Before and after and numbers, oh my

08/28/2012 at 9:57 am | Posted in weight loss | 33 Comments

I spent a good hour on the computer looking for the most dreadful shots of myself from the last year. I remember them well. The ones that made me cringe after I saw them up close, outside the tiny preview window on the back of my camera. Extra chins, muffin top, you name it.

But I couldn’t find them.

I had deleted all of them. Well, almost all of them. I kept a few in which I’d squatted strategically behind Lily. Or the ones where I held Sophie in my lap.

You see, I never mustered the courage to take a true “before” photo. The little yellow sticky note sat on my dresser for weeks, an annoying reminder that I had just started the weight loss journey of my life and I needed a picture to prove it. But I just couldn’t do it. I already felt bad enough about myself, and seeing my entire body through the lens of my camera likely would have sent me straight into a carton of Ben & Jerry’s.

But now I wish I had done it. So I could see exactly what it looks like to lose nearly 40 pounds. And so I could show you. Ah well.

These will have to do …

Here I am at the state fair last year, generally not feeling good about myself and hiding behind Lily:

I weighed 196 pounds in this photo. The exact same number on the scale at my 6-week postpartum check nearly five months prior. I had figured breastfeeding would help me shed the baby weight, but that doesn’t quite hold up when you’re stuffing your face with cookies and chicken biscuits.

By Christmas, I didn’t even feel like myself. I wondered who this woman was who couldn’t fit into her clothes, who felt sluggish and became winded after one flight of stairs. So when Marc met with a nutritionist for his own health issues and came home with an eating plan, I jumped on board.

I lost about a pound and a half a week, give or take, over a span of seven months. Today I weigh 158 pounds. I’ve weighed as little as 153, but that was during a very stressful time when I wasn’t eating much, and that’s no good. My goal is 155. But I’m happy to stay inside the 155-160 range. At 5′ 10″ tall, this is a good weight for me, at a healthy BMI.

I’m used to weighing about 180 pounds, so this business of weighing in the 150s is very new to me. I’m comfortable at this weight. I still enjoy food. I exercise more. But I don’t deprive myself. My body seems happy.

So … here goes … the “after” picture, nearly 40 pounds lighter:

The thought of this photo also scared the crap out of me for entirely different reasons than the “before” picture. What if I couldn’t tell a difference? What if I looked the same? We had been at the beach all week, and I was still hiding from the camera. So I grabbed Laura at the end of our vacation, on the last day I’d wear my swimsuit and she snapped off this quick shot. It took me a few days to look at it.

But I can see.

I am leaner. Healthier. But still curvy and big and strong (albeit with much smaller boobs, thanks universe). And, above all, happy.

Marc and I get asked all the time, “How’d you do it?” so I’m going to dedicate some space here on the blog for the next few days talking about our journey and all the tools we used to lose a combined 90 pounds. Food, exercise, books — the works.

Because there really is no easy solution. No miracle diet. This process took a lot of time and patience.

And coming out on the other side feels so incredibly amazing that I can barely describe it.

If this is what you want, YOU CAN DO IT.

I’m living proof.



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  1. Oh lady you are an inspiration. You look fabulous! Congratulations!!!!!!

  2. You look amazing! I am on my own weight loss journey and you are absolutely right; there is not an easy fix. It is hard. The first 7 days were horrible for me. I was always hungry–or convincing myself I was. And then, magically (the only magical thing with dieting) is that my mind and my stomach had a conversation and on day 8 things got way easier. 45 days in and I am feeling so strong and confident in the way I feel (most important) and look (secondary).
    Congratulations on your transformation–you should be so incredibly proud! Thank you for showing the results–it is a nice motivator for me to get to the end of my journey!

  3. Congrats! You look amazing, an inspiration! I am still struggling to lose my last 10 lbs of baby weight, I have maintained the same weight for a year, this is inspiring to lose the last of that baby weight! Would you want to do a quick recap of what you have been doing to lose weight, or maybe you already did a post about that?

