Broke-Ass Tag: weight loss


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Way back when, in the early days of BAB, we had a series called Flab to Fab, which chronicled some health and weight loss tips that had worked for us. Those of you paying attention on Instagram a couple weeks ago might have noticed this pop up as a hashtag as I embarked on a three-day juice cleanse. Health, happiness and general badassery have always been a part of the BAB way, but after some time of doing Flab to Fab, we started receiving a fair amount of backlash (this was around the same time that the Wedding Industrial Complex started really beating it into brides’ heads that they should be “sweating for the wedding” or “losing for the dress” or whatever lame crap they came up with). But, many of our real brides have continued to discuss losing weight for the wedding, whether it’s because they want to feel healthier, they want to feel more confident or they just plain need to in order to fit into their frock without extra alterations.

September Reset Undoing Summer Part 1

Since I work full-time for BAB in addition to my other projects, I am prone to spending multiple hours in front of my computer and very often lack any sort of motivation for working out. I don’t have a car and the nearest gym is a bajillion miles away. I’m not much of a runner. I kinda hate yoga (yeah, that’s a thing) and swimming is my preferred form of fitness, but it’s hard to find a pool in the vicinity that isn’t swarming with kids who impede my laps. So, I’m pretty freaking sedentary. I do walk a lot, as that’s the only way for me to get around town to meet up with my peeps, but that’s kind of it. And guys, this summer was a helluva summer — cookouts, tacos, parties, bars, tacos, cocktails, lounging, tacos …

September hit, and so did a whole pile of work. I was feeling sluggish, squishy and just kinda gross in general. My 5’2″ frame was carrying 145 lbs., which is … well, a lot for my size and is considered overweight. I was less than enthralled with the way I looked in photos and most certainly with the way my clothes were fitting — especially exasperating considering I loathe buying clothes that aren’t adorable dresses. I knew that I had to do something to kick my own ass into gear so I’d survive this month-ish of 10+ hour work days and weddings and birthdays and conferences. My system needed a reset.

I started by examining some of the meals we had been making at home. I cook a lot, so it was just a matter of swapping out this for that in many recipes — we had an entire week of meals that pretty much consisted of legumes rather than meats — and working on portion control. I’ve always been good about drinking water (how could one not be when they have the cutest water bottle in the world?), but I made a decision to increase my intake.

And then I was approached by JUS by Julie to see if I would be interested in trying out one of their cleanses. Hesitant — because I love coffee and beer and whiskey and food — but intrigued, I went for it. I figured after all the residual gunk that was likely in my system from a summer’s worth of fun, I could use a little detox and reset. My intention with the cleanse, as should anyone’s intention be, was not to lose weight, but to clear out some of the bullshit and help my body recover a bit.

Guys, it’s hard. But I’m glad I did it.

Defrosting JUSes

JUS by Julie shipped me a box of 18 juices — six per day for three days. The concoctions were numbered to indicate which order they should be consumed in. The instructions indicated I could have coffee sweetened only with stevia, raw or steamed vegetables, egg whites and water. Lots and lots of water … which turned out to be a really good thing for multiple reasons.

I definitely had some juices I preferred over others. I tend to like green juices, like ones by Odwalla or Naked, but the JUS by Julie Morning Glory green juice wasn’t anything like those. While there was a sweet aftertaste, it was definitely a juice you could chew on, and the spinach and kale had their obvious presence. This one was also hardest for me to drink because I’m a very textural eater, and the Morning Glory was a bit chunkier than the rest. Plus, I’m not a morning person and not having my coffee the way I want is just … ugh.

Morning Glory JUS

The second JUS of the day was a spicy lemonade — either standard lemonade or with pomegranate (not a favorite). I dug getting to sip on this after the chewy morning beverage, though the spiciness was palpable. If you’re familiar at all with the Master Cleanse, this beverage was pretty in line with that taste.

The third bottle is Sweet Spin — comprised of kale, spinach, pineapple, banana and mango, the concoction was a solid “lunch” drink. Both sweet and filling, it helped keep the day going and was considerably more delicious than the morning’s mix.

Blended JUS Beverages

Mixture 4 was basically an afternoon smoothie, with acai blend and berries. I love a good smoothie, but this one always had chunks that would get stuck in my teeth. This is where that water came in super handy, though I can’t say I’m not at least mildly entertained when trying to pick strawberry or raspberry seeds out of my teeth.

