And the tortoise wins the race!! 10 years 2 months, 130 pounds 20 sizes lost.

5’4” female. Started: June 2013 at 277 lbs at age 39 (size 26/28 or 3X). Maintenance: 145.6 lbs August 2023 at age 50 (size 6/8 or medium sometimes small). 10 year journey, now maintenance.

Year 1: Joined MFP and learned a lot about nutrition. Maintained 277 lbs the whole year. I had no idea if I could lose weight, but I did NOT want to gain anymore weight! There was so much information about nutrition. I “sort of” learned how to track. (2013-2014)

Year 2: Lost 30 lbs and got down to 247 lbs due to walking AND no longer going to buffets. Weighed food when I was at home, but frequently went out to restaurants and I had no idea of the amount of calories I was consuming. (2014-2015)

Year 3-7: Lost 20 more lbs from 247 lbs to 227 lbs and maintained this loss of 50 lbs for five years. (2015-2020)

Year 8: Lost 54.4 lbs from 226.6 lbs to 172.2 lbs. Started really working towards weight goals Lent 2021 I walked up to 6 miles or two hours every day. I started cooking almost everything at home, and weighing every meal diligently. I found the volume-eaters thread on MFP. (2020-2021)

Year 9: Lost 17.2 lbs from 172.2 to 155.0 (2021-2022) Kept up the tracking, walking, and when I hit road blocks or problems I worked them out! No panic, just a keen eye at issues and figuring out workarounds.

Year 10: Lost 10 lbs from 155 lbs to 145 lbs. I am currently at my goal weight, and walk for fitness. (2022-2023) While I say I am at goal weight, the hubby prefers that I gain 10 lbs. Which I kinda wish he would have told me when I was 160 lbs 🙃 He has never known me at this weight, since I was size 18 when we met and got married.

I was morbidly obese for about 25 years. I have health issues that are mostly auto-immune related, mostly hives and angio-edema. I was bedridden sometimes, due to anemia or auto-immune stuff or both. I have not had problems with diabetes or pre-diabetes, nor problems with high cholesterol.

When everyone asks the hubby, “how did she lose the weight?” He always says, “She tracks and weighs her food.” I know my TDEE at my desired weight. I use MFP to track my calories, and add about 50% of my exercise into the equation, if I have any. That is truly it. But what does it take for anyone to actually DO that? Tricks!! You just have to figure out how YOU can eat your TDEE successfully diligently forever. Simple and difficult at the same time, just like any other virtue. I wish to give my thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because seriously, I could not have done any of this without her. Thanks and praise be to God forever!! ((The rest is probably TL;DR so it is for those who want to know my personal tricks and stumbling blocks on my journey. Some pics at the end))

💥My goals: First goal since the beginning: maintain don’t gain! I had to make my goals easy. SUCCESS with confidence!! Second goal was: sustainability for maintainability. I did NOT want to spend all this effort losing weight just to have to do it all over again, and again, and again. Thank you to all the people in my life and MFP who showed me how NOT to lose weight. This is why I maintained at a morbidly obese weight until 3 years ago. I did not want to gain any weight back, especially with all my health issues. I felt that I had a high likely of gaining all the weight back if I could not sustain “fancy” fitness or “not for me” dietary changes.

Some things I learned on my journey:

🌷I did not have to believe in myself. I did not believe that I could actually lose 130 lbs. In fact, this is still quite shocking to me. Put this under I did not need willpower 💪. Engineer’s daughter here, I needed a plan!

🌷Know thyself: I was under the impression that “chocolates, cakes, cookies and pies” were the reason that I was fat. That is why the first year I didn’t lose any weight. I was in denial that it really was “the healthy meals” that were the issue. Specifically the salads and baked potatoes, due to the toppings 😋. I had a long talk with myself about how to eat healthy food, within my calorie restrictions. Healthy foods outside my calorie range are in fact, not healthy for me.

