Weight loss.

I’m going to be completely honest with you all. I’ve been dreading this post. Mostly because there are people out there who don’t have the slightest clue that I used to be overweight. Unless of course they did some intense social media stalking.

Growing up I was always super skinny. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I even had trouble gaining weight at various points in my life. I was downright scrawny. In high school it was just me and my size zero jeans all the way through graduation.  Once I got to college I noticed some weight gain, but nothing like the freshman 15 everyone was always talking about.

Somewhere between my junior year of college and graduation in May of 2011…I got fat. At my peak I wore a size 14 in women’s pants. And not the sexy-built-to-be-curvy size 14 that Christina Mendez is rocking. I. Wish. To say I had let myself go would be an understatement.

weight loss | before pictures

When I finally acknowledged my weight and stepped on the scale I almost had a heart attack. That’s probably not an exaggeration considering the lack of exercise paired with all of the fatty foods I was consuming regularly. It read 178. I panicked. The last time I stepped on a scale I was at the doctor’s office several years prior and the number read 110 (a number far too small for my 5’7” frame, but that’s another story). WHAT HAPPENED?! My mind was a blur trying to process those three not-so-little numbers. Luckily this happened after my workout, otherwise I’m quite positive the shock would have sent me running out the front doors. I can honestly say it was one of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had. Up until that point I had let everything roll off my shoulder. I ignored it all, the Facebook messages from an ex-boyfriend calling me a fat b*tch, the degrading hoop and holler from boys when they drove past me on the street and worst of all, I ignored the fact that my “friends” were saying these terrible things about me behind my back and I was just standing by letting it happen. Screw that. I made a commitment, not to prove it to any of the people who put me down, but to get on track for myself.

I started documenting, I prefer this word to counting (26 and Not Counting calories, years flying by, how many items are in my online shopping cart compared to the dollars in my bank account..you get the gist). I started tracking calories and workouts in the myfitnesspal app, committed to 5-6 workouts a week (including weight lifting, which I had never done in my life) and limited my booze fests with friends (which had been going on far too often) to one night a week.

weight loss | before pictures
weight loss | before pictures

I hate the word diet. Diet is typically defined as something you “go on” before a big trip and it usually means that whatever crazy thing you are doing to try and shed pounds (the grapefruit diet?) will eventually have an ending point. Maintaining my body will be a daily practice for the rest of my life. I had to marry that thought from the get-go. Seriously, ’til death do us part. Even several years later, my list of 27 things includes goals for my body. Take a peek here when you’re done reading! Needless to say, all of the things I incorporated into my life a few years ago are still things I do today.

The first time someone noticed I had a lost a few pounds (8 to be exact) I nearly fell off my bar stool. Yes, I was at the bar celebrating a friend’s birthday (I had found a happy balance and kept my social life, hallelujah!). The words were simple, “Jess you are looking good.” I can’t tell you how thankful I am to that person that they recognized the work I had been putting in.

an inspiring weight loss storyI’m proud to say that I currently weigh 140lbs, I’ve wrestled some unhealthy habits into portion controlled treats, found that I’m a much happier person when I workout and I’ve grown into the person I am meant to be. Not only did I shed pounds, but I shed a ton of negativity that consumed my life.

5 Things I swear by:
1. The myfitnesspal app. It keeps me accountable, plain and simple. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to link up!
2. Eating what I want, in a realistically sized portion. There isn’t a single food that I gave up.
3. Getting to the gym, even if it’s for 20 minutes. I stay active.
4. Talking about my plans for the gym, fitness goals, etc. on social media. It’s been proven that it helps to keep you accountable when you know other people are watching/reading. I participated in a weight loss challenge recently, take a peek at the post and check out the after photo on my Instagram!
5. Self Magazine, I love the tear-out workouts they include each month. Suggestion: getting the subscription is so much cheaper than buying single copies at the grocery store.

 

 

Of course you should also know, there is such a thing as a skinny fat person. Someone may appear to be skinny, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy. Being fit doesn’t mean fitting into a size 2 (or even 4, 6 or 8) for all women (Serena Williams and Whitney Thompson are perfect examples). Oh and one last thing, just because someone appears to be “fat” doesn’t mean they can’t outrun your ass! Be kind 🙂

an inspiring weight loss story
weight loss | before and after

 

In the future I’ll be sharing some of my favorite workouts + recipes + fitness tips + gym must haves!
60 comments

60 thoughts on “Weight loss.

