My Exercise History Part 3

Read Part 1. Read Part 2

In many ways, an outlook like this sounds easier said than done. But I just stopped. Quit running that very day in March of 2008 and haven’t ever done it again since. That’s three more years of living without so much as seeing anything above 4mph on the treadmill. I was elated.


I took up walking. A comfortable pace, a podcast, music, a phone conversation with a friend, sometimes outdoors, sometimes in, always in a more loving way than when I ran. Walking felt calming, soothing, like giving myself love. It didn’t feel at all punishing or brutal like the days when my joints ached on impact. I had more energy. I could walk anywhere, at any time, with anyone, in any manner.

I’ve watched the Biggest Loser in years past, and I shudder to think about how enslaved lots of contestants must feel to the gym. I read articles about how past winners (and losers) still hit the gym for upwards of two hours a day in many cases, just to maintain their weight loss. And having lost a similar amount as those folks, I know they must be nervous of stopping such a rigorous routine. Their bodies become so used to such a high calorie burn everyday, what shock would occur if they stopped? They must keep on keeping on, right? Well, no, not exactly.

Maybe lightening up on movement will mean their systems are shocked temporarily, but after a while maybe they’ll realize that when they don’t engage in excessive cardio, they’re not as famished all the time. Maybe they’re not quite so drained. Maybe moving in any way for at least a bit of time each day is enough to stay put on the scale.

So hear me and please, please, please, believe me: You do not need to kill yourself in the gym, you don’t need to run everyday, you don’t even need to own exercise equipment.

I will repeat that last bit just because, well, I can. Can somebody pass me a megaphone? You do not need to kill yourself in the gym.

You do not need to run when you feel like crying, move when you feel like only a movie would restore you, power through when all you really need exists in a nap.


You must find your life first.

You must find.

Your life first.

Yes, I think you should exercise to lose weight. You can run; you can jog; you can bike; you can take group fitness classes; you can swim. Or you can walk. All that matters is that you’re moving, that you’re burning calories. And for some odd reason, I believed that running was the only way.

Only now do I see that it wasn’t. It isn’t. Obviously. 

Today, my exercise is walking to and from work, which is about 1.5 miles away from my home, so in total it’s 3 miles. I walk to local shops and restaurants, I might walk to get coffee in the morning or late afternoon when I’m convinced an iced Americano cures the blues, I’ll take a stroll with Daniel on Saturday afternoons and ask him questions about life and things that I still need to know after nearly six sweet years, or maybe I’ll do none of those things. Last weekend, for example, I didn’t leave the house more than once, and that was a car trip. Maybe the only movement that feels tender is outstretching on my not-quite-leather sofa. And really, that’s become quite alright with me. The outstretching, not the leather alternative.

The point is, you can find something you don’t hate, something you quite like, and maintain your weight. You just have to trust that if you’re doing the best you can, and you’re moving your body in some way each day, and eating well, that you will find the weight that’s true to the life you want to live. That weight should include desserts when you want them, drinks when you need them, and laying on the couch all day because your DVR talks sweeter than the pavement.

The thing is, exercise is great because it makes you feel energized and positive and mentally light. It’s a way to work the kinks out of your life, your day, your upper shoulders. You find confidence and strength in pushing your physical limits. For those reasons, and only those, it’s beautiful.

And though you will not love it everyday, it’s something for the rest of your life. You must. So find something that restores you. Walk. Call your friend and walk for 40 minutes on Saturday morning.

All I can share is my experience and it is this: I’m no bigger and no smaller than I ever want to be. I’m where peace met my mind and my body and then introduced them to my soul. And all I like to do is move my legs, swing my arms, and listen to podcasts on parenting and astronomy. Because maybe one day I’ll be an astronaut mom.


But I move because the world has too much to show me to stay still.

I swing my arms because I realized in seventh grade that holding them rigidly at my side makes me walk like a Ken doll. Minus the ambiguous genitalia.

I stretch upward and outward because all of life feels like it’d rather hold me tight to the Earth.

I’ve fallen down hills, in ditches, scraped my knees, and bruised my ego.

I began looking up rather than at the sidewalk.

And I’ve found her.

And she’s safe.

She’s happy.

She’s free.



You’ve done it. You finished the series. *You can now collect a sizeable monetary refund for your time.

*Prices and participation may vary.



431 thoughts on “My Exercise History Part 3

      1. kimberly

        thank you so much. I really needed this as well. I’ve lost 60 pounds and am struggeling to lose 5-10 more. You’ve motivated to take a step back and remember my happiness and enjoying my days are more important then 5-10 silly pounds. I LOVE walks :)

    1. treva

      You are truly inspirational. I have fought my own body my whole life… 40 years! I am looking forward that HAPPY but more importantly…that PEACE!

    2. Sallie

      Seriously, inspiring. Moving. I’ve never read anything like this, let alone stayed tune for a blog series except for this. Thank you.

    3. Alena

      wow! agreed, *applause*!
      I just stumbled across this, I’ve never struggled with my weight, but none the less reading what you’ve went through is inspiring to say the least.
      You are so beautiful!

    4. Nannette

      Love this exercise history. I too went full boar on exercise after losing weight only to come to a screeching halt because of heel spurs. Thank you for making me feel validated that simply walking is more rewarding than any formal exercise can be!

    5. erica

      I needed to read this today. I needed to read this a year ago, but I don’t know that I could process and appreciate it in the same ways. Thank you.

    6. Kristi

      I needed to read this. Thank you so much for inspiring those of us who think “The only way to lose this weight is to run! Everyone else is running! I have to run!” Well…I just can not run. I’ve tried numerous times, different shoes, clothes, socks…etc. Just can’t do it.
      You have totally made me feel great about just walking! I love to walk and just be with me!
      Thank you again for your inspiration!

    7. Cathy

      Way to go! I also am on a journey of faith and enjoyment as I find what healthy state is right for me. One thing I would say to encourage your readers is that once significant change is introduced into one’s eating and exercise habits, after 88 days of consistency, the metabolism is RE-SET, and maintenance does not require the same habits in order to be stable. (It takes ~88 days for every cell in the body to be replaced.) I am still not where I want to be, but I am SO encouraged by my new metabolism and the great results. I feel great; I actually LOVE my exercise…WALKING, just like you described. May I add that coming to a place of yielding to the Lord and serving Him, and not self, is the absolutely most amazing way to find joy and peace; self will always disappoint at some point; He never will!! Press on, and may you find everlasting joy~

    8. Casey

      Thank you so much for this. It was honestly so beautiful & inspiring. I work out at the gym every day, and I don’t hate it yet, I don’t dread it yet, but I know I will eventually. This was so helpful!

  1. johnny

    I just don’t know how you could be more beutiful! You express everything so …I can’t even think of the words to use. If you wrote a book I would be the first one in line to buy it. Thank you for the inspiration.

    I’m more than twice your age and have listened to so many people advice on weight loss and weight maintenance. They all want that $20 plus much,much,much more and it all comes down to why not exactly how!
    You will be the best astronaut Mom in the buisness!!Thank you SOOOOOOOO MUCH! :)

  2. Lindsay

    I have really enjoyed reading these posts. You write beautifully. Walking is, hands down, my favorite form of exercise. It feels so relaxing. I have recently found a place in my life for more vigorous exercise and learned that I love it (most days), but I try to be forgiving if I just can’t seem to make it off the couch to do that strength training DVD, or if I’d rather go for a walk than go for a run.

  3. Chelsea

    I seemed to have stumbled upon your blog at the perfect moment. Your story was beautifully written and so compelling. I have recently lost 30lbs over the course of a year or so and am at a plateau!! Did your last bit of weight cling for dear life? If so, what did you do to lose it? Either way, your story was incredibly inspiring to me. Through the great people that will encourage me, trust in myself, and a little faith… I’ll get there. I also appreciate you touching on maintaining. Since I still have a little ways to go until my happy body weight, I know nothing about maintenance, and I have to say you definitely took out some of the fear in it all. So thanks again and I look forward to becoming part of your ever growing readers population :)

    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Thanks so much Chelsea!! I don’t really remember ever hitting a plateau, so I don’t know what advice to offer you. But I do know this: If busting through it requires more energy than you’re willing to give in the long run, don’t try to be SuperWoman. Does that make sense? I just never like to set up unreasonable routines or anything that would make life dreadful in the mean time :)

      Thank you for sharing, I’m so lucky to have you here :)

  4. Lisa @ Thrive Style

    This was beautifully written, and I loved the whole story—you could have even made it longer and I would have never gotten bored :)

    Thanks for talking about this topic–it’s an ongoing struggle for so many people.

    I love this part, “I’m no bigger and no smaller than I ever want to be. I’m where peace met my mind and my body and then introduced them to my soul. And all I like to do is move my legs, swing my arms, and listen to podcasts on parenting and astronomy. Because maybe one day I’ll be an astronaut mom.”

  5. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Awww what a great conclusion. I just have to say that those photos of you are absolutely gorgeous. Although our fitness regimes are different, I like reading posts like this because they remind me there’s no need to go balls-to-the-wall every day. Rest is a good thing, and workouts shouldn’t feel like punishment. Walking is something I definitely think I could benefit from – like you said, there are so many benefits. I think the main thing I’d gain is time to clear my head and just calm down. Thanks Andrea! :)

  6. Corinna

    I’ll be the big 4-0 this year and with two kids under my belt I am stuck in the running rut. Because I do love to eat, I’m worried that if I stop running I’ll gain the weight back. Your journey inspired me. I’ll still run, but perhaps not so hard and perhaps not always the 5 miles a day. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Amy @ Second City Randomness

    Great posts, girl. I am a huge believer that everyone just needs to find that one thing they love and hold on to it!

    Mine will always be running (yes! I like it!), but it does pain me to hear people talk about how they HAVE to do this or HAVE to do that and if they don’t spend at least an hour in the gym, all they can eat is salad. It makes me sad because all they do is spend their life doing things that make them miserable.

  8. Di

    This was a really really great series. I looked forward to each installment!

    I’ve recently realized the same thing – you have to find the exercise routine that you LOVE, and not the exercise routine that’ll have you burn out and be miserable over. If I find that I really want to go to the gym, and I mean truly want to go, then I go. If I want to go for a long walk, then I go. If I want to try to run for a half hour straight, then I do. It’s all about doing what makes you happy in the moment. :)

    Thank you for writing such an honest and fantastic series about something that I think pretty much everyone struggles (or has struggled) to find a balance with. ♥

  9. brandi@BranAppetit

    i love this :) My husband and I normally run during spring, summer, and fall, but we kind of just hibernate in the winter, with our only activity being walking our dog and taking her out when the weather is nice enough (rare).

    But I’ve been rethinking the whole running thing for this year. and I’m not sure i want to get back on that train. I like it somedays, but hate it the rest of the time. So maybe it’s time to just walk and do other things I enjoy ALL the time, like hiking and yoga.

  10. Sally

    What a breath of fresh air you always are! Most people who are “featured” for losing weight always look a good 20 pounds overweight to me. Not inspiring when you have little to lose. But you look slim, vibrant, and healthy, but most of all content. Thank you for these posts.

    P,S. The Strawberry Crumble Bars were soooo good!

  11. Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    What a great series of posts! I have to admit that one reason I never trained for a half marathon because I was afraid that once I cut back on running I’d gain weight. I love that you found a form of exercise that makes you feel good and energized but not too exhausted to function for the rest of the day. You are an amazing example of healthy living!

  12. Kim

    I just love these posts. Words cannot describe the extreme distaste I found for running. It’s great to see someone maintaining without killing themselves.

  13. Alicia from Poise in Parma

    I do feel like one of those Biggest Loser contestants – thinking I have to spend my entire day in the gym to stay uber slim. But I had to realize that I can’t do that to myself anymore. And if that means I gain a few pounds, at least I’m out living life instead.

    You are beautiful. Love your writing and continue to hope the stars align so we can meet in person one day.

  14. Kelly Jo

    I am so glad that I found your blog.
    I am at the beginning of my weight loss journey and have so far to go but let me tell you, this post was super inspiring.

  15. Karen

    Thanks for the great posts! I recently lost 25 pounds and during that transition I decided that I really did not like running (no, I loathed it). So, I now walk and do yoga. I couldn’t be more happier!

  16. Meghan

    I stumbled upon your blog and it is so refreshing to read. I’m starting down a path of being mindful of my eating and finding a partner in crime in the midst of this. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  17. Shanna, like Banana

    Fabulous series Andrea. It was a pleasure going on the journey with you and I applaud your sensible approach to maintaining your healthy lifestyle, without shortchanging yourself the joys of delicous food.

    BTW is that Daniel in the photo above? I thin this is the first time I’ve seen him!

  18. Lindsay

    These posts have been just what I needed lately!! I have been going balls-to-the-wall with my workouts for the past 2 years, and really, I’m not happy. Well, I guess that’s not the entire truth; I just started TurboFire, and I think I love them…there’s a part of me that dreads them, but I think that really just resides in the fact that I have to get up before 5 am to do them…

    I think it’s something I definitely need to figure out. I need to decide if it’s the workout or the TIME of the work out that I dread.

    But back to the ACTUAL point! I am SO GLAD I found your blog…every post I’ve read has hit me at the exact time I needed it. Thank you so much for being so open and honest, and I hope that I too can allow myself the freedom you have someday!

  19. Sonia

    I’m a total stalker of your blog and I absolutely love it. What I love even more are the last three posts. You are beautiful and your blog is a breath of fresh air!

  20. LC

    Loved this series. Just wanted you to know this is one of my new favorite blogs – thanks to MelissaNibbles for sending me over.

  21. Alisa Fleming

    I just found your blog two posts ago, when you started this exercise series. I was drawn in by a recipe, but these recent posts have made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    I’m a bit biased, as I have found what you have found, walking is amazing – I quite running many, many moons ago and have never once missed it. Last yeaer I did add in weight training (in my house) and that is also something I adore. Note because I log tons of hours doing it (I don’t), but I’m petite, and it makes me stronger and feel more confident. But, unlike the gym used to do, walking and weights just make me feel good, not wiped out.

    Congrats on all of your success, it is inspiring to read!

  22. *Andrea*

    BEAUTIFUL POST!!!! i think *trust* is the key thing here. i lost how to trust and respect my body and regaining this is hard, but you give me hope!

  23. ann

    That just made me cry it was so beautiful. It’s not often that people are actually kind to themselves. It’s all I shoulda done this, I coulda tried harder, I failed on my diet today… What courage it takes to love yourself and treat yourself kind. And so true. If you lose weight to improve your life and spend all day doing things you hate, where is the improvement?

  24. Kelsey

    You. Are. Amazing. Your story is so incredibly inspirational. You should be so very proud of all that you have accomplished, in mind, soul, and body.
    So many people become slaves to exercise and never learn to enjoy their bodies, or life for that matter.
    Thank you for saying the things that others forget to mention, but we all need to hear.

  25. Kace

    So well written, thank you Andrea. And very timely, as I was sitting here feeling guilty for not working out the last three days because I had too much work to get done. But now I realize that its just a few skipped workouts, that’s all!

    I’m trying to lose about 10-15 pounds; my body-fat percentage was pretty high despite me being an appropriate weight for my height. Are there any (more) tips you could share? Like, do you eat 3 big meals or 5 small, etc? Like I said I’m really trying to more lose fat than anything else. of course skipping workouts isn’t the best way to do it! Maybe you could even do a guest post?

    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Hey Kace! First, thank you! Second, I’d love to share more practical advice. Sounds like I should write a whole post about it :) I eat 3 big meals, 2 snacks, and 1 big dessert. My biggest belief about weight loss rests in calories. Calories in versus calories out.

      I’ll try to pen something this weekend. Thanks again, friend :)

  26. JaNelle

    Beautiful, simply beautiful! After I read the last posts I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home so I could tell him all about you and how inspiring you are! He hearts you too!

  27. Halley

    high five!

    I always wanted to know what happens when the frantic rush to lose weight ends and you’re at the finish line wondering do I do now.

    This totally rings true to me. Moving should be about enjoyment and life not punishment.

    Sharing this is definitely changing my world. Thank you!

  28. Dishes of Mrs. Fish

    I loved this series and how you real you were with us.
    We are all so different, and it so nice to see someone who has found such a healthy balance. I love running, but my idea of fun is no longer running 8 miles of hills on Mondays anymore. I’d rather walk my dog and hang out with my hubby, and run maybe two of those miles instead. :)

  29. Bee

    What a wonderful, inspiring story Andrea. Although I’ve never had true weight problems, I feel like I still live with the “fear”–my dad passed away a few years ago, and he passed away at a very high and unhealthy weight. Those are my genes, and it scares me a lot. I can’t get my butt to the gym most days, for a number of excuses, and when I do go I’m just not happy. Trying to just be more active in a way that will fit into my life is what I’m working on right now. That’s what matters. Keep on keepin on girl, you are lovely :)

  30. Lea @ Healthy Coconut

    wow Andrea…you are so great with words and I love your story and the lessons learned.

    I just read all 3 parts right now and I applaud you for writing this long series and giving us a glimpse of your health journey.

    P.S. when you were describing the time you spent in Europe, you’re going to laugh ok….but I was picturing YOU and Julia Roberts eating together, lol! (a scene from Eat Pray Love movie).

    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      I just laughed out loud. I absolutely love this and love that you would even consider me in that scene :) Gosh I wish. I wish I had that pasta dish that she so lovingly eats in that one scene, too. Mmm…Thanks so much Lea!

  31. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    I love this so much. I don’t believe in forcing yourself to do a type of exercise you don’t like. I love jogging – that’s my thing. I’m slow, and my dad has always told me it doesn’t matter. You’re carrying the same weight over the same distance, all that matters is that you’re moving. And enjoying yourself. The rest is just details.

  32. MelissaNibbles

    I love this and you so much. I’m struggling right now to accept my recent 20 pound weight gain, but I know it’s where my body should be, but it’s tough. Especially when I spent so many years trying to lose weight. Right now walking makes me feel good and it’s hard not to want to start running or going crazy in the gym. I’m going to reread these posts when I need someone to tell me to calm down and just let my body be where it wants to be. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

    “That weight should include desserts when you want them and drinks when you need them” Um…I always need drinks.

