A Different Way to Think about Losing Weight

by Andie Mitchell on May 1, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if we would be better off in the world of weight loss if the diet companies, the magazines, the TV shows, and so on…all stopped telling us how easy dropping pounds can be if you do x, y, and z, and instead- they told us how hard it will be.

Because here is weight loss in a nutshell:

A. Eat less.
Find a calorie range for you that you can eat daily that 1.) Does not make you want to die, and 2.) Allows for a reasonable energy deficit (meaning, you will consume moderately less than you are burning just by living and exercising.) Find out how much your body burns in its normal everyday state without effort (google: BMR and punch in your stats for this number) then consider eating 250 calories less than that per day. If you also try to burn an additional 250 calories through exercise each day, you will be eating at a deficit of 500 calories daily- this kind of deficit leads to 1 pound of weight loss in a week’s time (1lb= 3500 calories, so 7 days of burning 500 calories creates 1lb of loss).

B. Move more.
Which essentially means: move more. By move I mean move, in any way your body likes. And by more, I mean more, as in- more than you currently do.

This, friends, is straightforward. Tried and true.

But when I browse magazines and bookshelves at Barnes and Noble, I naturally find myself drawn to the health sections. There, I see headings with words like easy, simple, and fast. Three words which weight loss will never be. I see meals plans that promise ‘no deprivation,’ ‘still indulge!,’ and ‘never feel hungry.’ I see promises and assurances about losing weight that only make me, someone who has lost half of herself, think:

It’s honestly none of those things. It’s never easy, simple, or fast. Deprivation, that resentful feeling of not being able to indulge, and hunger pangs- they exist. Not always, but yes, sometimes.

I’ll speak personally so that I don’t make too many assumptions about others’ weight loss journeys. When I began losing weight, I was motivated by fear- fear that I’d just continue to get bigger and bigger until I reached a place where bigger eclipsed biggest- a place I was sure I didn’t want to see. I felt I had no choice but to start losing. I also felt motivated to change my life for all of the beautiful joys of thinness that I was sure would come when the weight left me. For the good and bad, I was at least motivated.

At first, I was enthusiastic. Like anything that challenges me, I wanted badly to win. To win at weight loss as fiercely I might want to win at, say, everything.*

*Obsessive compulsive for the win.

My teeth gritted. I narrowed my eyes toward some self-determined finish line, and I just took off in a mad dash without considering whether or not I’d run out of fuel halfway or whether the finish line was even as close as it appeared. I am near-sighted, after all. And thankfully, the first leg of the journey involved weeks of losing double digits in pounds since I’d been so big to start. This time was a-word-similar-to-fun-but-not-actually-enjoyable;-More-like-meh,-ok.I felt energetic and inspired. Newness will do that to me.

But then, after I’d been at it for a while, I started to slow. In progress, in patience. The vigilance, the exercise- they wore on me. Newness evaporated like the morning fog and I began to feel bored with the whole process. I shuddered when reality reminded me , “Um, well gosh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… you’re going to have to keep at this for another eight months. Give or take forever.”

It felt as though I’d been bowling on bumper lanes for a month- knocking pins down, considering myself a boss at the whole game- when all of a sudden the bumpers retreated and I was left with the real deal- hard grooved gutters and all. This isn’t nearly as fun, I’d think. I’m not knocking ‘em down like I did before.

What happened next, just after I silently called myself a quitter, a loser, all manner of bad names, was a simple enough thought:

Oh, it’s just going to suck for a while.

Yes, that.

Just that. A heady dose of reality.

It was a revelation. Because for once, I realized that weight loss wouldn’t be like taking up running as a new hobby, and it certainly wouldn’t come with a map or course directions. It would be like a marathon, where miles 10-20 just purely, uncompromisingly

suck.

Once I said this to myself, much of the journey seemed clearer. I recognized the distance, the real strength that I’d have to maintain. I recognized that I probably wouldn’t like it. But I knew, as we tend to with arduous journeys, that it would end well.

Now, it’s worth recognizing that weight loss did not (for me) and does not (for you) mean only salads and steamed vegetables and boiled chicken. My own process and the one I embrace here involves treats and moderation and mindfully eating brownies. It wasn’t hell that I walked through to get to thinness. There were joyous moments of feeling incredible physically. There was tremendous pride and confidence. Small goals met and marveled at.

The good news is that there are ways to lose weight and not feel hungry- hopefully we all find this to be our way; there are ways to lose weight where you have a small dessert each night; there are ways to lose weight where you’re not sweating on a treadmill like you’re in the desert sun. There absolutely exists a path to a happy weight that doesn’t feel dark and scary and cold. There are, there were, ways.

But there were times, dozens upon dozens, when I wanted a box of glazed donuts. When I wanted to sit in my bed and eat and eat and eat to my favorite TV shows. When I wanted to attempt eating a whole cake, whether or not my stomach wanted to do it with me. When I didn’t want anything to do with willpower or her cousin moderation. When I didn’t want one scoop of ice cream when I knew Ben & Jerry offered pints.

There’s just no denying the hard parts. The 4:30pms when you’re midway between lunch and dinner and no amount of fruit will ever satisfy like a cupcake. The mornings when you’re setting the pace on the treadmill and your legs feel leaden, your whole body a heavy mess. The look of your now-empty dinner plate and the wanting of another full one to replace it. The times just before bed when you can’t sleep because your mind is running the aisles of a supermarket grabbing Oreos and Lucky Charms in a fever. The times in the coffee shop that you smell a just-baked blueberry muffin and you sigh realizing, unfortunately, that you can’t eat three, hot, with butter. The times when sheet cake is splayed in front of you and you know that ‘just a sliver’won’t cut it.

