How I Lost Over 100 Pounds in 11 Months (Step-By Step)
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
My name is Katy, and ever since I was young, I struggled with my weight. In my final year at University during my Master’s, I had enough. Throughout my time at University I had put on about 5 stone (about 70 pounds) and I had reached a point where I was majorly struggling with my body confidence, general confidence and my mental health. I first started by “accident”, I had tried so many times before to lose weight and it had never worked for me. I would lose motivation after several days. I had been following some weight loss accounts on Instagram for several months and eventually thought: “if they can do it, so can I!”
One day, I woke up and decided to go to the gym and do a workout; whilst at the gym I had decided to count my calories for the day and see if I could stick to eating a certain amount of calories within that day. To my surprise, I had eaten a good amount of food whilst still remaining in my calories for the day.
After this, it became quite an addictive habit. I dedicated myself to learning more about nutrition, calorie “light” foods, and began to go to the gym consistently, perhaps 4-5 days a week. Soon it became a regular routine for me, and I really began to enjoy it.
What did you do for exercise when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
I started exercising at the gym. I would aim to complete ten minutes on the elliptical, ten minutes of running/walking on the treadmill, ten minutes on the stepper and then I would freestyle a workout on the weights machines, mainly focusing on my arms as this was something I was confident I knew what I was doing. Initially, I struggled with my confidence in the gym as I was unsure if I was doing it right or wrong, I was worried people would be looking and laughing (of course now, I know this is far from true!)
I worked out 4-5 times a week at the gym from November until around March. In March, a lockdown was announced in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of me panicked, as I had gotten so settled into my routine that I was scared I would lose all the progress I had spent so long making. Instead of letting go and giving up, I began running.
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I was staying with my mum in her house in Oxfordshire, England, which had so many lovely country lanes and fields that I could run a route without worry of seeing too many people. My sister had challenged me to run a 5km route, and to my surprise I managed it easily. This then motivated me to try harder, run further and faster and it became a habit. During the lockdown, I ran between 5-8km per day, and one day I even managed to run a 10km route without any difficulty at all. This is when I realized just how much progress I had made, as when I was bigger I NEVER exercised at all.
Since the lockdown ended and the gyms reopened, I have been regularly going to the gym. I signed up to some PT sessions with one of the trainers at my local gym and so far have had 13 hours worth of training with him, which has been so helpful! I have been able to learn more about my body, train myself to lift heavier weights and have a good form whilst doing so. It has been great! We are currently in a lockdown in the UK which means my gym is closed; due to a busy work schedule most of my movement has come from evening walks and home workouts provided by my PT.
My advice to anyone who is too self conscious to join a gym, or too embarrassed… do it! Nobody is watching you, I promise. You will not regret it, progress comes from every little session you do, no matter how big or small, something is always better than nothing!
What did you do for nutrition when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
When I first began, I was so focused on eating a low calorie diet so that I could have a bigger deficit. I soon realized that this was not the most healthy approach, as my body needed fueling to keep up with the amount of exercise I was doing. My diet was calorie counting and exercise; initially I would aim to eat under 1,700 calories per day and as my weight lowered, I would slightly decrease that number to match my deficit with the amount of calories my body was burning on a daily basis. I am currently still trying to lose a few pounds, so I aim to eat around 1,400 calories per day to have a good deficit whilst still giving my body the nutrients it needs.
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Some of the foods I ate frequently throughout my diet were high protein, lean foods such as: chicken, white fish, tuna, salmon, vegetarian alternatives. Of course, I would also pack out my meals with LOTS of vegetables. My particular favorites are broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower. I also added spinach to almost every meal, although I don’t particularly like it that much, I know how good it is for me and when it is incorporated into a meal, I don’t taste it. I also really enjoyed finding some low calorie alternatives to foods that I enjoyed, for example thin bagels, sandwich pockets, spreadable cheese (instead of butter), low calorie wraps (rather than a pizza base) and cauliflower rice.
