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What I’ve realized in the past few months is that the “size” I am now is the size that I would have done ANYTHING to be at a few years ago…AND I DID!!! More importantly, I have my health and my life back!!! I’m so proud of myself & no one…no show, no person, no group will ever take that away from me!

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now, but I think this post Courtney Crozier posted on her Facebook page sealed the deal for me.

Sometimes, I feel that there are 3 groups when it comes to weight loss. There are those who qualify for The Biggest Loser, those who want to lose a few vanity pounds that the majority of us could probably lose with a good bowel movement, and those of us somewhere in the middle.

I am in the middle.

When the person who has a goal to lose a few vanity pounds loses 10 pounds, it’s a huge accomplishment. After all, that’s pretty much the entire weight loss goal. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when someone has a goal to lose over 100 pounds, 10 pounds doesn’t seem like much. However, that first 10 pounds can fall off in a week if you have a lot of weight to lose.

Then, there are the middle people who struggle for a month to lose 10 pounds, but still don’t see any physical changes as a result.

In 2009, I did the number one thing I suggest nobody ever do when starting a weight loss journey. I picked a weight loss buddy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t having a weight loss buddy a good thing?” “Don’t I need support?”

Yes and yes.

In 2009, however, I was 17. I didn’t exactly have a huge circle of friends. I went to a couple church youth group activities during the week, but I was in distance learning college courses (not that my social life would have improved had I still been in high school). I did (and do) have one best friend however.

I went to Weight Watchers meetings with a 17 year old boy.

I lost 3 pounds my first week. He lost around 11. I would have a day where I ate well, stayed within my points, and even got in more activity than usual. He would eyeball portions, guesstimate points, and not exercise much at all. I would gain half a pound; he would lose 3.

Sometimes, I get mad watching The Biggest Loser. I understand that these people are on a competition weight loss show. They are on a strict diet (all organic, clean eating, calorie-controlled, etc.) They are working out hours a day (most of that time is spent walking-Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett aren’t beating the contestants the entire time- it just makes for a better show if they focus on that!)

But there are times where I’ll watch the show and see people drop 10, 20, 30 pounds in the first week. By the sixth weigh-in, there are guys nearing or exceeding the 100 pound weight loss point.

I only have 40-70 pounds to lose. If I lost weight like that, I’d be at my goal weight in a month, maybe two.

It’s the same thing that irritated me when I read Courtney’s blog post about Small Steps. She lost 15 pounds by cutting out soda. At over 400 pounds, that’s not surprising.

I stopped drinking soda and Slurpees (my biggest vice) in September 2008, though I still drank 100% fruit juice, Izze soda, milkshakes, and sweetened coffee drinks. In early 2011, I stopped drinking all liquid calories except for milk substitutes (unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla soy milk, and unsweetened coconut/almond milk blends). Today, I do drink regular milk.

I weigh more than I’ve ever weighed in my entire life.

Sometimes, even those who have never cared about the “Hollywood” image (like myself) get caught up in comparing themselves with others. For me, it was comparing myself with a number I should see on the scale. I was always told “100 pounds for the first 5 feet and 5 pounds per inch over that; at 5’5”, I should weigh 120 pounds based on that). In mid 2009, I was still around 5-10 pounds overweight according to every BMI chart, and I was still 30-40 pounds over my goal.

jeansI was in a size 6 in jeans (in some brands, I was able to get into a size 4!) down from a size 10. In tops, I was a small to medium down from an extra large. Yet, because I was still 30 pounds from what I thought I needed to be to reach my goal, I still felt huge.

I am in a size 16-18 today. Have you seen what a size 6 looks like? Just out of curiosity, I decided to place a pair of size 6 jeans on top of a pair of size 18s.

How did I feel so huge in a size 6? Size 6 is tiny. I can’t even picture how I was ever able to fit into that size.

It’s amazing how gaining the weight back can change your perspective.

I think it’s important to not get caught up in these comparisons. Yes, 10 pounds might be the entire goal for one person, but for another person, it might take just as much effort and make a smaller difference.

Everyone’s journey is going to be different. Some people might be able to drop some weight after cutting out sugary soft drinks; others won’t. Some people do well on Weight Watchers or counting calories. Other people need to go with a lower carb approach or another “food restrictive” plan. It’s an individual journey.

It’s about figuring out what works and doesn’t work for you. Sometimes, it takes a little trial and error. We aren’t cookie cutters. Sometimes, it takes a little tweaking. You might take the overall food list from South Beach or a Paleo diet plan and combine it with the Weight Watchers points system. You might take a balanced calorie counting approach and combine it with intermittent fasting. Who says you have to do just one plan at  a time? (Granted, I’m not sure how well following a vegan diet and a strict Paleo diet will work).

Whether you go from 400 pounds to 200 or 190 to 140, isn’t important. The person who lost 200 pounds isn’t more successful than someone who “only” lost 50.

If you reach your goals (whatever they are- not just weight loss goals), you are successful. I have a goal to walk 11,000 steps a day. My friend, Stacey, runs marathons. Does that mean she’s more successful than me? I don’t get any ribbons or rewards for walking to the grocery store and back, but it doesn’t matter. We have different goals. As long as we each reach our goals (or give it our all- even if we fall short), we are both successful.

In the end, it’s about your journey- not anyone else’s journey, and not their views and perspectives on your journey.