I’m big into fitness and healthy (though always tasty) eating. I haven’t always been like this, however, and it didn’t happen overnight. I’ve mentioned before that in the last five years, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and I’ve completely changed my lifestyle. It’s finally time to share my weight loss story.
My Weight Loss Story
Around graduation a few weeks ago, I looked back at pictures from my college graduation and my time in undergrad. The picture above is from the summer of 2007 (the summer I first met my boyfriend – though we wouldn’t date for two more years).
When a friend of mine saw this picture last week, she refused to believe it was me. I still see me in there, but even now, I can admit, things have changed. After our conversation, I just knew I had to share my weight loss story since it’s real and if I can help one person out there with a little tidbit of information or inspiration, I really can ask no more!
Recently, I shared my slow foray into fitness along with a few tips. Everyone knows, however, that a healthy lifestyle is more than just working out. More important, I would argue, is what you eat. I don’t follow a strict diet, but I rarely eat cheese or other fatty dairy products; I don’t eat a lot of bread or carbs; I avoid foods that have lots of calories with no nutritional value; and I pack in the vegetables as much as possible. But just like my fitness story, my weight loss didn’t happen immediately. It was a process, and an entertaining one at that.
The First Step
The first thing that happened was that I moved in by myself in 2008. I’m a social eater. When I’m with friends, I like to eat. Living by myself, I had much more control over how much and what types of food were in the house. I also lost the frequent invites of eating with my roommates, whether or not I was hungry.
For a month or so, I didn’t eat much. I wasn’t doing much physical activity and didn’t have anything to do, so I could sit and watch tv when I woke up, putting off eating for a few hours. This wasn’t healthy at all, but I didn’t realize it at the time. What came out of that period (before life started again and I was on the go), was that my appetite got smaller – not a lot, but I noticed I felt full a little sooner.
Reading the Nutrition Facts
Then I started reading the nutrition facts on food. I didn’t understand too much, but I knew that protein filled you up, so I started eating things high in protein. Protein is good for you, but I was eating cheese and peanut butter for a snack. A single piece of cheese contains 1/3 of your suggested daily saturated fat and two tablespoons of peanut butter is about 1/4. So, for a snack, I was eating over half of my suggested daily intake.
When I realized this, I decided I needed to pay attention to fat AND protein. Now, I don’t eat much cheese, and I try to only eat 1 tablespoon of peanut butter at a time! That doesn’t always happen…
Carbs + Drinks
Around the same time, I started trying to eat fewer carbs. I love bread to the end of the world, so there was no way I could stop eating it, but I ate less. I wouldn’t eat both slices of bread on a sandwich or I’d get my burgers wrapped in lettuce rather than a bun (because I prefer french fries to a bun). It was little things here and there.
The other big change I made early on was cutting back on alcohol. Out with a friend one night, she told me she was drinking red wine because my pint glass of beer had over 150 calories in it. That day, I’d burned about that many calories at the gym and it was a lot of work. I started to equate calories to working out and then I got a lot pickier about which calories I consumed. I started only having one beer, instead of two. And eventually, I stopped drinking on any sort of a regular basis.
Besides the caloric intake, cutting back on alcohol was good for two reasons. One, it was less money spent at bars. Two, it prevented me from binge eating when my defenses were down after a few drinks.
Little by little, I was able to cut back on things that weren’t very healthy. I still love desserts, but I have more balance in my eating. I could go on for days with tips for cutting back on calories, carbs, and fat, but this post is already so long!
If you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle, try to balance things out over the course of the day and pay attention to what you’re eating. My big tricks for balance is that if I know I’m having a carb-heavy dinner (e.g. pasta), I try to really limit my carbs that day. The same goes for cheese. I generally avoid meals with bread and cheese because that makes other meals harder. Also, I find it easiest to save my calories and deliciousness for dinner. I eat very healthy breakfasts and lunches so that I can relax and enjoy dinner with my boyfriend.
See my recipes for salads here!
Do you have any secrets for a healthy lifestyle?