Before and After

All righty, friends.  I am going to post the promised before and after pictures here, but I feel like I first have to acknowledge the fact that this feels ridiculously narcissistic and like I am fishing for compliments and oh boy.  I mean, I am not even that uncomfortable about the unflattering fat pictures, but the whole exercise of posting a bunch of pictures of myself is just not my style.  You may have noticed that the photos I post here are mainly of my food, my dog, my neighborhood, or random items in my house.  Occasionally they are of my friends or my friends’ children.  They are almost never of me.  I mean, yes, having a personal internet computer blog journal is narcissistic enough, I realize.

Well, enough dithering.  Here we go:

I have a long-standing tradition of taking a self portrait in the mirror every year on my birthday.  I figured showing you the last five birthdays would be a good way to illustrate the slow gain (and then loss) of weight.  But then when I put the pictures together, I realized that wasn’t going to work:

28.diagonal doppelgänger
30
31.B-Day

(December 12 of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009)

In the first four pictures, you can see my face getting a bit fatter as time goes by, but that’s all.  By the fourth one (December 2008), only about 75% of my face is in the frame — and not just because it’s gotten fatter, but because I had to keep getting closer and closer with the camera so that my body wouldn’t be in the shot.  Yeah. Clearly I was fooling no one with that.

But let’s try again:

In order to show you the real deal, I had to get drastic and ask my friend Brunbec for a particularly bad picture of me.  When I started losing weight, she said she had found an old picture of me from that 2008 birthday party that she would show me when I was ready. Well, I guess I’m ready.

Before we get to that really bad one, though, let’s take a quick look at what I looked like in early grad school, before I started gaining weight:

Alligator Cheesecake

That’s me (left) and my two BFFs, Ememkay (center) and Clarabella (right), at Jacques-Imo’s in New Orleans.  December 2003, I believe. That night was such a great one. I ate one of the single most delicious food items of my entire life: a savory cheesecake made with alligator sausage. I’ll never eat it again (due to being vegan now), but I’m sure many great meals are in store for me and these ladies in the future.

So.  That was the normal me back then.

Now let’s just check out what I looked like at (I think) my fattest, on my birthday in December 2008. This is the camera-phone picture Brunbec sent me this afternoon, when I declared myself finally ready to see it. I think it may be the only full-body photo of me from the fat days — that I know of:

Before

That’s me on the night of my 31st birrthday. We had a great party with many fancy martinis, and I’m happy to say that the fun we had that night is what I think of when I look at this photograph that Brunbec sent me. But can we acknowledge my size?  Hoo boy.  I am guessing my weight there to be [gulp] about 250+ pounds. That dress was size XXL, and my pants size back then was a 20.

And here are a couple of after pictures:

Getting Ready

This is me getting ready for my friend OXR’s wedding last month — May 2010.  It was a gorgeous day and I had a wonderful time at the wedding.  Like the birthday picture above, what I see here is just a reminder of a great occasion shared with dear friends.  But, yeah, I also look pretty OK.  Weight here is about 155; I’m wearing a size medium.

And finally, here’s one I snapped today:

[175/365] After

I’m mostly excited about these new jeans I got on clearance at the Gap yesterday.  They were originally $69, on sale for $29, with an additional 40% off.  What the what?! I only paid about $18 for them! I think they look pretty good, too.  Weight here is about 147, clothing size 6.

So there you have it.  I am going to brace myself, exhale, hit publish, and then go hide somewhere.

18 thoughts on “Before and After

  1. Ashley June 24, 2010 / 8:05 pm

    Ok, how about instead of narcissistic we call you courageous and awesome! I think you have done something amazing and you deserve to let everyone know. You look fantastic and I am so jealous of your jeans.

  2. MC Etcher June 24, 2010 / 8:32 pm

    Wow! We’re looking at the results of a lot of hard work and discipline! What was the catalyst?

  3. Kerri Anne June 24, 2010 / 8:36 pm

    Kate! You are so fantastic. And you are beautiful, inside and out. A size 20 to a size 6 (the healthy way!) is so damn inspiring. And totally kick-ass. I totally just want to throw you a parade right now. Or maybe just a really awesome party where we ride bikes (because your bike looks rad), because is it just me, or are parades sort of creepy?