The fifth bottle — “dinner” — was one of my favorites of the day. With blends like PB & JUS and Choconana, they were a little more milkshake-y and a helluva lot more delicious. Which is good because …

Afternoon Sweet Pick-Me-Up JUS

The final bottle of the day, X-treme Greens, was a tart mix of lots of veggies. Though I understand its purpose was to make me feel a little more full and give me enough nutrients to get through the night without my stomach trying to digest my entire body, it was also a v. strong flavor for a time of the day when I’m usually enjoying a glass of wine (with or without cake). But I did wake up rejuvenated and not starving, which means it did its job.

When the cleanse was finished, yes, I was hungry. But I was also way more hydrated (let’s not even talk about how many damn times I peed over three days. Yeesh.) and I definitely had less unhealthy cravings. I ate about one serving of steamed veggies (broccoli, carrots or spinach) per day and had an egg white or two just to get me by. I didn’t have any hardcore Dorito or cake cravings and I actually found myself steaming some veggies the day afterward, because they sounded better than the other options in the house. But I’ll totally admit to super enjoying that first bourbon after the cleanse.

And DONE with the JUS Cleanse!

While there wasn’t any super noticeable weight loss from the JUS by Julie cleanse, I could see I had shaved off some puffiness / water weight. And there was a definite change in the way I felt — less sluggish, a little more focused. It also definitely lit a fire under my squishy ass to be a bit better to myself health-wise, so I’ve started trying (ish) to workout regularly (ish), but we’ll talk about that in Part 2.

Have you considered doing a juice cleanse? If you’ve done one, what did you learn about yourself and your habits?

  • 9/16

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    But seriously, right? Print via Etsy seller Mooredor Creations

    Let me start this off by saying I don’t think you need to be any particular size to be a beautiful bride. I don’t think that a number on a scale always denotes your overall health. Beautiful, healthy brides (and grooms) come in all shapes and sizes and ultimately, how you look on the outside has very little real bearing on your wedding or even more so, the marriage that will follow from it. It all comes down to who you are, who you love and what you believe in and want from life. It’s hard to write something like this because I don’t want to give the wrong idea that I think my weight makes me a bad or extra unhealthy person, because there are much worse things than being “overweight.” Still I feel compelled to use my post to let you all know about my struggle with my weight (and the decision of whether or not it should be a struggle) all the same this week because ultimately it does have an impact on the wedding in my situation.

    For the first time in a long time, I told someone that wasn’t Matt, my mom or my doctor my weight this week. It was my older sister, and it slipped out before I even knew what I was saying. I could tell when I said it that she was a little bit surprised by the number. I usually talk in terms of what I’ve lost or gained … never my actual weight itself. For a second, my heart sank, and then I realized that it was an important step in this process that I was getting to a point where I could talk to people openly about my weight again. I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling kind of ashamed of my weight for a while. As a teenager (when Matt and I met), I was shaped like a stick figure. I added some weight in college, and some more when I moved on to the sedentary American workforce. Sometime after that, I realized how much I had gained but didn’t care to really try to lose it. Somewhere in my head I told myself I would eventually. Some magical fairy would come along and return me to my teenage weight. I did this instead of really trying to lose weight. Sometimes, it just felt like I was at a point in my weight gain where it was hopeless to try anyway.

    I didn’t worry about getting married as a plus-size bride because I knew no matter what, Matt loved me. He had loved me when I was a stick figure in high school. He loved me when I was a little bigger when he proposed and he never stopped loving me because I gained weight after that. I felt awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin, and sometimes I didn’t love the way I looked myself, but I wasn’t worried about it in terms of the wedding because the only person I cared to impress would think I looked amazing even if I walked down the aisle in footy pajamas. And then my brother died and it kind of shifted my perspective on things. Suddenly, my weight became something I thought about a lot more seriously than before. I went to a doctor and my cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and all those things were fine, but she still expressed to me concern over the strain on my heart my weight might’ve been putting. I made the decision to join the gym at work. The cost was relatively low and I could go before work, after work and during my lunch hour if I wanted to. I was also able to work with a personal trainer rolled into the cost of the gym itself. This was great and I made it part of my routine. Spending an hour or so in the gym each day made me feel stronger and healthier. It also gave me a chance to clear my head on especially stressful days when I had a million things going on with the wedding or just life in general. Aches and pains I had noticed myself getting suddenly went away and my energy levels grew. My body started changing shape a bit, but overall I maintained about the same weight. I lost a few pounds here but gained them back there. My original intent in going to the gym wasn’t to lose a ton of weight, but I did get a little bit worried when after a long time of going to the gym, I wasn’t seeing any major changes on the scale and more so than my weight ever had, that worried me. I decided it was time to see a nutritionist.

