Losing Weight My Way

bowl of cheeries

Losing Weight Sucks and I mean really SUCKS!! I feel like I’ve been on some type of diet my entire life.

A few years back I went on a diet program, which shall remain nameless, and lost a ton of weight to the tune of around 45lbs.  Yes, I could’ve lost a few more pounds but I was happy where I was at.  

While the program worked, I was miserable every day while on it.

Which leads me to my next point…

Where I’m At In Terms Of Maintenance

Fast forward to now and I’ve gained all my weight back plus some.

This leads me to believe that diets don’t work. They are temporary quick fixes.

So what do I do now? Do I just accept that this is how life is for me, I’ll never lose weight for good or do I fight back?

If you know me – you know I’ve decided to fight back.

Why Diets Don’t Work

A while back I went to New York with my cousin, who by the way has never dealt with weight issues a day in her life. She’s what you would call “naturally skinny”. So while we were on the trip for her birthday, I decided to use this as a time to experiment.

I wanted to observe her eating habits and what I discovered was eye-opening.

We ate 2 or 3 times a day and only ate when we were hungry.

My cousin wasn’t interested in mindless snacking all day long. The only time we would “snack” was when we were super hungry from walking around all day and needed a quick bite. We would stop at a street vendor and get a hotdog, but here’s the catcher – we would split the hotdog in half and share it.

One night we were so tired we didn’t feel like going out and ordering in was super expensive so we skipped the meal and went to sleep. Eating was not a priority.

And she ate slow, like super duper slow which led to her NEVER finishing her food. If she would eat half of her meal I’d be surprised.

Why I’ve Gained Weight…Again

I’ve made food a priority in my life. They say eat to live – not live to eat but c’mon…I want to enjoy food a little. I think the main reason I gained my weight back was due to emotional eating. Food has always been a coping mechanism for me.

I’ve got to learn how to find a balance between honoring my hunger and satisfying my cravings.

This Is How I Plan To Lose Weight For Good

To be clear I hate diets because I always feel deprived and unhappy when I’m on them.  

I’ve realized that how you lose weight is how you’re going to have to maintain it. So, I don’t want to do anything that I know I’m not going to stick with for the rest of my life.

I want to lose weight by eating healthier foods and changing my habits. I’ve been looking into alternative forms of eating to get healthy and here are a few of my favorites:

bowl of food and magazine

Intermittent Fasting:

I believe in the health benefits of intermittent fasting. One of the best benefits is allowing your body to relax and not have to digest food all day long.

I could go into the science behind this and perhaps I will another day but for now, I like the way intermittent fasting makes me feel and the mental clarity it gives me.

There are many different forms of intermittent fasting.  The form of intermittent fasting that I like is where I restrict my eating window to a certain time frame during the day.  I started doing the 16-8 intermittent fasting regime.  This is where I fast for around 16 hours (most of those hours I’m asleep) and then have an eating window of around 8 hours.

I plan on doing a 14-16 hour fast from 7 pm (hard cut off for me to stop eating) until 11am-12 pm the next day.

The beauty of intermittent fasting is that you don’t have to be restrictive. You can adjust your fasting and eating windows around to fit your lifestyle.

Eat Only When Hungry & Stopping When Full

Along with fasting, I want to honor my body’s hunger and full signals.

I don’t like 6 small meals a day. I don’t want to plan 6 meals every day and obsess about meal prepping and figuring out what times throughout the day to eat.

In my opinion and this is just my humble opinion, I feel like while 6 small meals a day does work for weight loss, however, it is detrimental to people who are addicted to food/eating like me. In the beginning, it works but if we’re not careful those 6 small meals can turn from being healthy into an excuse to always eat because you know – you need to fulfill a meal quota. Meals turn from grilled chicken and broccoli with snacks like almonds and oranges to fast food and chips real quick. And you don’t even realize that you’re reverted back – just that you need 6 meals (notice how I left out the word “small”).

At least this is what happened to me.

My goal is to elevate the mental stress from eating and make it more “normal” – kind of how like my cousin eats.

I believe that we are given hunger and full signals for a reason.

Right now, I’m not having an issue with waiting for hunger. My issue is stopping when I’m full.

Water

I want to get my water intake up to the suggested 64oz per day. Feeling hungry a lot of times is just dehydration.

