One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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Ask Roni: How do you make it a lifestyle instead of a weight loss journey?

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Hi Roni. I have been following your blog for so many years especially between 2006-2007. I was 10kgs from hitting my goal weight in 2007 when all of a sudden I lost all my motivation and started pilling the pounds. Been trying but have not been able to lose as much to date. Now that I am done having kids I want to try and get my sexy back. What exercise did you do and how often did you do it? I also want to know how you have managed to make this a lifestyle and not just a weight loss journey. I can lose weight but problem is maintaining.

— Kay

Hi Kay!

This is the most common question in my inbox right now!

First, I can share what I do but really, it doesn’t matter. The only things that does is what YOU do and want you WANT to do. If “Old Roni” would see “Current Roni” she would shake her head and  say, “Nope, no way I’m doing THAT.. eating THAT… waking up THEN! Never in a MILLION YEARS!”

I got to where I am today by taking the slow road, constantly trying new things, consistently pushing myself out of my comfort zone and never allowing myself to walk away.

I want to focus on this particular question you asked:

I also want to know how you have managed to make this a lifestyle and not just a weight loss journey.

I feel like I’m getting better at articulating my thoughts about this after posting and talking about these two posts this week:

Both started some really great conversation and comments and they got me thinking about my journey and how I’ve been able to accomplish long term weight maintenance.

I know this is my blog and therefore this should be assumed, but I can’t help but stress that this is MY EXPERIENCE. If you have a different take I urge you to share what worked for you in the comments because that’s what *this* is all about.

OK, here goes…

1. I Shifted the Goal

Do you want to be happy?

When my weight would fluctuate (easily 50 pounds year-to-year), I put all my emphasis on a visual goal. I wanted to weigh X so I would look like Y. That was it. There was no talk of getting healthy. I didn’t care about physical fitness or how I felt. I didn’t even care how I got to weight X or what I needed to do to have a Y body. If someone told me, “Here, take this pill, it will shorten your life by 20 years but you’ll look like a Victoria Secret model for the next 10.” I would have taken it in a heartbeat without a second thought.

I just wanted to be “skinny,” period. End of story.

Then a flip got switched (I had a kid) and all of a sudden looking a certain way wasn’t my main goal anymore. Sure, I still wanted to be skinny but my ultimate motivation was to find balance with my eating so I could be a good example for my son.

That slight shift in my focus made a HUGE difference. All of a sudden dieting wasn’t dieting the way it was before. I was simply trying to eat better, lighter, smarter. I was far from perfect but I kept a food journal. I made small changes, stayed in a calorie (point) goal and, for the first time it felt like I was learning instead of looking for a quick fix. Short term no longer made sense. I was looking for things I could sustain for a lifetime and I decided if the weight didn’t come off the changes I were making were still important enough to make.

That was key: the changes I were making were still important enough to make.

The weight loss really became a byproduct instead of the only goal.

2. I Took My Time

Take your time step sign

I need some confessions in the comments here because I know I’m not alone on this one. How many of you, on Sundays or New Year’s Eve or The 1st of the month or any other arbitrary point in time, would say:

“THAT’S IT! I’m going to start waking up early to run. I’m going to cut out all carbs. I’m going to stop snacking between meals. No more pizza! No more chocolate! I’m done with the chips. I’ll write down everything! I’ll take yoga after work. I’ll start drinking only water. No eating after 7! I’ll make cabbage soup and live off that. I’ll eat a grapefruit before every meal. I’ll {INSERT LATEST DIET CRAZE HERE}.”

I said that, pft, weekly? For years, YEARS!

You want to know how I started 10 years ago? I joined Weight Watchers and counted points in a food journal. That was pretty much it. My goals when I started were to go to Weight Watchers NO MATTER WHAT, follow the points plan and blog on every weigh-in day NO MATTER WHAT. I didn’t even set a final weight loss goal until at least 3 or 4 months in.

No new exercise routine. No special food restrictions. No weird fad eating techniques. I planned what I would eat, wrote down the points and weighed in at the meetings.

Some weeks were AMAZING! I’d lose a few pounds. Other weeks not so much but I stuck with it.  I didn’t bother making any other grand plans or commitments right away.

Then I started walking. Looking for opportunities to move more.

Then I started changing my food choices… vegetables get way more bang for their buck when you’re counting and who wants to waste points on things like butter or extra cheese?

My diet slowly, over the years, went from prepackaged processed meals and snacks to veggie-loaded, home cooked food. As I’ve said before, Tubs of Greek Yogurt and Bags of Kale Don’t Lie, when you make small changes in your diet day in and day out, big shifts happen over time.

However, you have to keep trying! You don’t just say, well, I hate vegetables, so….” or “Oh, look, I lost 5 lbs lets go out and celebrate with ice cream!”