  33. loftyappetite

    I love your story and this entire walking concept. I hate to run, unless I’m in the mood. I used to force myself to love running, it just doesn’t work, and it kills my knees. But anyways, my employer gave every employee a pedometer last year, and they entice us to move more (reduce their health spending) by giving us health account dollars based on amounts of steps – it’s a point system, and once you reach a certain level you see cash in your account. Its kind of fun because it has made me more conscious of how much I never walked around during the work day! Now I make a conscious effort to increase my steps, even it if means taking the long way to the printer! So I really believe walking really does go a long way.

  34. Beth

    I am in exactly the same boat you were in your Camry. I’ve lost 65 pounds over the last year and am now at the obsessive state where I HAVE to go to the gym and run 6 or 7 miles at least 3 times a week, because I feel like if I don’t, I’ll immediately gain all the weight back. I’m putting working out over relationships with my friends and boyfriend; I’m tired and sore all the time; overall – I’m not living. I read all 3 parts of your story in one sitting. I am sitting here, at my kitchen table, just having gotten back from running for an hour at the gym, and tears are rolling down my face. I cannot keep doing what I’m doing – and even though this is something my friends, family, and boyfriend have been repeatedly telling me over the past few months – your blog post was like a cathartic moment. I cannot thank you enough. I just hope I have the courage to follow through with it like you did.

  35. Michelle

    Thank you for this post! It is so refreshing and so honest. It also sheds light on the fact that exercise should be enjoyed. That’s something that I tend to forget. Luckily I’ve never struggled with being overweight but there are times I’m not happy with my body and I find myself thinking that I need to workout even though I don’t want to. This post is a healthy reminder that I don’t have to push through those workouts. Thanks again!

    PS… I just found your blog and I can’t wait to read more!

  36. E (One Twenty FIve)

    I’ve been killing myself running.
    All to lose weight.
    This was such a pleasure to read.
    Thank you so much.
    I’m training for my 3rd marathon.
    And now think it’ll be ok if I don’t run it.
    [If I can’t run it. I wasn’t o.k with that before. It wasn’t an option before.]
    I’ve been killing myself to lose it.
    50 pounds down. 25 to go.
    Tonight I’ll walk.
    For me.
    Thank you. So, So much. xo E

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  38. Patricia DeWit

    You are incredibly beautiful and I loved every line of your story. So much insight! My favorite line is definitely “I swing my arms because I realized in seventh grade that holding them rigidly at my side makes me walk like a Ken doll. Minus the ambiguous genitalia.”

    You’ve inspired me… again.

  39. Mary

    I just commented on Part 2 but this one moved me just as much, if not more. I love the way you are so free about all this stuff. I’m actually struggling with an eating disorder right now. I started out 7 years ago with anorexia and now I’m going through the binge/purge phase where I overexercise as well. Reading your stories are so amazing to me and I can’t express enough how much you inspired me, simply by just reading this story. So thank you, thank you so much.

  40. chelsea

    This is just what I needed! The past few weeks I have been having a really hard time with my body and exercise. I have been training for a half marathon and took it to another level, a level of doing cardio for hours each day, which left me drained and famished. Well, needless to say my body shut down, my blood sugar went crazy and now I am left stiff sore and struggle to walk for more than a half hour without getting exhausted. It was a good wake up call that made me realize that life is not and should not be focused on food and working out. I need to listen to my body and love it and treat it the way it should be treated. I have gone through months without working out and have not gained any weight. It is always refreashing to hear others out there blog just not about being obbessed with exercise, but the opposite.

  41. carlee

    This was SUCH a good post! Just what I needed and SO inspiring! It reminds me of me because I gave up running as well. I did it to burn calories but I HATED it. Mainly becasue it hurt my back. Not so much I hated it but hated the drag of “having” to do it and the way it made my back feel! Good for you for doing what is best for you and NOT running! Walking is sooo much funner! :) Brisk walks make you feel so good and free!

  42. thetwentyfifthyear

    So, you know what I love about your writing? It’s real. It’s raw. It’s funny. It makes me laugh and think and nod my head and go yes! I agree with so many things and shift my own thoughts as well and that’s what I love about your writing.

    This story is incredible, not only because it’s so empowering and moving but because it breaks the mold that I think this community – whether they realize it or not – has formed. It is OK to not be a runner. It’s OK if you hate races, the treadmill and dread a training plan. I know I tried my hand, er legs, at it and while I liked the challenge, I haven’t ran in nearly a year and I am SO much happier. I found my happy exercise and that is CrossFit. I am stronger and healthier than I ever was with 7 8 and 9 mile training runs.

    Thank you for being honest and open and candid and funny. Truly refreshing and beautiful.

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  45. Anneliesz

    Woo hoo. Love hearing the culmination of this story. You’re absolutely right about finding something you love. No bodies are one size fits all and I see fitness that way too. My cousin finds herself energized by running and her love of it makes her do it regularly. Fitness helps you feel better and stay well. Glad you found the speed and activity that fits for you.

  46. Korey

    I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. I am 5’10” and needing to lose weight. The way you expressed your thoughts was so true to life, and inspiring. I loved it when you said that height is forgiving, “but not that forgiving”! SO TRUE. I fall into the trap of thinking that if I lose weight, I’ll be happy, everything will be fine. I found your words on the matter a much needed reality check. While I need to lose weight for my health, it cannot be what my happiness hinges upon. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  47. AJ

    Your story (and your beauty) brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy for you to have accomplished this! I completely agree that walking is a great way to stay fit. I also like to remember “eat less/move more” and “everything in moderation.” I struggled with weight my whole life (once I was as small as size 5 but last year I was a 16). At 53 years old I learned how to hula hoop and I have lost 42 lbs since last July. I highly recommend that you find an adult sized hoop (size is super important), put on your favorite music and learn how to dance in your hoop. 15-30 minutes a day and you will have such fun AND maintain your fantastic weight loss!

  48. Meredith

    I just happened to stumble across your blog. Beautiful and inspirational, thank you so much for sharing.

  49. Basil

    I lost 47 pounds about 3 years ago. When I tell people that, often I hear, “Why don’t you lose 3 more to make it an even 50?” And it’s because I’m simply happy where I am. I get the feeling from reading your wonderful story, that you are also happy where you are.

    I wish you the best, you have a wonderful story!

  50. Stacey

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m very nearly in tears after reading this. I’ve just finished my sophomore year of college and, at 160 lbs, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’ve decided, exactly like you said, to make this summer my “weight-loss” summer so I can return to school thin, but after a rather devastating wake-up call as to how out-of-shape I am at the gym this past week, I lost a lot of motivation.

    Seeing you be able to lose so much weight is so inspiring to those of us who find losing a mere 30 lbs daunting. Thank you for being honest and encouraging…tomorrow’s gym venture will certainly be better (:

  51. Kimberly Taylor

    dear lord girl – you amaze me! what an inspiration you are! it was so nice to meet you today and I would love to get together sometime – for a walk (and a fabulous lunch maybe) or a photography field trip perhaps?
    have a great rest of your week,

  52. Sarah

    I came across your blog via pinterest and at first I thought it was yet another pro-anna pic and link. But then I started reading it and reading your story. This is the ONLY blog/article/anything about getting and staying slim that I’ve read where I don’t want to slap somebody. It is so honest and normal. You are healthy in both body and mind, what could be more inspirational than that?
    Thank you.

  53. susan Soroka

    I was actually looking for recipes when I came across your story/blog. Like others, read the 3 part series in one sitting. I’m soon to be 62, and while weight is not a concern, the placement of the weight is!!! I have just started a shape and tone class 3 days a week, and am enjoying it.

    You have inspired many (see all your comments!)… As for my inspiration from your story, walking is a needed aspect to add to my daily routine.

    I wish you well in life, and so appreciate your candor and the physical and spiritual beauty you add to our world!

  54. Genny

    I’m so impressed that you found the drive to start the process all by yourself, and while living in Italy!

    I’m living in France right now and started to run again a few months ago. I’ve never been at the weight I would like to be either; reading your story is great inspiration :) Thanks for sharing!

  55. Cassandra

    HOW did you let your self come to terms with your weight? Even when I tell myself I am happy and content some part of me, deep down doesn’t believe me. I don’t understand how you finally resolved to let go of the guilt. Great blog, I love your style and voice!

  56. Marie

    Please. Pretty pretty PLEASE with a cherry on top: write a book! I read your story in its entirety – part 1 through 3 – and in this single moment, I feel my perspective has been widened. I’m moved by your journey, as I am also on a journey (albeit of a different nature). But then again, aren’t we all? On a journey, that is? Your writing expresses this fact both beautifully and encouragingly.

  57. cookingrookie

    Hi Andie,
    I am usually not into reading long posts, but I just read yours :-). So many things in it sounded so familiar to me… I absolutely agree with you – I also love walking and I think that a gym is a sure path to injuries: you go there, work yourself too hard for 2 weeks, then pull or stretch something, and then can’t move for 2 months, and all the benefits of your labor and sweat are gone… In fact, I used to gain weight when I worked out a lot, because I felt that I could afford to eat more. I have not run at all (maybe for the bus) for the last 2.5 years, and it’s been the time of my most consistently normal weight. But I have to admit that for me it’s still a struggle to maintain it – especially since I’ve discovered how much I love cooking :-).

  58. Rachel

    You HAVE to write a book! You are an entertaining writer and have a great story to start with . . .

  59. Amanda

    I am 5’8″ and weigh 250lbs. Three years ago, between my freshmen-sophomore year in college, I cringed at stepping on the scale and finding myself weighing 230lbs. I freaked and started exercising excessively and lost 40-50lbs within only three months. It “helped” that I began this weight-loss between the end of the semester and the summer before the next, so $0 in my bank account meant not a lot of money for food. Looking back now, I unintentionally starved myself. There was a point where I was going to the on-campus Burger King and getting ketchup packets, emptying them into a bowl, and eating that with crackers like it was tomato soup. Then I would run five miles and walk ten miles. Sadly, despite the fact that I don’t know how I didn’t just pass out randomly every five minutes from malnutrition, it was the best I had ever felt in years when I lost all that weight. Then it happened. I lost the initial weight I had planned on, and I stopped. I fell off the metaphorical too-high-of-an-incline treadmill of my life and just stopped everything. Quit working out, ate the way college students do, and I gained every bit of it back and more over the next two years. Your story speaks so much to me. The waking up, the freaking out, the revelations, then the back-tracks. Not knowing who I was or what I wanted or why nothing made me happy. I keep randomly exercising, and I’ll keep it up for a week. Then I’ll have that day that I was “just too busy to do anything considered working out, I’ll just do extra tomorrow”. But tomorrow never came. And months would go by before I remembered that I was supposed to be making myself healthier – not THINNER, but HEALTHIER.
    For the past month, I have “exercised” everyday. But in a way that I KNOW I can keep it up. I walk my dog (or run around in circles in the yard with her). I get on the treadmill to songs that have that perfect beat to skip to, but usually only for 15-30 minutes every few days. I go hiking at a local park (the outdoors calls me, and it calls to my artistry too). I pace around the house to calm myself instead of stuffing my face with Doritos (deliciousdeliciousDoritos). I walk to the store that it only a mile from my apartment instead of driving the minute over there.
    My point: your story brought tears to my eye because of just how much I relate to you. You inspire me. You make me realize that I don’t have to hate myself just to lose weight. It’ll just happen, as long as I just stop freaking myself out. You are beautiful in every way that I find people beautiful (and most of it is not with physical appearance). Thank you so much for this page and especially thank you for sharing your story. I hope to find my center in my life as you have.
    Thank you for letting me see that I can still love myself even if I don’t run 6 miles a day anymore. Thank you.

  60. Michelle

    My friend sent me a link to your S’Mores Brownies… I thought, “I must know this woman now!” And I feel like I do. You are beautiful! I love your words, and your hatred of running (I too, am a walk-don’t runner)! I think you should also know that your story has beautiful implications for people struggling with their weight in the other direction. Happy, balanced, and fulfilled should be our goals, that and as many S’Mores as possible! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  61. Shawna Beamish

    Andrea, it was great meeting you the other day and i am really really enjoying your blog! Very heartwarming to hear your story and very affirming for me, a fellow “hates to run, loves to walk-er.” :) Keep it up!

  62. SallyBR

    I found your blog by accident, through a random “stumble” hit. In these days in which everything happens so fast, and the attention span of a human being at the computer is measured in seconds, and not that many ;-) I found myself reading your whole recollection, unable to stop.

    Your writing is honest, authentic, you get close to people with your words, a skill, a virtue that is not common.

    I wish you all the best in the many many wonderful years you have ahead!

  63. Pingback: the end of running « Chocolate and Chaturangas

  64. Talitha

    Just found ur blog via Read all three of your exercise series. Great to hear such a different perspective from a blogger. So glad you found peace! :) Congrats!

  65. Kimberley

    I hear ya on how amazing walking feels as opposed to the discomfort and agony of running. Like you, I haven’t run in probably 3 or 4 years, for the same reasons: injury and fatigue from it. I love walking so much. And I save all my podcasts for walks. I’ll do it almost no matter the weather. Best thing ever!

  66. Malika

    I just came across your blog and wow you are one amazing lady!! I loved reading your story and love that you hate running and the gym, I dislike them too. I much prefer walking! I am also on a quest to eat healthy…I am going to try your black bean enchiladas in the near future! You can check me out at


  67. Abby

    I just came across your blog, and I don’t think the timing could have been more perfect. I have maintained 70 lbs of an 80 lb weight loss for the better part of 7 years. And yet, I always feel compelled to fight that last 10 pounds that my body clearly prefers to have on its frame. Lately, I feel extreme guilt on days where I do a half-way work out, or heaven forbid I skip the gym altogether. Your posts remind be that there is peace in finding balance. I hope to carry that message with me. I actually enjoy running and the gym, so long as I’m not mentally beating myself up over my intensity! Thanks for the reminder.

  68. Amy

    Your blog has really touched me. I have a lot of weight to lose, and have a gym membership that I haven’t used in months. I’m about to drop that membership and just go for a walk starting tonight! Keeping it simple will help me get to my goal!

  69. Online Sunshine

    I’m trying to lose weight. My starting weight was 170 and I’m down to 165. My goal weight is 125 (I’m 5’5″).
    I am walking after work each night…4 miles round trip. And now I’ve added an additional walk at lunch (also 4 miles). I eat about 1500 calories a day….good calories filled with vegetables, proteins, and even some carbs. I don’t do too much sugar….just a chocolate covered biscotti in the morning that I dip in my coffee (that is flavored with hazelnut creamer). I eat 3 meals and two snacks a day (snacks include Greek yogurt, fruit, chips and salsa with avocado, string cheese, pistachios).
    And I’m also doing situps and pushups 3 times a week.
    But I read somewhere that you can over-train….that too much exercise makes your body stressed and makes you retain the weight.
    I rest on Sundays to give myself a break and I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night (and more on the weekends if I can).
    I just don’t want to cause my body not to lose the weight. I really need to get this excess fat off…it’s really a strain on my back and knees, etc.
    Do you think that two 4-mile walks a day during the week is considered over-training?

  70. Kate

    You are singing my song! I spent about a year losing 125 pounds – that was 5 years ago. I still exercise regularly, in fact more often than while I was losing weight. But I exercise doing things I love – yoga, walking, some weight training. I do what I feel like daily – it is my time, my way of getting moving in my day.

    The struggle with exercise as a requirement of maintenance can still freak me out. But your blog is so truthful, and SOOOO helpful to others! Thank you sharing these thoughts in such an honest and FUN manner.

  71. Natalie Campbell

    I really needed to read this right now!! Thank you!! I very much enjoyed reading your series! You should serioulsy pen a book someday…and share your story. Very encouraging!!

  72. @h0neyb

    A friend shared your blog with me because like her we love reading food blogs :) Thank you for sharing your story! I 100% agree on everything you posted in 1, 2 & 3! :)

  73. Lisa

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I was just getting ready to delve into a bag of hershey kisses when I found your blog. I put the kisses away and grabbed a peach.

    You are such an inspiration. I have about 100 lbs to lose. I know I can do it. It going to take people like you that will get me there.

  74. Erin

    This was amazing! you are an incredible writed and i would love to hear more stories if you write like this all the time?

    i wish my sister would read this and stop exercising for hours a day, because she thinks just like how you used to.

    Thank you for making my day!

  75. Tangi Wheet

    True story. I came across your blog because I was searching for “healthy recipes” on Pinterest. I feel like I have found a diamond in the rough. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have lost 20 pounds but need to lose about 60 more. I was just thinking, I wish I could find a blogger who speaks my language. Your story hits home and is entertaining at the same time. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes. Thank you for the inspiration and the wisdom. My goal is to be fit and healthy (and hot) but I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought that I would have to continue the hard long workouts for the rest of my life or the pounds would comeback. I know that there is truth to what you have said and I feel liberated and free and ready to burn these last pounds…all with a brighter outlook. I look forward to my healthy life. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!!

  76. K'lyssa

    Thank you for this. Thank you for every word, for every little joke, for every piece of yourself you poured into these three blog posts.

    Three weeks ago..I woke up. I realized that I’m 22 years old. I’m not in college anymore. I’m out of excuses. I realized that the only way to be happy with the person looking at me in the mirror was to change her for the better. So I did. I started controlling my portions, eating healthier, and exercising. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t own any exercise equipment. I do Zumba on my Wii and get down on TurboJam. I walk while listening to the sweet sounds of NKOTBSB. And you know what? It’s working. I’ve lost 9 pounds. The number I see on the scale now is a lower number than I can remember seeing in years. I have a long way to go – but I know that I can do it and I know that, for the very first time in my entire life, I WANT to do it.

    I can’t wait to be free.

