If I Could Do It All Again

I don’t like to toot my own horn too much because I’m still very much a work in progress, but I will say that I am proud of how far I’ve come. It’s hard for me to even remember what it was like when I looked like this on the outside:

before

And more importantly, how I felt on the inside.

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is what, if anything, I’d do differently if I could go back in time and lose the weight again (besides start sooner slash not let myself get there again). I try not to have any regrets because I don’t think they’re healthy, but I think looking back and learning from your past is an important step in the process.

So, if I could go back and do it all again, here are the top five things I’d tweak about my journey.

5.) Save a pair of my “Fat Pants”

I hate calling them that, but I honestly don’t know what else to call them. As I started losing weight the final time, I got rid of every article of clothing immediately when it was too big for me. Since I had lost some weight before, I already had smaller clothes on hand to fit into and treated the larger clothes like they were infected with a disease, disposing of them as quickly as possible. While I think my thought process behind this was that I didn’t want to have the bigger clothes to fit back into at any point, I do wish I’d held onto one pair. Sure, I can go to Old Navy and grab a size 18/20 pants and compare them to my size now, but to have an actual pair of pants that I wore at my heaviest would be a pretty good reference point and something it would be nice to look at when I’m struggling these days.

fatpants

4.) Be Nicer to Myself

I said some pretty cruel things to myself when I was obese that I would never in a million years say to someone else. I’m not sure why I thought it was acceptable to look at myself and say such hateful things about my own body, but what’s done is done. It’s so easy to be self deprecating and to be yourself up each time you fall, but if I could go back and do it again I’d have been a little easier on myself.

One of the most memorable things from a Weight Watchers meeting I recall was an exercise we did in pairs with the person sitting next to you. The person had to say a compliment to you about your weight loss, and you had to reply “Thank you” with nothing following it. Not, “Thanks, but I still have a ways to go” or “Thanks but I really don’t think so,” just “Thank you.” I remember how much I struggled to stop there and it was really eye opening to me that I couldn’t just accept a compliment and instead had to downplay my progress. This is something I’m still working on, but am definitely better at than when I first started.

3.) Realize slip ups will happen, and they won’t break you.

This one goes hand in hand with the one above, but I think it’s important enough to get it’s own line. I used to get so angry at myself and consider my whole day or whole week shot if I had a small slip up – like not resisting the cookies in the break room at work, or going a little crazy on the chips at lunch. These things are going to happen, and the sooner I get over it and forgive myself, the better. I wish I could have embraced that at the beginning of my journey.

body-measurements-4

2.) Document my progress better!

Since I followed Weight Watchers while losing weight, I weighed in almost every Thursday for the better part of 1.5 years. Looking at my weight trends over time was awesome and I wouldn’t change that for a second. What I would change though, is taking measurements and progress photos. Sometimes, the scale wouldn’t budge. I’d be doing EVERYTHING right – working out, drinking my water, staying within my points, eating right, take my vitamins, even getting my dairy in! I’d step up on the scale so hopeful, only to be met with a sympathetic look “You stayed exactly the same” or, worse, “You’re up .8”. I think times like these would have been the best to have measurements so when I wasn’t seeing progress on the scale, I knew it was happening in other areas. If I could go back, I would have taken at least monthly (and maybe more) full body photos and measurements.

journey

1.) Enjoy the journey.

I think for most of the time I was trying to lose weight, I was SO focused on the end result that I didn’t really stop to soak in the changes as they were happening. I had my eyes on the prize and just wanted to be at goal already! While I think that’s normal and natural, I wish I had stopped a little bit more while I was losing the weight to appreciate the little things, like the healthy habits and lifestyle changes I was slowly developing.  I was so focused on being able to run, that I didn’t enjoy the process of teaching myself to run as much as I should have. I just wish I had really embraced everything as it was happening, rather than constantly looking forward to the next step and end goal.

What about you? If you could go back and change anything about your journey to get to a healthier place, would you change anything?

41 Comments on If I Could Do It All Again

  1. Mindy
    May 3, 2011 at 8:32 am (7 years ago)

    I found my fat pants when I moved a couple months ago and putting them on made me so emotional. Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come when I focus on what I still have to do.

    Reply
  2. Christine @ Merf In Progress
    May 3, 2011 at 8:35 am (7 years ago)

    Wow, you really hit home with the point about being nicer to yourself. If only I said the things to myself that I say to others — positive and encouraging — instead of berating myself and being so demanding and unforgiving.

    Reply
  3. Katie Photiadis
    May 3, 2011 at 8:36 am (7 years ago)

    Beth, I love this post!!!

    I think those are all great things to think about. I also wish that I had kept a pair of “fat” pants. I think you are right on the money with these suggestions–and hopefully they’ll help others who are in the process of losing weight.

