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Before and After pics and stories?


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#51
Driver

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For all of you who are struggling with your weight, I'd like to know how it happened. Was it eating habits you were brought up with, a life event that made you stop caring about what you ate, or just an affinity for unhealthy foods?


Combination of factors.

When I was young, my weight would fluctuate with the seasons, I'd get a little chunky in the winter, and be fine in the summer. As I got older, that shift got more pronounced. Heavy in the winters, average in the summer. Then I turned 30 and the warranty expired on my body and my metabolism changed. The weight that just went away normally, didn't.

Up until then my eating habits weren't great. I was raised with parents that didn't cook, and ate at restaurants all the time. Both my grandmothers had been June Cleaver style housewives in the 50s/60s, so they naturally cooked very heavy, fatty food using tons of butter, crisco, etc. (aka delicious). When I moved out on my own, everything I have came in a box or bag.

So I was raised just eating whatever and not really ever thinking about nutrition. Some people are naturally slim, the older I get, the more I have weight lingering. I really have to be careful of what I eat and exercise a lot, otherwise my weight creeps up. Even if I eat healthy, I will be on the chunky side if I don't work out regularly, this is just what my body does. I don't want to say it's glandular, but my digestive system converts and stores fat carbs way more than any other kind.

Keeping this in check should be as easy as pie since I have this information-- but it isn't.

Here's what I have working against me:

1. That lifetime of not caring about nutrition is REALLY hard to deprogram, both psychologically and physically. Using sugar as an example, even when I am healthy and replace it honey, maple or agave, it's still a form of sucrose that my body associates with comfort, not caring, relaxing. Stressed? Tired? Overworked? upset? HAY ICE CREAM! Going back to the hunter/gatherer comment-- this is the root of the paleo diet, which makes a lot of psychological sense to me. Basically, the idea is that in nature, food is sweet, savory (fatty) or bitter. And in nature, those taste cues evolved with the human body to let it know what it needed. Savory is generally energy/protein food. Sweets and satiating happy foods. Bitters are OMG NO EAT THOSE BERRIES, THAG! UGG ATED AND DIE! /cavemantalk

If I have been eating crisco fried burgers full of hormones and cookies my whole life, natural savory and sweet are going to be WAY below satisfying. So I keep eating and eating and my body never says OKAY! WE GOT WHAT WE NEED cause I'm eating things with no nutritional content. So I eat until I'm too full to keep eating.

2. I'm a food lover. Everything I said above probably doesn't apply to people who don't obsess over food. Most athletes aren't super food obsessed people. The Paleo diet is clearly intended for slow fatty cavemen, not the actual hunters. I'm the sit-by-the-fire and tell stories cave man, not the go-kill-the-mammoth caveman.

3. I've got addict genes. I managed to live all my life without being a drug addict (hi Uncle Bruce!) or an alcoholic (hi dad!) but rich, heavy treats? GIMME. I'm not a person who can have a cookie. I have to have a tray. Some people can eat a slice of pizza and be out. I got to finish the box. At parties if there's a dish of mixed nuts I can't stop taking handfulls just because it's there. It's this confusing pleasure/reward/shame cycle in my head because most of my life, eating was a fun family thing, but I know that's not the case now. If I'm stressed out, HEY PIZZA AND BEER SO GOOD I'M HAPPY, then I feel guilty.

4. I was told "clean your plate" a lot as a kid, which is TERRIBLE. I take portions that are usually too big, and I go to restaurants a lot where portions are oversized, and I feel like I can't stop until it's gone. Funny enough, I never make my kid clean his plate so long as I know he's eaten enough to get nutrition. The comedy of life here is, he is rail thin and active as hell... and when he doesn't clean his plate I worry I'm being wasteful... so I eat what he didn't...

I'm not using ANY of these as excuses mind you. These are all just bad habits that have to be reprogrammed. I've lost lots of weight before, and I'm not really considered obese, I just am heavier than I should be. I hate when thin people are all LOL JUST DONT EAT LIKE A PIGGY when it's NEVER that simple.

Like Copper, I had the love/hate relationship with Weight Watchers. TWICE I used it and lost weight, and eventually gained it back. I think ultimately I figured out the flaw of it. Portion control is what the points system is. And for me, over-eating was a big factor, so it helped get that under control and I would lose weight... usually after 25-30 pounds I'd hit the plateau and not lose any more. When you're dropping pounds, you're all about those points cause it's working. But a month or two of not losing weight and you're screwed. You're either depressed because you're not losing weight, or you're depressed cause you fall of the wagon. Ultimately, you say screw it and eat what you want again, cause at least there's some momentary happiness there between when you start eating the pizza, and when you finish it and feel guilty.

