how to find your natural weight (without losing your mind)–15 month post-baby update

how to find your natural weight (without losing your mind) #health #weightloss //

A much needed life update (homeschooling (again)! learning Japanese! preparing to move overseas!), but first.

(Just scroll down a bit, if you just want to read the life update.)

how to find your natural weight

1/11/2014, the day I gave birth to Tyndale

It’s been 15 months since I birthed our fifth child.

I haven’t talked a lot about my weight since my beyond size & scale post last fall. At that time, I came to a happy place with my weight–I had lost 45 or so pounds from my post-pregnancy starting point of 204 lbs. (recall that this was my weight a week after I had the baby), putting me squarely in the 160’s weight range.

[Click here to see my entire weight loss journey, after baby #5.]

For a person of 5’9″, this is healthy weight. My goal from the beginning was to focus on health, rather than numbers anyway, though I knew I did have a significant amount to lose & used the scale to help me get to that healthy weight range.

Needless to say at that point (last fall), I ditched the scale & made the the decision to not even “think” about trying to lose any more weight. Though I was 15-20ish pounds heavier than my lowest weight (which admittedly was very thin, for me), I felt awesome & completely comfortable & healthy in my skin.

How to find your natural weight

Going forward from there, my only rule, or rules for myself were:

1) practice intuitive eating, really listening to my body & feeding it for health, energy, & nourishment
2) continue eating mostly whole, simple plant foods (though I did have some slip-ups which I explain in this & this post)
3) exercise most days of the week (essentially following the my FSL guidelines)–more for mental/emotional benefits than anything else.

That’s it.

Again, weight loss at that point was never my intention, only happy, healthy weight maintenance & overall fitness.

how to find your natural weight (without losing your mind) #health #weightloss //

Fast forward about six months later & I’m in my closet deciding what clothes to give away, toss, or keep, as we prepare for our move to Okinawa this summer.

There were a stack of shorts & pants that I hadn’t touched in almost two years. I thought, hmm, I wonder if those fit me now. I had noticed some of my clothes fitting more loosely.

I tried a few pairs of shorts on, & to my surprise–they fit! I hadn’t been on the scale in nearly six months, but I had to know if I really had lost weight. I stepped on the scale & was surprised to see that since I had last weighed myself in early October 2014, I had lost 15 pounds (putting me at 150 lbs.).  This weight loss was honestly unintentional, & happened so gradually (something like less than .5 pounds a week) I didn’t even notice it was happening.

Am I happy to have lost more weight?


But more than that, I am thrilled to know that by practicing intuitive eating & focusing on tried & true FSL principles (which happily does not include carb, fat, or protein counting!), my body is able to drift to it’s natural weight, almost effortlessly.

(A few of my thoughts on how to stop emotional eating, here.)

how to find your natural weight (without losing your mind) #health #weightloss //

Everyone is searching for that magic formula for weight loss & weight maintenance.

I think over the years, with all of my huge pregnancy weight gains (this last one was the worst, no thanks to my gestational diabetes) I’ve discovered through lots of trial & error a rather straightforward, simple, & sustainable approach to weight loss & weight maintenance (which I explain in detail in my FSL: The Diet ebook).

Losing weight is more of an endurance sport rather than a sprint. Sustainable, long-term healthy losses happen when you focus on principles, rather than strict regimens. That is truth.

Your body is beautiful. Your body is amazing. And when you listen to it, feed & nourish it properly, it will naturally gravitate to a healthy, happy place.

→ Check out my ebook, Fit, Strong, Lean: The Diet, for all the details (including 25+ quick & easy recipes) on how to find your natural weight.

Now for the life update. 

Have you noticed I’ve been spending much less time blogging lately?

Um, yeah.

I’ve taken a dive into the deep end of the homeschooling pool & I’ve just come back up for air. And, boy, homeschooling the second time around has been a night & day experience.