These are the trying times. These are the minutes, the hours, when you need to brace yourself and just ride it out. They are the ones that make up your character. Because, really- how you act when times are just peachy is nothing compared to how you act when times are rotten. The peachy times don’t say as much, anyway, about your strength or your determination. These moments where you feel your weakest, when you’re absolutely certain that you’d rather give up than keep going- they’re going to come.

And they

will

be

hard.

Like,

really

[really]

hard.

Not every day will breeze by. Not every day will your hunger and fullness remain the same. Not every day will something stress you out so much that you want fudge to fix it.

But there will be those times. And I find it helpful to know this. I find it helpful to know the risks, the challenges that might come up along the way. Because then, I’ll know to steel my resolve. I’ll know that we all fight through them. That it’s just part of the journey.

Perhaps if all who wrote about health and weight loss acknowledged that it would be hard as hell, we’d have a more realistic approach. We wouldn’t sprint out of the gate because we’d not want to run out of steam midway. We wouldn’t get used to starving ourselves on 800 calories a day because we’d know it couldn’t last. We wouldn’t swear off food groups because we’d realize that life feels less full when we take things away.

I wonder if we went into the journey knowing the side effects, the hardships and hurdles- if we wouldn’t feel a bit more prepared. More apprehensive, maybe, but prepared. I wonder if we’d be kinder to ourselves and others, knowing that it’s difficult, it’s long, and it can feel unforgiving. I wonder if we’d respect small triumphs- whatever they may be- knowing that they don’t come along every week, every month. I wonder if we’d be able to make good choices now, knowing that it could be harder or impossible to make them later and maybe we just have to do the best we can, while we can. I wonder if we’d feel less overwhelmed by the nagging desire to quit trying, knowing that motivation comes and goes like the tide.

The point of my recognizing the difficulty, is that it makes us wiser going into it and wiser coming out of it. And it makes us human. Normal, whatever that is.

Magazines, celebrities, all the outlets that tell us how easy it can be- they empower us, but they also make us feel alone, ashamed when it doesn’t end up feeling easy the whole way through. Weight loss plans that promise to be leave you feeling full and never deprived don’t account for the Saturday night dinner dates with your friends who just love to order three fried appetizers before entrees and dessert.

If it were ever easy, we’d be there by now. We wouldn’t start and stop and start again. We’d be content and living on easy street.

I’d liken it to this: If you decide to have a baby and no one tells you that yes, parenthood- while a life-altering miracle- is trying at times, then when you get to those moments where you feel drained and down, you’ll not know what to make of yourself for having those feelings. Am I a bad parent? Am I cut out for this? Am I doing this all wrong?

If there was no struggle, no strain, we wouldn’t feel so accomplished at the end. We couldn’t be so proud. It’d feel less special. So there’s merit to pointing out the hard parts. Weight loss will come with equal parts struggle and strength. And each will change along the way. You’ll know that it doesn’t stay hard forever. You’ll also know to buckle down when those hard parts come, sure that relief always follows. You’ll know that I felt it too, and that it gets better.

{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Murdock May 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

Andie – as always your words are inspired. Thank you for sharing them with me

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Jenn May 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

How many times can I tell you how much I adore you and your writing? You can’t imagine how perfect your timing was on this…just…perfect. You continually amaze me with your pure honesty. It’s what is needed. Thank you for that.

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Ashley May 1, 2012 at 7:22 am

I totally Agree with you Jenn! :)

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Missy May 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

This is perfect. So true about the desiring of all of those foods – except I want quarts of ice cream! Weight loss is hard as is maintenance – you have to always be mindful. Thank you for putting it so bluntly and truthfully!

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T. Good May 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

All I can say is…Amen.

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JaNelle May 1, 2012 at 7:25 am

I adore you for writing this post. It’s so incredibly honest. I needed to read this 5 years ago and I need to read it again and again .. the truth is not harmful. It’s helpful. I love this line “I wonder if we’d feel less overwhelmed by the nagging desire to quit trying, knowing that motivation comes and goes like the tide.”

Thank you a million times over!

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Crystal May 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

I agree! Loved this post. Loved that line!

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Samantha May 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

I agree! Love, love, love!!!

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Trish May 1, 2012 at 7:27 am

Perfect Andie!! So true about everything you’ve written.

I love when you said if there was no struggle, no strain, we wouldn’t feel so accomplished at the end.

So true….

I am so thankful. For you…. :)

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh May 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

Amen to it all.

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Kaitlin May 1, 2012 at 7:31 am

Wow….your words are so incredibly inspiring. Thank you for what you do. Your pushing us, prompting us to work hard and be a happy eater all at the same time (and I love that it’s possible and ALSO produces results!) You and your blog truly are a blessing.