Also, Weight Watchers isn't teaching you nutrition beyond the fact that you can have one slice of pizza or an entire plate of chicken and veggies. Obviously one is better than the others, but Weight Watchers says EAT WHAT YOU WANT! So you do-- you sneak in the candy and ice cream and feel like it's fine if you track the points-- but once you hit previously mentioned plateau you haven't trained your body to actually be healthier, so it's way easy to backslide.

ALSO ALSO TL;DR your weight as a number is something people obsess over too much. I've decided to stop weighing myself. My goals these days are low blood pressure, good cholesterol levels and not having physical limitations that effect my lifestyle-- as in I'm not expecting to have the cardio capacity needed to join the NBA, but I'd like to be able to climb trees with my kid, keep up with him at the park and not throw my back out when I bone somebody. And I don't want to look doughy in photos.

And seriously, it's taken all my life to have all this information consciously at hand. Literally, I figured out some of this stuff in the last couple weeks. (hence the paleo cleanse mentioned way above).
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#52
Good God a Bear

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Okay, so here are mine.

90lb weight loss. Worked like hell (and it also helped I got off some damn medication that is known for weight gain).

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In 2008 in New Orleans

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Last year at the beach
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#53
Cerina

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My problem is and always has been my activity level. (Ok, lately it's also been the ridiculously fattening and delicious food my husband often cooks, but mostly it's activity level.) When I was younger, I was very active, but as I've grown older, my life has gotten more sedentary. There have been times when I was more active (working out, walking everywhere, jobs that required a lot of movement and lifting, etc.), and my weight and size always dropped. For the past 2 years, I've been working stupid long hours at an office where I sit on my ass for 9-12 hours, and am too tired to do anything else when I leave. So I've friggin BALLOONED. :(

I don't eat super-healthy stuff all the time, but it's never caused much of an issue that I can tell. I eat a lot of veggies and protein, but I also eat a lot of stuff with butter, cheese, and animal fats (because it's delicious and I love food) and not a lot of carbs really. My cholesterol levels and blood pressure have always been well in the normal range, and I've always been able to sprint up a couple flights of stairs without being winded for 10 minutes afterward (except for the past few years :().

I'm not weight obsessed either, because, like Driver said, it's just a number, and people in my family are dense and we all weigh a lot more than we look like we should. My son's always in the 90th percentile for his weight. Hell, my cousin is 5'1", a size 2 and weighs in at 135 lbs! But I do get a kick out of watching the weight number go down, it's still motivating. I should buy a bathroom scale.

I think it's different for everybody. And hitting those 25 and 30 year marks REALLY changes how your body handles everything, so I think once you hit those ages a lot of your eating, drinking, and activity habits have to change.
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#54
Destiny Skywalker

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I was basically raised with poor eating habits. In my mom's family, all the women are obese. They overeat and know nothing about nutrition. They eat until it HURTS. I think it stems from my grandma growing up during the Great Depression. My mom managed to lose weight on Jenny Craig back in the 80s, but when she became confined to the wheelchair it all went out the window. No one in my mom's family even thinks about exercise, either. My dad's family is all normal weight but ate gross things like canned food. (Forgive them, they're Nebraskan and do not know what they do.) My grandma was one hell of baker, though. So I ate junk food all the time, and overate like crazy. I rarely ate vegetables (creamed corn, LOL). My mom also has some self-loathing issues and liked pushing those onto me, because I think she was jealous that I was still more fit than she ever was. Fortunately, it didn't affect me too bad, but we used to fight really bad about it. (Always told me my clothes fit too tight and made me look fat when they fit just fine, stupid stuff like that. On a few occasions she made me buy Homecoming/Prom dresses a few sizes too big so that they'd look bad on me, and also because that was the size she wanted me to be.)

