This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series 100 lb Weight Loss Series

Since I’ve had a 100 lb weight loss, here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Sara's 100 pound weight loss before and after

100 lb Weight Loss: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For the final post in the 100 lb Weight Loss series, here are some questions I am commonly asked after speaking engagements.

Please note: I am not a medical professional and this is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. Speak to your doctor about what is right for you.

Do you have a question not listed here? Post it below!

Does your family eat healthy and exercise too?

Eating healthy and exercising together has been a challenge for our family, as I have written about in this post, My Family Hates Exercise. Over the last year we’ve adopted a more clean eating approach which I outlined here: A Healthy, Realistic Family Eating Plan.

How much do you exercise now?

Currently I’m exercising about 60-90 minutes, 4-6 days per week, mostly at my local gym. Just recently my husband jointed Planet Fitness and I’ve started attending there with him sometimes, and I enjoy it there, too. I haven’t done any triathlons for the last couple summers. I’ve started Tae Kwon Do. I swim, bike, run, and lift weights, and practice TKD 2-3 times per week so I work out at least once and sometimes twice per day most days of the week.

This is actually less exercise than I was doing when I was training heavily for endurance cycling and triathlon when we were putting in hours and hours of cycling and running. I’m finding I’m more easily able to moderate my weight and eating with the level of fitness I’m doing now.

Do you enjoy exercise?

For all the years I hated exercise, I actually enjoy it now. While there are days I’m not especially motivated, overall I really do enjoy it. I feel great afterwards and miss it when I don’t go.

Do you worry about what would happen if you couldn’t exercise, like from an injury?

I used to really freak out when I couldn’t exercise, such as during times of rest or injury. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much now. I’ve been through surgery, times of rest, family crisis, and my weight has stayed stable. I’ve learned to moderate my eating to accommodate.

Are you nervous you will regain the weight?

No. Enough time has passed, and I’ve had enough success, that I know I won’t regain the weight. If I started to put on more than 5-10 lbs, I know exactly the strategies I would put into place to lose the weight and get back to where I am now.

Did you have surgery to remove excess loose skin?

I haven’t had that done, but I have considered it.

Did you have to buy a whole new wardrobe? Even bras and underwear?

I have all new clothes, yes even underwear! It happened over time so I kept going to the thrift store for new items. (Not the underwear. I bought brand new ones of those, thank you very much.) I went from a size 26 (which was tight) to a 12.

The only thing that still fits me from before I lost weight, is jewelry and a few pairs of socks. I weigh less now than I did when I got married.

Did you have weight loss surgery?

I did not have weight loss surgery, but I have no issue with people who go that route. Hard is hard is hard. People who have surgery still have to modify their diet which is really tough!

What do you eat in a typical day?

A Day in the Life of Maintaining a 100 lb Weight Loss describes what I eat in a typical day.

How long did it take you to lose 100 lbs?

I lost 80 lbs in the first year. I plateaued for about 6-9 months, and then I lost 20 more pounds over the course of another year.

What program did you use?

I used the Weight Watchers Online program for the first year. The second year I wore a Body Bugg (similar to a Fit Bit) and tracked my eating with their online food tracker. Currently when I am keeping track (I don’t always, only from time to time as a check-in), I use the My Net Diary app on my phone and I wear a FitBit Surge.

 

Do any diet pills work?

I’m not a fan of over the counter diet pills because they are unregulated, so you don’t know what you are getting and in what amounts. There are some newer prescription weight loss medications which are much safer than previous weight loss medications. Talk to your doctor about if one might be helpful for you.

Is there a certain type of diet you recommend? Should I eat low carb?

There is some newer research that shows a higher protein/lower carb diet may be somewhat more effective for metabolism, but overall it still comes down to calories in vs. calories out. The best program is the one you can stick with for life! I love carbs. I’ll never be able to give up all bread, desserts, and other items that taste wonderful. Everything in moderation.

Does it matter when I eat? A lot of programs suggest not eating before bed.

Calories in vs. calories out. There may be some metabolic benefit to fasting for a set period of time each 24 day, but it’s small. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

Should I count calories?

I’m a fan of keeping track of calories on an app such as My Fitness Pal or My Net Diary. Keeping a food log has been proven in studies to be one of the most effective weight loss strategies for long-term success.

Look, here is the reality about counting calories, all diet plans, and genetics. If you put me on a stranded dessert island with little or no food, I WOULD LOSE WEIGHT. It’s really as simple as that. Eat less than you burn, and you will lose weight. If you are not losing weight, and you are overweight, you are eating too much. It’s complex, but then again, it’s pretty simple.

