so much!
I’m ready for part 3 myself! I love this! Thank you for writing this because I needed some real inspiration. I’m tired of the same old stories. :)
Pleeeeease tell me how you cured sciatica
I stopped running for about a month and took a high dosage of ibuprofen everyday for about two weeks- per my doctors prescription. I don’t remember the exact mg dose now, but something that made my stomach very upset after a few days. It worked to reduce inflammation.
Hi, just finished crying after reading part 2. I’m 44 and have been struggling with weight and body issues since I was 11. I have been fat and I have been thin. My largest was 225. Thin is better in many ways but I had little social life since I didn’t eat much and worked out 2 hours every day to keep the weight down. And no, all my dreams didn’t magically come true when I reached my goal!!
Anyway, maintenance is the “holy grail” of anyone who struggles and it seems to be a lifetime issue. I look forward to learning about your journey in part 3 and thanks for sharing. I can see by all of your posted comments, how unbelievably common an issue this is.
Oh my goodness, you should write a book young lady. At such a young age you speak for many ages that battle with weight loss! I totally enjoyed reading about you weight loss journey. I am so looking forward to reading some more of your inspirational words. You truly are an amazing young lady.
This is great made me feel better.
I stumbled across your blog while scrolling through Pinterest the other day. I am not a big person. One year ago I weighed about 123 lbs, a perfectly healthy weight for a 5’4″ 20 year old. I have suffered with low self-esteem and confidence ever since high school. College only enhanced my obsession with my body. Every day I was comparing myself to all the skinny girls with flat stomachs that I was surrounded by. So January of 2011 I decided I was going to lose weight and lose what I called my “belly bulge”. I was successful in losing the weight I wanted to, but I didn’t gain the self confidence I expected. Instead, I gained an obsession with diet and exercise. Food was constantly on my mind. And I was terrified of gaining back a single pound that I had worked so hard to lose. It wasn’t until I listened to someone describe anorexia that I realized I was in serious trouble. I was on the brink of developing the disorder.
I have since developed a more healthy relationship with food I am happy to say. However, I still struggle with fear of gaining weight. While I am not so obsessed with it, it is still something I am trying to overcome. Part 2 of your blog really hit home for me. It is exactly what I need to be telling myself and focusing on. Happiness. Happiness is so much more important than weight. So thank you for sharing.
I was married to a man for 29 yrs that practically begged me to keep taking diet pills…I had a tummy tuck…I had breast implant(that I wish I’d never gotten)…and I didn’t eat…just to stay slim. needless to say, I was miserable. so when I got my divorce…I ATE ANYTHING I WANTED…JUST BECAUSE I COULD! that lasted a couple of months…and then the weight just started falling off for no apparent reason…I ended up at 121lbs. everybody kept asking me if I was sick. so after 2 yrs….I’m back at a happy weight of 145. a little chunky but hey…I love me this size!! and my opinion is the only one that matters!
Like so many, I stumbled upon your blog through Pinterest and you story is so moving that it brought me to tears. Only because you wrote down everything that I have been feeling. I am not a large person, 130 at 5’5″, but I have this obsession of wanting to be thinner and doing what ever it takes to reach that goal; thinking that if I lost the weight and lived up to societies expectations that being thin makes you happy, I would finally be happy with myself. Only recently did I realize that I’m not happy nor will I ever be if the only thing I think about is how to lose weight or how to keep the weight off. Every day I think about “If I were to die tomorrow, would I die happy?” and I have come to terms with my weight and doing the things that make me happy. We only have one life to live, and we should live it happily. Thank you so much for sharing!
The most important thing I know personally when changing your life habits is to learn to love yourself.
You are an inpiration and I look forward to your continued story.
Inspiring story, thank you so much for sharing. Found it on Pinterest. Wanna hear a insanely crazy part? I am watch Shutter Island right now! Weird, weird, weird. Thanks again. – Sam
I am so inspired by you and your story. My story is much like yours. I have lost 45 pounds, currently at 132 lbs and I am so scared of gaining weight if I stop working out. I want so bad to just enjoy life but it terrifies me to go back to what I was before; when at the same time, I didn’t worry nearly as much when I weighed more. Things were simpler. I am anxiously awaiting part 3 while I step back and take a good look at my life. While I am finally happy in my skin…I am having so many anxieties about gaining a pound. Life is too short. Thank you for your story.
Whenever I come across a blog, even one that I think would be “interesting”, I never follow through with it. By the time I got to the end of this one, I immediately felt the need to read more! I can’t wait for the next installment. You are really an inspiration.