Growing up, my only exposure to nutrition was through sports. This was during the low-fat craze, so I was told stupid crap like I shouldn't eat anything with more than 3 grams of fat in it. Yeah, right. Our junior high just had vending machines with candy, pop, and hot pockets. The high school was a little bit better but still had many unhealthy choices (thank you for my bagel addiction). I was a chubby kid in junior high but once I discovered soccer, I dropped the weight fast and became pretty lean. I went from a size 11 to a size 4. I ate whatever the hell I want and burned it off playing soccer 6 days a week. When I hit senior year, I was replaced by a freshman girl on the U-16 national team. I rode the pine, and gained about 5 lbs during the season because I never got playing time. I started dating a guy who had his own place but was broke, so we ate at Portillo's a lot. And then I went off to college, and they were building a new gym freshman year. I played intramural soccer but certainly not as much as before. So by the time I hit sophomore year, I was back up to a size 12. My university formed a women's soccer team my junior year, so I practiced with the new team in the offseason and trained all summer for the team. I lost a lot of weight because I was busting my ass. I called 2 weeks of August pre-season "free fat camp". I was once again in the position of having the best player on the team play my position (she transferred from a Division 1 school to be closer to home), so I quit at the end of pre-season. Looking back, I regret not asking the coach if I could just keep practicing with the team and only suit up for home games. But I was a senior in Aerospace Engineering all the freshmen had joke majors. Many of them failed out because they couldn't handle the academics. But I looked awesome! I still wasn't as small as high school, but I felt great. I did a good job keeping the weight off until I graduated college, but once I started my new job with a horrible commute and terrible cafeteria food, I went up 2 sizes. After a couple years and cringing at my wedding photos, I finally got serious about going to the gym, and then started calorie counting. I stopped overeating (it now hurts and makes me ill when I overeat). Fortunately, I've never been one of those people that plows through an entire pint of ice cream or bag of chips, but I still have to watch myself with regular food. I lost 25 lbs before I got pregnant, and was in the normal weight range. I was still 20 lbs heavier than high school but I know I'll never get back there (don't exactly have all that free time to play soccer). However, I gained the high end of recommended weight. Unfortunately, my doctor told me that's probably how much I'll gain next time, he thinks women just have a set number that they're going to gain unless they really go nuts. I ate very healthy but I was starving during my second trimester. The first 20 lbs came off easily after Quinn was born... the second 20 is what you guys saw earlier.

For me, it's not so much the weight (but as mentioned before, it's fun watching the scale). I care more about what "size" I am, admittedly. Not so much the number as my waist circumference. My current struggles are that my husband is an awesome cook so it's difficult to STOP. He's also a bit of a food pusher... he takes it personally when I turn him down if it's something he made, and he feels like he can't eat unless I'm also eating. He has a ridiculous metabolism and is very thin, so I've tried to get it through to him that it's ok to eat without me but he still pushes. And when I go on a diet, he goes a little nuts and seems to think he has to overcompensate for me... he eats like crap, and eats it right in front of me so I want it, too. It's hard to motivate myself to do mundane exercise, too. I really liked the group exercise classes but they aren't recommended during pregnancy and I think we're going to have another kid soon. My goal now is just to maintain my weight and have fun with things like the indoor soccer team I joined. Next time I get knocked up I'm going to try to avoid table sugar and not have a carte blanche with my food (or drinks, I drank a lot of ginger ale because I couldn't have a glass of wine).

#55
Cerina

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I only gained 18 lbs during my pregnancy. So I have the feeling that I lost some fat during the process. Maybe I should get knocked up again to lose.

I think my problem started with my pregnancy and surgery as well. I had abdominal surgery when I was 3 months along, and I couldn't do much for 6 weeks, which was right about the time pregnancy really starts to affect your physical capabilities. So I never fully recovered back to my previous physical state, even though I wasn't gaining much weight. I lost a lot of strength actually. And then actually giving birth just destroyed my abs. I'm so so so much weaker than I used to be, and it's just depressing to me whenever I try to do something I used to have no problems with. So I tend to not try anymore.

#56
IMericka

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I can echo pretty much everything said above... plus the very simple realization that for me abundance = happiness. Food is celebratory and an act of joy/love in my world. Lean times are sad times and dieting used to plunge me into seclusion and depression... so for a long time I chose happy over healthy, without realizing I could be both.
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#57
Copper

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That's an excellent point ericka.

#58
Burt

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I was raised as an athlete, so I was always eating a minimum of 5000 calories a day just so I wouldn't lose weight. After I was done with all that, it took me about 5 years to realize I need to eat like a normal person.
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#59
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For all of you who are struggling with your weight, I'd like to know how it happened. Was it eating habits you were brought up with, a life event that made you stop caring about what you ate, or just an affinity for unhealthy foods?

TEX - Good to hear from you again. I think you sent me a text when i was in the hospital - much appreciated mi amigo!

I've always been a heavy guy/kid, but I was an athlete from kid to 18 so I carried myself well. Ate horribly, but worked it off. I had an accident after HS where I injured my spine and was nearly paralyzed, even bed-ridden for about 6 months. So exercise (which was always sports for me) became nearly impossible. But I ate the same, if not worse because I was also horribly depressed about that time in my life. So more intake, ****tier foods and not burning it off - catastrophe.

OK - finding old photos. It's harder than I thought because I was so ashamed, I wouldn't pose for pics. But I promise you guys I'm not flaking out.