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Bee May 1, 2012 at 7:41 am

Oh Andie, yet again you have made a beautiful and inspiring blog post :) As someone whos never struggled with weight in the most obvious sense–as in, I’ve never been an “unhealthy” weight but always wanted to lose “just a couple of pounds”–I can still find so much inspiration in your words to accomplish my own fitness goals. In a way, it’s almost harder for me to find motivation because I think, “eh. This is good enough…” But in the end, if I take that step and trudge on through, I’ll be so proud of myself. Thanks again for such a wonderful blog post :)

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Lisa Thorn May 1, 2012 at 7:46 am

Holy Cow how I needed this TODAY!!!! Thank you so much for putting it all out there and making us not feel alone. And thanks for putting it all into perspective:)

Lisa

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Bronwyn May 1, 2012 at 7:48 am

So nice to hear from someone who has successfully lost weight and isn’t just hunky-dory about what goes into it.
I think it is very important to let people know how hard it is, how it can be a struggle at times, but how that can make you feel much more accomplished when you are successful.

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Sabra May 1, 2012 at 7:50 am

Perfect! Thank you

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Amy May 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

I just wanted to thank you for this. I’m in the middle of one of those “this is so darn hard why am I doing this” moments, and this is exactly what I needed to read. So thank you.

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Shawnessy May 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

It helps so, so much to know I’m not the only one out there who is obsessed with wanting to eat VOLUMES of food. Eloquent post. Thanks.

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Erin @ Simply Frugal Mom May 1, 2012 at 7:58 am

YES! Every word rings true with me. Thank you for reminding me that “If it were ever easy, we’d be there by now.” It’s not easy….but it is so worth-whiled. I will be proud when I reach the end of this journey.

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Denise May 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

Thank you for telling the truth. Sometimes I read your blog and I think — how in the hell can she eat like that and be so food-focused and NOT BE fat? I think “it’s not real.” But, maybe it is.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading. Back to my treadmill.

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Jennifer May 1, 2012 at 8:03 am

Thank you for this blog. Your writing hits the right nerve on a regular basis for me. I absolutely needed this essay today. :)

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Casey May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

Wow. Perfect timing. Thank you so much.

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sharon May 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

LOVE this. bookmarked it for future reference. thank you!!

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Sarah May 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

This entry literally brought tears to my eyes. You have a way with words that I have never seen before. This is one of the best weight loss related blog entries I have ever read and I plan to share it with everyone I know!

When does the book come out because I am absolutely dying to read it?!?!

<3

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GDZWMN May 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

It’s not a coincidence that I ended up here just now. I stepped on the scale this morning before leaving for work and got the scale before leaving for work because I had to know why the trip down stairs had been so hard this morning… 268 pounds… on a 5’3″ frame. I need to do something different. I NEED to lose 128 pounds – for good. Not with a quick fix or a celebrity endorsed program, but by changing my life, and I KNOW that will be hard… very hard… or else I’d have done it by now. So deep breath and away we go… Thanks for the REAL TALK!

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Caroline May 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

Andie – I thank God that your blog is in my life. Thanks for telling the truth that weight loss is hard. That it will take working on it everyday for the rest of your life. Too many people believe the lie that it is easy. I wish every woman could hear your words of wisdom. You inspire me and make me believe that weight loss can be a reality if we except the reality of weight loss: thats its hard and it takes sacrifice. Its a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey. you are great and I CANNOT WAIT to read your book!

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GDZWMN May 1, 2012 at 8:21 am

this is the corrected comment. I had the wrong email address before!
It’s not a coincidence that I ended up here just now. I stepped on the scale this morning before leaving for work and got the scale before leaving for work because I had to know why the trip down stairs had been so hard this morning… 268 pounds… on a 5’3″ frame. I need to do something different. I NEED to lose 128 pounds – for good. Not with a quick fix or a celebrity endorsed program, but by changing my life, and I KNOW that will be hard… very hard… or else I’d have done it by now. So deep breath and away we go… Thanks for the REAL TALK!

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Claire May 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

One more for the I didn’t just need this, I needed it TODAY column. It took every ounce of willpower to work out last night instead of making a pie and devouring it on my couch, and it’s nice to be reminded that wanting to eat pie instead of lifting weights does not mean something is wrong with me.

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Lynn May 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

This is exactly where I am right now. In 1996, I lost 101 pounds, going from 246 to exactly 145. I lost it by dieting on the Jenny Craig program. I actually started gaining it back right away and crept up to 185 and stayed there for a while. Then crept up to the over 200 range during a two year family healthcare crisis. No excuses here – I knew eating hospital fast food and on the road fast food was bad, but just did it anyway. Careful planning might have saved me.

Crisis is over and after going back to Jenny Craig a number of times (I actually worked there at one point), giving up on the WW points system (not knocking it, it’s just not for me), I am eating a mostly vegetarian diet, with mostly South Beach principles. I have a glass of wine if I’m eating out (but no more than once a week) and a little dessert if I’m a guest at someone’s house for dinner. But the key now is that I am walking three miles most days – at least five days a week. I am losing about one pound a week – just as you say.

I am trying not to be impatient with the one pound weight loss, figuring if that goes on for a year, I can be 50 pounds lighter this time next year.

Meanwhile – I have linked to your lovely blog on my sidebar. I’m excited that you post good, healthy recipes. Cheers!

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Lynn May 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

I’ve never commented before- but wow, this was excellent! Thanks for the fabulous post.

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Jenny May 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

I needed to hear this today. Thank you!!

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Wendy May 1, 2012 at 8:46 am

Andie,

I want the world to know and read your words! you are such a great person and so inspiring and motivating!

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Jami Del Pilar May 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

As an avid Can You Stay for Dinner? reader, UMASS Amherst alumnus, and weight loss journeyer – this was just what I needed today. Just. What. I. Needed.

