Losing weight is a struggle that is so unique to each person. Nobody is designed exactly like me or you and everyone’s goals are different. In the Summer of 2018, I started a mission to lose 35 lbs. I am here to share my experience and tools with you so that if you have a similar goal, you may be able to skip some of the trial and error.
At the time, we lived in our home in Virginia for a full year. My youngest son was 1 and 1/2 years old and I still sat at the weight I was after I had him. Maybe it was because I had to eat a steady flow of carbs for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, to stop from feeling sick! Previous to having my 2nd son, I never struggled with my weight. I was at a loss of what to do.
After a weekend of fun with family that Summer, a photo was posted online that I was in. When I saw that photo, I knew I had weight to lose but didn’t know how. I had been extremely active at the gym and was pretty bummed out about how hard I felt like I was working with “no” results.
After the ridiculous world debacle of 2020/2021, I found myself right back in the same position. I am ready to take charge and I am planning to follow my exact plan from 2018! There are a few differences since 2018 worth mentioning. I have much more muscle, especially in my legs than I did in the past, which is a good thing. I am not looking to reach an unattainable or unsustainable goal like I may have been back in 2018. I just want to be healthier and feel good in my own skin.
Below, I’m going to go through each “key player” that helped me lose 35 lbs and maintain it! During this time, I still got to enjoy wine, potato chips and even some small treats! I didn’t deprive myself, I just refocused. My real goal here was to lose the pounds while training myself to seek out healthier food for my body.
Walking vs Intense Exercise
I love hard workouts. They make me feel strong and confident. They calm my internal voice and are the perfect stress reliever. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the correct balance of intense exercise and eating. I would come home after a serious workout and scarf food because I just burnt a bunch of calories. What could it hurt?! Well, it didn’t help. I was lifting weights and taking the Body Pump class (which I loved!). I gained muscle, which is awesome but it didn’t translate to what I was looking for. So, I quit the gym. Yep… quit! No, I didn’t feel defeated. I didn’t quit for any negative reason. I realized that it wasn’t the right way for me to go about reaching my specific goal. I toned down my workouts and started walking. It was and still is one of the largest factors in my success. I pushed Brooks around in the stroller for anywhere from 1 to 4 miles a day, at least 3 or 4 times a week.
This whole process really began with a simple walk. Being outside clears my head and gives way for internal conversations that are productive and helpful. I have since reincorporated some weightlifting into my routine and it makes me so happy!
In The Kitchen
Here is the other 75% of my success. This is where it really counts. This is how I changed my life. I realized that when I worked out a lot, I would eat a lot. I didn’t worry much about what I was eating and that is where I went wrong.
Without wanting to put a specific label on it, we’ll call it low-carb. I started simple. I cut out bread. I cut out high-carb alcohol like IPA style beer. I like chips, so I didn’t want to say goodbye to them. I simply measured them and only had a serving size or less. For a while in there, it would take me extra time to measure all of my food using a scale but it is really what made the difference. Thankfully, I enjoy cooking. I found a lot of great recipes that I will share with you! I use verywellfit to create nutrition labels for each meal.
A quick note about Keto: It has been extremely popular over the last few years. However, this was not a result of Keto. I have nothing against that type of lifestyle and I even incorporated some great recipes in the kitchen that followed some of those rules. However, I knew that the intensity of this way of eating would never work for me. I didn’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat so I went with a less stringent method.
Here are a few photos of my favorite items!
Scale vs Non-Scale Victories
I’ll be honest, I got on my scale a LOT. There are plenty of people out there who will tell you to toss it in the trash. I am not one of them. It cheered me on, it gave me plenty of victories, and it pushed me to the next level. The most important thing to consider is when and how often you are using the scale. I would only weigh myself in the morning after I first woke up. I realize that weight fluctuates throughout the day so if you do decide to keep the scale involved, stick to weighing yourself at the same time of day however often you decide to weigh in.
Non-scale victories are just as important to me as scale victories. These are when you feel more energy, your pants fit more loosely, or even positive changes in your skin! There are something to celebrate and I sure don’t take them for granted!
Lose it! App
Lose it! is an app for your phone that helps you keep track of the food you intake each day. Once you get the hang of this, it proves to be a very valuable tool. I know exactly how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat (macros) I am putting into my body. I swear by this tool. It helped me evaluate where I was falling short but also where I was doing a good job! You can set goals. Once you reach them, they have a pop up that tells you how much you lost and what else weighs that much! It was fun to see the weight that I had lost in the form of a Corgi, or 4 jugs of water! They have free and paid versions of their app. I used the paid version over the course of my major weight loss year because it connected with Strava and laid out net carbs, water intake, and other specifics that I was looking to track.
Strava is an app for your phone that you can record your activities with. Much like a smart watch, it tracks your distance, time and elevation gain using GPS. It is also filled with a community of people to connect with that have similar goals in mind! I have used Strava for a long time. It feels good to be aware of how much mileage you are putting in each week. Strava can be synced to the paid version of Lose it! Same with this app, there free and paid versions. I have not tried the paid version of Strava.
I succeeded. I set my mind to my goal and crushed it. Having a healthy relationship with food is the key. You also need to keep your body moving. Start small, work and build up to more. Mental wellbeing is an important part of this whole equation. I’m a firm believer that if you immerse yourself in nature, you can find the mental balance and emotional tools you need to succeed. This mindset really helped me to visualize how to reach my goals.
Now that I have my weight in a place that I am happy with, I am focusing on muscle tone and healthy eating. Whatever your goals are, I’m here to cheer you on!