My Weight Loss Progression Pictures

Most people understand why I post my weight loss progression pictures here and on my facebook page, but every now and then someone will express a concern that those pictures conflict with my general message of body acceptance. I’d like to take a moment to explain why I keep those pictures front and center.

By far, the main reason is to convey the TRUTH that there is no magic to weight loss and fitness. I did this without gimmicks, without fad diets, without restricting foods or macronutrients, without spending hours in the gym, without starving myself, without pills and potions, without dicipling myself to any fitness or diet gurus. My results have been dramatic, but the steps I took to achieve them were not. The key to my success, and to yours, is consistency. Good habits, practiced consistently, over time. Its not low carb, or low fat, or crossfit, or clean eating, or raw vegan, or paleo, or zumba, or gluten free or any other fad-du-jour with promises of easy weight loss and ‘ripped abs in 30 days’. It’s consistency. If I could put consistency in a pill and sell it to you, I’d be a millionaire. Because consistency WORKS. The evidence is right there in my progression pics.

I think it throws some people for a loop that I’m showing you these pictures, but not using them as a marketing ploy to sell you a magic pill. People don’t quite know what to make of that. Before/after pics are almost always used as a marketing ploy to sell magic pills (or fad diets, or workout programs, etc). But there’s no magic pill here, no promise of fast and easy weight loss and ripped abs in 30 days. Just the truth: if you make healthy choices, consistently, over the course of several years, you will have results as dramatic as mine. You won’t look exactly like me, because you have different genetics, but you WILL have dramatic results. Your health will improve and your body will change. It’s true.

I also share these pictures because I am NOT traditionally beautiful,
I frequently am on the receiving end of personal attacks against my body and my appearance…and yet I still think I’m awesome and love my body and believe that I am a valuable human being. I want to show my daughters (and you guys) that it’s OK to not fit into society’s little boxes. It’s ok that some people don’t like the way I look. People can call me ugly and say I look like a man until they’re blue in the face, and I still think I’m just fine exactly the way I am, and I think my daughters are fine exactly the way they are, and I think all of YOU are fine exactly the way you are. I share my pictures and allow the hate to roll off my back so that my daughters learn that they can allow hate to roll off their backs. Their worth is not defined by how well they fit into society’s boxes, or by what anyone else thinks of them. I’m proud of what my body is capable of, and I’m proud of the way I’ve turned my health around! The aesthetic changes are fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I’d MUCH rather show you pictures of my improved insulin sensitivity, or my no-longer-cystic ovaries, or my anxiety- and depression-free brain, or the migraines I no longer get. But I can’t, so I show you pictures of the ways the shape of my body has changed.

Finally, I share these pictures for a very pragmatic reason: they get people’s attention.
They draw people in, especially people who are trapped in the fad diet mental maze of restriction and dysfunction. And once I have their attention I can tell them the truth. You’re valuable. You’re worthy of love and respect. Your worth is not defined by your abs. I have visible abs and I’m telling you, they do not define me, and they do not define you. When was the last time someone with visible abs told you that you don’t have to have visible abs to be loved? Never? Well, maybe it’s time someone with visible abs told you: you’re worthy of love and respect regardless of the status of your abs. Maybe it’s time MORE people with visible abs started telling the truth: visible abs are not a barometer of health, or fitness, or desirability. Visible abs are nothing more than an indication of low body fat in the abdominal region. Nothing more. NOTHING MORE. And that’s the truth.

Sometimes, when you’re trying to change the world, you have to meet the world where it is.

39 thoughts on “My Weight Loss Progression Pictures

  1. The last time I commented, you asked me to look at other posts of yours. At that time, I actually had already looked at other posts: I didn’t want to judge you and your site based on only one post, and my comment was actually meant to give you a chance to clarify yourself. Tonight I decided to look through more posts and this one definitely caught my eye.

    So, in this post, you say ” if you make healthy choices, consistently, over the course of several years, you will have results as dramatic as mine.”

    Again, how can you claim that this is NOT a “one size fits all” approach to health and weight loss? How do you explain all the athletes who do make healthy choices, consistently and over extended periods, who don’t have those dramatic results?

    • The actual quote is: “if you make healthy choices, consistently, over the course of several years, you will have results as dramatic as mine. You won’t look exactly like me, because you have different genetics, but you WILL have dramatic results. Your health will improve and your body will change. It’s true.”

      Aesthetic changes are insignificant, as I conveyed in my post. Changes to health, self esteem and quality of life are where it’s at, and what we should focus on.

      • Please don’t intimate that I misquoted you; I c/p’d directly from your post. I quoted the part that I was responding to, which is why i did not include the whole paragraph.

