Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

8 things I’ve learned about losing weight

Over the last 11 months, I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I’m not comfortable disclosing the actual amount but it’s enough that I need all new everything and that people I see regularly, including the owner of my gym, notice. I mean, I don’t see it but apparently it’s there.

I’m not saying that to brag or show off or make you feel terrible about yourself. Because honestly, this was a decision I made for me and if you make a different one for you, that’s cool. I support whatever you want to do and whatever is best for you. But after the 80th or so time of my weight being alluded to in conversation (and the final time by a woman for whom I have a ton of respect), I was sick of comments. I needed to change something (aside: it is never, ever okay to comment on someone’s weight. No matter how self-deprecating you might be in your comment, even as a form of commiseration, you’d be better off shutting the fuck up. If you think you should say something, don’t. Just don’t. This applies also if a person is naturally skinny because there are people who want to weigh more and simply can’t).

So I did.

Truth be told, it’s hard. So. Fucking. Hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you (incidentally, one thing you learn through losing weight is that sugar is in everything. Every blessed thing). But when you commit to doing it, you learn some things:

  1. Social media will either inspire you or make you feel worse. There is no in between. You will either look at pictures of people who’ve lost tremendous amounts of weight and feel like you too can conquer your weight loss or you’ll feel like it’s insurmountable and you’ll never be successful. You’ll figure it out rather quickly, which is nice, and once you do, go with it. For me, I can’t look at it because I’m in the latter camp. It’s better for me to ignore. I have enough self-esteem issues.
  2. Speaking of social media, you are under no obligation to declare anything on any form of social media. You do not have to post weekly pictures or check-ins of your weight loss or mention on Facebook that you’re on a diet or anything of that nature. If it helps you be accountable, then go for it. But if you’re like me, you need to do it quietly and in your own world. We live in this weird world of oversharing and being public about every fucking thing and if you’re fairly private, you feel awkward sharing and that may have to do with…
  3. The fact that you are fucking ashamed and embarrassed. Because OMG, HOW DID I GET SO DAMN FAT? Well, you might not say those exact words but I definitely did. Sharing my weight loss progress on social media meant and means admitting publicly what I say to myself daily. And because I judge myself so harshly I assume that others will do the same.
  4. However, you’ll need to get over your shit because without a support network you will fail. Specifically, having people who encourage you even on your worst days will make all the difference. For you it might be a FB group or an online community or your spouse. For me, it was friends I made at the gym (and trust when I say I struggle making friends. I’m weird and awkward and self-conscious so making friends was a huge step for me). There are two women there, not counting some of the instructors, who have helped me through this whole process probably even more than they realize. Without them I might have quit months ago. Also…
  5. Find exercise and an eating plan you can live with. Eating low carb and running isn’t going to help you if you’re miserable every minute of every day or dread doing it. Counting calories and Zumba aren’t going to work if you hate them. There are tons of options for how to eat and how to exercise. Find what makes you happy and fits with your life because that is the only way to keep at it on the days you really really don’t want to. But remember that…
  6. It’s okay to take it easy for a day. Or even a week. Most people cannot be committed to perfect eating and exercising 100% of their days. So it’s fine for you to go off-plan for a day and feel like a normal person. Just don’t step on the scale for a few days afterwards because it will kill your motivation and self-esteem and you will berate yourself more than usual. Fine, that might be just me but feeling “normal” is sometimes the only way to sustain the long arduous process of losing weight.
  7. While we’re talking about the scale, it is also essential that you have nonscale victories. Sometimes the scale might not move but a pair of pants you couldn’t fit into 6 months ago are too loose or your rings will fall off or being able to run a 5K without stopping. You must celebrate those victories in some way. I don’t care if it’s with new makeup or a manicure or an IG post or a piece of cake. You must celebrate and acknowledge your progress. Your mental health through the process will thank you.
  8. And finally, accept that this is not an easy thing to do. It’s not a quick process at all. Basically, losing weight fucking sucks balls. Hard. You will want to quit on more days you want to keep going. Getting off the couch in the cold and rain to go to the gym is awful. Eating with no restrictions is fun; counting calories is not. Your self-image will take a beating one day and you’ll feel amazing the next. But. If it’s something you want for yourself–and, let’s be clear. You must want to do this for yourself and no one else–it is worth every agonizing day.

