127 lbs difference – 1 year
It’s been a year this month since I embarked on an enterprise to lose a lot of weight.
One year later and I have lost a lot of weight. 127 lbs. to be exact. And it hasn’t always been easy. Lots of crying. But also lots of happy smiles and jumping up at down after stepping on the scale or buying smaller pants.
It’s so fun when someone hasn’t seen me in a long time and is shocked at how much smaller / different I look. People are always so kind, supportive and say the nicest things. Everyone seems to be just so happy for you. That’s really thoughtful and nice.
I recently changed my hair as well and yesterday someone who hadn’t seen me for probably at least a year didn’t recognize me for a few seconds after I tapped on her shoulder and said hello. So fun.
Most people, when they talk to me about my weight loss, immediately ask me how I’m doing it. Of course there are specifics, but my usual, playful answer is: “Eating better and exercising! Funny how that works”
But of course it is beyond NOT that simple.
So I thought I’d talk about some of it here. Of course, I can’t go into everything about the eating I’ve done to lose weight in one blog post, but I can hit on some of the essentials.
To get my weight lost going, I had to get pretty hard core for a while in what I changed. For 5 months I didn’t eat sugar, (seriously. I did not. eat. sugar.), fried food, almost all carbs and I didn’t drink any soda, fruit or sugared drinks. (Fare thee well, Diet Coke, old friend…)
The funny thing to say here was that it was the worst five months of my life, but it kind of wasn’t at the same time. I won’t lie, I cried over not eating dessert more than once during those five months, but at the same time it seemed easier at certain points. The easiest part, weirdly was the beginning when I just WENT for it and the middle bit when I was used to it. The hardest bit was towards the end when I just started to get sick of all my same old food choices and eating routines.
5 months happened to be how long it took, but the amount of time I chose to eat that way was based on how much weight I wanted to lose before I shifted my diet. So, it took me 5 months to get to that pre-set goal.
5 month difference – half way to goal
How I Eat Now
One of the main things I have changed is my portion sizes. Now, in my day to day diet, I eat some treats and a larger variety of foods but my portions are drastically smaller. For me, that has been one of my greatest tools to success. I’m sorry, but I’m not just one of those people who can successfully say: “Oh, I’m never going to have ice cream or spaghetti or a burger again”. So one of my secrets is sampling what I want but just eating LESS. I’m not saying I always eat everything I want or something that is bad for me as long as I don’t eat much, but when I do want to try something I can just use portion control. And that is what works for me.
For “non-healthy” foods I try to just have a bite or two, but in general, I have a high protein diet with lots of fruits and veggies. I’ve also tried to shift the cooking in our home to as organic/whole/non-GMO/fresh as I can. For exercise I started out with lots and lots of walking and Zumba and now I run and swim on my parents 10 acres. I try to be active every day even if it just a really good walk with my dog or running after my nieces and nephews. The greatest tools to my success have been my supportive husband, my FitBit, eating less and building up activity levels.
100 lb difference
Do What Works For You
Since I’ve started dramatically losing weight I’ve had a handful of people either reference themselves or loved ones and say that they wish that they / the person they know could just be like me and copy what I’m doing to lose the weight. I’ve had the feeling a couple times that others feel kind of guilty if / when they see my weight loss and wish they were doing the same thing.
But here is the thing: I’ve thought that so many times myself! First off, you’ve got to be ready – and that doesn’t happen the same time or way for everyone. (More on that later in the post). And secondly, I truly believe that there is not one exact way to health. No matter what the current food trends are, or what everyone seems to be doing in your circle of friends / on social media, I really don’t believe there is one tried and true process to be healthy and strong. Yes, of course, there are certain common sense, basic health principles, but in an every changing world of viral health I don’t think we can just slap one process on everyone and say: “That’s how you do it. Why haven’t you done it yet?”
So you have to decide what’s right for you, what your doctor says, how your body reacts and what works. The other side to this coin is that none of us in this world have all the time and money to do everything in a perfectly “healthy” way all the time. So, I feel like you have to prioritize.
Some things I decided worked for me:
- Green Smoothies. I use to make green smoothies in my blender every morning. Doing so was a wonderful experience and actually changed my health for the better forever. But it started to get cumbersome and overwhelming to me to keep on the top of the ingredients, preparation and clean up every morning. So now, I drink Naked Juice Green Machine drinks quite often. I honestly don’t think that the juice is as beneficial to me – but I’m using that to make it work so I don’t feel like it’s all or nothing with the health benefits I got from my homemade green smoothies.