    I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but I sought out a nutritionist in March and didn’t hear back from them to actually set up my appointment until June. In the meantime, I bought my dress, worked a ton of overtime (through the course of which I ruined my diet and exercise routine) and gained a few pounds that made my dress not quite fit me like it had the first time I got it. Now, some kind of weight loss was necessary so that I wouldn’t find myself getting tons of alterations on the dress. With the nutritionist I went to see, they required that I first attend a nutrition class and then got blood work done. After that, I met with the doctor to go over my options based upon how the blood work turned out. Since I didn’t seem to have any major issues causing my weight gain from what the blood work showed, the doctor prescribed me what he called a “liquid treatment.” At first I was a little bit iffy: It required me to subsist on 800 calories a day, all of which came from protein shakes and the two vitamins I would take a day to supplement my other dietary needs. The idea of completely giving up solid food scared me. I didn’t want to feel hungry. So few calories seemed unsafe. Still I decided to try it for a week.

    It’s now five weeks later. I’ve lost over 20 pounds. My energy level is awesome. I managed to walk all six miles of the heart walk and though I was exhausted at the end, I made it through! Even when I haven’t lost weight, I feel my body shifting the same way I did when I first started working out and my clothes are suddenly baggier on me. I feel better in my own skin. And the gown that fit perfectly and then didn’t fit at all suddenly fits even better than it did the first time I tried it on. I do feel a little uncomfortable around others when they’re eating sometimes, but overall it’s actually made life pretty easy, especially since I’m always on the go meeting with different people from the wedding. I don’t have to worry about figuring out meals. I just take however many shakes I’ll need along with me. It’s also saved me a ton of money on groceries, all of which goes toward the wedding.

    I’ve met with the doctor three times since then. He’s checked my blood work again once (still looks great). If I feel uncomfortable with anything, he’s available to call with questions. I decide next week if I want to keep on the diet or start eating real food again. Honestly I’m not sure what I’ll do. Part of me would like to keep going. I don’t want to gain any weight back and I really like what this has done for me thus far. Part of me really misses solid food and sitting down to a meal with my family. I think when the time comes, I’ll know one way or another and it’s great to know 1. that there’s nothing wrong with me that is stopping me from losing weight and 2. that I have someone helping me through this to help me from gaining the weight all back again. 

    There is one other wrinkle to all this though that’s tough for me: I’ve got seven younger nieces watching me. I’m happy about my weight loss, but I need to be careful in how I influence them with how I’m doing it. They see me drinking just a bunch of shakes each day and boom, I’m thinner. They don’t see me spending every lunch time at the gym, or going to a doctor to make sure the way I’m getting to that point is healthy. I don’t want them to worry about their weight in an unhealthy way. I want them to have balance in their approach to things. I want them to feel confident in their appearance no matter what the scale says. I want them to know that no matter what happens with their physical appearance, they should love themselves and someone else can and will love them for who they are inside. I want them to seek out help from a professional if they ever feel uncomfortable in their own skin like I did. I hope that by letting them know that was part of all this, it will influence them to make good choices as they’re growing up, and even some day when they slip on their own set of bridal shoes too. I also hope I am able to let them know that it doesn’t matter what you look like as you walk down the aisle. It matters where your heart is, and that you’re healthy and happy with who is meeting you at the other end. 

    How have you struggled with body identity during your wedding planning? How did you make save, actionable choices to be healthier and lose weight?

  • 7/16

    The nastiest question too many newly-engaged brides hear is, “How much weight are you planning to lose?” Um, are you saying I NEED to lose weight? What if I don’t plan to lose any? What if I plan to put a little on? It should be out of bounds, but apparently, it’s not. Here at BAB, we like to promote a body-positive image. We love…

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    Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what's up! Dear Liz, So I am getting married in one year out of state, but we are having our reception in August 2014. My dilemma is that I have two sisters that are VERY heavy set. I want them to feel amazing in their dresses with out making them spend loads…

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    Okay, okay, I'm not talking about the big "IT", as in getting my V-card swiped.  I'm talking about losing some poundage!  If you remember back to my Wedding-Induced Ugly Duckling Syndrome post you remember me mentioning that I wanted to lose a few pounds in order to look my best for my wedding.  I know I was far from alone in wanting this.  I totally…

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  • 11/27

    Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be. There's nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look. Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I…

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