  1. Ginet

    Very inspirational! The word “diet” to me means “deprivation” and I absolutely hate feeling deprived. I’m with you about portion control and exercise! I know I would lose more fat faster if I deprived myself, but that wouldn’t make me happy. Thanks for re-motivating me in having a healthier lifestyle and btw, you’re looking good! 😉

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Hi! I agree with you, depriving yourself is never a good thing!! I’ve learned that if I eat (mostly) the right things I don’t ever have to be deprived. Thanks so much for your kind words!

      Reply
  2. Meg

    I admire you so much for this post. I don’t know many women who are sure enough in themselves to share their personal struggles openly like you just did, so kudos! And congrats on your lifestyle! I’ve been meaning to email you back, but I kept forgetting (which I will this afternoon).

    In the meantime, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award! Here’s the details:

    http://megmcelhaney.com/2013/10/16/weve-been-nominated/

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Meg- Thank you! I appreciate it 🙂 I was nervous, but I’m so happy I did it! I will check out the link below, I’ve been seeing this around lately!

      Reply
  3. [email protected]

    You look wonderful. I’ve been battling weight loss for two and a half years since my last pregnancy. But I’m 5’2 and my goal weight is 110lb and I’m a whopping 62lbs over weight. The fitness pal ap does work, but after a few days I get distracted with everything in life and fall off the fitness bandwagon. Good for you!

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Thank you so much, Autumn! That’s totally understandable. I think in the beginning it was easy for me to get distracted, but what was important was the fact that I started back up (even if it had been a week). Feel free to add me on myfitnesspal and check back here if you’re needing some more motivation! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kayleigh Taber

    Awww! I am so inspired by you! I started my weightloss journey at 199lbs. Very slowly I’ve made it to 169…but now I am struggling with hardcore plateau and trying to take my journey to a healthy lifestyle to the next level. Thanks for being an inspiration. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Hi Kayleigh! That’s awesome that you’ve already come so far! I’m so glad that you find it inspiring. It definitely makes it worth putting it all out there. There are so many “quick fixes” that claim to help you lose weight, but those aren’t sustainable. Doing it the right way will pay off in the end-even though it takes longer! I noticed a plateau, so I changed up my routine at the gym, but you can do the same with your diet too. You will get there 🙂 I’ll be doing check-in’s to see how everyone is doing!

      Reply
  5. Erin

    You look fantastic! Great job!

    Unlike you I was a bit thicker growing up…not obese by any means but I definitely wasn’t a very healthy weight. I lost a good bit of weight after gaining the freshman 15 (160? to 120 on a 5’3″ frame) but I fell of the exercise wagon and landed somewhere in the skinny fat territory. I’m really trying to work on being fit and this post is just the motivation I needed 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Hi Erin, thank you so much!! I was most definitely a skinny fat person growing up, I just didn’t know it yet! That’s great that you took the initiative to lose the weight, I know it’s not easy. I’m so happy that you found this post motivating. Good luck and hopefully I’ll see you back here soon! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Jessica

      Thank you, Lucy! It’s easy to get off track, but the first step to getting back on is acknowledging you fell off in the first place (cliche, I know). I’m all about motivating, see you soon 🙂

      Reply
  6. Adventures in Aubreyland

    I reached my heaviest weight only a couple of months ago… I needed to get happy and healthy again. I just started Weight Watchers and have lost 4 lbs. so far! It’s staying pretty steading and dropping off. I need to read things like this to stay motivated!

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      That’s so awesome! The feeling you get when you first start to lose weight is unlike any other. And nothing is better than feeling comfortable in your own skin. I’ll be posting workouts and little things that help me in my every day life in the coming weeks. Stick to it girl 🙂

      Reply
  7. Michelle Crenshaw

    I hope you know how proud of you I am, always! You look fantastic, and I love you! And, you are so much smarter, wiser and more well adjusted than I ever was at your age, and it makes me so happy. You are pretty amazing, J. And, I am very lucky to be able to say I am your Momma, lol! 🙂 Thanks for inspiring me in this as well, only 20lbs to go and I will be sitting back where I want to be weight wise also. And, my eating habits have changed, as have my exercise habits. You definitely keep me motivated too.

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Why thank you, Mom 🙂 It makes me happy to know that I make you proud!! I think you look great, but I’m glad that I’m motivating you to look even better. Now, log back onto myfitnesspal!