I’m curious if you have any thoughts on show’s like Chris Powell’s Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition on ABC. It seems to me – that’s the same philosophy – move more, eat less in overdrive.

The reason I ask is more a comparative question. My friends and I were discussing shows like Biggest Loser that really don’t provide realistic at home options, unless working out 24 hours a day is your realistic :).

Just curious – you truly are a devine crafter with words and I greatly anticipate your book :).

Many thanks!

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Shoni May 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

Love this. So. Much. Thanks.

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Bailey @ Onederland or Bust! May 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

This is a breath of fresh air! This post will be read over and over again during my weight loss journey. Thank you!

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Christina May 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

Andie – it’s like you reach into my mind and heart and put in words what I’m feeling at a given time. Thank you so much for this post. After about 8 months of weight loss, the last 6 weeks and 10 lbs to my goal have just seen scale get stuck. I’ve cried, struggled, changed my exercise, food, everything. In retrospect, that first 6 months seemed easy b/c it was new and things were changing. The reality of how hard it is has really set in and now is the time to see if I have the where with all to stick it out or run. I vote for stick it out.

Thank you for making me not feel alone b/c of all my friends and all the info on the web, you and only you have hit the nail on the head of how I feel. You do make a difference in people’s lives.

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Jess May 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

Reading this helped me SOO much Ive lost almost 50 lbs and still have a way to go, but lately I’ve been at a stand still I started to feel like I was never going to loose the rest of the weight but your story and blog inspires me not to give up!

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Kim @ Kickin' it with Kim May 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

Love love love this!!!!!

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Mandy May 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

I love this kind of honest, weight loss post. It can be so easy to get discouraged when you’re doing your best to lose weight. I often feel like I’m the only one struggling and kind of hating it. Posts like this make me feel so much less alone. Thank you thank you thank you.

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Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats May 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

This is so beautiful and so true. Look how many people you have touched with your words! We all just need a little help from time to time and your posts always do it for me. Thank you!

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Stacy May 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

This, today, is exactly what I needed.

I did lose 30 lbs once, fast and healthily in college (through Medifast) and it was actually – almost – easy. Now, having gained it all back and then some, I want it to be that easy again. Even with the same method as before, it light-years more difficult.

Thank you for reminding me that to get long-term results, the journey requires long-term effort and dedication.

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AZJoy May 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

Thank you so much for this! I think that you must of known I really needed to hear this today! I am on this LONG journey and I really am wanting to lose the weight. But….motivation is fleeting and I really need to find a way to remain hopeful. This sure helped! God Bless!

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Cori May 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

Andie, another thoughtful and inspiring post. And it comes to me a the perfect moment. I actually laughed out loud at “give or take forever”. I’m not going to do the yo-yo thing ever again so I better get comfy with forever. :) Thank you, thank you thank you! As always, I anxiously await your next post.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

I seriously love this post. As someone who is always watching their weight and has been struggling more lately (something to do with baking desserts for a living) I’ve become so sick of hearing how “easy” it is to lose weight on X diet and how the pounds will “melt” right off. You are absolutely right that it is hard and I really need to remind myself of that in the moments when all I want to do is eat a dozen plus cookies…

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Candace May 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

Last night before I went to bed I dreamed of cookies, cakes, muffins, and breads that I wanted to eat. I needed this post today. Thank you!

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Jen May 1, 2012 at 10:51 am

Thank you so much for such an honest post. And thank you too, for helping me realize I’m not the only one who struggles to stop after one (or two, or three, or an entire pan) of brownies.

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Michal May 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

Girl, you are so right. Would that it were as easy as the diet books claim. Would that it were just a matter of carbs or fats or whatever. But you can’t sell a book that says,”it’s hard, it sucks, and you’re going to have to use your good sense and pay attention to your body. Sorry-no shortcuts.” Thanks for telling it like it is ;)

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DaliaCombs May 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’ve never posted a comment before, but felt inspired to leave one today. Thanks for the the great post! Like many others I felt like I needed to hear this today.. so thanks for sharing.. I did have a few questions for you… I am tracking my calories on a daily basis and working out 5 times a week, but am not losing as much as I think I should. In your experience did you ever need to increase your daily calorie intake when you were working out? For instance if I need 1700 calories per day, but do not comsume the full 1700 (let’s say we go with 1400) and then I workout and burn 500 calories would my body go into a stall? At what point would you know if you needed to be increasing your calorie intake so that your body does not go into a slower metabolism (starvation) mode? Thanks again…

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Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic May 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

This might be one of the most beautiful and real articles about weight loss that I’ve read. Thanks for sharing Andie :)

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Katie May 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

Generally–
I despise,
turn away from,
cringe at women who talk about weight and weight loss.
But I love,
love,
love
you and your writing.
Thank you.

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Annie May 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

Andy, I love this post. Your words flow perfectly, as always. However, just wondering, have you ever heard of or read the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie? He also has written Big Fat Lies.

Anyways, his philosophy is that weight loss doesn’t have to be hard and it actually is not about eating less or exercising. His book proves that sugar (added to foods in 1850) acts as a poison in our body and messes with our hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) which makes it almost impossible to lose weight. His advice is to elminate all added sugar (fructose specifically) and then eat when hungry and stop when full. I know that sounds almost too easy or maybe drastic, but I have to say I agree. His thought is that cutting calories and exercising only last for maybe 6 months or so until motivation runs out. The book explains that trying to control your weight with motivation is like trying to change your height. And to a pretty large extent, I agree with him because I always ask myself, why NOW, why just these past 150 years are we humans supposed to be born with tons of motivation and calorie counting skills? Why is it that even though the diet industry, low fat products, and gym memberships have steadily increased by 30 percent each year for the past 150 years, our country is fatter, sicker, and more unhappy than ever? And personally, I think that our bodies are just too delicately made and perfectly designed to not be able to control and maintain weight. That is, unless a substance such as sugar is interfering with all of our hormones, our mood, and our overall health.

