How I Lost Almost Thirty Pounds

Monday, July 29, 2019

This blog post is one that I've kept putting off writing because of how lengthy I knew it would be. You guys have asked me numerous times about my weight loss journey: how did I lose weight? what workouts do I do? What kinds of foods do I eat? If I'm being honest I went back and forth about writing this since weight loss is such a personal thing and it varies person to person but if I could help at least one person with a few new tips or a different approach to losing weight then this post is totally worth it.

I wanna go back to right before I gained the weight and share that backstory to show you what pushed me to want to lose weight and get healthier. First off I've been very fortunate that almost all of my life I've never had an issue with my weight or body image. I know that's something that a lot of people deal with, even at a young age, and I luckily did not struggle with that. I was naturally thin and although I didn't play any sports, whatsoever, I maintained my small frame all while eating what I wanted. Well puberty hit and I gained some weight my Junior year of high school. I realized I had gained weight given the way my clothes were fitting, or rather not fitting and to top if all off I had a close family member point out that weight gain and called me fat. That was my first experience really ever have someone comment on my weight in a negative way and make me feel ashamed of the way I looked along with creating the thought in my mind that I had to lose that weight ASAP so I could go back to how I used to look. I immediately started doing workouts in my room to lose the weight and wouldn't allow myself to eat the treats I once did until I went back to my "normal" weight. I was happy to lose the additional weight the summer going into my Senior year of high school. I didn't have any other issues with weight the rest of my high school career and just maintained the progress I had made the summer prior.

Going into college I definitely gained what they call the "freshman 15" which I liked to call it the "freshman 20." I definitely didn't have the best eating habits as eating was more out of convenience versus healthy eating. Around my sophomore year I wasn't in the happiest place and easily dropped those 20lbs from depression but that's a story for another time. People asked me how I had gotten "skinny"....really what is skinny?...but I literally joked and said "um get depressed for two months and just drop 20lbs" because I had no "REAL" answer as to how to lose weight.

Ok, now we're a year out from the present and this is where I would say I truly started on my healthy lifestyle/weight loss journey. Before I got my previous job I worked in retail. If you've worked retail you know that you are constantly on your feet and never sit down. Well when I got promoted to a manager I worked longer shifts which meant even more time on my feet constantly moving and working mostly 6 out of 7 days a week. Since I was constantly moving I was able to eat whatever I wanted and not really watch what I was eating. I still would eat healthy but I had the luxury of indulging in whatever I wanted. Once I made the switch, job wise, I moved to a traditional 9 to 5 desk job where I was sitting all day and had more time to snack on whatever I wanted and continue eating whatever I wanted. Well as you know when you're not working out plus eating whatever you're bound to gain weight, which I did. It didn't truly hit me how much weight I had gained until I tried to put on a pair of my favorite jeans and they were a STRUGGLE to put on. I got super frustrated and just looked in the mirror at my appearance and just let out the biggest sigh because I was disappointed in myself; I had vowed to myself to NEVER gain "that much" weight again no matter what.

At my job we had a wellness program and they would do free biometric scanning; this is perfect if you're looking to see where you are health wise since it's broken down for you versus just standing on a scale. Let me preface this and say that up to this point I hadn't stepped on a scale for over a year since I had always floated around the same weight of 140-142 and it never deterred from that. I got my screening back and saw my weight, body fat percentage and where it stood on their scale of healthy. I couldn't believe what I was reading and that I had gotten to that point. I weighed 175 and was at 36% body fat! I have to say this, for my height and build my results weren't good for my body type and frame so my numbers might not be accurate for your body type. That honestly was the breaking point which made me what to get healthier. Getting those results caused me to really reassess my workouts  lack of working out, my eating habits and what I could do differently to be healthy.

Ok, I know what you're thinking....we read all that but where are the tips?! I feel it's really important for me to share my journey because losing weight doesn't happen overnight and there is no quick and easy fix. It all takes time, patience and determination to hit your goals. If you're not willing to put in the work then you're not going to see results. I'm going to share all of the things I did to help me lose almost thirty pounds. I am not a dietician nor a trainer, this is just what I tried and what worked for me!

Food is at the CENTER of weight loss; yes working out goes with it but honestly changing how you eat and how you view food is going to yield the best results. Like I said before I ate whatever I wanted but I knew I would have to make a switch if I wanted to see results. These are the things I tried and what actually worked for me!

 First thing that I tried was an Advocare cleanse; this cleanse is designed to help you reset and clean out your body. It lasts for ten days and once the ten days are over you can continue with a regimen that works for you. I completed the whole ten days but I wasn't the biggest fan. I barely like taking medicine when I'm sick or have a headache so the amount of vitamins/pills that were required felt to excessive and not for me. I felt that I could achieve my own success without all of that so I switched gears.

Keto Diet
If you don't know what the Keto diet is you can literally google it and hundreds of results come up talking about it. It's a high fat low carb diet designed to help you lose weight by getting into a state of ketosis where you're burning fat for fuel. Before I started this diet I did a TON of research; I watched videos (specifically Dr.Berg on youtube!!), listened to podcast (The Keto Diet Podcast by Leanne Vogel) and read so many articles. This was a huge adjustment in my normal "diet" because ya girl likes biscuits and pasta. I did the Keto diet for 3.5 months and felt really good and lost a few pounds. I switched out my pasta for zucchini noodles and added more healthy fats into my meals. I then added on Intermittent fasting with the keto diet but will get into that next. I ultimately didn't want to continue because although I was feeling great I didn't want to completely restrict my carb intake and wanted to have wiggle room with my meals. I still try to limit my carb intake whenever possible and will choose alternate foods that taste the same but have better ingredients.

