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My Weight Struggles

Last Thursday I shared on Instagram how I lost 20 pounds in 2.5 months. I even included a fun before and after image. (If you’re not following me on social media you’re clearly missing out. Social media followers get all the breaking news alerts.)

before and after

Today I’m going to lay some groundwork about the lifelong struggle with my weight. Tomorrow I’ll explain how I lost the 20 pounds.

Truth: I have always struggled with my weight. Always have, always will. It’s something I’ve come to accept. Well, kind of. It sucks, but it is what it is.

Here’s what I call “The Evolution of Chelsea”. It’s your typical Midwestern mother’s photo collage of her child from grades K-12.

evolution of chelsea

In high school I lost 85 pounds with a mostly low carb diet and exercise. Using Christmas and birthday money, I purchased a treadmill for my 16th birthday. (Seriously, who does that?) I put over 1,000 miles on the treadmill in the first year. Looking back, I definitely had bouts of exercise bulimia, exercising 2-3 times a day.

Chelsea age 14Age 14

Chelsea age 20Age 20

Before our wedding in June 2011, I managed to shed 15 pounds without even trying that hard. I went to kickboxing classes once or twice a week. But we weren’t eating the best because all of my spare time was spent working on planning the wedding or DIY projects for the wedding. So we had a lot of fast food food or take-out in the months leading up to the wedding. But, like I said, I still managed to drop 15 pounds in the year leading up to the wedding.

chelsea wedding day

In the month after the wedding I had managed to pack on 10 pounds. 10 pounds in one month! And the kicker? I was actually eating better and working out more because I had the time. But the stress of wedding planning was over, which was clearly having an affect on my weight.

I fluctuated up and down with my weight, but nearly 2 years after the wedding I weighed almost 35 pounds more than on our wedding day. I felt miserable– physically and emotionally. I hadn’t been this big in 12 years. My clothes didn’t fit. I didn’t really feel like going out in public. And I most definitely didn’t want my photo taken.

The crazy weight gain was a mystery to Brad and me because I don’t eat that badly. I rarely get fast food, I rarely buy junk food, and my portion sizes are normal. I typically eat all of my meals at home. My idea of lunch is a salad with leftover chicken from last night’s dinner, not fast food or something like Panera. I will admit that I have a sweet tooth. But I’m not one of those people who will eat an entire box of cookies in one sitting. I can stop at two and call it a day.

I’ve heard something about women’s metabolisms changing/slowing down when they hit their late 20s so maybe that’s what I’m experiencing. (Is this one of the reasons why people say getting old sucks?)  Who knows. What I do know is that I needed to find a way to lose the weight in a healthy way. Not a fad diet. (I tried that last fall, lost 18 pounds, and gained it back and then some.)  Not with a crazy exercise routine. I needed something I could stick to and not feel like I was starving to death. And I’m pretty sure I found that with clean eating.

Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on exactly how I shed 20 pounds in 2.5 months.

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  1. Good Job!!! You look amazing!
    The only thing I’ve found that works for me is eating low carb. I started in November and lost 34lbs in 2.5 months. Now it’s all about maintaining. It’s a lifestyle change for real.

    1. Thanks, Ashley! Congrats on the weight loss! Yeah, unfortunately for my sweets-loving-self, low carb is what works for me too.

  2. Way to go! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story tomorrow!

  3. Good for you! And I’m one of those people who can, if I’m not paying attention, put on 5 pounds in a couple weeks. Can’t wait to hear your story.

  4. Great job! I hear you with weight struggles. I always have struggled and I think most women have. Now that I am mid-thirties–the metabolism has come to a dead halt! Can’t wait to read more tomorrow and thanks for sharing!

  5. Congratulations to you! You look fabulous! It’s awesome that you found something that works for you and I’m so excited to hear about it!!

    1. Thanks, Michael! I know you’ve been workin’ on your fitness lately with your Operation 20 lbs. Hope it’s going well for you!

  6. You look fabulous! Lucky for you, even when you are heavy you are pretty!! 🙂 And your hair is FABULOUS! Love your blog. Keep up the great work.

  7. Can’t wait to hear about how you lost the weight. I, too, have always struggled with my weight and now that I am single, I am trying to really take the time to focus on making myself the best person I can be for me and my son.

  8. Hi Chelsea! Loved the post and you looked fabulous at Haven! Keep it up girl.

  9. Great job Chelsea! You’re looking great! Weight is such a struggle! I lost a ton of weight in college and was pretty small for my wedding (I ordered the smallest size and it still had to be taken in) and then I got married and I dont know what happened. I guess I just got relaxed and happy because I gained like 20 lbs. in just a few months. I’ve been on a yo-yo ever since! Plus I went through the whole hips growing horizontally thing recently (never really had those or a butt until a few months ago). Can’t wait to hear all about how you did it!