I’m by no means trying to say you’re wrong or I’m right. I’m just truly interested in what your take is on this view? If you’re interesting, you can easily find the website for his book and read or listen to his approach.

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Frugal Portland May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I have never been through this struggle myself and yet, this post absolutely brought me to tears. Some suffering is universal.

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Sheri May 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

This was exactly what I needed today. Since Dec 9th, I’ve lost 40 lbs. And, until 2 weeks ago, each week, I had a loss. I am still eating right, exercising (killing myself) daily at the gym, and today, I finally broke into the jelly belly stash and carefully counted out 20. It’s the first sweet thing I’ve had in 4 months, and I’m savoring every bite. I need to remember I’m not in that 5k, it IS a marathon, and the middle suuuuuccckkkkksss. Thanks for the reminder. Your way with words is amazing.

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Lisa May 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Love this post.

I second the recommendation above for Sweet Poison (although the book that specifically made me “see the light” on sugar is Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes — same thesis, basically).

After trying, and trying, and trying, and failing to lose the same 30 pounds, it has come off *relatively* easily once I cut out sugar and most carbs.

Not Atkins, not Dukan, not crazy restriction. Not any formal diet, really. I just generally eat a fraction of the carbs that I used to consume (and I was a carb-eating fiend!). I try for 50-100 grams a day. And I eat plenty of satisfying healthy fats, in addition to protein, so I don’t miss the sugar/bread/pasta/potatoes as much.

I’m not saying that it has been super-easy (or will be easy to maintain), which is why this post is so valuable to me. But it has been way, way easier than anything else I’ve tried.

I know this isn’t your approach (e.g., the post before this one, which I also really love). I also won’t be giving up my mom’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or my robin eggs at Easter. But learning about sugar’s effects on my body has made it easier for me to live on far, far less of it than I used to. I’m healthier and thinner for it.

Thank you for your blog and all that you do.

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Deidra May 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Thank you so much for your words!! Just what I needed to here!

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Lori May 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Just what I needed to hear! Thanks so much!

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Ericka May 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Thank you for your intuitive writing. I am at the beginning of my journey inspired by yours!
PS I found you thru Pinterest clicking on a yummy recipe!!!

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Chelsea May 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I, too, love your words and the way you spin them into friendships. Your writing is fantastic.

I would just like to add a point to this particular post. Weight loss is hard. It is, like so many things that are worthwhile, both simple and difficult. When we see these magazines and blogs and websites and tv advertisements that proclaim fast, easy weight loss, it usually contradicts everything in our own personal experience. Because most of us have tried and tried and tried and failed and failed and failed to lose that last 10, or 20, or 50 pounds, and when we see that it could be “fast and easy,” we subconsciously think, “Then what’s wrong with me?” It’s supposedly fast and easy, but we can’t do it at all, or we do it and it’s long and hard and painful, and the advertisements rob us of the appreciation of the hard road.

We are good enough. We can do it. It’s probably not fast, or easy, and that’s okay.

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Michelle May 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This post popped up in my google reader while I was waiting for my Camry at the rental car office this morning and I had to read it in doses so I wouldn’t start crying. Losing weight is hard, as is the constant mental jockeying endured by someone who struggles with emotional eating and just loving to eat in general.

I’ve struggled with both for as long as I can remember, swinging between the pendulum of overweight to losing weight to healthy weight with alarming predictability. With every cycle, I’m left feeling defeated and further disappointed in myself.

I’ve never had the courage to do the hard work I need to do in order dig deep into the reasons why food is such a comfort to me. Why I define my worth by how I look. These questions, for me, are much harder than sticking with the eat less/move more work. (though that is hard, too!)

Your post today helped me think through this and I just wanted to thank you for that. Much love, Andie!

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Megan May 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for posting this–it’s exactly what I needed to read today.

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Rochelle May 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm

OMG…thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!! I have lost 100#’s already and have hit the mother of all plateaus…so frustrating! I wish it was super easy lose 20#’s in a weekend and keep it of…my word that would make life easy…but life isn’t easy there is a lot of blood, sweat, tears and hard work that goes into it. And people who have never done it just don’t get it. So thank you so much for putting your story out there to help us out! The first thing I did when I started this process was get rid of all the “health” magazines, which I think really helped this process for me…

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Eleyn May 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I love this post! Thank you so much for posting it.

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Carly Ann May 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Agreed. I have tried so many crash diets, pills, soups, shakes, voodoo… none of them have worked. I’m coming to the realization that I just plain need to learn the best choices that I can sustain. I can’t logically expect myself to eat 500 calories a day for more than a day. And when you eventually crack and start eating like a normal person again, all the weight comes back!

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MelissaNibbles May 2, 2012 at 1:52 am

Another great post. The weight loss industry is just that…an industry. It exists to make money. It plays off people’s insecurities, makes empty promises with programs, foods, vitamins that are never going to work and they know this. They know there’s no quick fix, but the more promises they make, the more money people will spend. It’s a sick industry.