No doubt I’ll devote an entire post on this at some point in the future, but can I just say–I’m loving being with my kids. I’m loving learning with my kids. Every day is not without it’s low points, but overall, it’s a challenging, rigorous, & extremely fulfilling experience.

Just to give you a little background, I used to home school, then stopped once we moved to Texas (& we’ve had an amazing experience with kid’s public school here, I might add. Texas education is pretty stellar, IMO). Several weeks ago we pulled our kids out of school (once their term ended) so we could home school & focus on learning Japanese together in preparation for our move to Okinawa, Japan. Believe me, after my last experience, I never really thought I would go back to homeschooling (though I never rule out any possibility in my life).

Interesting side note: My why I don’t homeschool anymore posts is one of the more popular bring joy posts. I get emails from fellow moms on a regular basis telling me how much they appreciate that post, & how much guilt they have about not homeschooling, or putting their kids in public school after a stint with homeschooling & appreciate hearing that they aren’t bad moms because they don’t homeschool. My thoughts about homeschooling vs. public school still remain the same. Moms shouldn’t feel obligated to home school their kids in order to be a “good” or “Christian” mother. Public school isn’t without it’s flaws or downsides, but neither is home school. Every family must make their choice based on their opportunities, resources, & of course, their individual child’s needs.

Will I continue to home school once we get to Japan? I have no idea.

I’m taking it one day a time. There are still so many unanswered questions about what our experience will be like there, where we will live, etc. that I am just living very much in the present, right now. And that’s okay. It’s working for us, & we’re having a lot of fun & engaging learning experiences every day (& I am having so much fun really digging deep into learning a foreign language).

Another fun thing, as of late–I got to take a five day trip (by myself!) to visit family & friends in Utah last week. It was so good for my brain & body to have a break from my household & family obligations. It was the first time I’ve done anything like this, & I came back refreshed & renewed.

That’s it for now. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you. I haven’t forgotten about this blog & I’m looking forward to sharing this next bit of life with you, which I’m sure will have it’s share of exciting bumps, twists, & detours.

I just ask for your patience & understanding in this crazy time of life. I always love reading what you have to say, so please feel free to comment below or email me & please understand that though I might not respond to every comment, I do read every note that you send me!

Lots of love,





Other bring joy posts you might want to check out:


  1. Kyrie
    on April 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm said:

    I just found your blog today, and I must say I am already addicted 🙂 You are an inspiration for my own blog where I will be cataloging my weight loss as well. 7 years ago I quit smoking, and packed on almost 70 pounds. On a 5′ frame, that is a LOT of weight!! After ups and downs (and gaining/losing the same 10 pounds 4 times) I am down about 35 pounds. I am also a vegetarian, working on going vegan. Thanks for great tips, recipes and inspirational ideas. You look great!!

  2. Emily
    on April 22, 2015 at 9:00 pm said:

    Thank you for this! I’m embarking on losing baby weight after baby #4 and this was so encouraging to me. Moderation and intuitive eating DO work and you look wonderful! Thanks for the honesty and experience and sharing with us all!

  3. Beth E.
    on April 20, 2015 at 9:03 am said:

    Janae: You have always been beautiful, and now you’re just stunning! You’re just glowing, and what’s most important, is that you look happy. Best wishes in your upcoming transition!

  4. Katie
    on April 20, 2015 at 12:52 am said:

    This was such a happy thing for me to read! I was just thinking about you tonight and was wondering when I might hear from you again. Sounds like you are busy – but life is so good. I am so happy to hear how things are going with your kiddos. I’m gearing up to homeschool, and I love to see others trying it out! Makes me feel less alone 🙂

  5. Lfwfv
    on April 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm said:

    I love that you are listening to your body, feeding it mostly super nourishing foods, exercising for energy and good mood and vitality, and are settling into a weight that suits your current life. One of the things I like about eating whole foods is that I think it is waaaay easier to trust your hunger signals! I am also so interested in your homeschool process, as I think this is a path we will likely attempt with our kids. Can’t wait to hear more whenever you get moments to post.

