Growing up, I had a very rocky relationship with my weight. I was overweight most of my childhood, but when I was 16, I lost over 50 pounds. Unfortunately, the way I lost the weight wasn’t healthy, and I was diagnosed with anorexia shortly after.
My relationship with food was extremely sensitive. I was in a binge and over-restrict cycle, which was really hard on me. I went to therapy for a while and that helped a lot. I also moved out of a toxic environment, which helped me heal and overcome my disordered eating habits.
Fast-forward to August 3rd, 2016, when I had my son. I had a lot of health issues during my pregnancy, including high blood pressure, IBS, and a high resting heart rate while I was pregnant. I gained 60 pounds, and after my son’s birth, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.
Postpartum depression made it hard to lose the weight I had gained during pregnancy.
I gained another 10 pounds over the following two years, putting me at 246 pounds.
Overall, I was just miserable and suffering constantly. I couldn’t even carry my son around for more than two minutes without being completely out of breath.
The turning point in my life was buying a house and realizing that I needed to become healthier to live a long, happy life with my family.
On August 12th, 2018, I decided to start making changes for my health.
When I had lost weight previously (in a healthy mindset!), counting calories worked for me. A calorie deficit diet, or calories-in-calories-out (CICO) diet, is easy to track and maintain for me.
I also had originally cut dairy out of my diet to help with my stomach issues and acne, and eventually I started intermittent fasting along with calorie counting. I really like fasting because it eliminated late-night snacking.
I’m usually never hungry in the morning anyway, so I’ll drink my coffee and then wait until noon to eat my first meal. I enjoy the idea of having a window of time I can eat.
Here’s what I eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: I usually fast until noon, but I’ll enjoy some iced coffee or a protein shake if I’m hungry.
- Lunch: Bag salad kits or flatbread wraps with turkey, Laughing Cow cheese, and romaine lettuce.
- Snacks: ONE protein bars, cheese cracker sandwiches, Quest protein cookies, o prepackaged 100-calorie packs.
- Dinner: Turkey taco bowls (brown rice, 99 percent lean ground turkey, my made-from-scratch street corn, topped with guac or light sour cream).
- Dessert: A heated up Quest cookie, topped with light Cool Whip and powder peanut butter sauce.
I started working out right away when I started my weight loss journey.
I tried picking up running, but it was really harsh on my knees and back. I ended up buying a cheap cycling machine off Amazon and would use it for 30 minutes a day for the first two months of my weight loss journey.
Then, I switched to running because it was less harsh on my body after losing 30 pounds. I got into running through an app called Couch To 5K, which taught me how to build my endurance, and I never looked back.
Now my typical week of exercise is usually four to six days of running. I love it so much. Three of those days are short runs for one to three miles followed by lower body strength training, upper body strength training, or core training.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
- Change one: I started counting calories. This was the biggest factor for me. I realized the foods I was putting into my body were important and made me feel different ways. Most people tend to overestimate if they are not properly portioning.
- Change two: I created a consistent routine. I started by working out at the same time every day. This made it a habit. You are more likely to do an activity when you get into a routine because we are creatures of habit. I know that I crave structure.
- Change three: I took progress photos constantly. Sometimes the scale doesn’t always budge, and that can be disheartening. But inches really do show in those transformation photos! It kept me motivated.
In total, I lost 101 pounds in 14 months.
Losing weight gave me the confidence I never had but always should have had. I should’ve always believed in myself, but it took doing something as difficult as this to recognize my potential. Progress isn’t always linear and sometimes we have ups and downs, but the most important part is to keep pushing and stay strong. You've got this.