I've lost more than 120 pounds. Here are 7 things I wish I knew before I started my journey.

Jennifer StillThe author, before and after her weight loss.
  • I have lost 120 pounds over the last year.
  • While it has been a journey, there are some things that I wish I knew beforehand.
  • From the cost of clothing to expectations not being met – here is everything I wish I knew before I started my weight-loss journey.

When I began my weight-loss journey a little over a year ago, I felt pretty well-prepared for the hard road I had ahead of me. However, hindsight is always 20/20 and now that I’ve dropped more than 120 pounds, I realise I wish I’d known some things much earlier.

Progress isn’t always linear.

While you’d expect the number on the scale to go down consistently since you’re exercising and eating a caloric deficit, weight loss – especially when you have a significant amount to lose – doesn’t always work that way.

There were times when I stepped on the scale the day after a particularly intense workout and low caloric intake day expecting to see a lower number and instead it was higher. It was always a bit of a bummer, but I soon realised that everything from hormones to sodium intake can affect the scale by a few pounds on a day to day basis. It’s better to look at your weight loss over a month or more to see the overall trend and keep from getting discouraged.

People will try to derail you regularly.

Chocolate cakeKoOlyphoto / ShutterstockPeople will question why you are passing up treats.

It’s not that they’re doing it maliciously, they’re just “trying to be nice.” If you work in an office, the blank stares you’ll get when you refuse a piece of Janice’s birthday cake or decline to order burgers for lunch with everyone else can be a bit unnerving.

Same goes for saying “no thanks” to the extra portions of your mum’s brownies at dinner or cake at your cousin’s wedding. It’s amazing how angry people will get about what you’re not eating, but they didn’t seem to care too much when you wanted to overeat.

It was hard to stay strong sometimes but ultimately, I knew I had to get my health in order so I just kept going. And eventually, everyone will get used to your new eating patterns too.

Your diet matters more than you think.

The saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet” is so true. I’ve never been someone who eats back the calories I burn during a workout, but I didn’t understand until I started this journey just how important diet is not just in helping to move the numbers on the scale on a downward trajectory but in helping you to feel good.

The more my diet improved to include more healthy fats, good proteins, and lots of green vegetables, the more energy I had, the better my skin looked, the more soundly I slept, and the healthier I felt overall.

Replacing your wardrobe can get pretty expensive.

I went from a size 24 to a size 12. While it took a year or so to get here and I’m still in the process of losing weight, it’s been really expensive to have to continually replace clothes when the old ones become too baggy to fit properly.

For now, I shop for staples at inexpensive stores or look for sales to ensure I’m not spending too much on things I won’t be able to keep long-term. Plus, when things don’t fit anymore, I’m able to donate them to a local clothing bank.

Shopping mallGeorge Frey / Stringer / Getty ImagesI had to do more shopping than I expected.

Sometimes you won’t recognise yourself in the mirror.

There are times I catch a glimpse of my reflection of myself in the mirror and don’t recognise myself-not in a bad way, I should add. It’s almost a weird, out-of-body experience to see myself at roughly half the size I used to be. I was so used to being the 300+ lbs version of myself that the 195ish pound me is someone I don’t know quite yet and is taking some adjusting to.

You often won’t notice the small changes in your body until they become big ones.

Similarly, there were times during the process that I got extremely frustrated because the number on the scale was going down and I was working hard but I couldn’t see the physical changes in my body.

They were happening, though-I knew by the way my clothes fit differently and the way my double chin was slowly disappearing. I probably would have been more aware of the changes taking place if I’d taken my measurements regularly as well as weighing myself, so that’s one thing I’d recommend to anyone else starting a weight loss journey.

If you want it to be permanent, it can’t be a diet – it has to be a lifestyle change.

This really can’t be said enough. If you start a diet as a temporary fix until you reach your goal weight and then go back to the old way of eating, you’re going to regain all the weight you lost and then some. I don’t see it as a diet, I see it as a way of eating.

My entire lifestyle has changed and while I’ll be able to up my calories when I enter maintenance mode, there’s no ending to my current way of eating – that’s just how things are now, and that’s going to ensure my health and well-being for years to come.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.