    And I was totally at Jacques-Imo’s last April! Which I’m just considering as further proof that we were meant to be bloggy BFFs.

  4. Kate June 24, 2010 / 8:58 pm

    Ashley – Thank you! That is a nice way to see it. And — Gap is having some crazy sale right now so maybe check it out! You are doing great on your fitness quest too. I hope the run injury isn’t slowing you down too much. I had those all the time but rest and taking it slow will help it go away.

    MC – Thank you! It was actually just an ongoing thing. I kept trying and failing, off and on, forever. The one that worked happened after I had been vegan and going to the gym for 6-8 months without losing weight and I finally had to give in, relinquish my stubbornness, and start counting calories. When I lost 4 lbs the first week, that was motivating enough to make me stick with the counting.

    KerriAnne – Thank you! You are too kind. And I am totally with you on the parade thing — I was in many of them as a marching band nerd back in the day, which was nice and all, but watching them is often less fun. And Jacques-Imo’s! DAMN that place is fantastic! It was so crowded that night, I remember, that we couldn’t sit in the main part of the restaurant and we wound up in that satellite/annex room with crazy under-sea images painted all over the walls, which you can kind of see. Despite (or because of?) the weird atmosphere, we just loved it!

  5. Ruby June 24, 2010 / 9:39 pm

    I am proud and jealous of your hotness. I am inspired to get off my fat ass and burn more. LOTS more. Love you, honey! AWESOME!!!!

  6. Katie June 25, 2010 / 12:41 am

    Kate, you are awesome. Like, super, super awesome. I am so proud of how far you’ve come, and I know you’re inspiring tons of people to get off their own lazy butts and make a difference in their way of life (myself included). Keep it up!

  7. Kristen June 25, 2010 / 7:38 am

    I’m totally blown away. I mean, knowing you only as an internet buddy, I knew you were on a quest, and I knew that quest had been successful, but I honestly had no grasp of the magnitude. DAMN, girl.

    So, yeah. You’ve inspired me and I will begin counting calories (as soon as I kick this cough). Because, jeez, if you can do all that, I can drop the 15 or 20 I’ve been fighting with the last couple of years, right? Right!

    (PS – Your “after” photo just got a couple of “wows” from my husband, and he doesn’t just “wow” at everybody, so good job on being all hott (and healthy, of course))

  8. pseudostoops June 25, 2010 / 8:28 am

    I LOVE that your bike is in the last picture with you. It’s like a perfect homage to hard work and major life changes. Like Kristen, I hadn’t fully grasped the magnitude of how far you’ve come until seeing these. Totally inspired.

    (Also, feeling like I want to proposition you for future half marathons or triathlons or something. Interested?)

  9. cazza June 25, 2010 / 8:36 am

    WOW!!!!! You look amazing (nice outfits too!). (That last picture is so Danish-looking.) Your transformation is inspiring, not just because you lost weight, but because you were able to finally just dig in and reverse a situation you were unhappy about. I need to apply that sort of motivation to the career area of my life…

  10. clarabella June 25, 2010 / 10:26 am

    Again…there is *something* in my eye.
    I have told you a million times how impressed & proud of you I am, so blah, blah, blah, right? 🙂
    You look amazing. Absolutely amazing, and I am just so glad that I know how happy you are with all the changes you’ve made in your life & diet & all that jazz. And how far you’ve come!
    Also, I am *totes* jealous (like REALLY) of those jeans. Also, I am jealous of the tiny waist you are wearing them on. Sigh. (I shall have to tell you of my gym saga soon.)
    Oh, and can I just flash right back to that NoLa picture for a minute and ask how cute are all of us in our textured blazers? Ree-diculous. Also, alligator cheescake…drool. I’m sure it only had about 1000 calories. But I’m also sure it was worth it. One of the top 10 meals of my life.
    Miss you. Stressed to the max. Chat this weekend? Tonight?

  11. melanie June 25, 2010 / 11:52 am

    oh my stars. this is fantastic! i am so proud of you! can we talk about the satisfaction of shopping at the gap for a minute, cost aside? seriously, k, and i don’t mean to get all oprah-y here, but i am so inspired by you! thanks for sharing.

