Jun 192014

Below you can find some pics showing my weight loss progression. I notice that the homemade jumpers make it more challenging to see the changes, but I think they’re still evident. On the far left is me at my highest weight, 240lbs. I am technically morbidly obese in that pic. On the far right is the most recent pic. At 190lbs I am still obese, but not morbidly so. At 175lbs (which is my next goal) I’ll simply be overweight and no longer obese.

The jumper on the right and in the center are made from a size 22 pattern. The one on the left is a size 16 version of the same pattern. On the left the size 22  jumper is too small and I am literally bursting at the seams. At the right the size 16 fits me well. This month (and probably next month too) I’m sewing new jumpers. I’ll try to get some pics up of them. I haven’t had to make new ones in a couple of years and it’s an absolute delight to have to use the smaller size. For a while there I was worried I would just keep getting fatter until I blew up like a balloon and exploded into outer space.

Weight loss is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, including child birth. I have a lot of respect for everyone trying to do so.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 

Maggie and Fred with pup

This is me in July 2013 at 240lbs. This is the picture that shamed me into working on my weight in earnest. Next to me is Fred and his new rescue pup, Mimi.


230 lbs on the left. 190lbs on the right. Slow and steady wins the race. Just another 60lbs or so to go.

  15 Responses to “Before & After Pics”

  1. Good for you! I am looking to get serious as well. I had a rude awakening when I had to be put on blood pressure meds in January as I topped 200 lbs!

  2. Oh you poor dear. The weight sneaks up on and us and before we know it, pow! balloon city. One of the big motivating factors for me was the fear of no health insurance. When we had excellent insurance through Fred’s job I didn’t really have to worry over my health as much. I was concerned over it, and certainly tried (for 2 long decades) to manage my weight, but as anyone who has struggled with obesity knows, it ain’t easy. With the fear of no insurance and the frustration (and shame) I felt looking at the above picture of me and Fred and Mimi, I had a “come to Jesus moment” about my weight.

    I started attending CR (which is free and Christian) and Overeater’s Anonymous (also free and spiritually based) and they have both really helped me put food in it’s proper perspective. I’m an emotional eater and I needed to address that before I could follow any food plan.

    I don’t have a specific diet I follow, or rather, I follow several different ones, switching things up now and then as I get tired with the old one. I like the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) because it’s easy, economical and family friendly. I also like Low-Carb now and then, when I hit a plateau, but it’s not best for me for the long term. My all time favorite is the old Diabetic exchange plan. I find it matches up with the DASH diet perfectly. I don’t follow all of the rules or do’s and dont’s. Mostly I try to eat 4 meals a day–2 light meals and 2 heavy meals. I have a light breakfast at 6am when I wake up, a heavy brunch a about 10:30, a heavy dinner at about 4pm, and a light supper at about 9pm. I know that ideally we’re not to supposed to eat late at night, but I’m hungry then and a small meal, or sturdy snack helps me sleep by 11pm. My rule is to start when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. That small thing has helped me more than anything. I’ll post more about it later as I get more written.

  3. WTG Maggie !!! I have faith in god and in you ….. You CAN lose the remaining weight !

  4. THanks Laurie :-). I’ll upload new pictures the beginning of next year. So far, so good. The scale is still going down, instead of up, which is amazing! I can still hardly believe it’s true. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  5. Hi Miss Maggie!

    You are doing great! Such an encouragement to me! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I have just endured another extended family Thanksgiving where I was told twice that I was overweight –well, they weren’t so polite–fat, (my family is blessed with the gift of tactless comments) so I guess it’s time to loose my “baby” fat. Did I mention that my baby is 10 years old??? I’ve been denying my problem or trying diets and only manage a day or two before I fall “off the wagon” so to speak.
    I am right were you are at 185# and need to loose about 60 pounds. I printed the 43 page diet book and I am really looking forward to trying it. It will be a challenge with Christmas just around the corner, plus, I love to cook (and eat)!!!–obviously! I had gestational diabetes so I think the diabetic exchanges will be helpful. I need to learn more about that.
    We have 5 children (all girls but 3!!!) who can really eat, so I make huge meals………..We homeschool so living on one income (a school teacher’s), I find it very difficult to buy any special “diet food”. Plus, who wants a salad or yogurt when the rest of the family is eating something delicious that I have worked hard to prepare???
    I am really finding your honest sharing of your struggles very encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing this for free. I will pray for you–if you wish to pray for me as well, I would so greatly appreciate it!
    I also appreciate all of your website that you so graciously share for free! The homeschooling resources are fantastic! Do you have a nice Christmas reading selection for a 5th grade boy?
    Well, I am going to put my little weight loss booklet together, and walk on the treadmill while the boys watch football! I’ll probably not even be able to go a whole mile today, but I’ll start with what I can do and thank the good Lord for that!
    God bless you!

