18 Oct

That Weight Loss Challenge: Your Finale Photos

Posted by Jenna, Under weight

I know some of you have been waiting very anxiously for these. Thanks for your patience! It takes a long time to coordinate with everyone, get their pictures, stitch them together, make sure I’m allowed to use names nad faces and such. I think you’ll see it was worth the wait. Out of the dozens of entrants these are the 5 people who sent in results. Let’s see more next time okay?

E-8.12%

E writes the blog Wedding For Two and she is the participant who interacted with me most frequently using the hashtag #TWLC on Twitter. I’m looking forward to conversing with her again this round. Won’t you join us? Just attached #TWLC to your That Weight Loss Challenge related tweets and we’ll all be able to see them.

142 has been my happy weight in the past, and I think there’s a reason I feel good at this weight – it’s realistic for me to maintain and my pants fit.  I wanted to send my pics even though I didn’t make too much progress because I didn’t have that much work to do when I started (IMHO).  I think a lot of people didn’t join the challenge because they didn’t think they could win. I didn’t think I could win, but it’s been great anyway – I was so depressed after my wedding because I had gained 12 lbs, and couldn’t seem to get out of my rut, so TWLC was perfect for that.  I’m now working very hard to get stronger and faster, rather than focusing on weight loss (especially after my SIL’s wedding, when my MIL and husband’s great-aunt told me I looked “perfect” and that I should stop trying to lose!).

J-9.45%

S-11.54%

A-16.46%

And the winner is….

P- 23.27 % (!!!)

She was nice enough to write up some details about her experience and how she worked to lose it thus far.

I did learn a very important lesson from all of this and that is… DO NOT WEAR BLACK IN “BEFORE” PICTURES. After taking these pictures, I was pleased but felt like they did not do

all of my hard work justice. I was kind of bummed about it so I thought to myself, ” Hmm… other than seeing me in person, how can people see the major difference?”. After some thinking, I decided to include a piece of clothing that I still have in my closet that I wore before losing all of this weight that told a story.

The two pictures on the left are of me in a jacket I had purchased for myself for a family photo session a little before starting TWLC. It was time for updated family pictures and I needed a new outfit. I remember going to the Lane Bryant, picking out my size and feeling like it was 10 sizes too small but it was the biggest size available and I was in a hurry.

So I bought it. I got home, put it on, felt like a whale, and left the house for picture time. Before taking pictures i kept thinking to myself, ” This is too tight. I am so embarrassed. I am going to look ridiculous. Oh yea, and by the way, this moment is being documented forever in a photograph.” I put a smile on for the camera but could wait to go home. At that point my self esteem was right up there with Eeyore.

I remember going home, racing to my closet, and stuffing it in the back of my closet where it could never see the light of day again. fast forward 10 months later, and today I had a crazy idea! I was going  to pull the jacket out and well….. The after picture attached above says it all. :)

I’m so glad I was able to participate in TWLC. I needed a jumpstart to a new lifestyle and this challenge gave me just what I needed. You know how people say, ” My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I can’t eat like I did when I was a teenager.”   That’s never applied to me. All my life I’ve struggled with my weight. I’ve always been a big girl. Sometimes a little bit big and sometimes really, really big. But always BIG.  Growing up, it was really hard for me to understand why everything I ate affected me in a completely different way than it did those around me. Why could people my age have pop, chips, pizza, tator tots, doughnuts, and junk food galore without gaining more than a pound? But if I even so much as licked a french fry, I’d gain 5 lbs. Why was that? Why did I get the label of careless, obese, unhealthy person when I was just another student lined up in the cafateria waiting to load up on junk? It didn’t make sense and it didnt seem fair.

I remember many times in high school when I would go to lunch with some friends of mine. We stopped at a gas station and everyone went their seperate ways to find what they wanted. As you can imagine,everyone’s meals consisted of deep fried corndogs, pizza pockets, potato wedges, fountain drinks big enough to quench a camel’s thirst, and of course ranch dressing. With that kind of diet, you’d think we’d be a group of sumo wrestlers, right?

Nope.

A car full of size 2 & 4′s.  Excpet for me, size 24. When I graduated high school, I was sick of being fat. Everything I ate made me gain weight and I couldn’t take it any longer. So that summer I decided once and for all I was going to lose weight and get rid of my gross body. I wanted to feel beautiful and I sorry, but beautiful on the inside wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. So I went on a crash diet. In other words, I starved my self and exercised like I was training for a marathon. The pounds starting melting off and I starting feeling fabulous.

10lbs down.

20lbs down

45lbs down.

and in 4 months, I was 60 LBS DOWN!

I was gettin compliments left and right and it felt great. It motivated me to keep doing exactly what I was doing. Only, what I was doing was wrong.  I was on a strick diet on eating 1000 calories and working out to burn 900 calories a day. When people asked me how I did it, All I needed to tell them was diet and exercise. No one needed to know exactly how much diet and exercise. I knew it was a BIG NO NO. But I couldn’t stop. The results were incredible. I felt like I finally had control over something that had control over me my whole life. .