      Reply
  8. Brooke

    Such an inspirational story. I recently have been trying to shed the college weight (and I graduated 3 years ago!) and have finally found a workout I enjoy, which I never thought would happen. ( I do Pure Barre) You look amazing by the way! Congratulations on your hard work!
    Can I ask where you got that beautiful dress you’re wearing in your “after” picture? It’s stunning! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Hi Brooke! Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m always up for trying new workouts. Maybe I’ll add that to my list of things to do before 27 🙂 The dress is actually my sister’s (she has an amazing closet) and it’s Gianni Bini from Dillard’s. She bought it last season, but they have tons of cute dresses right now! Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  9. Em

    GIRL you look AMAZING! Wow, truly an inspiration! Also, for you to put your story out there for everyone to read is a very brave thing to do! I myself have gone through my own fitness journey and also swear by Myfitnesspal! Nothing feels better than reaching your goals. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Aw, thank you so so much! Reading everyone’s comments definitely made it worth it to put myself out there. I still can’t believe I added pictures! Feel free to add me on myfitnesspal ([email protected]) and thanks for stopping by 🙂 Talk to you soon

      Reply
  10. TK

    You look fantastic, congratulations. I’d be interested in hearing the story behind the 110 pounds too, only because I bet it is similar to mine (101 was my lowest. Not in anyway healthy).

    I urge you to keep pushing forward and don’t let anyone’s negativity get you down. I’ve actually had to stop talking about health and fitness in my daily life because I get a lot of negative comments which I won’t share here. Keep on doing what’s right for you and life will be full of health and happiness (disclaimer: most of the time)

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      TK, thank you!! It’s quite the story, maybe someday. I’m sorry to hear that! It’s a bummer when people can’t be happy for you. Luckily I’m surrounded by people who support me in everything I do, but I did do a purge to get rid of the ones who weren’t. Good luck to you as well! 🙂

      Reply
  11. the style crusader

    Oh my gosh, this is amazing! I got sick about a year and a half ago and went down to weighing about 115 pounds (I’m normally about 130). I ended up on some medication for a year. Towards the end of the year I got on the scale and it said I had gained 20 pounds. I weighed in at 148 – the most I’ve ever weighed in my life. Most of my jeans don’t fit anymore and I’m struggling to get the motivation to get back on it.

    Thanks for this post and reminding me that I CAN do it. xx

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Thank you for all of your sweet comments 🙂 I found it helpful to document, but find what works for you. And keep those jeans! They will be a better indication of how you are doing than the scale. You can do it!

      Reply
  12. Karrine Beasley

    Wow, so inspiring! I recently put on a bit of weight whilst travelling america and am slowly working to lose the excess, this is totally inspiring me to keep at it right now 🙂 xx

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Hello again! America will do that to ya 😉 I’m so happy that you find this post inspiring. It definitely makes it worth it to put myself out there 🙂

      Reply
  13. Rachel

    Jess! I just found this post by going to your list and seeing your weight loss journey on your list…. and I have to comment because I went through something similar….

    I have never been tiny, like you were… never underweight, but always healthy. Even in high school, in the off season of cross country and track, I would head to the gym and work out, or run stairs in my school with friends. I was very active in college because it was easy to be… free classes at the gym, walking to the gym with friends, walking between 2-3 miles across campus everyday because I literally had classes that were on opposite ends AND I was very involved in the journalism school programs… the newspaper, blah blah. Anyway, I lost weight my freshman year, just with the variety of food, I could CHOOSE to eat healthy very easily and then walk it off later.

    My problem was after college… a little over a year after college I started to put on weight… very slowly because I was still working out, but not as much and I was eating so unhealthy. Late night runs to McDonalds? YUP! I rarely and I mean RARELY ever ate fast food before this. Working out only once a week, or not at all? YUP! Drinking 2-4 times a week and at Happy Hours? YUP! At my worst, I was 17 lbs heavier than me at my best/healthiest. I never have shared that number because it scares me to, but you shared yours… that was 177 for me at 5’10” it is over a healthy BMI but not much. I think friends noticed, but it also wasn’t a TON of weight… so I don’t think anyone said anything because people always knew me as the healthy person, the fit person trying to make the best decisions.

    Starting last year (January 2013), I made it my goal to get back in shape, and be healthy, but on my terms! That means still eating the things I love, but like you, in moderation. Last October, I was down to 167 (YAY!) over the holidays, my weight was between 167-170. Honestly, I stopped weighing myself then because it was bringing me down. I have had ups and downs this year already, but this past week has been amazing! I splurged and really splurged on Cinco de Mayo, but because I wanted to. Yes one day can ruin four days of hard work, but I am willing to put in 7 more days of hard work to work it off, why? because I LOVE Mexican food and beer and margaritas and celebrating. No I can’t do it every day, but once this week is OKAY. I have worked out 3 times this week and tomorrow will be #4 (today is my day off, I’m very sore)! I don’t have a goal in mind as to when I want to be back to my normal weight, I just want to hold myself accountable. I too use MyFitnessPal and it has really helped me put things in perspective. In college, when I thought I looked really good and felt really good, I was 160. That’s still on the upper side of my BMI, but I was healthy, VERY healthy. Lots of energy and happy. My overall goal is 155 because I do not drink as much as I did in college, but I will be extremely happy when I hit 160 again!