  6. Jill
    on April 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm said:

    We’ve missed you! However, you look so radiant we all know you’re doing what’s right for you. Glad you had a fun family visit. I am looking forward to one in PA in late May.

  7. Joya Towne
    on April 17, 2015 at 8:23 am said:

    Beautiful pictures! Do you think that some of us have trouble trusting ourselves and our own intuitions about our bodies because of all we are bombarded with (media, stereotypes, opinions)? I think so – we are constantly looking outward instead of inward. But it’s easy to get caught up in all the noise. I really love what you’re saying here, it all should be so simple but we get in our own way sometimes when it comes to our health and well-being.
    I’m sending up prayers for you and your family as you transition to the next adventure, and I can’t wait to hear about it!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 17, 2015 at 10:39 am said:

      Thank you Joya!

      “Do you think that some of us have trouble trusting ourselves and our own intuitions about our bodies because of all we are bombarded with (media, stereotypes, opinions)?”
      Yes, especially the trusting part. We sort of lose our way, I think, during late childhood/teen years (have you noticed how typical 3 & 4 year olds are naturally intuitive & are so good at trusting their bodies, especially hunger/sleep cues?). The body-image obsessed culture created by media no doubt also affects our natural intuition. There seems to be this idea that you have to be obsessed with exercise/dieting in order to be fit/lean which lends itself to people just saying “oh well, why try” & they settle for not exercising, not paying attention to what they eat.
      “it all should be so simple.”
      It should! And it IS. But it requires patience, diligence, which are virtues in short supply these days.

      Thanks so much for your prayers–we’ll need them!! xo

  8. Stephanie Draper
    on April 17, 2015 at 8:11 am said:

    I love it, Janae! Currently I am attempting to homeschool Caleb. Sadie and I didn’t last long and I ended up putting her back into public school. She has an amazing teacher and is flourishing. I still struggle to communicate to her in a way where she doesn’t feel like hiding behind a bush. It’s frustrating not knowing how to communicate to your child, but I am glad she can feel safe with a good teacher. Caleb and I are just rolling with it every day, haha. Sophie misses going to Headstart, but I really didn’t want to deal with all the preschool diseases this year, especially with a baby. It was bad enough with Justin teaching and then add in Sadie going back… I’m still trying to decide what is going to work for our family next year, but I’m grateful for your thoughts on NOT homeschooling as well. I totally admire your determination in learning a new language. I’ll have to try it out if we end up going overseas. 🙂 Justin is applying for jobs in AZ as well as with DoDEA. Who knows what will happen, but maybe we’ll get to go on an adventure for a couple of years. As always I love your thoughts on life and love to hear from you whenever you get around to it. 🙂 Good luck with the move!!!

    • Stephanie Draper
      on April 17, 2015 at 8:12 am said:

      Oh, and you look AMAZING! I can’t wait to read your book soon..:-)

  9. Ellie
    on April 17, 2015 at 8:04 am said:

    You look FABULOUS! You’re glowing and look so healthy, strong, and lean!
    It’s wonderful to hear that actually eating when you’re hungry, eating healthy foods, and moderate exercise CAN lead to weight loss.
    Like so many others, I’m prone to think, “My pants are tight…better go to three fitness classes and subsist solely on spinach.”
    Its so comforting and reassuring to see that you can look so wonderful and also be living healthily and moderately.

    • Janae Wise
      on April 17, 2015 at 10:26 am said:

      Thank you Ellie!

      “It’s wonderful to hear that actually eating when you’re hungry, eating healthy foods, and moderate exercise CAN lead to weight loss.”
      Absolutely. I’m so tired of all the in-your-face “Biggest Loser” extreme dieting/exercise mentalities. Sure, it will take longer & requires patience & diligence, but as they say, easy come, easy go. I know this weight loss is absolutely sustainable because I got to this place in a completely natural & maintainable way. Another thing this experience has taught me is that little stuff counts. The daily, small good habits/choices add up & matter. It just takes awhile to see the big picture, to see the pay off.