Weight Loss ~ If I Can Do It…

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure statement for details. 

Let’s travel back in time to the summer of 2009. My son had graduated from college in May, and we had been busy moving him in to his first place in Chicago.

Weight Loss | On Sutton Place

When the hot days of August became the cool days of September, I began to realize that I was alone. Not literally alone. I had my husband, my dog, my parents, my friends, my co-workers.

Figuratively alone. My children were gone. My daughter had graduated 4 years earlier, and we completed the same rite of passage with her. Finding and moving her in to her first place. Purchasing cookie sheets, margarita glasses, and a pink Dustbuster.

Not only was I alone, I was a wreck. Mentally and physically. I was over-weight by about 40 lbs. I had high blood-pressure that sometimes made me feel like the top of my head was going to pop off. I had fire-breathing acid-reflux…and my feet hurt so bad that at night I would lie in bed and pray for sleep to come.

So that fall…after school started (I was a school secretary) I began a secret “let’s get healthy” program that I made up as I went along. It was a secret because I didn’t dare tell anyone, just in case I was a big, fat failure. I began by walking my dog every day after school. I shopped for and found a pair of wide width walking shoes at Kohl’s. Each week I added another block to my walk.

miniature schnauzer with leash

I also began to count calories. Not fat grams and not carbs. Just calories. I gathered my courage, and stepped on the scale. I knew it was bad, but I wasn’t prepared for the number to be quite as high as it was. It was then that I realized just how hard this was going to be…and that I had to get serious.

That fall I lost 15 lbs. Not nearly what I needed to lose, but a start. I have yo-yo dieted pretty much my whole life. I’d lose 15 lbs. and then gain 20. I was never able to keep the weight off.

My life was one big guilt trip.

Every time I would eat something “bad” I would feel guilty. That began to take its toll and I wanted to be rid of it all.

The weight.

The guilt.

The fat clothes.

The wide width shoes.

During 2010 I lost another 25 lbs. It was slow and torturous. By the time school started in the fall of 2010, I had dropped 40 lbs. and 3 sizes. My blood pressure was under control. My acid-reflux was gone…and the very best thing of all was that my feet no longer hurt.

It was a miracle. No pain at all.


But I wasn’t finished. The first step was losing the weight. The second step was keeping it off.

Something I had never been able to do.

What I discovered is that my eating habits had changed. In addition to that, my grocery shopping list had changed as well. I just didn’t buy the bad stuff. If it wasn’t in the house, I couldn’t eat it. I drank more water, and continued to walk.

3 years later I still feel great. I weigh myself regularly to keep myself in line.  If I see a few extra lbs. on the scale I start counting calories and re-gain control.

I never thought, in a million years, that I could lose the weight let alone keep it off. I mean it when I say that if I can do it, anyone can do it.

Update: It’s now 2021 and a few of the pounds I lost ten years ago have crept back on…but most of them are still gone. I am at a weight now where I can eat normally, and maintain my weight. My weight has shifted a bit, but that’s just part of growing a little older. I’m healthy, and even though I don’t always take the time to walk, I’m doing well. I hope you are the same!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Ann you are such a lovely person. I am proud that I get your emails.
    My son and daughter in law and the twins are going to be moving in with us as soon as my husband gets home from Syria. Thank you President Trump. Seven years he has been gone. I found a house in the Metro Parks with 5 bedrooms and a pool. I want the kids to be able to buy a house sooner than later. But my precious babies will be down the hall every morning. I smile just knowing I will be seeing them. I don’t know how I will feel when they actually get their own place. But they will always be close and I can’t wait for them to come running up the driveway calling Gammy we’re here. They are only 4 months old but I can dream. My grandson calls addy for daddy and he holds his arms out to me saying Gammy so Gammy I shall be.
    Happy Mother’s Day Ann.

  2. Pingback: Mother's Day Printable - On Sutton Place
  3. WAY TO GO! I dropped 33 lbs. and have also kept it off. Doesn’t it feel great?? ~Nancy from OHIO

  4. Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog says:

    What a great story, Ann. Congratulations. So proud of you.

