The truth about losing weight for the New Year

Written by Tara Duncan

We all know, this is the time of year everyone’s committing to new diets, resolving to work out more, blah blah blah. Well, it’s back to cutting for me, too... not because of the new year, but because it’s where I need to be for my goals. 

Why does it always seem like you take one step forward and two steps back? Sometimes it can be difficult on our minds when the scale creeps up, so I decided to take a look at my progress over time. So here’s 4 years apart... 2016 and this morning, at roughly the same weight. I may even be lighter in the top photos. It’s pretty cool what the body can do as far as a recomp. Still a potato, but a more solid one, with maybe a couple of muscles? WHAT?!

I’m sure you’ve heard, read, had it drilled into your head that the number on the scale isn’t gospel. And it’s true, here’s the proof. I may not love the number on the scale but it doesn’t devastate me anymore. I’m not scared to say it out loud, to admit to my weight. These photos are both the high 270s, roughly. But they’re very different. So when you’re looking to make a change, the best possible gauge is photos. Pay attention also to how your clothes fit, take measurements. As powerlifters, sometimes we feel we need to be in a certain weight class so the number matters as far as that goes, but as an actual measure of your body, it’s not the most important indicator by itself.

Okay, yes, let me beat the trolls to it— yes, I am still big. Yes, in 4 years, theoretically, I should have been able to make more progress. Yes, I should have been able to drop all the baby weight. Yes, perhaps I should have been able to look more “fit” “healthy” “not fat”, whatever you want to call it. 

But this is my journey, and it comes with a lot of bumps in the road. My priority is strength over aesthetics... and although slow, the progress in aesthetics is also happening, and this is the proof. 

But the reason it’s slow isn’t my coach’s fault, it isn’t anyone’s fault but my own. I know what I have to do, but the reality is, I have a really hard time when it comes to my nutrition. Even when I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, my body doesn’t always respond the way I want it to, for a variety of reasons. Other times, I can stay on plan and do great for weeks or even months at a time and then I have periods where I somewhat uncontrollably binge. I don’t exactly know why. What the trigger is. Maybe it’s because of my depression/anxiety, maybe it’s my own kind of eating disorder, all I know is my brain won’t stop thinking about whatever thing it wants me to eat until I do it. Regardless of whether I’m full, have already eaten and I always know better, but I have to. HAVE to.  It makes me feel bad about myself and it only fuels that negative cycle.  I rarely talk about this or admit it to anyone, I’m ashamed of it... the fact that I sabotage myself without any real comprehension of why. But I figure I can’t be the only one who does this and maybe if I have learned anything that can help someone else, it’s worth it. 

The good news is I recognize it faster and can come back out of it faster than before, and then I get back on track like I am now. It used to be I’d be stuck for months, but now, maybe a few days or a week or so.  And also, you have to eat to put on muscle so I like to think maybe it helps a little in that department before I cut again. Or maybe that’s a lie I tell myself to feel better, but hey, mental health is important too. You have to have that for any progress to mean anything. 

The point is, whether your New Year’s Resolution is to drop weight or whether it’s been something you’ve been working on for what seems like forever, progress isn’t linear. What’s important is moving forward, even if it’s slow. 

And we never stop moving. 


  • Janey: February 10, 2021

    I really enjoy your blog (even tho I’m not a power lifter), because it is hard to find women’s voices online when any fitness or health is involved, that don’t have awful body image messages. And this blog is special. So I wanted to say that from my perspective, an internet stranger in Australia, the first thing I think from your photos is that your body is strong! It is doing its job of being your physical home each day. That is a good thing I think. I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist or a person with any training in those areas, but what you mention about food I can relate to. I found an exercise nutritionist who helped me come up with some food plans to time around work outs so I would eat good stuff when I was the most hungry, and not get up at 2am starving and eat stuff that was a little less good nutritionally. But I’m not perfect, I type this covered in cookie crumbs. If I get one part of my life organised another part tends to slip while I’m not looking, and food and exercise often are slippery.
    I hope you can keep being strong, writing this blog, and being a wonderful human bean to all your loved ones.

  • Sandy B.: February 10, 2021

    Thank you for sharing, could have been me writing this. Love that you’re real, and you’re beautiful and inspiring. I lost my husband a year and a half ago and gained almost 20 pounds from binging. I’m down a bit now, but it’s a struggle. We do our best.

  • Julie: February 10, 2021

    I feel everything you said! My brain does the exact same thing, won’t shut up until I eat the thing. It can be strong enough to drive me out of bed at night. I’m new to lifting and follow you on Instagram. I think you are great and real. Keep being a bad ass!

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