Brownies, Exercise, Self-Love: My Weight Loss ‘Diet’ ~Janean

I asked my high school friend Janean to write a little story about her weight loss. We have been friends now for almost (cough) 12 (cough) years.
I can’t remember where we met, but it a was ‘friends at first sight’. She jumped in the married/kids bandwagon WAY before me :). However, her story of weight/body image/success is awesome!!! So much to learn from a girl who DIDN’T diet to lose weight, WHO realised counting calories was obsessive, and who ENJOYS food!!!
Reading through this post has made so much sense. This girl is intuitivley eating and she’s making me realise that I CAN do it!!!! Thanks Janean!!! ~Mish

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Brownies, Exercise, Self-Love: My Weight Loss ‘Diet’ ~Janean

I consider myself to be your average person: I don’t LOVE to exercise, although I enjoy how I feel after it’s over; and I do LOVE food, especially fresh baked chocolate chip cookies with a glass of cold milk… Okay, now that we’re both back from binging on the chocolates we “hid” from ourselves, let’s talk weight loss.

My weight gain started my freshman year of college (See, I told you I was just your average kind of gal!) I put on weight slowly through college, but didn’t do much about it, because I could still squeeze myself into my old jeans. Then came my first pregnancy. I felt entitled to eat whatever I wanted, park myself on the couch after work, and get up only to grab a bowl… or two of ice cream. I gained 40 pounds in 9 months and topped out at 190 lbs.

Now for any of you who think all you have to do is pop out the baby, lose a little water weight, and breastfeed… you are in for a surprise. It took me 2 attempts and 2 years to finally lose the weight, but I did get down to a healthy 144 lbs. Losing the weight truly was a journey. Here are some of the things I learned along the way:

1. Healthy or Thin?
Before I started losing weight, I had to decide what my ultimate goal was. Did I just want to be “thin” or was it more important to seek for health and balance in all areas of my life? I chose the latter. I knew that fad diets, or even “going on a diet” wouldn’t work for me. Because what happens when you go off the diet? All the weight returns, and then some.
So I decided to make life changes:
1. I threw out everything that had high fructose corn syrup or lots or sugar, trans fats, artificial dyes, lots of preservatives, MSG, or had no nutritional value. Do you know what I was left with? Bare cupboards. So I replaced all my junk with healthy but tasty alternatives like whole grain crackers, veggies with hummus, or smoothies.
2. I vowed to make exercise a priority. Not just to lose weight, but to gain all around health.
3. I spent time on self reflection and exploring the reasons I turn to food.
2. Just do it – and like it!
Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of exercise. It hurts. It’s hard. But I knew I couldn’t lose weight without it. I set aside time every morning before my son got up, kept my workout clothes next to the bed, and willed myself onto my elliptical or popped in a workout DVD. I played on a church basketball team, and found some girlfriends to walk with. Whatever form of exercise you choose, you have to LIKE IT. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it.
3. Find your inner confidence.
Yeah, it’s hard to feel confident when you’re sporting thunder thighs and a muffin top. But if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to take control of your life and lose weight – you won’t. What’s that saying? “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right”. Find or write positive affirmations, meditate, pray, deep breath, self reflect and find your inner confidence.
4. Enjoy food.
WHAT?!! Enjoy food while trying to lose weight? For me, it’s the only thing that works. If I feel totally deprived all day, I’ll binge on chocolate before bed. So, I have found healthy, low fat, low cal, tasty food to eat. (Look online, there are tons of ideas. I like Sparkpeople.com) I also believe that this life is meant to be enjoyed. And food is a huge part of our lives. So I still enjoy an occasional hot cookie from the oven. Because the more I told myself what I couldn’t have, the more I wanted it. So nothing was “off limits”. I figured if I ate healthy 95% of the time, I could afford to have an occasional slice of pizza or a brownie. What is life without chocolate anyway?
5. Is it becoming obsessive?
I did count calories for a while. At first it was eye opening… then it became obsessive. It made me feel anxiety when I would eat. I would drive my husband crazy with “If you leave out one tsp. of such and such it can save you 35 calories. 35 calories!!! Isn’t that a TON!” Yeah, there’s more to life than calories. Whether it’s how many calories you eat, or how many you burn at the gym, if it’s taking over your life – stop!
Bob Greene & Dr. Oz. These two guys helped me change my life. They support healthy lifestyles and teach you exactly how to do it and why it works. Check out “You- On a Diet” by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen and “The Best Life Diet” by Bob Greene.
6. Love yourself & be grateful for your body – NOW. This realization hit home when Oprah talked of her weight loss. She said that even when she is bigger than she would like, she has learned to appreciate her body and all it does for her. Think about that. My body allows me to play chase with my boys, go hiking with my husband, and to accomplish my hopes and dreams. Be grateful for your body at whatever size you are. I have learned to be grateful for my body big or small. My body works for me. I hope you will see that yours does too.
Well, there you have it. My two cents worth of weight loss success. You’ll have to find what works for you. Just know that I did it without a gym, without a friend, without joining a program, and with small children. So if I can do it, so can you!

12 thoughts on “Brownies, Exercise, Self-Love: My Weight Loss ‘Diet’ ~Janean

  1. missyrayn says:

    Great comment about eating food you love. That’s me totally. If I don’t enjoy it I binge on the stuff that makes me sick. But good flavor makes all the difference.

  2. Rita says:

    Just fantastic, another marvelous example of respecting yourself and the good that comes from that. Beautiful, thank you for sharing that.
    .

  3. Mad Woman says:

    What a great post. I’m still learning to appreciate my body even at the size it’s at now. Eventually I’ll get there. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. Karena says:

    Thanks to both of you for this awesome post! My favorite? The admonition to “Love yourself & be grateful for your body – NOW.” That’s something I’m working very hard on right now. You both are doing an amazing job!

    • Mish says:

      I will re-read this post all the time, because she has such amazing grains of truth in it. I told her she should blog…she’s just amazing.

  5. marina says:

    Nice story, reminds me of me 🙂 and my weight loss journey after pregnancy. The hardest for me was to keep it off and make my stretched skin srink bad to look fit. That takes a lot of time and work out!

  6. Helen says:

    I think if we could just get to the point where we “Love yourself & be grateful for your body – NOW.” it would be so much easier to reach goals, no matter what they are. Thank you for sharing this excellent post.

  7. TC says:

    Hey there!
    Awesome and very practical tips you shared. Having trained many successful clients who lost weight, they did the same thing lik you eating healthy 90% of the time. Thanks again!

  8. Esther Crawford says:

    Those are great thoughts – and I have to say it was great reading about this from your perspective Janean. Plus, it was fun getting to see you more about your personal story since high school. 🙂

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