Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Nor am I a nutrition or fitness professional. I’m just a girl who likes to tell stories on the internet, who happened to lose a lot of weight. This is a very personal story; what worked for me may not work for you.
This is a story without a beginning. There’s no specific time that I can pinpoint where I started to be unhappy with my weight. I was unhappy with my weight as a teenager and I weighed just over 100 lbs. I vividly remember getting weighed at my 8th grade physical and the nurse said my weight was 103 lbs. and that was the perfect weight for my height. I stayed pretty close to that number until college. But I was obsessive about it. If it creeped up to 106, then I had to diet. Because more than 103 was not perfect, and I am a crazy perfectionist.
College saw the 120s. My mid-20s saw the 130s. By the end of law school, I was hovering around 140 lbs. By the time I started working after the bar exam, high 140s to 150s.
When husband and I got married in 2007, I dieted quite a bit beforehand and I was in the high 150s.
Shortly after we got married, my health was not great. I had thyroid issues that took years to get under control. By 2010, my weight was in the high 190s. The highest I remember seeing on the scale was 201 lbs. I’m 5’1″.
When the scale hit over 200, I hit rock bottom when it came to my weight. I knew my thyroid was a big part of the issue, but it was taking so long to get things under control. Finally, we hit the right combinations/dosages and I was able to lose a little weight. I got into the 180s.
Let me be clear: my thyroid was a big part of the issue. But so was depression and a tendency to eat my feelings. Not to mention what I was eating, and how much of it.
In 2011, the firm that I was working for participated in a corporate games challenge. I joined the team for The Biggest Winner. (Think of it as a non-infringing version of Biggest Loser.) I’m a very competitive person and I wanted a prize. Oh, and I wanted to lose weight too.
For the first time ever, I started tracking my food through Spark People. I learned so much during this period about how, when I dieted, I wasn’t eating enough. Starvation mode, my fitness friends called it. I made tweaks to my diet to ensure that I was getting enough fat and protein and the weight started coming off. By the end of the competition, I was in the 170s for the first time in years. [My team won and we got a blue ribbon.]
I continued along the same path and got into the 160s. By the time I left practicing and started working full-time for FitFluential, I was in the low 160s.
I hit a plateau at that time and my weight stayed around that mark. Then I got pregnant. Despite trying to eat everything in the city of Las Vegas while pregnant, I only gained 20 to 25 lbs.
After the baby was born, the weight came off fast. I think I’m one of the lucky ones who had crazy breastfeeding metabolism. I was not watching what I ate at all.
By my first Mother’s Day in 2014, I was below my pre-pregnancy weight.
By August of that year, I was in the 140s. The pants that had been my “skinny pants” pre-pregnancy were now loose.
By the beginning of 2015, I was in the 130s. At that time, however, I stopped pumping and my metabolism definitely started to shift. I had to stop eating bags of candy and cake every day. No more weekly trips to Smith’s for donuts.
As the baby continued to wean, the pounds started creeping back on. I hit 143 in July and decided to set some goals. I had many friends warn me of the weight gain after they stopped breastfeeding and I was hoping to make changes before that happened.
My weight loss goal was always simple: I wanted to be within the normal weight range for my height. I wasn’t trying to get back to that elusive 103 of my youth. I know that BMI can be a crock of hooey, but moving from obese to overweight was a BIG victory for me. 132 lbs would be back in the “normal” weight range for my height. My goal became 130, just to give me some wiggle room.
I knew I wasn’t moving around much, and I needed to make more mindful choices when eating.
I got a Fitbit Charge. (That’s an affiliate link, and if you make a purchase, I will get a small commission.) I decided to start food tracking. I downloaded Lose It. I connected my Fitbit to Lose It and it syncs my activity with my calories.
I have to be 100% honest about something: I hate exercising and do everything in my power to avoid it. I have always preferred walking, but I didn’t do it consistently enough.
My fitness goal was to hit 10,000 steps every day.
The Pacing Begins
I thought I would ease into hitting my steps goals. Nope, the competitive girl who likes to count and makes nonstop lists took over. I hit 13,000 the first day I wore my Fitbit. Since then, I have hit my goal of 10,000 every day, except a couple when we were on vacation.
When we can, the husband and I go for a walk through our neighborhood in the evening. That’s not always possible, so I walk around the house.
