How I Lost 100 Pounds

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I've lost 100 pounds! It wasn't easy, but my life is changed as a result. Here are a few of the things I learned while working to lose 100 pounds.

Those are words I never thought I’d be saying, much less typing. It was a journey I began on February 24, 2014. Having recently turned 40 I knew something had to change. Having struggled with my weight my entire life I knew that change had to happen and it had to happen now.

100 pounds

I was tired of going up a flight of stairs and being out of breath.

I was tired of getting winded after playing outside with the little Frugal Rules’ for five minutes.

I was tired of having no true options the few times I’d buy new clothes.

I was simply tired…all the time.

That was not a life I wanted to continue living. It was not a life of freedom. It was a life of restriction and burden because of choices I had been making and no one else.

I could easily blame it on having the metabolism of sludge. I could easily blame it on how I was raised. Those, however, would’ve only shifted blame instead of looking in the mirror to see the cause of the problem.

Once I came to that realization I knew I had to act. I knew that if I didn’t act that it simply wouldn’t happen. I’d continue to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life and deal with the ramifications of that weight.

That was not an option.

My Secret


I’ve been asked by numerous friends and family, both online and in real life, what my secret has been to losing 100 pounds. I wish that I could claim some sort of super secret knowledge or secret. The secret is that it really isn’t a secret.

That aside, having struggled with diets on and off for years, I knew that I needed to seek out help. I needed someone to manage it for me. I needed something or someone to hold me accountable. Otherwise, it simply would not happen.

Thus, I turned to NutriSystem. On February 24th of last year I had my first meal on NutriSystem and thought there was no way I could do this until I lost 100 pounds. But, a funny thing happened. NutriSystem is not cheap. If you’d like to know more about my time on Nutrisystem, read my Nutrisystem review.

There are ways to save money on NutriSystem, which I did do – my favorite hack was loading up on $100 gift cards for the cost $60 at Costco. Without those gift cards, the plan I was on retailed for $360 per month.

That aside, it was the cost that continued to drive me when I was tempted to give up. If failing in front of my kids wasn’t enough, the thought of throwing money in the trashcan is what kept me going day and night. I knew that if I went off the diet or something else I might as well be throwing our money away.

That is what kept me accountable.

Long story short, I turned to NutriSystem as I needed something to manage my plan for me. I needed, or at least felt I needed, something to help keep me on task. NutriSystem did that for me. Truth be told, the food wasn’t that great, but I was willing to put up with it to lose weight.

But, as those who have lost weight know, it’s not just eating less that helps you lose weight but also exercise. In the past it used to take an act of Congress to get me to exercise. Now, I’m generally working out a solid 60-90 minutes at least five times a week.

I didn’t have a high priced gym membership. I’ve done three things – I walk, I use our exercise bike and I use free Jillian Michaels videos from YouTube. The latter was a bit tough for me to swallow, especially considering being ridiculed by family for using them.

But, she kicks your butt! If you prefer a health club, make sure to learn how to find a cheap gym membership so you don’t spend too much money.

Time is a Currency I Want More of


As I approached the century mark, one key thing continued to come to my mind – it wasn’t a number, but a mindset that makes the difference. I could loosen my grip on healthy living now that I’ve hit my goal but it’d be foolish at best and absolutely stupid at worst.

Prior to my starting to lose weight I feared how long I’d have to live a decent life. At the weight I was at I was fairly confident that it wasn’t as long as I’d like or want. Of course, life can change in an instant, though I wanted to do all I could to wrestle more time back for myself – nay more time with those I love and losing a significant amount of weight was the only way I could see that happening. Now that I’m at my goal of losing 100 pounds my outlook has changed and I am committed to continuing to pursue that even more.

I've lost 100 pounds! It wasn't easy, but my life is changed as a result. Here are a few of the things I learned while working to lose 100 pounds.

Things They Don’t Tell You About Losing 100 Pounds


I used to shovel snow in my shorts and sandals. Why? Because I was warm blooded (or so I thought). In reality, it was because I had 100 pounds of fat on me, no wonder why I was always warm! 😉

Now, Mrs. Frugal Rules calls me Granny because I’m always so freaking cold!

I have like four articles of clothing I can wear. It’s a good thing I work from home as I would’ve had to replace my wardrobe several times over. I’ll be adding several pieces over the course of the next few months, slowly, as I plan on losing another 10-20 pounds total.

I don’t sound like a battle-axe at night anymore – my snoring has miraculously vanished along with the fat.