  6. Hey Val, family can be a real challenge sometimes can’t they? I can really identify with your story. I make huge meals too, and have been pre-diabetic for some years now. My baby is 18, and I only started losing my “baby fat” last year. After I weaned him my weight shot up fast and hard. It’s humbling to think that I’ve was able to ignore it, deny it, work around it, for so long. Right now I’m at 183lbs, and I’ve actually seen the scale say 181lbs, but it was back up to 183 the next day, so I figure I was just really dehydrated that morning. My weight loss has slowed down, but it’s still coming, one increment at a time.

    I really urge you to find a weight loss group that you feel comfortable with. It can be just an internet group, but I really find the face-to-face meetings helpful. There are free ones that are very comfortable for Christian Homeschooling Moms such as http://www.celebraterecovery.com/, and I’ve also found a lot of like-minded women at Overeaters Anonymous http://www.oa.org/. OA is not Christian, but they are very spiritual and encourage each member to discover their own concept of God. For me this is the God of the bible, and for 90% to 95% of the other members it is too. I admit that I’m the only member in a homemade jumper and headcovering, at least at my local meetings, but everyone is warm and kind and very encouraging. I’ve met women who have lost over 300-pounds and other who have Anorexia and proudly admit they’ve gained 30 pounds. I learned that you don’ have to be obese to struggle with food dysphoria. Plenty of normal, or only slightly overweight women struggle with food. Men too. OA and CR are both about finding a new relationship with food, where God is more important than the food is. They’re about letting God be in charge of food, instead of trying in my own faulty way to be in charge of it myself. I tried to lose weight on my own. I tried and tried and tried. My efforts were not enough. My efforts alone simply put me into the world of morbid obesity. I needed help from God and from other women who were willing to let God be in charge too. I found that help in OA and CR.

    For me personally, the food plan is a minor detail. It’s important, to be sure. But the really important part was changing my relationship with food so that it doesn’t make me feel crazy anymore. It doesn’t have unreasonable control over me and how I feel about myself and my self-worth. And when my relationship with food changes, it’s a lot easier to lose weight. I find that I don’t fall off the wagon as often, and when I do, it’s just a temporary condition and I can climb back in the wagon and continue on my way.

    Whatever you decide, I encourage you to keep trying. Small changes at first and then more changes as you go along. Slow weight loss is more likely to stay off forever, at least that’s what the experts say, and I believe it. I’m praying for you too, and thankyou for your prayers. Good Luck. It’s okay to mess up, just keep trying. 🙂

  7. Hey Maggie,
    I just wanted to update you on how things are going! Since my comment above I have seen 178 on the scale–but it’s back to 182 today–Christmas and all–I knew it would be hard. I didn’t follow the exchange plan too closely for the last few weeks–we’ve been entertaining extended family and eating at special meals–plus those Christmas cookies and buckeyes………….sigh. But the great news is that I am still hanging in there and have been on the treadmill! I sat down tonight and planned the exchanges for tomorrow using the 1600 plan. I was very surprised that I actually made it on paper at least!!! We’ll see how tomorrow goes. Sometimes I run out of carbs and are way short on protein and veggies but tonight, the planning went well! I think if I get some days figured out than it will be much easier because we repeat a lot of our favorite things here. I am like you and hate writing everything down and weighing and measuring but I think that once I get the hang of eating my favorite things in the proper portions it will be easier.

    I will look for support here in the new year like you suggested–although just knowing that you are out there going through the same struggle and are willing to share your experience is so encouraging to me. Thanks for this blog.

    Of course I mentioned that we are on a really tight budget–and I am finding that the protein and vegetable categories are some of the most difficult to meet. I know that veggies are one of the cheapest foods but fresh, organic lettuce for salads is a bit expensive and other vegetables require eating soooooooooooooo much of to make a serving! I canned a lot of green beans this summer from our garden, but I don’t want to eat 2 1/2 cups of green beans every day if you know what I mean! I am wondering if I could save money using a grow light and grow my own winter salad or if the electricity would void the savings? What do you think?

    As far as protein goes–we are so very blessed with a freezer full of turkey, meat chickens and 1/4 of beef and a bit of venison that we raised ourselves (all but the beef and venison) -oh and fresh eggs but I still find it difficult to plan enough protein into the daily meals. I have always used very little meat in our favorite dishes to make our meat stretch as far as possible and I add brown rice and beans to hamburger all the time, but I still struggle with this. I know that milk can be used as protein in a diet and in the summer months we are blessed to have fresh, raw goat milk. I just wonder how to change milk into a protein exchange? We also use way too much cheese which is high in fat but I think my family will revolt if I tried lower fat cheese–plus, we found a very inexpensive source of Amish cheese!

    So these are my challenges that I am facing–that and having 3 teenagers in the home at one time–what were we thinking???!!!

    Keep up the great work! Isn’t it thrilling that you and I both could possibly be at our ideal weights this time next year? I am praying for you! May God bless you in 2015!

