7 Things I Learned Losing 100 Pounds

Over the summer, I hit a pretty significant weight loss “milestone”: I finally reached 100 pounds down from my heaviest weight ever. According to HungryHealthyHappy, 100 pounds is the equivalent weight of a two-month-old horse. I guess that’s cool, right?

Needless to say, hitting that number inspired me to do a ton of reflecting on my weight-loss “journey” as well as some of the things I’ve learned over the last five years. Whether you are just curious to know what weight loss is like or if you're in the process of trying to lose weight yourself, here are just a few of the things I've learned in my own experience: 

1. Weight loss is not easy, and it’s certainly not a lateral process.

I was 15 when I finally began losing weight. But in the years leading up to that, I think I attempted weight loss hundreds of other times. To this day, I still find old notebooks from my middle school years where I wrote out very detailed weight loss plans for myself, right down to what I’d eat and how often I’d exercise. Sometimes, I'd even write out my goals and how I would reward myself when all was said and done. But despite my thorough written effort, how often did I follow through? Almost never! Something always prevented me (often my own darn self) until I hit my personal breaking point. So if just starting weight loss is hard, following through with and continuing weight loss is even harder. Even more frustrating, sometimes there are weeks during weight loss where the scale doesn’t change and you feel like you aren't making any progress. It’s definitely not a perfect process (even though it totally should be) and that can be very challenging on a mental level.

2. You never truly disconnect from who you were before you lost weight.

Throughout my life, I have always been shy and soft spoken. Losing 100 pounds did not change that about me. Who I was five years ago is who I am today (with a little bit more confidence and self-love, no doubt). I don’t know if this is a common weight loss myth, but I sincerely anticipated becoming an entirely different person.

3. You receive a ton of genuine praise, but not without the occasional backhanded compliment.

People (even people you don’t know that well) will say the nicest things to you while you’re in the process of losing weight. Their words may fluster you at times but you have to get used to accepting compliments.

Unfortunately, though, compliments are not always entirely positive. I remember a year or two into my weight loss when I was down 30-40 pounds, a friend said to me, “Lindsay, you are just so much prettier now that you’ve lost weight.” Oof! Thinking about what that “compliment” implies still hurts my soul to this day. Yes, comments like that are often made with good intentions, but they still kind of suck. It’s safe to say that some people just aren’t the best at choosing their words. 

4. Exercise and healthy eating become an integral part of your lifestyle.

A 100-pound weight loss definitely requires continuous lifestyle changes. Whether it’s learning to choose a salad over fries or taking the stairs instead of the escalator, little changes are essential to success. Thankfully those changes become easier to make over time and can result in a whole new way of life. For me, counting calories and going to the gym are just parts of daily life now. This process has been going on for so long that I don’t think twice about scheduling in gym time or planning healthy meals in advance. In fact, I actually like healthy eating and long work-out sessions. (I can hear my young self gasping in disbelief.)

5. You never get over the non-scale victories.

Non-scale victories are weight loss victories not related to numbers on a scale. One of the most common non-scale victories is fitting into smaller clothing and being able to shop in a wider variety of stores. But in truth, so many non-scale victories are not as obvious. For example, my top non-scale victory is how confident I feel attending group fitness classes. You really learn to cherish every non-scale victory, as they are more indicative of one's progress.

6. People always want to know how you did it.

They’ll lean in and whisper, “So what’s your secret?” I never have a great answer for them because...there is no secret. Weight loss really is all about burning more calories than you eat and that can be super hard, especially if you're used to a certain "indulgent" lifestyle (as I was). Some people find success by dieting or taking up special workout routines but none of that is a requirement. For me, I did my best to count the calories I consumed as well as the calories I burned exercising. The key was making sure there was a deficit between the two totals. But I won’t lie, doing that demands a high level of self-discipline that can take months (and even years) to develop. 

This is cheesy, but if you are trying to lose weight or improve your health in any way, never give up. I guarantee you will fall down so many times, just as I did, but the important part is getting up again. Figure out what is best for you through trial and error and stick with it. Trust the process!

7. How much you weigh is not indicative of your worth.

Throughout elementary school, middle school, and even parts of high school, I got teased a ton for being overweight. A younger me was convinced I was “less-than” because of my size, and honestly, some of that still sits with me at times. But here’s the truth: weight is just a number on a scale. It always has been and always will be. I am worth just as much now as I was then because of who I am on the inside. How much you weigh doesn’t taint the kindness in your heart or how passionate you are about the things and people you love. Those are the qualities that really matter in the end.

 

(Photo courtesy of Lindsay Baker)