🌷I gave up buffets: I could not deal with all the food. I would eat a little bit of everything, and consuming enough calories to make up for whatever small deficit I had during the week. Then, I gave up the frequent restaurant outings. I would look at the MFP food tracker and have no idea how many calories I consumed at a restaurant meal. Enough of those ???? calorie meals, and I have no idea if I am actually working at a deficit. The math gets real fuzzy quick. I still go now, just once or twice a month. I am also much better about how to work a lower calorie meal.

🌷The hungries: I started drinking a gallon of water a day. I upped my fiber. Once I started eating the protein I should have been eating all along, that also helped.

🌷Still hungry! I found the volume eaters thread in MFP! I wanted to eat, and not be hungry all the time. My main takeaway from this thread was: eat lots of veggies and fruits, and make substitutions. With many ideas for recipes. My main frequent foods were salads, and baked potatoes. I found a zero calorie salad dressing (Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch to the rescue!) I started using Fage 0% yogurt on anything that before I would use sour cream. Also, for awhile I stopped eating cheese - since I have difficulty regulating cheese, especially bleu cheese. Once I did this I really started feeling that I could continue to lose and maintain the loss indefinitely.

🌷Protip about your “usuals”: Consider mortifying your sense of taste. If you eat what you always ate you will weigh what you always weighed. Or something like that. Explore foods you have never eaten, try things you would never have tried. Just enough that you get confidence in figuring out what foods you can and cannot regulate, and foods you can and cannot tolerate. This is trial and error.You might surprise yourself. Also, in 40 days your taste buds change in 60 days, more so. I have found that even things that were my favorite foods changed! Super helpful.

🌷Protip about feeding yourself: Maybe you cannot sustain forever preparing your own food. Consider taking a month out of your life to completely prepare your own food, weigh it, track it, and eat it. You can see what your red flags are, what the issues are, or are not. What are the most frequent foods? What are your highest calorie foods? How can you change those meals to fit your maintenance calories better? Do you need to learn how to cook? 😉 A very good lifelong skill!

🌷Protips for prednisone: Being sick has been a big part of my adult life. Maybe one of the reasons I didn’t feel that I could lose the weight is because of the constant prednisone (for 20 years) and being bedridden for months randomly. My prednisone tip: when you feel hungry, drink first! You would be surprised to learn that most of the hungries that prednisone gives you is about liquids! Seriously, if I had known that I would saved myself a ton of grief. Don’t panic, you can lose weight even while taking prednisone. It is just slower, be patient.

🌷Protip for those who struggle to cook while sick: The hubby does not cook, thus my addiction to restaurants in the beginning. For the days when I struggled, I bought bagged salads that I could throw in a bowl, and plenty of carrots, apples, bananas, plums, nectarines and other things that I did not have to cook. Yogurt with granola, cereal, and protein drinks. Be creative, there are things you can eat that aren’t high calorie that you don’t have to prepare. One problem I had was I took too much salt out of my diet, and started passing out due to low blood pressure. I have bleeding issues and apparently need to drink broth to keep my salt intake up, but I didn’t know that until I started passing out. So listen to your body if you start making major changes!

🌷Batch cooking and macros: My general nutrition before I changed things up: super high oil, carbs always within limit usually less, and then little to no protein. So I was kinda a condiment/sauce eater. I ate food for the sauces. Knowing protein was my weakest link, I plan all my meals around protein first (25%) and everything else falls easily into place. I prepare around 4 lbs of chicken (boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in my favorite spices). If I don’t prepare the protein, I won’t eat the protein - simple as that. I also keep a carton of egg whites on hand for when I am up to cooking breakfast or an egg salad sandwich.

🌷Protip for “treats”: When I was in deficit, I would maintain that deficit from Monday thru Saturday. Sunday was the day that I reserved for special cravings that happened throughout the week. I called Sunday a maintenance day since 1500-1600 calories TDEE of goal maintenance with my height/sex/age/activity. ((I figured out later that I could have just ate TDEE of maintenance weight for the whole journey 🤩)) I also had maintenance weeks here and there which I highly recommend for the dieting fatigue which can get emotionally draining, and sometimes physically draining. Maintenance skills are wonderful! I was training myself how to eat when I got to the “maintenance weight”. I had practice runs with Christmas and Thanksgiving. I always treated those as maintenance months. I tracked just like any other time, and maintained and sometimes lost throughout the holidays. I also learned that if I add back exercise, for me it needs to be 50% of my exercise time. I still save Sunday’s as a special treat day.

