My Struggle With Weight

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with my weight and self image.

My Struggle With Weight

Maybe it’s just a girl thing, but I can distinctly remember all the different phases of my life where I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, where I felt chubby or fat or gross.   I remember wanting be thin so badly in high school, but the funny thing is that I wasn’t even close to being overweight then, despite how I felt about myself.  Looking back at old photos – I was actually pretty thin!

Our Prom!

It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I started actually putting on weight and becoming “overweight.”  Dustin and I were already dating at the time, and he was attending school in Dallas and I was at school in Santa Barbara, California.  In that one year, I gained about 40 pounds – yikes.  I distinctly remember weighing myself and I was 181 pounds.

Then, when Dustin returned to California and I was accepted into a graduate program in central California, we moved to San Luis Obispo where we started living together.  We had lots of fun cooking our own meals and “playing house” (as my dad would say).  In fact, it wasn’t abnormal for us to finish off an entire meal of chicken fetuccini alfredo with a whole loaf of garlic bread and then follow it up with banana ice cream shakes.

And I gained even more weight.

Lacey and Dustin

Then, in 2003, we got engaged.  I knew I wanted to lose weight before we got married (we scheduled the wedding out one year), but I didn’t really know how to get started and, honestly, I didn’t really have a huge drive to do it.  I just figured women are supposed to look and feel beautiful when they’re brides and that sounded great.

But then, one day, I weighed myself before going to class and saw that I weighed 202 pounds.

202 pounds!

Dustin, my 6-foot-3-inch-tall fiancé, weighed 230 pounds (he was also packing on the pounds) and I almost weighed as much as him at 5-foot-8-inches.  This needed to stop.  I had to lose the weight and I needed to do it now.

It finally clicked.

I had learned in a nutrition class that weight loss and weight gain was all about “calories in versus calories out” so I thought this would be the way to go.  So, I started calorie counting – keeping track of every single little calorie I ate.  I weighed myself every single day, sometimes twice.  And, very quickly, I started losing weight.  In fact, I was losing about half a pound a day and it was freaking awesome.  I felt like I could actually lose all the weight I wanted and all I had to do was watch my calories.

Lacey and Dustin

The problem was that I didn’t stop.  I kept restricting my diet more and more, limiting the calories I could eat to smaller and smaller amounts.  At one point, I decided I could have 1100 calories in a day (way too little for what my body actually needed!) and then I would pride myself on not even reaching that maximum. Hunger was normal and proved to me that I had control over my body.

I didn’t see then just how little control I really had.

In addition to becoming obsessed with my weight, I started to get all sorts of anxiety about eating food.  Any time I sat down to eat, I would get so nervous that the food I was going to eat wasn’t going to fill me up enough.  I started to hate eating because all it did was point out how weak I was and that, unless I could control my behavior and not eat everything, I was a failure.  I would also choose foods that weren’t very nutritional, but were low calorie, in order to spread my calories out further.

The whole time this was going on, everyone in my life was telling me how good I looked and how impressed they were that I had lost all this weight. They were saying how jealous they were and wished they could do the same.  And I loved that positive attention so much.

So, I kept doing it.

By the time the wedding rolled around, I weighed 160 pounds and I felt awesome.  I was so proud of how I set forth a goal to lose the weight and I accomplished it.

Wedding

The problem was that I didn’t stop there.

I kept trying to lose more weight.  I felt like I still had a lot to lose and so I kept following the same diet I had used to lose the previous weight.  I would say I need to get to 150 pounds, but then would want to get to 14o when I reached 150, and so on.

The turning point for me was two years later.  I weighed 133 pounds when both Dustin and my mom sat me down and told me I needed to stop.  They said I no longer looked healthy or happy – that I looked week, frail, and too skinny.  They explained I needed to find a way to eat more, but to make healthy choices so I wouldn’t keep losing weight and be so consumed by my weight.  I had become so obsessed with the calorie counting and losing weight that I had become unhealthy.

While, at first, I really didn’t want to listen, I knew they both had my best interests in mind and so I worked at changing and improving my eating habits.

After that, I wound up bringing my weight back up to about 145 and felt pretty good about myself.  I had stopped calorie counting to any major degree and the obsession started to fade.

As luck would have it, things changed again.  In 2008, Dustin and I found out we were going to have a baby girl in May, 2009.  We were both very excited (and super scared!), but I was worried if/how the pregnancy weight would trigger my old thoughts and behaviors.  I really didn’t want to start calorie counting again as I had worked so hard to lose the weight in the first place and gaining weight scared me.