    1. Thanks, Ashley! OMG, our after-wedding stories are nearly identical. Well, except for the hips and butt thing. I’ve always had both. 🙂

  10. I can SOOO relate. Those midwestern mom collages are in my northeastern mom’s house too and they look just like yours! Though I was in my late 20’s when I made a big shed. And now that I”m in my late 30’s there’s a lot that crept back. It is SO much harder to shed after the mid 20’s. Like you, my weight is been and has been my bff that I hate, with me all the time, gains or losses. So I feel you!! You look great and I can imagine feel great too with all that clean eating! 🙂

    1. Hah! I’m glad someone else can share in the splendor that is the K-12 photo collage. Weight can be such a jerk, can’t it?

  11. You are awesome! I’m really looking forward to reading your post about this tomorrow. I need to get my eating in order and this may be just the ticket.

  12. Good for you Chelsea! I am on the other end, just turned 45…the weight was never an issue until I hit my 40s. And, like you I eat well. I just recently found new doctors and boy what an eye opener. The very first thing I learned is that my body is not processing what I eat correctly…hence the weight gain despite my good eating habits. I look forward to hearing how you did it tomorrow.

    1. Very interesting, Lauren! I hope you’ve been able to put the doctors’ information to use in order to get a better handle on your weight.

  13. Well you are leaving me hanging, or maybe sagging? Possible clue in the clean eating comment, but I will try to be patient.

  14. You are so drop dead gorgeous I would have never guessed you ever struggled with your weight!!!! I clearly need to up my social media stalking because somehow I missed this weight loss update 🙂

    1. Well you win the best compliment award for this blog post. 🙂 It was so great meeting and chatting with you at Haven! I’ll have to hit you up whenever I head to STL to visit my dad. And yes, you most definitely need to up your social media stalking.

  15. So proud of you girl! You’ve inspired me to get my weight back on track. Can’t wait to hear all of your secrets tomorrow. and OH, LOVE THOSE PICS!!

  16. Kudos to you for adopting clean eating habits!! You look great! Starvation is NOT the way — the key is to be choosy with what you eat, and the most important thing is to FEEL great! You go, girl!

    1. Thanks, Trina! 20 pounds in less than a year is still awesome! I know what you mean though. I’d love to lose 20 pounds in 2 days. Someone needs to invent that technology.

  17. I totally know how you feel, though I was always the skinny kid growing up. Then, I hit college and while I didn’t gain the freshmen 15, I did gain the senior 30-35lbs. That was my heaviest ever, and I’ve battled since to try and get back down to my early college weight of about 135 (in an ideal world) – 145(what I can probably accomplish). Unfortunately, my fiance is one of those people who can eat anything they want and never gain a pound…but if I eat what he’s eating and when he’s eating…I gain weight. I had to move away for a job 3 years ago and we had to have a long distance relationship for about a year and a half ( I worked my butt off and managed to get down to a size 4 – I lost 30+lbs!) Then Tim left the army and joined me in California…and now, 2 years later I’ve gained it all back – and trust me, it didn’t take 2 years to gain it all…maybe 6 months – 1 year. I’ve started doing yoga and its helped me start ot make better healthier habits and I’ve begun losing weight again, this time for good, I think. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.

    1. I feel for you, Sara. My brother is one of those people who can eat whatever and not gain a pound. Thankfully (but in a way not thankfully, I guess), Brad is kind of like me. So he’s been (loosely) doing the program with me. He started using the My Fitness Pal app in April and has lost almost 20 pounds. It definitely stinks when your partner isn’t on the same wavelength in terms of eating because I’ve dieted without Brad and it was a lot harder. That’s great that you’ve had success with yoga and are losing weight again!

  18. “I dont eat fast food and I eat the majority of my meals at home, yet I was still gaining weight”. I feel like you just pulled the thoughts out of my head!! I am the exact same way. Over the past 2.5 years, i’ve gained 40 pounds. For a 28 year old, that is not normal. I started Weight Watchers in February and it has been the only thing that has worked even a little bit….and I do mean a “little bit”; I’ve only lost like 5 pounds since then. I cannot wait to hear how you managed to lose your 20 pounds. I am a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding in October, so I’m incredibly interested in seeing what you did and not being the fattie on the alter.