  77. Leann

    wow. I’m not sure of the different posts that lead me to your site, but I couldn’t have happened upon your story at a better time. I, too, am starting on my own weightloss journey, very close to your starting weight and your story has just inspired me to keep on keeping on in spite of the current number on the scale.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  78. Mallory

    Happened across your blog via Pinterest – saw the exercise link on the left-side bar. Your story (as I’m sure many have told you) is the most honest, truthful writing I have come across in my life. I have struggled with my inner-conflict of weight since I learned that girls weren’t allowed to have fat on their bodies (surprisingly, I “learned” that quite early). Your brutally forward words were just what I needed right now to slap me in the face and shout “GET A GRIP” (a phrase I am confident I use much too often). Thanks for the shove back to reality. So glad to hear that you’re one with your soul. Hoping to get there someday myself.

  79. Pingback: Getting Back to My Happy Weight « The Bookworm Wife

  80. Molly

    Thank you for this. This is true motivation…i just wish my motivation would push me further and further. I struggle to loose weight. I tell myself just 50 lbs would be enough…and if you lost 135lbs then wow! I know anything you put your mind to, can be accomplished. Thank you.

  81. Samantha

    Thank you! I just lost 114 lbs over the last year. And I have 33 lbs to reach my desired weight. My concern has been that I will have to sacrifice my life to always working out and I have only found one cardio exercise that I like. Your article gives me hope as I love to walk everywhere. With the changes I have made in eating style I now have confidence that my walking will be enough once I reach my goal. Thanks again.

  82. Carolyn

    So very grateful that I came across your blog. Thanks so much for putting the can opener to your own life, and experience, and success after feeling like you might fail. My weight struggle has been far more modest, about 35 pounds, but the details of the struggle are remarkably similar. We fall into these doctrinal mindsets that INSIST on one way of doing things in order to reach a goal. And the doctrinal mindsets are liars. LIARS. Walking has always been my preferred mode of exercise; I adore it and no longer feel guilty because I can’t get into a running routine (basically because I can’t stand running, ugh). And guess what? The weight is very slowly coming off, and I don’t hate what I’m doing to get there. Bravo girlfriend, through this sharing you have paid it forward a thousand times.

  83. kaitlin

    this truly touched me. you have given me hope that there is light at the end of this terribly long tunnel of fatness. you changed my life today. thank you.

  84. Amilia @justeverydayme

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Last year I battled with an eating disorder and lost a lot of weight. Now I am maintaining a healthy weight but the struggle to not feel bad when I don’t work out or when I eat junk food is really hard to overcome. This was inspiring…maybe I’ll take up walking and drop the elliptical :)

  85. Jenny

    I love this! I lost 50 lbs about 5 years ago now. Wow…I can’t believe it’s been that long! Anyways…the first 3 or so years, I killed myself. Then I got married, moved to a new town, got a new job, and life sort of just happened. I couldn’t kill myself to hit the gym. I actually loved working out but I loved my time with my new hubby more. Also, I had back problems (same as yours…with two procedures down so far..pain somewhat gone), and some things (like weight lifting which gave me so much joy) had to come to an end. Anyways…I did the exact same thing as you did. I told myself I was going to let my body be the weight it was happy at. Granted, I need to move more (I’ve actually been cautioned against walking too much due to the herniated discs), but life has given us an unexpected 14 month old foster child that has been giving me more moving (and loving) to do than I could of ever dreamed of. You know what? I’m heavier than I was when I lost all the weight, but I’m not unhealthy…and, more importantly, I’m unbelievably happy. There’s an old saying…maybe you’ve heard it?…”Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels”…but killing yourself to be “skinny” doesn’t “taste good” either. Thanks for the beautifully written, tug-at-my-heart-strings, you-get-me story. I. Loved. This. I. Needed. This. I. Am. Sharing. This. Keep up the great writing, and cheers to the movement, graceful or not! ;-)

  86. Allison

    Thank you so much for sharing! After reading this section and the story about what you miss from 135lbs ago, I am inspired. THere were so many thoughts or emotions you shared, that I have been struggling with myself, and it is helpful just to know that others have the same problems. Also, I have started trying to lose weight, but still have a long way to go, and seeing that you were able to so it, and then maintain without living and killing yourself in the gym is a huge motivator. My college roommate and I used to always say “i wished i liked to run” when we walked past runners who made it look so effortless. It is nice to hear from someone that you can still be successful and not run for hours a day (because honestly it hurts to run that much and isn’t enjoyable). Sorry for rambling!
    I really just want to say thank you for sharing your story and it has helped me in my journey to becoming more healthy!

  87. Kate

    I have a terribly short attention span. I am the queen of skimming over articles. But I must say, I read every single word of your three part series on your exercise history. It was fascinating. It was funny. It was inspirational. It was lovely. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your life to share your story. I enjoyed every second of it, which was actually one of the biggest lessons I garnered from this. So again, thank you for sharing such a thoughtful, amazing journey with all of us.

  88. Lulu

    Wow… I am almost crying after reading your story. I’m 34, 5’3″, and just saw the most unbelievable number on my new scale. For a few minutes, I thought the scale must be faulty and that I should return it to the store. 280…. That number terrifies me. I’ve known for awhile that I was bigger than ever, and desperately in need of a change. But, 280… that number has encouraged me like nothing else has. I have to join a gym. I know I can lose weight without it, but I live in the deep south where it is often just a few degrees cooler than the surface of the sun. Outdoor exercise is, at best, uncomfortable. Your story is inspiring! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. It has given me hope – I see that I don’t have to go nuts at the gym to lose weight – eat less and move more…..

  89. Danielle Esparza

    You are a fantastic writer. You drew me in as if you were talking to me directly. Thank you for sharing your story – I needed to hear this. I don’t hate running, but I don’t particularly like it either and I’ve felt that I need to get through it anyway if I want to lose weight. I’m glad you’ve found the you that YOU love and are at peace with it. I hope that I’m able to achieve the same thing – and I think I’m on my way to finding it.

  90. Lauren

    I just finished reading all three parts of your story and it is amazing! I am approximately your same proportions at the beginning of your journey and so hearing someone else who has been where I am and is where I want to be (and I’m not just talking about the needle on the scale !), is so encouraging! Thank you!

  91. Katie

    This is exactly what i needed to read today. I need to go work out but am feeling lazy. Your story is very encouraging. I am over weight, especially for my height, and i need to shed a few lbs. I have some joint problems and arthritis and it makes me want to stop sometimes but really i need to make my body stronger. I keep thinking in my head “this is for my future children” and that has made me work harder. Reading your blog is very encouraging. You aren’t trying to get into a bikini or be a size zero. You want to be healthy. Thank you! More females should read your blog and figure out WHY they need to lose the weight. Thank you for sharing!

    – and seriously Leo and Mark! very lucky lady! :)

  92. Katie

    This is exactly what i needed to read today. I need to go work out but am feeling lazy. Your story is very encouraging. I am over weight, especially for my height, and i need to shed a few lbs. I have some joint problems and arthritis and it makes me want to stop sometimes but really i need to make my body stronger. I keep thinking in my head “this is for my future children” and that has made me work harder. Reading your blog is very encouraging. You aren’t trying to get into a bikini or be a size zero. You want to be healthy. Thank you! More females should read your blog and figure out WHY they need to lose the weight. Thank you for sharing!
    – and seriously Leo and Mark! very lucky lady! :)

  93. Bridget

    I am at work reading this and am about in tears. Your story is so moving, so true, so real, and just what I needed to hear today. I have been working 14 hour days and still killing myself to squeeze in a 5-8 mile run 5 days a week……because it is what I think I have to do. About a year and a half ago I started my weight loss journey. In high school I had an eating disorder and at my lowest weight weighed 82 lbs at 5’7. When I got into college, I got treatment, but quickly swung to the other side of the scale weighing 190 lbs. I ADDED A WHOLE NOTHER ME! It was depressing, terrifying, and downright the lowest point in my life. I felt helpless and antisocial trapped in this large body I wasn’t used to. I decided then and there that starving, binging and purging, gorging, and all the other horrible techniques I used to use to lose weight just wouldn’t work any longer…..I had to lose weight the RIGHT way this time, and if that meant that it would take forever, then it would. I was determined from that point on to be healthy: eat healthy, exercise, and just LIVE LIFE, and I figured the weight would come off with time…..and it did! During my weight loss journey, my high school sweetheart, my boyfriend of almost 8 years, who stuck with me through thick and thin (literally and figuratively) proposed to me. It was with the wedding that I felt an instant NEED, not want, BUT NEED to be even thinner. I had already gotten down from 190 to 145 by the time of his proposal, but with the wedding looming, I kicked it into gear more. I started RUNNING instead of my casual work outs. Not just running, but training for races, running half marathons, and going at it 5-7 days a week. I got down to 127 for our wedding which was three months ago, and I still was not happy. Since then I have lost another 7 lbs and stand at 120 at 5’7. I have family that are aware of my past telling me I am getting too thin again and I can feel my Eating Disordered brain kicking back into gear. I know the more weight I lose, the worse my thoughts will get. I feel I have to run every day to maintain this weight I am at, but yet I am no happier now than I was at 130, 145, 150, 170 etc…..

    So the point of this long saga is……THANK YOU! Reading this today just makes me realize that I have to live my life, and if living my life and being happy with it is skipping my run for today, it does not mean I am going to gain 10 lbs over night. If eating dessert one night makes me happy, then so be it! If staying home from running to watch movies with my husband that I rarely see makes me happy….then screw it, I’m skipping the run!!

    Am I saying I’m going to stop exercising and running? NO!! Because it makes me feel absolutely fantastic about myself…..9 times out of 10 I LOVE running. I am actually very good at races and it is the one thing I’ve found that I’m particularly talented at, winning many races. However, I have now found the confidence to tell myself no to running on occasion if something else will make me happier that particular day….and it is all because of your inspirational story. So once again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You are incredible!!

  94. Karli

    This is a beautiful story. Also, you are a wonderful writer. Thank you for writing a wonderful entry on a wonderful website. A lot of women need to hear your story. :-)

  95. Jess Hertsenberg

    You’re amazing. An inspiration. Just beautiful, both before and after. Oh and might I add wonderfully well-written? I think I stumbled onto your blog for a reason I don’t yet know, but I’m glad I did. Thank you is about all I can say. My weight loss journey is starting today and I’m on my way to the Y as we speak. You’re the reason why. Thank you again.

  96. Lori

    Your story was mind-blowing. I’ve copied some of your statements as quotes — love this one: “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 am not at my goal weight (by any means) but I feel like you did. A slave to exercise..for..the… I really enjoyed your take on exercise and how not running saved your life.

    I do have one question – if you were to do it all over again (aka, if you were in my shoes….just at the starting point of your changing your life) would you just walk or would you “kill yourself in the gym” — mine is a home gym with 90210 on my DVR, by the way)

    I feel like a slave to exercise — running and ellipitical since college (I’m 34 now), I would so love to enjoy my workouts by walking, but I’m not sure if I need the running to get to my goal weight. If you have some time, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you do get published…I’m so buying your book, and copies for all my friends.

  97. Lindsey

    That was a wonderful and inspiring story. I am so happy for you. I can totally identify with the urge to keep off weight that is lost and feeling so bad if you don’t put in those miles. You are so right. We all need to find ourselves and be happy. I’m a personal trainer and how you feel about yourself is the most important aspect of fitness. Love Love Love your story.

  98. Lauren Mello

    I stumbled upon your website and am SO thankful that I did. Your story is wonderful, thank you for sharing.

    “I move because the world has too much to show me to stay still” — this will be my new mantra.

    God bless… Lauren

  99. Sara

    I’m always amazed at people who can lose weight and keep it off… incredible. Your posts made me feel oaky with not doing Insanity today… or this week. :)

  100. Jennifer

    I didn’t always love running (I used t hate it), but now I do love it and I am so happy. That said, part of the love is figuring out that 5k is what makes me happy and it is okay to not do more. I don’t want to run a full marathon. I still have a little ways to go, but you give me hope that once I reach my goal weight range I will be able to maintain it. I am a healthy eating vegetarian and I run, dance, and walk, but I do all to the point of it makes me happy (and losing 8 dress sizes helps, but like you say it is about finding peace). If it didn’t I wouldn’t do it. I am still a bit nervous, but I hope I will be able to find the right balance for me.

  101. Michelle

    thank you, thank you, thank you. a little late with my comment, but i so needed to read this. i have been struggling recently with that fear of letting go of those obsessive needs to exercise…running in particular. in my past, i’ve dealt with an eating disorder and have always been preoccupied with my weight. i tend to focus on that and counting calories instead of the amazing things taking place around me. i just end up missing out on life! it is so inspiring to read about your courageous decision to just.let.go. it seems so easy, but it can be so difficult…until you see that someone else did it and *gasp* they survived! your story is fantastic…it shows me that i too can let those obsessions go and be ok. thank you.

  102. Reena

    unfortunately, walking isn’t enough for some of us (it’s not safe to walk in my neighborhood anyway). if i don’t exercise like a maniac then I gain, and i gain a lot. and that’s including watching my diet, eating whole, nutritious foods, portion sizes, etc. I tried to be like you and just get rid of the scale, exercise only moderately, and just live my life, and that gained me 30 pounds.

    i’m just saying. some people like me just have sucky genetics. i enjoyed your story though, and will recommend it to a few people.

  103. Phoebe

    Sorry, but I have a little *girl crush*. So beautiful inside and out and what you’ve shared must’ve struck a chord in me, because I’m teary. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog…

  104. Reagan

    Thank you so much for this. I have spent so many hours looking on the internet at people smaller than me, and methods that will supposedly help me get to where they are. They all seem to include self torture and misery for hours on end. Thank you for encouraging me that there are ways to accomplish the final result that I want so badly without killing myself along the way. Thank you for reminding me that skinny doesn’t equal happiness, and that I have to put myself above my appearance. Thank you so much!

  105. Sarah

    You are beautiful and such an inspiration. And your story is so well written. I am 23 years old and have 42lbs to lose, and much of the time I feel as though it is impossible, but you have shown it is possible. I am so glad I found your blog today and will probably read it ALL now. Thank you.

  106. NIchole

    Again, thank you for sharing your story. I wish more people would realize all it takes is making the choice. Finding what I call your “soul mate workout” which I know you have found and doing it! :)

  107. Megan

    I just read all 3 parts and I was riveted! I love your writing, it draws me in. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’ve tried running too and I really hated it. I think it’s important to find something you enjoy doing so that you’ll actually stick with it. I like walking, so I do a lot of that. I don’t sacrifice my love of food either. I just eat mindfully and savor it instead of gorging myself on junk. I’m so glad I found your blog, I look forward to reading more of it. I hope you’ll check out my blog too if you have a chance.

  108. Megan

    Thank you so much for putting into words what I never can really put into words. I lost 70 lbs. 70 lbs. and I’ve yet to find peace with my body. It becomes such an obsession. I thought that being thin, being skinny would be my key to happiness and then I got here, and it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t skinny enough and I wasn’t fit enough and my tummy is still too pouchy and ew, look at my thighs. I feel guilt when I grab a dessert after dinner or feel hunger or don’t exercise. I’m hoping that I can find peace in my life the way you did.

  109. Samantha

    Thank you. That’s all that I can say. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I don’t have time to run for hours but I can’t continue to stay where I am. So yet again I say thank you for the truth, for the encouragement that you’ve provided now and for the rest of my life.

  110. Michelle

    Thank you so much for writing this blog!! I really needed to hear all of these things. I am currently on a journey to lose 25 more pounds. I’ve already lost 10 and it has taken me so long. Your words are inspiring, and give me the hope that I can to lose the weight and keep it off without killing myself in the gym.

  111. Sarah

    So my mom is the one who showed me your site and I’m glad she did because I got to read your story. I am 18, your same height and almost the same weight you used be, however, college life has brought me down a bit. I have had this weight issue my whole life, I even got a rare condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri because of my weight issue. I guess you could say that was my wake up call but I can’t lose weight easily. I have tried almost everything to lose the weight; pills, Weight Watchers, almost got a surgery, but I always end up gaining it back because I hated the ways I lost it! Everything you wrote is so true because I’ve finally accepted who I am and just work out at my own pace and I’ve actually gone down a size and lost some inches in just a few months! I was in that weight depression and finally chose to get out and not compare myself to other people but say I am who I am, stop hiding and let everyone see. Yes, I’m still working on it but might as well love the person I am now while working towards the healthier me. Your story is truly amazing and gives me hope and reminds me that I’m not alone =)

  112. Pingback: A New, Old Perspective « D'Aiuto Dental

  113. Paulina

    You made me feel so much better, finally someone that understands the strugle I’ve had 27 years and keep going, thank you, thank you, thank you :)

  114. Shannon

    I never comment on blogs… ever… your story is not only inspirational, but beautiful!! I read all 3 parts in one sitting (I almost panicked when I couldn’t find the link to 3 for a second). I am 25 and, I’d say, my self dislike (not hate) has been around since I was 7. I always noticed I was bigger than my friends and I was really hard on myself. I was never teased for my weight, but I never felt good about it, so all the “teasing” came from myself. When I graduated college and moved home I started to realize that my weight should not, and does not define me… what a strange thing getting older does to one’s brain and thought process! This is when I also started to realize that I am an amazing person and that I do love the person that I am… I had a sort of re-introduction with myself, and I am still getting to know myself everyday. This is not to say that I don’t have those days where I hate everything and wish for skinny, but they are far fewer. I have educated myself on healthy eating and exercise and I am beginning to really work towards weight loss (again… because I was doing well and sort of fell off the wagon, but I didn’t beat myself up about it, I realize I am human). I could not have found your blog at a better time… I chose to stay home on this Friday night instead of going out and drinking (and most likely eating something fattening & delicious) because I just started to focus on my health again (believe me, I will not be denying drinks and foods every weekend) and this is how I just so happened upon your blog! I was brought to tears when I read:

    “You must find your life first.

    You must find.

    Your life first.”

    This is what I am doing, and it was overwhelming to read it, I can not really put into words why, but I can say thank you! It was hard to say no to my friends tonight… and I know it will be hard to say no to those glasses of wine, and gnocchi, and french fries, and pizza :) etc., but I know I can, and if there’s a time I don’t say no, its okay because being happy is important and a big part of being healthy. Again, thank you so much for sharing your story… I plan to use it as motivation.

