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Everyone should feel beautiful, confident and powerful in their own skin.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t. For myself, it was easy to gain 80 lbs when I was pregnant, and not so easy to get those pounds to go away when I was no longer pregnant. With such a large weight gain in such a short amount of time, my body didn’t feel like mine anymore. The confidence I had prior to the weight gain was nowhere to be found, my health was suffering, my back and knees were suffering and I just no longer felt comfortable in my own skin. I have tried diets before, started and quickly ended exercise plans, even lost some weight in the past (which I promptly put back on). Nothing so drastic until now, having lost 25 pounds in 7 weeks, and never have I been more certain that it will stay off. So what is the difference this time? And, how did I lose that much that quickly?
To start, it is all about how this particular weight loss journey began. Feel free to catch up by reading my post about How the Universe Helped Me Become Excited About Exercise. To quickly paraphrase though, this journey began with help from my husband and the universe. The important thing to note, is that I started with an amazing support team. (When the universe is on your side, you know you are ready to go.) Not only was my husband supporting me on this journey, but he joined up and decided to work on his own weight loss as well.
Whether you and your support person encourage each other really well, or are super competitive, (Adam and I are a bit of both) having a partner can be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals.
Which leads me to the next thing we did, which was to set goals for ourselves. Like, actual number goals that we wanted to achieve. We did not start by saying “I want to lose a bunch of weight” “perfect, because I also want to lose a bunch of weight.” We decided on a specific weight we wanted to achieve and wrote down exactly how many pounds we needed to lose to get there. Then, we wrote down when we wanted to hit that goal by.
My goal? 58 lbs by December 10th. Which is exactly 6 months from the day before I changed my life.
Heres the thing about goals, you have to be specific about what you want to do and by when, or it’s really easy to let them slide. If it isn’t specific, you can say “I’ll get to that later” or “I can do better next week”. Knowing I have six months to hit my goal of almost 60 pounds means I can’t just do better next week, or get to that exercise later. I have to do better now. Writing that goal down means you have to look at it and remember it. It is hard to ignore something that is staring you in the face.
The biggest component of what we will call, my “prep” for weight loss,
was is my mindset. What I mean by that, is I was mentally ready to start this journey. I didn’t go into this thinking I wanted a quick diet that would help me lose weight so I can start eating whatever crap I want again in a few months. I was ready to get healthy, and stay healthy. I knew that meant some sacrifices- I can not eat 3 slices of pizza with several mozzarella sticks and pretend it’s ok because I got a side salad with it. I really like to have a glass of wine while I write, but tonight I have a 32 oz cup of water next to me instead. I had wine last night while I was writing, so that means tonight I don’t. Some of my favorite things are bad for me so I need to have them in moderation, if at all. I was prepared for this coming in, and my mindset was understanding that (in bold, because this is important): I can not keep doing what I have been doing, and expect to lose weight. I have always known this at heart, but wasn’t yet ready to admit it.
This time, I made up my mind that I am going to hit my goal.
Now for what you probably came here wanting to know: How I lost the weight. What I actually did. Before I get into that though, I just want to reiterate how important everything I have already gone through is. Because here’s the thing: it is not easy. It is not an overnight loss. There are frustrating days where you wake up weighing more than you did a few days ago. We are a culture of people wanting instant results, and weight loss is not instant. Ever. So please, please, don’t discount what I have written above.
Here is the absolute truth: there is no magic way to lose weight.
The formula is exactly this: calories in < calories out
In order to lose weight, you need to either 1) eat less calories than you burn daily. Or 2) burn more calories than you eat daily.
I chose to focus on a little of both.
Here is what I did:
The first week, I started getting up an hour early to do morning yoga for weight loss by following a YouTube video, every morning by myself in my room. I downloaded apps on my phone that I knew would help me along the way. One to track my weight loss and measurements, one to track my food and calories, and eventually one to track my walks. (I didn’t start walking until the end of my second week.) The main things I focused on that first week were 1) planning better meals prepared at home, 2) tracking what I was eating to make sure I was staying within my recommended calories (Google “calorie calculator” to help you find your ideal calories) 3) getting up every morning to do yoga, and get in the routine of working out.
