Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How I lost (almost) 60 pounds

December 2011
September 2012

I have had more than a few people ask me how I managed to lose weight. Because it requires such a long explanation I have decided to write it on here, once and for all. I started my weight loss in Mid-February and have stuck to it pretty well. I am not any different then anyone else trying to lose weight, i just managed to figure out what works for me and stick to it. So here are my tricks for losing almost 60 pounds, I hope someone can take something away from this.

1. Make the decision to be miserable. It always starts off difficult, there were nights that I wanted to eat the buttons off my sweater, or my own tongue. Not because I was hungry, but because I was breaking myself of the habit of eating for eating's sake. It had to stop. So acknowledge to yourself, your partner, your family, friends and coworkers that you are probably going to be a bit unhappy for awhile (for me it was brief, maybe a week or two). this is a great way to figure out who your true friends are. I found that once I actually lost weight I lost a friend, someone who only liked me when I was 'fatter' then she was. she told other people how i was going to gain it all back and how i had changed since i lost a lot of weight. the change was that i was happier, had confidence and no longer suited her need to have friends who she could 'outshine'. what a despicable excuse for a human being. But I am sure we all have at least one in our lives, so now's your chance to lose weight and the burden of that awful frenemy all in one go!

2. Go for walks. I walked constantly in the beginning. If you don't already have an ipod, go out and buy one. load it with songs that motivate and inspire you . If you have the right playlist you will want to walk forever. Skrillex makes me crazy fast and I can't imagine what passing cars must think. eventually, if you walk long and briskly enough you will start to run. I was never able to run before, not even in high school when I was 100 pounds soaking wet. my teacher would scream at me and I would huff for about 50 metres and then gulp air for 5 minutes. I was completely out of shape even then. now I set goals for myself (to make it to the telephone pole at the end of the street) and instead of wheezing and collapsing 20 feet before i get there, i easily run right past them now. it is an amazing feeling to easily exceed your own goals. If it is raining out and you want to stay inside, get on the wii fit. Running on the spot for 30 minutes at a time isn't as productive as going for an actual run, but it is something. At the beginning of my weight loss I was running on the wii for a good hour to hour and a half every single day. I also carried 5 pound weights while doing it. It makes you nice and sweaty and gives you quite a sense of accomplishment when your mii makes it to the finish line and you can collapse onto the couch.

3. Cut out salt and sugar. I've known people who have said that they look at the calories and nothing else, ignoring high salt content in soups or other foods. This is absolutely ridiculous. Your body needs salt, but not as much as most people eat on a daily basis. Cut it out, you will feel much better. I used to live off pickles because they have low calories. I don't anymore and whenever I do eat something high in sodium I can feel what it does to my body. Sugar is also bad news. If you need to have something sweet, try flavouring cold tea with blue agave syrup. It is the same thing they use in a lot of the low calorie drinks at starbucks.

4. Eat protein. Chicken is just about the best thing you can have. I eat it pretty much every single day. buy a box of it, keep it in your freezer. Look for recipes online (god knows Pinterest has 50,000 different chicken recipes) it doesn't have to be boring. I make chicken taco salad all the time. It was my favourite thing to make and is fairly low calorie. (just make sure you buy low sodium taco seasoning and use ground chicken, draining all the fat from it while cooking it)

5. Make vegetables the main part of the meal. Pretty common sense, right? but its amazing how little you see people actually do it. Eat different vegetables every day, I am obsessed with avocadoes, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes and different squashes (it's the perfect time of year for squash). get creative or else you will burn yourself out really quickly.

6. Count your calories. Yes, it is necessary. You will not lose weight if you are not aware of what you are eating in a day. You don't have to be exact, just have a general idea of what you've consumed.

7. Cut out dairy. Almond milk is your new best friend. If you are used to drinking skim milk it is not a difficult transition. Every once in a while I have light sour cream or some icecream, but that's about it. It's not much of a sacrifice for me, since I am mildly lactose intolerant and I find that dairy makes my skin itchy.

8. Do not eat dinner. This is the most 'controversial' aspect of my diet. People have questioned me about this but it does work. I eat a normal breakfast, a large lunch and a snack in the early evening. This is a permanent lifestyle change for me, not something I have done temporarily to aid my dieting. I do not eat dinner now unless I am going out with friends or going to a family event. I sleep better, I function more efficiently and my mind is more clear. We bog ourselves down with all this food throughout the day. Having a large meal in the evening makes me feel sluggish and kind of miserable. However, this does not mean you should ever go hungry. that is not dieting, that is starvation. Snack when you are truly hungry and drink lots of water. 

9. Drink herbal tea. I was drinking green tea but found that it gives me acid reflux and makes me feel kind of awful when i've had more then one cup. If you find this too, switch to white tea. Tetley makes a raspberry white tea that tastes much better then green tea and tazo does a cranberry blueberry white tea. These are the best for curbing your 'boredom' appetite.

10. Weigh yourself every day. Sometimes I do it twice a day, if you are trying to lose weight (and a lot of weight like I did) you need to become obsessed with it. Always weigh yourself at the same time every day so you can get an accurate idea of whether or not you've lost weight. Acknowledge that at times, you will fluctuate. especially if you are a woman. just know that if you are on the right track, the weight WILL come off eventually.

11. Keep yourself busy. The busier you are the less you are thinking about what you would like to be eating. I am the type of person who can't be doing just one thing, like watching a movie. So I knit constantly, this keeps my hands and my mind busy so I am not thinking of all the unnecessary things I could be eating. Take up hobbies, I am pretty creative so I paint quite a bit. Van gogh, I am not! but busy and stimulated I just about always am. So go to the dollar store and find something you can get into. If you feel like taking up knitting, it's the perfect time of year, with christmas in a few months. Find a tutorial on youtube on knitting (that's how I learned) and get to work on a scarf for your mother!

12. Don't give up. Once you see results, it becomes impossible to stop anyways. Losing weight is like a high. The more you lose, the better you feel and the easier it becomes.

There is nothing that complex or ground-breaking here. Just my tips on how it worked for me and trust me, it worked. at 5"5 I have gone from 182 pounds to 123 pounds. I just think the first thing people need to realize is that it is not easy. that weight loss is hard work and sacrifice. You will be grouchy and sweaty and pissed off at your partner because he gets to eat a hamburger. But then you will fit into your high school prom dress again and the whole world falls back into place.

good luck!

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