This can all be a bit overwhelming… so let’s take a look at starting over from scratch.

Q: Hi… I am the reader that was going to have the weight loss surgery, but decided against it.

I have been looking at your website, and I want to lose the weight naturally, but I am confused as to where to start–using your website as my guide.

I am 31, 5’5, and 301 lbs as of this morning. My goal weight as I have read it is 145. I reached that goal in college (1999) and kept it off …until I had to have calf surgery on both legs which kept me from running track. I became gradually very sedentary and with the birth of my son (2004) I reached my highest weight 280 lbs. Over the next 6 years I have yo-yo’d and eventually ended up here at 301.

Looking for where to start? Here's a good place.

Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of exercise for me–as I am on disability and can’t afford a gym. But I get so discouraged at the amount of walking I am “told” to do to lose weight.

Can you give me the brief step by step that you started with?

First and foremost, it is true – 3500 calories worth of burned energy equals one pound. That’s why it is especially important to manage your food intake and be active on a regular basis. Don’t focus on that, though.

When I first started, I worked out in a gym. Still ate like crap, eating crap in boxes and microwaveables, and didn’t lose much considering how hard I was working.

It wasn’t until I fixed my eating habits that I realized I needed to place a priority on eating as cleanly as possible. The weight just started to fall off. The more I lost, the more difficult it became to lose. Why is that? Because as your body shrinks, it burns less calories. I had to keep changing my habits and understand that I couldn’t possibly eat as much as I used to.

From there, I began walking. I’d just take my two year old and we’d go walking for a half an hour every day. It was how I’d relax and destress. The weight began falling off again.

From here, I began trying out yoga. A few minutes of yoga each day with walking and clean eating had me on a healthy path. After that, I added some strength training using things I had around the house. I couldn’t really go to a gym, because I had no regular sitter for my little one.

Now, I run. A lot. I eat very cleanly and I am a stickler about my activity levels. I made sure that I lost the weight in a way that I could maintain forever, and working out at home and using the legs that I was born with would always be with me.. money or not.

This is the problem that I have with the fitness industry. They only way they can ensure that they continue to make money is to convince you that you have to spend money in order to develop and maintain your fitness. They don’t even tell you to put your health before your appearance, because they know that goading us about our appearance is what’ll drain us of our money first. I have a gym membership now, but that’s only because for my very specific goals right now, the equipment at the gym makes life easier while I slowly invest in building a gym at home for myself. The way I was doing things before would work just fine for me.

The reality is that exercise is meant to preserve your quality of life and ability to function properly. It is not meant to be used as a way to negate your bad eating habits. It can to an extent, but realize this – you WILL be struggling if you develop this kind of mentality. This is why I focus on eating habits so much.. just because I know I’m not the only person who didn’t know anything about why some foods just are not… well, food.

Because I know I kind of gave a quick and dirty answer to this question, and because I know I’ve written more detailed accounts of my experiences elsewhere on this site… the following links should be considered good reading for someone who wants to follow how I did what I did, and get a better idea of how they can do it too:

Best of luck to you!

Do you think there are any other BGG2WL posts belong on this list?