If you’re curious how I’ve lost weight, it’s simple. I use the app Lose It, eat mostly protein and veggies (with some exceptions. You can pry my cheese out of my cold, dead hands), and take a variety of exercise classes (boxing, Pilates, and BodyPump. I’ve also started running 3 days a week. I double up some days if I need to). That’s genuinely it. Nothing gimmicky, nothing tricky, nothing else.

Also. Who you are doesn’t change whether you’re thin or fat or somewhere in between. You will still be you and who you are is just fine. But if you want to change the packaging, I say go for it.

Let me be clear. I’m not at all qualified to tell you what you need to do to lose weight. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist or even a health blogger. I’m just a formerly fat lady who’s less fat now. And, if I may, I’m kind of proud of that.

P.S. Set your own goals. You know how much you want to weight or what your ideal clothing size is. Aim for that and don’t let anyone else dictate what it is. Unless it’s a doctor. Maybe listen to a doctor’s suggestion.

P.P.S. When I say fat, it’s an adjective. It’s not a moral judgement. Fat does not mean bad or less than or whatever else we as a society use it to mean as a value or person’s worth.

13 Comments

  1. Linda Sheridan

    Brava ❣️ All good stuff. I’m at the point of how did I get
    This big ?!! Healthy weight is my goal on some days.
    I haven’t committed enough!
    Continued Goddess speed.
    Love, Steph’s Momma

    Reply
  2. Ashley The Wandering Weekenders

    I love that you said that each person’s weight loss journey is different because it’s 100% true. My husband and I lost a lot of weight together last year, but what worked for us doesn’t work for everybody. Which leads me to say that I totally agree with you about having somebody or something to keep you accountable. I know that I would completely have failed if my husband didn’t help to keep me motivated to lose the weight or go to the gym.

    Reply
  3. Audrey

    Good for you, Jana! I’m glad you’re seeing (and feeling and hearing about) your results! I haven’t found a workout that I enjoy or can even tolerate, but the husband and I have gym memberships and we’re slowing talking about actually forcing ourselves to go and be active. I’d just like to be healthier, more energetic, and stronger. We also need to eat a little better. It’s truly something I’d like to work on for the last part of this year.
    Congratulations!!
    Audrey recently posted…Thoughts While Rereading Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s StoneMy Profile

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  4. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    I had someone scoff at me at the 7 pounds I wanted to lose because it wasn’t the amount THEY had to lose. I hate when people do that. It’s undermines that you are going through something too. My clothes were tight and I felt yucky. Is that not enough? I also get people who roll their eyes at me when I say I don’t want to go out to eat or grab a beer because I’m “focusing on my health.” You will find those people who want to sabotage you in their own way…everywhere! But if it’s that important to you, do not let anyone sway you! Congrats of what you have accomplished!

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth

    It IS hard – and everyone’s path is different. I’m tired of the gimmicks or comparing myself to what seems so easy to someone else. I’ve stopped consciously trying to lose weight and am focusing on just getting healthier (which means less weight at this time). One of my pet peeves is when someone comments about my weight loss and they get upset when I don’t thank them for their “compliment” — I’m going through a divorce and I didn’t ask to lose 20 pounds – how am I supposed to thank them for noticing I’m too stressed to eat?

    Reply
  6. Nadine

    You are rocking it, Jana!!! Losing weight is one fucking hard battle that I am constantly fighting for. Lately I have been off way more than I have been on but I know that one day I will get my former motivation back and fight harder. You are so right about having a support and accountability partner. Meeting new people to fill that roll for you should make you extra proud. I know you have made the comment to me that you are similar and usually avoid social interaction. I am working to figure out what kind of work out I can force myself to get up at 4am for these days and I haven’t found it yet. I try to remind myself in the process that the packaging isn’t my only problem…I need to like the filling too. I am over here giving you all the fist bumps.
    Nadine recently posted…Spinach and Artichoke DipMy Profile

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  7. Rebecca Jo

    You should be VERY proud of that.
    It is SOOOOO hard to loose weight & those that dont get that, they’ll never understand truly the struggle.
    It is a weird world we live in now where you can find motivation & also crush your spirits all with a swipe of a screen.
    Congrats on accomplishing something that is life changing!