    By the way, I LOVE how you write, it is amazing and so easy to read… Do you have plans for any books in the future?

    <3 Shannon

    1. Shannon

      and as if I hadn’t written enough already… I just read another post you wrote. I, too, have a similar life story… My mother and father were alcoholics and I had family members who “felt bad” for me. Instead of trying to take me away from those situations they would buy me things or take me to McDonald’s and let me get a happy meal with a large fry on the side, if it made me feel better. This is where my life of retail/food therapy came from… to this day, both activities make me feel great (for a little while at least… having an addictive personality in my genes is not always so easy).

      My aunt, who I owe everything to, adopted me and set me on a better path. I just wanted to thank you (for a third time) because it is always nice to find someone to relate to.

  115. Lindsey

    I am so happy to have read your journey in getting healthier in mind and body. I am 5’4″ and weigh 252 pounds. I have recently started watching what I eat, especially by cutting out all drinks but water and eating about half of what I would normally. I have stopped eating 2 snacks after dinner, and mindlessly eating to fill the void. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder this past January, which shows a reflection of my health in general. Now that my mind is starting to heal, I actually WANT to be healthy. I want to better myself. I want to stick with this, because not only do my husband and daughter deserve it, but I DO! I am only 24 years old, and I can’t bear thinking that I will be the same or even worse after 5 or 10 years. Thank you for your inspiring words and raw honesty. You make people feel like they can change their lives for the better and you don’t use your change to make people feel inferior. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve done because not only have you helped yourself, but you’ve planted the seed for others to begin their journey of change. Thank you.

  116. Meredith

    I just started crying in the middle of the Union (at my college). haha I don’t think anyone noticed, but wow I just couldn’t stop! <3 You really spoke to something in me.
    I spent 9 weeks in Italy about three years ago, and I lost about 30 pounds and I felt better than I had since I was a little girl!

    Then I came home and gained it all back. I live in Oklahoma, and we just drive everywhere because everything is so spread out.

    I've been doing what you alluded to earlier: work out like crazy, making a promise to myself to "lose the weight" only to stop a few months later. Perhaps I should just start walking and drinking more water, like when I was in Italy.

    Anyway, I really found a lot of hope in your post. It was truly moving. I think you should write a book and do tours around the country.



  117. Bridget

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with the world. I’m about to embark on the same journey of my own. I’m 26, 5’2″ and currently 272 pounds. I’ve been fearing the struggle that is ahead and I keep thinking that I will start tomorrow, or the day after. I now know that the time is now. I’m not getting any younger and I’m slowing getting further and further away from where I want to be. Thank you for telling me it’s okay.

  118. Maysha McKie

    Thank you for sharing your story, I’m on my own weight loss journey and I enjoyed hearing about yours. I like that you still have love for yourself with or without the weight. That is exactly the way i want to feel.
    Here is hoping for good things for your future and mine, Maysha Mckie.

  119. Nicole Ayles

    I can’t thank you enough for your story. I am 26 years old and 265 lbs. I have been struggling my entire life.

    I am clinging to all the words you said. It’s so important to be happy, and to free yourself from these pre conceived notions or expectations put on us by ourselves and society.

    I need to get health, but I need to get happy as well… one of the things that you said that sticks with me so much is that you lost all of that weight and still hadn’t found all the things you were looking for.

    Today is a new day for me… one in which I will walk this evening… and hopefully I will reach a place like you that I am mentally, emothionally and physically healthy and at peace.

    Thank you again,


  120. Keesha

    As I read your story, Im having my routine cup of coffee and my fiber one brownie. I am nervously waiting to leave for the gym for my first personal training session. I feel like I am at a cross road in my life and it is terrifying! I cannot begin to tell you how comforting your words are. I know that this journey will not be easy and maintaining will be just as hard. You have made me realize that there is a balance that needs to be reached before I can truly be successful. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I really hope that I find that inner peace that you speak of.

  121. Penny

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I too have found a love of walking and have lost 35 lbs so far since starting this summer. I have tried running some, but just find the peace of walking more my thing. Sometimes by myself with ipod, and sometimes with friends. And I am currently part of a womens early Saturday morning walking group and still Jazzercise. Its so important to find something that works for you that you like! Look forward to reading your book, keep us posted!

  122. Jessica

    THANK YOU! God it feels good to hear that not bustin it at the gym is what you HAVE TO DO! Last week my friend literally said she’s counting every calorie, including the “licks”. LITERALLY she counts licking food as calories! That statement was one of the saddest things I’ve heard in my 26 years of life, I’m 100% Italian! Eating is a religious ritual for us! Thanks for sharing your story, it made me smile :)

  123. ruth

    I found a link to your site off of pinterest (awesome website huh?) And I have to say- WAY.TO.GO.

    You achieved a feat that many people give up on and I am proud of your decision to be okay with not being a runway model (even though you look like one). People in my family have always been obsessed with weight and it’s driven me crazy. Always being surrounded by these thoughts, I have also thought a lot about my weight even though people are always telling me I’m slender. (I guess to me, I’ve never seen 5’11” and 175 or so lbs in a big frame as slim…big frame just isn’t slim to me lol) But anyways- thank you for this. I have always hated running…like seriously hated it. And while one person’s success may not be for another…the idea of only walking, just increasing ACTIVITY-aka not sitting on my butt surfing the internet and pinterest-, and baking and eating whatever my heart desires, makes me so happy.

    Have a blessed day enjoying the wonders of our beautiful world by walking :) You truly are an inspiration :)

  124. Andy

    I loved reading your story.
    It was very enlightening. I lost 15 pounds over the summer but about 7 weeks ago I had a running accident and broke my foot, which greatly depressed me. I have been unable to exercise or move much at all and have gained most of the weight back.
    Finding your site a few days ago, I have taken your words to heart and pledge to start a new – today. Thank you:)

  125. Lorna

    Hello! Thanks for your inspirational story. It’s so true – walking’s fantastic. I lived in Edinburgh for a decade, and walked everywhere. I was toned, fit and happy. Then I moved to the country and had a baby. I live on a scary, super-busy main road, and can’t drive, so walking is limited to round and round the village or up and down the same old track. Since I left the city I’ve put on 40lbs, most of which is baby weight, but I think I’d better start walking straight away. Thanks for the wake up call! xx

  126. Aggie

    Loved reading about your exercise history. I have struggled with my weight for pretty much as long as I can remember…never happy with it, always having gym guilt. It’s terrible!! I’ve taken up running the last couple of years, some days I enjoy it, some days not so much. I’m confused :)
    I want to walk. I don’t live in a walking type of city, but you’ve inspired me to find new places to walk. I’m going to start loading up on podcasts that I never ‘have time’ to listen to…my exercise time has always been my quiet time (I have two young children) which is why I’ve never been a fan of big group classes at the gym. I’d rather walk the treadmill listening to my new album or watching Brothers and Sisters on Netflix.
    You have a very healthy outlook and that is great, I’m really happy I found you when I did :)

  127. staryidbntyhuntr

    I have one roommate who is a marathon runner and one who is an ex-college cheerleader. They both run CONSTANTLY, but i just HATE it. Thank you for making me feel like it is ok to not want to run, and that I can be just as successful with being healthy without running!

  128. Lee Ann

    Wow! You are such an inspiration! Loved reading your story and seeing your beautiful spirit flow through your smile and the peace you have found with yourself. I accidently found your blog this morning while searching for some recipes and I’m so glad I did.

    I’m old enough to be your momma, having daughters a few years older than you, but even at my age, your story has encouraged me to get out there and walk some more and start eating better and to love yourself more.

  129. Ana

    Approaching the end of 2011 and thinking of my “new start” in 2012, I recently have been thinking of all the ways to transform my body, my life, etc. and gaining the personal success of achieving my goal-weight was one of them. Until I read this blog, I had never viewed weight loss from a perspective such as yours and, reading through the comments, I would suspect that many more haven’t either. The year 2012 was going to start off as 2011 had for me, full of extreme gym regimens and water-based vegetables. No laziness, self-indulgence, no “happy foods.” But reading your blog has really opened my eyes to a new approach and most definitely a new plan. Like you, I have a terrible relationship with running and countless hours on those complicated machines at the gym; 2011 turned out to be a disappointment to myself when I didn’t stick around for the “fun.” Thank you so much for putting yourself and your story out there for myself and the rest of those out there who need to hear stories of people who are doing what they love and are happy regardless of what Kim Kardashian and “The Biggest Loser” have told us are the absolute truths to self-esteem and happiness.

    Thank you so much, you’ve really touched my life with your story and I plan on sharing your blog with my friends and family.

  130. Sarah

    great end to a happy story… but easy when you are in your twenties without any children in the home or at all.. its not AT ALL the same when you get to be in your 30’s, 40’s and you metabolize everything slower than EVER and you find yourself lacking time for healthy food because fast easy food is what you need between soccer games, karate, piano lessons, tumbling classes and whatever else you do for everyone but yourself… wow i sound like such a DEBBIE DOWNER… but i’m not.. just a realist… its inspiring story but also could be viewed as discouraging to those who really do have to watch all they eat and make time for the gym daily in order to stay sorta over weight (me)

  131. daz

    i just read all 3 pts and find myself where you were in that gym at 268 except im 5’2. Ive tried to loose it and even once made it as low as 220’s only to be back here in 5 years. so… what now? i want desperately to be healthy and smaller ive just lost my mother and am lost in many ways and i feel that if i can control this one thing i can begin to rebuild.

  132. Leanne

    Thank you. I have never heard it put any better. I have fluctuated up and down in my weight and size throughout my life. Right now I am on the higher end looking to go down, but honestly, I am petrified at the idea of maintenance. I have never maintained my ideal body weight/size, and never knew how. With what you have written, I finally anticipate being able to continue my journey without fear. You have given me freedom in your inspirational words. Many, many blessings to you, and thank you for sharing your life and inspiring all of us. God bless you.

  133. Carolina

    I found your site via Pinterest trying to get your chicken soup recipe and found so much more. I am about to start my own weight loss journey and I am glad that I found your site first. I will remember to be gentle with myself without putting so much pressure on myself or getting to the point of exhaustion. Thank you.

  134. Heather

    Reading all 3 parts of your exercise history brought tears to my eyes and perhaps opened them to what it really is I am always working at to achieve. I found your honest words to be refreshing and truly motivating. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  135. Anne Katherine

    I so needed to find you & read about your journey! I exercise and try to remember to make smart food choices, I just need now to find the balance that will help me create the happiness and peacefulness….your writing has inspired me to start the search immediately! Thank you.

  136. Heather Dowd

    I know you have herd this phrase at least 195 times, but I still need to say it…..Thank you! I am exactly 268 lbs. I have been 135 lbs. I’m going to read your blog often and in one or two years I’m going to write back to you and let you know that your inspiration helped me to loose half my body.

  137. Jenny

    Thank you so much for this. It brought tears to my eyes, really. You are an inspiration. You get a lot of comments so I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t read what I said in Part 2. But everything you wrote here in Part 3 is exactly what I need.
    So thank you and God bless you.

  138. Tracey

    Wow. ….. I am struggling roughly with my own weight loss battle, & it always feels never ending. I have always looked at my weight as an inevitable reality, & the thought of maintaining has always seemed unreal.
    Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story, & for not only giving me hope ( seeing that you had real weight loss-my starting weight is only 10 lbs. under yours), but for putting out hope that not only can it be done, but maintaining it can be a joy, and not a battle I’ll face forever.

  139. Melissa Wegner

    Very inspirational! My highest weight was 250 lbs, My pant size was 22, and I’m only 5’5″. I’ve lost 40 pounds, slowly, and maintained the weight. After reading your story, I am definitely motivated to start getting more active and actually TRY!

    Did you do anything else other than cardio?

    1. admin

      Thanks so much for saying hello Melissa! Congrats on your loss- that is not easy!! I only did cardio while losing. And now, looking back, I do wish I had done some strength training because I’m sure I was losing lean body mass and some muscle.


  140. Melissa de la Fuente

    sigh…so much of what you have said rings so true with me. I ran and ran, hurt my knee and ran some more. But, then I found walking and listening to music while I walk or taking long walks with my hubby….and then dance party 2 on xbox connect! :) Those I love….( running? meh) so, those I enjoy doing and look forward to ( most of the time) and I couldn’t agree with you more. Oh, and you are absolutely adorable, lovely and so very, very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story, I am your newest fan.

  141. Choyita

    You are such an inspiration. I have been fighting the fat battle from when i was a young girl. Now i am at my heaviest, i feel so depressed to start any type of weight loss, also feel so shamed and embarrassed to be out where people are. But your story gives me hope, that i can do it, it just starts with a small step. Thank you and im so glad that your one skinny girl now, that definitely knows how it feels.

  142. Amy S

    Loved reading your story. I’m in the process of losing… hoping to go down 40lbs, maybe more. It’s hard to explain to someone what I think and feel being overweight as long as I can remember without them having a similar experience. I can’t explain how weird it feel to think positively about the fact that I WILL be healthy. That soon, I will not be where I have been for my entire life. But I’m SO glad that I have come across your story so when it’s time to stop, I can stop and be happy with myself. Because the point is the improve your life, not put you into a new rut.

    Looking forward to reading up more. Thank you for opening your life up to complete strangers.

  143. Jeanne

    Thank you for confirming to me what I think I already knew. Have been on my weight loss journey for 18 months now – down 35 pounds. Walking some (not enough) has been my only exercise. More mindful of what I eat – but still enjoy a cookie or two. I am living my life…and enjoying my life…my mindset is to start over every day! So far so good – probably won’t lose all the weight I would like in a short time – but then I didn’t put 60 pounds on in a short time either. I am determined is the difference.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU! Oh BTW you are a brilliant writer – you have a lovely tone and cadence to your words! I would love to read your book one day!

  144. Melanie

    This is the most inspiring thing I have read in ages. It is exatly what I needed and I know I will be visiting here all the time now.

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are now officially my hero :)


  145. Andrea Jeppesen

    You have almost brought me to tears! I’m so grateful that you’ve confirmed something to me that I just barely figured out. As a mom of 3 incredible kids (4, 2, and 8 months), I don’t have a minute to lose. I don’t have a ton of time to get a meal in . . . let alone work out at a gym everyday. I can love my life putting my husband and kids first, while at the same time keeping the weight off. Just eat when I need to, work out occasionally for my sanity, and love my little munchkins. Thank you!

  146. Sara

    I just have to say your story is such an inspiration to me. I currently top the scales close to 300lb and this is not the life I want to live. Your story has inspired me to work towards an achievable goal. I know it will take time but your story gives hope that with perseverance you can achieve your goals if it is something that you really want.

    I had the pleasure of studying abroad during college too (only I was in Japan), and I had to walk everywhere. I had never felt better during that time. When I came home family and friends both would tell me I looked good, and I felt good. Regrettably I was unable to maintain the lifestyle I had while abroad and returned to my old life style of taking the easy why out and driving places instead of walk because getting in the car was more “convenient”. Now that I’m out of college and live in a small town where walking places is easy I feel that I can once again walk everywhere and get to who I want to be.

    Thank you :)

  147. Kelly

    Your story was incredibly inspiring! Thank you for sharing it! Just what I needed to hear…struggling to fit a gym into my schedule, even when I am miserable about it…I keep thinking “there has to be something else out there”! Thank you for showing me that there is!

  148. Diane

    I skimmed through alot of the comments and the one thing that stands out is, you have a gift. You have inspired so many of us. Your gift of writing tells your story beautifully

  149. Elizabeth

    Wow. You are so amazing, I kinda wanted to cry at the end. I found you via pinterest and I’m now a loyal follower. I weigh 250 lbs and so I understand staring down 300. I had a baby about 6 months ago and had been so depressed that some days I didn’t even get out of my pajamas. I have recently started walking with my best friend and we’ll do a workout DVD or something like that. I just wanted to say that you are inspirational and so incredible. Thank you for all that you have done, and having the guts to share it with the world.

  150. Rachel

    I love that you focus on happiness. I will turn 26 this year and for the first time, maybe that I can remember at this point, I have really thought about what makes me happy, how I want to feel each day, and how to get there. I would like to loose 5 or 10 pounds even, but have not really Struggled with my weight. I think the old me was sexier, and therefore I miss her, mainly for my husbands sake… maybe for my desire to feel that sexy and desirable again. But the happiness is really what I strive for.. and not too many things have changed yet. I have cleaned up the house more and organized rooms I hated going in and now enjoy. I have grown in my career and had plentiful lessons on work and stress – overcoming my own stressers that I add to my life was a journey in itself. Overcoming personal obstacles…It’s like finding peace in things that you know live there, you just can’t see them. I am enjoying life more and more each day, and cannot wait to soak up each moment. I love your blog, can’t wait for the books, and even though our journeys aren’t identical, I feel they are the same as everyone else. Some just don’t know how to put them into words, or tap that deep into their being.

  151. Rae


    What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it with the world and me!! I found you on pinterest! I really really really needed to read this today… Thanks for the hope that this size 22 girl can lose all the “baggage” too. I am ready to be free…

  152. Ashory

    Thank you. Really. Thank you for telling all of us what we needed to hear. Giving us permission, per se, to be who we are, and not feel like we have to kill ourselves in order to get “thin”.

    With that in mind, I do believe that I will go take a walk that will hopefully be the first of many. And if that doesn’t tickle my fancy, I know where there’s a heated swimming pool.

  153. Heather

    Thank you. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. I used to run and workout like a fool in highschool. My weight was 120 lbs and at 4’11 I still thought I was fat. I was considered overweight. I gained 20lbs in college. I lost 20lbs when I dropped out. My heaviest was 170lbs. Im hovering around that weight again. I hate feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I needed to run across your blog today. Im glad I did. Thank you again

  154. Karen

    You are 26 (at least as the time you wrote this) and I am 50 (at the time I am writing this)! I guess I’m stunned that one so much younger than I can inspire me like you just did. Thank you.

