Hey friends! I recently achieved my weight loss goal and thought I’d share my experience in detail to help anyone who needs to know it can be done and might be curious about how I did it. Here is a link to my before/after photo.
My reason for starting this journey was to get back to a healthy weight/appearance I was comfortable with and gain some cardio health I was lacking. Also I should mention that I wanted to be comfortable with my size for my wedding. Now the wedding is in less than a month, and I have lost more weight than I thought was possible. I may have taken longer than I wanted to lose the weight, but a lot of factors determined that my journey would go as slow as it did.
I wanted to share the specifics to be helpful. To share my experience, strength and hope so that maybe another person could know it is possible with a disciplined effort.
The most effective tools (for me):
- Calorie Tracking with the MyPlate app (including weighing my food with a digital food scale)
- Calorie Deficit: I decided on and stuck to 1550 kcal goal per day for the past 5 months, there were days I was over and under that number but overall I stuck to it to the best of my ability.
- DID NOT EAT BACK CALORIES: most of my weight loss came when I stopped tracking my exercise in my calorie tracker. I stopped eating back the calories I had been burning at the gym and stuck to my 1550 kcal daily limit no matter how much exercise I had done that day. This was crucial and the turning point for the last 10 lbs, the first 10 lbs took more than 6 months, the last 10 have taken about 4 months.
- Low Carb, Not Quite Keto Vegetarian Diet: I allow myself to eat as much healthy fat as I want (olive oil and coconut oil primarily), I try to stay under 100g carbs per day, above 80g protein per day, with at least 15g fiber. I stopped eating rice, bread, and eventually most legumes as I took away things I thought were slowing down my weight loss. Legumes still find their way onto my plate sometimes but mostly I am a eggs, veggie, and fruit girl now.
- Cardio: running and/or stationary bike 3-4 times a week for at least 20 minutes
- Weight Lifting: I found a trainer who gave me a program that focused on a combo of chest, shoulder, and leg strength training and went to the gym on average 3x a week regularly for the past 10 months. The program I work alternates weight lifting days with cardio days (days I only run and use the stationary bike), and I also do 20 minutes of cardio on weight lifting days before I workout. On weight lifting days I run on the treadmill for my cardio before I hit the barbells and machines, my goal was to emphasize cardio health over muscle growth. I take a day off between every gym day for recovery.
- Pilates: I have been adding Pilates in 2-3 times a week for the past three months as my muscle growth plateau has started to become apparent. Pilates helps a lot with my flexibility, core strength, and joint comfort (running takes happy knees, and Pilates helps with that). Pilates is better for me on days that I will be also weight lifting or doing cardio, it warms me up and really allows me to have a more limber body that day.
- Walking: I live in a tropical country in a small town about 5 miles long, so I walk as much as possible. I walk to the gym, grocery, beach, etc. I would say usually 2 miles a day of walking, sometimes more if I’m not hitting the gym.
- Water: I drink close to 3 liters a day, when I have payed attention to my water consumption I noticed it was always more than 2 liters a day. I don’t drink juice or soda more than once a month on average, just when I’m at the movies or out to dinner and can spare the calories. Drinking calories is just not worth it with my calorie deficit, I’d rather have real food. In this way my diet is close to a whole30 diet I think.
Those are just some of the top tools I have used this past year, it was hard but it was worth it. My favorite slogan/cliche? The best diet is one you can stick to. If my calorie deficit had been too hard for me, I would have had to adjust it to something that I could actually do, but I was able to consistently work my program and the results came with time. I hope this helps somebody. I have lost more than the fat, I lost bad habits, unhealthy behaviors, and some of my low self-esteem.