- Dairy. In theory, I actually don’t believe dairy is really good for you. I remember when I was little I looked at a baby cow drinking from his mother and I thought, “Umm baby cows drink cow’s milk and they get like, really huge. Maybe cows milk isn’t that compatible with human bodies.” I haven’t had any milk in years but guess what, I love cheese. (Sue me). There was one point in my weight loss where I had to make a conscious decision about whether I was going to eliminate dairy from my diet or not because I genuinely believe that would be better for me, personally. But at that time and at this time, I decided that weight loss is my main goal right now and I felt that if I eliminated dairy and all the alternative food options it gives me to sugar and carbs, that it might de-rail my weight loss. So, even though I might like to eliminate dairy at some point, at this time, that is what has worked for ME personally. It’s all about making it work.
- Treats. I eat treats. I ate a lot of cake on my birthday and. I. liked. it. Sometimes I eat treats. I feel like if I deprive myself totally of all foods I enjoy then I’m on an unsustainable “diet” and I’m trying to have a long term, healthy lifestyle change, not something I am going to yo-yo back from eventually.
- I drink diet coke. It’s really bad for you. It’s not good for you. You shouldn’t do it. I do it right now. Let’s all pray I have the strength / good sense to stop this health sin soon. The end.
- Eating often. I actually get hungrier more often / more quickly than I used to even though I eat so much less. The difference is now I get satisfied so much faster and I am eating higher quality foods. So I’m basically eating all day. It’s just not a lot at a time. I probably eat a little something every two hours or so. So if you see me stuffing my face with avocado toast at 2:15 like I don’t have friends or family – don’t judge. I lost 127 lbs. so I guess stuffing my face with avocado toast at 2:15 like I don’t have friends or family is working.
- I don’t always eat the same thing as my husband. Though my family (my husband and I), have become much healthier in our eating over all, there are some things my husband can / wants to eat that I choose not to. So, sometimes I just eat different stuff or just eat less. NBD.
Protein has been such a good secret weapon for me. Basing your nutrition on long lasting protein instead of sugar or bad carbs for energy really changes your whole energy / health system. I actually have a really hard time getting in all my protein because I don’t eat a lot of meat and I really don’t like chicken. I used to do the protein drinks but then I drank so much of them I got super grossed out. Now I eat beans often, cottage cheese and protein bars. I start to feel weak and sick if I don’t get enough protein so I really try to watch that. I’m also super on top of taking my vitamins every day.
“Everything Causes Cancer”
My husband and I have an inside joke whenever we read something on health or think about yet ANOTHER un healthy aspect of life. We say to each other, “Welp, I guess it doesn’t really matter, because doesn’t everything cause cancer anyway?”
Of course we are being completely facetious by saying that but the point is in our over-processed, carcinogenic world it’s really hard to avoid things that are bad for the human body. From fast food, to plastic tupperware, to pollution we’re just not going to escape it. The other side of the coin to that private joke is that food “science”, information and popular opinion on health changes every day. So I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in health trends and what is good or terrible for you flip flops every year.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t try. Because I do. I believe even though we may not be able to avoid all the bad stuff / be perfectly whole all the time, we can do some reasonable things that have a really wonderful impact on our bodies and health. But again, this is based on the research I have done for myself and the personal choices I have made for me. It may not be what you feel is right for you or your family.
Some things I actively try to do to be more “whole”:
- Use / buy products with simple, whole ingredients. Again, I’m not perfect, but I try to stay away from products with, like, a thousand pharmaceutical sounding ingredients and I try to cook with simple, tasty aspects
- Organic isn’t a catch-all. I’m not better than organic. I’m into it to. But honestly it’s become such a hot-button word that I don’t always feel like “organic” on a label is going to make everything all better. Some things I look for as well are: hormone free, grass-fed, antibiotic free, non-GMO, pesticide free and not created in massive bulk. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it creeps me out when all the tomatoes at Costco are like the exact same size, shape and color in that plastic crate. (HOW do they get that way?? Not natural…)
- Eat fresh and local. I think it is just common sense that food that has less far to go is going to be a fresher, higher quality food that doesn’t have to have processes done to it to make it last.
- Listen to your body. See how your body responds to certain foods. You won’t feel good after eating something that isn’t good for you personally. I found out during this process that sugar makes my joints hurt and gives me pain! Obviously, I already knew sugar wasn’t good for me, but I didn’t know in what specific ways it was affecting my body.