Yes, you read that correctly, I walk miles around my house every day. I pace during conference calls. I pace up and down the hall with my Kindle. I pace while we watch TV shows. I pace while my breakfast cooks. The tweens have called me weird. The baby has taken my hand and walked with me on some of the laps around the living room. This might not work for everyone, but it works for me.
Here’s what the past month looked like. The first blue day was our last day of vacation, and I spent a lot of the evening on a plane. (I took the screenshot this morning, so the day wasn’t complete.)
My Fitbit has kept me moving and accountable. It has been the best possible motivator during the past couple of months.
My favorite food is cake. Followed by candy. (All candy, except the stupid kinds that shouldn’t exist, like licorice.) It was hard for me to give up the sweets. I needed a new go-to junk food. In FitFluential-land, we did a campaign for Special K brownies late last year and I remembered people saying they were good. I got some and hoped for the best. Sweet holy snack food splendor, I love those brownies SO HARD.
Maybe there are days when I eat 4 of them. And maybe my grocery store had a rewards program where you earned points for buying Special K products over a certain period of time and it translated into fitness gear. Maybe I bought 40 items during two months and achieved the highest level, gym bag. Maybe I tell everyone how much I love them, to the point where it looks like I am their unofficial unpaid spokesperson.
For my non-brownie diet, I’ve worked hard to get more protein, usually with eggs. I also measure and track everything. If I go out to eat, I look at the menu beforehand and try to plan my food choices. Of course, there are days when I am way over on my calories (e.g., our entire vacation) and that’s okay too.
One thing I did notice was that I need to stick close to the calorie limits that Lose It provides. One week, I had a lot more steps than usual and my weight went up since I wasn’t eating enough. (I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it made a big difference when I started getting really close to the goals that they set for calories.)
I know that the Whole 30, cleanses or strict clean eating work well for some people. That would be a sure path to failure for me. That level of restriction would send me over the edge. Now, I continue to eat what I like and I typically eat smaller portions than I would have before. I definitely don’t get a candy bar every single time I go to the store. I also don’t eat a large vanilla cone with rainbow jimmies from Dairy Queen every day. (Which maybe I was doing for a bit while breastfeeding metabolism was still strong.) But if I want a treat occasionally, I get it. Today, I had an Almond Joy and I have zero regrets about it.
I hit my goal weight last week.
(I tried to stand as normally as possible, lest I be accused of some sort of posing to look thinner.)
Folks, I’m blonde. I have blue-green eyes. I’m a size six. I’m five inches and a gold lavelier necklace away from my tween vision of body perfection, the Wakefields. (Although it is my understanding that they are no longer a perfect size six, and have been reduced to a size four in recent years. Whatever. The first thing I thought of when I put on a pair of jeans in a six was that I was the Wakefield’s short, older cousin and it felt AMAZING.)
As I stated above, I’m not a professional, and this list is based solely on my own experience and what has worked for me.
- Track. Get an activity tracker. Track your food. Sync them. Look at the data and figure out what works for you.
- Relearn how big portions are supposed to be.
- When you realize how much pasta you really get for a serving and your bowl looks empty, load it up with your favorite roasted veggies. I add a mix of red peppers and mushrooms to most meals.
- Find a favorite healthy snack. I obviously recommend the Special K brownie.
- Talk to an RD if you need help with food alternatives or your overall diet.
- If you are looking to increase your steps each day, walk around your house or your office.
- I’m sure that I’m supposed to recommend exercise, but walking a lot works best for me. (And toddler dance parties.)
I am still tracking my food and steps and will continue to do so. If I lose a little more weight, that’s great, but it’s not a huge priority. I hit my goal and I like to eat. I won’t lie, the second I see that my face looks too old from fat loss, this diet thing is done. If given a choice between more ample booty or wrinkles, I will choose the butt every single time. I am a vain woman, and fillers are expensive.
My favorite non-scale victories
This post has focused on the big scale victory and my weight. However, there have been a lot of non-scale victories along the way. I’m closing this out with a list of some of my favorites.
- Mentioned above: moving from the obese to overweight category on the BMI scale. Then shifting to the “normal” category.
- Fitting into the jeans that I had purchased because they were on sale, even though they were way too small. Then, later, when those jeans were too big.
- When my engagement/wedding ring fit again.
- Feeling comfortable enough with my body to wear yoga pants outside.
- Getting the badge from Lose It that I had hit my goal. (I’m a sucker for a trophy.)
- Realizing how much better my back felt as the weight came off.
- The Wakefield thing.