My friend’s nutritionist told her to drive 32oz of water before every meal (and walk 10,000 steps a day). She’s lost around 25lbs in 4 months.

Drinking that much water the way the nutritionist suggested ensures that you get your daily water requirement in as well as naturally reduces your portions.

And, while we’re on the topic of portion control…

Smaller Portions and No Snacking

The season had turned to Spring and we all had started wearing our warmer clothes to work which means the fabrics get a little lighter and tighter.

I hadn’t paid much attention to my co-worker’s weight all Winter but on that day, I could tell she was noticeably slimmer. I asked her what she had done and she told me that she started to cut her portions in half. She had worked out with a trainer for about a year and had not lost much weight until she cut down her portions.

With my dietary restrictions, I’ve cut out a lot of food that causes weight gain on me. However, I’m not losing much weight and I think it’s because my portions are way too big.

No Snacking

I realize that giving myself the restriction of No Snacking isn’t realistic. There are going to be times when I need a snack.

I will allow myself a snack – only if I’m super hungry and it has to be healthy (fruits or vegetables).

Eating Slowly

Eating fast is about satisfaction and a high we feel from eating.  It focuses more on finishing the food, than enjoying the experience.

I can finish an entire meal in about 5 minutes, whereas my skinny cousin takes about an hour just to eat 6 bites of food. I remember observing this one Thanksgiving. We sat down at the table to eat leftovers the next day. We both had the same amount on our plates. I was done in about 6 minutes and she was on her second bite. And when I say done, I mean completely done – nothing left on my plate. She didn’t even finish her food – just put it up for later.

Foods & Dietary Restrictions

Thanks to my autoimmune disease, I now have a few dietary restrictions. My body adversely reacts to foods that contain wheat (think breads and pastas), milk/butter, and soy.

Since 90% of the foods I like contain at least one of those ingredients, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be doing more cooking at home which isn’t a bad thing. Crockpot here I come!

Exercise:

Walking: I like walking and while it may or may not be the best thing for quick weight loss it is something that I can do consistently. At my job, we have a campus full of trails and I love going on those trails for an hour-long walk during my lunch.

Walking is good for the heart and overall health so I feel like it would be good to add to my plan. Plus I love just getting out and clearing my mind.

Jumping Rope: I’ve recently realized that I like jumping rope. I would love to jump rope every day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. It’s such an amazing cardiovascular activity.

Weight Training: This will be focused primarily on butt exercises because right now, I don’t have a booty and I want one!

Accountability

I never make a promise I don’t intend to keep…unless it’s to myself. I feel like I have a bad habit of being accountable to everyone but me. If I was accountable to me I would have lost this weight a long time ago.

Instead of working against my nature, I’m going to work with it. So this blog will be my accountability partner. I will make the commitment to record my weight loss journey here for all to see. I plan on posting my weekly progress whether good or bad here.

Sleep

I have a horrible sleeping pattern.  I normally go to be after 1-2 am and then have to be up around 7 am.  There are a lot of theories about why sleep is good for weight loss but for me, it’s more about how I feel.  

When I am chronically fatigued I just don’t want to do anything.  This means I’m less likely to go walking for my exercise or get any exercise in at all.  It’s also harder for me to stay focused and I turn to food to stay awake.

Learning To Love Me

Learning to love and accept me as I am right now in this moment is hard. I don’t like the person I see in pictures. However, I know that I realize that I need to be present in this moment.

No, I’m not where I want to be but that’s ok because I’m working towards a better healthier me. As long as I make the consistent effort to follow my plan I’m going to be happy with my results no matter how fast or slow.

Recap of My Plan

  1. Practice intermittent fasting (14-16 hour fast with 8hour eating window)
  2. Drinks lots of water: Drinking 16-32oz of water before my meals will help me to feel full quicker as well as make sure I get in my water intake for the day.
  3. Portion Control: Cut meals in half and save the rest for later.
  4. Eat Only When Hungry During Eating Window: Allow myself to feel the hunger signal
  5. Stop Eating When Full: Take back control from food and stop eating when I’m hungry.
  6. Exercise: Do exercises that I enjoy like walking and jumping rope

Feature Image:  Brooke Lark 

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