  5. Such inspiration, you’ve done great! Love your walking partner…adorable!!!

  6. I can appreciate your story, I have gained and lost the same ten pounds many times. I am determined to keep it off with walking an hour a day, which I do faithfully, no matter the weather and I determine every day not to over-eat. Over-eating is my downfall, so that’s what I concentrate on. I have always eaten whole grain products, no salt and have always drank lots of water, but I love the comfort foods and I love to cook them. I found a cookbook that Taste of Home publishes called “Comfort Food Diet Cookbook”. I have used it for nearly two years now and I am keeping that ten ugly pounds off quite easily. I do not “diet”, that is a word that used to derail me, so it’s no longer in my vocabulary and I’m doing much better. I continue to have very high blood pressure, it’s inherited and apparently I can’t do anything to keep it normal, so meds are my only route. I have found, though, that eating sugar does make it worse. I had sugar over Christmas and now am having to wean myself off of it, again. My feet have hurt at night for years, the only thing that has helped me is to take an aspirin a day. I learned that aspirin helped from the internet.
    You are an inspiration to many of us, you’ve done it and continue to, my hat is off to you!
    Love and hugs, Cindy

  7. I love this post! I lost 130 lbs several years ago. Fast forward.. I remarried after being single for ten years his build is slender so I fed him. A lot. He never ever gained but I sure did! After being remarried for two years I had a picture taken. Who was that overweight woman staring at me? I had gained at least 25 lbs. Ouch! I almost cried. Before when I gained weight I had been very sick. Medications that I was on contributed to the weight gain. Losing weight was a piece of cake . This time I fight for every pound I lose. This time I have absolutely no one to blame other than myself. In 4 months I have lost 12 lbs. I walk 2 1/2 miles every morning outside I have a accountability partner. I walk 5 miles every other day with another accountability partner. I work out every night with my husband. It has taken me time to build up to this but I feel wonderful. I may not have lost a lot of weight ( size 4 will have to wait). But I have made a dramatic difference in inches and muscle tone. I started doing a little bit. Walking the dogs every night instead of watching TV. And worked up to it. Weekends are now spent active. We have always hiked a lot but now it is spent this way every weekend. I feel better, look better. It was 7 degree’s this morning at 7 am but I walked regardless. Now off to work that’s for motivating us! I am going to tape this to my mirror and read it every morning.

  8. Good for you, I watch my calorie intake more then anything else.


  9. I loved reading about how you overcame a difficult time in your life. I was always too skinny growing up but after reaching my late 30’s and 40’s, I finally gained some weight. I could stand to lose about 10 lbs now. I’m not near as active as I was in my younger years. My biggest hurdle is cutting out the junk food that we keep in the house. My sons are both skinny and don’t have to count calories. I enjoy walking in the warmer months, so maybe I’ll be able to get outside in the Spring and resume that too. I should really be doing more exercise since I have to watch my cholesterol and have an arthritic condition that needs it! I’ve come to the conclusion though that everyone has something about themselves they want to change. The important thing is to try to be as physically and mentally healthy as possible but don’t obsess about it. I’m not going to make myself crazy over not being perfect! I tried that in my 20’s and it caused me great anxiety! Perfection is overrated. LOL!

  10. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Ann, congrats to you for losing the weight and keeping it off. That’s the hard part-keeping it off! I have lost and gained more pounds than I’d like to even think about! Since retiring, the pounds have been creeping on, and you wouldn’t believe this, but today I decided that I was going to lose the extra pounds. So your post has truly inspired me!

  11. Thanks for the motivation! I’ve got about 40 to lose also…it was much more fun putting it on! Now to make it fun taking it off! Keep motivating us Ann! ;)

  12. Sue@Housepretty says:

    Ann, good for you! Based on your picture, I would never have guessed you were ever overweight! I gained 60 POUNDS while I was pregnant, and our daughter is now 5 yrs old. I was just so freakin’ hungry while I was pregnant. Not for junk food, for healthy food. BUT, I ate a LOT! And OFTEN! I swim laps and all but the last 10 pounds is still on me. I was SO close to being pre pregnancy weight just before Christmas, as in, I was like 2 1/2 pounds away…and then Christmas…My husband does the grocery shopping, and he’s being intentional now with what he buys. I bake a lot, and I’m just giving myself a small treat a day. The rest of the day, when I want some munchies, I’m going for fruit, yoguart…anything healthy. Once the weight is back off, I will feel like I got “me” back again, and that “me” is never leaving, because I won’t let her! Again, Ann, good for you!!!