    Reply
  4. Holly
    May 3, 2011 at 8:48 am (7 years ago)

    I would definitely want to treat myself better, to not beat myself up when I fell off track. And I totally agree with you about taking progress pictures and measurements — I would have loved to be able to see those types of changes.

    Reply
  5. beyondbananas
    May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am (7 years ago)

    Wow, Beth, I think this post is an amazing reflection of your journey. The things you wished that you could change – they are all postive things.. which is fabulous.

    If I could change something about my journey, I think I would have let people know of my struggles earlier then just a few weeks ago. It was like this secret that was eating me up inside – and when I let it out, I felt so much better. And gained so much support.

    Reply
  6. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    May 3, 2011 at 8:57 am (7 years ago)

    So, regarding weigh-in disappointments, I advocate something really bizarre that I think can be helpful for those who don’t have psychological issues with it – weigh yourself every morning on the same scale. A weight blip due to water retention, etc. the day of a weekly weigh in can be really discouraging. But if you weigh yourself every day, you *know* that you obviously did not put on 3 lbs of fat overnight. I track my daily weight online and look at weekly averages, which I prefer to weekly weigh-ins.

    I also do this because it lets me know if my kidney is malfunctioning and causing massive fluid retention. Can I tell you that gaining 6.5 lbs of water in 2 days is incredibly uncomfortable? Ouch.

    Reply
  7. goodtastehealthyme
    May 3, 2011 at 9:06 am (7 years ago)

    I would definitely take better progress photos. But there was a time when I didn’t weigh myself at all for a couple months. The number when I stepped on the scale after those two months really boosted my confidence!

    Reply
  8. Leah (The Kind Weight Watcher)
    May 3, 2011 at 9:08 am (7 years ago)

    Great post! This time around (the LAST time) was at least my 10th time losing weight, and I had previously made a list like yours. So I actually have kept a pair of fat pants (size 20s), have taken progress photos every ten pounds, have taken measurments (not as often as I would have liked, though), have learned to forgive myself for little slip-ups, and have actually learned to (most days) enjoy the journey.

    So I really don’t have ANY regrets this time, other than I wish that my measurements had been done monthly. And maybe I could have not gone off of WW so many times (thinking that I could wing it or be an intuitive eater) during this WLJ. But I do think that my doing that has been a learning experience.

    Great, thought-provoking post here! You have come a long way, please feel free to toot your own horn as often as you’d like to. 😉

    Reply
  9. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    May 3, 2011 at 9:14 am (7 years ago)

    I wish I had kept a pair of my fat pants too, although I’m only 10lbs away from fitting into them, so that’s kind of scary! If I had it to do over, I would have read and researched so much more in the beginning to learn better habits instead of eating so much “diet” food to lose weight.

    Reply
  10. Daniella @ Runner at Heart
    May 3, 2011 at 9:20 am (7 years ago)

    Great post! I love the idea of “fat pants”. I always have a pair of “skinny jeans” that I work toward fitting into comfortably. For me the way I look and how my clothes fit are a better gauge then stepping on a scale.

    Reply
  11. Bonnie @ BonnieAppetite
    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

    Great post. I have saved too many of my “fat” clothes. One of the most frustrating comments I received in response to my weight was “things happen, so you might keep your clothes.”

    I have heard some people say losing weight shouldn’t change you. For me it did. But so do most of the journeys that I choose to undertake, whether they be for my health or education. I wish I could have lived just as confidently 110lbs. ago, but I just don’t know how that would’ve been possible.

    Which brings me to this. I wish I had done nicer things, bought prettier clothes, at higher weights. I never was one to sloth around, but I do recall those times when I actually invested in pretty dresses, no matter how “silly” I felt about it. And you know what? Dressing and feeling good actually made me want to lose weight.

    Reply
  12. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

    For me, my journey was about the lifestyle and not so much the weight (really, I dropped maybe around 7 or 8 pounds). I wish I had stopped and been able to realize it a little more. When I moved out of a house with smokers and broke up with my ex, I was smoking less, which led to running more, which led to wanting to eat better, etc. The combination of things just slowly creeped into what they are today. I hadn’t realized how drastic it all was until others started making comments about how much I’ve changed! So yeah- wish I would have realized it a little more at the time and celebrated what I was doing for myself.

    Reply
  13. Lindsay
    May 3, 2011 at 9:31 am (7 years ago)

    When I first lost a big chunk of weight (about 90lbs, putting me jus into a healthy BMI) I didn’t really know how to do it or what healthy eating even was, so I didn’t do it healthfully. I severely restricted my calories and lost weight really quickly. When I got into a serious relationship, I couldn’t keep doing this because my boyfriend was observant and would pester me about eating enough, so I swung back the other way and put on some weight–about 20lbs over a couple of years.
    What I wish the most was that I had researched how to lose weight healthfully, or that I had believed that lower calories/healthy food + exercise is really the answer. Mostly, I wish I had discovered exercise at the very beginning, because it’s something I’m relatively new at but has made getting healthy so much easier. I’ve lost the 20lbs I put on pretty painlessly over the past several months because I really committed to treating my body how it should be treated. If I’d done this from the minute I decided to lose weight, I think I would have been a whole lost saner, and that I would be fitter today.