On top of all that, Dustin started exercising right out of the blue while I was pregnant – running with a friend and watching what he ate.  He wound up really starting to enjoy running and lost a lot of weight himself.  So, while I got fatter and fatter with the baby, he got fitter and fitter and into shape.  You can be sure I gave him a hard time for deciding to get in shape while I was pregnant! 😉

When Jordan was born, I had gained 40 pounds of pregnancy weight.  I knew I needed to lose the weight and hit the ground running once I had been cleared by the doctor.  This time, I combined exercise (mostly running and walking) with more controlled calorie counting and I was successful at losing the weight and then some within about 2 months.

Life was good again.

Dustin, Jordan, and Me After a 5k

When our second child, Savannah, was born two years later, I had kept the weight off and was still in decent shape.  I no longer had the fear that I wouldn’t lose the pregnancy weight since I had proven it could be done after Jordan pretty easily.  I gained about 40 pounds again with Savannah and lost it the same way.

Baby Savannah

Then, three years later, there was Hunter.  My pregnancy with Hunter was completely different than it had been with Jordan or Savannah.  I was in a lot of pain during the whole pregnancy, and unable to exercise at all.  I gained about 30 pounds while pregnant this time, but was already a good 15-20 pounds over what I would have liked before getting pregnant.  For some reason, I had stopped exercising before getting pregnant so my body wasn’t very well prepped for being healthy.  Since the doctors weigh you a good 1,000 times when you’re pregnant, I was well aware I got up to 205 pounds with Hunter.  And that freaked the bejesus out of me.

Not again.

Finally, after having Hunter, I made the decision to take control of my life.  I felt so stuck and so trapped in my own body for too long and needed to break free from all the poor choices I was making.  While I was able to keep weight off with calorie counting, I was tired of it running my life.  I was tired of constantly checking the scale to see if I went up or down a pound.

Hunter

And, because Dustin is totally evil (lol), he started going to the gym ad weightlifting with his brother during my pregnancy.  That stinker – getting fit while I was pregnant, again!  He started losing weight, getting stronger, and feeling great about himself.  I wanted that!

I knew this time after Hunter had to be different.  While I lost all my weight and then some after Jordan and Savannah, I also lost all my energy, muscle mass, and love for food.  Instead of counting calories and wasting away, I wanted to become strong and confident, not thin, hungry, and weak.

Dustin and Me

Making the decision to start eating healthier, paying attention to what types of foods I was choosing, learning what was in my foods, and changing the way I thought about food, dieting, and healthy living totally changed my life.  And I haven’t looked back.

So, once Hunter was born, I also started weightlifting to build muscle and strength.

Hunter, my only boy, is now a whopping 18 months old now (yowza) and I am super happy to say I have lost all the weight I set out for.  In fact, I lost 60 pounds – all without worrying about calories and enjoying everything I was eating!  Combining my new healthy eating lifestyle with fitness has been the best decision I’ve ever made for my health and self confidence. I finally feel in control of my life and my future and I no longer feel like I struggle with my weight or self image.

I rarely check my scale anymore.  Instead, I rely on how I feel and how I fit into my clothes to gauge if I’m reaching my fitness goals.  I have also gained muscle and feel stronger, prouder, and sexier than ever.  And that’s after having three kids!  Who knew that was even possible?!?

I tell you all of this because I want you to know it’s totally possible, whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, feel better about yourself, or just start living a healthier lifestyle. You’ll see recipes all over this blog of how to make food from scratch – and that’s really where eating healthy starts.  If you don’t prepare your own food, it’s very difficult to really understand or control what you’re putting into your body.  That’s one of the guidelines I really like about clean eating.  I’ve found that a combination of healthy eating and fitness is the best method to achieving my results. While I have shared lots of healthy recipesOpens in a new tab. on the blog, I’ve never really had a good overall purpose or goal for the recipes, other than just providing easy, tasty, homemade foods.   Lately, to coincide with my fitness and healthy lifestyle goals, I’ve been adding healthy, high protein recipes like this dinnerOpens in a new tab., theseOpens in a new tab., and thisOpens in a new tab..

That being said, I do still love all types of food and definitely partake in the occasional (read: weekly)  “cheat meal recipe” where I share more indulgent recipes that may not be super healthy, but are super tasty…like theseOpens in a new tab., thisOpens in a new tab., and oh this yummy oneOpens in a new tab..

I hope that, by sharing my story, I can help show you more of who I am, what struggles I’ve had, and what battles I’ve overcome.  I realized this hasn’t been a part of what I’ve shared on this blog before, despite how big of an impact it has had on my life.