My skin, sadly, has lost a fair bit of the elasticity it had when I was much younger. 🙂

Going on NutriSystem has done somewhat of a hard reset of my palate. I used to guzzle processed junk food for sport in my prior life. As an aside, NutriSystem food is still processed though was key in helping me learn to control portion sizes. That being said, I’ve discovered foods I used to avoid in disgust and it’s amazing what I’ve discovered I enjoy – real food. Not cheap processed food.

It’s more than just a number. We are not numbers. We are not what we lose when it comes to weight. I’ve had to remind myself of that many times, especially as I was on the final stretch of my weight loss.

There are many other things I’ve learned about myself while losing the weight, but many of them go back to the same thing – the realization that I was being my own worst enemy and slowly digging a grave for myself. That is not something I wanted to continue to do in front of my family. They deserve far better from me.

Your goal may not be related to losing weight. It may not be related to paying off debt. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is seeing that time is precious and that sometimes it takes hard work and going against everything you’ve known to be true to accomplish your goal. Standing on this side of my goal, let me tell you, making the sacrifices to kill the goal are well worth it.

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Well said, my dear friend. SO very proud of you. You took responsibility for your behavior and its results, and you did something about it, inspiring others along the way to do the same. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Brian @DebtDiscipline says:

    Amazing accomplishment John. All about changing behaviors. Congrats!

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    Awesome, John! You are such an inspiration!

    And I don’t think doing exercise videos is lame at all. We’ve been doing T25 and it really kicks your butt too. It’s amazing how much of a workout you can get without any gear.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Holly!

      I know. We have a couple of hand held weights we use, I think we got them at the Goodwill, and that’s all that’s really needed.

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says:

    Wow you look great John! Losing 100 pounds is incredible, just keep going!

  • Richard says:

    I’ve lost a fair amount of weight myself this year John – though not as much as you. I can confirm that I too now really feel the cold – it’s quite an odd experience!

    I used to find getting to sleep difficult because I always got so hot in bed – now I sleep like a baby!

    • John Schmoll says:

      I know, right? I remember when I first felt cold this past fall – I wondered what the heck was going on.

      Congrats on your weight loss as well Richard!

  • Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets says:

    So amazing John! I like how you mentioned the things they don’t tell you about loosing 100lbs. I am sure you will inspire many.

  • canadianbudgetbinder says:

    Finally, the post I was waiting to read. Congratulations! Losing weight is about mindset first, eating right and exercise. Keep us up to date how you are making out as I’m sure you will be addicted like I am!! Well done mate.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Ha ha, I was waiting to write it. πŸ˜‰ I agree – it was the mindset that had to change first. The eating right and exercise came along after that mindset was changed.

  • Mriam says:

    Congratulations John. That is truly awesome. I smiled when you said that you’re always cold. My late husband was extremely obese and when he would go on a diet I really believe it was the cold that sent him back to former eating habits. He hated being cold and thought something was wrong when he was. I’m glad that at 40 (or close to it) you have found the solution. Had my husband gone your route he would probably have lived longer.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Miriam. So sorry that you lost your husband and he dealt with this struggle. I too thought something was wrong when I started getting cold all of a sudden, but know it’s a natural transition due to being so much thinner.

  • Aldo @ MDN says:

    You could probably lose a few pounds by shaving that beard, hahaha. Just kidding man, you look good. Keep up the good work!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Ha ha, I’ve had quite a few friends tell me that very thing. But, it’s staying – I’ll take any extra weight from it. πŸ˜‰

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    Congrats a million times over. I love how you point out that there are a million things you could have blamed but ultimately put the responsibility on yourself. I also love how people are quick to ridicule until they see results, then they can’t hop on the bandwagon fast enough! I hope NutriSystem hires you as their spokesperson. You and Marie Osmond could become BFF’s!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Kim! Yep, I made those excuses for years but I ultimately was just blame shifting and not pointing the finger at myself.

      Ha! Some of my family members have said the same thing. Something tells me they wouldn’t pay me whatever they’re paying Marie.

  • Elisabeth says:

    That is fantastic news! Changing eating habits really does reset the things one considers delish. Try the Fitness Blender channel… it’s free and a favorite of mine.

  • Michelle says:

    Congrats and great job. You are amazing!

  • Paul Moyer says:

    Congrats John! I am 37 and recently dropped 30 lbs and leveled off for a couple months to make eat some foods I had been depriving myself and to see how good I could do at maintaining a healthier weight.