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Samantha May 2, 2012 at 2:26 am

Thank you Andie. I know I am just one of many who reads your blog, but for me today, that was exactly what I needed to read.

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Tanya May 2, 2012 at 3:22 am

Awesome post! You hit the nail on the head!

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Andrea May 2, 2012 at 4:45 am

So True! Thank you :)

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Stefanie May 2, 2012 at 6:09 am

This is exactly what I needed to hear!! I stumbled across your site yesterday and knew I would need to have you sent to my inbox!! Have a Great day!

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Dianekay May 2, 2012 at 6:42 am

AMEN!
Do you realize how many people you have inspired with this one article? – I’ve passed it on to friends and they will pass it on – wonderful and Thank you.

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Cadi May 2, 2012 at 7:28 am

‘You’ll know that I felt it too, and that it gets better.’ You. Inspire. Me. And I simply CANNOT WAIT for your book to come out. Hurryhurryhurryyyyy!

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Joan May 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

Oh wow but this essay hit home!! I’ve lost 115 lbs and regained 35+ when diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. And along the way, I lost my way and my motivation. Your acknowledgement that this journey is NOT easy, that we will have good days, better ones, and “okay, it’s going to suck at times” really hit home!! I’m saving your words to re-read often. Thank you for your honesty and your understanding of this whole struggle. It’s okay that we struggle, as long as we keep going, right?

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Colby May 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

Thank you so much for writing this! I needed to hear this more than you know. I really appreciate your honesty always, and just love the way you write so so much!!

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Kristin May 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thank you Andie…
I’ve been struggling with my weight for years. I follow you diligently and always appreciate what you have to say. But this meant more to me than just “weight loss sucks”. My struggles don’t end with my weight and how I see myself. My boyfriend and I have been in counseling, the relationship is becoming less and less satisfying and at the end of the day, it’s my son that keeps me there. When you wrote about the days when we’re rotten and the way that THAT is when our strength shows… it moved something else in me that had nothing to do with those pounds on the exterior… but the tons on the interior. So I owe you my thanks. For being my surprise wake up call. And for reminding me that strength is never easily come by… things will be really [really] hard. But it’s okay for things to suck for a while.
Thank you again. I owe you one. :0)

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Bridget May 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

Thanks for putting yourself out there and taking the risks you do. Your words have changed my life, and I am guessing by all the responses, I am not the only one!

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Lu May 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

You have the right words, at the right time. Sometimes it does just, simply and accurately put, suck. Thanks for that honesty.

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Katie May 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm

This was amazing. I read it three times. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Laura May 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Wonderful! Inspiring, honest, realistic as always. Thank you!

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Amanda S May 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Andie, thank you so much for writing this; it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I’m on my 8th week of Weight Watchers and all the excitement of the weight loss process is long gone. Every day I’m becoming more and more overwhelmed by the 100 pounds I need to lose. Your post contained exactly the encouragement I needed to hear; it is hard, it isn’t quick, but it will be worth it. I just have to get through the sucky part. Thanks for writing.

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Dolcie May 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm

This is seriously the best post ever. Okay, perhaps I should say my favorite post ever! I’m a health coach for a program that works, but it makes me cringe when I hear other health coaches say that this particular program is easy and you won’t go hungry. I lost weight on this program and I’ve been able to keep it off but holy moly it is far from easy and there are definitely moments when you feel like eating the entire cake!!! Being healthy is a lot of work, which is why so many of us struggle with it, even after we’ve lost weight. But I have to say I’d rather be where I am at now than where I was 20+ pounds ago – the work is worth it. Thank you for telling it like it is Andie!

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Gina May 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for your post. I’m so disappointed in myself. About a year and a half ago, I set out to lose about 15-20 pounds. I did lose about 17, but now have gained about half of it back. I know it’s not a lot, but I struggle every single day with not overeating. I feel like there is no repreave from it. I need to find a way to motivate myself again. Thank you for your honesty.

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Laura May 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I love this. For so many of us trying to lose weight is a lifelong struggle. That struggle is present every day at every meal. I am trying to lose weight once again and your story is incredibly motivating. I’m 22 years old, 5’9″ and in a size 18 at the moment. I haven’t stepped on a scale in 5 months because I’ve been too terrified to. You’ve inspired me to begin the journey and finally step on that scale.

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tK May 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

What I like most about the things you’ve said here is that it’s true about anything you might be trying to accomplish. Sometimes it’s gonna suck and you’re sooo not gonna feel like working on it, but other times you’re going to feel exhilarated and powerful and unstoppable!

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kristen @ verbs and vignettes May 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

i know this comments section has already seen a lot of praise and thanks, but I can’t resist. you are so freaking eloquent, I could scream. my weight loss efforts will probably never end, but you are such a calm breath of fresh air. I love it. I really do mean it when I say some little aspect of your posts always gets stuck in my head on loop and pulls me out of complete irrationality. you know, at least for a little while. we’re basically the same age, and I can only hope to be so wise years down the road. :-* yes. that is a big kiss for you.

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Brooke May 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

If you were nearby, I would hug you right now.

This, a thousand times this.

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jackie May 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

I just love the way you talk about weight loss, it’s so dead on every time. I still have about 40 pounds left to lose, and the hardest part about the process (or one of them anyway) is the patience I am required to have. I think we are inundated with the “melting fat fast” idea when in reality, that just never ever happens. Thanks for a much needed dose of reality and empathy all at the same time. I’m going to carry this message with me for those times when I am frustrated at losing “only” two pounds like I did this week. It’s two pounds closer to my goal, and I worked really hard to drop them!

