Throwback Thursday – Weight Loss Edition

26 Sep
Spring of 2007

Spring of 2007

I’ve touched upon my weight loss journey here a few times. When I met my husband seven years ago I weighed over 40 pounds more than I do right now. That was after years of yo-yo dieting.

Sometimes I refer to my “inner fat kid,” but what I should say is my “inner fat teenager.” I didn’t get “heavy” until I was in high school. In 2001 I went through some rough times, and to compensate for the emotional pain, I ate. Everything. In one summer I easily gained 20 pounds. When the summer was over my mom enrolled us both in Weight Watchers and I began the ups and downs of weight loss. I didn’t just do Weight Watchers in my teens, we also tried the “Cabbage Soup Diet” (I swear that is a thing, and still have the GIANT stock pot to prove it), we did Slim Fast, and most likely some other fad situations that I’ve blocked out. Our efforts worked when I was playing the game. I lost weight, but I didn’t keep it off.

I got to college and the weight crept back on (and then some). Again I was unhappy, so I ate. Everything. And by that time I discovered drinking, which as you know, is also a pound-packer-on-er. Pretty soon I was at my heaviest weight. And I kept it going. I transferred schools a few times, I got happier, but I stayed heavy. Finally, in State College, at my heaviest weight, I decided it was time to give up the drive-thru and get serious about my weight loss. So I joined Weight Watchers again. I played the game, and played it hard. Complete with the nonsense that goes along with it, like saving weekly points for a giant splurge on Saturday. Carefully calculating what my splurge would be, and eventually letting myself splurge more than I had calculated for. It was a losing battle, full of mind tricks and unhealthy behaviors. Eventually I quit playing the game and stopped paying attention. Thankfully I didn’t gain a ton back.

I started my first real job after college and really didn’t like it. Usually unhappiness would have brought on weight gain, but not this time. I was so stressed that I couldn’t eat. So I looked on the bright side that at least the unhappiness was equating to some weight loss (can I just say: how wrong is that thought process?). I liked how the weight loss was going so I signed back up for Weight Watchers. By continuing Weight Watchers, getting a job I liked, and moving to the city where I walked more I got down to my goal weight. Between some of the weight loss on in State College, the stress weight loss, and the new job weight loss I lost 50 pounds.

That was in 2009. Over the past four years I got careless. I stopped paying attention. I didn’t want to “play the game” anymore. It was a combination of things, mostly laziness, rationalized by an “eschewing of American weight norms.” Or some nonsense that gave me carte blanche to eat whatever I wanted. I put on 30 pounds. Not quickly like in the past. Just slowly. It came back a few pounds here, and a few pounds there. I’d get frustrated at the pants that didn’t fit and try Weight Watchers again for a month or two. But the tracking would get old, and I’d fall off of it (and into a bag of Hint O’ Lime Tostitos) again.

So I tried some new things. I decided Weight Watchers was the way of the past. I was done tracking, I was done obsessing, it was too much. Tiresome and worrisome. I figured I needed a plan that just outlined what I could eat, and I could eat as much of it as I wanted. So I went vegan. It’s just plants, plants are totes healthy! Then it was vegan 90% of the time, with treats here and there. It worked some, but 10% became 20% and so on and so on. Then I tried the Happy Herbivore meal plans (which are great, I absolutely recommend them, and Lindsay Nixon did not pay me to say that), and I tried Engine 2. And it worked in that it provided me a mindset and understanding of what healthy eating looked like.

Finally, this year, I’ve settled into something that does work. And you’ll never believe what it is. I’m going to let you in on my secret, and it will Blow. Your. Mind.

I eat less. And I exercise more.

That’s it. I don’t count calories or points. I don’t only eat green foods, or eschew anything that has white flour in it. I eat a mostly-plant-based diet, with the occasional burger or cupcake here and there. The difference is that I now ask myself “are you hungry?” or “why do you want that?” before I eat something. Then when I’m about half way through a meal I ask “are you still hungry?” or “have you had enough of this?” I don’t clear my plate anymore (unless it’s a plate of veggies), nor do I eat 6 pieces of chocolate when 1-2 would suffice. I honor the cravings my body has, but I don’t fling myself down the staircase of self-indulgence.

And I exercise. I run 4 times a week now. This works wonders in two ways. 1. You’re running which burns a ton of calories. 2. You are far less likely to eat a plate of fried food and throw back 4 beers on a Saturday night if you know that you need to run 10 miles on Sunday morning.

That’s it. That’s the secret. Eat less, exercise more. By practicing this age old, super simple advice I’ve lost 20 pounds since (around) St. Patrick’s Day. And am only 10 pounds away from my lowest weight. I may not lose those last 10 pounds. When I was my lowest weight I wasn’t exercising, I was just restricting my eating. I didn’t build muscle, or tone. I actually look thinner now than I did when I was 10 pounds lighter (at least my coworkers swear I do). There is something to the whole “keep it simple” strategy.

Where have you found your weight loss success? What struggles do you still have?

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One Response to “Throwback Thursday – Weight Loss Edition”

  1. Jonathan September 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Calories in, calories out–you nailed it. Since taking my new faculty position, through exercise and watching my calories (using a mostly Mediterranean diet) I am down 50 pounds and my cholesterol is down almost 50 points (198 to 150). No gimmicks–just discipline and hard work.

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