Anyone that’s ever lost any weight knows that the entire process is a journey and a major pain in the ass. The forfeiture of living on Doritos and dark chocolate, the thankless trips to the gym, the daily choices you’re forced to make to be healthier–but what a lot of people don’t appreciate is that getting the weight off is only the half of it. The other hard, tricky, mind-numbing half? Keeping it off.

I still find it hard to believe myself. ...I'm awesome.
Looking at old pictures like the one on top is… still weird.

I reached my goal weight around October/November of 2012. Starting from 250lbs., I got down to 130lbs. (some days 127, other days 131) in about a year and three month’s time. Over that year and three months, I committed myself to going to gym just about daily, and I attended strength training and kickboxing classes twice a week. …Basically, I was Lance Armstrong without the blood doping.

I was lucky during that period of time, because for majority of it, I was still going to school and only working part time. Despite having tons of papers to write and afternoon shifts to show up for at work, my schedule was considerably un-busy, so attacking my weight loss was a lot easier for me than it might have otherwise been. But that’s not the case anymore.

I knew when I started working full time in January 2013 my entire exercise regime was going to have to change, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. When I was working part time, I’d diligently show up to the gym every morning before work, put in my 30-45 minutes of running, ellipticaling, torture, etc., and head off to work with the satisfaction that I was finished with my workout for the day. Now, because of where my new job is located, going to my gym every morning is an impossibility. Like starting a new job isn’t nerve-wracking enough, what was really weighing (pun intended) on my mind was, “what does this mean for maintaining my weight loss?”

This is always an option, too.Image from Google
This is always an option, too.
Image from Google

Losing weight is simple when you really think about it–the act sure as hell isn’t–but the logic makes sense. You need to burn more calories than you consume. Keeping an eye on your diet and getting enough exercise accomplishes that, but maintaining your weight isn’t so cut and dry. Just blame math, science, and mother nature. Those three are always up to no good. If you’ve never been at a healthy weight before (like me back then), you have to get accustomed to what your new body needs, how it behaves, and what you need to do (or not do) to stay right where you’re at weight-wise. This may take a little getting used to, and during that adjustment period you might see your weight fluctuate a little while you and your body figures everything out. It’ll freak you out, you’ll panic and admonish the scale, but trust me, you’ll get past it.

My biggest fear (read: nightmare) in starting to work full time was that I’d suddenly gain back all the weight I lost. I thought, “If I can’t make it to the gym everyday, how will I burn enough calories?!” What us weight losers need to keep in mind any time something throws a wrench into our routine, is to keep everything in perspective. In my case, it’s true, I can’t go to the gym in the morning anymore, but nothing’s stopping me from running a quick mile around my neighborhood every day before work Forrest Gump style. I can still hit up strength training class on the weekends. Plus, I’m commuting to work now, which entails about two extra miles of walking that I wasn’t doing before.

I’m realizing, too, that there are several creative ways you can get in some extra exercise even at work. I always take the stairs instead of the elevator, and as part of my lunch, I run 30 flights of stairs (up and down) to get my heart rate up for a while. Perspective. …And sore legs. …And being the weird girl that runs in the stairwell. Regardless of what your circumstances are, don’t shy away from getting unconventional with your fitness if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight. It’s not easy, but it’s entirely possible.

No matter what life changes come up, I’ve been learning that the most important thing you could do for yourself is listen to your body, and even more importantly, be realistic about doing what you can. Some days you may oversleep and have to skip the gym. Some days the wind will be too damn cold for me to even consider running outside. Once you really commit to being healthy and keeping the weight off, come hell or high water, you’ll find a way to make it work no matter what kind of fork in the road life throws at you. …Or more frequently, for me, what kind of fork in the cheesecake life throws at you.

How do you personally manage not to gain 500lbs. in your day-to-day life? I’m always looking for suggestions!

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22 thoughts on “Weight Loss and Other Full Time Jobs

    1. Thank you! I don’t know about admirable, but I figure if it’s something I’m dealing with, there’s something else out there losing or who has lost weight that’s worrying about it, too.

  1. This is the only time I’ve seen a ‘before’ picture look just as beautiful as the ‘after’:) I worked out once…ONCE.

  2. Since I couldn’t think of anything clever to say on this post, because it is so well written of course, I have decided to sass you. (SASS!) And let you know, hey good job at being healthy for so long!