    1. Oh, Christa, I totally feel for you. I gained those 35 pesky pounds in less than two years so I definitely get it. While the program I follow is a lot more strict than WW it’s a lot easier in that you don’t have to count points. I’m sure you’ll be a gorgeous bridesmaid no matter what your size or weight but I get it. I’m one of those people who likes to put deadlines on myself for weight loss motivation.

  19. You really are a beautiful girl no matter what size you are, but serious props to you for deciding to make a change and then doing it!

  20. YOu look amazing, although I imagine Haven wasn’t the best help! I put on 4 pounds just last weekend, 2 are already gone, hoping to lose those (plus the 10 from drinking the summer away) in the next month!

    Stopping back tomorrow!


    1. Thanks, Jessica! Hah! You’re right– Haven didn’t help. I gained a few pounds, but like you, lost 2 within the first day home (it was most likely water weight for me). It was so great meeting and hanging out with you at Haven!

  21. Good for you! You look fantastic! Just thought I’d throw this out there, but you might want to get your thyroid checked. A few years ago I was feeling really sluggish all the time and gained about 10 pounds despite the fact that I work out 4/5 days a week and eat a pretty healthy diet. Turns out I had hypothyroidism (under active thyroid). I was put on medication immediately and within about 6 months I was feeling back to my old self and lost those pesky extra pounds. I also just found out I have a gluten intolerance and even though the weight came off I still always felt bloated. Well, I have now been gluten-free for one month and the bloating is gone (plus all of the other digestive issues that I had) and I have lost an additional 8 pounds.

    1. Thanks, Jenn! I wondered the same thing, but I get my blood work done every year and each year my TSH level comes out normal. In a way I wanted it to be my thyroid so I would have something to blame, but I’m kind of happy it’s not my thyroid so I don’t have to take medication for the rest of my life. I’m glad you found out about your hypothyroidism though. I’m sure that was a relief! My doctor has mentioned that I may be gluten intolerant. The program I’m following eliminates gluten and, like you, I’ve had great results in the bloat department. Congrats on the weight loss!

  22. Good for you! Keep it up. I agree your body changes a lot over the years and your metabolism too. And then again it changes once you have children. 🙂 I’ve recently lost 50 pounds since having my second baby. It’s hard but for the 1st time ever in my life I’m working out on a regular basis and watching my portions. And it’s paid off. Also, I’d encourage you to moderate your dairy intake as well, dairy is high in saturated fats that your body doesn’t need and you can get good healthy fats from fish and avocados just to name a few. Eliminating dairy from my diet helped me so much in battling my weight.

    1. Way to go, Andrea! That’s awesome! I have been moderating my dairy intake with the program I’m on. I haven’t had milk or cheese in almost 3 months. While I miss the cheese sometimes, I don’t really miss the milk.

  23. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! I feel like I’m reading my own story 🙂

  24. Hi, I agree with the advice to have a little medical review too. Maybe schedule an appt with a dietitian? Thyroid, depression, overall activity levels, detailed nutrition analysis, can all be helpful in setting you up for success for wt loss.. I’d be happy to recommend local RDs, email ime if you’re interested.

    1. Thanks, Jessica! I get a yearly blood workup, and my TSH level was normal this year so a thyroid problem was ruled out. I’ve found that the program I’m following has helped a lot with all the symptoms I had before starting the program.

  25. I can’t wait till tomorrow.

  26. Thank you for posting about this. Weight is always a really hard topic for women to talk about, but if we did it more it would be easier. Congrats on losing all the weight!

  27. Ok, secret stalker alert…haha I never comment, but I just wanted to say first of all KUDOS to the weight loss and for being brave enough to post about this! And secondly….try going to the DR (if you haven’t already) and get a full bloodwork test done. I recently did that and found out that my inability to lose weight had a lot to do with messed up hormone levels. Just an idea (and unwarranted advice, that I’m sure you’ll get a ton of haha)

  28. Great job on the weight loss!! I recently found your blog and I’ve been stalking away!! 🙂

    Part of my ‘grown-up to do list’ is to eat healthy. My biggest vice is pop – I just can’t do without it!! Please don’t get discouraged by your mystery weight gain. From my experience, people are just different. What causes one person to gain won’t effect another, and what works to lose for one person won’t always work for another. It seems like you’re on the right track so far!

    What I really started this comment to say – since turning 26, I have noticed a change in my metabolism. I find myself gaining weight without realizing it, and then staying firm at that weight no matter what I do. It also seems to some how redistribute itself – without gaining or losing, none of my clothes fit the same. It’s frustrating for sure – but you’re not alone! Keep up the good work!

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