HOW I LOST OVER 50 LBS AND KEPT IT OFF
UPDATE: Since writing this post in November 2016, I have dropped a total of 65 lbs. as of February 2021.
I don’t know about other people but for most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight. I was always self-conscious and I always wanted to be smaller than what I was. In my eyes, I was never “fat”, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be yet. Throughout middle school and high school, my weight went up and down. I’ve never been smaller than about 165 lbs. in my adult life. That’s considered tiny on my 5’9” frame. I’m naturally curvy and my weight is proportioned. My waist is small and my hips and thighs carry weight well. I never had a problem attracting attention but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to feel and look good for myself, regardless of anyone else’s comments.
As time progressed, my family and I made it a weekly habit to eat out every weekend. Over the course of 2 years without exercising, I gained about 50 lbs. I ate out every week and it showed. I didn’t realize I had gained the weight until I started wearing plus-size clothes. When that day came, I vowed to myself I would not cross that line again and took action. For me, that was a breaking point. I did not want to wear a size 16 or 18 in women’s clothing. Because I always fell between a 10 and 12 and that was where I wanted to be. I refused to be lazy and lose confidence. And I told myself that I am beautiful regardless and that I will be my ideal weight one day soon.
In the winter of 2015, I decided to make a change. I decided that enough was enough and I was going to change my body to what I wanted it to look like once and for all. I made the decision that I would live my life from that day forward, looking and feeling beautiful as my body morphed into my dream body. This was no small feat. This took years of failing and trying again and failing and trying again until one day I realized only I had the power to change myself and I had to be serious about it to make it work. And I did.
In February 2015 I hired a personal trainer. I trained with him 3 times a week for an hour for about 2 months. After that, I relocated out of state for my job and started kickboxing. This was an intense workout and I was happy I was able to keep up. I believe the personal training I had before gave me the strength and endurance I needed to last a non-stop hour-long class of kickin’ butt. It was tough. I went after work as this was the only time I could go and I was tired. After 10 hour days of constantly using my brainpower, I wanted to go to sleep.
My good friend and I motivated each other to keep going. We held each other accountable. If we both were tired, one of us would man up and utter, “we’re still going” and we went. We did this no less than 3 times a week. We both had very busy lives. No matter what happened, we went to kickboxing class. It had become a part of our normal routine. Get up, work, kickbox, repeat. It’s always great to have a buddy who can commit to working out with you, or even motivating you. Having someone nagging you to keep yourself on track is a good thing 🙂
I did the kickboxing class for about 5 months before I realized I had the motivation to workout on my own. I decided to give my dedication a try and I started doing HIIT workouts incorporated with running. At this point, this is now September and I have lost 30 pounds. I went from weighing 220 pounds to 190 pounds. I went from a size 16 to a size 12. I am happy with my results but know that I am still working on obtaining my personal goal. My new goal is to get a couple sizes smaller and tone my body. My thighs and stomach hold the most weight. My upper body is naturally lean (thank you Lord!), however I have southern genes and my hips and derriere are voluptuous (thanks again, God!). I just want to tone and sculpt my body so that it looks perfect to me.
Fast-forward to 2021 and I have found that by doing strength-training workouts, running and hiking have been the best activities for me to keep the weight off. I also eat a clean, plant-based diet. It does not mean that I am vegan but I do eat vegetables with every single meal. I also do not eat meat every day and I don’t believe it is healthy to eat meat everyday at every meal. In order to get my protein without eating meat, I add protein powders to my acaí bowls and smoothies as well as collagen powder and supplements.
These additives have helped me keep the weight off, tone and tighten my core and my body. If you are looking to lose weight, I would suggest you re-evaluate your diet and take a look at what you are already eating. If you are not eating mostly vegetables at every meal, try adding in vegetables and eat smaller portions of animal protein, such as poultry, fish and meat (such as red meat).
Now let’s rewind.
This is just a recap of me reflecting on my journey up until September 2015. I haven’t mentioned the times where I felt like I was getting nowhere or my working out wasn’t paying off or that I had to eat a certain way for awhile to see results. Losing weight or getting into shape is no small feat. It is a lifelong commitment that requires dedication and determination.
Let me repeat that.
IT IS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT THAT REQUIRES DEDICATION AND DETERMINATION.
It is important to understand this as this will help along the journey. You may feel like giving up on day two, but I’m telling you to hold on. Hang in there. You got this. Once you agree with yourself that you’re going to be “x” sizes smaller or lose “x” amount of weight, you are in a binding agreement with yourself. No one has control over that bind except you. I can’t tell you how many early mornings I’ve had, waking up at 4:30 and 5 AM to go workout. Or how I’ve left a warm comfortable bed to go out and run in the cold. I’ve never ran in my life but because I made a commitment to myself, I stepped out of my comfort zone to explore new options on maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.
Now maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t do running, that’s not for me” or “I have a long way to go before I’ll be anywhere close to reaching my goal” and the truth is, you’re right. Every person is different and your goals may not be the same as someone else’s. On the other hand, if you believe that you can’t do something, you’re absolutely right. If you believe you can do something, you’re also absolutely right. Limitations are self-imposed. Dig deep within yourself to believe that you are limitless and you will find that you are! Only you have the power to change but I want to help you along your journey.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty on taking the first steps to losing weight.
Make a Commitment to Yourself
Remember I talked about the binding contract? Well this is it. This is the foundation for your journey to be a success. Withiut any commitment, who says it won’t fall through? Be committed enough to yourself to make a binding contract with yourself that you will lose weight.