Intermittent Fasting
You typically hear intermittent fasting in correlation with the Keto Diet. Intermittent fasting was honestly one of the BIGGEST game changers for me. If you don't know what it is, it involves "entirely or partially abstaining from eating for a set amount of time before eating regularly again. Intermittent Fasting (also called IF) has been shown to have great health benefits like fat loss, better health, less sugar cravings and less bloating. The most traditional form of IF is 16/8: 16 hours of fasting with an 8 hour eating window. This is what I chose to try and made my eating window from 8am - 4pm. The first day was hard getting use to eating all of my balanced meals within my eating window without eating too much and truly cutting myself off from eating or even trying to nibble or snack on things after 4pm. I made sure I stayed super hydrated with water and since I worked out in the evenings, this helped distract me from food or wanting to eat. After a few weeks of doing IF, I could tell I was less bloated, I had lost a few pounds, I was sleeping A LOT better and just overall felt better. Allowing my body to fully digest what I had eaten that day resulted in me getting better sleep at night because I didn't feel full from a late meal. It helped me really understand my body and know when I was TRULY hungry or if I just needed more water or was trying to eat out of boredom. I continued to do IF while making myself really nutritious meals where I got all of the necessary nutrients and felt full without over doing it. but very loosely once I had hit my first large weight lose goal of 20 pounds.

Working out is obviously the second half to losing weight...(yes, food is number one!) I did workout on my own at home but lets be real, I had no clue what I was really doing. I needed to figure out what was going to yield the results I wanted but was also something that was going to push me but was actually realistic for me.

BBG Workout
If you haven't heard of this workout program it is a 12-week program designed with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) that gets your heart pumping intertwined with days of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) workouts in between the HIIT ones. The workouts only last you 28-30 minutes and each one is designed to target a specific area of the body. I started on a Sunday and did the pre-rounds which was a leg workout in my room...y' was ROUGH!! I had to stop mid way through it because I was just so out of breath, everything on my body hurt and I could barely finish. I felt that workout the next day but vowed to try to make it through the entire 12 weeks. Every workout I did was super hard; I would push myself as hard as possible to make it through but gave myself some grace to stop when it was just too much. I did notice I was able to do some of the exercises in the circuit easier but it really took a toll on my knees. The leg workouts involved a lot of squats, and jumping squats which made my knees feel worse and worse with each workout. I unfortunately got sick the end of week 8 and took a week off and couldn't jump right back into it so I decided to do my own workouts using different apps I had found. *will share those later in the post*

I love to dance and having a workout that combines dancing with working out is right up my alley. I found a gym close to me that provided Zumba as a class and you have the ability to try out the class for free the first time to make sure you really love it! In all honesty, my Instructor Izzy is the reason I joined that gym the same day; she was so energetic and has such a fun and lighthearted personality that I was so excited to continue taking her class. She also teaches another class called Mixxedfit which is more geared towards more fitness and hip hop music. I took both classes whenever they were offered in the afternoons and was going to those classes 4 times a week. Zumba and Mixxedfit allowed me to dance along to my favorite music but also get in a really good workout. I did this along with working out on my lunch breaks at work; fortunately there was an in house gym so I took advantage of that everyday so I was working out twice a day.

Team Octopus
once I hit the 20 pound weight loss mark I wanted to add something into my routine that would push me even harder, help me put on muscle and lose body fat. I saw an ad about a 28 day challenge and went in for a consult and walked out a member....what can I say? The guy was really convincing. This gym is taught by amazing instructors that push you further than you think you can go. There is Strength & Conditioning, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing. My favorite class is Strength and Conditioning, it's more my style; the workouts target a different area of the body each class while building upon what you worked on the previous class. This was where I saw my body start to gain more muscle and look more defined. In 4 weeks was able to drop 2% body fat and put on 3% more muscle mass.

Ok, Now I know that was A LOT of info but I truly wanted to share everything that I did with you! Now here are the key points and takeaways from all of this!

1. Change your eating habits!
* Getting healthy starts with you eat
* Cut out sodas and all sugary drinks
* Stick to the outside parts of the grocery store that contains the fresh food that aren't pre-packaged.

2. Drink half your body weight in ounces
* Drinking water flushes out your system and allows you to feel less hungry because you're more hydrated.

3. Find a workout that works for you
* Having a workout that makes you excited will make you want to workout more.
* Also find classes that will push you to do more than you think you can.

4. Try to get on a better sleep schedule
* Make it a point to go to bed earlier; you'll feel naturally more awake in the morning and not initially feel like you need food or coffee to get you up!

5. Try Intermittent Fasting
* Give your body time to digest what you've eaten that day. If you're constantly eating you're never giving your digestive system a break and allowing it to burn off that food causing it to store as fat!

8. Cut out excessive snacking
* Try not to snack when you're watching tv super distracted of when you're bored. Practice eating slower and focusing on your meal when you're eating.

7. Add HIIT workouts into your routine
* This allows you to bring up your heart rate in spurts allowing you to burn fat. This is one of my favorite ways to workout and you only need to do 30 minutes!

8. Get up and walk
* Instead of constantly taking the elevator to the second floor, take the stairs. Go for walks with your dog or while listening to great music.

9. Set a goal
* Set small goals for yourself that are attainable so it keeps you excited and motivated when you hit each goal!

* I can't stress this enough. If you're wanting to lose weight, make sure you're doing this for YOU and no one else! Getting "skinny" or losing weight won't make you happy if it's not for the right reasons.

Ok, this is the LONGEST post EVER but I hoped I helped at least one of you. If you have any specific questions that I didn't answer here, leave me a comment below, comment on my Instagram post tonight or shoot me an email (you can send me a message from my "contact me" page here on the blog!)


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