Milspouse Weight Loss Journey: Done Being “The Big Girl”

milspouse weight loss

By Danielle Porter, Army Spouse

I’ve always been “the big girl.” After two children by cesarean section and eight years of military wife life (long deployments, being stationed OCONUS), I was just the woman who truly believed that she was destined to be the big girl in the room.

My husband is an avid runner and always a PT stud. I was the cheerleader for him. I was the proud wife, but the wife who never joined him. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times where I “tried” to lose weight, to get healthy, but they never stuck, because my heart had resigned itself to being “the big girl.”

After having my second child, a precious little girl, I had a major reality check. I peered down into my daughters eyes and saw me, saw my entire obese childhood, the shame the embarrassment, the dieting through my teen years, the never fitting into clothes in the juniors section, all of it. I pictured her reliving everything and I panicked. I had a full blown, gut punch, panic attack.

I called my best friend and was talking to her about it and I asked her, “What if she turns out just like me?” and she simply and calmly said: “So change.” “But you don’t understand, you don’t just change,” I said. And she said, “Well sure you do, you just make one choice in the right direction, then you make another, then another, then another. Day after day you just choose something new.”

Did my entire life change in that moment?

No, but I made one healthy decision, and then I made another. See, it wasn’t like I was just lying on the couch day after day shoving my face full of Cheetos and Burger King. I was living my life. I was raising my kids, leading Family Readiness Groups, supporting my husband, moving and holding down the fort.

I Started To Change

I was raised in the South and I know how to cook. My issue wasn’t cooking from scratch; it was portion size and quality.

So the first step I made was the “clean” up my food quality. Instead of boxes and bags and cans, it was fresh and whole and clean.

My next step was adding in a whole food supplement to fill in the nutrition gaps, replace my vitamins and help me retrain my body’s response to food.

Then I added exercise. I wasn’t ready to try the gym again, I had invested so much money in gyms and personal trainers and classes and I had never stuck to any of them. So when my friend told me about working out at home for 25 minutes, I figured I could do that, as long as she promised to hold me accountable.

Doing those three things helped me drop the first 35 pounds. I started realizing how much energy I was lacking before. I was able to start feeling more like myself and desired to run around with my kids. I even ran in my first 5K because I felt so good.

The next change I made was retraining my mind about portions. I used a color-coded retraining system that really helped me understand how much of each type of food I needed to be eating to fuel my weight loss. All of those changes were resulting in weight loss, energy gain, and strength I never realized I could have.

Then I Found My Community

I started sharing that journey with others and even started running my own accountability groups. Meeting other women who felt the same way I did, I found my “me too” tribe. I decided, in true Army spouse fashion, mid-PCS, with a 1-year-old and a 3 year old and my husband rapidly deploying from his new unit, to go back to graduate school. I wanted to get my degree in nutrition so I could better serve the women in my accountability groups and enhance the passion I had gained with my transformation.

Going back to school propelled me into a new career. I had a recipe blog prior to having children. My new life reignited my passion for my blog but now it had a healthy spin. Everything I ate was portion managed and made from whole, unprocessed foods. Three years later, I’ve helped hundreds of women do the same thing I’ve done. I’ve lost 70 pounds and I’m consistently challenging my body with new workouts. I’ve run a half marathon and my team of “Nourished” women is growing daily.

This transformation has also transformed other parts of my life, including my marriage. What man is excited to be with a woman who has lost herself, who is resigned to being the “big girl” and lacked confidence in herself?

It changed my parenting.

The personal development materials I’ve included in my daily life, reading and listening to podcasts, have changed me as a parent and as a human being. I’m now proud to say I am showing my daughter how to nourish her body and love it instead of using food and exercise as punishment. My career has changed, my weight has changed, and my friendships have changed. Literally there isn’t a part of my life that hasn’t changed. All because I made one simple change after another

Read more about my journey and connect with me at

My 3 Best Tips:

1) Get a crew! I have one if you need one, but it should be other people who are on their own journey, but ready to cheer you on in yours too.

2) Eat 80 percent clean, whole, unprocessed foods.

3) Exercise 30 minutes a day five days a week.

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