One morning I was taking a shower and while rinsing out my conditioner, a HUGE glob of hair came with it. And then it hit me. I was doing this all wrong. I was heading right into eating disorder territory and I wasn’t about to go from one extreme to the other. I needed to find a balance. Eventually I did, and within a year I had lost a total of 100 lbs.  I kept the weight off for almost a year.

The follwing year I got married. Long story short, we got “comfortable”….. and I gained it all back. AND MORE. I got too busy with work to exercise. I worked in a mall and my lunches consisted of the food court. It was like being a teenager all over again and the food court was like a never ending gas station. I started feeling so gross and I gained the weight back so quickly that I felt like a balloon. I was back to square one. Within 3 years of marriage, I managed to not only return to my biggest weight, but also exceed it. It didnt happen by sitting by a fridge and eating all day long. It was from eating all the wrong food.

Thats when That Wife comes into the picture.  A whole new world was opened to me. I learned all about how food isn’t the bad guy. It’s what we, as people do with food that makes it the bad guy. I learned the word ORGANIC. I learned that fruits and vegetables arent just side dishes and 2nd place to meat. I learned that I didn’t have to starve myself to lose a pound. I didn’t even have to go without. Rather, I had to learn how to replace the bad stuff with the good stuff. TWLC came at a perfect time in my life. I was learing all about this new way of living and now this was the time to see if it really worked. I took all of what I learned from Jenna, added a few of my own things, tweaked it to work around my life, and went full force to healthy living. I wanted to become my best self!

For the last 10 months My grocery shopping has changed from mostly processed/frozen food, to what you see below. And from that, my meals started to change as well. Do I eat like this every single day? No. But 6/7 days I try to. I am not yo yo dieting. This has become a normal part of my daily life. And I love that I am doing it in all of the right ways this time. I feel great, I love to cook new things, and I am happy with switching to this way of living. I exercise as often as I can. I drink plenty of water. and I eat well. I feel great. Has it paid off?  I think my before/after pictures answer that one.

I’ve lost over 20% of my body fat so far. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way, and I plan to go ALL THE WAY.

Congratulations to P! I’m really looking forward to the photo session we will schedule sometime in the next year when we are in the same place. I just know by that time she will have made even more progress!

46 Comments


  1. Woo Hoo! Great job ladies! I love these types of posts.

    And P – You get it, sister! I know you can reach your goal and you’re looking amazing already! Even your skin looks more radiant! Lots of luck!

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  2. That’s awesome! Congrats P and all the other ladies on your successful weight loss! It makes me wish I had joined TWLC2! Oh well. I can try on my own!

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  3. Yay!!! Congratulations to all of you! What a massive success!!

    I have to shamefully admit that I was right up there with P the entire time…in fact, for most of TWLC I was in the top 3. I lost 50 pounds.

    Then, I moved out of my house, started the hardest class of my PhD, and ultimately ended up filing for divorce, and starting a somewhat new job, and dealing with back to back deaths (all within the months of May and June). I ended up gaining about 5 pounds (making my total loss about 45 at the time) and felt SO ashamed that I couldn’t “finish” TWLC by sending Jenna my pictures.

    TWLC was a really rewarding experience for me. The reason I didn’t sign up for TWLC2 (because I could REALLY stand to lose those pounds I gained back…I’m up a few more now) is because weight loss is, more than anything, a mental challenge for me. And I’m just not ready.

    TWLC helped me learn something really important-I’m addicted to food. I wrote a post for another blog about it recently.

    Jenna, if it’s ok with you, can I share the post here in the comments? It has my “before” pictures–I didn’t take formal afters because once I moved I couldn’t find my previous clothes and I had no one to take my pictures, so the best I have is a few cell phone pictures.

    I’m so proud of all of you for participating and making a difference in your lives.

    Ellie Reply:

    Kari, I hope things are going well for you – I really enjoyed following your journey (weight loss and otherwise) on your blog and I hope you keep writing about it when you are ready!

    Kari Reply:

    Thanks, Ellie!! :) I’m actually doing really, really well! Just not in the weight loss department! One thing at a time!

    For those of you who want to read about my trials and tribulations with my weight (and see my before and after photos), go here: http://www.nodakademic.com/2011/10/because-im-addicted-to-food-guest-writer.html

    Courtney Reply:

    Ditto! Miss the blog! Great post on Nodakademic.

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  4. That is just awesome – to everyone involved and to the winner!! Good work!!! I love reading a good success story – reminds me that consistency and small changes over time really do make a difference!

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  5. wow! great work everyone – you are all an inspiration!!

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  6. Congratulations to all of you! You all look beautiful and are such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your stories!

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  7. Wow you did such a great job!

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  8. Congratulations to all you ladies – you look fabulous. And thank you to P for writing such an inspiring message.

    You should all be so proud of yourselves for your hard work!

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  9. Awesome job, P!!! So proud of you! Great job to everyone!!

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  10. I’m going to take some more “before” pictures! Now I see ways in which mine could be so much better. Would it be okay to do that and keep them until the end or do I need to send them in?

