How I lost 60 pounds
It’s the start of a new year and I know a lot of people have goals to lose weight. Losing weight was my goal last year, I set myself a goal of four stone (56 pounds) and actually ended up going over that a bit to lose a total of 60 pounds. I thought I would share some tips with you on what I did, hopefully it will help.
Settle in, it’s going to be a long ride. It took me 10 months to get to where I want to be. 10 months is a long time but I never felt deprived of anything or that I was really struggling or hungry at all. When I first started trying to lose weight at the start of the year a lot of my friends tried too, many of them with things like the Dukan diet or even Cambridge diet, I was often very jealous of them losing 4 pounds a week constantly whilst I was plodding along at one. Their motivation quickly petered out because those sorts of diets are very difficult to maintain. Keep at the healthy eating and you will get their eventually.
Eat at a calorie deficit. Originally I started with Weight Watchers, which allowed me to eat pretty much anything I wanted as long as I kept to my points allowance. As I went in throughout the year I educated myself on what foods where good for me and I learnt to cook delicious meals. It was definitely a learning process and now I eat exactly what I did on my ‘diet’, just more of it. This is going to be a lifestyle change, not just a diet. As long as you are eating less calories than you burn you will lose weight.
Track everything you eat. As I mentioned at the start I used Weight Watchers point system to track my food, now I use MyFitnessPal. If you are serious about losing weight track everything you put in your mouth. I know on previous attempts to lose weight I wasn’t as successful, it was because I was often lying to myself, reasoning that one cookie won’t hurt, it all adds up and will hinder your weight loss. Also consider what you are cooking your food in, the sauces you use and what you drink. Make sure to weigh your food too to make sure your portions are right, you would be surprised how many calories are in that pasta!
I eat constantly, I even bring a lunchbox full of food with me wherever I go. Eating little and often seems to work really well for me, I know I am someone who will eat through boredom, especially at work so rather than change the way I eat I just changed what I eat. I have 3 main meals and 4 snacks a day. Shop for a cute packed lunch box and tupperware, new stuff always helps keep me motivated and by bringing in my own snacks and lunch to work I am less likely to go to the sweet shop and buy cakes or make bad choices for lunch.
Cook everything yourself. As someone who works full time, ready meals used to be a staple in my diet, not anymore. There is so much hidden nasties in packaged food, when you cook for yourself you can control just how much of everything goes in, it also means you can cater to your tastes. Learning how to make myself delicious nutritious food has been one of my favourite things from my weight loss journey, and I’m not going to lie, when you Instagram a completely awesome looking meal and get lots of likes you will feel lovely and smug.
Planning your meals will help save you time and money. On a Sunday I sit and make a timetable of the meals I am going to eat and go food shopping. I try to do consecutive days with the same ingredients to save me from having to buy lots of different ingredients which saves me money. I also do a lot of my food prep on a Sunday, like create my cauliflower mash or courgette fritters which saves me a bit of time during the week. If you know what you are going to be cooking and have the food ready for it you are less likely to come home from work and order a take away.
Find a exercise you enjoy. Joining a gym and using the treadmill for 20 minutes won’t really help. Whilst you can lose weight through diet alone (it’s about 80% diet, 10% exercise and 10% genetics), finding a exercise you love will help things a lot. Finding pole dancing and aerial hoop really motivated me to lose weight and get stronger, the lighter you are the easier it is to do moves and the stronger you are the better and more elegant they look. I then discovered running and that really made me look into fuelling my body. Exercise is a great way to meet people or give yourself time to think and there is so many forms out there you are bound to find something you like, from rock climbing to fencing, lifting heavy to ballet, get out there and try them! Just to add, just because you have worked out doesn’t mean you can treat yourself to a chocolate bar, chances are you haven’t burnt as many calories as you think. You can’t outrun your calories!
Give up drinking. You don’t have to give up drinking, but this one definitely helped me. Drink is full of empty calories. You can easily factor in the calories of alcohol to treat yourself once in a while, but once I have one glass, I often don’t stop there and one turns into five and a dirty kebab on the way home. It also leaves me feeling horrible the next day and I tend to eat greasy comfort food, completely undoing all my good work. The hangovers where getting worse as I got older too and I was just fed up of losing days by hiding under my duvet. Plus there will be a lot less embracing drunk pictures of yourself. If you have more self control then me and can factor in your drinks, go ahead!
Everything in moderation. Don’t completely cut the stuff you love from your diet, if you do you will just go crazy and end up bingeing. I still have cakes and chocolate, but nowhere near as much as I used to and I always make sure to factor it into my daily calories. The 80/20 rule is pretty good to follow, eat healthy 80% of the time with 20% for treats.
So now that I am not trying to lose weight, what do I do differently? Not a lot. I work out just as much because I love it and can’t imagine my life without it now, I eat pretty much the same food because I know it tastes delicious and helps fuel my body but now I bulk it out a bit more with bigger portions and adding in things like sweet potato and I still plan and prepare my meals and love packed lunches, although I’m not so fussy about tracking everything anymore, I’ve managed to get myself to a good balance where I know what my body needs and my weight is pretty stable.
Good luck with your weight loss journey, it’s a long process but you end up learning so many great things about yourself that it really is worth it.