Yep. Over the last ten months I’ve lost more than 38 lbs. I hit 40 before the holidays, but then I lived my life and ate cookies with my family, and now I’m at 38 (again). I’ve shared about this whole journey a bit over on Instagram (click “here for my “Weight Loss” highlight), but wanted to pen a few thoughts that took more characters than a typical Instagram post. Good thing I didn’t really shutter up this here blog 😉

It’s been a life-changing thing for me, losing weight. It’s something I simply could not have done before now, and keeping in line with my word for 2018 (which was ‘basic‘ – read more about it here) it was the perfect time to start the process. Something just clicked in my brain last February, and off I went. I’m down three jeans sizes, and am in a medium or large top instead of XXL or 1x in the plus size department. My feet even went down a half size! I’m well on my way to my overall goal (which sometimes that feels totally daunting, that there’s still a ways to go), but for the most part I’m just chugging along little-engine-that-could-style, one choice at a time.

Along the way there have been so, SO many lessons learned. I wanted to log a few of them for my own heart, and (as always) figured someone else might take away a thing or two as well.

Here are 20 things I’ve learned from losing 38+ pounds:

  1. People keep asking if I’m following a program or protocol, and the answer is a solid NOPE. It’s simply eating less than I was eating before, making better choices as to what I do eat, and drinking more water. Over the summer I started taking regular long walks with our dog, and a few weeks ago we joined a gym so I could walk inside during this weird melty/icy winter. That’s all the exercise I’ve done, but I think it’ll be a key part in losing the next set of pounds.
  2. Moderation is key. KEY, I tell you. I tried the deprivation thing for about one week and it backfired big time. All I wanted to eat was sugar and other items on the no-no list. I need to live my life! I need to be able to have my treats, my carbs, my lattes… and do so with a balancing eye. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as ‘balance’ in most of life but I’m finding that at least nutritionally, there just might be. I’d rather have half a cookie than no cookie, and half a cookie doesn’t tank my whole day.
  3. Drinking water actually does make a difference. Duh. But better to learn now than never.
  4. Buying an entire new wardrobe is both super expensive and super fun.
  5. Exercise really does give you a little natural high!

    Summer 2016, Winter 2018. At that point in the winter picture, I’d lost an entire Clara (she weighs 40lbs)!

  6. Walking feeds the soul. Pounding the pavement, breathing the fresh air, seeing the trees and walking the same path has refreshed and woken up my heart. And when I’m inside on a treadmill, I love the music pounding in my ears, and seeing others around me working hard for their goals and health is energizing.
  7. Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-care is not self-medicating. Lattes, pedicures and shopping are not self-care. Going to the dentist is self-care. Drinking water is self-care. Throwing away the rest of the cake after the birthday is over is self-care. Our culture has an unhealthy and inaccurate description of self-care. More to come on that soon.
  8. Weight loss starts, stops, and continues on again in your brain.
  9. Tostitos Bite-size Tortilla Chips have a serving size of 24 chips (equal nutritionally to their regular-size chip counterpart’s serving size of 11 chips), which is good to know when you just need chips and salsa. Because who wants 11 chips? I want 24!
  10. Rotating through the same options for breakfast and lunch every day is not boring. It’s freeing.Not nursing a baby or being pregnant for the first time in 7 years is also freeing. And bittersweet.
  11. Tracking every single bite, lick and taste (my friend calls them BLT’s) is hugely eye-opening. I use the free version of My Fitness Pal to track. Once I started tracking each and every morsel I ate, I started losing weight. It’s become kind of like a game to me! Can I spend most of my calories and not go into the red in my allotted sugar and fat? Watch me… 🙂
  12. Key Lime La Croix sparkling water is where it’s at. Feels like a tropical treat, but it’s literally water.
  13. There is a LOT of sugar in EVERYthing. I knew this, but to track it and see it… yeowza. Yuck.
  14. When you lose weight, you lose it everywhere. I’ve been shocked to pull on boots that didn’t used to go over my calves. I’ve seen a huge difference in my face — even my eyes look bigger. I started wearing a wrap on my wedding ring and will need to get it resized soon because it was spinning around my finger. My legs are smaller, and my feet even shrank a bit!
  15. When you make better choices, so does your household. My husband has lost weight too, without changing a thing — but because I’m bringing slightly better food into the house (and leaving a whole bunch of junky food out of the house) he’s getting healthier too.

    Christmas 2017, Christmas 2018

  16. Baby steps add up. Slow and steady really does win the race.
  17. No one will notice until 20 lbs are gone. But then everyone will notice at once and if you’re an introvert you might freak out. That’s ok. Own it anyway; you worked HARD and it’s more than ok to celebrate, and to let others into the celebration.
  18. It’s WAY easier and WAY more fun to start this kind of project with friends. I have two girlfriends that have been working on their health too, and we check in constantly on Voxer to encourage each other daily. It’s made all the difference for us!
  19. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I never EVER thought I could lose the extra pounds I put on throughout five pregnancies and three kids. But I am. I’m doing it and no one but me is surprised.

Every time I share about this process I get lots of questions. Feel free to ask. I’m by NO means an expert, but I am working on this one day (and one bite, and one sip) at a time, and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. Leave a comment or shoot me an email.

If this is something you want to do but have been afraid of committing to, I say go for it. Pull a Nike and just do it. Then stick with it. Keep just doing it. Make little changes one at a time. Don’t freak out when you gain, and don’t freak out when you plateau. Just plain old continue. Press on. You can do it, and I’ll cheer you on.

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