How I Lost 155 Pounds In 2 Years At 23!
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I have always been someone who was bigger and growing up I was definitely made fun of for it. It never occurred to me though that it was actually affecting my overall health. I was a very self-conscious person from elementary until I was a few months into my journey. Although I was overweight my whole life, I lost my best friend in a car accident in my freshman year of college. This sent me into a depression and high times of anxiety. I decided to move back home and transfer after my junior year. After a car accident myself after making stupid decisions one night, I decided it was finally time to take back my own life.
I had begun my weight loss journey MANY times and was never able to find anything that would stick. I tried Keto numerous times, as many of my family members had been on the diet and were successful at the time. I was also in school as a health major, which I have now graduated with a health degree, and I kind of felt like a contradiction to the system. Here I was, learning how to educate people on improving their health and I was a walking health issue and my health was declining. I was unhappy, moody, and unable to sleep. Being motivated to actually be able to help people improve their health in my future career was another big motivational factor for me. I also remember things that should have been easy like walking around campus, tying shoes, doing my own hair, but those things were so uncomfortable and I hated doing them.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
I started at 389 pounds, so exercise was not the easiest thing for me, but was definitely possible. In the beginning, because of my size, the only cardio I was comfortable with was walking on the treadmill. I went consistently for at least 5 days a week but would try to go for 6 if I felt up to it. I have weight trained throughout my whole journey. In the beginning, I would be happy if I made it for 45 minutes to an hour at the gym. I wanted to work out all parts of my body. My regular workout schedule looked like this:
Monday: Arms + Cardio
Wednesday Abs + Cardio
Friday: Legs + Cardio
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After signing up for a 1UpNutrition Transformation Challenge in January 2020, I started using their workout program. I no longer follow it but I do base my workouts around their plan. I also am at the gym for 1.5 – 2 hours now. My workout plan today looks like this:
Monday: Cardio + Back & Biceps
Tuesday: Cardio + Legs
Wednesday: Cardio + Tris, Chest, & Core
Thursday: Cardio + Legs
Friday: Cardio + Shoulders & Core
Saturday: Active Rest Day + Core
One tip I would say with fitness is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Exercise is important, yes, but nutrition is key. Don’t overwork your body and punish it if you feel that you did “bad” one day. This is a journey, and it is not an easy one! Also, make your exercise of choosing something that you enjoy doing and don’t make it feel forced. A problem I had was being burned out and bored at the gym. Change it up! Try Zumba, Yoga, or go on a hike or whatever works for you!!
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
My biggest issue with weight loss is that diet culture has forced us to believe in unsustainable diets. I have tried several but have never been able to stick to any of them, and usually go into binging after finishing a particular diet.
I do try to stick with lower carbs, but I do not completely cut them out. I eat a lot of vegetables and try to stick with more green and leafy ones. In the beginning, I did eat more berries but I do not buy them as much now. I do not eat red meat, I only buy turkey and chicken. I will eat red meat sometimes if I am at a family event or it is offered and I feel as though I can fit it into what I want to eat that day, but I do not buy it.
I eat a lot of egg whites and turkey bacon, as well as hummus. I drink AT LEAST a gallon of water a day. I have also just started introducing a lot of brown rice into my diet as well. I cut out added sugars and eliminated empty calories through what liquids I take in. Right now, at about 250 pounds, I try to stick at 1800 calories. In the beginning, I ate quite a bit more because I was burning a lot more at my bigger size. I ate around 2200 calories, and if I did not work out I would eat less than that, but usually around 1200-1500 calories a day.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
I slipped up A LOT and I still do. Mental health is such an important part of weight loss. I know that sometimes it is not very easy to talk about, but awareness is key. A weight loss or fitness journey is challenging, and if you don’t address the issues there are, you can easily go back to your old ways. I have lost motivation many, many times. I love the way the gym makes me feel and eating healthy helps your body feel so much better.
Once you begin to see the progress and the changes, you will crave that progress. Let that hunger for success continue to drive you. Listen to your body. Don’t deprive yourself 100% of all things, but know what is good for you. You did not gain weight overnight, don’t be discouraged when you don’t lose it overnight! All bodies are different and remember that just because something worked for someone else, does not mean it will work for you. Find something that is sustainable and comfortable for YOU.
When did you start to notice progress?
For me, it was more gradual. I did start to notice how I felt though. I think I realized some non-scale victories before I really noticed the weight coming off. I was sleeping better, clothes were feeling better (even shoes), I was less tired, and wanted to do more. My mood changed dramatically too. I did not really start noticing big changes from the weight loss until around month three.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I LOVE my FitBit. Many people wonder why I chose this product over something like the Apple Watch, but I found that I did not want nor need the extra things that come with it. I wanted it specifically to track my health, not all the apps and things that don’t pertain to health. I started with just a basic FitBit but now I have the Versa 2 and enjoy it. I also use the Renpho scale from Amazon. It is Bluetooth and connects to an app on my phone, which also connects to my FitBit app! I have also used MyFitnessPal too, which is a pretty good tracker.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
PRE-WORKOUT is my best friend haha. I would like to do more of my own research into the product. It has helped me to have better workouts but I would warn about being codependent on the product. I do use some products but I am also a big believer that supplements are not necessarily needed for progress.
I have just now recently started getting into drinking protein also but is definitely possible to eat your daily protein as well. I enjoy the Olly brand, chocolate vegan product. I also LOVE my booty (resistance) bands, you can order really good ones from Amazon!
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
If you have a hard time drinking water, try finding a good water bottle that has a straw! I use my HydroJug and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. If you struggle with binging, become aware of what triggers you and why you are wanting to over-consume. Chewing gum has also helped me when I am craving foods or wanting to snack. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
I don’t really have any recommendations in this area. I used to listen to On Purpose with Jay Shetty when quarantine first happened and I went on long walks. His podcast is more than just fitness but overall health and mental health, and a lot of other great conversations.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Do it out of love for yourself, not because you hate yourself. Health is essential and needed, getting healthy, and creating a life you can love and enjoy is the end goal. Don’t focus so much on the weight loss aspect, but rather being happy. Also, mental health plays a VITAL role in this journey! It is not going to be easy.
There are days you will want to give up, you won’t see the results, you want to overeat, you don’t want to go to the gym, you’ll want to eat some cake. What matters, in the end, is that you are working on your relationship with yourself, and increasing your quality of life. It is okay to have a bad day, just remember to pick it back up and DO NOT punish yourself when you feel like you have failed.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” – Fred Devito
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