  155. Jennifer

    I don’t know how, but you managed to get under that facade I have, the one that pretends that everything is okay…and really get to my heart. Thank you. You have inspired me to keep the faith, to keep trying to make something out of this not-quite-what-I-dreamed life of mine. You’ve reminded me that I have the power to change.

  156. Karyn

    Beyond inspiring… I don’t know why it’s so hard to give ourselves a break but your story certainly has helped.

  157. Shannon

    Wow is all I can say, just like everyone elses comments to your story we all needed this. I literally am in the same boat as you were in 2005 except 10 pounds lighter but two inches shorter, so the same place ish. I am planning a trip with a friend to Peru in December and we are going to hike the Inka trail and I know with where I am at weight and health wise right now its not gonna happen unless I pull my stuff together! I love that you did this while eating “normally” that is my intention, portion control and moderation. Thank you so much for inspiring us all and putting into words what we all needed to hear!!


  158. Erica

    Your story has literally brought me to tears. I’m in the middle of my own weight loss journey and it is so easy to forget why I’m doing it – to be healthy and enjoy every day of life. Not to be unhappy or down on myself because “I should have pushed harder at the gym”.
    You have been the most inspiring story I have read through the last few months of my journey; actually probably the most inspiring story I have ever read, period.
    You are a beautiful person, 268 or 135, and I can tell you have an amazing heart.
    Thank you for putting your experiences out there. You have shed new light on things.

  159. Margaux

    You are truly inspirational, i only need to lose about 15 lbs… but am struggling to get to the gym and mainly to eat healthy. I LOVE your recipes and my future husband does too – which is a tough feat… believe me!! I don’t know you and I’m so proud of you and your accomplishments. You give me motivation to lose those extra pounds and love myself! Amazing!

  160. Amy

    I just want to say how much I enjoyed “My Exercise History”. I have always been more of a petite female. After having my daughter 5 years ago, I am 10 lbs heavier than I was prior to having her. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but I would like to shed these 10 lbs. I am going to try to take some your advise (especially walking!) I love to walk and it doesn’t take much but a good pair of sneakers! Thanks again!!

  161. Audrey

    Thank you for writing about your journey. I found you through pinterest and am so glad that I did. Your story is inspiring and hopefully it will help get me back on the track I started out on last year.

  162. Rachel

    I came across this by cheer accident and luck! It couldn’t have come at a better time and just what I needed to get me back on track with my walking daily (or as often as I can). Thank you so much and can’t wait to read future books!

  163. Tammy

    *sigh* Yet another amazing post. Andie, I can’t thank you enough for telling your story so beautifully. I love, love, love that you have found walking to be your exercise of choice. I love walking, too, but sometimes I feel like I should be doing more, pushing harder, or going to the point of exhaustion with some dreadful total body workout that I hate. Hearing your story makes me want to lace up my walking shoes, load up on my favorite podcasts or playlists and keep moving at my own pace. Thank you so much for this. You’re truly an inspiration. :)

  164. Mai

    Read through all three parts and you are really inspirational! That’s a huge journey you’ve been on with weight and it’s great that you’re at a place that you can be happy. :)

  165. mary

    just stumbled across your blog (blog? story? life? im never sure what to call these) i just wanted to say it brought i smile to my face. reading your exercise history (parts 1, 2, and 3!) was so unbelievably refreshing. i have never been overweight but have struggled with exercise addiction and disordered eating on and off and the freedom you found is something that im just starting to understand. thank you so much for sharing! there are so many blogs out there, with diet tips and exercise routines that i have been perusing and DO find helpful but there was just something so absolutely refreshing (i can’t stop using that word haha) about you and your relationship with yourself and food and exercise. thanks again for being so open!

  166. Rocio

    I have just started my weight loss journey and happen to stumble upon your blog through pinterest. I have read your story and am so inspired! Thank you for sharing it! Its so easy to become obsessed with weight loss when you’ve reached a point of true unhappiness with one’s weight. Your story has reminded me to keep happiness as my mainfocus and not a number goal. Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  167. Peggy Johnston

    Thank you. Your story is powerful and moving. I have lost 35 pounds in the last 6 months. I have been stuck and not lost anything for several weeks. I just upped my protein, fiber, and exercise and I have started losing again.I want to lose another 46 pounds. You gave hope that I can finish and maintane . I am not on a diet. I have made perment lifestyle changes in what foods I eat and how they are prepared. I walk alot, play Wii , xbox and dance. Six months ago I did not have the energy or the stamina to exercise. I have come a long way. Thank You again, you have encouraged me.

  168. Angie Ramirez

    Never in a million years did I imagine that my late night browsing on pinterest would lead me here. To this moment. Im not going to give my life story but in a nutshell I am a yo-yo dieter. I lose, I gain, I lose and gain times 3. Story of my life pretty much. After a lot and I do mean A LOT of soul searching I decided to finally put an end to my yo-yoing ways. I started out great a few weeks ago and already felt my self slipping. This leads me to tonight. I decided to look for workout tips and motivational quotes for guidance on pinterest. Surprisingly I pinned your blog and really had no intent on reading it tonight even, but I did and I seriously think my life is going to change. In reading all of the parts to this blog I felt so many emotions. I felt like there was a person in this world just like me and that person reached the goal that I never felt that I could. You have changed that in me, that I can’t reach my goal weight. I now know that I can and will. Even if I can’t workout everyday or always make the best choices. I can take it day by day and I will get there. I am 168 pounds and feel like I look like I am 268 pounds. Yeah I’m “that” girl. The girl that even after losing 80 pounds once in my lifetime weighing in at a very good looking 140 pounds, still felt fat. I have had children since then and like I said, go back and forth but never reaching my goal of 135 pounds. So I absolutely had to say thank you for the funniest, saddest, and most inspirational blog that I have yet to come by and I truly thank you for sharing your story and helping me finish mine. Thank You!

  169. Katie

    You are amazing and very inspiring! I always thought running and gyms were the devil. I will now start walking wherever, whenever, to keep me moving, work on my health and above all…make me happy :). Thank you so much!

  170. anna

    Thank you.
    I’m almost 50.
    I’m tired.
    I tried the gym,and here in S. Europe they are poorly maintained, expensive–and boring.
    I lost 50 lbs, and gained 10 back. Lately it has seemed like they want to stay with me. But they don’t make me happy, so something has to be done.
    It’s healthy, it’s free, and it gets me out of the apartment.
    See you on the streets, ladies.
    (and a big thank-you to my namesake in NZ who told me where to find this blog).

  171. Alexis Alfaro

    You are truly a beautiful, inspirational young woman. I hope that my daughters can see themselves as you finally see yourself. I hope that you always your dreams and reach for life with both hands! Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  172. Becca

    I’ve been working only part-time, and mostly from home, a big change from a year ago when I was working 11 hour days in a fast paced kitchen. I’ve been pleading with myself to just get up and go out for a walk, to move more than just from the couch to the kitchen, and back.
    I just haven’t been able to find a good reason to do so. Can’t really afford a coffee which would motivate me to walk to the coffee shop. Don’t want to bump into people I know who’ll then see that I’ve gone from a size 6 to a 16. I have ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis, and even mild exertion can leave my body feeling like I’ve suddenly begun a boot camp program. I’ve so been afraid of feeling physical pain that I’ve squirreled myself away, and now don’t feel much of anything but sadness.
    Your utter benevolence, this gift of sharing your words means so much. Thank you for this perfect reminder. Engagement is fulfilling, I am not just my body. My spirit needs to move, and I’d forgotten.
    Thank you again.

  173. {amy k.}

    i came across your blog through a recipe on pinterest, and have to say, your story is one of the most motivating i’ve ever read. lately, i’m at a point where i am very unhappy in my body. i’m not terribly overweight but i do need to loose a few pounds. mostly, i need to find that happiness with myself you talk about. it is so inspiring to know that i don’t have to kill myself and cause my body to ache from running every day. the thing i need to do is just start and keep moving forward! thank you for the inspiration!

  174. amy

    wow! i just found you on pinterest from a recipe. I’m embarrassed because I am so much older than you so I feel like I should know all this already. I have struggled with 10-30 pounds that I want to lose, so nothing major. But I have exercised all of my adult life…taught aerobics, been a Fitness Director…I am afraid to not exercise. I do feel like my problem has always been food…sugar! I do think I eat to make myself feel better…but it really only makes me feel worse…and I just keep doing it! So that is why I exercise constantly…to punish myself. I love to walk, swim, sometimes jog, play tennis…I enjoy all of that, but for the most part I use exercise as a form of punishment, torture, because I am a bad person, a bad mom, a bad wife. I understand that I need to love myself, and trying to do that through food isn’t working. I want that peace…that happiness…these darn 8 pounds to come off…to be happy with myself and my size and my clothes…to exercise for fun and play with my children…to be more confident for my husband to see me without clothes…to love myself.

  175. Nicole

    Thanks to pinterest I have found this inspiring blog! This is the best one that I’ve ever read, especially since I’m a college student like you were, desperately needing to lose weight. I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and not kill myself at the gym.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  176. Christine

    I stumbled onto your blog through pinterest and found your really cool spin on spicy chicken wings, your buffalo chicken wrap. I’m so glad that I revisited your blog. I thought oh she’s so pretty and skinny….why does she have this post of “what I miss from 135 lbs. ago” …No way, she had to have been this way her whole life?! Right? Maybe she is talking about someone else. As I read more, I realized your battle with losing weight was more than just a battle of weight, it was more of an inward battle. Thanks also for sharing about reaching your “goal” didn’t create happiness for you. That was such an important piece of your story as I know so many think that that is the “top of the mountain” and that you can’t get better than that. So untrue
    I’m not as heavy as you were, but now that I don’t smoke or drink (I quit 13 yrs. ago) food has become my go to vice. My weight has fluctuated from my “ideal” weight to being overweight for many reasons over the years, some for health reasons, some for personal reasons of chosing to stay away from certain foods, but never consistent and not always “moving” as you did. According to BMI charts, I’m 8 lbs over my normal weight and considered obese. I’m only 4’11” at 127lbs. I cringe in anger when I see that chart, but I do know that part of that is because I know that sometimes I just wanna numb out on food and just lay there and be depressed. It’s comforting, inspiring AND encouraging to know that you’ve found what works for you. I can often think, well I’ll try this, see some results, get tired of it, gain a pound or 2, then I give up completely. But one consistent thing in your journey was to keep moving forward,…literally. You’ve inspired me to try and make that a part of my journey as well. I hope to find what I LOVE not what I think will help me to lose the weight and also make peace with food/eating as well. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, your life and that awesome recipe. I know that when I make it will make me think of you and remember never to give up. I hope life continues to treat you kindly.

  177. Diana Herman

    You are amazing and beautiful inside and out! I have lost 90 pounds and still have over 100 more to go. I haven’t walked because I need a knee replacement. You have given me the motivation to know I can do it and that I need to be happy! Thank you!

  178. Debbie Stratton

    Thank you so much for sharing your life, your words, your truth! I loved reading about your journey. I have lost always struggled with my weight. I have walked and walked in the last year and have lost 20 pounds. I am running but I only do it when it feels good, usually 2-3 week. Thank you for the assurance I am on the right track! Keep writing!! Can’t wait to try your recipes!! xo

  179. Michelle

    Thank you for your story. I have always been slender, but what you talk about is mind, body and spirit connecting and that is far more important to learn and be comfortable with than weight. I am 30 years old and life has finally smacked me hard across the face. I’m struggling to right wrongs and learning to be at peace with who I am. That is a very, very difficult thing to do.

    Your blog is beautiful. You are a wonderful writer and based on the photos you’ve included, you have always been beautiful. I haven’t read all of your blog yet, but I plan on it. You are inspiring and vulnerable and loving. I feel at peace reading your feelings and thoughts.

    Thank you again for sharing your struggles and triumphs and words of wisdom.

  180. Jessa

    I just wanted to say this was a wonderful blog! I’m at the point where you were when you started. I’m 25 and I’m done with the way I look. I need to change for the better. I went to the gym, it was horrible. I went everyday and I was miserable. I stopped going because I was so unhappy. I was able to lose 30 pounds but as soon as i stopped working out I gained back almost 13 pounds. It was very discouraging. Be miserable or be heavy. This really helped me realize I dont have to make a choice I can be healthy and happy. I love walking! Thank you for sharing your experiences!!!

  181. whitney

    You have inspired me. This is how I lost 120 pounds in the past walking along with workout videos and dancing in the kitchen to nsync at the time. During college interships working 60 hours a week I started to gain it back not nearly all of it but some. And you have inspired me to loose it again and get back to walking. I always liked walking. And dancing in the kitchen!

  182. Sarafina

    I’ve never really struggled with my weight. I have been naturally skinny my whole life but I recently put on weight because of a medication. I want to lose it and will but that’s not why I’m commenting. I just wanted to say that you’re beautiful now and were before you lost the weight. Congratulations and thank you for writing this. It’s inspiring but really entertaining. I simply love the way you write. I think you should write a novel because I would definitely read it.

  183. Jessica

    This is so inspiring. I had a baby 4 1/2 months ago- a c-section. I’m terrified I will never lose this “pouch” on my stomach. I went in the hospital at 209 (almost ten was the baby).. But four months later I am 162 pounds.i still have about twenty to go, but this has shown me its not about the number on the scale, but the happiness within
    Sometimes I get mad army self for wanting to skip the gym (for the first time in 6 days).. Or that Zumba class wasn’t enough, I need to go take another class before the end of the day..but that’s just crazy. I hope I can keep this in mind when I get too hard on myself.

  184. Nikki R

    Very inspirational – I too am addicted to running and feel very guilty when I don’t. I have been running for almost thirty years and only took time off when I was pregnant. My body complains all the time and would like to “be ok” without it. I have walked with friends, but then will run later thinking I have not done enough. Crazy!! Thank you for your story!

  185. Hannah

    You are so inspiring! And you are so right! I used to feel like a prisoner to the gym, but now I’ve found that I truly love to run, outdoors, at whatever pace I feel like going at. You rock! Xx

  186. Julie

    Wow! Seriously, you are an inspiration! I’m on my journey to being healthy. I’ve lost 47 lbs and I just found out I’m pregnant. I’m SO EXCITED about the baby, and am trying to stay healthy while not loosing weight. Thanks for sharing and being so open and honest about your journey. I really needed to read this today and am so excited for you! I can’t wait til the day I can say I have reached my right weight and maintained for 5 years. That is impressive and hopeful for people like me who still have about 50 lbs to loose…after I have the baby, of course. ;) thanks again for this!

  187. Bridget

    I feel like I cant lose any weight because I wont keep it off. I believe I would work out and eat right until I lost the weight but then I would quit and just gain it back. SO I don’t even start. That and the emotional eating I do is still in force since my husband is mean but I cant figure out if-I need to change so he will or he needs to change. So again I don’t change anything. I loved reading you posts. I read almost all of them. Your journey, what you miss, exercise history, timeline. I cant remember if I read others but I read a lot. I feel motivated to change my eating habits and exercise but I know I wont. I just don’t like to exercise and I still like eating food for support. I can’t figure out what will make me finally get there. But I am only 5’1″ so an extra 100 lbs is a lot. I haven’t really gained much more in the last two years but I have had 5 kids in the last 12 years and I blame that on my weight. I just wonder if I can really blame it on baby weight anymore. I mean my youngest is 3, so I should have been able to lose weight by now, right? well I haven’t and I also learned that I blame my husband too. about a month ago we almost called it quits and everyday after that I exercised and ate right, then we decided to try working on our marriage again. I haven’t worked out once and I have been eating ice cream and everything else again. He asked me once why and I meanly said back-You are mean all the time and if I lost weight you would “gain” from that so I wont do it until your nice all the time. I know I shouldn’t think that way but apparently I do. I don’t blog about this since I don’t want others to know I know this . but I do. I also feel that if I lose the weight I will still be unhappy and I am unhappy now so why change? Why work hard to lose weight and still be unhappy? I don’t know what I will do but for now I loved reading you blog posts and feel inspired and thank you. Even if I don’t start now. Thanks

  188. Roberta

    Thank you for sharing your story! Very well written! I really enjoyed your inspirational advice. I am currently trying to loose my baby weight and it takes every ounce of my energy to push myself each day to get moving. But your right! If I can’t bring myself to running I will walk with the baby. You look great and sound very happy. All the best! …and Thank You for the nummy pineapple slaw recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  189. tee

    I love this post! let me first start by saying I found your blog looking for toffee almond recipes and got to browsing around and read your exercise history. It is really amazing how disciplined you were but even better that you found something you enjoy!

    Ive been on thr quest to lose some 70lbs for years and Ill start a workout program and never finish because it is brutal. I love getting pushed but it’s hard to maintain that level of intensity for weeks on end (for me anyways) but seeing the before and afters have me convinced its the way to do it.

    Now there is a workout I love and saw great results but as always I was convinced I had to kill myself to reach my goal, i have lost 48lbs since then (about 4 years yo yo-ing up and down) and this post just reaffirms I can get to my goal and STAY there if I stick to something and do what I love.

    It is something so simple yet so profound. Thank you for sharing your story and you look amazing!

  190. Yvonne

    your very inspiring. I am currently at 190. I started working out at the gym and think I over did it cuz then I couldnt walk very well for 4 days. I went back then. I feel like I am forcing myself cuz its boring. I am going no where fast. Its very depressing. I have motvation being that I am standing in a wedding in Oct. I am just discouraged. Maybe I should go to the gym again.

  191. Lindsay

    I just found your blog via Pinterest and I want to tell you that you are amazing. Your story is so inspiring. I’ll be reading!


  192. Laura

    I found your website through pinterest and I’m so happy I did! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think we are all different, with extremely different bodies.