I have struggled with weight since I can remember, and being my heaviest was only 147, I realize how much it has consumed my life thinking about it even though it may not seem like a big deal. I am just like you were, thinking I would have to run every single day to keep this up, keep my weight under control and at a level (and jean size) that I was happy with. What I have found is that even at a size 4, I still want to be smaller.
I really hope you write a book! I would love to read a story like yours from start to finish in a chapter book. You have a really great way with words and you make it interesting. I’ve heard people say about a good book: that when you’ve finished, it feels like you’ve lost a friend. Getting to the end of this chapter in your blog, I already felt that way! I wanted to read more. And I can’t wait to keep reading!
All I can say is wow. I am in tears as I read this because I feel that I too have fought the same battle (on a smaller scale) as you. How great it is of you to share your story. Thank you.
So honest and so touching. I think every one can relate in some way to your story and that is because of your raw and beautiful way of telling exactly who you are. Thank you for sharing. Such an inspiration.
P.s….Found your story on Pinterest. :)
OMG! your story is soooooo inspirational! i started crying at work in my boring gray cubical! i am as of now at the exact starting place as you were! and for 20+ years have been owned by this “HAVE TO LOOSE WEIGHT” “i’m sooo gonna get skinny” “oh i wish i could wear that” “i wish i didn’t have taste buds!then it would just be this stuff i put in my mouth to keep me alive” “THIS IS IT, I’M REALLY GONNA DO IT” “when i get rich then i’ll just hire people to MAKE me work out and cook all the good and good-for-you food for me” “what’s the point people have to accept me for me” “who am i kidding, i don’t even love me”!!!!! i’ve watched the loosing weight shows, tryed the fads, “easy” ways, “cut this out, only eat this,” blah, blah,BLAH BLAHBLAHBLAHLBAH!!!!! i’m just sooooo over all of it! this thought feels like a bouncy ball in my head that i can NEVER stop thinking about! it’s exhausting!!!
and the physical reprecusions, i’m completely ashamed of!
i think i’m at my rock bottom…
your story is completely inspiring and now i MUST find the motivation to get my weight in check!
thank you so much for the story and showing me that i can do it on my own!
although…if you have a couple tips not already mentioned that’d be great :-)
here i go…wish me luck…!
Seriously, AMAZING story. Thanks for sharing. I struggle with this in a similar way – that thought that when I weigh ___ lbs, life will be perfect…i’ll find the perfect man, career, love myself, etc. The truth is, you have to love yourself for the rest to come. Even at my “ideal weight,” I’m not sure of myself and am learning that weight does not make life perfect and that I shouldn’t expect perfection from myself. It’s a constant struggle.
This hit me hard: “I ran four days a week, which of course, is not entirely moderate to any normal individual.” For a long, long time I exercised moderately. I never got thin. But you know, that’s all it’s supposed to take. So therefore I must have not actually been exercising even moderately. To hear you say this… it makes me wonder how most people define it? I mean, in detail? Because the general assumed definition is “whatever fat people aren’t doing enough of.”
Thank you for telling your story thus far, can’t wait for part 3 :)
So I found your blog through pinterest, and I have to say, you are kind of adorable. Not only do you look amazing, but you have the healthy mindset to go with it. It is so refreshing to read a real blog about not only weight loss, but the thoughts and neurosis that accompany those pounds we shed (or hypothetically shed in our heads.) Great writing and awesome insight.
Wow! I am looking forward to reading the third part of your story, but I have to stop and say I did not follow in the same journey you did sadly. I weighed 230 pounds at 5’1″ several years ago. I worked very hard and when I say hard I mean it! I was diligent about what I ate and I worked out! I reached 118 which I was so proud of but as you say…It did NOT make me happy. I was tired always and felt like there was no way I could keep up what I was doing indefinitely. I bought into the lie that if I lose weight then I will be happy and when that proved untrue…you guessed it I am back up to 185…I am so frustrated with that…
Really inspiring! I’m in a similar situation (albeit not as drastic) and I’m at 141 lbs and I feel like losing 30 lbs and dropping back to my pre-college weight would make a a lot happier. Reading your blog was so nice…it’s refreshing to see such honesty. Thank you for this eye opener.
p.s. – you look amazing!
