How I Lost 60lbs

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: 

Successful weight loss isn’t just physical, it’s mental, too. This is a journey to being healthier, not skinnier. You are working on being the best you possible. Your body will reflect your hard work and the healthy decisions by decreasing fat and gaining muscle. Be conscious of what you’re doing today, and tomorrow it will show.

That being said, here’s my story…

About 2 years ago, acne called my forehead home, my favorite clothes were tight, if they fit at all, I was sedentary, my eating habits were about as processed and unhealthy as it gets, I was on anti-depressants, I was late to class daily, and I put in the minimum to get by. When I stepped on that scale and saw 206lbs, it hit me like a brick wall. I was complacent, and I knew I was better than that. It was time to turn my life around, starting by losing weight.

I started with what I knew, “eat less, workout more,” so I downloaded the app “Lose It” to track my calories, eating the same foods, but portioned out, and started going on the elliptical for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Simple, small changes that allowed a few pounds to shed. When I started to stabilize, I decided to push myself further.

“Maybe I should cut out bread & pasta. They always say those are bad for you” I said to myself as I took my next step into a healthy lifestyle. Sugar & processed carbs like bread and pasta are killers for me. I’m incredibly addicted to them, and once I take one bite, I lose all self control. For me, it’s been easier to have none than have just one, so I highly suggest you cut these bad boys out of your life. 

From that point forward, I did my best to fill my grocery cart with more whole, real foods. I began avoiding heavily processed, fried, and breaded, foods. I started to look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts to know a little more about what I was putting into my body andbegan balancing my intake of protein, carbs, and fat. 

After I trained myself to love healthy foods and eat less, I stopped tracking my calories and started trusting and listening to my body to tell me when I’m full. I stopped eating when I’m bored.

Meanwhile at the gym, 30 minutes on the elliptical turned into 45, then an hour. 3 days a week turned into 5. Level 1 turned into some of those pre-sets that make the level easier and harder throughout the workout. I started doing other things like swimming, lifting weights, and at one point I even downloaded Couch to 5K to learn how to be a runner. And 4 months ago, I started taking HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes. But everything I did was 1 easy step at a time. Just like if you try to jump 10 stairs, you’ll fall and break a bone. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

OVERVIEW AND TIPS:

  1. The best, most attainable, long-lasting thing you can do is make one small, achievable goal at a time and stick to it, no excuses. Once it becomes a habit, rechallenge yourself to master a new level of healthy. 
  2. Be conscious.
  3. Weigh yourself, but only to keep you on track. When you’re overweight, the number on the scale going down will tell you that your body is appreciating what you’re doing to be healthy, and when it stabilizes, that number is telling you that you’re capable of more, but it’s not a perfect science.Don’t let that number define you or discourage you, because in the end, the most important thing is that you’re being healthier than before and you should be proud of that. 
  4. Find what works best for you!
  5. A rigid, strict plan is impossible to stick. Make healthy your lifestyle. One off day is fine, just get back on the horse and keep riding. We are not defined by our mistakes, we are defined by how we continue after we’ve made them.
  6. Giving up your favorite foods isn’t as scary as it sounds. As humans, we’re conditioned to love things that we’re used to, and it’s very possible to reprogram your taste buds to love healthy foods. I used to eat pasta daily, but now the very thought of it grosses me out the way fish, my now favorite food, used to.
  7. Find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods and love every bite you take. Healthy can be delicious, too!
  8. Listen to your body.  
  9. Know that food gives you energy I need to live (and work your butt off while working out).
  10. Balance is everything. 
  11. I put a note on my fridge for a while that said “are you hungry or are you bored?” If I was bored, it reminded me to close the fridge and find something better to do. 
  12. Walk away from the kitchen if you’re eating because you’re bored.

 

Getting Started and Need Food Ideas? Over the last two years, I’ve had obsessions with all of these. Slowly I change my own plan, as you will too, but these have helped me get to where I am.

  1. If you love cereal, try muesli, bananas, raisins and (unsweetened vanilla almond) milk. It may take a minute to get used to, but the raw rolled oats is a healthy carbohydrate option and the banana gives you the sweetness you love. You can even add honey if you’d like.
  2. Want a burger or taco? Get it with a lettuce wraps. This is my newest obsession. Take away the processed carbs and still get a ton of flavor with the contents. A lot of restaurants will substitute the bun/tortilla easily for lettuce wraps, too, so thats a plus.
  3. If you love pasta, try putting your favorite sauce on chicken. As long as you measure out a good serving size, pasta sauce is a great addition to protein-packed chicken.
  4. I survive off eggs/egg whites because they’re easy to make and you can throw so many things in to spice up the flavor. My favorites are olive muffuletta, pesto, veggies, or guac and salsa.
  5. Costco has Chicken Kale Mozzarella Burgers and I used to be obsessed.
  6. They also have mediterranean chicken skewers.
  7. And I love their tortilla soup.
  8. Speaking of soup, any non-creamy & carb filled soup is great. I’m obsessed right now with Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper soup from Trader Joes.
  9. Sushi can be great as long as there's not a ton of added sauces and fried things. The basic rolls are great - like a cali roll or a yellowtail roll with avocado. Just avoid the mayo.
  10. Carrots & guac.
  11. Skinny pop.
  12. (Measure it out but) almonds, peanuts, and other nuts. Fun fact, they have pouches of portioned out roasted, unsalted almonds at Trader Joe’s.
  13. Rice cake & 2 tbsp peanut butter.
  14. Rotisserie Chicken.
  15. Apple Sauce Pouches.
  16. I used to be obsessed with Jarrow Whey Protein shakes with unsweetened almond milk. I’d have vanilla some days, and chocolate with a tbsp of PB2 on other days.
  17. Mini pepper & hummus.
  18. Salmon is the easiest fish to cook. Get them individually wrapped and portioned for $5.99 at Whole Foods, freeze them, and take one out the night before you want it.

