December 20, 2019.
I’ll never forget that stupid day.
I was assaulted by a number. A number on a scale… that I happened to be standing on.
And I didn’t even see it coming.
You know the routine. The nurse calls your name and asks you to stand on the scale. A number pops up and she records it in your file. Boom. Over. You move on.
You move on unless that is the largest number you have ever seen on that thing. When that number is bigger than you ever imagined it could be, you either get growing or get going.
I chose to get going.
And my weight loss journey began.
I’m 5’3”, and I’ve pretty much always been on the thin side. As a teen and through my mid 20’s, I never weighed more than 100 pounds. After giving birth at age 30 and through my mid 40’s, I’d say that my weight averaged about 135 pounds.
Those days were nice. I could eat whatever I wanted and didn’t have to exercise. Maintaining a consistent weight was a no brainer.
Then I hit 45 and all heck broke loose.
My weight started to creep up, and it seemed like I gained 20 pounds overnight. I made a few adjustments to my eating and started exercising regularly. The gain slowed down, but my weight still kept going up. Eventually, I gave in, bought larger clothes and made peace with my growing size – until December 20, 2019.
On that day at 8:07 in the morning, the number on the scale was 194 pounds! I almost died. I never thought that I would ever see a number that big associated with my weight. Feelings of anger, embarrassment and shame washed over me. I knew that I was only one step from 200 pounds, and that just wasn’t cool. I determined right then and there that I needed to make big changes and lose major weight.
Fortunately, it was right before New Year’s Day, and I am a resolution setter. In my earlier post, “20 Goals for 2020… Oh My!”, you’ll see that I resolved to lose weight. I became very determined to do it. I researched my approach, dusted off my Nikes and came up with a plan of attack.
January 1, 2020 was the next important day of my journey. I set a goal and started to take action.
My goal was simple – to weigh between 145 to 150 pounds by December 9, 2020. That means that I would have to lose 44-49 pounds at the rate of approximately one pound per week.
My action plan was also simple. I went for the old-fashioned approach of burning more calories than I took in. To do that, my strategy had six basic tactics: 1) change my mindset, 2) eat less, 3) drink a lot of water, 4) exercise more, 5) track everything and 6) build support systems.
The first thing I did was accept how I was feeling about my weight gain (anger, embarrassment and shame) and then gave myself a break. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. It was time to move on and tackle this. I became determined, peaceful and optimistic.
Now this is the “duh” part of the action plan. Of course, I had to eat less. No more eating the entire pack of Twizzlers in one sitting. No more second piece of cake. And definitely no more binging on chocolate.
Instead, I developed a modest eating plan that was easy to stick to. Almost every day, I have coffee and yogurt for breakfast; oatmeal for lunch and a low-calorie, frozen meal for dinner. In the beginning, I did not snack. Now I usually eat a few tablespoons of peanut butter in the afternoon and a small bedtime treat to make sure that I get enough calories.
Eating less eventually broke my craving for extra food and helped my body realize that it really can survive on only six Twizzlers (instead of the usual 20 at a time).
I also committed to drinking a lot more water than I was used to. My daily intake goal was 64 ounces when I started, and now it is 80 ounces per day. To help me do this, I add zero calorie water flavor to five 16-ounce bottles of water in the morning so that I always have some ready. The flavoring makes it taste much better and satisfies my sweet tooth.
As much as I didn’t want to, I knew that exercising was going to be a must in my action plan. I started off slow with this and added exercise to my journey one month after I started eating less.
My first goal was to just start by walking around my neighborhood on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. I was like the postman walking in all types of weather. The course I walked was only two-thirds of a mile, but it was still a struggle. It took about 15 minutes and all of my energy to complete. But eventually, I was able to fly around the neighborhood completing the path in 12 minutes easily.
The next month, I started going to the gym on Saturdays and Sundays. There, I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Again, it was a struggle at first but eventually got much better. At the time that the coronavirus quarantine hit, I was working out on the elliptical machine four days each week for 30 minutes per session. I felt great. And then the gym closed. Now I’m back to walking around the neighborhood and on the treadmill in my basement.
When I started my weight loss journey, I committed to tracking everything that I ate and drank. I use an app called Lose It! to do this. This app calculates my daily calorie budget and shows my weight and a progress chart. The premium version that also allows me to track my water intake, set nutrient goals and make my color theme pink. I highly recommend this app.
My Apple Watch is also useful for monitoring my exercise and calorie burn. The watch syncs with Lose It! and automatically adjusts my calorie budget based on the activity. It’s super easy.
Another important part of my weight loss journey is my support system. This mainly consists of my mama and the hubby. They have been very encouraging and just what I needed on tough days. I also let my friends know about my weight loss journey, and that helps keep me accountable. I even post my progress on social media because the positive comments really keep me going.
At the time of writing, my weight loss journey is in its 22nd week, and I have lost a total of 35 pounds. Let me repeat that… 35 pounds!! I’m way ahead of schedule and could possibly reach my goal by the end of July at the rate I’m going.
Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty good now. The weight loss has allowed me to go from wearing size XL to medium. I have more energy, sleep better, and my skin is glowing. Most importantly, I feel a lot better about my appearance and about myself in general. I am well on the way to achieving a huge goal and am proud of myself for sticking with it.
I still have about 15 pounds to lose, but I’m confident that the habits I’ve adopted will enable me to finish my weight loss journey successfully.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my weight loss journey. It’s not the most drastic one, but it’s very impressive to me.
Before I go, I’d like to share some tips that I learned during my weight loss journey. I hope they help you.