    I would love to know some of your workout plans sometimes! And as you mentioned about Self Magazine, I totally used to have a subscription to Shape or Fitness (can’t remember which) and switching it up once a week with one of those workouts was always fun and really helped me tone up!

    Thanks for sharing your story, it is always nice to know you aren’t the only one. Also I am very sorry to hear some people were so nasty to you during your weight gain. It’s life… things happen! Glad you are a happier, healthier version of you now!

    Reply
  14. Jessica

    Hi Rachel! You seriously made my day…actually my month! It’s so nice to hear that I’m not alone and that there are other people that can relate to the things I have gone through.

    I’m also glad that you agree that depriving yourself isn’t an option. So many people think that they won’t ever be able to eat this or that, but what they don’t realize is that they can if they moderate the amount. That’s so awesome that you made a conscious decision to makes changes to better yourself! You look amazing 🙂

    I don’t really have a goal in mind either, but I feel like it is something I am going to work “towards” for the rest of my life. I want to tone up and continue to reap the benefits from those exercise endorphins!

    I splurged alll weekend long, so I’ve got some work to do 😉 And I seriously slacked on myfitnesspal. Feel free to add me if you would like: jessicazimlich is my username.

    Thanks for sharing your story with me. As for those bad “friends,” they are looonnnggg and it’s so relieving to know that people I am surrounded by now have my back no matter what!

    Reply
  15. Rachel

    It’s definitely nice to know… because sometimes I feel like everyone else has it together and I’m all over the place haha! I still make mistakes (a lot) but I always forgive myself for not being perfect… and that’s what keeps me on track! I had a bad Cinco de Mayo and well, Friday turned into an unplanned drink fest. That means I need to be more focused this week… which really just means using MyFitnessPal and lots of time at the gym! Never starving myself or not allowing myself to have things in moderation! I’m so glad I have someone else to talk to about this because it is something on my mind every single day and I love hearing other peoples’ stories! Congrats again on your weight loss, you look amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  16. Sabrina Nooruddin

    This is amazing, congratulations! I am so happy for your success!

    I’m about 10 pounds from where I want to be and have been that way for almost 2 years. It’s time for me to start getting serious and your story was a great motivator!

    x. Sabrina | Simply Sabrina

    Reply
  17. Jessica

    Thank you so much Sabrina! I’m so happy that you find it motivating. You can do it! I’ll be back soon with some tips and hopefully another inspiring update 🙂 Can’t wait to check out your blog!

    Reply
  18. Hollie @ Fancykins

    OK, so I’m new to this whole blogging thing & just found your blog through the #RealBloggerBeauty linkup – THIS IS FANTASTIC. This post (and entire blog!) is totally inspirational, and your hard work is definitely something to be proud of. Adding you to my blog reader, STAT.

    Reply
  19. Michelle

    You are so much cooler than I thought. This is outrageously difficult challenge, even for those who only want to lose a few. The obsessive nature behind weight is downright debilitating. In this documentary I recently watched, an African woman claims she never thinks about her looks saying, “Do you think palm trees are beautiful? Do you think oak trees are beautiful? The world is covered with different types of trees and just because they look different doesn’t make one less beautiful.”
    Congrats! Michelle aka MrsBazis

    Reply
  20. Jessica

    Haha thanks Michelle! It was a difficult challenge, from beginning until I finally felt comfortable. Sure, there are areas of my body I’m still not happy with, but I’ve come a longggg ways. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all think like the woman you referenced?! Hope you have a great weekend!

    Reply
  21. Maria MacNamara

    Jessica, this was one of the most inspirational posts I’ve read in a long time. You are such a doll, and I’m so proud of you. Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

    Reply
  22. acheekyfox

    Reading your story here is so inspirational & seriously motivating. I’ve recently had that “What happened?!?” moment, and it’s really tough to accept. Love your tips & love your honesty!

