I grew up ‘chubby’. I can remember feeling that way since junior high school. I had some extra body fat but I think my body knew what it was doing. I just was never meant to be stick thin! It wasn’t until after high school that I lost some of that extra weight. I got a job at the local university as a cook, and was walking wherever I needed to go. I was always moving, and occasionally lifting some heavy things (like 50 pound boxes filled with chicken). I slimmed down that year probably losing 20 pounds or so, finding myself with a body I never thought possible. I looked great! But I was still living a very unhealthy lifestyle. I just drank coffee at work, smoked cigarettes all day, came home to eat pretty much my one meal of the day and drink a lot of Utah beer. Somehow I maintained that weight for a few years doing the same thing.
Then I got pregnant and started eating for an army. I used it as a license to eat, well, everything! I gained 80 pounds in my pregnancy. Way too much. My next weight loss happened about a year after I had my daughter. I started exercising and eating better and eventually counting calories. I lost pretty consistently for a year, getting down to 130 pounds or so. I can’t remember exactly. We went on a vacation and I kind of let loose, and when we came back I just didn’t stop. I kept eating too much, drinking too much, and stopped exercising. I regained almost all of the weight back.
After that I started on a yo-yo diet and weight loss roller coaster. I have tried all of the diets. Weight Watchers, South Beach, raw food, juice ‘cleanses’, pretty much everything. (Not paleo though!) I would do great for a handful of months and then I’d realize I couldn’t keep up with whatever I was doing at the time and then start to backslide. I just kept losing and gaining, all the while feeling horrible about myself and like a failure. Fast forward all the way to 2015 where it all changed.
I gave up alcohol for the whole year, and I honestly think that was the biggest thing that helped me. Of course I lifted weights all year and ran a lot of miles. But I would never have had the energy to even begin to do that if I hadn’t quit drinking. I started small, just lifting weights 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. I used Nia Shanks’ Lift Like a Girl routine for a while, just basic stuff but trying to lift a little heavier whenever I could. I also did her Train to be Awesome program. I started running again, 3 days a week, anywhere from 3-5 miles. I did this for a few months and then started to work in more running. Fast forward to today and I am running 6 days a week, about 27 miles a week, and still trying to lift 3 days a week.
I made so much progress in 2015!! I ended up losing just under 26 pounds, 11.5% body fat (according to my scale which I know isn’t completely accurate), and 17.25 inches!! That averages out to be just 2.15 pounds lost per month. That would have driven me crazy in the past to only lose 2 pounds every month, but I knew it was going to be the only way for me to finally make lasting change and my best hope to keep the weight off. So far it’s working!
I thought I’d give a monthly breakdown of my weigh-ins this year to give a better idea how I moderately lost weight. The first number is pounds, the second is body fat percentage.
January 1 – 152.2, 37.5%
February 20 – 148.2, 33.5%
March 1 – 147.6, 34.5%
May 1 – 142.6, 32%
May 29 – 142.2, 33%
July 5 – 139.6, 32%
August 2 – 138.4, 31%
August 30 – 136.4, 31%
September 27 – 134.8, 29%
November 1 – 131, 29%
November 30 – 126.8, 26.5%
January 1, 2016 – 126.4, 26%
I also took measurements monthly. That was where the progress was the most exciting for me!
- Bicep – 12.25
- Chest – 39
- Waist – 31
- Belly – 36.25
- Hips – 40
- Thigh – 24.75
- Calf – 13.75
I lost anywhere from .5 to 1.75 inches each month.
January 1, 2016
- Bicep – 11
- Chest – 36
- Waist – 28
- Belly – 32.25
- Hips – 36.75
- Thigh – 22.5
- Calf – 13.25
If my math is correct, I lost 17.25 inches this year!! My goal was to change my body recomposition and I’d say that was a huge success.
If I could give anyone some advice on how to lose weight I’d say this:
Find a way to move your body that you like, that you will do consistently long-term. If you can, lift weights to give you the most ‘bang for your buck’. What worked for me is lifting and running. Use activity to make you feel good!
Eat what you like, but try to focus on getting balanced meals. Try not to eat too much.
Don’t use exercise to punish yourself for eating. Don’t burn off calories for eating too much. If you ate too much, just use it as a learning experience and move on.
Don’t label food as good or bad. Food is just food, fuel for our bodies whether it is cookies or salad. Don’t attach morality to food, it has no moral value, just nutritional. Save yourself the guilt trip!! Just try to eat in a way that makes you feel good.
Don’t deprive yourself of things that you love. If you love chocolate or ice cream (ME!), eat it, just in appropriate amounts.
So that’s that! I feel like I made huge strides and changed a lot in 2015. I reached my goals of consistent exercise and weight loss. I never really set a specific number goal and don’t think I will. I’m just happy to have lost the weight and inches and my new goal will be to keep them gone!!
And here’s something I never thought I’d do, but I feel comfortable enough now to do it. Post before and now pictures. This was from June 2014, I pretty much looked the same in early 2015.