Ever since I can remember, I have been fluffier than my peers. During my last couple years of high school in particular, between 2013 and 2015, I gained a lot of weight. I started high school at about 135 pounds, and graduated at about 210 pounds.
I contribute a lot of my weight gain over the years to overeating. Id have eggs and toast and coffee with sweetened creamer for breakfast, four to five servings of something like pasta or creamy soup for lunch, and enough fast food for about four people for dinner (Taco Bell and Panda Express were my go-to places, with the occasional large pizza from Papa Johns). There were times I ate healthy, too, but portion control was my biggest enemy.
As I gained weight, I started to notice people treating me differently.
I got passive-aggressive comments from family members like, youre still hungry? and, are you sure you want more? Although I knew that they were coming from a place of love and concern, I felt really self-conscious. Ultimately, I became a closet eater. Id wait until everyone was asleep and then get up to binge on anything I could find.
When I went off to college, I became even more self-conscious. I isolated myself in my dorm room when I wasn't in class or at a meal, and my diet consisted of all-you-can-eat buffets for two meals a day. I stayed indoors, didnt exercise, and gained more weight. It was a vicious cycle. After two and a half years of college, I was 267.4 pounds.
I decided to ask my doctor to run tests on me to determine if there was an underlying reason for my weight issues.
Id convinced myself that something had to be wrong with me, and *that* was why I was gaining so much weight so quickly. And I promised myself that if all my results came back negative, I could no longer make excuses and would have to buckle down and lose the weight.
So on December 13th, 2017, lo and behold, my results came back relatively normal (I had a vitamin D deficiency which doesn't cause weight gain).
On that day, I started my weight-loss journey by asking my doctor to give me guidance on how to lose weight.
First, she used a body composition machine to determine my basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you would have to consume in a day to neither gain nor lose weight (you can also use an to figure out a general number). Then, she subtracted 500 calories from that to determine my daily calorie limit for weight loss.
My doctor also had me start a high-protein, low-carb diet .
I was at a high weight. And when you're planning to lose a lot of weight, like I was, its easy to lose lots of muscle, not just fat, because your body cant really choose where its taking energy from, as my doc explained to me. For that reason, I started aiming to eat a protein goal of about 75 grams per day to sustain my muscle mass (I also had a large amount of muscle at the time!). I also had a carb intake goal of 50 total carbs (and 25 net carbs, or total carbs minus carbs from fiber) per day.
For me, this diet made sense because eating more protein helped me feel fuller longer, and that helped me avoid intense hunger and cravings while keeping my calories in check. Diets are extremely subjective, though, so what worked for me may not work for everyone.
Heres what I typically eat in a day:
- Breakfast: Coffee with half and half and Splenda or a
- Lunch: or another protein shake
- Dinner: Meat with a side of veggies, like chicken thighs and zucchini, tofu and bell peppers, or steak and cauliflower mash
- Snacks: High-protein snacks (like hard-boiled eggs or peanuts) or low-calorie, high-quantity snacks (like cucumbers in rice wine vinegar)
In the beginning, I was incredibly out of shape and incapable of doing many workouts. So I started off just by doing some light walking.
I walked three to five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes, attempting to keep my heart rate up the entire time. After two weeks, I did my first weigh-in and had lost 14.7 pounds.
Having a doctors appointment once a month was a huge motivator for me. I didn't want to show up and not have any progress to show for it. At the one-month mark, Id lost another 10 pounds.
After about a month of dieting and walking, I decided to add weight lifting to my routine.
Initially, I remember trying to lift weights using a Smith machine (a controlled squat bar), and I literally could barely do five squats with no weight on the 35-pound bar. I was so embarrassed. But I made it my goal to be able to look like I really could and knew how to lift weights.
I started with very basic bodyweight exercises and ab workouts (with leg lifts, sit-ups, and planks). Then I moved on to light, simple lifts like bicep curls with 2-pound dumbbells and bodyweight squats. I used Youtube and Instagram to look up workouts with hashtags like #backworkout and #abworkout, planned out my workouts using the Notes app on my phone, and then just tried my best at the gym.
As I lost more weight, I fell in love with lifting weights and worked hard to improve my cardiovascular health (even though I still hate cardio to this day!).
I think the most important part of a weight-loss or exercise journal is to have a goal in mind that you're working toward.
For me, that meant learning how to squat with increasingly more weight, then working up to three sets of 10 push-ups (on my toes!). At one point, too, I focused on working up to going for 30 to 45 minutes on the Stairmaster, when at the time I couldnt make it through five minutes without feeling like I was on the verge of a heart attack (and I accomplished it!). Although I started off slow and steady, setting goals got me to the gym and helped me push forward on my weight-loss journey.
I also had longer-term goals in mind. One of mine was to lose 67 pounds, or to reach what I call One-derland (meaning I'd weigh in under 200 pounds) by my 21st birthday on May 22nd, 2018. At the beginning of May, at the five-month mark of my weight-loss journey, I weighed in and learned that Id surpassed my goal. Id lost over 80 pounds.
After I turned 21, naturally I wanted to go out, drink, and party with my friendsand I regained some weight within those months. No one is perfect, and you will make mistakes. The important part is to not allow mistakes to become excuses and completely derail you. Now, I'm also super conscious about when I'm using my social life as an excuse for overeating.
My current long-term goal is to lose 100 pounds. I am still working on that to this day, but I have promised myself that I will get a tattoo to celebrate 100 pounds lost on my back to represent the 100 pounds that will then be behind me, in the past. Reaching weight-loss goals has helped me continue to stay motivated on this journey. I cant wait to hit more milestones.
My last piece of advice: Find ways to make weight-loss more convenient and easy for you.
If that means meal prepping, meal prep. If that means just having coffee for breakfast, just have coffee. Personally, I keep my meals *simple* so Im not spending a ton of energy planning them out. I feel like the more I plan and put time and energy into my nutrition, the more Im inclined to give up. For me, the easier weight loss is, the more successful I am.