NO! Keep at it! Try new recipes, take something old and make it new again. Look for things you’ve never eaten and TRY THEM. And then try some more! You have to be your own cheerleader. You have to be the catalyst. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow eating a “perfect’ diet. You just keep trying to eat a little better ever day. I just talked about this in my avocado post the other day. I HATED avocados. Now I love them! Why? because I slowly incorporated them into my diet. I didn’t give up. I knew they were good for me so I kept trying new ways to eat and prepare them. Now I buy 1-2 a week.

It’s the same for exercise and movement too. Just look at my Athletic Adventures page. I went from “I hate the gym, never going to join one ever again!” to “I go to the gym every day at 6 a.m. because I LOVE IT SO MUCH!” This does not magically happen on New Year’s Day. It took 10 years to get me where I am today and frankly, I’m utterly fascinated where I will be 10 years from now because I just keep pushing myself. I keep trying new things. I keep taking baby steps every. single. day.

I feel like I got a little too excited and punchy in this post but I am really passionate about this. I know SO MANY PEOPLE who just keep talking about losing weight and I see the old me in there and I want to shake them and say… YOU CAN DO THIS.  Little things. They matter! Stop waiting for perfect. Stop talking yourself out of it and start nudging yourself into it.

It’s SO MUCH MORE than being super skinny or perfect or a size 0. Shift your focus, take your time and enjoy the process.

Let the new lifestyle be the goal and weight loss the happy byproduct.



Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.

Discussion

There are 18 comments so far.

    Megan

    February 9, 2015

    You can never be too excited or passionate about this stuff, Roni! Your passion leads to reader passion, and the ball starts rolling from there! And I’ll be the first to confess that most Sundays, New Years Eves, and birthdays, I’m revving myself up for a “fresh start”, and I’m miraculously going to do it right “this time”… today is Monday and I did it last night. Doing okay so far today, so just gotta keep it up! :)

    Eileen

    February 9, 2015

    Your comments include “keep it up” and that, really, is the key. I know when I was on WW (and faithful to that plan) 2 years ago, I read advice from a “success story” which was simply “Don’t quit”. And after 9 months of “not quitting”, I was down 45+ lbs (and just 5 from my “goal”). I doubt that I will be able to maintain the interest in the WW plan/weigh-in forever (I already had a detour that put 10-15 back on over last 2 years), but I am returning to it because I know the plan and accountability worked for me. Eventually I might evolve (and “mature” haha) into something a little different or something that might not require daily tracking, but I think the key is as you said “keep it up”. The “it” isn’t the program or plan, “it” is just the effort and focus. Like you said in a prior post, “there is no finish line”.

    I always remind myself, that I have to have “a goal” and “a plan”. (http://www.eileenfrancis.com/blog/2014/1/20/what-ive-learned-about-fitness-so-far.html) They can evolve and change over time, but I don’t think you get far w/o both.

    I’ve also replaced the thinking “I’ll start/restart on ______” with motivation and reflection on why it’s important to “keep at it”.

    Michele

    February 9, 2015

    Really, really great post!!! I LOVE the board on the top. That really says it all!

      roni

      February 10, 2015

      Thanks! And I too love that image. It was perfect!

    Michele

    February 9, 2015

    Oh, and I will confess to being that person who starts my “diet” or “plan” every week or every day or whatever. “That’s it, after today I am going to be 100% perfect. No more (insert food of choice), I’ll go to the gym 5 times this week, etc., etc.,” Yup, I’ve been doing that for the past year and all it’s gotten me is 15 more pounds to lose!

    Amy

    February 10, 2015

    Hi Roni: I just started reading your Blog about 3 months ago. You are so great, I just have to say that. I am a mom of 2 girls under the age of 5 and we recently moved. With that move came lots of stress (eating) and I gained 10 lbs. So, this year, I’m committed to losing that weight, and maybe a bit more. But you are so right, this is a journey and it is really important to make changes that stick for the long haul and that are also enjoyable (imagine that?). I have also wanted to start a blog now for about 3 years and you are making me think more seriously about doing that. Mostly I would do it for a creative outlet, community, and accountability. (My only concern is family safety, feeling over exposed, not sure if you struggled with those things before deciding to blog?) Thank you for your inspiration and consistency. It’s so nice to be able to read about your real life experiences.

      roni

      February 12, 2015

      Thanks so much! It’s a totally creative outlet for me too! Just remember you set the tone and share only what you feel comfortable sharing! There is no “right” way.