    I have ALWAYS had weight issues for reasons similar to yours (family issues, addiction, overweight family, depression on my part, etc). I’m barely 5’5” and used to weigh about 230lbs and got down to about 148lbs by my freshman year in college. But by the end of college (crappy food, late nights, bad break up, etc) I ended up back around 198lbs. Even had my thyroid tested thinking my body hated me. But really it was a lot of things and mostly me being unhappy. When it came to fitness, everyone shows you how THEY work out and run and how I should do the same. But none of it was ME (I also dislike running!). To be honest I lost most of the weight in the first place from eating better and skateboarding in high school. So now, living in the mountains I’m back snowboarding, walking, hiking a bit, etc. I’m back down to about 170 and looking to get back to my healthy weight (and by that I mean healthiest I felt personally). BUT I’ve also realized I’d rather enjoy life at whatever weight I find myself than give in to a fitness routine that makes me more unhappy than before. We all have to find our OWN niche when it comes to moving about and not listen to every friend, partner, magazine, workout craze, etc. We need to enjoy our time not waste it worrying. I love feeling healthy but ultimately being as happy as I can be is the most important thing I can do for myself. :) Thanks again for sharing and looking forward to following more :)

  193. Ruth Lucas

    You are very inspirational. I got down to 135 lbs and now have gain it all back within 20 years. I don’t feel good and I don’t feel about my self- I hope I can beat the addication to food I have.

  194. April

    Hi, I have enjoyed reading about your weight loss journey! Congrats on that. Also, this has been helpful. I have been working hard on losing weight, and have been jogging, which i am not used to doing, and i noticed that it made my knees unusually sore. Thanks to your helpful info, i’m not going to jog or run anymore. I will walk! Also, i do have some weights that i use, but i like doing it. i have two 8 pound dumbbells, and one 15 pound weight that i do like squats with, and i use them 3 times a week. i think that combined with walking will be enough.thanks for sharing your information.

  195. Emilia

    I’m 21 years, I’m mexican and I have an eating disorder. I eat compulsively. I entered Rehab three years ago and I recovered from it. Now I find myself in the same position that I was before entering to Rehab, because is something that doesn’t just go away. I’m reading this and I’m finding something new: HOPE.
    I really want to be like you. I think I’m like you were in college, you just have to add bulimic actions. I really find some peace just by reading your story. I hope I find peace just like you found it.

  196. Ashley

    I have that fear right now of gaining back tons and tons of weight if I stop exercising 6 days a week. I really need to chill but theres a voice in the back of my head that says if I stop then I’ll be back where I started.

  197. Nikki R.

    I’m literally starting my weight loss journey TODAY, so to find you, on Pinterest looking at yummy recipes of all places, I am SO happy to have found your blog. I think reading this (while I’m supposed to be working, shhhhhh!) is really going to help me keep my motivation and get through losing my weight. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  198. Sandy

    I love your truth and candid sense of humor. I agree with the others that have posted…you are inspirational and do offer hope. Hope for the people that cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel…hope for the people who live in their own fear of “gaining it all back”…hope for all of us to find our own happy medium. ♥

  199. Jean McCarty

    Wow!! I loved your series (read all of them!! ;))) I’m 57 yrs old and since I was 7 have been the fat kid/teen/adult. My top weight was 256 lbs. That was in 2010. I’m happy to say I now weigh in at 170 lbs., but not finished yet. I started working out on the treadmill just 3 weeks ago, (5 days on 2 days off) it’s only 20 min. a day, but considering I’ve always said “this body doesn’t run”, I’m doing pretty good for an old gal. Oh by the way, I’ve lost 15 lbs in those 3 weeks. Anyway, so glad I found your blog and know I will only be running till I hit that goal of mine at 135 lbs. I truly HATE it! But feel it’s something I have to do for now. Thought I would have to continue running all my life, now I know this is only a means to an end.
    THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!! Keep writing and blogging! As everyone before me has said you are an inspiration and funny to boot !!! :D

  200. Lisa

    I can only reiterate what everyone else has said… “THANK YOU!” I’m sharing your blog with all my girlfriends. I too have always felt like I “should” run because everyone else does… I HATE it! I can’t even walk in a straight line, let alone RUN! EW! You’ve inspired me, I’m going to put my shoes on now, find my ear-buds, and WALK!!!!!!

  201. Marshmallow

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story. I have struggled now with an ED for nearly a decade and all because I was bullied for being chubby. I am slowly recovering but definitely at the phase where I feel I have to exercise every day . . . running in particular and though its something I used to enjoy when I first started I know hate it because I constantly feel I have to push myself till I feel sick. Your story has shown me that I don’t have to do that, I need to exercise because I want to and because it makes me happy. Thank you so very much. This is exactly what I needed to continue on my journey of recovery.
    Love M

  202. Shelly L.

    I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident and I’m SO glad that I did! I’ve recently lost 20lbs. It’s not much, but with what I’ve gained in confidence and well-FEELING, it is incredible! I developed sciatica due to my job. I think it was given to me to get me off of my butt and move! I literally have a set amount of time that I’m able to sit before I start to feel that familiar ache! I’ve reached a plateau but I’m going to get through this and your story is the inspiration that I needed!

  203. Liz

    Let me be just a bit presumptous here and tell you….we could totally have been lifelong BFF’s in a past life. I have all of these friends who claim they “love” to run….listen, they might REALLY love it…but I doubt. I think they are big ‘ol liars. I enjoy my walks too…..if I could stick with them and be consistent, it would be even greater. I am 5’ 8″ and 160 lbs. I would like to lose a bit of weight but I would really like to be more toned, firm…..I’ll just come out and say it, I want a nice butt. I love, love your blog and will continue to read and enjoy. :)

  204. KW

    I came here for the mini cinnamon roll recipe and stayed for the exercise story. I lost a significant amount of weight in ’10 and ’11 and I have majorly struggled with “maintenance” at a happy weight. A lot of it has had to do with the stress of people fixating on my new, lighter weight and taking it all too seriously. This series was truly inspiring…so few people talk honestly and openly and _sanely_ about weight maintenance, maybe in part because it’s not as easily described as “go to the gym X minutes, eat X calories.” I am trying to do something close to what you described, and hearing your words made me feel less alone and more determined that I can find a way of moving and eating that makes me happy. Thanks!

  205. Emily

    I have just burst into tears because I have just realised for the first time in my life that I am safe, happy and free. Thank You. x

  206. Brianna

    Your experience is so moving and inspirational to so many people struggling with weight and body image issues. I just want to thank you for emphasizing the importance of accepting your body’s natural state of health, where you are most happy and alive. I have struggled with weight issues for years, feeling as though I had to be a certain size to be happy. Your story just confirms, however, that if you are emotionally happy and well, your body will be too. It just takes that extra courage to allow your body to do that on its own, without any harsh manipulation via strenuous, tiresome exercise. Again, thank you so much.

  207. Lisa B

    Hey Andie,

    I love your transparency, thank you for sharing! I currently have a very similar body type to your pre-weight-loss figure. While I’m glad you came to peace with walking for weight maintenance, I think it’s safe to say you couldn’t have lost the significant amount of weight you did with just walking.

    For me, I wish I could run, but I have major major knee issues so running is out of the picture, and via my PT so is the elliptical & recumbent stationary bike. I walk as much as my knee allows, but there is no way I’ll be able to have the weight loss success you’ve had (without bariatric surgery or something of the like).

    I am happy for you and appreciate you sharing your journey. I wish I could follow your footsteps, but it won’t happen for me like it did for you. Hopefully I can find a path to weight loss of my own. Here’s hoping I can share that with you some day!


  208. Phyllis

    Wow! What an inspiration. And at the perfect time. I’m just going to walk on my treadmill. That’s. It. And you know, that’s what dr’s have been saying all along. Congratulations to you on your journey. I can only hope to be as successful as you!

  209. Amy Fenner

    I can’t tell you how inspired I feel right now having read your story! I’m just beginning (again) my weightloss journey (16 pounds down so far) and I’m already scared to death what’s going to happen when I can no longer take the appetite prescription I’m on.……….I can’t live in the present because I’m so fearful of the future! How dumb is that? I’m not yet at the point where I can let go of that fear, but having read your story, I know that it’s possible. God willing, I’ll have the opportunity to try it out myself :) Thank you for sharing so candidly about your journey – I know I’ll be back many times along my way to get a boost!

  210. Kim V

    You are an amazingly inspiring person.. Last year between June-mid August i lost a whopping 25lbs working my butt off, eating nothing but salads and meat for protein.. between September and January, i gained 40 back. I have been struggling for years to get it off.. and when i hear your story and see your progress it makes me want to get up and move.. but with 3 kids, a home, a husband and working 2jobs.. my motivation is zilch. its in there somewhere, and maybe once i get over the fear of working hard to barely lose anything, i can get it done. (btw, i am 5’9 also, i weigh 229)

  211. Marina

    I read the first two parts of your story and I was so touched. I wanted to share it with a friend of mine who is struggling to lose weight and is depressed as hell about how long its taking to get results. Then I read the last bit of the third post where after claiming you don’t exercise at all, you mention that tiny detail about walking 3 miles every day! What the..?
    3 miles is not ordinary walking. It is not routine for people to walk that much. At your weight, 3 miles [EVERYDAY] is all the exercise you will ever need to stay fit.
    I would like to claim that monetary refund now. For my time.

  212. Shana

    Thank you so much…I am at a point in my life where I have hit a wall. I have been working out like a crazy person and eating right–not eating sugar, and I am actually 10 lbs heavier than I was last year.

    I, too, realized this year that I hate running, but I have been pushing myself in so many way that I don’t enjoy just to be “thinner”. I just want to enjoy my life and be happy. This message is right on time.

    My metabolism has been a little screwed up since about the same age you started your journey (and I am 34 now). I was given a very nasty drug that threw me in to menopause at 20 and 21–I gained about 50-60 pounds from that. A year and a half later, I had lost the weight again, but over the years because of the damage to my endocrine system it has been hard to “maintain”, so I would abuse myself to get back there or maintain. This does not work. And then there are the periods (fewer than the latter), where I just give up.

    It’s funny, I was always at my thinnest when I was happy and when I was walking a lot (I lived in NYC). I think it’s time to get back to that. To enjoy food and not feel guilty. To not kill myself doing exercise I hate. To eat some sugar.

    So again, thanks. Your message was right on time and inspiring. I don’t believe in coincidences. I randomly found this through Pinterest. Peace and blessings to you.

  213. Julie

    I have tears in my eyes! I’m working on losing weight. To be healthy not to be skinny/thin. Thank you for sharing your story. For inspiring me. I’ve lost 50 lbs so far. I still have 150 more to loose-according to the doc. You and your blog just gave me the inspiration to keep walking! One bag of chips at a time, one milky way at a time!

  214. Angie

    You are an AMAZING writer and person!!! I started my weight loss journey at well over 300 pounds. I have had ups and downs, but have kept off just over 100 pounds. I can relate to soooooo many of your feelings through all this. Just recently I have joined a total body transformation program, and do actually love it. Walking has and always will be my favorite though. This much I know! :) Congrats on your journey! Running across this blog makes me feel like I really can finish mine. I still have about 30 more I’d like to get rid of. Again— WOW on the writing and journey! :)

  215. Tiffany

    Hi Andie,

    You are an amazing writer and an inspiration to us all! It’s so great to know that we don’t have to kill ourselves at the gym in order to stay fit, happy, healthy, and slim!

    Over the past 6 months, I lost 30 lbs… not a huge feat compared to all that you’ve accomplished but it was still a big one for me. The problem was, I lost it without trying… I had to go on an elimination diet for allergy purposes and the weight melted off. Now I struggle to maintain, as I’ve developed (oddly enough) an eating disorder…. I fear food. I fear it touching my mouth…. I feel like every ounce of it is translating into another inch around my waist and thighs.

    My doctor has put me on a 1400 calorie diet, as I wasn’t eating enough before, taken away my scale, and insists for me to stick to it for 3 weeks until he checks me out again (now I’m considered underweight for my height and build, and he’s concerned). He also told me to do at least 45 min a day of cardio and running, 5 days a week.

    Problem is…. for me it’s hard enough just to force myself to eat, nevermind jump on the treadmill. I have always HATED running, and the idea of it doesn’t help my eating disorder as it stresses me out to the point where I have panick attacks and get depressed! It’s so nice to know that you can just walk to maintain, as walking, I do quite enjoy! So I think that is what I shall do from now on… that and continue to eat healthy.

    Currently I’m walking about 7.5 miles a day…. not at a breakneck speed, but a comfortable moderate one (3-3.5 mph)… should that be enough to maintain? Other than that I’m fairly inactive as my job isn’t one that allows me to move around too much.

    Out of curiousity… you said you firmly believe in calories in = calories out… if you walk 3 miles a day, how many calories do you find you are consuming to stay at maintenance? I’m terrified that even with walking the 7 or so miles, 1400 will make me balloon!

    1. Ann

      Tiffany, your journey will be long and hard, and those thoughts that enter your head while around food will stay, until you let them go. I know what feeling you are having, and the terror food can bring when you have struggled with weight. Food is the hardest thing to find peace with because you do need it to survive but it is easy to go overboard.
      A 1400 calorie diet is a “diet” in itself for my body. If I ate only that much I would loose weight with out working out. A mile whether it is ran or walked will burn around 100 calories. You do not have to work out calorie for calorie with the food you consume as you do activities through out the day that burn calories as well, even standing still burns calories. Your allergies will make for some barriers, but you need to eat a lot of what is good for you when your diet is limited like it is. The fear of food you have is an incredible struggle, and I know what it feels like to be thinking about every bite! Know that you are not the only one that has had these feelings, but with the diet you have and the amount of activity recomended by your doctor you should be fine.

  216. Pingback: WIAW- thoughts on the diet so far | ohmygodisthatfromtiffany

  217. Tara

    Found you pinned to Pinterest! I have never truly been overweight (unless you count the freshman 15…er…25…). However, my husband and I joined a gym after getting married and it didn’t take long for running to become an obsession. I worked myself up to 9 miles every other day (and first ever 5K @ 24:30!!). Running became my #1 priority.

    btw, I totally, totally hear you on the treadmill-looming-wake-up-dread. I LOVED how running made me feel afterward so that was my motivation. Well, that and the wonderful fact that I could eat and eat and eat and never think twice about seconds on dessert!

    I cranked out literally 5 miles a pop until I was 8 months pregnant! Then I began to experience premature labor and was given instructions to take it easy – especially no running or heavy lifting!

    At first I was terrified I would blimp out from getting out of my routine but that didn’t happen. Well at first I gained some weight from sitting around feeding my son all day but once he was off breast milk and we were more active those pounds came right off!

    My son is 2 now and I’ve gone on a run maybe 3 times since then. I strength train in my living room 3x/week and get in cardio in the form of obsessive cleaning – ha! (My treadmill is always dust free but that doesn’t mean I’m using it!)

    I weigh almost the same as what I did while running – maybe 5lbs more. And while I’d love my sculpted legs back I feel like now I can at least LIVE. I do think it would be beneficial to walk the treadmill once or twice a week, maybe at an incline, or MAYBE a slow jog, but I think that’s more out of guilt that we bought the thing and it’s staring me in the face every day!

  218. ChristyLee

    Beautiful Story and Beautiful Lady :) So inspiring, I just finished working out when I found your site, gives me more motivation too keep at it and not give up because I get so frustrated with the workout hard and eat very little!! thanks so much for the inspiration and lovely story :)

  219. Aubrey

    This is so inspiring! I do have a few questions though…what did your diet and exercise routine look like while you were loosing the weight? How much did you exercise then and what calorie count did you shoot for?

  220. Robyn Rasmussen

    Wow. I found your blog through a Pinterest pin of cinnamon coffee cake muffins ( that were delicious by the way) and then realized that your blog was also fillled with an inspiring weightloss journey. I lost almost 80 pounds 1 1/2 years ago and I am currently torturing myself with a 12 week intense weight lifting/fat loss program to lose the “last 20”. But… You have made me realize that torturing myself to lose the “last 20” may just NOT be worth it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for an excellent wake up call. Your blog has just shot to the top of my list of favorite.

  221. Rachel

    You are amazing! While I have not had such a severe struggle with weight, it has been something that has tended to consume me much of my life and your story made me teary eyed. Cheers to great writing, moderate exercise, and finding who you truly want to be.

  222. Melissa Schemenauer

    Oh thank you! I’ve sat here for the last 30 min or so fighting back tears while reading this. I’ve been a big ‘ole girl my entire life, and after four kids I’ve sitting at a grand total of 278 (I know, I know…pin a rose on my nose lol). Working out is rough for me because I’m dealing with asthma issues, but I know that if I could loose some weight my asthma wouldn’t be as bad. Sigh. But I can walk! Thank you for reminding me that it’s just getting up and moving that’s important, but being happy about it all (life, yourself, everything) is too. Bless you!

  223. Vyne

    Thank you for letting me off the hook, I have never been a gym girl and yet it has usefulness occasionally :) I enjoy just walking and hiking too. Yet, when I am on the spot and someone asks what I do, I feel awkward and feel as if I should have some plan of action or be DOING more. When left to my own I am happy as a clam and feel great eating healthy and reeling myself in after a few events of yummy spreads. Your truthfulness and artistic use of words is inspirational and had been the shot of boldness we need.

  224. Tiffany

    Your story is so inspiring! I love your philosophy about moving. I’m trying to do the same thing. You are wonderful :) Thanks!

  225. Silvia

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. It has been enlightening to read about your journey and your breakthrough. It’s just… I am speechless. I have never felt so motivated and inspired in my entire life. Coming from someone who has always been painfully aware of her XL size, that is saying something. Thank you for sharing this.

  226. Carri

    I just found your blog, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is completely inspiring and motivational.

  227. Maria Carolina Rueda

    My name is Maria Carolina, I am 16 years old, and after years of being an obsessive exerciser, you have just changed my life.

  228. Chloe Yates

    Thank you! Thank you for your courage, tenacity, persistence, and honesty. Your blog came along at the right time for me. I needed to hear something that would snap me out of my self hatred and harming self talk. I’m going to continue to follow your blog.

  229. Debbie Compton

    I’m 58 and have had weight issues for 2 years. Before when I wanted to loose weight I just watched my carbs and sweets, but has not been that easy for me now. Your story made me feel so much better about walking and knowing that I am making a differnce in my life. Thank you for this inspiring story.