Once you make that commitment, you’ve decided that you are no longer going to be the person you once were. You are now going to be a person who takes full responsibility for your habits. If that means waking up 30 minutes earlier to work out for 30 minutes; so be it. Do it. Small steps turn into monuments that change your world. Let’s begin!
Take Small Steps
When I started my weight loss journey, I just didn’t start with giving up the foods I loved cold turkey. I took gradual steps that I knew I would stick with. For example, let’s say you love Oreo cookies. Maybe you have 5 cookies, 3 times a week.
Instead of eliminating them completely out of your life, take small steps. Maybe you have 4 cookies, 3 times a week or 3 cookies, twice a week. Only you can determine your tolerance level. Whatever that level is, feel proud and happy that you’re able to start this new commitment towards a better life.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
My biggest issue that I had when I started out was that I didn’t give myself credit for what I had accomplished. When I lost my first 5 lbs. I didn’t pat myself on the back. Instead I was determined to only be happy once I had reached my goal weight. Don’t do this. This is the most de-motivating thing you can do. We all need to feel proud of ourselves for our accomplishments in our journey.
No matter how small or large they may be it’s still an accomplishment. Even if you fall off track and gain some weight back, don’t fret because the journey is lifelong. It doesn’t end. You keep going and you get back up and get in the game. You are still a champion. So pat yourself on the back and keep it moving. Your dream body is just around the corner.
Get to Know Your Body
Every body is different. Literally. For me, if I eat bad (for me it’s too many carbs like bread, pancakes, burgers, sweets, etc.) my stomach will get uneasy and I feel bloated. I start to feel yucky on the inside. And I literally feel bad. I feel this way because I’ve trained my body to tolerate a certain eating style and once I change it, it can’t handle it.
I can’t eat foods that my body doesn’t like because it then makes me sluggish and feel bloated. So for me, I have to eat these types of food in moderation. Moderation for my body is 1-2 times a month. Anything beyond that is not doing any good. Mind you, this is my body’s reaction to certain foods. Every body will react different to different types of foods.
Pay Attention to Your Body
You have to find out what you can tolerate. Along this journey, you’ll find out. As I’m typing this, my body has again, gone through a difference tolerance level. I am now sensitive to red meats. If I eat red meats of any kind, I’ll feel sick to my stomach. As my diet has changed, so has my body. Pay attention to your body and listen to what you’re body is saying. It will never lead you down the wrong path.
The most difficult part for me is finding foods to eat when dining out. My family has a tradition. Every Sunday morning we go out and have brunch. Our place of choice is a local diner that serves the best breakfast food. It consists of cinnamon French toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes and all the other yummy things that my body will hate me for eating.
In order for me to stay on track with my goals, on my weekends that I have to eat clean, I usually order an egg white spinach omelet. It’s delicious and it still makes me feel like I’m eating a treat. My weakness is carbs and sweets. I love chocolate chip pancakes and waffles with strawberries and any other yummy thing you can imagine. Along with my egg white omelet, I’ll have a bowl of fresh fruit. This way I am satisfying my sweet tooth. Only you can determine what works for you. In my case, this has worked for me.
Drink Lots of Water
This is one of the most important aspects of staying on track for your new lifestyle change; drink water. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t like water, add fruit to give it flavor. A trick I used that’s worked for me is to drink hot water with lemon. Not only is this a detoxifier, it’s also good for you. The taste is acquired, I’ll tell you that much but if you’re willing to try something new this is something to consider.
Workout 3 Times a Week
You need to move in order to get the weight off. Weight-management consists of diet, exercise and discipline. We’re taking small steps to a better life. Maybe you want to adjust your eating habits for the first 3 months and then exercise. Ok, do it. Only you can determine what works for you. There are people that have lost weight by simply changing their eating habits. Once they got to a certain weight, they then began to incorporate exercise.
This works just as well as doing both at the same time. The choice is yours. I highly recommend that you seek out a personal trainer to guide you through your weight loss journey. Do not go to a gym in which you do not know what exercises to do. Please do not do that. If you don’t know how much weight to add to a machine, do not use it. For years I made that mistake. I thought that by simply going to a gym and doing cardio and lifting weights, I was doing good.
After 3 months of no results and money down the drain, I realized I was doing it wrong. A trainer will guide you for your specific body goals. Do not go to a gym and wing it if you have no experience. Always have a consultation with a professional before attempting to workout in a gym.
If the gym is not your cup of tea, utilize YouTube. I can’t tell you how many free workout videos there are of professional trainers showing you the correct way to workout. My favorites are HIIT workouts as they help you to see results in a faster timeframe with minimal effort. If you’re tight on time and need results; HIIT is for you.
Keep On Track
Every now and then, people have set-backs and that’s ok. The most powerful thing you can do is get back up and get in the game. No matter what happens in life, continue to stay on track and keep going. If you’re having a bad day, reflect on it, accept it and move on. Do not let worldly forces interfere with your life. Let them pass through and keep it moving.
If your excuse is, “this is expensive”, carve out a plan to make it affordable. Remember, at the end of the day, this is your life. If you want to change your life for the better, you and only you will have to take the necessary steps to make it an outstanding life. There are too many external forces that people often refer to and use for blaming their circumstances of life based off of things that happen to them. Don’t be that person. Don’t be a victim.
If you want a better body, go out there and get it. I’ve laid out the foundation for you in this article. It is up to you, to utilize it. Be a champion. Be a survivor who tells a heroic story. Change your life. Be inspired. Help is here and I’m asking you to give it all you’ve got. I’m 21 months into my journey and I’m still going. Let’s do this together and come out on top.
Tell me about your progress in the comments below 🙂