    I know for me that this time around has been different because I’m incorporating so many of the things you mentioned: started slowly, one thing at a time (exercise for me) then add as you go, focusing on my health rather than an external goal, and finding love for myself rather than self-loathing. While I’ve fluctuated a little over the last year, I’m within 10 pounds of my lowest weight and have ended my two-month flirtation with nighttime snacking – I feel great and more importantly my diabetes remains under tight control. I live a healthy life without being on a diet or looking at exercise as a punishment for whatever crazy thing I ate last night, and that’s the biggest win for me.

      roni

      February 12, 2015

      That’s nighttime snacking is my last frontier! lol

    Claude

    February 10, 2015

    Roni. An awesome post that exposes all the facets of success. It is this profound shift though that in the end insured your (or anyone else’s) success: The weight loss really became a byproduct instead of the only goal.
    I’ve heard that from dozens of people in fitness who started where you were and never dreamt what they’ve accomplished. You’re my Hero!

    LG

    February 10, 2015

    *thumbs up*

    Ethany

    February 10, 2015

    Roni – I have been reading your blog for several years now and I really appreciate how real and vulnerable you are when talking about your weight/fitness/life journey. I lost about 35 lbs around 10 years ago by slow lifestyle changes. I too have gone from frequent cheetos and taco bell to always having salad greens and plain greek yogurt in the fridge. I had a little boy 6 months ago and lost the baby weight fairly quickly, then I started to struggle with postpartum depression and gained 5 lbs back. Which isn’t that much but enough to make my jeans snug and to let a number of bad habits back in. I am working on doing what I can when I can and being ok with whatever exercise I get done that day. As you know life with an infant is anything but scheduled. Even when I started getting up to workout before he wakes up….he often wakes up earlier. Good thing the little stinker is so cute! I find my journey parallels yours in many ways. Since the little guy has arrived I rarely weigh myself and my goals are focused on healthy habits and not a number or jeans size. — Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration.

      roni

      February 12, 2015

      Thanks for commenting and congrats on the little one! It gets easier and easier to take more care of you. I promise. :)

    Sarah

    February 11, 2015

    I needed to hear this today, thank you! I get so caught up on following a plan perfectly, or not at all that I forget small changes add up! It really isnt all or nothing – just gotta take one day at a time!

      roni

      February 12, 2015

      Exactly! Baby steps!

    Didi

    February 12, 2015

    I like the #1 point so much because it is true for every aspect of our lives. If you don’t like anything – whining, self pity or complaining can not change the situation. In order to get what you want or like, you have to do something and keep doing something until you get the result you want.

    You may not get to your goal as fast as you would want to, but you will surely get there if you refuse to give up.

    Martha

    February 13, 2015

    I think for me it was gradual. When I had the “ah ha” moment it was the morning after eating and drinking too much wine and I heard a story on NPR that if we drink we shouldn’t drink every day. That resonated and I decided then and there that I had to take steps to get healthier. Weight loss was a secondary goal actually and I knew that I had to start eating healthier foods and stop drinking during the week and moving.
    When I started in Oct 2011 I had a “sort of” goal to (1) follow this plan at least until Jan. 2012 and (2) get to the middle of the overweight cataegory. That had been a weight that I had maintained.
    I also visited a hypnotist to help solidify my new way of thinking and eating and I decided that I wanted to eat healthy most of the time, eat when hungry, track my food and pay attention to staying at my calorie goal, and move every day. Those suggestions have stuck with me.
    I never really viewed this as a diet and over the years gradually changed my diet and now eat mostly real food and LOTS of plants. Sure I have the unhealthy once in a while and that is fine. There are no “good” or “bad” foods and I’m not bad when i overeat. Afet 6 months I bought a pedometer and started walking.
    When I’d lost about 50 pounds I had a mild heart attack and that was the real and final game changer for me.
    By then I’d changed my diet and once I started in on cardiac rehab there was no turning back. Choosing a heart healthy diet and exercise is now just the way I live my life. I honestly prefer the healthier foods and gravitate to those on the menu. We eat mostly at home. I bought a Nike Fuel band and that really keeps me moving.
    Not sure if I answered the question for the original poster except that this time it clicked for me that this wasn’t a diet I’d go on and then off. This was a process to getting to a new way of eating and living. Have lost 80 pounds and been at our under my goal weight since April 2013.
    At almost 65 I”m in the best shape of my life and feel great!

    Dr Maduako

    November 9, 2015

    Hello Roni ,
    I have taken time to go through your blog and i must say , it is really inspiring
    leaving the very well choked up space of weight loss quick fixes and getting on to higher issues of healthy living and learning to love your body and create the body of your dreams .
    I own and run a weight loss site mostly for the Nigerian audience and it is really disheartening to know that the typical customer avatar in my clime looks forward to quick fixes and some ”magical pill” to take away all belly fat and weight all in one go : How do you think i can manage with this and let them see the big picture , which is s lifestyle that is sustainable and healthy
    Thanks for helping the world