*TW: This post may be triggering for anyone struggling with weight/EDs, so please feel free to stop reading if that applies to you!*
In yesterday’s 2020 in words post, I briefly wrote about why I decided to start working out and eat healthier to start my weight loss journey. I wrote “One of the biggest changes I made during 2020 was working on my physical health and trying to lose weight. I had gained an extraordinary amount of weight over my years in college, with most of it arriving in 2018-2019, so I knew I wanted to get in shape at some point. Rachel and I would work out together twice a week our senior year, but because I was barely moving and kept the same eating habits, my size stayed the same. Once I started looking at pictures of myself from graduation and on field with the high school football coaches I wrote about for Hawaiʻi Prep World, I was extremely upset with how I looked. So on June 22nd, I measured my waist, hips, arms, and thighs, and weighed myself and decided to become healthier.” I didn’t realize how much weight I had gained over the past few years until I was wearing the largest shorts size at American Eagle and most of my clothes were too tight for me to wear. Once I was absolutely uncomfortable with my body and health, I knew I had to start working on my weight loss. I didn’t have a plan, but my goal was to lose 48 pounds and as many inches off my waist and hips as possible without a time limit. I started, like I said before, on June 22nd, by controlling my meal portions and going for a long walk.
My coworker and friend Okie and I started walking on Wednesdays after work and logging around 4.5-5 miles each time. For the first couple months, those walks and managing my portion sizes was all I did in regard to my health. I wasn’t weighing myself or working out 7 days a week, but I slowly felt my pants loosen and I had more energy every day. At about the 3 month mark, I had stopped eating most processed sweets/desserts (except from my one square of Dove milk chocolate every night after dinner) and ate only a small portion of simple carbs every day. Most of my meals centered around fruits, vegetables, and proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish (which I love now!!), but I would sometimes have a measured out portion of pasta (1.5 oz) or rice (0.75 cup) to satisfy those cravings. One of the main skills I learned during this period of portion control (which I still practice today) is measuring almost all of my foods and logging them in MyFitnessPal—the godsend for my weight loss. I still eat most of the foods I’ve always loved like spaghetti, cereal, and ice cream, but in much smaller portions so I know exactly how many calories I’m consuming with even macros. For example, when I have cereal for breakfast (not every day anymore), I’ll have 0.5 cup of Honey Bunches of Oats with 0.75 cup 1% milk and 0.5 a banana and I’m fully satisfied while sticking to my dietary goals! I’ll also measure my dressings I use for salads, cups of soup I have, and the weight of the noodles I’m consuming. I’m not restricting my food, but it helps to know what I’m putting in my body and how that will affect me throughout the day. I’ve also become much more aware of the ingredients and nutrition facts on any and all prepackaged foods I buy. Even the “healthy” advertised ones can be full of extra fats, sodium, and sugar, so I make sure to always read the backs of any packages or boxes.
Although my diet was the catalyst for my weight loss, diligently working out 5-6 times a week was what pushed me and helped me ultimately reach my goal. I didn’t want to do any workouts that I knew I hated and wouldn’t continue, so I walked long distances four times a week, hiked once or twice on the weekends, and did 20-30 minute HIIT videos every weekday as well. Even if I was tired after work, I’d come home and follow the videos I watched from 5:30-7 before eating dinner. I would only rest on Mondays (because I do my hair Sunday nights and don’t want to mess up those fresh curls!) and I’d workout hard on the other days of the week. I adjusted my routines as I got to the last 8 ish pounds left when I began running more and only did one long walk and one hike a week. I never thought I’d enjoy running, so I started jogging and worked up to a quicker pace. Nowadays I’ll run 4 days a week and the length will vary from 3-6 miles depending on how many steps I took that day. I don’t do as many HIIT videos now because my knees were constantly in pain from the jumping, so instead, I’ll lift weights and do kettlebell swings after I run. I lost the first 25 pounds within the first 3.5 months of my weight loss journey and by October, I bought a scale to keep track of my actual progress. Sticking with portion control and working out 5-6 times a week, I was losing 8-10 pounds every month. My weight was steadily declining almost every day, but I had a few plateaus where I didn’t lose any weight for a couple weeks. My plateaus were at 143 pounds, 136 pounds, and then 131 pounds. I was at each pound for about 7-9 days with slight fluctuations, but I was stuck at 131 for almost 2 weeks when I thought I’d never lose the last pound. I got extremely frustrated at those points because I was still eating within my calorie restrictions and heavily working out, but my weight on the scale would not budge. I had to remind myself that I was working toward a huge goal within a quick time period and my weight would adjust eventually, so I continued doing what I was doing and eventually I reached my goal! As of yesterday, I actually surpassed the goal and now I’m down to 128 and I lost 5 inches off my waist, 6 inches off my hips, and 7% body fat. I’m thrilled with my results and now I’m going to do my best to maintain my current health status.
I don’t mean for this post to sound narcissistic or glorifying myself; I just wrote it because I accomplished a goal I never thought I’d reach and I’m proud of my hard work! It might seem like my weight loss journey was easy and fast for me, but it took a ton of dedication and long days to be where I am. I hope that my experience is helpful and informative and I’m looking forward to eating a full donut soon as my reward!