  13. Good for you! I am at that beginning stage you wrote about. Your words encourage me more than you can know.

  14. katie clooney says:

    Just discovered your blog and love it. What a great inspirational story. Congrats!!!

  15. Wow – your story is my story. Not only the need to lose weight – but the kids leaving home, being alone……. I have been in a bad place, and have not taken care of myself at all ! I desperately need to lose way more than 40 pounds – I am so proud of you for doing it, and doing it sensibly !

    Thanks so much for the inspiration – any other tips or helpful info you would pass on would be so much appreciated !!

  16. Congratulations!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I think the sharing from others motivates everyone. I’m on a healthy eating plan ~ my plan. :) Seriously, lots of veggies and fruits. I can’t be a vegan or total vegetarian as I love chicken and fish! My d–i-l and her mother have hereditary cholesterol problems. D-i-l became a vegan almost a year ago and no meds now. She is one that exercises constantly though ~ running and biking, marathons, etc. Even though she did that, the numbers didn’t drop until she adopted her food plan.

    I need to walk more, that’s for sure! The weather hasn’t been conducive to that lately but my dog is willing when it is. I hope I can provide a good report like you have. Kudos my friend!!


  17. Nana Diana says:

    Ann, Thank you so much for sharing that- I feel the same way- If I can do it, anyone can do it. I am proud of you- it is the keeping it off that is the biggie. Congratulations! xo Dian

  18. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Bless you, Ann. I am kind of at the point you were in your “before” period. The kids are basically grown, and I feel a little bit out of control physically. You are inspiring me to do better.

  19. Linda @ it all started with paint says:

    I really need to get my “plan” in order. I’ve been eating less/counting the calories but the wine is still my downfall and I have lots and lots of excuses of why I can’t work out …

    Thanks for the push and the reminder!

    :) Linda

  20. So glad to hear of your success. It’s so motivating! My mom has the blood pressure problems right now. I wish that she would get things under control too. I worry about her. I don’t personally have a weight loss story, but I definitely have a get healthy story. Genetics and a sedimentary lifestyle for the past five years (I literally haven’t participated in regular physical activity since I graduated from high school and ended my cheerleading/dance career) led to not so fun trips to the cardiologist at the ripe age of 21. I’ve made it a goal for the new year to beef up the exercise routines. Walking on campus isn’t nearly enough. I’m planning to run a 5K in the near future. Hopefully if I get it under control now I can keep my cardiac health whipped into shape.

  21. Suburban Princess says:

    Yay you!! That’s awesome!
    I had 15lbs of baby…and then some weight I wanted to lose. I was determined to get back to my ‘single girl’ weight but ugh the lbs wouldn’t budge. I took on a very high stress project last summer and the weight fell off. Now I stick to lots of low carb meals and have trouble not losing weight (I had all of my clothes tailored so I refuse to have to do it again!).

  22. Pamela Gordon says:

    That is awesome Ann! I am up and down with my weight but mostly up lately as I’ve gained 15 pounds in a year and a half. The worst is that the last 10 pounds went on in the last 5 months. I’ve started walking on the treadmill again and am trying to watch what I eat, obviously not trying hard enough. My body hurts a lot so my exercising is limited and living outside the city is not conducive to attending a gym. Just not in the budget. I know I can do it but it’s going to take willpower. The older I get the more difficult it is to lose so that is discouraging. Thanks for sharing your weight loss regimen with us and encouraging us. Blessings, Pamela

  23. good for you Ann! I can identify! I use the Advocare 24 day challenge program that I mentioned in one of the last posts on my blog. it has been a wonderful help to us! and 100’s of others. we are currently heading down the scale :)

  24. I am terribly over weight and terribly SHORT – so my weight (gain or loss) is quickly recognized as such.

    I need to lose, I don’t excercise enough, I eat fairly well and not a LOT, but I love my creams and butters and pasta. i swear if I have to give that up I will go mad, but I need to lose, I am not lying to myself.