😭My emotional side. I did have to deal with emotional eating. I tended to reward myself with food (just not cake and cookies, more like cheese and crackers and maybe wine). I have seen many parents do this with kids, so it doesn’t take a genius where this attitude probably comes from. Sad, crying kid? Give it something to eat. Sad, grief stricken adult? Give it something to eat. I had to deal with this general attitude. So I started praying more, and trying to pray all the time. I took the time to reflect on my life, and what I was thinking. It is easy to eat. It is harder to really sit with your grief, pain, loss and accept your cross. But completely worth it!!

🌟Special victory: When I turned 30 I started having seizures. My poor hubby felt absolutely helpless because he couldn't move his 270 lb unconscious wife to a safe place to call 911. The seizures happened for a couple of years, but then stopped. When I weighed 160, me and the hubby did a special celebration. The hubby was very happy to do a fireman’s carry of me without any problems! He has confidence that he can do something about me if necessary, my now normal weight makes it easier.

🥳Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Losing weight means that you change. It is one thing to say the words, and another thing to experience it. I suspect there is more rage quitting of weight loss from “change” than most people say. I was aware that there would be some extra skin (130 pound weight loss seems to be a lot of skin!). I don't have the extra skin I thought I would. This is a surprise, because during the process I seemed to have a bunch at times. So I am very grateful for this.

🥳Surprise! The change of attitude that comes with losing weight . I literally became unrecognizable to myself and friends. People would walk up to the hubby and demand where I was! And how dare he be with another woman! Yeah. It is still me. My facial features “changed”. My eyes, and nose appear bigger. Which isn’t exactly true it is an illusion. I have an oval face now not a round one. A drastic change, and a bit of a challenge!

🥳Surprise! Because I changed how I cooked dinner, and made all the substitutions, the hubby lost weight!

🥳Surprise! I can fit in ANY bathroom stall. I didn’t even realize I generally tended to go in the handicapped stall. I can also get out of the car without any problems, there have been days I had to ask the hubby to back up and let me out so that I could get out of the car. I can now fit in chairs that have arms. You know like at any stadium, or a friend’s kitchen, sometimes Dr.’s offices. I can kneel at church so much easier and for longer and kneel pretty much anywhere.

🥳Surprise! I can now safely enter the attic where the stupid judgy ladder proclaims “No one over 225 lbs”. So rude! I still cringe when it creaks though, remembering the days. Also, I can go to any water park, I can go to any roller coaster ride or other rides. I can also go to the “Fly” place for my husbands birthday in a couple weeks - which he has been wanting to do FOR YEARS. Before the weight restrictions stopped me. No problem now, I am normal sized and can now go fake flying with the hubby in a wind tunnel thingy!

🥳Surprise! I no longer need the sleep apnea machine. My chronic hip pain is gone!

🥳Surprise! I look at myself in the mirror and see no difference in my body. As if I were still size 26/28 instead of size 6/8. 20 sizes down and I see myself the same even though the majority of people from before and after don’t recognize me. Also, I have no idea where to go to “a store” to get size medium clothes. All the stores I used to go to only sell plus sizes.

🥳Surprise!! None of my shoes fit either! For months I kept going shoe shopping and not finding any shoes that fit, because I didn’t realize that this happened. 🤣

🎉Even with all the ups and downs, I am very very happy and grateful to be on this journey and now be a normal size!! Ask me anything, I will try to be clear and honest.




  • MurphmomSparkles
    MurphmomSparkles Posts: 203 Member
    So awesome! Great job! Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom!
  • BZAH10
    BZAH10 Posts: 5,696 Member
    You deserve a round of applause and a standing ovation! Well, much more than that, but there's only so much one can do on a message board.