Have you battled with fitness or weight in the past or currently?  What lifestyle changes have worked for you?  Please share in the comments!

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

70 thoughts on “My Struggle With Weight

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  3. Hi- My name is Rebeca Im 54 yrs, Im from San Juan Puerto Rico. I found your site about 3 weeks ago and I was allready in IF, I was doing all wrong and by that time a was a slave almost a year ago trying to loose weight and and YO-YO diets, at the same time strugling with cheating or eating the wrong foods. It was a nightmare.
    But with your videos I found a better guide to reach out my goals. I started with 168 pounds two weeks ago and today i have already reached 162.3, slow but confident. I feel so difrerent and i see the food in a nourishing way.

    My IF is 16/8 starting at mid day (12)
    Im practicing meal prep and portion control.
    Today I have start with the apple cider vinegar for the first time.
    My first goal was NO MORE DIET SODA, I have 2 weeks drinking water and feeling good.
    My final goal is to reach 145 pounds an keep doing weights and walking.

    1. OMG YES!!!!!! I absolutely love how you reframed your goals and success, and I’m so proud of you for changing your mindset and getting things DONE! Keep up the great work, and thanks so much for sharing your story, Rebeca!!!

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  5. I just want to thank you for sharing your struggles with weight and body image. I am a mother of 8 (4 of whom are still at home) and find it extremely challenging to make good food choices especially when I am tired!! Your story gives me hope. Again, thank you!

  6. What a gift to all who read your blog! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring others. And thank you for continuing to share your great recipes and ideas.

  7. Thanks so very very much for your well-written weight struggle bio. Your words are very encouraging to this 75 yr. old woman who has ALWAYS had issues with the scale.
    You’re a jewel, keep up the good, healthy ideas.

  8. Hi Lacey, I have been following you and reading about you and your clean eating for years but never knew your story. I’m. Glad I have subscribed to your blog and know more about you. I’m much older but for about 30 years have struggled with my weight. I recently began trying to lose some weight and work on getting in better shape! I hope to take advantage of your recipes more as I continue to find a balance in weight lose and clean eating. Like most of us I love to eat good food and I struggle with finding what’s good and what’s healthy. Thanks for helping here.

  9. Love your story and the encouraging words. I’m starting my journey again after losing some and gaining it all back due to health reasons and bad diet. Thanks again and providing recipes that are easy to follow…

  10. Hi Lacey, I am enjoying your recipes and feel like I am getting them from a friend! I was obsessed with getting back to my “normal” weight after the birth of our daughter. I set a goal to weigh what I weighed before getting pregnant and then wanted to lose more weight. I didn’t struggle with my weight until I hit the forties. I have Multiple Sclerosis and am frequently too tired to cook and eat in the evening. I really like your hints for prepping meals ahead. Thanks for what you do. Catherine

    PS You have some links that spin without loading. They attempt to load and then keep starting from the beginning over and over. An example: the link to Take Back Your Health Academy. Hope this is helpful to know.

  11. Hi Lacey! Thank you very much for sharing your story and creating this blog. I saw one of your recipes through Pinterest and I’m glad I did. The more I saw your videos the more curious I was to hear your story.

  12. Thank you for this! I’m struggling to the point where I can redefine the struggle. I am excited to try this.

  13. Thanks for your story… I am 64 and way overweight.. at 6 ‘ tall I weigh about 250 and would love to get down to under 200… 160- 170?? I cook all my foods from scratch and growm 90% of my vegetable and even raisi chickens for food and eggs.. my biggest problem is not working out or getting enough excerices!!!

  14. Amazing story! I am getting obssessed with your blog! I can relate to every struggle that you described in your story. But i have never lost that many weight (40 lbs) doing any of it.

    1. Hey Samy! I’m sorry you’ve met with the same struggles and not found a way past them just yet – have you tried clean eating mixed with a workout routine? Out of everything, that’s really what worked best for me. Best of luck!!

  15. Very inspiring. You’re the same height as me and I can’t seem to get out of the 160’s after turning 37. I learned a lot and love your recipes. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Nicole! I wish you the best of luck in working off the weight you don’t want – I’m so glad the recipes and info here have helped you 🙂

  16. Wow! You look amazing!! I admit that I suffered with eating disorder including binge eating, restricting calories intake and compulsive exercise (riding bike for 2 hours and walking 1 hour per day). I know it is a lot of exercise. I am trying to get myself back to “normal” me when it was a time that I only eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full. I don’t eat if I am not hungry. I only walk with dog like 30 min a day every night after dinner. That was supposed to be “normal” me. Yet I am still in constant battle with ED thoughts but am still working on it! Thanks for your inspiration!!