Why don’t you just… do High intensive training so you don’t have to run so often. I run 20 minutes in the morning up a hill. Run as FAST as you can. Walk down. 10 times. Sends your heart rate into hysterics and burns fat all day. After running for more than 30 minutes, you’re training your body to KEEP fat. No disrespectin those who love to run; But if you hate it, find something you love !
Your realization about happiness and peace is paramount….. It’s an inside job, and whatever size our out meat suit is should not be our guide to how happy and successful we are in our lives.
I too however believed that once I got to a particular size my life would suddenly be a perfect fairy tale…… Same thing with earning a certain amount of money….. Directly proportiante to how joyful I would feel…..
It just ain’t so……
Working on self love and acceptance has brought the serenity and peace and u know what the weight struggle and financial flip outs are fewer and so much easier now.
I applaud u and all of us who can let go and recognize we are all right where we r supposed to be in this road of discovery…. Our own personal journeys!
I re-read these posts every time I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. Thank you so much, Andie!
where is part 3!
Authenticity… is freeing to those who can relate. Truth… is sometimes hard to say, but again… freeing, both to the one who speaks it and to those who get to receive it. You are a great writer, SUPER FUNNY, and I can’t wait to read what’s next. My friend sent me an email with a recipe from your website oday and told me how you’d lost so much weight. I sent the recipe to 3 other friends at work and then we all gathered around my computer at work and looked at your pictures. We started with the pictures before you lost the weight. Do you know what the first comment I made was, when I saw your picture? “Oh my word… she was GORGEOUS!!!” Immediately the other girls all commented and agreed on how beautiful you were then. You look AMAZING now as well. I just wanted you to know what my FIRST thought was when I saw your picture, pre-weight loss. I appreciate how real you are and that you make me laugh hard too. P.S. I HATE RUNNING TOO… WITH A PASSION! Cheers again! :)
-Katie in Bristol, TN
wow, Beautiful story and I enjoyed the way you wrote it! Look forward to reading part 3,
This is an awesome story. You look so beautiful, really, and to be honest I could not believe you were 268!!! In your pictures your arms are so skinny and nice! You should really model if you dont already, your stunning! I am very happy for you and this is an amazing story.
First, I would like to thank you for having the strength to share your personal story and also congratulate you on your insight and resolve to put happiness before a number on a scale.
Recently, after having to stop working because of knee problems, I’ve re-gained 25 pounds and have punished myself mentally every day. Because of my knee issues, certain exercised are off limits and it has been difficult to find the motivation when I already feel like I am serving a life sentence of exercise prison. I’ve already made good modifications to my diet but still have a way to go. I fear that my only way out of this body and into a slimmer one is through endless and obsessive exercising and that is holding me back.
Again, congratulations on all of your successes and thanks for sharing!
I don’t usually give these stories a second glance. Heck, I was only on your page because I was looking at your recipes (which are certainly tempting!).I REALLY enjoyed reading your story. I can relate in SO many ways…..I am currently stuck in the middle somewhere in terms of my current weight loss journey. I’ve been really skinny, and really large, but more importantly, I’ve been uncomfortable in my own skin for over half my life. This was truly an inspiration. And wow, I know what it’s like to HATE running yet feel a driving need to do it anyway…..Keep on keepin on. =)
Yea, I’m crying too, but not because of the inspiration. Yes, you are very inspirational, but I am sitting here at 5’9″ 299 lbs and you are telling me that there is no peace in the losing of it. You are telling me being skinny is just as painful, just as much a struggle, just as depressing, as being morbidly obese. I can’t bear the thought of it! Oh dear God help me. Is there any hope?
sorry shelly your distress moved me to comment yes my dear there is hope weight loss is only apart of life we most of us struggle with it to some degree but life really is aboout balance and perspective happiness isn’t about how you look or your weight it is a habit just like exercise,eating or going to church its about being the kind of person you love and want to be around and making it a habit to be that positive,beautiful fun person. It is about first creating it in thought and then in form good luck!
Hi Shelly – she does have a great story, but remember it *is* her story. I have recently lost a good deal of weight, and my story is different. I lost weight through eating healthy, running, biking, kayaking and strength work. I actually like – didn’t say love :) – running. I can see how it affects my body, and it makes me proud that my body is capable of doing this activity.
I don’t find the weight loss to be painful. I love the way my body feels. My knee no longer hurts and I don’t snore anymore. I can handle heat well, and have more energy to work in my garden. My clothes fit. I am proud of myself. This is a big achievement and I have worked hard to get here.
I do worry about maintaining the weight loss, but I’m determined to be vigilant about eating healthy and exercising at least 30 minutes (really, it’s not that much!) a day. It’s doable.