    Your post is very insightful, inspiring, and has amazing facts and tips that all of us can learn from. Congratulations! Thank you for taking the time to post this.
  • MovinNow
    MovinNow Posts: 131 Member
    Thank you for posting. Your story is so inspiring and encouraging. Another reminder to me that I’m in it for the long game!
  • sunny_d22
    sunny_d22 Posts: 316 Member
    What a great post and thank you for sharing your story! There are so many good tips and it's really helpful and inspirational. And funny 😀
  • ClearNotCloudyMind
    ClearNotCloudyMind Posts: 238 Member
    Thank you for sharing and for the fabulous tips and surprises. I’m curious how you settled on your maintenance weight and I how much range you allow your weight around it (and in your previous maintenance periods).

    Am so happy for you. What you’ve done is extraordinary. I particularly like the way you’ve kept on the right path for 10 years. We started at the same time but I have lost and gained the same weight 3 times over that period. Looking to break the cycle and it sounds like you’re a lady who knows a thing or two!

  • dwygrl
    dwygrl Posts: 1 Member
    Thanks for sharing your journey, especially the Prednisone tips as I'm dealing with that too. Congratulations! you look great!
  • mollypw1994
    mollypw1994 Posts: 293 Member
    I absolutely love your post! Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write it. I
    relate to you on so many levels! I laughed out loud about the stupid judgy ladder, and felt your thanks to the Blessed Virgin deeply. In short “I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob!” (I’m taking the chance you will get this reference from Veggie Tales!)
    I’m bookmarking this post, as it has so many helpful nuggets! Way to go, you! 🥰
  • RedB1rd
    RedB1rd Posts: 10 Member
    @justanotherloser007 : You are a beautiful soul! Thanks so much for your post--it gave me the boost I needed today. Sending you a virtual hug. <3
  • tech_hunter
    tech_hunter Posts: 350 Member
    This is so uplifting and motivating!

    "I was under the impression that “chocolates, cakes, cookies and pies” were the reason that I was fat. That is why the first year I didn’t lose any weight. I was in denial that it really was “the healthy meals” that were the issue. Specifically the salads and baked potatoes, due to the toppings "

    *raises hand.....this is me. Actually, so much of your post is relatable. I think I will be coming back to this post several times over the next several months for help. I love the maintaining during holiday weeks idea, because that has been a big source of anxiety for me with the upcoming months.

    Thank you for posting this.
  • sunrise611
    sunrise611 Posts: 1,848 Member
    Wonderful! Congratulations! MFP made a huge difference for me as well ... it's an educational process. You are showing people how you can empower yourself to lose weight with the right attitude, approach, patience, perseverance and tools. You look wonderful!
  • suzfirebird
    suzfirebird Posts: 49 Member
    You are awesome! Thank you for your post. I feel inspired!
  • Seansamz
    Seansamz Posts: 24 Member
    Very courageous of you to share this story with us! Well done! You’re very inspiring.
  • ForLangston
    ForLangston Posts: 990 Member
    Congrats on taking charge of your health and being observant along the way. You inspired me with all your meaningful tips, thank you!
  • creationscrown
    creationscrown Posts: 298 Member
    Absolutely AMAZING!! Congrats! I love your tip about just eating at maintenance when you need a break! So smart! Thanks for taking the time to write this all out!
  • itsevenabetterday
    itsevenabetterday Posts: 1 Member
    Great job!
  • mkculs13
    mkculs13 Posts: 563 Member
    I love your story, and the title. When I started my weight loss journey, I bought a charm for a bracelet that was a tortoise! I'm "only" in year 7, and closing in slowly. Your words are so, so inspiring. I'm going to bookmark this post and share with anyone and everyone I think can benefit. Thank you!
  • fuzzybug29
    fuzzybug29 Posts: 3 Member
    You are incredible! WOW! Thank you for taking the time to write this for all our benefit. What a dedicated slow and steady effort. I think when you do it that way, it works and it works long term because working at it day in and day out for 10 years, that is going to change you in every way mentally and physically. I like how you took the emotion out of it and dealt with it like a scientist! I admire that and your journey. I like how you practiced eating at maintenance over the holidays, so smart. I've been on a long roller-coastery kind of journey too but I feel like I've finally learned all the right lessons and this year I will hit maintenance. I will implement some of your fantastic advice! You are awesome! Thanks!
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