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Mistakes Made on My Weight-Loss Journey

Why It Took Me 5 Years to Lose 40 Pounds — Don't Make These Mistakes

My weight-loss journey wasn't one of those amazing stories like you see on The Biggest Loser where the pounds just melted off. Oh no. I spent years making the same mistakes over and over, which meant not losing a single pound. If you're on the quest to lose weight, learn from my story on what not to do and how I finally made the shift to where I am today.

Before — Circa 1999

Related: Follow This 1-Month Lunch Plan to Help You Drop Pounds

  • Skipping breakfast: I knew I needed to eat less, so I would hold off on eating until I was absolutely famished, which meant nothing until lunchtime. Not only did this slow down my metabolism, but I also ended up feeling so hungry that I ate a much bigger lunch than I normally would have. This weight-loss tactic of mine actually made me gain weight. When I started eating breakfast, the pounds started to drop.
  • Nothing but yoga: When I was overweight, I felt really self-conscious wearing skintight pants in a group fitness class (my gym had huge mirrors), and I felt even worse running outside (it only took one rude comment out of a speeding car about my bouncing chest). Then, a good friend took me to my first yoga class, and I was hooked. The whole environment was so loving and supportive — it didn't matter what I looked like, and no one was looking at me. I started going three times a week but was puzzled that even after a few months, I wasn't losing weight. I didn't realize that not all types of exercise are the same, until another friend suggested I start including cardio. I started with some short 15-minute runs a few times a week, and it was like a light switch turned on. The scale numbers started going down, finally.
  • I was a carb queen: Crackers, bread, cereal, pasta? Sign me up! I loved carbs, and even though I chose the complex variety, they were still carbs. I ate them for every meal and snack, which didn't leave much room for high-fiber fresh fruits and veggies. I finally took a step back and realized that my diet consisted of mostly bread. My belly was not happy, and I ended up going gluten-free for six years. Of course, I didn't do that right either, since I just replaced the carb-loaded foods I normally ate with ones that were gluten-free, but when I started eating more produce, that's when I noticed a change in how my belly felt and looked.
  • Too much of a good thing: I inherited an enormous sweet tooth from my mother, and I knew I had to get that under control (and stop baking!). I started only shopping at health food stores and filled my kitchen with all the healthy foods I could find: cashews, dried mango, fresh juice, peanut butter, whole grains, and hummus. I cut out the cookies and ice cream, but it didn't matter because I never measured a single bite of the foods I was eating. Of course, I gained weight spooning peanut butter from the jar and didn't start losing it until I got a hold of some measuring cups and spoons to see what appropriate portion sizes really looked like.

Related: The Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat

After — Circa 2008

I was never naturally thin or fit, so when I gained that 40 pounds, I was probably already 10 or more pounds overweight to begin with. My weight-loss journey lasted about five years, much longer than it should have due to the mistakes I kept making. Once I started keeping track of my calorie intake, focusing on fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains, and was running and doing yoga regularly five times a week, it took about a year, losing a pound a week, to get me to my goal weight.

Being on the healthy path was so fulfilling, not just because it made me feel comfortable in my skin, but I just felt so much more radiant, more energetic. I wanted to share that with others, to help them feel that joy, so I became a yoga instructor in 2000 and a health and fitness writer in 2007.

Today

Even through two pregnancies, I was able to maintain a healthy weight and get back to my prebaby body; it just took time and determination. So don't give up. Stick with your healthy ways, and you'll soon have an "After" picture to show off too.

Related: What to Do Tonight to Lose Weight Tomorrow

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Join The Conversation
Jessbell0834 Jessbell0834 1 year

Jenny Sugar, thanks so much for sharing your journey. You are totally inspirational and a fierce yogini! You rock keep it up :)

BinksandtheBadHousewife BinksandtheBadHousewife 1 year

great tips! Thanks for sharing.

kristen9870 kristen9870 1 year

you're the fitsugar yoga woman :) that's so great and inspiring

CocoChic CocoChic 1 year

As a 27 year old, I can tell you right now that it's extremely hard for me to lose weight. I'm not saying that it's not harder when you're older, but don't discount the struggle that younger women can deal with. I can eat right and exercise for weeks and be lucky to lose 5 pounds. I really think it depends on your genetics more than your age.

DebraGray67988 DebraGray67988 1 year

Keeping track of your caloric intake is a must for me. While I was always naturally thin, I gained a few pounds when I hit my 50's. I have to strictly monitor my calories in/calories out and keep to an exercise routine if I want to lose weight now, even if it's only a few pounds.

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