That week was not so much fun. Yoga didn’t start feeling good until several days in, and even then I didn’t really want to wake up for it. I didn’t feel too hungry, but I was really tired of not just picking up a snack when I wanted one. I felt a little tired and groggy actually. Which is way different than people tell you that you’ll feel when you eat better and work out. It felt rough, but I kept at it. By the end of the week I had lost 8 lbs and was starting to get really excited.
Excited led to more motivated, which in turn has helped me stay on track. I also felt better and better after that first week, and continue to feel better almost daily. (Nothing is absolute, and I have a 20 month old who still doesn’t sleep through the night all of the time, so some days I do not feel better than the day before. But, every day I feel better than before I started.)
The weight loss in my first week was mostly from actually eating the right amount of calories and drinking the right amount of water.
Drinking the correct amount of water for your weight is so important for so many reasons, most relevant for this article is that it can help you lose some weight. To make sure you are drinking the right amount of water, divide your weight in half then drink that many ounces of water.
Also, most of us eat way, way more calories than we should on a daily basis. To maintain my weight, I should be at about 2000 calories per day. Today while at Costco I looked at the menu, where it tells you how many calories are in one slice of their pizza; 760. Seriously though, I can’t tell you how many times on our way out of Costco, we would grab 2 slices each as our dinner. That’s 1520 calories, for our quick dinner.
Most of us eat way, way more calories than we should.
The bonus of that though, is when you cut back to the calories you should be eating, you will lose some weight.
Ten days after starting, I hit a plateau. Ok, I actually gained a few pounds. It’s normal to vary day to day, but if you are seeing a plateau or weight gain over several days it’s time to reassess. This was about the time the universe told me to commit myself to a half marathon, so I upped my exercise. I also re-evaluated what I was eating, to make sure it was on point with where I needed it to be. On day 11 I started walking and on day 12 I started losing weight again.
From day 12 to week 7, I have exercised almost daily and sometimes twice a day. My husband and I have turned our daily walk into family time, bringing my son and daughter in their strollers. It makes it super enjoyable, and the strollers allow us to go at a pace that gets our hearts going instead of strolling leisurely with the kids.
Just to repeat this, because I think it is huge in our journey: our walks are not leisurely strolls.
We push ourselves, we aim to have a better pace every day, we have started adding laps. These walks are intense exercise. And we do them daily.
It hasn’t all been easy, and the scale is not always encouraging. I have gone through two separate times where I didn’t lose (and in one case, gained) for a period of 4-6 days. The key during these times is to keep doing what you know you should be doing. Eventually your body will catch up. (Hormones play a big role in this, not just for women, but men too. Just keep doing what you are supposed to be doing.)
So is there a shorter story here?
Here is the short of it:
- I stopped eating mostly processed foods
- I started eating mostly vegetables
- I started tracking my food and calories
- I started exercising, and added more when I was ready and my weight loss plateaued
- I do allow myself treats here and there
- I do allow myself to eat out, but balance it with a healthy meal at home later.
- I don’t deprive myself of things I enjoy (ex: wine) but I do regulate more (not every time I’m writing)
- I keep at it when there seems to be no progress
- I drink at least half of my weight in ounces of water, daily.
- I have great support, I have clearly defined goals, I know that mindset matters.
Really important for me, personally, is holding myself accountable by tracking my food and exercise. It is really easy, on the days I don’t write it down (ok, I actually enter it in an app) to eat more than I need and shrug off exercising. Losing weight for me is about becoming healthy, and becoming healthy is a lifestyle change. That means making it habit, and habits are hard to change. Holding myself accountable through records isn’t something I plan to do forever, but for now it is crucial and I highly recommend it.
The specifics of what I am eating and the exercises I am doing are not what have made me so successful.
Eating more wholesome unprocessed foods, drinking enough water and exercising daily are the lifestyle changes I have made, but the important part is sticking to those changes. So, making sure I was ready mentally, having a partner, sticking with it even on rough days and holding myself accountable are the key things I have done to lose 25 pounds in 7 weeks.
Updated Mar 2019: While working on my weightloss, I also bet on myself to hit my goal. This was definitely added encouragement on tough days. At the end of it, I hit my goal and won $1,000! Find out more about how you can bet on yourself with HealthyWage here!
This is an abbreviated excerpt from the eBook: 10 Steps to Change Your Mindset & Improve Your Life click here to grab your copy!