  3. Love this post! And congrats 🙂 I’m actually trying to get healthy (exercising, eating right, and all that jazz)! Right now, I’m just starting with portion control because I tend to overeat–ALOT. So my main goal is to just eat less of the junk I love *tear* and eat healthier foods ^_^ We’ll see how long this lasts haha

    1. I started with portion control, too! I didn’t realize I was eating enough to feed a potbelly big. Switching out junk food for healthier choices is a great place to start. Just ease into it a little at a time, and you’ll do great. 🙂

  4. I don’t get treadmills.. I can’t stand them. I’ve always been the type who runs around the neighborhood for 5 to 8 miles. It’s always better that way in my perspective. I can lose myself in my thought. On a treadmill, I find myself just looking at the clock and thus, seems to take way longer. And BTW, you can run in the cold and the rain if you know how to dress, I do it all the time. As long as its not -20, you should be able to run and fine. Your body will warm up and keep you warm. Just wear some good winter work out clothes.

    1. Sorry, I keep adding, but they really work. I’ve been on a motorcycle riding in nearly freezing weather with hard winds and those mother fuckers have kept my face warm.

      1. I actually don’t mind the treadmill and watching the time–I know that’s a deal-breaker for a lot of people, but as long as I have music on, it doesn’t bother me. Earlier this week it was in the 50s (…yesterday it snowed), and I ran my best mile time. I just do better when it’s warmer. I typically wear a North Face to run. On the day it’s snowed/been less than 10 degrees I typically just do weight training at home.

        But I’m looking at this neck gaiter things… I’m not getting it. They go around your neck? The pictures on the website aren’t helping.

      2. Oooh, okay. That might work better than a scarf. I just hate how cloth near your face gets all gross from your nose/mouth when it’s cold.

    1. Oh, believe me, even 50lbs. ago I’d have no hope of even walking five flights of stairs (really even one) without being out of breath and covered in sweat. I just had to work my way up to everything. I never imagined in my life I’d be able to run a ten minute mile, and now on a good day, I can do it in about 9.5 minutes. It just takes time. I’m still amazed at the amount of activities I can do now that I couldn’t do before and how much easier even the simplest things are for me.

  5. Katie I can’t believe that’s not your sister or a close relative in that first pic, you look so different for some reason – still very pretty though. Personally I’ve kept my freshman puppy fat off and maintained the same range for over a decade now. It gets harder as you get older (sorry, that’s unfortunately not an urban legend). And I’m actually facing the same dilemma as you; quite soon instead of being a part-time student I go back to full time work and I have a daughter so I’m really going to have to be creative. My plan is to do a really long run on Saturday or Sunday, fit in a class like body combat on Thursday evenings (when my daughter is at her Dad’s) and then maybe squeeze in another run on Tuesdays. Three times a week is typical for my workouts. As for eating, I think you just get used to eating smaller and healthier over time and despite occasional pig-outs, it’s not hard for me to get back on track because it’s just routine. The weird thing for me is that people don’t realise that everyone has to constantly manage their weight – it’s always a work in progress and there’s no point at which you just ‘arrive’ and magically stop working at it and get back to nomming on Doritos. Personally I would not feel comfortable being over a certain ‘number’ on the scale, and I love running so I hope that will keep me lithe for the foreseeable. Your efforts are commendable!

    1. I know, I’m still getting used to it! Seeing old pictures is when shit really gets real.

      That’s great that you’ve maintained the same weight for 10 years. I don’t even think I’ve ever done that even when I was overweight–I’d always be fluctuating up or down depending on if i was in a “I need to get healthy!” mood or a “Fuck it! I’m fat and everyone needs to accept it!” mood. Also, you have a daughter?! What’s this! I’m now ridiculously jealous. If I could afford them, and I had a place to keep them, I’d pop three of those suckers out right now. But I can’t imagine staying fit in the midst of all that. My goodness.

      Yeah, I find a lot of those people around me don’t see a need to manage their weight at all, and sometimes now I get that weirdness like “you’re skinny now, eat 20 mozzarella sticks with me!” …Okay, first of all, twig, I can’t eat all that and stay this size without killing myself at the gym. Second of all, I actually LIKE being healthy–it’s not just about my weight now. I just wish everyone around me would eat healthy for a week, see how fucking amazing it is, and stop giving me shit about my choices. You don’t see me looking down my nose when they’re eating a burrito the size of my head while I have a nice bowl of soup and some chicken breast. People be crazy.

  6. Katie, I’ve got a strange question for you. I am currently working a government job that I LOVE and a private job that I also LOVE. Absolutely L.O.V.E Both are “careers” and full time. I get to the gym at 3:45 am about once or twice a week, but I need more. Knowing that I would be giving up one huge thing I adore and so cutting my income in half, should I quit one and make room for more fitness? My relationships are already strained and there’s no more room for give. I am having trouble making up my mind, and I was wondering how you’d prioritize all of this. Gov job, half my income and great benefits, 45-60 hrs/ week. Private job, half my income, very poor benefits, 35-45 hrs/ week. I’m about 25 lbs overweight. What would you do? Any response would be appreciated. Thanks!

Don't you sass me! ...Actually, please do.

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