        As I pointed out, there are people who make healthy choices, consistently, over a period of years, but their bodies don’t change. They do not have “dramatic results”. Your answer is basically a non-response to my question, which was: how do you explain that? How do you explain the people who make healthy choices, consistently, for years, but who do not have dramatic results?

        I agree that health and happiness are much more important than appearance.

        • Do you mean they don’t lose weight? Their shape doesn’t change? I don’t really care about those things at the end of the day. I’m more interested in people’s health and well being.

          I suppose I could have qualified that if you go from where I was – inactive with a poor diet – to consistently making healthy choices over the course of several years, your body will change. And I think that is true for everyone. Not everyone will look like me because they have their own unique genetics. But inactivity and poor diet produce a different metabolic state than regular activity and healthier choices in food.

          (I didn’t say you misquoted me, you just left out part of the statement that spoke directly to the question you were asking me.)

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    • Isn’t that funny? Because I weigh 165 pounds and am just about to tip into the ‘overweight’ category on the BMI charts. And I look exactly like I do in the last pic in my weight loss progression.

  3. You are a shining light in this world–I got really emotional reading this, because messages of self acceptance are so scarce in this world –especially for women. You are gorgeous inside and out and thank you for sharing this important message–your girls are lucky they have such an amazing mother as their guide.

  4. Wow! I love this and love you. As a nutritionist and someone who struggles to find time for exercise and cooking from scratch with two kids and a traveling husband, this resonated with me. I don’t fit into a perfect box and even though I am not exactly where I want to be YET, it doesn’t mean I am not good at what I do or that I am not a worthy person. I need to stop hiding behind not being perfect and just live. Thank you, thank you for that reminder and reinforcement!!!!

  5. You rock! Seriously, this message needs to be broadcast daily, like in a news crawl, on every screen people look at to begin to make a dent in our messed-up view on women’s bodies in our culture. Thank you for putting it out there…as I said, you rock!

  6. “People can call me ugly and say I look like a man until they’re blue in the face, and I still think I’m just fine exactly the way I am, and I think my daughters are fine exactly the way they are, and I think all of YOU are fine exactly the way you are.”

    While everything you wrote was important, I think that statement right there is the most important thing to take away from your blog. I spent the better part of 10 years trying every fad diet, waiting for a magic pill, and even daydreaming about finding a genie in a bottle to grant me my wish for the perfect body…but ultimately, I will never have a perfect body for everyone else, because there will always be critics, but I can have the perfect body for me. I have learned this, and so much of it from your blogs. I am still out of shape, but have been eating well and exercising and feeling incredible, and that makes me happy. And I have learned that is the most important thing!

    Thank you so much for your insight, experience, advice and genuiness. You certainly are changing the world!

  7. I totally love your philosophy, and your progress pics are very motivational. And I always love your comments on Facebook!

  8. I really appreciate your blog and your progress pics (and have sent the links to many people!) because you clearly show that it’s body composition/fitness and not the weight on the scale that matters. Your blog posts on body recomposition and calorie needs were things I read just when I needed them…thanks for the good info and no-BS approach to healthy activity. You look great and you write from the heart!

    Sadly, no matter what one’s appearance, there will be “critique”. No matter what you look like, it’s too X or not enough Y for SOMEONE, mostly aimed at women but increasingly at men as well). It’s the leftovers of a dying era, the same extinction burst that fueled all the reactionary hate and fear over cultural and demographic change during the last U.S. election cycle. Women and men are HUMANS, and humans display a breathtakingly wide variability in ALL of their traits. There are as many ways to be a woman or man as there are women and men and that makes us interesting (and able to survive, change, adapt, and thrive as a species). The lie of gender essentialism/oppositionalism is yet another load of BS we’re not buying anymore! The appearance critique speaks volumes about the speaker and says nothing of value or truth about the subject.

  9. I already have a lean body and find most of your concepts wise. Some of them give answers to what I have done all along and as you keep the good work of blogging about your progress in keeping fit, I will be getting more insights.

  10. Most web-media info newspaper types Have a hard time swallowing That knowledge is reached (mostly) by removing junk from peoples heads

  11. Anybody who says you look like a man (not that there’s anything wrong with that….) has got to get their eyes fixed. Men don’t have nice, rounded hips, and totally smooth skin.

    I do have one slight disagreement with you: ” It’s consistency.” Also genes, Amber. You changed your life, your exercise & eating habits, so that your genetic potential for muscularity and low body fat could be reached.

    A lot of women could not put on the amount of muscle you have even if they trained as hard. Genes do set the limit, although of course it is true that most of us never get close to that limit due to lifestyle.

