I love eating. I love food. I love cooking. I love baking. But I don't love dieting.
I never considered myself neither skinny nor obese. From the time I was a teenager until my weight loss in my 30's, I teeter tottered between a size 10, 12 and 14. My weight ranged between 155-175 pounds, which was a little over weight for my 5'6" frame.
Although I've been a healthy eater from most of my adulthood, I wasn't aware of how much I was eating. Portions and calories were never something I put thought into. I also suffered from emotional eating so when stress hit, I hit a bag of chips.
In Vienna circa 2007
My Tipping Point
I reached my heaviest weight in 2009. I traveled weekly as a consultant for years. Long project hours combined with travel and no exercise got me to my heaviest point. I remember going to the doctor and the scale stinging me at 190.
I wasn't happy at my heaviest. In fact, I was very unhappy. I wasn't motivated to lose weight though. I tried diets in the past and was never successful. I knew I wanted to be happier and "find myself."
One night while working in Torrance, CA I was bored after work and decided to go to the beach. When I got there, I saw people walking the strand so I started walking. One week I walked 20 minutes, the next 30, the next 40 and so on.
Walking made me feel so good and happy that from that night forward, I walked every night for over a year. Something about being outside, listening to the ocean and being active gave me zen, stress relief and a sense of high. The feeling became addicting.
After weeks of walking, things came into perspective. I became motivated to be healthier. Even though I was burning calories walking, I wasn't losing a lot of weight because I hadn't changed my eating habits. So I did my homework thanks to my friend Google, evaluated my diet, cut out easy stuff (soda, juices, chips, candy), started counting calories, portioning my foods and began eating healthier.
And so it began...
My New Life
Fifteen months later, I was 118 pounds and a size 2. I never had a goal weight in mind or planned to lose 80 pounds. It just happened. Being active and healthy, made me happy and kept me motivated to want more. The key for me was to stop thinking about dieting and focus on living a healthy and happy life.
Through trial and error, I figured out what worked best for me and made lifestyle changes. I started eating egg whites, fruit and oatmeal for breakfast. I stopped drinking soda. I started measuring portions. I didn't buy chips (it was too dangerous). To this day, all those habits have stuck with me.
Now I'm committed to maintaining my weight, sharing my experience and what worked for me with others.
Be Active, Move More
You don't have to exercise hours upon hours every day. Target 30-60 minutes per day of activity. Look for opportunities to move more. Take the long way to the bathroom. Park your car further away in the parking lot.
Schedule workouts like an appointment. At the beginning of every week, review your schedule, pencil in your exercise & stick to it. Sometimes last minute plans come up. Treat those as exceptions. Not everything works out as planned in life.
Count calories, at least in the beginning. I didn't realize how much I was over consuming until I tracked my calories. It was a huge wake up call. Counting my calories kept me accountable with myself and how much I was eating.
Read Labels, Serving Sizes & Reduce Portions
Food labels & serving sizes can be tricky. Learn how to read them and measure your food. Reducing more portions and measuring food (like rice and pasta) before putting them on my plate contributed greatly to my weight loss.
Always eat breakfast in the morning. It jumps starts your metabolism and prevents sugar crash throughout the day. I aim for a a mix of protein, carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables. Think of it this way. You wouldn't drive your car without oil. Your body needs fuel.
Make Small Changes
Small changes add to setting eating habits & they add up over time. First look at what you drink. Can you eliminate soda, juice and fancy coffees? You would be amazed how many calories coffees, juices and sodas have. Then look at the foods you rely on emotionally. If it's a bag of chips, don't buy a bag of chips. Buy individual serving sizes of chips instead. This way you will not feel deprived, but teach yourself what the right amount is to eat in one setting.
At the end of every week, plan your meals for the next week. Make a grocery list based on that plan and stick to it. Having a plan, removes the unknown and possibility of eating too much or the wrong thing in a time crunch. It's also a good way to budget and save money.
Need More Help?
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Weight Loss Goals
What has been your health or weight loss journey? Do you believe in diets? What are your tips?
Linking up with Amanada @ Running with Spoons
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