Having said all this, I just want to re-iterate that I’m not perfect or even the best on the block at this stuff. I’m not going to say that I haven’t eaten McDonalds or Cookie Butter in the last year. But I don’t regularly and I try really hard not to. The point is, I am trying to create a more, balanced, all around healthy lifestyle so I am going to try to do my best to do these types of things that I believe are better for me and my family.
I think this is an appropriate place for a Jim Gaffigan McDonalds joke:
“It’s fun telling people you go to McDonald’s. They always give me that look like, Oh! I didn’t know I was better than you. No one admits to going to McDonald’s. They sell six billion hamburgers a day. There’s only 300 million people in this country. It’s like I am not a calculus teacher, but I think everyone is lying.”
Between events, family and work Sam and I eat out a lot. I’ve really learned how to make that work for me. One challenge I had is that I like, as Sam says: “options.” I like to get all the sides and a salad and yada yada with my meal not necessarily because I am going to eat the entire amount, but because I like to have several different types of food with my meals. I like sides. When I started losing weight I was wasting so much food at restaurants but I’ve kind of learned the ropes at how to make it work. So, ways I’ve adapted going out to eat:
- Share sides with your dinner companion. I just order the main thing and then Sam just orders what sides I would like to try. I usually have a bite of everything and then I get to have all the “options” I like and we didn’t pay for / waste a bunch of food I didn’t eat
- Leftovers. I am NOT afraid to take home food. If I don’t think I should eat anymore, I just don’t. Sam is AWESOME (because of everything anyway), but also because he never ever makes me feel bad about not eating food I’ve ordered or if I decide I’ve made a bad choice and shouldn’t continue eating. He’s so cool that way because he thinks it’s more important for me to be healthy. He never makes me feel bad and is always very proud of me.
- Don’t eat the leftovers just because they are there. I take home a lot of left overs because I just feel like I should because we paid for it and also because I feel like it helps me not have the psychological pressure to eat it all at the restaurant. But I also have just let myself not feel guilty about just chucking left overs if I don’t need them instead of feeling like I have to eat them before they go bad.
- Salmon. I eat a lot of salmon. Luckily, I LOVE fish and it is one of my main staples so no problem there. Ordering fish with no sauce or butter and just lemon salt and pepper has been one of my secret ninja moves at being healthy at restaurants. (Thanks Mom, you taught me how.)
Favorite Go-To Foods
- Hummus with carrots or sugar snap peas
- Green Machine naked juice
- Tuna w/ mayo and pickle
- Ezekial bread
- Avocado Toast (no duh, Livi, we’re all on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest – we get it.)
- Trader Joe’s Natural Peanut Butter on Toast or Celery
- Black beans with shredded cheese, tomatoes or salsa
- Cottage cheese and radishes or celery with sea salt and pepper
- Steamed green beans with olive oil and sea salt (I cheat at this though. I have a kick-A steamer we got at our wedding so, like, all I do is wash the green beans, put them in and then press a button.)
- Salad with pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and a yummy dressing
- Trader Joes coconut yogurt with cut up strawberries (tastes like a dessert!)
Being Ready For It
The most Dumb-A** statement I have EVER heard in my life is:
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Thanks a heap Kate Moss, I’ll remember that next time I’m posing for Vogue or not hungry because I do drugs.
Seriously though guys – SO stupid. I am a lot “skinnier” now and guess what, cake and nutella still taste just as da*n good as a year ago.
I think attitudes and lines of thinking like that are so un-helpful. Food is a huge part of our everyday life. We eat it all day long and it is important for our health to eat it. We just need to eat it right. Food is cultural, pleasurable, fun, social and on and on. Denying that and pretending like someone isn’t losing weight because they “like” eating more than they like “being skinny” or feeling good just isn’t a correct or intelligent comment.
I think the most powerful overall tool in my weight loss success has been the mental and emotional readiness. Quite a few people have expressed to me that they wish I could just “talk” to a loved one to convince that person that they can or should lose the weight just like me. I understand why people ask that, it’s out of genuine concern and love but you can’t lose weight and be healthy until you are mentally and emotionally prepared in my opinion. You won’t be successful, do it right or have long lasting results. Being ready in that way is not something you can rush or force and I worked really hard and am very grateful I got to that point so I could really do this right. But it can be done!
Take It Easy
Do what you have to in order to not be overwhelmed. You’re not going to be perfect, you’ll make mistakes. Don’t be hard on yourself, keep trying, do what you have to do to make it work for you.
Thanks for all the love and support guys – I couldn’t continue to do what I’m doing without my wonderful support system!