    Your post was a good motivator at least to remember I DO need to lose. I have a big class reunion this summer and I am not going if I am “the cheerleader who got so fat.” Not doin it, Ann. I mean it.

    Sigh. I have so much to lose weight wise. And my joints are so full of arthritis it hurts. If I can get past the pain I will walk more, I can and need to do that.


    1. Do a little bit. Work your way up to it. Don’t compare yourself to others and celebrate each step you take. Doing a little, taking baby steps is key. Making it overwhelming by expecting to much is what makes us quit. Make a small goal. For me it is 1 lb ata time. No time limit. Keep it simple. Great Luck.

  25. Ann, I just returned home from the Y, went to your blog, and bless you for motivating me too. Ten years ago, my daughter was getting married and I started walking with two neighbors four miles daily. By the date of the wedding I truly didn’t need to wear Spanx under my gown; I had lost inches galore! Well, as I said, that was ten yrs. ago. My two neighbors moved over the yrs., and being grandma, I have babysat more than walked miles. So 2013, kids in school, and I’m at a brand new Y taking class and walking.

  26. Congratulations! I know your struggle. I lost 55 pounds through Weight Watchers about 5 years ago. I kept it off for a good year, and then it slowly began to return. I used to start every day off with a 2.5 mile run. But then I had to begin caring for my new born grandson, and I stopped my morning running routine. More weight gain. Five years later, I am up about 35 pounds. I need to take it off. You have inspired me. We have a new dog, and my husband and I are both out walking with our two doggins’. I am sure this will help.
    Good for you!!!
    xo Kris

  27. Ann thank you for sharing your story. I think what you did to lose weight is reasonable and practical. Any of us could do it. I too need to lose 40lbs. Boy it sure came on faster than it is leaving!! Law of averages seems a bit tilted when it comes to taking it off. Your story is encouraging to me and something I hope to do!!
    Happy Monday,

    PS I did a post today on my tried and true skin care products, that you might enjoy.

  28. Oh Ann this is the story of my life, drop 20 gain 30!! I’m trying again to drop 20 pds and get back into my walking routine, I felt my best then!

  29. Debra@CommonGround says:

    last year I had to get real with myself, which first off meant that I had to change my complete outlook on life, health, and how what we eat is a major contributor to our physical well being and state of mind.. My husband and I had been in need of a overhaul for years. So I jumped in. Low fat, very low carb, no sweets. I don’t count calories, just really make a conscious effort for my eating to be clean and simple. I have a low carb protein shake for breakfast, then just watch it the rest of the day. Exercising for at least 20 minutes daily on my exercise bike with upper body work. I lost 18 lbs. (I’m only 5 foot so that’s a lot for me) and I’m still working at it. It was a mental change first, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. I still have another 15 to take off, but at least now I see that I CAN do it, and that’s half the battle. Thanks for sharing, Ann. I always love hearing about how people do it.

  30. I am a yo yo dieter, too and am trying very hard to get it off and keep it off. I would like to lose 15 pounds. I will get back to walking soon. That is when I was really slimming down last summer just walking 2 miles a day with Bailey. Then it got cold and the days got short and I got lazy.

  31. Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says:

    thanks for this story – I have just started the Wheat Belly diet and trying to remove wheat from my diet. I am trying to take things slowly and now expect too much too soon and sabbotage myself…here’s hoping 2013 is MY year!

    1. I did this for five months! It was hard at first, then it became really easy, once I learned what to buy. I lost about 10 pounds and my stomach stayed relatively flat. I confess, I messed up around the holidays…and have since started to regain ground. I wish you the best of luck. If I would have planned better, I would’ve been able to stick with it through the most tempting (for me) times! There is quite a lot of things to eat for gluten free folks!