    Just about to start my next round of weight loss. My overall goal was 50lbs so 20 more for me.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Paul! Congrats on your own weight loss and best wishes on the next round – it can definitely be done!

  • Joe says:

    Congratulation! That’s a huge accomplishment. I’m starting to add some extra pounds lately and I really need to start working on it. It’s tough with a little kid who doesn’t like to eat. I’m always the garbage disposal… Maybe I should just throw out the left over.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Joe! That really can be a struggle. We have 3 ourselves, and it’s easy for me to just say that I’ll take it. But, that’s an easy way for calories to creep in. We’ve moved towards not making the kids eat until their plate is clean – rather make what we can tell they’ll eat and if they don’t eat it then we either keep it for leftovers (if it’s something that’ll keep well) or just toss it. The latter isn’t horribly frugal, but neither is putting weight on and needing to buy new clothes. πŸ™‚

  • Catherine says:

    Huge, huge, accomplishment. Congrats, you should be proud πŸ™‚

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    Congrats John! So great to hear the news. I have heard good things about NutriSystem and I know others who have had success with it. Definitely inspired by your story to crush some of my goals!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks DC! You can have success with it, assuming you can stick with it and stay committed. The food doesn’t make it easy at times though.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    CONGRATULATIONS John!!!!!! What a HUGE accomplishment!!!!! I give you huge props for sticking with Nutrisystem. I tried using them 7 years ago, but was so disgusted when I saw a lot of the food was powdered food. I ended up using Weight Watchers to lose my weight, and I totally understand what you mean about getting cold. I used to always be warm and after losing 50 pounds, I found that I was always getting cold.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Shannon! Yea, the food isn’t always the best – I discovered early on what I could stomach which meant I got awfully bored of some things. Ha ha, yea, I found out quickly why I was always so warm.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    John, I am so proud of you!!! Losing a 100 pounds is a tremendous goal and it must feel so good. I’m glad you sought help because sometimes it is our unwillingness to do that very thing that keeps us stagnant. I used Weight Watchers when I needed help losing the baby weight and having a support system was incredibly beneficial. I’m glad Nutrisystem (and Jillian Michaels!) was what you needed! Congratulations again!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Shannon! It does feel good and just challenges me to continue down the path I’ve started. I agree, that unwillingness can keep you from accomplishing many things.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    Congratulations John! That is so amazing and proud of you for sticking to your plan!


    YES! Congrats! Outstanding! I’m about 25# away from my goal of 90lbs! I’m so excited to get there!

  • Kayla @ Add Vodka says:

    Congrats! That’s awesome. πŸ™‚ It’s also interesting to hear that you used a nutritional system to lose the weight. I would love to hear from you again in a few months to see how you are able to maintain it. (Not being negative, just curious) πŸ™‚

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Kayla! I’m sure it’ll be a challenge at first though am confident of doing well. We’re meeting with a nutritionist in the next few weeks to give us a plan of attack to continue what I’ve learned.

  • Jason B says:

    Congrats on losing the weight!

  • Natalie says:

    Congratulations, John! This is a huge accomplishment. As someone who loves sweets, the only way I know how to stay skinny is to let myself eat the sweets and eat less of everything else. Working out helps but really it’s all about what you eat. I’m glad you found what works for you — way to go!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Natalie! I’ve got a massive sweet tooth myself and have learned over the past year or so the importance of self-control and allowing yourself things – within reason. Simple, yes…easy not as much. πŸ™‚

  • Mark@BareBudgetGuy says:

    Half the weight and double the beard! That is double awesome, congrats!!!

  • Adam @ says:

    Congrats John, I’m really happy for you. Making a big change is never easy, diet in particular.

  • Even Steven says:

    That’s so great, weight in our family has always been an issue, while I’m fairly athletic and in decent shape, I can see it go the other direction very quickly. I lost like 40 lbs a couple years ago after I hit a weight that was ugly, i’ve done a decent job maintaining that loss, I’m always trying to cut a little here and there so I don’t creep back up.

    Best of lucky moving forward and keeping it 100…..that’s what all the kids are saying;)

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks! I know you’re right, it can go the other way very quickly. It almost seems unfair how much so it can be that way. πŸ˜‰

  • Rick says:

    Free videos, walking and Nutrisystem/portion control? Who’da thunk it? Now you inspired me to try again. i am 12 years in front of you and you were right – it makes sense to wake up and stop digging oneself in.

    I do not have money, so being frugal is the reality. Now that I know you can do it with videos, walking, and portion control. i start today because of you. Thank you.

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