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Liz May 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Seriously, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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francine May 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

truth!!!! thanks for putting the hard stuff out there!!

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Esther May 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

The timing for this post couldn’t be better…thank you for your inspiring and honest words.

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Dedirevanza May 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm

hey,i have been on and off trying to lose that exta belly fat so that i can see some deiinftion in my abdominal region, however, it has been these recent days that i have really started yo get back into a healthy, active lifestyle again. i now go for a 3 mile run every morning before breakfast so that im in a catabolic state. is there any other tips or useful info anyone can share with me please?Thanks

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Abby May 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I’ve been reading for a while…and I just wanted to say thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear- I’ve lost a significant amount of weight (for me) and over this last week I ate pretty much whatever my mind decided it wanted- and the result was a weight gain. And although it wasn’t about it being a “horribe” experiance or anything, it was eye opening and your entry said everything I’m feeling to a ‘T’! It’s not easy to lose weight and if it was it wouldn’t be so rewarding, but if no one told you how hard it would be you would be devistated by setbacks and maybe even feel like giving up. I think thats why so many people love your blog- you tell it like it is- and we’re not alone!

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Emily May 6, 2012 at 8:40 am

Oh Andie – god damnit! You are just the classiest, coolest blogger I know. I’m totally captivated by your awesomeness. I am catching up on your blog and this is just want I needed to read, are you a mind reader? Just wanted to throw some appreciation your way…. and snag some of your recipes. Cause they rock.

Have a fantabulous month!

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Megly May 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I needed this badly!! Last year I lost 20 pounds in 2 months and was at one of my lowest weights ever, but still a little higher than I wanted to be on the BMI scale. Now I’m 10+ lbs up on that weight — in a totally different place in my life, living with my boyfriend and too comfortable — and lacking motivation. Every day I tell myself I “deserve” a certain food or that one extra cookie “won’t make much of a difference,” but all added up, it really does. I didn’t have trouble maintaining my weight until winter hit. Now I want to lose some pounds and am having trouble planning meals and saying no to temptation.

Can’t tell you how much your personal stories mean to me and motivate me. I also am loving your day plans with calorie counts. So THANK YOU for your reminder it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

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McCall May 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

This is a fantastic post! My husband is just starting on the weight loss journey, and sometimes looks at the marathon ahead and gets down. We are trying to get him in the mindset of ‘feeling healthy’ instead of ‘cutting back’. What great insights, I love how real you are.

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Nicole May 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Attempting to eat an entire cake? Guilty as charged.

But I will say this, sweet tooth or not, the best guidance I’ve had on eating healthy has come from friends who eat as close to the earth as possible. So much easier to put down the icing-covered spatula and snag some fruit if you think about what you are putting in your body beyond calories or fat. Being healthy isn’t just about being skinny! Love how that is reiterated in these posts!

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Danielle May 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Wow, I was so moved by this. So motivated. This is so true. I’m just getting over that miles 10-20 hump, and it was really, really hard. And I almost gave up.

Thank you for this.

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Stephanie May 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Such an amazing post (as usual)! I needed to read this today. I like that you set the story straight, and not “sugar coating” the truths of losing weight/being healthy. Love your approach to every topic. Thank you for sharing once again!

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David May 9, 2012 at 7:39 am

Everyone is so much in agreement with your post that I feel I need to offer a balancing view.

I sit here today a hundred pounds lighter than my max weight. 60 or 70 pounds lighter than one year ago. That is not even close to as much as you have lost, especially when you take into account that I am a very large guy. But hopefully it gives me a little credibility.

Yeah, it was hard. You are most definitely right about that. And people need that motivation and that truth, so I totally applaud that.

But what you didn’t say (and maybe haven’t experienced?) is that eating the right foods does make it far far easier.

‘Cause here’s the thing. This isn’t the first time I’ve lost this much weight. It is just the first time I’ve kept it off. The first time that I knew in my heart that I would keep it off forever.

Since removing grains and processed foods from my diet (the “Paleo” diet), it has all gotten remarkably easy.

No calorie counting. No trying to sweat off calories on a treadmill. No being hungry. And my food is tasty. And it has butter on it.

I do still have to resist the cupcakes, but it gets easier and they genuinely don’t appeal to me as much anymore.

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Andie May 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

Excellent, excellent point, David. I’m glad you brought it up. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your weight loss- that’s incredible :)
Andie

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Cindy May 11, 2012 at 5:00 am

I love this!
It took me 4 years to lose 85 pounds, an unheard of slow rate amongst my fellow weight watchers. But I kept going. It wasn’t easy. Isn’t easy. I’m so glad to hear you be honest about it. Sometimes you just have to be hungry. And sometimes you just want ice cream.

On a similar note, I have friends who ask me if doing the same exercise DVD for 7 years (t-tapp by Teresa Tapp) gets boring. I say, “yes!” Sometimes exercise is boring. But it feels so good. And I intersperse some running and hiking and walking in there, too. And sometimes those things get boring as well.

Often magazine articles lead us to believe that we should change up our exercise to be exciting and new all the time. It doesn’t matter how often I change my exercise routine, sometimes it’s boring. Usually it’s hard. And some days my morning run just doesn’t feel right.

But then there are those other days. When I can hardly wait to get on my sneakers and head to the sun. Or when I can really feel my muscles work when I breathe slowly and move intentionally to my t-tapp DVD.

