Thanks for reading my weight loss story! I am grateful for the challenge it was and the things I learned along the way. My weight loss transformation happened in two steps (and probably will continue for many more pivots in the future!
- This article is part 1! My weight struggle and my weight loss through being more mindful and intentional of my food!
- This is part 2. I was happier with my weight, but also wanted to get lean enough to step out in a bikini! For that bikini transformation, go here. (calorie counting and portion control)
- Part 3: Maintenance!! Staying in bikini shape for 2 years!
Weight Loss Journey: How it started
I’ve struggled with weight for my entire life. It felt like if I wasn’t in active diet mode, I was gaining weight. I could never find the in between. I never got to my goal weight so I could move into maintenance. It was one extreme or the other. I felt out of control with food, or like I was white knuckling my way through the day to not eat all the food in my house. This is the story of those struggles and how they led me to my eventual weight loss transformation.
My childhood nickname: Thunder thighs
For as long as I can remember, I have been self-conscious about my weight. The earliest memory I have of noticing I was heavier than my peers was at a pool party in the 7th grade. I didn’t feel too self conscious before the party. But I remember the boys from my neighborhood gave me a nickname at that party. It was “thunder thighs.” And the truth was, I had thick legs! They are strong, stocky, and bigger than most girls’. Although this stung a little at the time, it didn’t stop me from trying out for cheerleader, or enjoying more pool parties. But always in the back of my mind, I dreamed of being thinner.
From 7th grade to my senior year, I stayed heavier. I loved to eat and bake cookies, but I also loved to exercise! I remember my parents paid for a gym membership right across the street from my high school that I was very excited about. Because of that, I was pretty active. I would go to an aerobics class before school. I had a dance class for PE, and I had cheer practice after school. Exercise has always been a way for me to manage stress and get lost in my own thoughts. But despite being a consistent exerciser for literally 30 years, I still couldn’t achieve that weight loss transformation I was hoping for.
Gaining the freshman 30
As I transitioned to college, I became more and more interested in nutrition and dieting. Which was ironic, because that’s when I gained the most weight. I loved reading books about health and understanding different philosophies about weight loss, but I moved into the dorms with unlimited cafeteria food, lots of studying, and terrible sleep habits. I also was hired by Denny’s as a hostess, and was thrilled about eating endless amounts of cheesy sandwiches and peanut butter pie! To this day, I have no clue how high my weight got, but I would guess somewhere close to 150 or even 160 lbs.
While I was gaining weight, my brother got engaged. I got fitted for my bride’s maid dress early in the year. Of course, by the time the wedding was approaching, the dress no longer fit. Devastated and without enough awareness or time to lose weight, I pleaded with my friend to help me alter the dress to fit. She scoured every fabric store in our city to find a fabric that was close enough to match, and sliced my dress open to insert an extra panel!
With my weight at an all–time high, I dove head first into all the dieting ideas and advice I could get my hands on. The first diet book I remember was all about low-fat. I was able to lose a modest amount of weight, enough to feel OK about my body, but never like I’d want to wear a bathing suit in front of people. Measuring at only 5 feet 1 inches tall, I always felt like losing 10 more pounds would be ideal. 10 pounds on my small frame meant the difference in a size 12 pair of jeans, and a size 6! So, for 20 years I slaved away at deprivation. All I wanted was a weight loss transformation. It just felt that was always frustratingly out of reach.
I kept quitting diets after 2 days of “no results”
Once I found a new style of eating, I’d spend all the money to buy all the food. I’d binge on information, recipes, and science about each protocol. Generally I’d lose 2-3 pounds, even though I was working my tail off. I’d get frustrated with the lack of progress, despite the intense effort, so I’d quickly be on the hunt for a new plan. I tried hiring coaches, buying online courses, counting calories, counting macros, downloading hypnosis tracks, vegetarian, vegan, fruitarian, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, training for marathons, Joel Fuhrman, Jillian Michaels, Bob Greene, Bob Harper, and so many more! I was paying so much attention to my weight loss effort that it was becoming a full time job. It was exhausting!
I tried “30 days of no-sugar” and still gained weight!
The final diet I tried was no-sugar. It was a turning point in my journey as I managed to go a full 30 days without sugar and gain 5 lbs! I even broke out in acne, even though the books I was reading promised “clear skin”. The experts said that if I would eliminate sugar, all my cravings to overeat would go away, because sugar was “as addictive as cocaine!” For me however, I just overate ALL the other food I loved. I had more trail mix and crackers than my bowels could handle! It was at that point I realized, weight loss had very little to do with the food I was eating. I didn’t need an appetite to eat, so to think that eliminating cravings would stop me from eating wasn’t true. I had to figure out why I was eating, and why I couldn’t stop.
The mental pivot leading to my Weight Loss Before and After
In the last few years however, my mindset has changed toward this weight loss journey. My mindset was that my weight was unfair. I worked hard, and I deserved a break from exerting so much effort.
Then, I decided to truly EMBRACE THE JOURNEY, rather than hate it. (here’s some of the habits I chose to embrace) After all, if I was never going to get to my goal weight in the next 60 years, what was even the point? Did I really want to be a frail 90 year old woman, mad that I spent my life saying no to cookies? No, I wanted to enjoy the process of my weight loss transformation rather than just yearning for the weight to be gone.
That’s when I knew I had to decide that the journey of weight loss WAS the good part. The blessings of developing a fit body was part of the process. The joy is in DOING the work, not the destination!
Finding out why I ate so much!
That’s when I started paying attention to my behavior around eating so much food! As I began to pay attention, an interesting thing changed. I started realizing that I didn’t like some foods I thought I did. I started noticing that I wasn’t paying attention to how much I ate. The more distracted I was while I ate, the MORE I ate! I could sit down for breakfast and scroll through social media or news articles. I could eat bowl after bowl after bowl of cereal, and not even notice how much I ate. Sometimes I think I would do it to delay starting my day. Sometimes, I was just so sucked in to what I was reading on my phone, that I shoveled food in without even tasting it. I had mindless habits. When we would make cookies, I’d walk by and eat one off the counter. Then another and another, without really tasting the first cookie.
I had stumbled into mindful eating! I realized that eating my food with mindfulness, intention, and tracking what I ate, had to become the goal.
Switching my weight loss efforts to process goals and not results goals, made all the difference!
The process was clear, and I was ready to take part in the process for LIFE, not just till I saw results.
The strategies I embraced for my 10 pound Weight Loss Success
- Establishing three periods of time during the day for intentional, purposeful eating. (read my 8 reasons three meals a day can help with weight loss here). No snacks! I literally didn’t eat snacks for the entire time, and it helped me to stay mindful!
- I limited meal time distractions. No phone, books, computer, magazine, TV, etc.
- I chewed slowly and experienced each bite. Even with chewing slowly, my meals didn’t take any longer than when I scarfed it down.
- I tasted food! The flavors, and texture of each bite! I was surprised to find healthy food delicious and junk food less appealing than I thought.
- Put my fork down between bites. It goes without saying, shoveling more food into your mouth before you’ve finished the last bite is not being mindful.
- Checked in with my hunger mid-meal. I learned, I didn’t have to finish my meal, ever.
I’ve been so energized and excited about my weight loss that I want to talk about it all the time! My weight loss transformation took a lot of time and effort to finally figure out, but I am glad I stuck with it. I also want to hear your story, work with you and hear about your success as well!