As my body changed, people started to notice. The encouragement and positive talk from friends and family was helpful, except for when people would say things like, “wow you look so great now!” Now. It didn’t quite sit right to hear that some people thought I looked a lot better now, but that I didn’t look as great before. It was important to remind myself that I looked great no matter what. More important than what other people think about my looks, I needed to accept and love myself and my body, even if my body never changed. I didn’t set out on the weight loss journey to have other people change their minds about how I looked; I started the journey to create a healthy body, healthy mind, and overall wellness.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was always thin-ish. From my skinny teenage years to “just a healthy weight” college years, I was always thin-ish. Like I maybe topped 130lbs by the age of 21. Like most of you may know, Mark and I started dating at 14, got married at 20, started a business at 22 and then graduated college by 23. By the time we graduated college, we had somehow managed to build a legit company… APF, Inc. What literally began as Mark’s desire to be self-employed combined with his amazing gift of self-taught construction skills and my marketing “abilities”, quickly went from a backyard hobby to a full fledged stone countertop company. He spent his junior year of college fabricating granite in my Uncle’s backyard with a $2,500 saw loan from my uncle, a rope and a truck to maneuver the slabs along with a big humongous dream. This is going somewhere I promise ;-). He took Tuesday/Thursday classes and worked Monday, Wednesday and Fridays fabricating in the ole’ backyard. I was answering client e-mails and returning client calls between classes and at night while we worked at a local restaurant on the weekends. By our senior year, our company had grown just enough to afford for us to lease our own fabrication facility and that’s when life started to officially get CRAZY. It was amazing but it was absolutely INSANE. Once Mark graduated in December 2004, he was able to devote his full attention to the company and then I joined him when I graduated in May 2005. Upon my graduation in 2005, we had just moved to a much larger fabrication location, had approximately 11 additional employees and we were opening up a separate showroom location in downtown Monroe, GA. As exciting and wonderful as it all was, it was a stress that I cannot put into words. We had both worked so hard to grow the company yet didn’t quite realize what we were getting ourselves into. As two 23 year olds “self-thrust” into suddenly owning a company, we started to truly bring the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard” to reality. Well as much fun as it was at times, the stress was intense. From managing employees to handling customers and issues and bills and everything in between, I got to a point where I started taking anxiety medication. Biggest mistake EVER.
It takes a lot of guts to share a story like this, but I truly believe you will inspire so many people by doing so. You are beautiful, then and now. It is very hard to share our lives on a blog because so many people see this “picture perfect” life and think they can’t relate. To share our real life experiences, along with the beautiful rooms and decor give people a chance to truly relate that they too can have a beautiful space- and that they too can get off the couch and take their life into their hands and do what it takes to lose that 10 or 100 lbs. Like your friend said, you are an inspiration- and I am happy to follow along on your journey!
Start a Journal -- Writing down everything that you eat, in addition to your feelings surrounding eating or choosing not to eat something you know is bad for you is a good way to channel your frustrations. Just keep a small notebook and pen in your purse so you can write any time you're tempted to reach for a donut instead of a more healthy choice.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
You can even enjoy raw foods blended into juices and smoothies, or in dehydrated form as dried fruits or vegetables, such as sun-dried tomatoes. With proper cooking techniques, however, you can also include raw vegetables (as opposed to canned or frozen) in soups, so you can consume the nutrient-enriched water or low-sodium vegetable broth in the soup along with the vegetables. Eating raw foods in these various forms provides numerous benefits. Yummy Raw Foods Recipes
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, NY the B71 trolley bus line maneuvered a turn onto Sackett from Smith Street.  Often the two trolley poles and ropes which connected the bus to its’ power source above would disengage on the turn and the bus driver would have to get out and put the poles back on the track.  It seemed like a genuine pain in the butt, yet it was part of the driver’s day.  He didn’t make it mean he did anything wrong or curse the wires, he just got out of the bus and fixed put it back on track and got on his way. (In those days all the drivers were men!)
If you’re looking for a writer to follow who’s still in the midst of their own weight loss journey (and willing to admit might always be), Amy is your girl. She blogs about the ups, downs, and challenges on her path to weight loss on Not Afraid of Stripes. She doesn’t hesitate to share her insecurities or efforts to improve her own body image. Visit the blog. 
Try storytelling and sharing personal insights. This is where you get to describe genuine stories that are taking place in your life (related to weight loss, obviously). People love stories, and it’s the ultimate way to prove that you are real. If people can relate to what you’re saying, they will surely pay attention. Make every post you publish personal to some degree.

Patty, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100. You know when you need to make changes to get back to feeling better. I’m so glad you’re taking the action to make it happen! Diet-wise, definitely try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs as much as possible (those are big contributors of belly fat!). Unfortunately, losing weight in one specific area isn’t something we really have control over, so it’s going to be tough to target your stomach. Sometimes it’s just genetics that decides where those extra pounds decide to cling. So, as far as exercise goes, the cardio you’ve been doing with your bike rides is great! And with strength training, try to target your big muscle groups to boost your metabolism to burn off that fat. This is a great article on burning stomach fat – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-truth-how-to-burn-abdominal-fat.html . And I highly recommend HASfit workouts! https://hasfit.com/
What started as a little nudge from her mother, ended up being a major life change for Erika. This woman tells, through her blog, the adventures of her journey, how she managed to slim down, her ups, her downs. She even shares her experience of being pregnant and how her baby girl and the fact that she separates from the father of the child makes her determined that she would gladly make a great living for her and her daughter. This is the push she definitely needed. In order to make more time for her family, Erika decided to be a self-employed mother, on her quest for health, healing and happiness. It is safe to say that she is on a right path to it all, because through this blog, she manages to describe her days and shares the little as well the big successes one person can make.
Alan doesn’t hold anything back on his blog. With weekly video check-ins and numerous gym visits - which became more and more frequent - Alan managed to reach many of his goals, including benching over 225 pounds, going from a 5K to an indoor triathlon and losing over 128 pounds. Not too shabby for a man that had been overweight his whole life. Alan truly embodies the meaning of “sweating until happy.”

Cammy’s blog is far removed from “quick-fix” diets that promise the world - mainly because she tried most of them and was never able to make them last. That’s why her blog (and lifestyle) is all about taking it one step at a time - making small, incremental changes that will last a lifetime, rather than jumping in headfirst and then swimming back for the shore within a few moments. Cammy doesn’t diet or engage in rigorous exercise regimes. She enjoys life, learns about herself, and makes small choices (such as eating an ounce of chocolate rather than the entire bar) that have led to some big changes. Like 100 pounds lost big. Her blog truly embraces the “it’s a lifestyle” philosophy, and will have you laughing, nodding and relating while she shares along the way.
When you exercise on the rowing machine, try this interval workout: Row for 60 seconds, note the distance on the machine, then rest 60 seconds. Repeat, only this time, row for 55 seconds and try to match or better your distance from the first time. Rest 55 seconds, then repeat, reducing the time to 50 seconds. Continue until you can’t beat your original distance.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
×