So, I keep going. Even though it’s hard. Because it’s hard. I can do hard things.

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SweetMarie83 May 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

I am so glad I stumbled across your blog. Do you ever get tired of hearing what an inspiration you are? I really hope not. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, and 2 years ago decided to finally do something about it – I lost 35 pounds, gained 15, lost 10, gained 5, and on and on. It’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would be thin. Why do people think there are quick, easy fixes to what’s basically an epidemic in North America? Anyway, I’ve been back at it for the last couple months, and have really buckled down in the last few weeks. I was actually just writing a blog post about how I’m at that point in my journey where I’m hungry all the time, when I came across your blog through Pinterest. Talk about timing! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us in such a candid manner. This was just the inspiration I needed today.

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kristin h May 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Andie, you are amazing and such an inspiration. Thanks to your lovely blog and own journey to be healthy, my sister and i are both on a path to healthy. My husband, an athletic trainer, has been telling me the same things for years, but it took your blog to get me motivated. My journey has only just begun (queue carpenters music), but I feel better already. Theres something about being accountable for what you put in your mouth that helps give you power again. its no longer the cravings that drive me! How liberating that is. i just wanted to say thank you for being so open with your journey and sharing your thoughts with the world!

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Amanda May 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm

This was beautiful. Truly inspiring for me as I have been struggling through my journey. It gives me a renewed hope and spirit. Thank you.

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Ally May 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I came across the post at the right time; thank you SO much for this. (I shared with some friends who are now printing it to put on their fridges.)

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Tammie Pfeiffer May 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thank you so much for your real, honest words! They are exactly what I needed today!
Tammie

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Terri B. June 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

Thank you so much for your blog. Even though we just met, I think I love you.
Terri

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Erin June 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Just found your blog today – love it. Then I found this post and, really, there are just no words for how this made me feel. I so badly need to lose weight – I’ve been on a five-year journey to rebuild a bunch of internal stuff (mindsets, emotions, relationships, confronting the foundation of my food addiction) and now I feel myself gearing up for some serious habit changes. It makes me tired just thinking about it but this post – wow. It is so inspiring to me in this moment of contemplating the commitment necessary for the road ahead. Thank you so much, I know I will return to this in the future for encouragement!

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Claire July 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

Andie–I frequently come back and read this post when I am struggling. “It’s just going to suck for a while.” Love it! :) You are changing lives through your writing. I hope you know that.

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Cindy July 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Claire, I agree. In fact, I opened my email notifications that included your comment (even though I am short on time) because I realized I needed a booster shot. Thank you. Both of you.

I’ve had a 10 lb. gain (after maintaining an 85 lb. weight loss for four years) and I’m feeling discouraged that I can’t quite get back on track. But it is good for me to be reminded that it is hard. And it sometimes sucks. But I can do hard things. Even if it sucks.

I can recommit.

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Carrie P September 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

Thank you so much for this post!! It seems we’re only ever told two stories about losing weight: it’s super easy, or it’s impossible. It’s so much more helpful to hear what I’ve experienced, that it’s not impossible but it is h-a-r-d sometimes, even when I’m doing everything right. Thank you again, really.

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Francie October 24, 2012 at 6:34 am

This is great. Thanks so much for this post Andie! You are so right that the expectations are super unrealistic when we’re reading magazines. I’ve added a link to your blog on mine under the resources! :)

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Margaret@WellnessCircle April 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Easy said than done. Self discipline is still the best, proven and effective for weight loss program. :)

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Hanan August 6, 2013 at 7:43 am

You’re amazing. Thank you for sharing. I love love loveee your blog :)

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Jen August 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

It’s been over a year since you wrote this, but I still want to say thank you SO much! I mentioned this post on my blog, simply because it really resonated with me. We are meant to believe that we will find the “switch” the one thing that, once we figure it out, will make it all better, and I’m convinced that for me, there is not switch.

I love your idea of prepping ourselves for something REALLY hard! No more “it’ll get easier with time” or, “if you can just make it past a week”. It’s a tough journey, but clearly oh so worth it. Thanks!

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Brian Bortnick September 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

so nice to read something “real” amongst all the weight loss hype articles, books, etc !

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Beth October 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

You are an inspiration. Thank you. Best thing i’ve read on weight loss in ages. Hopefully this is my day to properly start my journey.

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Mandy March 25, 2014 at 1:42 am

Andie -

I have followed you off and one for a few years (depending on my motivation for my own weight loss) but I just have to tell you that I love that you acknowledge that weight loss sucks but that it is still possible to grit your teeth and get it done. I can’t wait for your book, its going to be my best friend :)

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Deanne September 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

I don’t know what to say except.. Wow. You are completely spot on. I am currently on my own weight loss journey and reading this today has helped me get a new perspective. Thank you!!

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Lorrie Haley October 24, 2014 at 4:00 am

I love how you write about the struggle of weight loss. That’s why during my weight loss I read bloggers going through struggles with it. It makes me feel like I have someone to relate to when the going gets tough. During my weight loss I had that “If it’s too good to be true it most likely is” attitude. That attitude the one that tells you that once you’ve climbed one mountain there most certainly will be another mountain kept me grounded…realistic. I am also sick of all the hype going on with magazines and fad diets. The way I see it is that we have to have a good bullshit detector these days because no matter what there will always be snake oil salesmen selling their miracle snake oil (cough cough Dr.Oz lol).

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