    Overcoming Perfection Paralysis Disorder (P.D.D.)

    It’s the first sentence that always kills me. It’s the first line, the first chord, or, when I’m cleaning, actually picking up the vacuum that curtails my productivity. But after the initial step, hours pass like minutes. 

    It's passion that makes diving in and working significantly easier (and considerably more rewarding.) Passion is the fire that allows me to stay alive through the Arctic winter that is my To-Do list. I've found that a connection or appreciation allows me to conquer the most mundane, and even dreadful of topics with my whole heart and soul. 

    But giving 100% is both a gift and a curse. "All or Nothing" is so hard-wired in my brain that I’ve neglected to undertake large tasks, such end-of-novel papers in High School, because my schedule made it physically impossible to provide my undivided attention. I've spent years reprogramming my brain to accept that perfection isn't always attainable, and something is better than nothing.

    But even when I'm so captivated by my work that the world around me no longer seems to exist, perfection still hinders me. I fixate on unimportant garnishes when I know cranking out a rough draft and revising is a much more effective method. Hundreds if not thousands of unfinished projects lay in my brain, notebooks, and computer archives with nothing to show. The wasted time and energy makes me sicker than Perfection Paralysis Disorder (P.P.D.) (I just made this up).

    Perfect is an arbitrary term, and I'm done letting an inaccessible idea control me. From now on, I will track my growth by finishing projects and moving on to another. I will set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) Goals and hold myself accountable for reaching them. And when I find myself infatuated by minute details, I will put myself in someone's shoes who isn't mentally attached to the project.

    Now I just have to sit down and do it.

     

    So, what holds you back from productivity and what do you do to overcome it?

    Beyond The Physical

    Every time I open Snapchat’s daily news thread, there always seems be an article about perfecting the exterior you adjacent to a self-love article, encouraging happiness in your current physical state. On Monday, I’ll see a “10 Delicious Snacks To Lose Fat,” and on Tuesday, a contradictory recipe for “Double Fudge Nutella Brownies” is featured. These mixed messages leave me questioning, do I want the Victoria’s Secret model body, or do I bake and devour the molten lasagna I saw while scrolling through Facebook? 

    As someone who lost 40+lbs, both for my own well-being and to appease society, I personally see the positive side-effects weight loss, healthy eating, and working out have. When I look in the mirror, the idea that hard work pays off becomes tangible, I no longer am on copious amounts of medication for mental illness, and I simply feel better in my skin. Aside from just the physical transformation, my mind, body, and soul has undergone metamorphosis. I now have more determination to improve and reach goals beyond just weight loss. Instead of dreaming, I’m acting, and I’m seeing results.

    But, unfortunately, I’ve seen the desire for a better body cause detrimental side effects. Today, it’s common for a person’s mind to be hijacked and warped into thinking they aren’t good enough. Off the top of my head, I know six close-friends who have struggled with anorexia and/or bulimia. And as I get closer to my goals, the idea of looking a certain way starts to consume my thoughts.

    This overwhelming prevalence of negative body image in the media has sparked activists to promote “loving” your body. Media is starting to recognize that humans come in different shapes and sizes. We’re beginning to embrace the stretch marks, tummy rolls, and other “flaws” that make us unique. This movement and change in mindset is necessary and amazing. After all, if you aren’t happy now, 10lbs won’t magically turn the world around. 

    But there’s still a huge problem: it’s driven by the same idea already drilled into our minds: that what we see is what matters. Does no one understand that just because someone is thin, doesn’t mean their heart is happy with their habits? And just because someone is bigger, doesn’t mean their eating and exercise aren’t top-notch.

    To me, loving yourself means being active, fueling your body with foods that will love you back, and maintaining mental wellness. We live in a deep-fried society that envies exteriors while shoveling chemically processed foods into our mouths, neglecting the fact that we’re slowly destroying our bodies because our priorities are in the fact that we’re “skinny" instead of “healthy."

    It’s time to recognize that healthy is sexy. It’s time to model behavior that’ll strengthen as a society, not bodies that leave us envious as we continue to disrespect our own. It’s time for cultural revolution against what we know media to be, and make it what we it can be. Let’s open our eyes and mind to change. Take action, treat your body like a temple, and make mental and physical health a priority. Go beyond the physical.

    So, what will you do today to love your body?