    Reply
  23. Jessica

    Gah, that means so much to me! Thank you 🙂 It was a tough pill to swallow and it definitely rattled my brain. If you have any questions, don’t ever hesitate to reach out. I’m still working on myself and my body to this day. Surrounding myself with motivating people helped so much!

    Reply
  24. Kait

    Thank you for sharing your story! I realize I am over a year late to reading this, but I noticed you tweeted it out today. Great read from someone I can personally relate to – you are giving me faith that the hard work and consistency pays off!

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      You’re not late at all! Right on time 🙂 It makes me insanely happy to hear that. It truly does. This is something I STILL work on to this day and will continue forever. I’ll have another update soon – stay tuned! And thank you so much for following along with me. I hope you’re having a great week, Kait!

      Reply
  25. Grace - The Stripe

    So I clicked over to this post after reading your “fall in love post” and am blown away! I never knew your story and love that you had the bravery to share it here. Such an inspiration!!

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      It’s crazy, right?! Thank you so much for saying that. It means a whole lot to know that people find it to be inspiring. I mostly just find it to be terrifying 😉 I love everything that you’re doing and I can’t wait to keep following along!

      Reply
  26. Pingback: Twenty-eight - 26 and Not Counting

  27. Pingback: The Season Of Living - 26 and Not Counting

  28. Cori Schwabe

    A little late to the game, but I wanted to just pop in and say I know exactly what you’ve been through, and GOOD FOR YOU! I too was always skinny in high school, then somehow college ‘made’ me go up to a size 14 (maybe a size 16 if I’m being honest). I remember weighing myself at my grandma’s one Christmas, and I’m pretty sure the scale said 205 (what!!!) – I’m 5’10” by the way. At that point, I realized I have got to get healthy, and more importantly, happy with myself. It’s been about 3 years now, and I’m at 150, size 6-8, and feel so much better mentally – not just because I lost weight, but I recognized that I can still love myself even if I was ‘bigger’ than what I thought was ‘ideal’. I did the same things as you though – realistic portion control, didn’t really count calories, exercised daily (even if it wasn’t for very long), and realized that I’m much more happy (mentally) when I work out at least 3x a week. It’s been kind of crazy, but I’m so happy I was ‘bigger’ in those years, because it taught me that I have to take care of this one body of mine. Go you!!!

    Reply
    1. Jess Post author

      Thank you for sharing your story with me! That’s an amazing thing to accomplish and you should be proud! That’s exactly how I feel. Part of me is thankful I went through that because I learned so much about what it means to really take care of myself physically and mentally.

      Reply
  29. Lori Barnes

    Hi Jess!
    In stride with the comment from Cori above: a little late to the party, but couldn’t read this and NOT comment!

    First, well done! It takes a strong person to talk about something this personal. Especially to share their former AND current weight. It seems you’ve done a great job at finding a life balance, as I know personally how much of a struggle it can be.

    I found myself at my highest weight in 2010 (273 lbs to be exact) and refused to look back since. My “journey” (kinda hate that word) to lose over 110+ lbs isn’t quite the same as yours, but in the end, we all want the same thing, right?

    Myfitnesspal is a HUGE part of my life as well! I love finding other people who use it often. It’s really been the biggest contributor to helping me maintain.

    Again, congrats on your accomplishments! You should be proud! If it was easy, everyone would do it.

    Reply
    1. Jess Post author

      Hey Lori! Thank you SO much. It really means a lot 🙂 That’s so amazing that you were able to make such a huge change in your life! I’m going to look you up on the app because I still use it everyday. Hope to run into you soon!

      Reply
  30. Pingback: Life Update - 26 and Not Counting

  31. Pingback: You Can't Have It All - 26 and Not Counting

  32. Cait

    HI Jess,

    I’m a new reader, and felt compelled to leave a little comment. I discovered you on Instagram and this is my first time checking out your blog (i LOVE it, the layout is gorgeous!). I was reading your ‘about me’ and came to this post. You are such an inspiration! I especially love your healthy outlook (your comments about the word ‘diet’ and that size doesn’t necessarily equal health/fitness). Thank you for being courageous enough to share your story and your weight loss journey. I’m excited to continue following you on social media and your blog!!

    -Cait
    http://www.pearlsandparm.com

    Reply
    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Cait! I’m so glad you stumbled across my blog 🙂 Thank you SO much for writing such a thoughtful comment. After having a bit of a rough start to the week this more than made up for it! I’m hoping to share more about my fitness/health journey and struggles in the future, I just need to get my thoughts in order (easier said than done lol). I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you around here more often!

      Reply
  33. Pingback: Every(body) Has Bad Days - 26 and Not Counting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *