15 January 2013

resolution // weight loss kick-start

Soooo I know this is a common theme for most American women, the resolution to lose weight and hit the gym.  For some it might just be that few extra pounds from holiday snacks; for others, it might be a more serious lifestyle change.

A little background on my relationship with my body: my weight has fluctuated since high school; I was in marching band in high school (yep, marching band!) and carrying around 40-lb. drums every afternoon (and some weekends) kept me in damn good shape, even while I gorged on Burger King for lunch almost every day.  Don't we all do that in high school?  We didn't know how lucky we were to eat so terribly and have our young metabolisms fight back...

Me in high school.  Skinny bitch, right?  I didn't even appreciate it!

Aaaand here is a marching band photo, just for your entertainment and mockery.  Go ahead, I can take it.

I gained the freshman fifteen in college because I stopped carrying drums around (no more marching band) and didn't replace the physical activity with something else; I'd never been inside a gym before college.  It wasn't until I got my first "big girl job" sitting at a desk (when I'd previously been working retail and on my feet all day) that I really packed on some pounds, right after college graduation.  After a few months of the new sedentary job and the same poor eating habits, I'd gained 15 lbs. and realized it was time for a change.  I saw a photo of myself and was surprised by how I looked.

I joined a gym and bought a Calorie King journal (this was a few years ago, before smartphone calorie-counting apps) and limited myself to 1200-1400 calories per day including exercise.  My commitment to the change of lifestyle and my 22-year-old metabolism yielded very satisfactory success.  I dropped the 15 lbs. I'd gained and then some, and celebrated with a pair of True Religion jeans (three sizes smaller than before) to congratulate myself.

The skinniest I've been since college (on the right), circa 2007, after my successful calorie-counting, gym-going stint after college.

 What I wouldn't give to fit into that dress again... (I'm on the far right)

Then I met a guy.  He always told me how beautiful I was, our sex life was great, and we went out to delicious restaurants and had ice cream dates.  Slowly, over our year-long relationship, I ate more and frequented the gym less and less.  When we broke up, I found comfort in food and lots of sleeping.  I gained the 15 lbs. back and then some.

 This is my middle ground, circa 2009.  It's midway between my skinniest after college and where I am now (I'm on the left).

That's where I've been ever since, more or less.  Mostly more.  I've given some attempts to losing the weight I gained during my relationship, but couldn't quite commit with the same conviction I'd had the first time, when I was so successful.  And before my good habits could stick, I moved to a new city to an apartment on my own (after living with my best friend for eight years) and started a new job that turned out to be worse than the one I'd left behind.  So I found more comfort in food.  And then started dating a new guy, a wonderful man who also showered me with compliments about my body, so the motivation to lose weight simply vanished for awhile.  And I'm a few years older, and years of sitting at a desk job all day hasn't exactly helped my battle of the bulge.

In preparation for bridesmaid status at a wedding last summer, I tried the 17 Day Diet for a few weeks and was quite impressed with the results.  The 17 Day Diet is focused on protein and probiotics (it's yet another incarnation of Atkins in the sense that it's based on low carb intake).  As soon as the wedding happened, I was all about the champagne and wedding cake and just couldn't get back on the wagon after that.  Then, another breakup, and more comfort food in the aftermath.

 In Vegas for the bachelorette party in summer 2012.  I'm on the far left.  I was the "big girl" of the group that weekend.

 July 2012: I'm in the front row, immediately to the left of the bride. Post-summer-diet, but still pretty close to the heaviest I've been.

Until now.  The reason the 17 Day Diet works is in the name: 17 days is the amount of time it takes for your metabolism to adjust to a diet.  After the first 17 days, you change the foods you're eating to throw off your body and make it work harder to keep up (please note that I am majorly paraphrasing, and if you're interested in pursuing this route, get the book so you know all the details!).  Combine this approach with fewer carbs and sugars, more physical activity, and reduced caloric intake, and I think I'm setting myself up for success.

I gave myself a few days after the new year to get the holiday sweet tooth out of my system (though, I'll admit, I don't think I'll ever really get over my crazy sweet tooth).  I love chocolate and ice cream and Dr. Pepper.  But when I think about what I put into my body during the month of December, no wonder I didn't want to go to the gym, or even get out of bed some days!  My energy level was pretty pathetic.

