After: Weight Loss & More
First, I realized I used the word “after” in this description, which ultimately is not accurate. There is clearly a before, but a weight loss journey never has an after, it is ongoing. “After” makes it seem like I’m done. This is it. I’m perfect now. And that is simply not true. What is true, is in this exact moment, I am the best that I can be. But tomorrow, I will be better. So, instead of after, this becomes the new normal, but also the new beginning. I will continue every day to make myself better and live a happy life. But I digress.
Here I am. I’m putting myself out there. I have my full weight and accompanying photos. Back fat and all (uugh!). And while I am a better weight now, there is a little more to do. This weight loss journey goal is 140 lbs. by the end of the year 2019. And I’m going to do it. Even though these last 10 lbs. are proving to be the hardest! But I’m not giving up.
While the weight loss is evident in these photos, it came with so much more.
When I tell people about my weight loss journey, or I see people I have not seen in a while, the first question I generally receive is “What diet did you follow?”
Answer: My Own
What does this mean? Simply put, I cut calories, made better choices and exercised.
Long answer of my weight loss journey:
- Cut calories: I track my food intake with MyFitnessPlan. I have been using the free version and it works fine for me. I also made sure I was tracking three meals a day (and my snacks). No more skipping meals. Note: I don’t weigh my food for tracking, I take very educated guesses, and I usually go higher. My aim is 1,500 calories a day, a 500 deficit. With a pound weighing 3,500 calories, a 500 deficit a day results in one-pound loss in a week.
- Better choices: The first thing I noticed when I began to count calories was the bad choices I was making. A venti mocha at Starbucks with no modification is 450 calories! But a venti skinny mocha is only 210 calories. And there are many more things to choose from that are even lower in calories plus, switch the milk choice, and it comes in lower. At first, I needed some help, especially for lunch in the office, so I invested in Daily Harvest frozen meal service – perfect for low calorie and tasty lunches.
- Exercise: Again, I needed some help here. I bought the BodyBoss Ultimate Fitness Plan* – and it kicked my butt! And while I agonized, sweated more than I ever had, was so sore, and exhausted, for 16 weeks, (4-week pre-training and 12-week training) I did this 3x a week. And while there were rest days, they really weren’t rest days, they were just “go do something else” days. BodyBoss is basically a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and including swimming (my favorite) at the gym, bike riding (yes, bought a bike), walking and yoga I was exercising like I never had before. Goal was 30 minutes of exercise per day, every day.
*Just a note, when you go to this site, you will see weight appropriate and toned women advertising this product. Don’t let it scare you. It did kick my butt, but you can do it.
No special or fad diets. Why? This needed to be a lifestyle change, not a project. While I don’t have to work on an aggressive calorie deficit once I hit my target weight, I need to continue to make better choices and exercise to maintain weight and become stronger and healthier. Following a diet that restricts food I like is not sustainable for me long term. I know the chocolate cake isn’t healthy for me, but on my birthday, I adjust my calorie count to get a small slice and I’m a much happier person for it. I don’t deny myself anything, I just take smaller portions and adjust intake accordingly.
Final note, I did discuss my weight loss journey and plan with my doctor to make sure I was on the right track. Her advice was to stick with 1-2 lbs. goal per week, anything more could be bad for me. And if I plateaued, just change things slightly. Reduce calories by another 100 per day for a week, exercise an extra 10 minutes per day for a week, just to kick start the metabolism again. And it worked.
Two things happened when I began to switch my eating and exercise habits. I was hungry more often and I was even more tired than before. Between exercise and less calories (fuel), I was dragging. And I was exercising mostly at night when I got home, and it was becoming a very easy excuse of I’m too tired.
First, I curved the hunger pains with snacks, healthy snacks throughout the day. And at first, with being tired, I slept more. However, I was running out of hours, still working many hours, having to do more grocery shopping, meal prep and exercising. Plus, the extra sleep wasn’t making me feel any better.
No worries, my “miracle” randomly showed up just a couple of weeks later. At a party, I bumped into a fellow Junto forum and now-alumni member: Jim McGough. We were talking about my changes, and he was working on a few, including his morning routine. He mentioned he read and adapted the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Now Jim was already a much better morning person than I was, so I was worried when he said this transformed his morning. That just screamed you have to get up early and like it to me. But I also knew the co-founder of Junto, Raman, has talked extensively about his very early morning routine and it helps him immensely.
My interest got the best of me and I took my phone out and ordered on Amazon that evening. In following the book, I started, slowly, getting up earlier. I switched my workout to mornings, combination of getting it over with and energizing me for the day. My usual wake-up time was 7:30 and now I get up at 4:00. I actually get about the same amount of sleep, but I am energized, happy and motivated for the day – but that is a whole other blog post (to come).
I was losing weight. That was the goal, so I was happy. But I was also just happier. It was a weird feeling. All the things in my life around me were about the same, and that includes my major source of pain, work. There was no major difference. Actually, it might have been getting worse. However, I was not letting it get to me anymore. Really weird. Was I delirious from lack of food or too much exercise, or was my mind warped from getting up at 4 a.m.?
Nope, none of that. The mixture of weight loss and feeling physically better, Emotional Intelligence Master Class at Junto, various other activities like journaling, writing, meditating, and more, had this magical, perfect storm effect. I stopped working so much, and just let things go, enjoyed myself, asked for help, expressed my feelings, actively listened to people, went out with friends and family, enjoyed a 10-day beach vacation, read, took a class, wrote and was published.
While the weight loss was a physical sign of a change, and it was and is amazing, the emotional change was much more significant for me. It was harder, and still is, but the payoff is bigger. Waking up and feeling physically good, less aches and pains is a blessing. But waking up, feeling happy, energized, motivated and knowing I am about to put my best self forward for the day, is simply amazing.