As of October 2014, it’s been two years since I lost 120 pounds. In case you’re just tuning in, I lost weight from August 2011 to October 2012.

There are articles out there that suggest once you’ve been significantly overweight, even if you lose a substantial amount of weight, it’s nearly impossible to keep it off. Apparently there’s research and science behind it, and I’m sure if you’re looking for a reason to give up on your latest diet, you’ll Google that article, cancel your gym membership, and whip out your bag of despair Doritos because why not? You’re doomed.

I hate about 90% of what I read about losing weight. I hate these inspirational people who talk about eating kale like it was religious experience. I hate reading about all these bizarre diets, cleanses, and teatoxes. I hate seeing “after” pictures of people who lost hundreds of pounds, yet miraculously have not one inch of loose skin draping their body. I hate people who think because they’ve lost weight they understand every obese person in the world and must impart their profound wisdom unto them to save them. I hate these fitness Instagram accounts that claim squats can give you an ass that was very obviously assisted with fat injections and/or implants. I hate that people compare themselves to celebrities who have hardcore trainers and the freedom to workout for hours every day if they wanted. I hate that there are people who assume losing weight is an admission that you hated yourself when you were fat, and therefore you think all other fat people in the world are gross and should do exactly what you did.

If you want to lose weight, I mean seriously lose weight, you don’t need to cut out carbs or sugar or dairy, you need to cut out the bullshit. 

You want to know how I got fat? A thyroid problem? A weird gene mutation? A slow metabolism? Nope. I got fat because I predominantly ate shitty things and didn’t exercise. It was that simple. Now, that’s not say one should never eat shitty things or going to the gym is mandatory to be a “healthy” person, but matching your french fries with a little walking will make you feel better, even though you won’t want it to. I remember when I started going to the gym, I was hoping it would be awful. I was hoping I’d gain weight somehow, and I could rationalize that being the gym was actually bad for me, so I should just stay home and keep eating to entertain myself.

When you want to become healthier and lose weight truly for yourself–not because your parents want you to, your best friend does yoga, or you have a wedding coming up–you need to be honest about your bad habits and your food weaknesses. It’s 5:28 AM as I write this, and if someone presented me with a dozen cookies, I would probably eat half of them, because I’d insist that calories don’t count until after 6 AM. I eat to relieve stress. I enjoy going to restaurants and eating because it soothes the anxiety of life. It’s not crystal meth, but it’s a weird coping mechanism at best and an addiction at worst.

I lost weight the hard, awful, soul-crushing way: I improved my diet and started to exercise regularly. I didn’t avoid carbs. I do not always “eat clean.” Processed foods, gluten, dairy, and chocolate are all part of my diet. I don’t drink soda. I avoid fast food. I try to eat a fruit and/or a vegetable with every meal. I eat a portion size fit for a 24-year-old woman and not a walrus. I work out for at least 30 minutes every day–a combination of cardio and strength training. Losing the weight is easy (despite the gallstones), but maintaining my weight is the truly hard part. The year that I lost weight started at the beginning of my senior year of college and ended the fall after I graduated, so I was only working part time for that duration. Weight loss easily became a priority then, because I had all the time in the world. No one wanted to hire me, so I may as well hit that strength training class! Now that I work full time, I’m not in the same pique physical condition I was in when I could work out for two hours every day, but that’s okay. I’m a real person now with a routine. It’s good to have distractions so you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly. I’m happy to have settled into a new routine that I can reasonably maintain longterm.

Losing weight is probably one of the most significant things I have accomplished and will accomplish in my life, and I can’t guarantee I’ll never gain it back anymore than I can guarantee Lindsay Lohan won’t relapse (again). All I (or anyone) can hope to do is be honest and aware of my bad habits. It’s not easy, and it’ll probably on get harder over time, but I refuse to believe that because I was fat most of my life that I’m destined to be fat again.

18 thoughts on “Keeping It Off

  1. Good for you. So few people say (or can hear) the basic truth that the only way to lose (or maintain) weight is to eat sensibly (and less) and get some exercise. Everyone wants the quick fix or the magic bullet. Great piece.

  2. I’ve been trying to lose weight for decades. No matter what, I can’t lose it. Yes, I have tried eating ‘right’ and exercising, it just gets too discouraging after doing so much work for a month or 2 and seeing NOTHING for all that effort. I give up in frustration and depression. I have never lost more than 1-2 pounds in 2 months of 4-5 hours a day of exercise (and ‘right’ eating). You’ve got more strength and determination than I do. I admire you for it. Keep up whatever you’re doing. 🙂

  3. What an amazing transformation. I dont mean just the obvious palpable side of things… but your mindset to change the paradigm. Many people address weight loss from the wrong angle. The reason why I love your article is because you open yourself up …and us, to a truth. That is to break the cyclic destruction we throw at ourselves. Once that is addressed, you are left with just the part which requires the dedication. Yes you look fantastic… but I love how you think Katie:)

  4. Ha, so true, all of it. Congratulations on losing and keeping the weight off. I’ve been better about my eating, since finding out that, medically, carbs ARE making my fat. But carbs are delicious, so so delicious. What I really need to do, is workout. I’ve told myself that I’d get a gym membership only if I could form the habit at home first.

  5. Well done and well said. I was a personal trainer for many years and got tired of people asking for the “magic” diet or the “magic” exercise. Your experience doesn’t jibe with multi-billion weight loss industry because you can’t make money from common sense and perserverance. Good for you!

  6. First of all, very well done! Then, a small addenda of my own. Much of the reason for obesity is psychological. It doesn’t follow, for example, that everyone with a stressful sedentary job will be fat, but some are; and those who are will be the ones who lack exercise and make bad diet choices; but it is the job, and the way it affects them, that is at the root of the problem. Worry causes massive mental and physical damage to some, relatively far less to others. Though this evidence is necessarily anecdotal, I have seen it in colleagues and acquaintances and recently experienced it myself. I retired a little more than a month ago. I have already lost 16 pounds, and my appetite has completely altered.

  7. I lost around 80 pounds but in a decade. Slowest … weight … loss … ever. I simply changed my eating habit to something I could maintain for eternity. Oddly enough it has only been in the last year that everyone seems to have noticed. Sadly I’m at that age where people are questioning whether I’m sick. It’s all so very strange. Congrats on your weight loss and your ability to maintain.

  8. What a thoroughly refreshing perspective on healthy living and weight loss! Kudos to you for the hard work (as you mentioned… it’s not easy) and the honesty. Meanwhile, I’m vegetarian and even I look at those kale-cultists with slight bewilderment. It’s a leaf, and not a deep-fried, chocolate flavoured one at that.

  9. This is… by and far…. THE best weight loss blog post I’ve read. I so appreciate your candid and realistic look at your journey without gimmicks. PLEASE GOD no more gimmicks! I am going to follow you just from what I read in this post… I can’t wait to read more from you.

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

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