  12. Kate June 25, 2010 / 12:47 pm

    Ruby – Thank you! Get out there and do it; you’ll feel great!

    Katie – Thanks! You are definitely getting out there and doing it — glad you are liking your new bike!

    Kristen – Thanks! You can definitely do it! You just have to be vigilant about the counting, in my opinion, and it will happen.

    Pseudo – Thanks! It’s funny; that’s just where my bike sits (unless I have company, then I hide it in the office), but it does work in the picture. And I am definitely up for being sports-propositioned!

    Cazza – Thanks! It’s funny you say that, because I have been thinking to myself lately that I can/should apply the same strategies to my financial and career situations. If I can budget calories I should be able to budget money, right? And to put more effort into my scholarly career? Yes, I should. Let’s do it!

    Clarabella – Thank you — and also, THANK YOU for listening to me all these months and being so wonderful and supportive in every way. I mean it. And yeah, are we not so adorable in that picture? I just love that one of us three. I will text you later about a phone chat!

    Melanie – Thanks! I am definitely enjoying the shopping possibilities, especially now that I am done losing weight and I can start buying clothes to keep, not just ones to wear for a while and then give away. (And don’t forget to take some pics of yourself to document your own fitness accomplishments! You’re doing great!)

    TO EVERYONE: Thank you all so, so much for the kind words here. You all are incredibly warm and nice people. I’m glad I could share all of this with you all and have such positive and supportive responses. Thanks for letting me air it all out!

  13. Danimal June 25, 2010 / 1:56 pm

    So…. the counting, with the calories.

    Being moderately aware of numbers, I understand the principle that if you burn more than you eat, some kind of magic happens.

    And I know there are programs out there that suggest how to go about it without being hospitalized.

    But I’m just curious about what did YOU do? I.e. how many more calories per week did you aim to burn than eat? What was a comfortable rate?

  14. Kate June 25, 2010 / 4:22 pm

    Well, They say that 2 lbs a week is the most a person should lose, so that’s the most these programs will figure for you. To burn 1 lb, you have to burn 3500 calories more than you eat. So 2 lbs a week = a calorie deficit of 7000.

    At my starting weight, the Lose It! app had me eating about 1500-1600 a day. By the time I was down to only 10-20 lbs to lose, my body weight was so much less that it wanted me to only eat about 1200. (Smaller people burn fewer calories just being alive, so to get that 7000 per week deficit, I’d have had to go lower.) At that point I told the app I only wanted to lose 1.5 lbs per week because I just didn’t want to go that low. So i was allowed to have 1300-1400 ish to during that time.

    This would all be totally different for a guy — guys burn more calories just being alive, and thus can eat more and still create the deficit. Check one of those sites to see what they recommend for you.

    A NOTE ABOUT LOSE IT!: Lose It! gives you a calorie goal for the day, say 1500. So say you eat 1500 but you also go to the gym and burn 500. It will tell you your net calories are 1000, and you “can eat 500 more calories today.” I never did that. If I had eaten my 1500, I stopped there, exercise or no exercise. This was something I heard on Jillian’s now defunct radio show/podcast — she says with apps like that DON’T “eat back” the calories you burn through exercise unless you are trying to maintain weight.

  15. Danimal June 25, 2010 / 4:49 pm

    I burn more calories JUST BEING ALIVE!

    (Kind of makes me want to bang on my chest and shout I AM RAY! or something. Sorry.)

  16. Timothy June 25, 2010 / 7:43 pm

    Despite the math being simple, what you’ve accomplished is bloody hard (like you don’t know). Amazing job, you look great and the whole mess has been pretty inspirational on a “damn, fitness!” level.

  17. Sho June 26, 2010 / 9:57 pm

    Just wanted to join the choir and also say that YOU ARE AWESOME! Your fitness regimen inspired me to get back into being consistently active and it’s been so great. Thanks for documenting the whole process and encouraging myself and others!

  18. Kate June 28, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    Danimal – Diabetes is not invited to YOUR pizza party!

    Timothy – Big thank you.

    Sho – Big thank you to you too — and thanks for being my online running buddy!

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