How I Lost 20 Pounds Naturally at 25
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
My whole life I felt “bigger” and “heavier” than my friends and family, but only because they just happened to be “smaller” and “thinner” than I was- I was very average weight and size when I was younger! I was never taught nutrition. I was only taught that there was “good” food and “bad” food and if I wanted to lose weight I had to stop eating bread and pasta. Being told this made me confused, as I come from an Italian/Mexican family so food is my culture and how we show love.
When I attended college I gained 30 pounds in a short span of 3 months- talk about the freshman 15 (times 2)! I had never felt so free to eat what I wanted- my whole life I felt ashamed for grabbing another slice of pizza or ordering chicken fingers, but at college, I felt that I could eat whatever I wanted without being judged. So I did. This led to eating no fruits and veggies, all fried foods and so much beer and vodka.
This ultimately led to being told that I was on the verge of diabetes by my doctor. I was sad, but it was not so surprised as I knew what my eating and drinking habits had been like. I started Weight Watchers for the first time and lost about 10 pounds in a month, and most importantly my blood sugars went down.
Fast forward 3 years, and I had graduated college, and I remember being extremely bloated from all the beer and quesadillas that I had consumed. I remember crying on the floor of my room hating how I had looked, and it was the heaviest weight I had ever been (158 pounds). I began Weight Watchers again, where I learned about portion sizes and the food that made me feel my best.
Then, I discovered Mari Llewellyn, where I discovered weight lifting and strength training, and I learned about calories and macros. I couldn’t believe this entire another side of nutrition that I had never even heard of! From then on, not only did I lose 20 pounds, but I continued to learn about food and cooking and that food is your friend and your fuel- it’s essential for your physical and mental health and you’d be nothing without it!
Now I am learning the foods that benefit your mental health and make you feel your best.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
I began weight lifting 5x a week. I would train lower body 3x a week and upper 2x a week. I did solely weight training for about 3 months, and I couldn’t believe how my body was changing- I had never had so much muscle in my life!
When I was growing up, I was told that running was the only way to lose weight and the only “good” form of exercise”. So, I would just randomly go on a run, and I absolutely hated it. But when I discovered Mari Llewellyn, I fell in love with finding other forms of exercise. I slowly started to incorporate running back into my routine, maybe once a week. My legs became so strong that I was actually able to handle a run, and I was ENJOYING it! From there, I began training for a triathlon, and eventually a marathon. Of course, I was loving how I looked, but most importantly, I fell in love with moving my body and clearing my mind. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped!
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
I did Weight Watchers for about a year, as counting calories became super overwhelming for me, and I could find myself having an obsessive mindset.
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While doing Weight Watchers, I ate a ton of fruits and veggies, low ingredient products, steak and pork, and shredded chicken and chicken thighs. This helped me shed weight quickly, but I also began to love the taste of what I was eating and how it was helping and nourishing my body.
For the past 8 months, I have been super interested in the brain and gut connection, so I have incorporated a ton of foods that are good for my gut health and brain chemicals such as salmon and tuna, nuts, TONS MORE of fruits and veggies, cocoa, bone broth, and yogurt!
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
LOSING WEIGHT IS SO HARD! Losing weight is especially hard when you attempt to starve yourself and you continue to think of foods as “good” and “bad”. I loved Weight Watchers because I could eat whatever I wanted and it wasn’t restricted.
As I said, I’m Italian and Mexican so food is such a large part of my life! I couldn’t stop eating bread and chicken cutlets and tortillas forever. This works for some people but not for me.
I think something that has helped me is learning the benefits of different foods, and incorporating them into my diet more such as fruits and veggies. The more I learn about their benefits, especially for mental health as I struggle with anxiety my entire life, the more I want to eat them and feed my body with them.
I also have changed my mindset to foods that are “more” nourishing or “less” nourishing for my body. Demonizing food is not the way to go <3
When did you start to notice progress?
It was definitely gradual, and super slow, which was annoying but it was better than nothing! When I began really focusing on my nutrition, I started to notice my clothes fitting looser, which was the most ecstatic part for me.
I seriously would take 2 hours to get ready because I would cry over hating my outfits. After all, they didn’t fit comfortably on my body. Things were too tight and too short and I was SO sick of it. I just wanted to feel comfortable in my clothes, and I finally was starting to!
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
With Weight Watchers I used the app, and I weighed myself every Friday. However, I started noticing my unhealthy obsessive patterns again like not eating as much the day before weigh-in, or being upset I didn’t lose that week, so I cut the scale and just continued to focus on portions and how I felt and looked.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
Every single morning for the past 8 months I drink Bloom Nutrition super greens, which is full of vitamins and minerals and helps with gut and digestion help. It’s the only product I use, and its every single morning when I first wake up!
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Think of foods as “more” nourishing and “less nourishing”, and not “good” and “bad”. Like, what do those words even mean anyway? When you start viewing your food on this scale, you begin to understand it more and how it reacts with your body.
Also, learning about the benefits of the foods you eat is amazing- it makes you way more inclined to eat certain foods, or to notice that maybe certain foods don’t react well with your body. Like me, I am lactose intolerant, so I have cut down my dairy to MAYBE once a week (I love pizza!). It has helped with my gut, skin, and mental health SO much. Same with sugar!
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
Dr. Uma Naidoo’s book “This Is Your Brain On Food” was the first non-fiction book about health I have ever read. I am a School Counselor and mental health advocate, and this book taught me how food directly relates to our mental health, which is not something people think of all that often.
I HIGHLY recommend this book, for EVERYONE, as it touches upon all foods to help fight mental health issues, which I believe everyone could benefit from.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
I would say find a plan that works best for you and that makes you happy. The worst thing is being absolutely miserable while you’re losing weight. It’s not okay for your physical or mental health.
Another thing is finding a support group that is following the same plan as you of some sort. Social media nowadays is full of groups and forums, and having just 1 other person understanding and empathizing with what your goals and journey is is the most helpful thing in the world. Sharing ideas, tips and advice is so helpful and helps you learn and grow!
Where can we find more about you?
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