Should I focus more on cardio or more on weight lifting?

Ideally you should do some of each, but if I had to pick one for weight loss, I would go with weight lifting. Muscle mass is metabolic, which means it continues to burn calories even at rest, while fat just sits there. Cardio fitness (walking, running, biking) gives you a great calorie burn in the moment, but you only get what you are doing in the moment.

Are you hungry all the time?

Continual hunger has been a problem for me for most of my life. Is it head hunger (thinking I’m hungry but my body is full) or stomach hunger (actual physical hunger)? I’m not sure. All I know is, my body signals that it’s hungry, a lot! I know I eat for emotional reasons, which I’ve dealt with in therapy for years, but I also have a body that has a high hunger drive despite all my emotional therapy work.

We do know from research that people have a set-point for their body weight, and when someone has lost a lot of weight, it seems that the body wants to try to get back to a certain set-point. This has gotten somewhat better for me as the years have gone on, but it’s been a challenge. Modifying the type and amount of exercise I’m doing has helped. More exercise is great for calorie burn, but it means more hunger.

Changing my eating patterns has also helped. Even after I lost 100 lbs, I still continued to eat in a very restrictive manner, which led to binging, which led to eating in a more restrictive way. (See the pattern?) Once I learned to eat more moderately, my hunger has became more manageable.

Can I still lose weight if my genetics are against me?

Yes. Many of my extended family members on both sides are or were overweight. Both of my parents struggled with weight. My brother is at a healthy weight but has to work very hard to maintain it. I do believe genetics is one factor, but it’s not the main factor. Diet and exercise are still the most important factors for weight loss.

Is your husband just so excited that you lost weight?

My husband is really happy for me that I feel great, and he’s super supportive of my exercise and speaking endeavors, but he was totally supportive of me before. He’s always told me I’m beautiful and sexy no matter what size I am. I’m so blessed! (Check out this post: Why to Stay Married, Even When It’s Hard.)

Is maintaining really harder than losing?

I’ve heard the saying, “Losing weight is easy. I’ve done it 100 times. Keeping it off — that’s totally different.”

At first maintaining was harder than losing. There weren’t those instant rewards of weight loss. I wasn’t buying new clothes. I wasn’t seeing the scale go down each week. People stopped giving me compliments. It was the same amount of really hard work, with what felt like little reward. It got kind of…boring and painful.

For me that’s when new goals became so important, such as moving from Sprint triathlons to Olympic, or challenging myself to cycle further, or lifting more weight. Things like buying new clothes was great, too. I needed to keep seeing the rewards of weight loss in front of me in order to get through the tough stuff.

Now, 10 years later, maintaining my weight loss is much easier. Most days I really don’t give it much thought at all. (What a miracle!) Exercise has become an ingrained part of my life. Eating a balanced diet has become a natural part of my life, too. The eating aspects will always be more challenging for me, but it’s still much easier than it used to be. I can have foods like cookies or ice cream in the house and not binge on them. I don’t need to plan out the next day’s food in advance. I really don’t think about food very often.

How has this experience changed your self-esteem?

I’m definitely more confident now. I’ve always been an outgoing person, but losing 100 lbs has given me the confidence to realize there is little I can’t accomplish. I’m willing to take on most anything I want to try. Why not?

How did you find your therapist? I’ve been to therapy and it didn’t really work for me.

I was fortunate to find a good therapist through a list from my insurance company. Look for someone with experience with eating disorders. Be willing to try more than one therapist. Not every therapist is the right match for every person. I saw several therapists about other topics before I found one who was right for me to delve into my eating addictions. Plus, you have to be willing to do the work. One hour of sitting in the therapist’s office isn’t going to do much. It’s taking what you learn in that hour and applying it the rest of the time that makes the difference. I put my heart into this process. I gave it my absolutely everything.

If you live in the Denver area, you are welcome to contact me for a referral to my therapist.

How has losing 100 lbs affected your faith?

I totally believe God wants to heal us. God does not want us to stay stuck in unhealthy patterns and addictions, and it is possible to recover. I had been overeating and binging for my whole life (30+ years) and I felt so stuck. I was sure I was destined to a lifetime of eating addictions and food obsessions. That was the enemy whispering in my ear. It’s exactly what he wanted me to believe, and it was a lie. God had something so much better in store for me, and God has something better planned for you too, if you are willing to trust Him, obey Him, and do the work involved in getting well.

 

More Posts You Will Love

100 lb Weight Loss: HOW did you DO It?

Why Do I Binge Eat and How Do I Stop?

Christian Weight Loss: 7 Truths for How to Lose Weight with God’s Guidance

 

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