    Reply
  8. Lindsay

    I love this. I said yesterday that if losing weight weren’t hard, none of us would be overweight. This gimmicky shit is nonsense. It doesn’t work that way. I’m currently trying to lose weight, especially since I gained 20 pounds last year. It crept up on me and I’ve had many “how did I get here?” moments. Good for you, girl. You should be proud.

    Reply
  9. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    Oh, this is perfect timing, Jana. Yesterday I wrote about how I finally was ready to commit to getting healthy versus all those times I claimed I was but didn’t really do anything. It is hard. So hard. Because anyone I’ve ever meet who is overweight, whether it’s 10 pounds or 100+ pounds, knows what they need to do but the actual doing … is so much harder. For me, I have/had lots of hang ups around what being “skinny” (which was previous goal and now it’s to be healthy) meant and it scared me. So I self-sabotaged my efforts and remained fat. #3 is the one that always hits me the hardest because I am ashamed. No one held a gun to my head and forced me to eat or laze about until I got fat. I do feel embarrassed and frustrated and exhausted and I also feel ready to do the work. It’s scary. It’s exciting. And I am so proud of you for facing this head on and losing weight!

    P.S. And you are absolutely right, even if you are shocked by how much weight a person has put on, you don’t need to bring it up. Because the person already knows and likely feels like shit about it. You may think you’re being supportive but if the person wants to talk about their weight, they will bring it up. All you’re doing is driving them to eat a cookie! Or 10.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…I’m Breaking Old Habits and FINALLY Getting Healthy … For Real!My Profile

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  10. Alyssa

    Good for your for setting yourself a goal, deciding what you want, and chasing it down to satisfy what you want and need to feel happy and comfortable. That is amazing and in and of itself so hard to do. I totally agree that a lot of pursuing any goal, attempting anything difficult, is learning some key things about yourself — like how social media makes you feel, what you’re comfortable talking about with who, and what method works for you brain, body, and lifestyle. I think the idea of flexibility and forgiveness is the biggest key with anything – dieting, budgeting, any sort of lifestyle change. It’s too easy to go “well, I messed up on Tuesday, so this week is screwed until I can start again on Monday,” but if you go in without expecting yourself to be a robot and understanding that humans are GOING to “fail” from time to time, it’s much more possible to manage small setbacks and keep moving forward.

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  11. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    i love this! i’ve been waiting for your update post. you are 100% right – losing weight has no gimmicks – just eat right and move your body…that’s it. it’s so important to find something you enjoy as well since exercise can be a real chore if you hate it.

    Reply
  12. Ali A

    First off, congrats- that is awesome & definitely something to be proud of. I also think it’s a testament to the best way to do it – nothing gimmicky or some fad diet (my mother is the queen of trying these). It’s certainly not ‘easy’ but it can be straight-forward. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  13. Christina

    People have alluded to your weight in conversation?! Who the f are these people? Congrats on the weight loss! And don’t feel like you have to reveal your number. It’s no one’s business. I’ve been very, very slowly (and quietly; I don’t like to post anything about it. Maybe I will at some point) losing weight. And I’m talking sloooow. I just hit 20 pounds since April 1 and it is really frickin hard. I’m not at all where I wanted to be and I have like 40 pounds to go, but 20 is better than nothing. I have a few medical issues that basically prevent exercising, so I’ve had to focus on just eating better. However, this is an off week and I’m eating Dove chocolates as I type. Haha! I can’t win them all.
    Christina recently posted…Tuesday Topics: Ten Sexiest Men AliveMy Profile

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