  230. Patti Strickland

    I read thus article thinking OK how much did she have to do everyday at the gym to lose all that weight… but reading more and more and seeing that you did elliptical and different things I can do I was so inspired. I, like you have always been big and saw myself being like this forever. But then just recently something clicked and said I don’t have to be like this anymore, I can lose and get healthy and be thin! After reading this I’m not afraid to say I’m at my biggest of 245lbs wow it actually feels good to tell someone!!!! My goal is to lose 100lbs but have goals of 20lbs at a time, I have lost 13 lbs so far and for a little goal an excited… you have inspired me beyond belief and i know now I can do it! ! Thnk you so mix, you don’t know what it means to me to have happened upon this page, like it was meant to be!!!! Thanks, Patti

  231. Rena

    This is incredible and I have every ounce of respect for you. I am so impressed and I love that this story has a happy ending, even though it isn’t really the end. It gives me hope.

  232. Amanda

    I appreciate your honesty in your blog. I needed to read this blog, I had that moment where I got on the scale not to long ago and have just had enough. I am trying to work my weight off the old fashioned way….no pills, shakes, or extreme calorie reduction. I want to loose my baggage with work, because I feel its the only way I will keep it off.
    Your words are inspiring and some of your comments were thoughts I have had several times in my 32 years of being obese. Thank you so much for your blog, I will reread it often to refocus my thinking that it will happen for me too.

  233. Martha

    Thank you… I too have never been the “smaller” version of myself. I always say that I went from a size 5T to a size 14 and never saw the in between. This is my first summer as a teacher and for the last 5 weeks, I have done absolutely nothing but worry about losing weight. I took up running for 2 weeks and then went on vacation. This morning I was planning on getting up early and running before everyone woke up, didn’t happen. I told my 3 yr old daughter when we woke up, that we would walk to the park… this blog has just given me the motivation to walk with her AND to use my Y membership tonight and walk the treadmill. (who couldn’t use the free childcare they provide!) This is my first visit to your site, and I know it will not be my last. It is wonderful to see a successful weight loss and maintenance!

  234. Heather

    You’re awesome! I was at 265 and out of sheer luck lost 45 of it in 2 months after having my baby. I’m excited to lose more, but I’m also excited that I can look forward to a day where I don’t feel like I have to work out hardcore. I just take walks everyday right now.

  235. Colleen

    Originally came across your site via a PIN of your baked/fried buffalo chicken recipe, and I am so happy to say that i have spent the better part of two hours reading your blog. Your story of weight-loss and weight matinense is absolutely beautiful! Never before have i herd a “how i lost the weight” story that talked about the after the loss effects. Keep up the amazing work, I cant wait for the books!!

  236. Tish

    Thank you for writing this, I needed it today. It’s motivating and inspirational and exactly what I needed to be told. Thank you!

  237. Lelia

    Thank you! You are an inspiration. After two kids (4 yr old and 3 month old) and a lifetime of BIG, I’m my biggest, 5’8″ and 282 lbs. I look in the mirror, or see a photo, and wonder when did this happen. As I have read your story, it is already familiar, so close to my own… But now it’s time for a new chapter to start. Thank you!

  238. Kaelyn

    You are legit amazing!
    These 3 subsequent posts have inspired me so much, I too have lost a good deal of weight 45+ pounds and I can’t help but drown in guilt every time I DON’T move away from my bed, eat the ‘right’ things and do activities i hate for 30 minutes a day even though i have yet to gain any weight (its been 7 months so far!)
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! for posting this.
    You ma’am may have just monumentally changed my outlook on life right now :D

  239. April

    I read this and went for a walk. It’s my favorite exercise, and except for yoga, it’s the only exercise I really enjoy. I’ve tried other things…running, kickboxing, weight lifting…they hurt, they are hard, they make me dread going and subjecting myself to something that will leave me so sore and tired and hungry. So I stop. And then I start. And then I stop again. I like to walk. I like to stretch. Thank you for reminding me I don’t have to kill myself in the gym to achieve my goals; that I can do something I enjoy, even if I’m not burning a thousand calories each time.

  240. Emily

    I find myself in tears, actual tears running down my face after reading your blog post. I too am 5’9″ and reached my OMG moment when the scale read 272 lbs after giving birth to my 3rd beautiful baby girl. Now my girls are 7,5, and 3 and I find myself sitting on 262 lbs. Your blog has really inspired me to give it another shot. I long desperately to be not thin so I can wear cute clothes… which would be totally awesome but to be healthy, happy with the way I feel about myself. So thank you for sharing. I feel as though maybe I can just do it this time. I don’t have to wake up every single morning and crank out P90X. If I’m not feeling it I can take the girls and go on a walk! The transformation doesn’t have to happen over night although I wish it would and find that when it doesn’t is when I get discouraged! Your writing is amazing and I can’t wait to buy your memoir!
    Encouraged! Thank you!

  241. Ann

    I have had nearly the same struggle as you! I was around the same peak weight as a sophmore in highschool and have been through a journey to loose all the extra pounds. I have suffered from considerable back pain as well, and had recently had surgery to correct the issue at 23 yrs old. I find some of the thoughts creeping back as I have been on bed rest for a while to recover from the surgery. I went into surgery as an overly hyper, athletic, motivated individual and came out with no drive and no motivation. I am supposed to walk as a form of rehab, and I say to myself, what good is this going to do for my body. (not to mention that I can barely do half of what I used to be able to with some of the pain.) Your blog, which I found on pintrest, has given me the insight I needed to get moving. Thanks for sharing your story.

  242. Nakiba

    I stumbled upon your blog by searching for a recipe for one of my friends, and I enjoyed your story and what you have shared. This has been one of the most refreshing and honest blogs to read. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your journey!

  243. Sarah Elizabeth

    I teared up during Part 1 – I’m EXACTLY where you were when you started. Not figuratively. Exactly. Same height. Same number on that dumb device that likes to throw you into reality. I am older than you were on that day though. By exactly 10 years. I had a melt down looking at that number 5 days ago. After birthing 2 children, it’s the first time of seen it. Wait. That’s not true. I saw that number once when I was 9 months pregnant, but that is NOT what you want to see when you are, uh, zero months pregnant. Something felt different this time though. Like I was finally ready to really change something. Anything. So, 5 days in, here I am. Looking for healthy recipes and exercise ideas on Pinterest. I cannot express the gratitude I have in finding a link to your story. Amazing. I will continue to follow you on your journey. Maybe even blog my own story so that people can follow mine. Because I am on a journey this time. Not a quick fix run that will inevitably fail me, as it has so many times before. Thank you for your honesty. For your story. You are being used to touch lives in a way that I don’t know that you could possibly ever, really grasp. Beautiful.

  244. Katie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think so many women can relate to thinking they will finally be fully happy with themselves when they become thin. I know I can. I’ve refocussed my goals to becoming healthier and having more energy-and I’ve started walking every in order to do that.

  245. Bobbi Lynn Peters

    Thank you so much for this website and for your story. What an inspiration for the average woman to be able to relate to. I applaud your courage and I have hope for myself!

  246. Nicole Donnelly

    What an absolutely beautiful post. I’m a sophomore in college majoring in English and dabbling in the culinary world right now. Since I can remember, weight has been a struggle for me physically and mentally. When I was in elementary school, I was consistently teased for being chubbier than the other kids because I wasn’t picky and I had a passion for food. When I finally grew into my full height (5’8) my body stretched with me and I settled at a solid 130 since 8th grade. I’ve always struggled mentally with my weight, constantly restricting, trying to force my body to look smaller, refusing the foods that once gave me joy. I force myself to work out hard at the gym creating knots in my shoulders and hardships for my knees. Reading your post has literally allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief. I can eat dessert on occasion; I can find peace with my workout; and I can begin to enjoy life again. Thank you for this.

  247. Marty

    Oh thank you.. thank you!! I need to lose 75 pounds and beat myself up constantly because I am a lump and hate the thought of exercise.. AND, not the thought that to LOSE weight, I have to do it, but that I might have to do it forever.. It’s almost like my mind is saying, “Why do it? Why lose the weight if you’re not going to keep it off.. just stay fat..” You have given me hope. THANK YOU!!

  248. Rachel

    Phenomenal. Everything you write is so eloquently presented that it literally gives me chills. I have a weight loss blog of my own and am just starting my (very long) journey. You are by far my favorite weight loss blogger, and your words and journey inspire me in more ways than one. Thank you for your unfiltered honesty- a rare commodity in the weight loss world. Thank you for truly creating amazing content. When I read your blog, i cannot pry myself away. I’ve been a silent reader thus far, but your work definitely warrants a comment of appreciation. A million thank you’s your way.

  249. Kelly

    This may have saved me. Thank you. Thanks for teaching me that life is beautiful, and that happiness is beautiful. Killing myself at the gym 5 days a week isn’t beautiful. Again, thank you. Did I thank you enough…?

  250. Janie

    Woa. Beautifully written. Seriously sitting at work in tears! I killed myself in the gym the year after I had my son trying so hard to beat my body into shape. I too was once at the 260 mark edging on 300. After losing 45 pounds with about 8 months of abuse (7 miles on the elliptical frantically racing whomever dared to step on the machine next to me!!) – I finally snapped and quit working out. Feeling pathetic, I quit eating healthfully too. Before you know it I had gained back 20 pounds in four months. Tired of this yoyo-ing, I decided this year to just eat smart and move my body when I could. The only thing I don’t hate doing is WALKING. So that’s what I do- I get up and I walk. I have only lost 27 pounds since January and lately I have been beating myself up again that maybe I need to do more. After reading your story, I know that I just need to be patient with the process- even if it’s one pound a week for the next 75 pounds I want to loose. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  251. Katie

    Absolutely inspiring story! I am currently studying for a degree in health psychology so know about the impact of healthy eating and exercise on mental and physical well-being. I believe that you don’t have to slog it out at the gym for hours or eat salad after salad, it’s about doing what’s right for you and works best for you.

  252. kat

    This is fantastic! We could all learn a lot from your experiences :)
    Everything in moderation, including exercise!

  253. Amy

    I’m participating in my own journey of losing weight and finding health and peace right now. I have lost 20lbs and find your blog more helpful than most anything else I’ve read. It is real, it is refreshing, and it is encouraging! Thank you for sharing your life and your journey!

  254. Mom2gfs

    Thank you. You have just given words to a mommy who has been paralized by the fear of failing. I unlike you, did gain my weight after having children. I just gave up on myself. Then it became too hard to move around. I was/am certain I have become the women I used to judge in my 20’s. Now in my 40’s, I need to remember how it felt to run, or walk the streets of Paris and day dream about the life I was living. Now, I stay out of pictures and rarely let go of the shame. It has caused a bitterness and a wall. Thank you for a new place to begin.

  255. Nofar

    You are amazing- in body and spirit.
    Reading your words gave me strength: To continue in trying to lose weight and also to believe that i can do whatever i want. you seem like a very optimistic person, and thats the greatest gift a person can get.
    you inspire me with your optimism.
    I’m sending you a big hug and a huge thank you :)

  256. Szani

    I was looking for a healthy cauliflower recipe because that’s what I have in my fridge for some odd reason. I came upon your blog and just as I was going to get back to google to look for some more recipes, I kept on reading. You just might be the inspiration I am in dire need to move my fat ass and stop eating cookies non stop (I do have carrots sometimes too), so cheers to you and I will get back to my walking routine that I once had. Thanks a gazillion, I am adding your website under favorites:)))

  257. Victoria

    Thanks so much, your story is inspiring. After 2 children I have about 70 lbs. to lose and when I think of the gym and running I get so discouraged. Wish me luck in my journey to weight loss and health!

  258. Andrea

    You are amazing. You’re story has truly inspired me to get back “on track” and lose weight, not though rigorous pain in the pass workouts and hunger, but through activities I find enjoyable and eating the foods I love. You rock girl! Keep writing!

  259. Shannon

    Wow. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I found your recipes on Pinterest and I just read your inspiring story. You have a serious gift. Your writing is raw, and accessible, and so moving. I cried!

    My new favorite blog.


  260. May

    I read all 3 series. You are the first person to tell me that I don’t have to kill myself in the gym or run everyday to loose weight. I guess I’ve always felt like a looser for not liking…wait…scratch that…HATING

  261. May

    I read all 3 parts of this series. You are the first person to say that they don’t love the gym and/or running. This is such a foreign concept to me. I guess now I can stop punishing myself for HATING even the idea of both of these activities. I am 30 years old, 273.5 lbs today. 3 days ago I made a conscious decision to loose all this weight. I am so glad I found your blog. You inspire me. Thank you for that!

  262. One Busy Mom

    Your story inspired me today. I have recently struggled with having to leave the comforts (idols) of a metropolitan area and resolve myself to the fact that God has set me in a quiet place.

    In this new, very remote yet beautiful, area – all I do is long for my old gym classes (bondage). I’ve been feeling that maybe I just need to let go and walk these lakeside, bald-cypress lined streets and listen to every podcast from “how to speak french” to “marketing for dummies”.

    Your story really confirmed that today and helped me grasp get a little closer to grasping freedom :)

    Remembering Whose I am.

    Thank you.


  263. Sandy

    I accidentally stumbled upon your site and fell in love with your writing. I’m sure I will feel the same about your recipes once I try them! Brilliant!

  264. Jenny

    Love love love this! Thanks for writing this. So encouraging and energizing in my own pursuit of nutrition and fitness. :)

  265. Hayley

    This series moved me to tears. I am so glad someone directed me to your blog. You might just be saving my life. Thank you..

  266. Dez

    That moment you had- sitting in your car is a gift that you just gave to me. Thank You.
    After losing 60lbs and reaching my goal weight I suppose I thought for some reason that life would just be… perfect. But when the sky failed to open up and the marching band was apparently not notified… It was just.. the same. It was all just the same. So I struggled. And how do I deal with emotions I don’t understand?.. I eat.
    I’ve gained 30 of those hard earned 60 back over the last 3 years in a constant struggle of guilt and self-loathing and not until now am I coming to realize that the whole journey should never have been about the number on the scale in the first place. I has to be about something much MUCH more important. It has to be about me and about balance and about happiness.
    Again- Thank You. I sure hope you know how valuable your words are.

  267. Chelsea

    I completely agree with your exercise philosophy. I, too, lost about 25 lbs. a little over two years ago simply by quitting the gym and putting an end to excessive exercise. As soon as I stopped exercising constantly, my enormous appetite subsided and I found my self satiated by much smaller portions. I eat well, but I don’t pay attention to calories. I just eat less, and if I want a cupcake I eat it without a second thought. Now, I just walk my dog for a minimum of 20-30 minutes a day followed by a decent stretch or mini-yoga session.

  268. Mickie

    You have no idea how happy this makes me! SO excited to see someone lose weight and be thin without over exercising! SO encouraging! thank you for this:)

  269. claudia

    Just wanted to tell you what a fantastic writer you are. I so appreciate a well written blog, and these days they are becoming more and more rare. I look forward to your book!

  270. Donna

    Walking is my goal as well. I too want to lose 100lbs. My sense of balance is almost non-existent. I just bought a set of skiwalking poles. I love them. A quarter mile of walking with these puppies feels like a mile. They are great. I am making my way through winter weather here in Tennessee, but determined to walk a little as many days as I can through the winter and look out next summer.

  271. Lexi

    my god this was beautiful, thank you. as a mom witha bout 80 lbs to lose this makes me happy to know that i dont have to hurt myself to lose the weight, i just need to find my peace.

  272. Brook

    Thank you for sharing! I need to “find myself” and “just be happy” with who I am & “live”. I worry about weight all the time – if I eat a piece of dark chocolate I feel as it just hit the thighs. Thank you for the motivating and inspiring blog posts!

  273. Shekinah

    Bless your heart. Thanks for sharing, you just never know how many souls you can inspire with one beautiful life’s story! Bless you!

  274. Tifanee

    Your story is so inspiring!!! You will and im sure have already touched so many people.. Thank you for sharing….

  275. Lisa

    You are the story I needed to hear. I’m 5’9”, 256lbs and I wanted all the other weight loss stories to hit close to home…so often I tried to make them fit but the person in the story always had less of an impact…they had less to lose, they had personal trainers at their disposal, and they had seemingly all the time in the world.

    You had a life, you had the same love for food that I do…you started the same size I am.,.and I needed to know that someone…someone with a realistic experience of life could do it and you have and you are BEAUTIFUL.

    and you’ve inspired me…you’ve brought me to tears because finally, I see that my desire to be happy and comfortable with my weight involves a journey tha is not impossible.

    And I’m gOing to make it happen. Thank you.

  276. Sydney Fitzsimmons

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are truly an inspiration for healthy & realistic living. Thank you!

  277. Kelly

    Thank you for writing this. I am 36, and it is time to let myself find my right weight without hating the amazing years that I have had at this weight, because they have been some good times, but I would like to have more time, less pain and the opportunity that my inner me deserves.

  278. blessmyjourney

    Wow… I’m looking to read any food blog when I read this. No words enough for saying, thank you for sharing this story! really like it! Greetings

  279. Tamara

    Love! Love! Love! I just moved to Bangkok and my family has been making me run up 20 flights of stairs every morning which is absolute HELL!…Today I am choosing to walk!!!;) Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  280. Lindsey

    Your story is truly inspiring. I just recently began my weight loss journey. Your story reminds me so much of my own. I am also a sophomore in college, and almost the exact same weight you were when you began. I am so happy that I am not completely alone and that someone else understands. It makes me realize that there are many girls out there just like me. So, thank you. I feel less alone in this. :)

  281. Katie

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I weigh now what you weighed in the begining, and I feel so discouraged and dissappointed in myself. Reading your story has shown me that I CAN do it, and the only peron in my way is myself. I look forward to digging deeper into your blog and also digging myself out of this hole I have created. You are truly and inspiration to so many!