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  11. wow, congrats everybody! p – you are looking great!

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  12. WOW! I am so much more motivated to get it in gear for TWLC2!!

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  13. Congrats to everyone involved. You’re so inspiring!

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  14. Congrats to everyone because the improvements are amazing! Even bigger congrats to P because, girl, you have made so many amazing changes and I LOVE that you can rock that jacket now.

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  15. Congrats to you ladies!!! I REALLY wanted to participate the 1st time around, but was pregnant and couldn’t. I ended up losing the baby at 14 weeks. I was SO psyched to join the 2nd round of the challenge, but just found out we are expecting again! I’m very excited to be expecting again, but hoping I can do one of these one day, :). You ladies look great!

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  16. Congrats to everyone! P’s story is really amazing and inspiring – I love the before/after pictures of the jacket. That’s a huge difference!

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  17. Wow! Great job to all of you! You are all so inspiring :)

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  18. I’ll admit it. I teared up a bit when I read P’s story. Way to go girl. You are an inspiration. I am also on a weight loss journey. A year after getting married I was dangerously close to 200 lbs. They may not sound horrible to some people who are working to get down to that weight but I think anytime you come close to another “hundred” it is shocking. I have managed to lose 25 lbs just by eating out less. It is amazing. Now I am starting to integrate running and strength training. Every time I see someone do it on their own I find it amazing because it is so challenging to change your life and your habits. Congratulations on your weight loss! I hope to be like you and continue to become healthier and happier.

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  19. Outstanding! You definitely can see changes in all of the after pictures. Great job everyone! It all starts somewhere.

    Thanks for your post, P. The pictures of you with the jacket are amazing. A HUGE difference! You should be so proud of your accomplishments! Loved the food photos too. I like to see what others use as food staples. Especially when trying to eat healthy.

    I may have missed it, but are you continuing on with TWLC2?

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  20. Everyone looks so good. I hope I can join in on this post for TWLC2!

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  21. Way to go ladies!

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  22. Awesome, everyone!!! SO proud of you!

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  23. Great Job everyone!!! You all look AMAZING!!

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  24. super inspiring, ladies!!

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  25. Congrats to all! Everyone looks fabulous. And P’s story is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. Lisa Rank says:

    Wow! Congrats to everyone. Thanks to P for sharing her journey. I can really relate and her story will be an inspiration to me.

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  27. I am so very proud of P, and everyone else. I went to high school with P, and I know just how hard she struggled being bigger in a school of itty-bitty girls (because I had a similar problem). It is truly inspiring to see and read her story, she has done an amazing job! I have seen her in person and she is right, these pictures don’t do her handwork enough justice she look stunning :)

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  28. Congratulations, ladies!! Way to go! I wish I’d joined you.

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  29. Great job everyone! I’m participating in TWLC2 and looking forward to getting healthy and in shape.

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  30. Congratulations! You all look beautiful and have given me some extra motivation! Thank you:)

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  31. P – I loved reading your story, thanks for sharing!

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  32. You go girl! Everyone looks beautiful!

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  33. YYYYEAH! This was SO inspiring to see! Everyone looks FABULOUS! What a wonderful and HEALTHY contest :)

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  34. Hotness all around! Wow! Way to go chicas, so inspirational!

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  35. Congratulations everyone! P’s story really made me want to cry. I’m so happy for you! As a teenager I tipped into eating disorder territory and still battle sometimes. It’s such a great feeling when you do it the right way, getting to where you feel great and healthy.

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  36. All of you should be so proud! And P, what a fantastic story! I hope things keep going in the right direction for you because you deserve it, girl!

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  37. this is realy inspiring! Its hard being a bigger girl and seeing what i consider small people loose weight. they fret about 10 or 15 lbs. im like please! but the last story is more relate able. I know i missed the dead lines for TWLC but i still want to send in before and after pictures.

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  38. Seriously motivating. Now I am kicking myself for not getting my before pictures submitted on time for TWLC2! Also, seeing the pictures makes me realize they are not as intimidating as I had imagined. I’m going to take some this evening for myself. After only seeing Jenna’s I struggled to figure out how to do them without a tripod or other person around and somehow I thought a mirror would distort everything. I guess I have to just hope there is a next time now.

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  39. All of the finalists look awesome, but P, you look amazing! Good for you for doing this the right way and for making such good changes! I appreciate that you wrote about your struggle and what you’ve done to change things. I totally identify with your story. You’re doing awesome! Good luck in the future!

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  40. Congratulations everyone! VERY impressive!

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  41. Awesome job girls! I need to go on a diet myself. I have had a hard time with working so much lately it has made it easy to live of delivery and fast food.

    Congrats once again to all the ladies for such a great job. You have all inspired me.

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  42. Congratulations girls, you have all done so well. Thank you for sharing!!

    P – you are an inspiration!! Your story has both moved and motivated me, thank you :)

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  43. Congratulations ladies! And kudos for putting your results out there. P- It sounds like you have a great head on your shoulders and lots of success ahead of you!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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