#60
Good God a Bear

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I have to ask this question. There are some people at the gym who are always 'I love working out. I would do it even if I didn't have to' Well, I think they are lying. I'm sorry, I workout because I have to. I don't enjoy it. I think it sucks. I cuss out my spinning instructor in my mind everytime. Weight training is okay, but I still don't consider it fun.

So I have to ask...am I the only one? Is it true there are people who actually love to work out? Now, I'm not talking going hiking or something like that. I enjoy that. I'm talking spin classes, aerobics classes, weight training, running, etc.

If you were told you never had to work out again if you didn't want to and you would still remain fit and healthy would you do it or would you sit on a sofa?

#61
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Sofa for sure! Unless we're talking about playing team sports (soccer, ultimate frisbee, tennis, floor hockey.) I will play those anytime even if I am fat and out of shape.

#62
Cerina

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I have to ask this question. There are some people at the gym who are always 'I love working out. I would do it even if I didn't have to' Well, I think they are lying. I'm sorry, I workout because I have to. I don't enjoy it. I think it sucks. I cuss out my spinning instructor in my mind everytime. Weight training is okay, but I still don't consider it fun.

So I have to ask...am I the only one? Is it true there are people who actually love to work out? Now, I'm not talking going hiking or something like that. I enjoy that. I'm talking spin classes, aerobics classes, weight training, running, etc.

If you were told you never had to work out again if you didn't want to and you would still remain fit and healthy would you do it or would you sit on a sofa?


I used to really enjoy going to the gym, but I typically always went with people who were motivating and fun to be around regardless.

#63
the skiff guard

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...

Edited by the skiff guard, 18 February 2013 - 09:50 PM.


#64
Tex

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I have to ask this question. There are some people at the gym who are always 'I love working out. I would do it even if I didn't have to' Well, I think they are lying. I'm sorry, I workout because I have to. I don't enjoy it. I think it sucks. I cuss out my spinning instructor in my mind everytime. Weight training is okay, but I still don't consider it fun.

So I have to ask...am I the only one? Is it true there are people who actually love to work out? Now, I'm not talking going hiking or something like that. I enjoy that. I'm talking spin classes, aerobics classes, weight training, running, etc.

If you were told you never had to work out again if you didn't want to and you would still remain fit and healthy would you do it or would you sit on a sofa?


I work out every day, and I love it. I lift weights 4 times a week, do cardio 3 times a week. I've always like the weight training part, but the cardio took a long time to truly get into. It took a few years, but now it's part of my routine.

I worked out a lot when i was younger, but quit for about ten years or so before getting back into it. I was amazed at how much better I felt and much more energy I had. Over time I lost almost 40 lbs. I'm in the best shape of my life and i have no plans on slowing down in the gym.

My advice to anyone who hates working out and resents having to do it is to try and find out a routine that's somewhat tolerable, maybe even fun. I realize that's a tall order for most people, but that's what I did and now I'm hooked for life.

#65
Tex

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I also altered my diet a lot, but I did so gradually. I'd make a small change, something I could live with like switching from whie bread to wheat bread, lose a few pounds over the next month or so and then find the motivation to make another change. Over time I pretty much quit eating red meat in favor of white meat, quit eating cheese and fatty sandwich condiment like mayo, and even started eating vegetables regularly.

So my advice to anyone who's dieting is to take it slow. Make a small change you can live with, give it a few weeks, and then make another change. I think a lot of diets fail because they require people to make too many changes far too quickly.
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#66
Driver

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I've always hated the gym personally, I know it was helping my health, but even with an iPod it was so excruciatingly boring to me. I would just clock-watch. But the advice to finding a routine you like I apt-- but I'd say branch that out to the type of activity. I despise the gym and running, but I rediscovered skateboarding and swimming from my youth. I dropped 20 pounds going to the skatepark a few days a week after a few months.

If you hate the gym, you need to find an activity you enjoy instead.

#67
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I have to ask this question. There are some people at the gym who are always 'I love working out. I would do it even if I didn't have to' Well, I think they are lying. I'm sorry, I workout because I have to. I don't enjoy it. I think it sucks. I cuss out my spinning instructor in my mind everytime. Weight training is okay, but I still don't consider it fun.

So I have to ask...am I the only one?

If you were told you never had to work out again if you didn't want to and you would still remain fit and healthy would you do it or would you sit on a sofa?

I've always hated "working out". I would play full-court basketball for 8 hours on a Sunday, running my ass off, prolly burn 2000 calories and loved every second. Get me on a treadmill for 30 minutes and I'll curse you straight to hell.