    Your friend, Val

  8. Wow Val, good for you! I find the planning and recording of my meals to be the most challenging of all the tasks, but when I do it, I always lose more weight. Looks like you’re in good shape for protein, with your freezer full and the low-cost cheese. You mention that you run out of carbs by the end of the day, but are short on protein and veggies. If you’re not already using a high-carbohydrate plan, you might want to try one. Carbs are cheap and it’s a lot more frugal to use beans and peas and whole grains than it is to eat a lot of meat.

    I have found that dividing up the carbohydrate exchanges so that I eat an equal number at each meal, helps me to keep from over using them early in the day and then having none left for dinner. For instance, if you were using the High Carbohydrate 1600C meal plan, then you have 6 carbohydrate exchanges for the day. Eat 2 carbs for breakfast, 2 for lunch and 2 for dinner. Or if you want more for dinner, then try 1 carb for breakfast and 2 for lunch and 3 for dinner. The whole point of planning ahead of time is that it’s easier to “spend” your exchanges ahead of time, when you’re full and happy, rather than at the last minute when you just want whatever is fast and easy and makes your tummy stop growling.

    When I plan in advance, it’s a lot easier to make sure I get all of my fruit and vegetable exchanges in and don’t over use my carbohydrate exchanges. It’s not as “intuitive” as just cooking whatever I’m craving, but “intuitive” eating doesn’t always work for me, sometimes it just makes me fat.

    Milk exchanges are approximately equivalent to 1 bread exchange and 1 protein exchange. A cup of skim milk has fewer calories than 1 bread exchange and 1 protein exchange, but the protein and carbohydrate content is about the same. Milk has 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs, so that’s about 1 protein exchange and 1 starch/bread exchange. The calories are 90 for the skim milk and about 130 to 140 calories for an ounce of cooked lean meat and a slice of bread. The nutrients are different–milk supplies calcium and Vit D, which most protein and bread exchanges are lacking in. You really have to figure out what’s best for you.

    As for vegetables, first, Sprouts. You can sprout most dried beans, lentils, whole grains such as wheat, spelt, hull-less oats, hull-less barley, quinoa, buckwheat, and of course sprouting seeds and sprouting mixes are easy to find at most health food stores or online. Sprouts are cheap, cheap, cheap and they taste really good too. I’ve read about people sprouting sunflower seeds in a kitchen garden and then harvesting the green tops when they’re a few inches high. They don’t take up much room and the harvest is plentiful, plus sunflower seeds in the shell are very affordable. The kind used for bird-seed is very cheap, but I’m not sure about pesticide residue.

    Second, figure out which veggies are most abundant and available to you. You already mentioned home-canned green beans. That’s a great one, there’s no reason you can’t have a cup of those every day. Some other vegetables that are super cheap are large bags of frozen vegetables like broccoli or spinach. Fresh cabbage and carrots are super cheap. I get 5-pound bags of carrots for $2.59 and cabbage is almost always around 50-cents a pound. Even the organic version are under $1-pound. I have a method for using cabbage and carrots for salad, instead of lettuce that I’ll try to post today or tomorrow. Another benefit to cabbage and carrots is that they keep in the fridge for several weeks without deteriorating in quality. So if you shop once a month, you can still have fresh veggies at the end of the month. Onions, celery and turnips are pretty affordable too, and all taste good raw or cooked, and keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

    A lot depends on how much money you have to spend. If you have zero money then try sprouting some of the dried legumes or whole grains you already have. If you have a little money, then look for alfalfa seeds to sprout, and add some fresh cabbage and carrots. If you have a little more money, then add in some frozen broccoli or spinach, and maybe some fresh onions, celery or turnips too. If you have some sunflower seeds in the shell (unroasted) then google for “How to sprout sunflower seeds” and you should be able to find some really easy to follow instructions.

    Good luck Val, you’re doing great. It’s really hard, but you’re already on the right road. I’m praying for your success and continued motivation. 🙂

  9. Hi Maggie, still plugging along–we went through about 3 weeks of the flu so the diet got tossed and we went to survival mode! Now I’m back at it–not proud to say that I gained most of my efforts back in the last few weeks………..sigh. But, I am back on the diet horse so to speak! Thanks for your encouragement!

    • Hey Val, we all go into survival mode sometimes. We’ve had snow for a week and I admit I’ve done a lot more baking than I usually do. Plus we’re running low on fresh veggies and that means canned and frozen more often than not. It’s a matter of just keeping on, as best we’re able. Some days are great, other’s, no so much. But we don’t have to give up, we don’t have to stop. We can keep going, imperfectly, with mistakes along the way. The horse will throw up, but we keep climbing back on. One day at a time.

  10. One more quick question, Maggie–is there some website that will calculate the exchange values for foods? I have trouble looking at the carbs, Protien, fat, etc, and sometimes knowing what category to place a food in. Does that make sense? Hope you are doing well-praying for you!

  11. I have just found your blog and thank you very much for all of your recipes especially the dairy free. Your weight lose is amazing. You look beautiful.

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