5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Lost 115 Pounds

On her second "fit-versary," DietBet host Stephanie shares the 5 things everyone should know before they embark on a weight loss journey.

I was in the dressing room of a plus size store.

I was staring at the girl in the mirror.

I was transfixed… and a girl who I no longer recognized was looking back at me.

My thoughts started going 100 MPH: how did I get that big... how did I become that out of control? It was a dark moment, one in which I recognized I was slowly killing myself with food, alcohol, and carelessness. I sat in that dressing room and cried my heart out. It took everything inside me to finally look back up and promise the girl in the mirror that I would do better. That’s how I took my life back. It was as simple and as complicated as that, and my life changed forever.

I would later learn that I weighed over 335 lbs in that moment. Two years later, I am down over 115 lbs and committed to living a healthy and active life with a focus on health and sustainability. No crash diets, no gimmicks… just hard work and good food. I lift heavy in the gym, I do yoga in class and at home, and do interval cardio to supplement my training sessions. I have been documenting my journey since day one on my Instagram @fat_to_fit_darling and host several Diet Bets every year- the next beginning on Monday, October 17.

In celebration of my 2 year “fitversary” I’m sharing 5 things everybody on a weight loss journey should know:

1. Success will not be a consistent upwards climb.

Your weight loss or fitness journey will not look like a beautiful graph chart with an arrow consistently moving up and out from either axis. My success graph chart looks a little more like a toddler with a marker had tried to draw a straight a line… and we all know how that would turn out: marker on the carpet, the walls, the ceiling, and eventually up their nose. Plateaus and setbacks will happen whether you’re doing everything right or not. Neither is an excuse to stop or to give up. Every good or bad choice you make is having an impact on your body whether you see it or not. Keep going.

2. Invest in yourself and your health.

I used to tell myself that I could never afford a trainer, but when I began my journey, I sat down and calculated all the money that I was spending on enabling my unhealthy lifestyle. I spent hundreds every month on junk food, Starbucks coffee, alcohol, fast food, meals out, plus size clothing, and my increasing stack of doctor’s bills from obesity-related illnesses. So I took that money, and invested it in myself instead. A good pair of sneakers and training sessions. It was the best gift I ever gave myself.

3. Rest is part of the program.

When our motivation is strong, especially in the beginning of our journeys, it’s easy to go all in and to push ourselves every day. Unfortunately, that’s how we burn ourselves out and set ourselves up for injury. I train 6 days a week and schedule a rest day. If I need more than one rest day a week, I take it. Learn to listen to your body, and know that when you’re tired it’s okay to rest, but not to give up.

4. Take note of your Non-Scale Victories.

The number on the scale is an important one, but it is not the only way to measure health and fitness. It is so easy to fixate on that number, and to become discouraged when it moves slowly or not at all. I take note of several measurements as part of my bigger picture approach. I take progress photos in the same clothes, in the same pose, from the same angle, and with the same camera biweekly. I take body measurements every month: neck, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, and biceps. I notice my mile getting faster, I notice my squat getting heavier and I notice my jeans getting bigger- all of which still happen when the scale isn’t moving.

5. Comparison is the most exquisite form of self-destruction.

Do not compare your body, your weight, or your progress to other people. We all carry weight differently, lose weight differently, and have different results. There is no cookie cutter program that works for every person because we are all so different! Find what works for you, stick to your convictions, and keep going.