    Reply
  14. Karen
    May 3, 2011 at 9:54 am (7 years ago)

    Once again a great post. I am stuck right now in number 4 – being so so creul to myself. I had a discussion about it with my husband and was very honest with him about what goes on in my head and he looked like he was going to cry. He could not understand how I could be so mean, when what he sees is so great. I think that is the biggest struggle and is at the root of eating that cookie (plate of cookies) or going for the large ____ when you know you will be satisfied with a small.

    You have given me some ideas though – I will measure tonight and take pictures, and set a monthly date on the calendar to measure and take pictures again. Every little thing!

    Reply
  15. Liz
    May 3, 2011 at 10:03 am (7 years ago)

    I wish I did measurements too! I would always get really caught up on the numbers. I remember the first time I had a gain on WW, I almost cried. Then a few weeks later I realized that every time it was that time of the month I would gain exactly 3 pounds (obviously water weight). But had I been taking measurements all along, I wouldn’t have gotten upset about those fluctuations. Plus it helps motivation to get bigger muscles once you reach goal weight.

    Reply
  16. Theodora
    May 3, 2011 at 10:50 am (7 years ago)

    Dear Beth: please install a like button so that I can like this.

    Reply
  17. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    May 3, 2011 at 10:55 am (7 years ago)

    Great post! I think taking pictures, no matter how painful it is, of the changes that occur throughout the weight loss journey is such a great idea. Its so fun to look back and say…WOW! Look how much I’ve accomplished!

    Reply
  18. Heather C
    May 3, 2011 at 11:36 am (7 years ago)

    Hindsight is always 20:20! great post, and great attitude knowing how far you’ve come and all that you’ve accomplished 🙂

    If I change one thing about my late-teen/early-twenty self, it would be having started running for enjoyment (not calorie burn) and challenges (races, not just to get in the miles for the above reason) earlier! The sport and personal challenge has taught me so much about myself and made me much healthier (in various ways). 🙂

    Reply
  19. Lisa
    May 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm (7 years ago)

    I kept my fat pants (size 24W) and it was nuts when I discovered them in the back of the closet!

    I wish I had measured when I was 250 pounds so I could see the number. I wish I had started weight lifting earlier too!

    Reply
  20. Lori
    May 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm (7 years ago)

    I wish I had read more about nutrition when I was in my 20s instead of waiting until my late 30s. When you think the problem just lies with yourself and your lack of willpower, that can be incredibly damaging.

    Once I learned about nutrition, and like you – speak kindly to myself, I have had success.

    Reply
  21. Laura
    May 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm (7 years ago)

    Love this blog, Beth!

    Exercised more!! Lost a great deal of weight via Weight Watchers, but in the early stages I very rarely exercised or weight lifted. Now I have pesky skin that unfortunately only surgery will help. I’m sure I still would have extra “flab” but it wouldn’t be as bad. Still pleased with the weight loss nonetheless.

    I STILL need help with the treat myself better portion!!

    Reply
  22. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    May 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm (7 years ago)

    I thikn this is one of the best posts I have EVER read. I loved the flashback on what you would do differently. In fact, I’m currently facing the not seeing progress on the scale thing and so I’m anxious to see how my other measurements/progress pictures play out. It is so neat to see the changes and overall trend. Glad to know I will appreciate it when I’ve reached my goal to be able to look back too.

    Reply
    • Beth
      May 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm (7 years ago)

      Wow, thanks Tina! =)

      I think pictures and measurements would be SO awesome to reflect on. I do like looking back at the numbers, but it would be really nice to have additional information about my progress!

      Reply
  23. Amy @ Conquering Self
    May 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm (7 years ago)

    Isn’t it amazing the kind of clarity we can have after the fact? I totally agree that I wish I had documented my loss better…whether it was saving a pair of fat pants or doing my measurements. I’d love to say that I wish I’d done progress pics, but I know there is no way I could have mustered the courage/energy for that one since I hated pictures so much back then!
    You have come so far…and it is amazing how many of us can relate to your journey!
    By the way, thanks for stopping over to check out my half marathon race recap…appreciate it!

    Reply
  24. cindylu
    May 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm (7 years ago)

    I was pretty good with progress photos, but,,, I never took measurements. I didn’t own a tape measure at the time. Oh well. I consistently lost weight throughout my year+ with WW so I saw my efforts reflected on the scale.