I did not take any supplements at all, as I like to do plenty of research beforehand of what is going into my body and whether I really needed them. In hindsight, I perhaps would have taken some iron supplements or vitamins just to ensure that I was still getting enough.
How did you stay mentally strong when it was tough? Did you ever give up? How did you recover?
Of course, losing weight really is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and consistency. Honestly, I can’t recall a time where I was tempted to give up. I was so determined to reach my goal and that meant more to me than any takeaway could! I think what helped me was that I would have one meal every week or every ten days that I wouldn’t track, so I could have whatever I wanted. This gave me the motivation to work hard in the week so that I could have that treat and fully enjoy it, which I really did!
I also would ensure that I rewarded myself when I had hit a specific goal, or noticed progress. For example: when I lost 2 stone I treated myself to a new dress, when I hit the three stone loss I got my hair done at a nice salon, when I hit four/five stone I bought myself some new makeup and an outfit, and so on. This really helped me to motivate myself so that I could reward myself with nice things when I got there!
When I am finding it particularly tough, I look to others for motivation. I use Instagram quite often as a means of connecting with other people who are also on the same journey as myself. I find that looking at their progress and their success really makes me realize just how much I have to be proud of, and it helps me stay on track. I like to look at other people who have had similar progress to myself and see just how great they are doing. Sometimes it is hard to credit ourselves for what we are doing, so seeing other people’s success really motivates me – you never know who is getting their motivation from you!
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I personally used a tracking app called MyFitnessPal. This app allows you to input your data (height, weight etc.) and it will calculate how many calories you should aim to eat a day based on your specific goals. I will say, I did some research online to find out how many calories I should be eating to reach my goals rather than using MyFitnessPal’s estimate, purely because it seemed a little low for me. I used MyFitnessPal to track my calories but also made sure that I was sticking to the calories I had calculated from my research. I also have a FitBit, which has helped me track my workouts. I find this a really useful device as it motivates me to get moving and burn those calories!
When did you start to notice progress?
I would say that I didn’t really notice a real difference myself until I was about 3-4 stone down. However, my friends and family noticed it after I had lost about 2 stone.
I think it’s difficult to notice it on yourself because you are living in that body, you are living through those slight changes so it is harder to recognize just how much you have changed. I also noticed that my energy levels increased after about one month of working out, and I was very pleasantly surprised the day I ran 10km! Taking lots of progress pictures and putting them side to side really helped me.
Do you have any “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
No secrets or hacks, just hard work! Everybody is different, and different things work for different people. For me, early morning workouts helped me get energized for the day and I was more motivated to do my workouts in the morning.
Ensuring that I was eating high protein foods helped me stay fuller for longer, whilst also eating food I really enjoyed (no restriction!). Using Instagram as a motivational tool helped me keep going when it was tough.
What advice would you give to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
- You have absolutely no idea how far you could get in three months time. Stick it out, keep going, and be proud of yourself. You are doing something incredibly hard, but it is so rewarding; in three months time you will look back and be amazed.
- Enjoy the process! My goal was to be happy within myself, and it makes absolutely no sense to make myself miserable in the process of doing so. Enjoy the odd treat, don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up. Just get back up, dust yourself off and keep going. If it is making you feel unhappy, maybe consider ways in which you can make your diet suit you better.
- Educate yourself. Gain a good understanding of nutrition, good food habits and healthy routines; your body will thank you.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
I personally just use Instagram! So many people have weight loss accounts at the moment, in order to stay accountable. I follow lots of inspirational people that post their meals, recipes, workout routines and motivational pieces. I started by following “hashtags” such as “#weightloss” “#slimmingworld” “#weightlossjourney” and soon found some accounts that I liked.
Where can we find more about you?
You can find me on instagram at @keeping.upwithkaty. On this page, I post a lot of food, transformation pictures and I try to interact with my followers as much as possible. I love it!
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