Whether it’s 10 pounds or 100, losing weight can be hard. So many Americans try diets with the hopes to successfully keep off harmful weight and transform their lives for long term results. However, eating healthy and balancing your life with exercise is an essential aspect of staying under if you want to see transformative results.
While most of us will eat new foods and start novel routines at the gym, everyone has their own experience with surprising changes. In a candid report from the TODAY Show, seven women shared a few things they wish they knew before losing at least 100 pounds — and it is solid gold advice.
Fat pants can inspire you
Thanks in part to a lunch club at work, Jamie Lanigan dropped 145 pounds and happily donated her clothes to charity. However, she regrets not keeping a pair taht she wore during the period in which she weighed 400 pounds.
“I really wish I kept one pair of pants from my start weight so I could have a tangible reminder of how far I’ve come. Some days, sticking to the plan is a bit more of a challenge than other days, so having that symbol of your hard work could help you keep your goals in sight,” she told TODAY, via email.
Sometimes being too healthy is unhealthy
Following the death of her mother and husband, Justine McCabe used food to comfort herself and ballooned to 313 pounds. After realizing she needed to drop the weight to be healthier, McCabe stayed the path by snapping a selfie every day to see progress, and maintained a healthy diet with exercise. Soon enough, she lost 128 pounds to weight 185. However, without realizing it, she became obsessed with being healthy and it took a toll.
“I wasn’t aware how easily you could swap one eating disorder for another,” McCabe said. “I became so engrossed in my efforts that it was all I could see and it clouded my ability to realize how far I’d already come. It created a very powerful cycle of over training, binge eating and body dysmorphia.”
While she is content with herself today, McCabe spent several months focusing on her self-worth and finding balance.
Take it one day at a time
After an embarrassing situation at Disneyland where she found herself stuck in a turnstile due to being 510 pounds, Jacqueline Adan started her weight-loss journey and dropped 350 pounds in four and a half years. We know what you are thinking — if you are wondering about the time frame it takes to lose weight, don’t be nervous.
Losing over 300 pounds was daunting for Adan and tells TODAY she wishes someone told her to focus on the little wins first.
“Take it one day at a time, one pound at a time,” she said. “Focus on making a lifestyle change, not just a quick way to lose weight.”
Your entire body changes
After quitting the smoking habit, cutting carbs from her diet and adding some serious exercise routines to her life, Misty Mitchell lost 143 pounds. She admits though, she had no idea how it would change just about everything in her body.
“My skin cleared up, I am no longer a shade of pink, my heels aren’t cracked, my hair is coming in thicker,” she said. “You get your body back … You feel healthy and pain-free again.”
The friendships change
When NaTasha Glaspy discovered she could lose weight after eliminating the medications she took for high blood pressure, cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, she started heading to the YMCA. In a span of two years, Glaspy lost 160 pounds — and along the way, some friends with bad habits.
“My relationships with old friends have changed mainly because we don't do the things we used to do, like go eat,” she said. “Most (of my new friends) are really into a healthy lifestyle and fitness.”
You will experience haters
When Betsy Ayala failed to shed the baby weight after having her daughter, she began reading nasty text exchanges about her weight. The haters motivated Ayala to change her eating habits and hit the gym. Over the course of three years, she shed 105 pounds. Today, she feels confident and has a newfound esteem, but she knows not everyone truly supported her.
“Not everyone is going to be happy that you are a better version of you. Sometimes, people are comfortable with who you were before and when you find a new happiness or you change, sometimes people react in different ways,” she said. “I think some people feel left behind.”
You don’t have to be invisible anymore
When Mitchell weighed 300 pounds, she tells Today that she felt invisible. But since losing the weight, she has found a new identity and noticed strangers approach her.
“I can feel people look at me all the time and it’s because I look good and it feels nice to feel that energy again, to have people smile back when you smile at them, for people to start up conversations with you," she said. "I’m not invisible anymore."
Your mind is your No. 1 fan
Mind over matter is the real deal as Glaspy discovered it wasn’t her body that held her back — it was her mindset.
“Your mind will put a limit on what you are capable of. Challenging yourself is also very important,” she said. “To continuously see results, you have to advance your workouts and leave your comfort zone.”
You tend to forget your actual size
After making a New Year’s resolution pact with her husband to lose weight, Lexi Reed lost 236 pounds in a year. Of course, Reed has experienced a great transformation, but along the way still forgets that she fits on roller coasters, airplane seats and restaurant booths.
“I don’t feel I’ve had many bad experiences since losing weight other than the struggles of not realizing mentally how much smaller I am sometimes and still questioning if I can fit,” she said.
Numbers don’t make you any happier
Many people feel they need to be a certain weight and often times, pick a number to reach. However, McCabe noticed that being healthy felt more fulfilling than the numbers.
“A number doesn’t translate into happiness,” she said. “I would advise anyone to really listen to their own body and needs, and not compare themselves with anyone else.”
And Ayala agrees, saying she wishes people stopped obsessing over the numbers.
“When I was at my lowest, I was a senior in high school and I was around 150 pounds and I was a size 10, so I kept on thinking I want to be 150,” she said. “Now I’m 157 pounds and I’m a size 8; it’s not so much about the number on the scale, it's about how you feel.”
Extra skin induces physical and mental pain
After losing 350 pounds, Adan admits she has skin hanging off her body. While she never expected this would still impact how she feels, she says it’s something that really “hurts.”
“There are still some days I feel ‘fat’ and like that girl I was before,” she said. “I still get pointed at and laughed at and called ‘fat’ because of the way my skin looks. That is definitely something I never would have imagined would still happen after losing 350 pounds.”
Nutrition is an essential part of the ride
By now we all know that what we eat makes a huge difference with weight loss. But it seems easier for so many to add more workouts than give up the fatty food.
“I wish that someone would have told me from the beginning how important nutrition is with exercise. It took me about four months to really learn what nutritional lifestyle changes would work with my body,” Glaspy said.
Don’t worry about failing
We’ve all experienced it — the numbers on the scale don’t budge. We do everything from exercise to a healthy diet, but are often left with the same numbers or weight gain. That’s definitely okay though as Lanigan says failure is a part of losing weight.
“I’ve had ups and downs, a few injuries and setbacks happened, but I put trust in the process and I try to remain consistent with developing healthy habits. It’s the consistency through the setbacks that have helped me get closer to my goals,” said Lanigan.
And McCabe agrees saying there is no straight trajectory to success.
“No one gets into this kind of journey without struggling,” she said.