    What I’d change: continue with the strength training in the gym. When I first started going to the gym, I did do some weights, but pretty much ditched as soon as spring hit. I rarely go back. I’m happy being a runner, but I know I need to do the strength training.

    I’d also blog more about the process. I probably wrote 5 total pieces on it. I’ve always been very private about weight issues, despite that it’s very visible.

    Last,, I’d change my goal weight earlier. I kept trying to get to lose the last 2 lbs without really following the plan and hovering at my eventual goal weight. If I would’ve realized that, I’d have been at goal by the end of the year rather than the next March and saved some money.

    Reply
  25. Jacqui Lewis-Lyons
    May 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm (7 years ago)

    I’d take more photos and be less critical of myself.
    This is an issue that most women fight with – being able to take care of themselves like they would care for/treat a friend. It’s amazing how much we learn during this journey.

    Reply
  26. Mara
    May 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm (7 years ago)

    Well, I didn’t save a pair of pants, but I do have a sweater I used to wear – size 26/28. Now after a successful 146 lb weight loss with diet and exercise (WW rocks!) I can comfortably wear a size 8! [It’s really mind boggling!] I’ve come so far, and sometimes I can’t even remember the woman I used to be – but it’s nice to have a reminder sometimes … it helps make it easier to never want to go back there again!! Keep on rocking – you look great; best of luck as you make it to goal.

    Reply
  27. Katie
    May 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm (7 years ago)

    I kept one pair of fat pants… they’re an 18, but they were snug on me by the time I started losing weight. I can *almost* get both legs in one pant leg now! 🙂

    I’m with you on the measurements. I have an estimate of some of my measurements from close to my highest weight, since I got measured for my wedding dress then (note: getting measured at a bridal shop when you’re 225+ lbs is NOT fun) but I really didn’t even want to KNOW what the numbers were until I lost quite a bit.

    C’est la vie!

    Reply
  28. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    May 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm (7 years ago)

    I love this post! What a great perspective!!

    I would definitely do the measurement thing too. I only lost about 20 pounds when I got healthier but I think my measurements changed DRASTICALLY. I also wish I had been nicer to myself when I was bigger. Beating myself up all those years definitely got me NOWHERE!

    Reply
  29. Roz
    May 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm (7 years ago)

    What a fantastic post, thanks Beth!!!!

    Reply
  30. happywhennothungry
    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm (7 years ago)

    Great post Beth! I probably would go back to freshman year in college. I gained 16 pounds and was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. The summer after freshman year I went on WW with my mom and ended up losing all the weight, but cutting back on late-night greasy foods and disgusting, cheap beer would probably be one thing I would change!

    Reply
  31. sara
    May 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm (7 years ago)

    im at the of my weight loss journey, i had a baby 11 months ago and have lost my baby weight(10 kilos) and a further 18kg. I have documented my measurements and its been amazing, ive only got 2 kilos to go and the only thing thats keeping me going is the continual loss in my measurements as the scales are harder to budge.

    I would stop and probly should stop now moving my goal weight!

    Reply
  32. Nicole
    May 4, 2011 at 12:38 am (7 years ago)

    You’re such a wonderful inspiration, Beth!!

    I am amazed at how much “baby steps” can turn into dinosaur stomps before our eyes. How half a mile used to be impossible in my mind, and I just ran 10 last weekend and felt like I had more in me. How donuts would scream my name louder than a blowhorn, and now I hardly see them, all I crave is wholesome fruits and super sweet dates, berries, and ‘nanners.

    Progress is beautiful. We’re worth so much, and it’s amazing to see how you’ve changed for the good of your health! Here’s to adding 10 delightful years to life 🙂

    Reply
  33. greensandjeans
    May 4, 2011 at 7:26 am (7 years ago)

    Being nice to yourself is so important and can apply to so many things in our lives. Colin and I were talking yesterday about his ex and how mean she was to him and how he just took it. We allow ourselves and others to say some awful things before we realize what we are doing.

    Reply
  34. Monica
    May 6, 2011 at 10:05 am (7 years ago)

    Those are great points! If I could change one thing, it would be the level of drama. I would get so upset over a gain or the slightest slip up and just get so down about everything. If I would have just taken a deep breath and moved on it would have made things so much easier.

    I have never talked about this on my blog, but back in December 2008 when I began my journey, I started taking quarterly photos in nothing but a bra and underwear. At first it was so I could see what I looked like, but then they evolved into my guiding point. Even when the scale wasn’t moving, seeing the shrinking and the lifting was astounding! Sometimes the scale or a clothing size really can’t do justice to all we have accomplished during a lifestyle change.

    I was just about ready to share some of the edited photos as I was closing in on goal, and the pregnancy news came. 🙂 I imagine that the photos will be a good tool for me again when I am working on dropping the baby weight.

    Reply

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