You can do it…and you will create your own story as you go. Best wishes and good luck…
@ Chris….well said! We all have our own “stories” and should be proud of our accomplishments however big or small. It truly is a “one day at a time” thing.
Hey, I have to say I am so proud of you and you give me hope. I have been thinking that its important now then ever to really start controlling my life. I want to lose weight and get healthier. More importantly, feel good about myself. I stumbled upon your site because I was looking for some nice quinoa recipes and I really am overjoyed to have because this site is inspirational for those who think they cannot do it. You have definitely motivated me to get up and change my life.
Every time I run, I think about you. Thanks for sharing your story, you are such and inspiration!! I cannot wait to read part 3!!
That was amazing what you did, just saying it doesn’t matter anymore. That’s insanley hard to do and all I did was loose 15 pounds and I’m stressing over it coming back. Thank you so much for helping relieve that stress and not letting it control my life anymore.
You are amazing!! I hear SO much of myself in your words! Things I thought, said, and did. I can’t WAIT for part 3!
Aaaand…I just realized that part 3 is already here…so I’m dumb…but happy because now I can read it.
What a part 2! I came to your website looking for help with shifting my weight, and I’ve come away with an overwhelming personal insight to my own life. Thank you for that. I’ve been overweight for the last two years, and haven’t got back to size, said it was laziness, lots of things, but…. (And I’m saying this cos I’ve health issues at the mo, vertigo- I think are weight related) I know I don’t want to lose the weight cos I’m happier now. This is my fork in the road-to find time to do the exercise and lose it with the right mentality… Thank you so much for ur post!
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Thank you for this story. I recently gained about 20 pounds from my birth control and I’ve always struggled with my weight. I totally understand when you talk about how it seems like everything will be better once you loose weight . Growing up, I struggled with boys and self esteem and I always blamed my weight. I lost a lot before high school and thought my worries are over. Now that I gained it all back and more ( I am reaching close to 200 and I’m not that tall so it scares me) I feel like I am falling apart and all those insecurities are back. Currently I have a great boyfriend, I love my major, I have an awesome internship and I love my boss and coworkers but I always feel like I am not worth enough because I weigh a lot. I really liked hearing your story because I can totally relate! Thank you for sharing and it is great to hear your perspective to help me with my weight issues.
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Hi! I found your blog by perusing the dining and wine section of the NY times. See I recently joined weight watchers and I was looking for some healthy recipes that were dummy proof (read: Ashley proof) and I have to admit your recipe for a fish sandwich was what sold me on your blog! However, reading about your personal journey is what sealed the deal. As a 22 year old college grad who has decided to “take back the reigns” from my love/ hate relationship with food, I find your blog refreshing. I never know how to end comments…so…Keep up the good work…? I guess? As for me, I shall be dining like a king with my fish sandwich!
Some of the things you write about are thoughts that have crossed my mind. But I will tell you the comment about not wanting the moment or experience to end when it comes to eating really hit home. A little over a month ago I had that “aha” moment…I had started a new job and had to take a picture for my photo ID. I don’t know what hit me harder…seeing not only a double chin but quite possibly the beginnings of a third one. That’s when I said enough something has to change. I have managed to lose twenty pounds so far by really paying attention to what I eat and doing 45 minutes of cardio five days a week. It makes me realize how I had such a love/hate relationship with food. Seriously, when I think about it I never really ate when I was happy…I didn’t need to. I ate when I was bored, lonely, mad, sad, tired, annoyed, pms’ing….and sometimes when I think I might actually have been…just plain hungry. Tonite after a particularly boring day at work I went to the gym and did my time on the treadmill and honestly all I wanted to eat for dinner was a big old double bacon cheeseburger from Five Guys! But honestly, I wanted it mentally…I wanted to feel that feeling of just pure cheese and fat and bacon and grease and all that goes along with it. But in reality, physically I didn’t want it because I knew it would make me feel sick. It truly is an eye opener when you realize what a true craving means, mentally and physically. Needless to say I didn’t go get a burger…as much as I really thought I wanted one. Your blog is true, honest, heartfelt and realistic….thank you for sharing your story! Sorry I rambled on
Hurry! Part three!!!!
Can I have the link to part 3 please?
Here’s the link: http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/04/06/my-exercise-history-part-3/
Thanks for reading!
This is really inspiring. One of my greatest fears is that I will lose the weight I want, and still be unhappy.