    1. Man, normal is such a hard standard, isn’t it? lol. I applaud you for the progress you’ve made and the struggle you continue to fight against. I wish you the best of luck and hope this website can be a place for you to find healthy recipes to help you along your way 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for your honesty! I too have three kids and have 60lbs to lose…I suffered from a binge eating disorder for years…the struggle is still real for me and I’m not sure it is something you really “get over” but it’s something I just have to learn to manage.
    I’m so fed up with the constant info out there on what we shouldn’t eat that it seems so overwhelming…I love that your a person who knows the struggles and has made the change in their own life. You seem so much more relatable;) I am excited to have found your site and am planning to sit down and make a meal plan for the next week using good wholesome food. I have just started back into running/walking again. Our 20th anniversary and my 40th birthday are just a couple of months away…I know I won’t be 60lbs lighter by then but I hope that I can at least say I’m healthier and well on my way! Thanks again for putting yourself “out there” and being a real and great example for others!

    1. Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for sharing your story as well – I am so glad you found that you related to my story and it has helped you. Yes, it’s a good deal of work, but it doesn’t have to be such a struggle – it sounds like you’re well on your way with a good plan and a great frame of mind. I wish you the best of luck <3

    1. I separate muscle groups throughout the week (biceps, triceps, legs, back, shoulders, chest) and do a heavy weight lifting workout with 3-4 concentrated exercises with 4 sets each. I try to finish each workout (besides legs) with at least 10-20 minutes of cardio. 🙂

  18. Hi Lacey, my name is Connie. I believe your ad got my attention on Facebook where I signed up to get your Clean Eating emails. I too have struggled with my weight ever since high school. Now I’m 63 yo female with diabetes. and my weight is above 200+. It has been a struggle for me. I also have two lovely daughters who live in Leander TX. They also believe in Clean Eating as well. My husband gave me a FitBit Charge HR and I love it. together with it, I use MyFitnessPal to count my calories. Now at work I started walking in the mornings (if I get here early enough) and during my lunchtime as well. I started with 3000 steps and now getting past 4000+ steps a day. It has been a slow process but I lost 6 pounds since Christmas. I wish I could lose it faster like you did, but sometime I lack the energy and motivation.

    1. Hi Connie! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Sounds like you’re definitely on your way and making all the right decisions – it does take time and the idea is to enjoy the lifestyle while you’re doing it so you don’t even feel like you’re dieting. I wish you the best of luck and would love to hear update son your progress 🙂

  19. thank you so kmuch for sharing. It means alot to me knowing that we basically come from the same place. It gives me alot of hope. God Bless

  20. Lacey,

    I really appreciate you sharing your story with me because it so closely mirrors my own story. In November 2014, I got a trainer at my local gym where we met twice a week for what was supposed to be a year. At first, I enjoyed it because I was living a more healthy lifestyle, or so I thought. Because my trainer monitored my food intake and exercise, the accountability made me want to stay on track. I started at 198lbs. At the mark of the my first month, I lost 12lbs of fat and gained 2lbs of muscles. Because the results were so great, I felt pressure from not just my trainer, but also myself to continue to produce the same results, if not better. So I began to count my calories, work out 5-6 times a week, between 1.5-2 hours per day. And it was so exhausting! At the time, I was working part-time and going to college full-time. The food I was eating was healthy, but I did NOT enjoy the taste, so often times, I would only eat a little amount, and then go hungry. My results mirrored this because in a month, I would maybe lose 1-2lbs. After about 5 months, I looked in the mirror, and hated what I saw. I was still overweight, summer was approaching, and I felt gross eating bland food. So I stopped working out and went back to my old eating habits. About a week ago, I got on the scale and saw that I weighed in as 201lbs..the most I have ever weighed! At the age of 21, and being 5’9”, that’s a very unhealthy weight!!

    My sister recommended that I check out your blog because I am NOT a cook and was having a hard time creating meals that were healthy AND delicious. I love how your recipes are easy, delicious and healthy, which is definitely helpful for a busy student/worker. I love checking my email and finding that you emailed me with an inspiring blog post because it helps motivate me. So thank you, and I look forward to many more recipes and blog posts to come!!

    I’d greatly appreciate any tips on how to stay motivated, meal prepping, eating healthy, etc.

