When Julia Kozerski decided in 2009 to lose weight she started taking cell phone photos of herself trying on clothes in dressing rooms. After losing 160 pounds in a year, she published her photo series. You can see it here. (The first photo is to the right.)
This is an amazing feat, all the more so because she was a newlywed, a first-time homeowner, a full-time college student and a caretaker for her ill parents during the same period.
How did she lose the weight? She stopped eating junk food, started walking and biking daily, counted calories, and weighed and measured her food portions. (You can see a BodyBugg armband in many of the photos.)
It’s interesting to me that this article about her describes her motivation as wanting to “drastically change her lifestyle.” It was not specifically to lose weight, although I’m sure she was hoping that would be one of the results.
This is an important distinction. Losing any significant amount of weight requires a complete lifestyle change; anything less will not produce lasting results. The main reason that people regain weight after a weight loss is because they didn’t change their behaviors or they only changed them temporarily. Often the entire time they’re dieting, they’re dreaming of the day when they can go back to their “normal” way of eating. What they don’t realize is that they have to create a new normal.
One thing that surprised me about these photos was how good she looked even before she lost all the weight, especially when she wore the right clothes. The lesson I learned from that was that there is no such thing as “before” and “after,” with nothing good in between. We have a tendency to think that we won’t look good until we’ve reached our final goal.
We need to celebrate ourselves at any weight and not think of ourselves as incomplete or unfinished just because we still have weight to lose.
We also need to remember that losing the weight isn’t the ultimate goal. Changing our lives should be our primary motivation.