Not only do I hate being a size 16 (and it's really difficult and uncomfortable for me to admit my jean size like this), but my chosen profession of wedding photography means I spend at least two days a month chasing after brides and grooms and weddings guests while carting equipment, and I'd really, really like to be able to do so without sweating and gasping for air.  I remember a particular wedding I photographed in August and, yes, it was hot, but I was so sweaty that I was constantly wiping perspiration off my forehead and dark mascara circles from under my eyes.  It's not really conducive to feeling or looking professional.  I'm really not okay with being the gross, sweaty, out-of-shape wedding photographer.

At my very best I was a size 6-8; my goal now is size 10-12, which I think is a happy compromise at which I won't have to starve myself or completely deny the occasional craving.

On a shoot in August 2012

It's time for a real change and a real commitment to making that change stick.  I know it's a cliche to make it a new year's resolution to lose weight, but I won't be giving into the equally-cliche failure to keep this resolution.  I'm sticking to it, and my goal for the year is to lose 30 lbs. by June 2013.  Just in time for wedding season to shift into full swing.  :)

Here are my goals.  So far, I'm a week in, and aside from a slice of bread here and a square of chocolate there, I'm off to a pretty good start.
  • Minimize consumption of carbs and sugar
  • Drink more water
  • Avoid soda, fast food, pastries, and candy (and other affiliated foods)
  • Use low-fat milk and sugar-free sweetener (aim for Stevia as much as possible) in my coffee
  • Consume 1250 calories per day (net total after food and exercise).
  • Exercise a minimum of 3-4 times per week, ideally five times per week.  I'll start with four weekly trips to the gym and go from there.  This is the part of my resolution I haven't started yet.

I considered Weight Watchers or even NutriSystem, but I'm going to give the 17 Day Diet another shot first.  I might switch to one of the other methods after a few months, just to keep things interesting and to keep my metabolism on her toes.

With these goals, I'm hoping to drop 30 lbs. and two pant sizes in six months.  The second half of 2013 will be devoted to keeping that weight off and cementing the habits that got me there.

I'll be documenting my weight loss and fitness journey as much as possible here in order to keep myself motivated as well as join others in their resolutions and goals, to share milestone triumphs and to encourage myself and others in the face of setbacks.

For the record, it is not something I'm necessarily excited to share with you all.  Frankly, I'm embarrassed about how I look, and the fact that I revealed my size earlier is a pretty big deal for me.  You can forget about the possibility of me sharing my current actual weight!  This definitely falls in the "things I'm afraid to tell you" category.  But on the off-chance that the documentation of my journey lends even a smidgen of encouragement or support to someone else who is insecure about their own number on the scale, it's worth it.

Do you have any fitness or weight loss resolutions or goals for 2013?  What methods are you employing to get there?

Linking up with Evani and Tif.

'Til next time!


  1. I think many women share a very similar journey to you Anna and it's certainly nothing to be embarrassed about!
    I have never really had to worry about my weight - blessed with a high metabolism I suppose - but as I get closer to 30, I am really feeling the impact of lack of exercise on my body. Perhaps I do not show it on the outside but I am most definitely an unhealthy skinny person and I have never felt worse. My husband gained some weight this year and neither of us are feeling healthy nor good about ourselves so we're resolving to make a few small changes. We're both cutting back on alcohol and sweets and stepping up light-moderate exercise. We really want to focus on taking care of our bodies and being healthy and active again.
    Best wishes as you continue to work towards your goals!

    1. I just realised that I wrote Anna above instead of Emily! I apologize for the typo!

  2. I'm so glad that you took the time to share this, girl!
    I feel like for me, when I made it public that I was not playing around anymore and that I was ready to conquer my weight goals... that's when I really found motivation.
    I'm seriously so excited to follow you on this journey, because I know it's gonna be full of encouragement & inspiration...and when it's not, we'll give those things to YOU!