    1. Hi Innesa! Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story as well! It’s strange to see results, but still be unhappy, isn’t it? Then…to do nothing, see no results, and be unhappy as well. It’s such a tough and disappointing situation to be in and I’ve found myself there several times in my life. I am SO EXCITED you found me (please say thank you to your sister btw!) and that my recipes have helped you with being simple yet healthy. You totally made my night 🙂 I am so glad my story and my emails motivate you – please let me know if I can be of any more help. Have you joined the Facebook community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/takebackyourhealthcommunity/) yet? I think you’d be a great fit for the group and it’s full of support and motivation from many others as well 🙂

  21. I enjoyed your story on weight loss but get so frustrated because it’s done much so for women your age. When I was young, I could drop weight without even trying. Once you hit your 50s, I’m finding it impossible. It’s so much determined on genetics and menopause. I can easily gain five pounds in a coule days but can’t seem to lose any no matter how
    little I eat.

    1. Hi Cindy. Ugh, I am so sorry to hear your struggle with weight. I have heard very similar frustrations from women closer your age as well. I’ve also seen them take back their health through exercise and focusing on portion sizes and clean eating. I think, no matter what age you are, that is an important piece to being healthy both physically and emotionally. On the other hand, I too can easily gain weight in just a week or two and find it difficult to drop weight without trying so I think there are definitely similarities among all of us. If you’d like to join women and men of all ages to get support with taking back your health, feel free to come join my free Take Back Your Health Community at https://www.facebook.com/groups/takebackyourhealthcommunity/ I think you’d find it very helpful and supportive 🙂

  22. Lacey, it seems like you are telling parts of my struggle with losing weight and diet. While reading your story, it felt as its about me. I still struggle with losing weight. I’m 5foot 6 in and weighs 170lbs. I would love to see myself at 150 ( hopefully someday).
    Your story has given me motivation and courage that I can do it.
    Thank you!

    1. Yay, I’m so happy to hear that, Kiran! I’ve learned from sharing my own story that there are SO many other people who have struggled with the same kinds of obstacles. Best of luck achieving your goals! Feel free to come join us in my free Facebook group Take Back Your Health at https://www.facebook.com/groups/873744356077141/ for support along the way! 🙂

  23. Hi Lacey- Thanks for sharing your story and successes. You and your husband seems to be really down-to-earth and realistic about the constant weight war that I feel I have come to the right blog to help in my journey to lose weight.
    I am 6′ 1″ and weigh 250 plus! It has started to hit-home now due to that I used to have the energy to work out during the week but, I think I have sleep apnea which nowadays leaves me with low energy and unmotivated to go to the gym. I have made an appointment with my doctor to address the sleep apnea. my biggest issue is sodas and fast food. I am slowly phasing these out. And, again, thanks to you I think I finally have time to make breakfast..the night before! I loved that “Overnight Oats” recipe.

    Anyway

    1. Hi Mark! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I’m so glad you appreciate the story I shared of my own struggles. It sounds like you have a really good idea of what you need to do to succeed. I wish you the best of luck fixing the soda/fast food and sleep apnea issues so those don’t keep holding you back. I’d love to hear as you continue to progress how it’s going! Good luck!! 🙂

  24. thank you for sharing! I started to struggle with my weight after having my son. Also with getting older I find it is easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. Much cleaner eating (I do a lot of paleo) and CrossFit have had a huge impact for me, and I’m now at my strongest and fittest ever at 32 and after having a kid 🙂 I really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!

  25. Lacey,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of what many of us have struggled with in our lives. You are such an inspiration to me as I have tried and failed in attempts at different diets.

    I have adopted a lifestyle of healthy eating for my family for some time now and your clean eating is such an exciting feature that I’m sure many will welcome.

    I applaud you in your success, love seeing your beautiful family and look forward to a happy and healthy future.

    You look marvelous!

    1. Wow, Vicki, thank you so much for those kind, kind words. I am so happy my story inspires you and that you are excited about the clean eating content I have been and plan on sharing 🙂

      Thank you again for your support!

  26. Your story is inspiring! I have been in the weight loss battle my whole life but am finally motivated to change the way I EAT! Your recipes are a huge help! I will be paying closer attention to your healthier recipes now.

    1. YAY! That’s awesome, Meg. I am so glad you are finding me recipes helpful. Please let me know if there’s any way I can be of more help in your battle 🙂

      Good luck!

    1. Hi Julie! Wow, what a good way to put it – feeling goof in your own skin. I completely understand how hard it is not to feel that way and wish you the best of luck in finding that for yourself. Please let me know if there’s any way I can help 🙂

      I am so happy and honored to be a motivation for you 🙂

      Lacey

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