  282. Jessica

    I found my emotions all over the place when reading your blog. When I read the beginning of your weight loss journey I really enjoyed it, I felt like you understood. I then got to the part where you finally got down to 135 and was angry feeling like you got somewhere that I couldn’t ever get to. Then when you realized that even though you’d lost the weight you had wanted to, you found yourself still unhappy. I’ve always told my husband that I feel that I have so much of a complex with my weight and appearance that I’m terrified that if/when I reach that “ideal” weight that I’ll still find flaws and become even more obsessed with having to never get back to where I started. I’ve come to realize that I need to tackle my emotional struggles in order to succeed in this. Anyway, your blog is very inspiring!

  283. Amanda

    I just found your blog and this last post really spoke to me. A few years ago I lost 30 lbs after having my little boy. I have gained 12lbs of it back and it scares me. I eat pretty well most days but moving again has made the difference. I don’t feel the need to kill myself 3-4 times a week for an hour at a time. I get in 20-30 minutes each day if I can and have to be ok with it. I still beat myself up over missing a workout a time or two but I then have to think who would my kids rather have around? Someone who is obsessed about the gym/working out or a mom who will play outside with them or take a walk to the park so they can play (even if it means “missing” my workout)? It is a breath of fresh air to hear someone else say it is ok to just be you.

  284. Zarah

    Beautifully written. This had me sniffling, nodding in a greeance, grinning like a fool and feeling that “Yes! THIS is how you do this – in a healthy way!”. Thank you for sharing!

  285. Reanna

    I found your blog looking for an icing recipe for my little brothers birthday cake. I loved your pictures and your writing so I decided to dive a little deeper. I found your beautiful story of weightloss and I HAVE to ask you a question.

    I’ve lost weight. I lost a lot of weight. I weighed 190 lbs. January 7th, 2012. By August 4th, 2012, I weighed 89 lbs. I hurt myself… Really bad. I’m 19 years old and that was the closest I’ve ever been to death. My family/loved one finally put a stop to my restrictive eating/excessive exercizing and brought me to a doctor. I was diagnosed anorexic and admitted into a treatment center. The doctor told me I had 2 weeks left to live if I didn’t change my ways. You’d think those words would scare me, but no. I wanted to be skinny. But I loved my family, and I was hurting them. I started to eat again, but I continued exercizing. I fell in love with healthy food and cooking. Knowing what I was eating and how it was made, calmed my eating anxiety. I finally felt happy. My family was kinder to me than they had ever been in my life, I felt better, and my clothes fit better. I was eating well, and I had a lot of energy. But, I spent a lot of time preparing my meals for each day, and many hours still running at the gym. That summer, I decided to change majors. I’m now a dietetic student, dreaming of a healthy future helping others. But really, i’m just pathetic. That fall I started my first semester of school and I took on A LOT. I got to realize exactly what 25 credit hours was like. I didn’t have the time anymore to prepare my meals and exercize. I began eating whenever/whatever. Because I had no time to eat in the day, I became a night eater. I would eat, eat, eat, eat, as much as I could. I missed brownies/cookies/candy. But not only that, I missed eating. I began gaining weight. So I began throwing up. Binging, purging. And all the while, trying to study nutrition.
    My semester ended and this summer I’m looking back at myself last summer and thinking “what have I done?”.
    I lost SO MUCH WEIGHT.
    And i’ve gained almost all of it back.
    Since the stressful semester has ended, the binging as slowed down a bit.
    So has the purging. In fact, I haven’t purged in over a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
    But now, I’m left lost.
    I want to lose weight.
    I have clothes sizes 14 and 0 but I don’t fit into any of them.
    I don’t like the way I look and I cry walking into stores.
    I know exactly what and how much I’m supposed to eat but I’m afraid to.
    I’m afraid to eat right and afraid to exercize.
    Now thanks for baring with all my rambling, but here’s my question.

    What do you do when you’ve lost a TON of weight, gained it all back, and are completely terrified of doing it all over again?

  286. Chelsea

    Yesterday was a super hard day for me in my weightloss journey, I sat crying to my husband about my “weight problem” and digging for answers as to how or why I got to be 320lbs at 22 years old… Answers I couldn’t find even in my heart of hearts until I read this blog. I now realize I’m simply going to be unhappy at any weight I am. Unhappy is just as much of a choice as happy, just as the choice to loose weight or not. I’ve put those two eggs in the same basket my whole life… And after this raw and honest testimony that litteraly could have been ripped right from my subconscious I realize this, I need to put as much time and love into myself as I would my best friend or my husband. The world has many things to show me, and its time for me to start seeing them. Thank you for putting your darkest moments out there because they just shed new light onto my life.

  287. davidschic

    Thank you for this. I lost 81 pounds 2 years ago (lost by walking, by the way). In the last year I’ve gained 53 of those pounds back! This blog is what I need to hear. Thank you!

  288. GinaR

    I just googled weigh loss plans and came across your blog. I have sat at my office reading everything. I weight about what you weigh when you started. I was sitting here debating whether I wanted to go to Zumba tonight at the Y. I am going now. Your blog is one of the most positive things I have read in a long time. I am going to try your recipes and see how it works out. I am trying little by little and counting calories. I need to go through all of your moms meal day. Keep posting.


  289. Pingback: My Exercise History Part 2 | Can You Stay For Dinner?

  290. kelly n

    Seriously, the most liberating moment for me while reading your story. I needed to hear, yet again, that life needs to be lived. That doesn’t mean I can be irresponsible with my health but that the focus should be happiness first. Appreciate your honesty and realness. Thank you!

  291. Kiara

    Wow! Finally, someone that’s talking about maintenance and not killing yourself doing it! My friend and I needed this right now, so thank you! And I’d love to know when your book is out ’cause I’d love to read it and learn more! Thankyou for a job well done, and you definitely write well and keep it interesting which is even better. Definitely making us think and question real aspects of our lives; it’s a life-long learning process, isn’t it?!

  292. Patricia

    As I was reading your blog, I kept thinking about how great it would have been to have someone with such inspiring words while I will battling with my weight loss. I must say that I too had to go the long route and have also read many weight loss stories before I found what works best for me. I was so relieved when I discovered that doing something simple as walking every day would make a big difference in my life. It felt good just knowing that I did not have to do strenuous exercises for the rest of my life in order for me to look good and feel good.

  293. Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health

    Ok first of all, please forgive me, I just recently found your blog and I keep commenting everywhere! lol This post nearly brought me to tears. By around this time last year, I had gotten to my smallest weight since hitting 200 lbs, I was at around 155 to 160 and I was so proud but so exhausted. I was constantly going to the gym and doing intense cardio, panicking about what I ate, etc. because I just no longer had the patience and I wanted to finally be where I would be comfortable. That has never lied in a number for me, rather my goal is to feel comfortable with my midsection- ugh that’s where my excess fat loves to reside. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it’s been almost a year since I stepped back into the gym. I just finally let myself be free. I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t stress about making it to the gym every night. I am now back to watching what I eat so I can finally get to where I want to be. But I realized I have been so reluctant to go to the gym. Yesterday when I was walking to my car from work I realized something, I think I’m scared to get into that zone again of constantly putting pressure on myself to exercise. I love it, but I get discouraged when I don’t see the results easily and it frustrates me because I feel like by this point, I’ve worked hard enough to earn the flat tummy I’ve always wanted. But now that I am getting my eating under control, I hope to give it another shot and just be easier on myself. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. <3

  294. Geri Johnson

    Tears of joy and sadness at the same time…it’s my turn and I’m scared as hell, but I’ve got nothing to lose! Well, except 40 lbs!! Thank you for the inspiration and new outlook! See ya on the other side of 200 Lbs!!!

  295. Elizabeth

    I am crying….thank you!!!!! Thank you for being so real…I already love you…can’t help it..your such a great writer and I feel hope now…wheres my mega phone,lol, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

  296. Peggy Ritchie

    Thank you so much for writing this. I gained and am in the process of trying to loose 30#. I know that I gained the weight over the last four years because of not being as active. My kids became teenagers and no longer needed me to be at their side to do every little thing. I worked a stressful job 12-15+ hours a day. I have just recently decided that I have to find things to keep me active for my mental and physical health. Putting our happiness first leads us to find activities we also enjoy. Your story validates my thoughts and feelings. :)

  297. Taylor

    Thank you, I really needed to read this. I’m on a weight loss journey of my own and everytime I eat anything not in my daily plan I convince myself that I’m going to gain back the weight I’ve lost so far. This blog has made me feel way more free already. Thank you for sharing :)

  298. Paige

    I read your story and cried..stumbling across this could possibly the best thing that’s happened to me. I have suffered with my weight for years and i’m slowly working on it now.. your words are very inspiring and i’m glad i came across them. your story makes me feel like my goal is within my reach and i’m not alone.

  299. Joanna

    Thank you. I can relate to everything you have written in so many ways, and I am inspired by what you have done and how you have presented it here to help others. You’ve certainly helped me.

  300. Nikki L.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Oddly enough, I found you by googling a cookie recipe. Then I saw the part on the top of the page that said weight Loss and I clicked on it. I clicked on it because I’m so desperately to loose weight myself. In March I had finally hit my point that enough was enough and I knew I had to change. 6 weeks later I had lost 10 lbs. Now it has been about 6 more weeks and all I have been able to do is maintain. I suppose that better than gaining the weight back but I started feeling very down. I need to exercise ore than I have been and it is so hard and I’m so slow. . . Anyways. I just wanted to thank you, because this is exactly what I needed. It gives me hope. and we can accomplish nothing without hope. THANK YOU!

  301. Beth

    Thank you for this. I’m just getting started at 260 lbs and this is very comforting. I’ve been walking with my daughter in the stroller (4 weeks later I can walk 2.5 miles without pain!) and I think a lot of things like “oh this won’t be enough when I’m thinner, I won’t burn enough calories this way” and that might not be true! I do want to try running, mostly because I’ve never been able to. Knowing I won’t have to be a slave to it to be thin helps a lot.

  302. Nicki

    I don’t usually comment on blogs but as I sit here having just finished reading your 3 part post on your journey I feel the need to do so. I am sitting here at my computer with tears in my eyes and identifying with your struggles and realizations.
    I have been at that point over my 37 years of yoyo weight loss and gain and I don’t listen to my inner voice and give up and gain weight back that I worked so hard to lose.
    I have to do something….as I get older I am starting to see the effects of being over weight and what it has done to my body that has never been there before. You have inspired me to really commit to change. Thank you. I have really enjoyed your blog and will continue to do so!

  303. Breana

    Thank you. Thank you for being real, honest, raw, and giving me a perspective I can FINALLY relate to. This is beyond refreshing. I am 24 years old and have been trying to find something like this. Ive wondered about the after effects of losing a significant amount of weight, and have often thought that not every story has a happy ending. I cant wait to read your book and thank you for writing it. I look forward to any other books you want to write.

  304. Melissa

    I move because the world has too much to show me to stay still.
    Inspiration comes from powerful words that click in a strangers mind, far away, years later, but if you can make a difference in someone’s life, you are the inspiration.
    Thank you.

  305. Michelle

    How wonderful! Great job losing the weight! Nice work! And it was work! Thank you for your honesty. I love to read your writing because I believe you! I am running for my life right now because I’m afraid if I don’t I might fall about! I also suffered the sciatic pain and really believe I HAVE to have surgery to fix it! Otherwise – I might have to stop running! NOOO! I’m glad you remembered all the good things about running and exercise …feeling energized and mentally light (I really like how you put that). If I ever get to a place in which I feel trapped by it! I will remember you and remember it’s okay to let it go a bit! Till then I be running!

  306. Julia Dewolf

    Hello Andie,

    You really do have a gift for the gab. Thank you for your blog.

    So I have been up and down many many times over the years. The biggest weight loss I’ve had to make is about 50lbs. Right now I’ve just had my third baby and I need (want) to lose 10-15 lbs.

    I’m 5’3″ and currently 130 lbs (I have 133 two weeks ago).
    Here’s my exercise dilemma. I love to exercise. Truly I do. Though it does boarder line obsession. I love to run, swim, hike, bike. Running is my current love but I have shin splints. Most of the exercises I do are repetitive strain ones so I been advised to do strength training to help and hopefully become less injured. Just before having my third baby I ran 8 half marathons in a period of 1.5 years… and it was awesome. I also love to socialize when I run.
    I digress. I live to exercise. Currently I am eating 1800 calories a day, and I exercise and burn 250-500 calories in exercise a day. Slowly the weight is coming off.
    I do feel hungry most of the time right now, but I’m try to lose, so I think in part it’s natural. Losing weight is hard, if it was easy everyone would do it (as you say you eloquently in many of your posts).
    When I get to my goal weight, as I have in the past, the obsession with food heightens. I don’t drop exercise, because I love it so. But how do I balance so I don’t have the burning desire to eat all the time. Is the only way to stop exercising so much? I have read your post walking vs. running.
    I want to be thin, exercise 6 times a week and not have a crazy obsession with food… is that possible? Am I asking too much?

  307. Hayley

    Thanks Andie, seriously thanks. After my daugher was born last May I’ve just felt this constant, “if I could just get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans then I’ll be myself again.” Where did I go? Am I not still here? I’d gotten so caught up in shedding those last 10 to 15 pounds that I wasn’t letting myself enjoy much of anything. Now it’s become more about going out for a walk to feel the sunshine and show my daughter the first (few) hints of spring or discuss whatever human interest story NPR broadcasted that morning with my husband. And then, a few times a week I’ll go jog around the block or head to the gym to listen to something other than Disney songs, to sweat and to have time for me. If it doesn’t make me feel good, I’m just not going to do it anymore. Running miles and miles isn’t for me, “pumping iron” is most definitely not my thing and that’s just dandy. No rigid schedule, no shame if wine and netflix win out on Tuesday nights- I’m just enjoying my days for what they are; my life. My beautiful, imperfect, perfect life. Thanks giving me a peek inside your inspirational life, can’t wait to marathon read your book! :)

    1. Julia Dewolf

      Wow thanks Haley. Nice to feel like I’m not alone post baby.
      I’ve just had my 3rd baby and impatient to get back to where I was pre-baby. It’s always been a dream of mine to have 3 kiddos, and now I do. Before we had our 3rd a reason not to (of mine) was the difficulty of getting back to my size before baby. She is now 7 months old and I still have 10-15 lbs to go!
      I love to exercise though, my rationale mind knows it does borderline obsession. I need to find a balance with food and life. Right now I’m on my second cold in two weeks and feel shut in and desperately want to run but my body won’t cooperate, I’m still sick and need to rest.

  308. Trisha

    I am so glad I found your blog post on this. I just had my first child. I was 135lbs. Before having her but now, six months post partum, I feel forever stuck at 170lbs. I walk at least 6miles every other day. I just need to remember to stick with it. That the weight will come off and that the weight doesn’t make me, me. Thanks for the insperation. I needed it.

  309. Raychael

    Recently I’ve found myself at a stand still in life. I’ve been evaluating everything around me that I love, hate, and just do not need in my life. One issue I’ve struggled with since my teenage years is food. Food, like you, was my comfort. Unluckily for me my family couldn’t afford healthier alternatives, so everything was processed, boxed, or high in everything we’re NOT supposed to eat as sustenance. My idea of a balanced meal was a burger, fries, and that lemonade I always got as a “healthier alternative” my mother would say.

    It’s both embarrassing, and horrifying, to know I am where I am because of myself. I didn’t have to do the things I did. I could make excuses, “I never learned good eating habits,” “I didn’t exercise because nothing was available,” but where would that get me? Nowhere that’s where. Now as I’m getting older I start to see how much happier I could be if I just got a hold on myself.

    I digress. Stumbling across your blog was possibly the most inspiration and motivational thing I could have come across. The biggest hindrance for me: fear. I’m afraid. Would people look at me differently once I lost weight? When I walk into the gym is everybody going to be staring at me? Who is judging me? Fear is what holds me back the most I think.

    How did you cope with fear? That is if you felt that at all? Your transformation is fantastic. Not just because you look amazing but because you’ve retained yourself. You’re still a beautiful person, with the same smile, that seems to want to share her story with everybody else. If you can help just one person, you’ve made a huge difference.

    You can count me as one. :)

  310. Katerina

    Thank you! It was like I heard myself both from my past and my future.
    Although I really hate screen-reading, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
    I laughed so much with your comments. You are very talented!!

  311. Liz

    “But I move because the world has too much to show me to stay still.”

    exactly what i needed to read. i’m sharing part 3 with a few girlfriends. you wrote this to me, i know it. keep it up!

  312. Isa

    I love this 3-parts post!
    I am trying to loose excess weight at the moment (20 down, ideally about 50-70 more to go, will see where the body settles) and, contrary to many times before when I lost (and regained…) weight, this time I absolutely refuse to do anything that I don’t see myself do forever. So, no calories counting, no diet club, no restrictions (except for sweets, because too much sugar makes me binge, and because I truly don’t care about sweets anyways), and no over-exercising. I trained for a 5k run 2 years ago and, while I was really proud of myself on the day of the actual 5k, I hated every moment spent training for it. I never enjoyed running and I said “never again” after I finished the 5k. So I won’t. I am so done exercising just to burn calories, even when I dislike the activity I’m doing (I’m looking right at you, spinning!!). Now I aim at MOVING MY BODY for at least 30 minutes per day. That’s it. Walking, yoga, weights training, aquafit, zumba, etc. I move moderately, I eat moderately, and I accept that the weight is shifting slowly, and I will let my body settle where he decide to settle. I am so done fighting my body shape, my genetic, my body. Out with the self-hatred and the fear of failure, in with more love, more self-respect, more self-care!

  313. Angel

    I’m arriving at this series of posts about 6 years late, but thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed this today. I’ve regained about 70 lbs and finally feel a sea change occurring to find peace with myself. There’s always something else tugging at me, though, reminding me of the half marathons, 3 hour yoga sessions, and hunger (so much hunger) that kept me thin. I’ve felt in my gut that, through kindness to myself, mindfulness, and more realistic movement expectations, I can lose weight again. Not 70lbs… but I’m ok with that. My goal is a 55 lb loss, which I honestly need for my health. Now that I’m over 40, my weight is impacting me in unexpected, slightly terrifying ways. I have found so much comfort in your posts this past week and can’t wait to read your memoir and cookbook.


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