After several emails regarding my weight loss, I’ve just decided to do an entire post about it.
Yes, I used to be overweight:
High-school graduation June 1994.
Now, I’m not. Post weight loss & dressed all in white once again:
My wedding day – September 22, 2007.
Did y’all know I’m 33 years old? Well, I am, and I lost over 100 pounds after my senior year of college. I did it all on my own, and I’ve kept it off for 10 years now, never re-gaining more than 10 pounds. People that see me now are shocked when they learn I used to be heavy. They tell me I look like I’ve never struggled with weight in my life. Well, I have, and I have the loose skin and stretch marks to prove it. Let’s just say I’m very thankful for sports bras and Spanx.
How did I do it? Well, I completely changed everything about my lifestyle:
1. No sugar. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know I CANNOT eat sugar, including fruit. I do my best to stay completely away from it. So, if I don’t accept a piece of your birthday or wedding cake, please don’t be offended. Just hand me a jar of nut butter instead! Giving up sugar and white flour worked wonders for me.
My advice to all of you struggling out there to lose weight is EAT. Eat the good stuff including vegetables galore, lean proteins, and healthy fats…but stay away from sugar. Yes, you will probably lose weight on a 1200 – 1300 calorie diet of Zbars and carob chips, but do you realize what you’re feeding your body? Wouldn’t you rather have a huge amazingly yummy salad like this?
2. Eat your fats. After I lost weight, my fat intake got down to almost nothing. I looked and felt awful. My hair was dry, brittle, and would not grow. My hormones got all out of whack and are still messed up. Our bodies need fat to function. Please don’t make the same mistakes I did. Eat that avocado, quit measuring your nut butters, and perhaps add a little coconut oil to your next smoothie. I probably eat 4 to 6 TBSP of almond butter everyday, tons of chia seeds, and I usually add an avocado to the mix as well. Again, you NEED fat – don’t fear it!
3. Move. During my weight loss, I walked and did yoga and strength training videos. After my weight loss, I started running and didn’t stop for about 8 years. After my first 5K, I was hooked, and I grew to truly love running. It was a novelty for me at first. Y’all when I was overweight, I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. All of a sudden, I was running and running far. Well, after over 20 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and 1 50K, I realized I wasn’t enjoying running so much anymore, and I was eating a lot of crap to fuel those long runs. So, I stopped running, and I stopped eating crap. It’s been 7 months since my last real run, and I’m now thinner and more toned thanks to yoga and walking. So, my exercise advice to you is run if it makes you happy. However, it if doesn’t, then do something else, but just do something. Keep moving and stay active, but don’t feel like you have to get your heart rate up to 80% max for hours on end. You don’t, okay?
4. Question conventional wisdom. Back when I was eating vegan and restricting my fat intake and just about every other food group (I lost over 100 pounds and was scared to death of gaining it back – yes, I had issues.), my mom was worried and had me go see a nutritionist at a well regarded hospital here in Nashville (starts with a “V”, rhymes with wanderbilt). Anyway, she told me to add weight gaining smoothies to my diet consisting of grape juice, corn syrup, heavy cream, and ice. I kid you not, and I never went back. Nothing against registered dieticians, but if you do seek the advice of one, make sure you are both on the same page. Do your research – ask if your RD has any testimonials from former patients. If he or she even mentions the FDA’s food pyramid, my advice is run away. I’m sorry, but do you really want the same people who run the DMV and airport security telling you what you should be eating? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
5. Figure out what works best for you. It took me a while, and I still play around with my diet, but I know what works for me. Complex carbs? Yes. Fruit? No. I can eat huge bowls of oat bran and sweet potatoes, even…gasp…late at night right before going to bed, and it doesn’t seem to affect my weight. However, give me freshly squeezed juice or an apple, and my muffin top will appear almost instantly. I’ve posted on this topic before, but there is no perfect diet for everyone my friends. Again, experiment with real whole foods, and LISTEN to your body. You do not need to buy the latest diet book, because guess what? It doesn’t have all the answers. Only you can figure out what works best for you.
Please don’t hesitate to email me with questions. That’s why I started blogging in the first place – to help others out there know it is possible to lose a large amount of weight AND maintain the weight loss.
Be sure to check out Emily’s blog Curly Top for a special post on oat bran. Emily is the brilliant creator of PBU and has put together a really cool design for all my favorite oat bran recipes. You can also click here to enter Emily’s blog makeover giveaway. Seriously, could this girl be any more talented?