  4. First of all, I would have never known you had 40 lbs to lose but WOW — you look amazing! Congratulations lady!!

  5. Oh wow! You look amazing! I want to know how you got your abs to look so awesome in a bikini. My stomach is so wobbly after two babies, I can’t imagine being brave enough to wear a bikini ever again!

  6. Holy jeez. So awesome!

  7. Lookin’ good girl. I’ll be interested to see your posts…need to work on this myself.

  8. Holy balls, you’re in a bikini & ROCKING IT SO HARD.

    I wish everyone could sit down at lunch with you & hear your story first-hand, because you are such an incredible inspiration.

    see also: you are no longer allowed to call yourself “big.” you are tall & small.

  9. Girl. Look at your stomach! I would kill for your stomach. For real. You even looked like you were rocking a little bit of a six pack in your beach pictures post. You are so awesome and brave. Love you!

  10. Pardon my French but HOLY FUCK YOU LOOK AMAZEBALLS. imma need you to eat more cupcakes 😉

  11. You are amazing! I hope to follow in your footsteps. What an inspiration!

  12. you are both wise beyond your years and deserve much credit for making this aspect of your lives such a high priority along with your obvious dedicated parenting…proud of you both…while you both could have procrastinated a little longer with these lifestyle changes to your credit you didn’t and will realize many future dividends accordingly…as in when you have your health you have everything

    x o from tampa bay and tortola [please start cranking in some near-future time(s) for frolicking down there with me on the new sailing cruiser…lakota]

  13. Go you! You are such an inspiration to us all!

  14. You look great! I reached my fittest state after having my daughter and I know I will reach it again after having our second in March. It really is attainable…even after kids! Kudos to you! And ENJOY it.

  15. Beautiful. Inside and out.

  16. How inspiring! You look amazing!!!

  17. You look amazing! What courage it must have taken to post those pictures. Good for you for getting healthy! 🙂

  18. You look positively amazing. I’m so happy that your outside can match the beautiful soul I’ve met through your blog. You really are just radiant, and you deserve it. You’ve worked for it! I meant check out that stomach, it looks NICE! Great work :).

  19. You look amazing. I’m so proud of you & the journey you took!

  20. You look great! Congratulations!

  21. You look fantastic! So proud of you!

  22. Wow you look GREAT!! Very inspiring, can’t wait to hear more and brave girl you are for even writing this post!

  23. Damn, girl! I want that flat stomach! You rock that bikini photo 🙂

  24. Ummmm, “Hotness” and “Too Hard to Handle” called and they want their body back!

  25. Amazing! Congrats on the reward for all the hard work!

  26. Suzanne, you look amazing! Congratulations. Can’t wait to read more about your process. I’m close to getting my own butt off the couch. 🙂

  27. Suzanne,
    I know so many people have said this already, but you are an inspiration to me. I read this post on the treadmill yesterday and it pushed me to work a little harder. Thank you, for you honesty!

  28. Broken record that you will never get tired of hearing, I’m sure: YOU LOOK AMAZING. You ARE amazing! What a huge win for you, for your daughters, for your future. Congratulations!

  29. Congratulations on your weight loss! You’re right that there is no “magic bullet” solution, but keeping the right frame of mind, both in terms of focus and understanding your emotions, goes a long way. 🙂

    Keep it up!

  30. YOU

    I’m SO excited to see your after picture because I knew you’d look incredible!! So so happy for you. All that hard work has paid off a million times over, and I can hear the pride in your writing. Congrats, lady!!

  31. […] … back to the weight loss series. Today’s topic? Exercise. Which used to be a four-letter word in my mind. But now I love it. […]

  32. […] arrived at the final post of my little weight-loss series. The one where I list every single resource that helped me. Not those I tried and ditched. The ones […]

  33. Girlfriend, I am inspired and in awe. Way to go!!!

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