So this crazy thing happened…

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. For me, behavior change is more effective if it’s something I decide to do on my own, not because of a societal tradition. So when January 1st came around this year I made no promises to change anything. However, two weeks later I randomly decided to work out for the first time in a ridiculously long time. Then this crazy thing happened: I lost 50 pounds in six months.

Without getting too deep into my life story, I can tell you that I fell victim to the Freshman 15 in college and never stopped gaining weight in the years after graduating. The bigger I got, the easier it was to stop caring about what I looked like and how unhealthy I was. Looking back at that mid-January day, I’m honestly not sure what made me get up and go to the gym. I do remember that it felt different than other times I had gotten the motivation to workout. Something clicked and I had had enough. But I had no way of anticipating that six months from then I would be 50 pounds lighter.

So how did I do it? It was a lot of a work but the answer really is simple: I ate less and worked out more. And I did it all on my own, without a trainer or nutritionist.

I believe your diet is the most important element of losing weight. You can only burn so many calories a day so portion control is crucial. I started by cutting out fast food, which made an immediate impact. I’ve also done a better job of grocery shopping so I have food that’s healthy at home. I use the MyFitnessPal app to track calories; it’s especially helpful when I go out to eat since I can look up nutrition information and plan my meal ahead of time. MyFitnessPal has made me more conscious of my food choices. While there are times I feel like it’s judging me, I’ve been able to eat what I want within reason. I’ve just scaled back the amount of what I eat to keep my overall caloric intake at a certain number.

With my diet under control, working out has helped me shed pounds faster and feel healthier in general. I was really out of shape when I started so I just walked on the treadmill for an hour a few times a week. Over time I kept pushing myself until eventually I was able to run a little. I hate running so I was really proud when I ran (okay, maybe jogged) a mile without stopping for the first time in forever.

I hit a weight loss plateau around May or June and realized I needed to change up my routine. I started doing sprint intervals and lifting weights. The results were insane and I crushed through my plateau. Even though I hate running, I love sprint intervals because I can manage running at a higher speed for one minute at a time knowing I’ll get to walk for a few minutes in between. Recently I’ve changed up my routine again to include walking at intense inclines. I’ve gotten up to 15 percent, which is the most I’ve ever sweat while working out.

My weight loss journey has also required an overall change in my lifestyle. Instead of coming home and vegging out on the couch watching TV for hours, I go to the gym at my apartment complex. I actually look forward to working out and miss it on the days I don’t do it (crazy, I know). I sometimes make sacrifices like occasionally saying no to going out to eat or temporarily avoiding booze to reach a weight loss goal, but it’s worth it to know how much healthier I am now.

It’s honestly hard to believe how far I’ve come in the last six months, especially knowing I still have a long way to go. But it’s been really exciting tracking my progress and I’ve truly appreciated the support from my friends and family along the way.

Are you thinking about making a lifestyle change? I know firsthand how hard it can be but I hope my story can inspire you to at least try!

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20 thoughts on “So this crazy thing happened…

  1. Mel, congratulations on all your hard work and the great results! As you’ve discovered, the formula is incredibly simple: eat less and be active more. When Joel and I started our weight loss regimen 10 years ago, the first thing we did, too, was cut out fast food and soda. Like you said, immediate impact. Then we started running. I hated it at first, but stuck with it. Now I can run 5Ks and feel “blah” when I don’t run. Keep it up, girl!

  2. I love this post soooo much. Congrats on believing in yourself. You clearly had a vision, and you will make this vision a reality. I’m very proud of you!!!

  3. Wow! Sincerely, this touched me, Melanie. You look great and you sound like you feel great. (Not only all that, but I really like your writing style.)

  4. GrCongrats to Melanie, so inspirational and keep it up! IT funny how just a few life changes can make a huge impact! I saw your story via Pete the Planner, and I too lost over 130lbs 4 years ago starting in my freshman year of College, while still keeping it off to this day! But yes it may cost a little more to be active and eat healthy its well worth the ramifications down the road dont you think. Healthcare wise, if you would allow yourself to get in bad shape, its going to cost you ALOT more down the road, literally and in the wallet, so its been worth the price for me!

    • I didn’t realize how committing to getting healthy really impacts every aspect of your life. It requires a full lifestyle change, including budgeting for the costs that come along with it. But like you said, you’ll save so much more in the long run by being healthy. And of course you can’t put a price on how much better you feel!

      Thanks so much for commenting and congrats on your weight loss as well!

      • Well said. Yes it does take alot of commitments but it all evens out in the end. But like you said, people have NO idea how much better you feel not only physically, but MENTALLY. Its huge, I run 6 miles at 4:45am everymorning and its just clears my mind and really gets my day going and Im so productive the rest of the day. On the rare days I dont run, I feel lethargic, and not quite as sharp! No problem on the comment and glad to see another local Hoosier doing great things with their life!

  5. Congrats! I am wanting to lose 80-100 lbs, I’ve started then stopped and started and stopped so many times. But now I am ready!!

    I went to the MyFitnessPal app. I went to download it and the requests it asks seem too much to ask. Much more than other apps ask for. I am leery even though you used it. Am I being paranoid…LOL

    Thanks,
    Shirley

    • It’s definitely a struggle. I’ve gotten to the point now where it’s part of my daily routine and if I miss workouts, I feel like my day isn’t complete. It certainly didn’t start out that way, though, so just try to stick with it!

      As far as MyFitnessPal, it does ask for things like your birthday, weight, etc. so it can factor how many cals you need a day. Obviously if you’re worried about it, find another app that you’re comfortable with. I haven’t had any issues with it but it’s all about finding what works best for you.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Melanie, found your blog through Pete the Planner and it’s funny how your story sounds similar to mine. I played sports my entire childhood and then got to college and put on the freshman fifteen (or fifty) and it was just all downhill from there after college as well. I lost all confidence and didn’t really care at all about my appearance. All I cared about was eating and showing the world that “I knew better” about my health and was just fine. Eventually I ballooned from a high school football weight of around 200 pounds to a weight of at least 375 pounds.

    After about five years of that, I took a job with a wellness company (go figure?) and when I saw all the physically fit people around me, I got embarrassed and decided to do something about it. I decided to start exercising and the dominoes (and pounds) started to fall. Five years later and after exercising like a madman and watching my diet (mostly), I’ve lost over half my body weight and now weigh about 170.

    I know it’s tough to keep it going sometimes, but just think of the happy feeling you get now when you look at yourself in the mirror and see how much you’ve changed. Use that as your motivation to keep it up and you’ll do great.

    Remember, nothing worth having ever comes easy!

    • First of all, I love your picture 🙂 It seems very apropos for this blog post.

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s been great hearing people’s stories and knowing there are others in the same position as me. I’ve still got a ways to go but I’m feeling great and I know that in the long run I’m going to be so much better off because of all the hard work. A little sacrifice can go a long way! I appreciate your words of support and encouragement. It really means a lot!

  7. I finally just went to PTP’s blog entry about the costs of weight loss and connected to your post (worst friend award goes to me today). You know I tell you time and time again, but you not only look great, but I can tell how much this has positively affected your overall outlook on life. I am proud to call you a friend! #treadmillionaires

    • Thanks Lori! It really does impact every aspect of your life. For example, I’m convinced my weight loss contributed to our win the in the greased up watermelon competition 🙂

      Seriously though, it’s been great to have the support of so many people. It helps to know you’ve got great friends cheering you on!

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