    • Right. Which is why I said ‘You won’t look exactly like me, because you have different genetics, but you WILL have dramatic results. Your health will improve and your body will change. It’s true.’

      :)

      • Amber – Of course you referenced genetics. But some people won’t have dramatic results. With some of us, the results will be slight. It depends on the base. If you are starting out obese, yes.

        By the way I just read a book, THE CURE FOR EVERYTHING, by T. Caulfield, which supports your “lifting heavy” mantra. It’s changed my mind…..but I have to work up to this. The book is worth a read. I disagree with some of what he says, but not that.

        • I have a question for you. It’s something that I’ve wondered about for a while. You are the ideal person to ask.

          Do you think that being overweight during your formative years had a couple of good effects, which were: more developed musculature, and heavier bones? My theory is that muscles and bones grow and get stronger due to resistance – what if that resistance was sheer bodyweight, lugged around 24/7? I wonder this about myself. I was a fat adolescent/teen, and I am pretty muscular in the biceps and esp. thighs. I did not exercise a lot. Of course, genes and diet, but neither of my parents is particularly muscular. They were thin, wiry kids, kind of underfed, actually.

          What do you think?

        • Exactly: there are people who make consistently healthy choices and they don’t experience dramatic changes at all. There are many who “start out obese” and stay that way in spite of healthy choices.

  12. i hope everyone will agree, you look great from the front but we need more progress pics from the back ;). great job and keep it up.

  13. Love the message and the article :)

    How did your migraines go away? I am in active recovery from an ED that involved over exercising. Over the last 4 years I have developed HORRIBLE debilitating migraines daily….is there any way out of these forever? This is just ONE of the symptoms that developed out of my ED….there are many, many health problems that were created as well. Like not sleeping, irritability, loss of libido, interest in anything, cold hands/feet, sick all the time (and I MEAN almost every day for the last 4 years….something is wrong with me)

    I never dropped below 1800 calories during my over-exercise time period (but I always felt like I HAD to exercise in order to continue eating 2000 calories). But now I have been eating 3000-5000 calories (following the minnie maud guidelines) and I was just kind of wondering if this is something you may be able to elaborate on…and if not, I understand because I understand this is your personal story and you are just sharing it with us.

    Thank you!

    • something that helped my migraines go away is salt (sea salt is better, but use iodized if you have to). And yes, I come from an ED background too, recovering minnie maud style (3500+cals/day). I’ve been in full recovery for 2+ years. At first I crashed when I began eating again and it took ONE FULL YEAR to BEGIN to feel better (not dizzy, constantly hungry, bloated, achey, depressed). It will come. The reason salt helps is because my ED stressed me out so badly, my adrenals were out of everything, and salt helps support them, as well as put me to sleep at night. I often wound up in the ER due to electrolyte imbalance of sodium, not potassium. Salt your fruits, veg, rice, beans, oatmeal and fluids…keep away from the water at first, it just flushes you out. I’m not a doctor, but living through it, these have helped me immensely. You may want to give it a shot.

  14. I think you look fabulous for you, and I love that you are out there with your message even if you don’t look like the traditional, and likely juiced, fitness models.

    I agree that consistency is key, but if there is no magic diet, I suppose what you are saying is that good healthy wholesome food is the answer, and cutting out the junk. That’s primarily what I do wrong. I am tempted by all the junk and I wear it on my body.

    I exercise with weights and moderate heart cardio, so that’s not a problem. I guess what you are saying is that I need to be consistent about feeding my body for good health.

    • My diet is far from perfect, Diane. I make mostly healthy choices, most of the time, but I choose foods simply for pleasure sometimes too. Part of living a balanced life is not restricting oneself into a miserable corner. Eating food you enjoy is one of life’s great pleasures!

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  16. I can’t believe people attack your appearance so much because to me you are beautiful – I’m not sure what conventionally beautiful is any more nowadays but I’ve never seen a man who looks anything like you! I wish I was tall, lean and muscular too – I think people are threatened by you and translate that into criticising your appearance.

    It’s brilliant that you push people’s buttons and perhaps force them to ask themselves uncomfortable questions. The world needs more people willing to do the same.

  17. I really respect you and this page. You tell it like it is; I wish there were more Go Kaleos in the world. Thank you for your true genuine positive message!

  18. I can’t see your face in the last picture, but your body is ROCKIN’! And you’re gorgeous so it’s good that you don’t listen when people tell you otherwise.

    I love that your progression shows that a heavier weight doesn’t mean anything. Lifting weights is amazing for you!

    Great job, your pics are inspiring :)

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