This post is by OYS writer Alexis from Trading Cardio for Cosmos. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing her awesome weight loss tips and motivation!! She’s lost over 100lbs so she has lots to share!
When I started my weight loss journey, I radically changed my lifestyle. I felt like I needed extreme discipline to be successful.
And at the time, maybe that was true! I was able to change drive thrus into farmer’s markets, piles of carbs into piles of veggies, the couch for the elliptical and boozy brunches into, well, healthier boozy brunches!
And as I have progressed through my -115lb weight loss, many of those early “rules” have morphed into something more sustainable, and more workable for my lifestyle:
I built a giant spreadsheets, handwrote daily menus, double counted and triple counted to make sure I was directly on point every day. Today I still menu plan my breakfast and lunches and I tend to have a good idea of what our dinners will be, but I rarely write down my plan anymore. Healthy eating and exercise have become habits in my life that I know by heart now.
I was embarrassed about my weight loss journey and tried to hide it for a while. But eventually I realized that this journey is something to be proud of! I’m making the changes necessary to better my life, and the people I spend time with shouldn’t judge me for that, or they’re the wrong people to be spending time with. Now when we go out or we have dinner with family, I look up the menu at the restaurant so I have an idea of what my options will be. This enables me to plan my day around that meal out, rather than having to dip into my weekly points or my activity points to cover my meal. And with our family meals, I inquire as to what the meal is and if it’s not something I feel like I want to spend my points on, like pasta or ribs, I bring a healthy option for myself. Last weekend we had a family dinner where the choices were penne pasta with sausage or a hamburger. Neither of those were what I wanted, so I brought a chicken breast, a Portabella mushroom cap and some radicchio to grill while the sausage was being grilled for the pasta!
I demanded perfection, which is always a recipe for disaster. Life is not perfect, nor is it black-and-white. And sometimes when you try to lose weight and eat perfectly you’re just too tired to cook, sometimes the kitchen runs out of whatever you had planned to eat and sometimes you just give in and have a bite of cake. When I first started, any deviations from my plan made me feel shamed or scared that I was going to screw up. Now I have learned to accept deviations, to plan I ahead when I can but not beat myself up when it’s a situation I can’t control, or when I decide I need a bite of cake. Cake happens. And that’s what makes life great, in my opinion!
I saw all of these women with their giant jugs of water and I thought, there is no way I can drink all that! But I started slow, drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning before I have coffee or a shower. Another trick I use is to flavor my water with fresh herbs like basil, or fresh citrus like lemon, lime or oranges, which seems to make it more festive and more delicious. I also drink a lot of sparkling water or seltzer water, which has no sodium but the bubbles seem to make the water go down more easily.
Grilled chicken. Veggie. Salad. Repeat. This is lame, but that is how I felt like I had to start out until I realized there are great resources online that have healthy recipes available! Skinnytaste and Emily Bites are some of my favorites, and I like the slow cooker recipes from Simple Nourished Living. I also learned to try new things, and not be afraid to spice it up! I may have grilled chicken for lunch sometimes, but it has a tumeric spice blend, paired with some pearl couscous and it comes with a side of baby bok choy, which I would have never eaten before WW. I’ve also found a host of vegetables like radishes and carrots and kale, which I never ate before or thought I didn’t like, but came to find out I really enjoy!
I hear this all the time from people who are starting a workout regimen. Everyone is feeling self-conscious because they are out of shape, because they don’t have the stereotypical “gym body,” and because they are relatively inexperienced to working out. The truth is the trainers and folks running the gym are there to help you, and they really enjoy when they help you achieve something you didn’t think was possible. I absolutely recommend meeting with the owner, manager or trainer at the local gym to have them design a workout plan that will allow you to get more active, toned up, and do it at your own pace. And as you start to get comfortable in your own routine, you look up and realize that everyone else is focused on their machine, their weights, their own goals.
Takeout, an extra slice of pizza, two servings of ranch dressing, processed foods, I ate at least twice my daily calorie intake most days and realizing that made me embarrassed and made me worry about what my friends and family must have been thinking. And after a pity party and a good little cry, I realized that I couldn’t change the person I was or her decisions, but I could use those emotions to fuel better decisions, and to get me back on track of I started to stray from my plan.
On the other hand I lost 20 pounds and I couldn’t tell, which was a little demoralizing. The first twenty pounds are the hardest to lose, and they’re also the hardest to see! I decided to reward myself at each -10lbs lost so that even if I couldn’t see it on my body, I was celebrating the change.
I firmly believe that limiting the soda, chemicals and processed snacks has changed my body completely. I am a much quicker thinker, I move more quickly and with more ease and I even get a suntan, rather than a sunburn, thanks to the healthy vitamins and lycopene in my diet now.
Before my weight loss journey I hardly ever exercised, ate fatty foods full of chemicals and cholesterol and then smoked and drank to counterbalance all the caffeine I was ingesting. End result? I slept terribly, and not enough. Now I make sure my diet is balanced, skip smoking and try to be a little more responsible with my cocktails. I also make sure I have time for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a dark, quiet room, which allows me to wake up and feel rested. This also means I won’t be so tired or sluggish and will be better equipped to make healthier food choices throughout the day.
What about you? What did the beginning of your weight loss journey look like? Do you have habits or routines that have changed as you progress through your weight loss journey? Or maybe things you noticed early in your journey that felt new and exciting (or frustrating?)? Let’s talk about them in the comments below!