"It just felt like I should take charge of myself and my habits and change my life."
Elizabeth, New Jersey
What motivated you to lose the weight?
It was a health decision. I had always been overweight, not active and ate terribly. It just felt like I should take charge of myself and my habits and change up my life.
How much did you lose and how did you do it?
I lost a little over 30 pounds. It was a huge lifestyle change. I started counting calories, running, going to the gym, doing yoga, cutting out a lot of breads and cutting down from sugary coffee drinks to black coffee. It was a lot of switching how I thought about food.
What did you tell yourself when you weren’t feeling motivated? How did you stick to a plan when you didn’t want to?
It took a long time to see any results. Like almost a year. I’m actually not sure how I stuck to it so long honestly. I just knew that I didn’t want to continue living the way I was and so I learned to live this new way. I gave myself some cheat days and whatnot - I do love food - but those were special days and not every day.
You mentioned replacing your wardrobe.
It’s really difficult at first because you almost don’t believe it’s true. It was difficult getting rid of clothes that used to fit cause you’re never sure if you’ll keep the weight off, or keep exercising, but underwear was one of the first things I replaced cause maybe I knew only me and my significant other would see it. Even seeing an “S” on the underwear was crazy. I remember actually saying out loud “I am small” and having that statement not make sense to me. There was a point where I was walking around in clothes that were now too big on me but my underwear fit right.
Did the weight loss affect what styles you bought?
It definitely changed the way I shopped for underwear. My stomach was flatter so underwear sat better. It was crazy to start shopping for size small when I had always been large. So many different styles were opening up. I felt way sexier in the underwear too.
What about bras?
I’ve always hated bras! I never felt they fit right, there was always a weird bulge on the sides or they cut into me. Once I lost weight I was able to figure out the sizing better and because I was more toned, there wasn’t much to squeeze into a weird bulge. I actually only started buying sets after I lost the weight. Before it was a lot of bikini underwear and nude bras. Now I started buying lace and colorful sets.
Did that change the way you felt about your body?
I never felt like I had body issues but I did notice my confidence boost in my new body from the under up.
Can you elaborate on “under up”?
So overall I went down from a size 8/10 to a size 2/4 in clothing and that is a big difference. The confidence to wear more flattering clothing started with wearing underwear that was flattering. There’s more of an ease to it. Once I realized that if what I was wearing underneath was small and I looked good in it then what I wear on the outside can also be small and I will look good in it. I became confident in my body starting with underwear.
What would you say to other men and women who want to make the same change? My advice is pretty chock full of cliches I think. You really do have to think of it as a lifestyle change and not just an “I want to lose weight” thing. Just do one small change at a time (cut out sodas, add more veggies) and once you get used to that, change another thing. It’s constantly changing it up, whether food or exercise, that kept it interesting. And subscribe to health things, magazines, email lists, groups, whatever. Seeing a daily reminder helps and you’ll see you’re not the only one doing it. And finally, keep your eye on the prize and pat yourself on the back for even the smallest victories (seeing a tiny definition in your arms or fitting into an old pair of jeans—anything).
What’s it like when you catch yourself in the mirror now?
Be prepared not to recognize yourself for a while! You’re becoming a new person both physically, emotionally, and mentally. But you’ll feel better overall about yourself. At least I have.