  3. Oh my goodness, we are so similar! I got in great shape (lost 30 lbs) my sophomore year of college AFTER a break up with a crazy ex bf because I could control it and my mind wasn't right--but after finding happiness again and finding a guy that absolutely loved me and my curves, I let it creep back up. So, my current situation is dropping some pounds but also a lot of strength training. I LOVE being the only girl in the weight room and have been rolling out of bed at 5:45am to get it finished before I realize what I'm doing! I also carry around my Camelbak (it helps the water drinking if you have a fun bottle) and sip constantly. I found a nutrition list from a bikini competitor online which consists of whole grains, lean meat, green veggies and protein that I've been sticking to. It takes commitment but the satisfaction is SO worth it. I'm on a 12 week plan right now and can't wait to see what I can achieve. Good luck to you on your journey!!

  4. You look beautiful at every weight, but I definitely know the frustrations of going up and down and looking at old skinny photos! I'm pregnant now, so no weight loss for me for most of this year, but I will hit it hard later this year and next year!

  5. I'm right with you on this resolution. I even started a new tumblr space to record my journey for myself. I'm becoming one of those people who photographs my every meal so that I can be accountable to myself and post it to my space, haha. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. My weight gain actually happened in a matter of months (from this past summer). I was 165 and I gained about 30lbs+ (200 now). I've always been kind of average, but now this is so different for me and I hate the way it makes me feel. For this year, I will, above everything else, strive to feel really healthy and fit again.

    I'm happy to be going through this journey with you :) I'm behind you 100% :)

  6. I can't even imagine how scary it is to share all of this with us, but I am so. freaking. proud of you Emily! I already know that you are strong and beautiful, and I know that you are going to be able to do whatever you put your mind to! Good luck my dear, and know that you have so many people cheering for you right now! xoxoxo

  7. I'm so glad you shared this with us! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like this, but it's worth it! I need to make some changes myself and you've definitely inspired me to give it my all. Good luck Emily!

  8. I'm really glad you shared this love and so happy you linked up with us! So many of us deal with this everyday and it's always nice to know that we're not alone in the struggle. You've done such an amazing job getting your photography business off the ground and if you can do that, you can do ANYTHING! I believe in ya girl, and I'll be cheering you on the whole time!

  9. Isn't it crazy what we put our bodies through?! Good for you for putting yourself out there like that, writing it down is half the battle right?!! I always yearn for the body that I had in high school, yet back then I thought I was fat...Obviously my teenage self would now think that I was a whale! Good luck on your journey to healthy living!

  10. I think it's super courageous and awesome of you for putting yourself out there like this. I'm making efforts to get fit in 2013 (and, hopefully, get back down to a weight I'm proud of), so I feel your pain!

    Well wishes and positive thoughts for your adventure!

    (PS - I read a book recently with something that inspired me in my own efforts to get fit: don't call it "weight loss" if you don't intend to find it again. Better to call it a "weight reduction". :) )


  11. Thank you for sharing this! I've had basically the exact same weight story as you. I think you're really brave to share your story on the internet! I've been contemplating doing that, too, but haven't mustered up the courage yet. I look forward to seeing your progress!

  12. Very brave of you to be so honest, good luck with your goal!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  13. I really enjoyed reading this as I too have struggled with my weight my entire life!!!!
    However, I have finally found something that works for me. I lost 116 pounds mama!!! I went from a 22 to a 4:) if you hobo my blog's homepage and click on the tab " my weight loss journey" I have very very detailed instructions on how I did very healthfully and successfully!!!
    Cheers friend! You'll do it!!!!

  14. That is my goal too! 30 pounds by June. We can do this!

  15. I found your blog today via the WIW link-up, and am now following along. I'm loving your honest post about your whole story! I actually just posted me entire weight loss story yesterday as well. And man it was hard admitting my actual weight and all the ups-and-downs I've seen on the scale! But I'm back into motivation mode, and I'm doing good so far :) I'm looking forward to reading more about your journey and successes! We can do this girl!!

  16. thank you for sharing your story! It's very similar to mind (though my SUPER weight gain came from marriage) ... and now at a size 16 jean I'm trying to work my booty off. good luck with it!! and again thanks for being so honest!

    xoxo, Amy @ Interpret As You May

    {PS - I'm giving away a fitness notebook & would love for you to win!}

  17. girlfriend, you have some guts. you are such an inspiration. i'm so proud of you. i know you said you're not excited about sharing this with us, but this will be so liberating! i'm so excited for you!!!

  18. I'm right there with you lady! You are really gorgeous, and I commend you for being brave enough to post stuff like this on your blog. Looking forward to following along, and being inspired to lose it myself.



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