Mini-Goal: 29/F/5'3" Lost 150 pounds (11 months)

  • Hi everyone,

    Here's my on-going story:

    My name is Emily and I'm 29 years old. In 11 months, I've lost just over 150 pounds through nutrition, exercise, and focusing on identifying and modifying habits. Visual progress is directly below, followed by more of my story and what I've learned to date:

    On June 4, 2015 I made the decision to seriously commit to changing my life. Overwhelmed and with almost no energy to spare beyond getting through my day to day responsibilities, I made very minor changes to my lifestyle.

    I started by trying to improve my nutrition, which naturally led to having a little bit more energy. My definition of 'good nutrition' continues to evolve, but the premise of what I was and am trying to achieve has stayed the same (progress, not perfection). Through trial and error, I was able to find things that worked (and didn't work) for me.

    I live a very different life than I did 11 months ago, and the changes I've made (both in terms of nutrition and physical activity) have had a tremendous impact on my health (blood levels are all normal, no more obstructive sleep apnea, etc).

    I'm a bit of a data junkie and have worn a Fitbit Charge HR every day. For comparison purposes, here's an overlay of my heart rate measured throughout a 24 hour period on June 4, 2015 vs. March 4, 2016):

    I was barely active on June 4, 2015 (3,675 steps and no 'active' minutes), yet by looking at the orange line (June 4, 2015) vs. the blue line (March 4, 2016), you can see how much harder my heart had to work throughout the day (including while sleeping) compared to March 4, 2016 when I walked over 20,000 steps and was active for just over 2 hours.

    I've learned a lot along the way. I still have a lot to lose, but weight loss is not my primary focus. Below are five of my principles that I fully embrace:


    #1: Willpower is a fleeting resource. If you’re not happy and you do not enjoy what you’re choosing to do, you will eventually stop doing it. Humans do not enjoy suffering.

    #2: The majority of your day is driven by unconscious decisions. Your mind is efficient - how you act/react is so habitual that you do not consciously think about many things that you do on a day-to-day basis. Isolating and modifying your habits can therefore become your best tool to initiate and sustain real and substantive change.

    #3: Habits can be broken down and thought of in terms of either being a barrier or facilitator to success. What can you do to either minimize/remove the barrier or enhance the facilitator so that you can better achieve what you want to accomplish? Remember #1 though - you have to be happy with whatever changes you make in order to sustain them long-term.

    #4: Good nutrition is paramount. You can’t consistently out-exercise what you are eating and you can’t adequately fuel sustained exercise without good nutrition. Combine exercise and good nutrition in a manner that you enjoy and you will experience a synergistic improvement to your overall health. The internal struggle/battle with yourself will slow and weight loss will happen almost effortlessly.

    #5: Don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t expect others to be perfect, and it’s unfair to expect yourself to be. Perfection is an unmaintainable standard that is likely to lead you to feelings of disappointment, shame, and guilt when you feel like you’ve “failed” for doing something you “shouldn’t” (but obviously wanted to in the moment you did it). These feelings may drive you to eat more than you would have had you just been easier on yourself from the beginning.

    Instead of struggling in a world where you “must” (unhappily) deprive yourself of everything you enjoy, aim to live the healthiest life you can while continuing to be happy (lesson #1). Recognize and appreciate that your version of “healthiest, happiest life” looks different than someone else’s and even your own version can vary in response to a variety of factors - some days that may mean you eat more or “junkier” food than others. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed. The path to “success” is continuous, but far from linear.


    Thanks for reading and hope some of you find the above helpful.
  • Congratulations on your achievement!

    I am learning the same things along the way. This way of eating will be how I sustain the loss I have made. I have learned to not gorge myself out every time I sit down to a meal. When eating out, I do NOT have to eat everything on my plate, no matter how yummy. Either I take the leftovers home for lunch the next day or shove the plate aside when I start feeling full without guilt. Sometimes I get a whim to go get something from the kitchen to munch on, not because I am hungry. I have to make a conscious effort to not give in because I really don't need whatever it is. It IS a battle for me some days but I think I am winning the war!
  • I am starting to realize some of the same things you are. I made some small changes this month and decided I wasn't going to weight myself for one month to see if I've lost any weight. Congrats on your success. I like how you documented your pictures. I may start doing that I tend to avoid mirrors at all cost except looking at my face.

    I was thinking about a fitness tracker but most of my exercise is in the deep end of the pool and none of the ones I've researched can track it correctly. Maybe fit bit will get a water resistant one soon.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.
  • Your doing awesome - Keep up the awesome work
  • Wow, congratulations doesn't even seem to cut it! You are doing a fantastic job.
  • As an update to the original post, here are a few recent photos (via Snapchat):

    For everyone out there thinking about starting on your own's SO worth it! You deserve happiness and to be excited about life. You got this!