But given my health and my commitment to reverse heart disease, I'll have to at least hop on the stationary bike until I lose enough weight to get more back surgery.

#68
Copper

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when I was in the military we would run 2-5 miles every day.

I could run it, no problem. I kept a good pace. Never flagged. Hated every mother-****ing second of it. Every day. For years. Never once felt the "runners high" so many of my shipmates talked about. Never felt better afterwards. Always, always despised it. I got through it by imagining I was being chased by aliens, or anime tentacles, or bears. Still sucked.


Now I hike with my dog and do yoga at home in front of the tv. Sometimes I play frisbee at the park with the family. That's it.
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#69
Rock

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when I was in the military

So.... do you still have combat boots???? :rock:

#70
Destiny Skywalker

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I would play soccer still, no question. Go to the gym and get on the elliptical? Efffff that. I do enjoy the group fitness classes I do, though. I hate working out on my own. Having others there actually pushes me harder.

#71
Good God a Bear

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Ha! Could you tell the Spinning class I have on Monday night was particularly rough last night? Summer is my favorite time because you can get out and o things like swim.

#72
Destiny Skywalker

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I always had a hard time going to the gym in the summer. It's so nice out I'd rather do something outside than look at it from inside an air conditioned gym.

#73
3 & 6 years to go...

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Holy ****, if I could sit on the sofa and still be fit and trim.... That beats the great feeling I used to have at the end of a good workout. Your body cooling down. I loved that feeling.

#74
Lace Mindu

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Tex, for me, the weight came on (and off, and on again) because :
1) I was an athlete from grade school through college and my body got used to . Not only did I have to learn that one can't consume 5,000 calories a day when not working out 3 hours/day, but I really had to learn how depressed I get when sedentary and how much I just need to be active to be healthy, regardless of calories.
2) Sedentary job that takes 40-60 hours a week, sometimes more, combined with middle-age metabolism slowdown and just thinking I'm "too busy for the gym". Don't know if you've gotten there, Tex, but that metabolism slowdown/body needs less food thing sneaks up on you quick, and then makes it hell to drop the weight, too. Note to anyone wanting to lose weight -- do it in your 20's or 30's while it's still easy!!
3) The whole cancer-diagnosis thing, it's a huge head trip. You're told not to stress yourself under chemotherapy and you're tired and kinda sick and don't feel like moving. Plus even when not, you feel sorry for yourself and are not certain you're going to live much longer so why bother leaving a good corpse. Then on top of it they put you on gawd-awful steroids (so the chemo sinks in better) and those make me STARVING all the TIME. I gained 10 lbs a month through 6 months of chemo. And because it took at least 8 years to come around to the fact that I might not be dead in a few months, I was in no hurry to deprive myself to take it off.
4) I like food. I like to cook, worked as a chef for a while, still cook almost every day and I like to eat. I've subscribed to one food magazine or anther for decades. I even like to food shop. I'd label myself a "foodie" but I'm not too badly into it (at some upscale restaurants, they just play with your food too much, IMO - tweezers for plating? molecular gastronomy? etc.). But yeah, I use food to self-medicate -- to relax, to destress, to celebrate, to drown my sorrows, to demonstrate love, to calm a bad mood, to settle an upset stomach. You name it, and food is usually my answer.

GGAB - how YOU doin'? You look great!! Good job!

And oh yeah, couch for sure. But only if I could stay fit (not just thin), as I do enjoy BEING fit, it's just the getting there that sucks. I like to ski, for instance, and you can't rip it up at 8,000 - 12,000 feet if you're sucking wind just sitting on the chairlift.

PS - I'm another one silently cursing my SPIN (bodyworks, step, bootcamp, etc) instructor in my head every class. But I don't get as good a workout on my own as I do in a class, either.

#75
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I'm SO proud of all of you! I'm proud to know you, I'm proud of your tremendous accomplishments and I'm so proud that YOU were brave enough to post these pictures! You are strong, brave people and all pretty damn easy on the eyes, even when you didn't think you were at your best.

I can't do what you're doing/you have done. I'm impressed and very inspired by your stories and pictures.

What are some of the things that changed that you didn't expect? HOW on EARTH did any of you stay motivated to make such big changes? What made it easier? And do you still struggle or is this a done deal?

Ericka, that's pretty awful. What made you decide to have surgery? You're so young! Do you have issues that made doing it the organic way impossible? Were you scared? HOW did you NOT eat and rip out the stitches? How'd you find the right surgeon?

How often, much do you guys all exercise? I DETEST exercise. This is a problem.

Can I have what you're having? I WANT TO LOOK THIS GOOD TOO.
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