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When I Made This One Resolution, I Finally Lost Weight For Good. Here's What I Did.

Making this one commitment changed my life for the better.

On the cusp of a monumental birthday, I made a resolution to finally lose the weight that had been plaguing me for all of my life—for good. I was the typical yo-yo dieter and had tried all the fads: Atkins back in the day, SlimFast shakes, Whole30, a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet, juice cleanses, even an 11-day diet that promised a 10-pound weight loss from eating the same food each day on the plan. None of these programs worked for me long-term.

When I first did Weight Watchers (now WW) after my second child, I found some weight loss success. But after losing 30 pounds, I got pregnant again and promptly gained those 30 pounds back, along with another 30 pounds. My weight at the end of my pregnancy soared to 240. I think I figured that would be my last pregnancy so I lived large…literally!

I had to make a change

Coming upon a big birthday, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "No more." I didn't want to feel bloated and tired all of the time. I wanted to be able to go to stores and try on jeans that would fit. I wanted to have energy and generally feel good about myself. I also wanted to be healthier.

It was time to make a resolution. Because I was familiar with WW, I decided to go back, and returned to my first meeting two weeks before Christmas, two years ago. I was fed up with everything—my health, my mood, my looks, even my attitude. I figured if I went back before the first of the year, I would at least have a head start and beat the New Year's resolution rush.

For me, I knew I needed to be accountable with the food I ate, so that meant keeping track of everything I put into my mouth. I'm also the type of person who doesn't want to be deprived of foods that I enjoy, like pizza, so I wasn't going to stop eating foods that I loved. I just knew I needed focus and a plan, and that plan was to go to WW each week, weigh-in and track my success, write down everything I ate, and to allow myself some enjoyable foods and treats. I also started taking a weekly photo of myself to be able to see the actual progress and results of my hard work, and during the journey, it was empowering to go back and see physical proof of what I accomplished.

RELATED: 150+ recipe ideas that get you lean for life.

Losing the weight took time

before and after stephanie elliot goes on the ww program
Stephanie Elliot/Eat This, Not That!

At my first weigh-in, I wasn't shocked to see I was nearly 200 pounds, but it was a reality check that I needed. Long ago I got rid of the bathroom scale, so I wasn't exactly sure what I weighed. Stepping on that scale was a wake-up call. And for me, it was also a point of no return.

At first, the weight did not come off, and there were times I thought about giving up. In the first eight weeks, I had only lost four pounds, and I was definitely discouraged. But I also knew that I already felt better and healthier being four pounds less than when I started. I didn't focus on exercise, because I don't enjoy cardio or weight-lifting, but I did continue with yoga, which is something I have done for a long while.

I kept on with the program, allowing myself at least one or two good, enjoyable meals every week. I learned that I could enjoy healthier options and finally lose weight without sacrificing taste by researching new recipes, using less salad dressing, making smaller portions, or eating half of what was served at restaurants. I also drank more water, kept healthy snacks around, and didn't wait to eat until I became 'hangry.' If I had a plan for what I would eat each day, that was enough to keep me on track. It only became difficult during moments when I was hungry and I wasn't sure what to eat. Eventually, I learned what foods worked for my body, and how to make these changes to keep losing weight.

It took me almost a full year to lose my goal weight of 40 pounds, and through mindful eating, weighing in every week, and appreciating the foods I do eat, I have been able to sustain this 40-pound weight loss for over a year now. I continue to write down what I eat if I feel I'm starting to lose control, and that helps me from going back to my bad eating habits.

There was a time when, after losing the weight, acquaintances noticed and worried that I was sick and not taking care of myself, which was hard to accept. For so long I had tried to get healthier, to feel and look better. Now, people were saying I didn't look good, I was too thin (that still blows my mind because I had never been described as a 'thin' person). But now, I think those who see me know that I am just a healthier and happier version of myself!

Losing weight is a commitment, but it's absolutely worth it

before and after shot of stephanie elliot
Stephanie Elliot/Eat This, Not That!

If you're thinking about making a resolution to get healthier or to finally lose weight, I really believe that you have to mentally commit to doing this for yourself, your family, and your future. You really have to make a commitment to truly stay on the path you're creating for yourself. I had done WW twice successfully before this time, but I didn't go into it with a strong mindset. As soon as I was happy with the weight loss, I thought I could ease up, and that's exactly what causes failure. You can't just do it for a couple of months and then go back to your 'normal' eating.

I know I don't want to be that me that I was before—the mom who hid behind others when it was picture time, the mom who didn't feel comfortable at the pool, the mom who was lethargic and moody, lacking energy and motivation. I don't want her back in my life. So, to stay on this path, I continue to choose healthier food options, yet still enjoy the occasional splurge. I head to my WW meeting every Friday to stay accountable, and I thoughtfully and mindfully consider the food that I eat. I'm grateful that I made this change before my big birthday so I can enjoy more of my life with the people that I love!

Weight loss tips that worked for me

  • Allow yourself to eat something you like. Almost every night during my journey I had a piece of dark chocolate or a low-fat fudge bar. It was something to look forward to at the end of each day and helped with the sweet tooth and cravings.
  • Find an activity you enjoy. You don't have to be hardcore into working out to finally lose weight and be healthy. I take basic yoga classes and enjoy going on walks. It's not strenuous, and it's not a big sweat buster, but these are two activities I like to do. And that's key—liking what you do!
  • When dining out, preview the menu prior to arriving. Knowing what you will eat and finding something healthy that tastes good will make it easier to focus on staying on track.
  • Drink water. It is just so good for you, and it's not hard to do at all! Even sparkling flavored water is a good option.
  • Keep healthy fun snacks around. Popcorn or pretzels for those salty cravings, or a little bit of dark chocolate or something sweet that will satisfy you.
  • Join an online group that is aligned with the weight loss program you want to do. It's a great place to get motivated when you're not feeling your best, you can find awesome recipes, and connect with like-minded people.
  • Take pictures of your progress during your journey. They are a visual reminder of how far you've come!
Stephanie Elliot
Stephanie Elliot is a freelance health writer. Read more