I was always self-aware that my body is growing up. In the middle school I had several baskets, breasts and were higher than all my friends. High school started, and I was hyper-aware of my growing and changing body, to the point where I began to limit my eating in a very unhealthy way. I thought it was the only way I could possibly lose, which of course was far from true, far from safe and not sustainable.
When I entered college, my difficult relationship continued with my body and food, but in different ways. I moved into the dormitories and started eating (and drinking) more. My weight skyrocketed. I definitely got freshman 1
I remember going with my friends to the class one evening in college. They started walking up a hill very quickly and I couldn't stop. I made a phone call as an excuse to slow down my pace; I didn't want to admit that I was tired of just going up a hill. I also knew that when we sat down in the classroom, I would sweat like crazy, and again I didn't want them to see how hard this seemingly simple activity was for me. When I graduated in college, I was 280 pounds.
I tried to lose weight several times after the school ended. I bought weight loss shakes, limited my food intake, and I tried to work out but eventually gave up every time. At my highest weight I was just over £ 300.
My turning point was at the end of 2016 when I had New Year's resolutions about my mind.
I think my friends and loved ones knew that I was overweight and unhappy, but I did not talk about how uncomfortable I was, my uncertainties, or the fact that I wanted to change my body. I kept it all to myself. But I was so sick in life that it was harder than necessary for me. I knew I was going to spend the new year helping motivate me and make lasting change, but I still needed another push.
About the same time, my boyfriend had health problems. His doctor told him he was pre-diabetes and that he needed to lose weight before she saw him next, otherwise he should be put on insulin. This allowed me to start dieting and exercising under the facade that I did to help him. We did it together for * his * health. I felt like hitting it that way took some of the pressure from me and contributed to my success.
Cutting most fast food from my diet was a huge help.
I used to eat fast food for almost every meal. I would order a combo, a side, a dessert and a soda. This time I started eating at home as often as possible. And if we were to eat out, I'd order something out of the lighter ticket menu. Looking back, they were food choices I made quiet, not the best, but it was really better than what I had eaten before.
I got better and better at preaching food at home over time. I started making sandwiches at home and finding lower calorie options for the foods I loved. For example, instead of ordering my usual Starbucks frappuccinos all the time, I swapped them for iced coffee with sugar-free sweeteners and without milk or cream. My favorite snack was (and still is) Hot Cheetos. But I started eating popcorn with cayenne pepper as a substitute. As time went by, I came into counting calories and macros.
I was still too nervous to go to the gym when I started my journey so I bought a cheap elliptical online.
Any kind of exercise was an improvement, so elliptical was a good start. My boyfriend and I split the price, used his truck to pick it up and I clean out my garage to make room for a small gym. I started doing an hour cardio every night in the garage: 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes on our stationary bike.
In March 2017, I finally joined a gym and I continued to do just cardio. It was not for some time that I ventured away from the cardiovascular equipment. But now, I * love * strength training and circuit training. I use strength training app FitBod for training ideas. It also helps track my training programs, like my Apple Watch (I love it!).
In 2018 I reached my goal weight. To be honest though, I didn't quite love how I got there.
I felt that I was doing too much cardio weight and not eating enough. At one point I remember standing in my kitchen, on the edge of the tear, because I was hungry, but if I had dinner, I would go over my daily calorie count. I told my boyfriend to see how disturbed and eager I was about calories and food scared me because I didn't want to go back to my unhealthy ways to skip meals. It was that night that I decided to * stop * counting calories. It was not a positive impact on my weight loss mentality.
Weight loss culture is seriously so demented. So many people, including myself, have been caught believing that you should eat small calories and work without stopping to lose weight. I made cardio for over an hour every day.
Interestingly, my Instagram account (@_iwokeupinbeastmode) helped me realize that what I did was not healthy. I made a Q&A on IG stories, and a follower asked me about my cardiogram, so I honestly answered how much cardio I did. One of my Instagram friends responded by saying, "You do so much cardiovascular every day!?" It really made me stop and rethink my long-term approach.
I changed my routine and got 20 pounds back that year – and that was one of the most positive changes of all.
I think my weight gain was a combined result of not occupying cardio, lifting more weights, eating more and being less hard on me in general. I currently maintain a weight loss of 110 pounds. Today, this is what healthy food looks like to me (no calorie count included!):
- Breakfast: Southwestern Egg Beaters with a whole egg, two strips of reduced sodium turkey bacon, toast with Walden Farm's calorie-free jelly and coffee
- Breakfast: Cauliflower rice with 4 oz. of lean turkey, steamed broccoli and Alfredo sauce
- Snacks: Pure Protein bars, carrots, tuna packs or hard-boiled eggs
- Dinner: Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and Gardein meat-free meatballs
- Dessert: Rice cakes with protein freezing (made by mixing protein powder with a very small amount of almond milk until it is a frost-like consistency) or a donut (because balance!)
More recently I have ordered some of my meals from a local service called Prep Success Meals. It has made it easy to continue eating healthy even when I am flooded at work. Some of my favorites from the service include chicken, golden potatoes and green beans or salmon, brown rice and asparagus.
Finding a balance has been a real process and I'm still working on it.
Most days I'm still not sure what a "healthy weight" necessarily looks like to me, but I know that having a healthy mindset is just as important. I still go through periods of body image problems and how I feel about myself. But I always remind myself that I have completely developed healthier mental and physical habits, and how to improve fuel my body.
I never understood how much of my life I gave up because of my weight. I was afraid to try something. I jumped over to amusement parks, or really do any activity that can make others see how I was out of shape. I never went shopping with girlfriends because I didn't want them to know what size I was, or that I couldn't fit in the normal sizes. Lack of weight has changed my life and helped me throw these fears.
It is crazy to think about how I just believe in myself enough to take control of my health, has proven in so many other aspects of my life. I'm not so afraid to try new things. I am more willing to try and fail than to have never tried at all. Achieving trust (at work, at home, in the gym, in life) has been nothing short of life-changing.