In last week’s post, I discussed the challenges I’ve had losing weight in my 30’s. I gained 10 pounds in one year and when my belly was bulging from the cute outfit I had chosen to wear in my engagement photos, I decided to make a major change. I needed to be back to my normal size by August for my wedding. I encourage you to catch up here, if you haven’t already.
Great! Here we go.
In order to make the change, I knew I needed help. I couldn’t rely on my routines of Yo-Yo diets. They didn’t work.
A friend of mine recently gave birth to her second son. She snapped back to her normal size in less than 8 months. I asked for her weight loss secret.
The Fit Girls Guide is a series of e-books that provides comprehensive meal plans and workouts. The best part? The meals and at-home workouts can be completed in 30 minutes each. And there’s an awesome support system on Instagram. The girls post their before and after photos and the community shares tips and recipes to help others reach their weight loss goals.
I purchased the Fit Girls Guide 28-Day Jumpstart e-book for $35 – the best $35 ever spent. And started my program. On Sundays, I’d prepare my meals for the week. Each morning before work, I’d do the workouts at home. They consisted of cardio and high intensive interval training.
After my workout, I’d get dressed for work, grab my lunch and healthy snacks and start my day! Unlike a lot of other diets out there, FitGirl’s meals consisted of rice, tacos, pizza, egg sandwiches and other yummy (healthy) carbs. I actually felt full after a meal. On the days that I’d forget my lunch at home, I’d simply order a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle or a salad with grilled chicken from any nearby fast food restaurant.
The program ended in 28 days, but I repeated the program. I continued to do this for the next six months.
By March, I lost 5 pounds and felt great! No more indigestion or bloating. No more severe hunger pains or sluggishness.
The only thing sluggish at this point was the 5 pounds that refused leave. I knew I had to step up my game, so in April, I purchased a road bike and started outdoor road cycling. I not only loved it, but thought it would be my fast track to weight loss.
Well, it wasn’t.
Cycling caused me to gain muscle in my upper thighs and butt. I had actually gained weight. My mermaid style wedding gown was fitting a bit snug around the hips, so I stopped cycling in order to get rid of the muscle and give my gown a better chance of making me look good when I walked down the aisle.
Three weeks before the wedding, when I had lost all hope of getting down to my goal weight, I stopped eating. It wasn’t intentional. My days were filled with wrapping up work assignments, going to last minute wedding gown fittings, and making last minute arrangements for the perfect day. I was so stressed that I would literally forget to eat.
After weeks of unintentionally fasting, I FINALLY reached my goal weight!!
But of course, the pounds returned after the wedding like an ex-boyfriend after you’ve find a new boo. I was in wedded bliss and ate all the things that I had been depriving myself of for the last 8 months. Those pounds returned in 4 months.
Now, I’m back to being 8 pounds heavier.
After a series of meltdowns and consoling myself with icecream, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my 20-year old body has left the building. I’ve called her countless times, but she seems to be dodging my calls. Apparently, this 30-year old body is here to stay, so I have to learn how to take care of her. I’m done mourning. I’ve grown wiser from my weight loss experience and I’m sharing my pearls of wisdom with you, my faithful readers.
Your body is supposed to change.
I was so hard on myself about gaining 10 pounds in one year. But I’m 5’2. I was only 136 and had a healthy BMI.
I don’t know anyone who is 35 or older and the same size they were when they were 25. With all the hormonal shifts women experience, it’s natural for our bodies to retain weight.
Weight gain even happens to celebrities. Take Beyonce for instance.
Bey will always be fabulous, with all-l-l-l-l-l of her curves. She is definitely curvier in 2010 than 10 years ago. We know she has the best fitness trainers, nutritionists and chefs helping her maintain her bangin’ body. She’s even mentioned that she’s not naturally a skinny girl. She is curvy and has to work HARD to maintain her figure.
If Beyonce didn’t wake up like this, then why would I think I can?
Cheating is not the end of the world.
I remember when I first started dieting, I’d put myself on a no-carb diet. Then, I’d get ravenous and eat the entire kitchen. I’d feel bad for a minute and then, order a pizza and eat that too. I’d finish it off with a 2-liter bottle of Sprite and Double Stuffed Oreos. I’d continue this trend until the following Sunday, where I’d promise myself to restart my diet.
And the cycle would continue.
We’re not perfect. You are going to cheat. And when you do, chill. Re-focus and continue with your game plan. No big deal.
Don’t deprive yourself.
I’m sure you’ve noticed from the title of my blog that I love to snack. If my body permitted, I would literally snack on Tostitos, Cheez Its, Oatmeal Cream Pies and sour gummy worms all day without eating a full meal.
In the past, whenever I’ve tried a new diet, I would eliminate all of my favorite snacks. I’d go a solid week – maybe 2 – and then binge. It was terrible.
Now, I’ve learned that since these are all things that I love and honestly, these foods elevate my mood, I still eat them in moderation.
Go to bed early.
The Fit Girls Guide stresses this point. There’s a whole body of research that links weight gain with sleep. But, I’ll offer one practical reasons of going to bed early.
You eat less.
Seriously. My hunger pains are more intense at night, especially after 9pm. And, since I’m tired, I’m more likely to snack on junk food. When I get hungry after 9pm, that’s my cue. It’s time to sleep.
Focus on what you love about your body.
The ironic thing about weight loss is that it’s difficult to lose weight when you’re miserable. Misery prevents you from exercising or saying no to that pint of Haagen Dazs icecream. You eat to suppress that negative self-talk. Then, you may go on a cycle of stressing, eating, and gaining weight.
Hungry? Drink some water and wait 20 minutes.
Experts say that hunger is often caused by dehydration. Whenever I feel hungry, I try to reach for a bottle of water instead of food. I’ve heard it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full, so that’s why waiting 20 minutes will help you make the right food choice.
Do exercises you love.
I hate the treadmill. The stationary bike puts me to sleep. I have no idea what the proper form is for lifting weights. But, dance – I love dance. I can dance all day and night and not get tired.
I used to think that the gym was the only way to exercise. Now, I realize that the gym is just one way and works for some people. For me, however, I’m happy with the Fitness Marshall’s YouTube workouts and a high energy Zumba class.
Muscle is a good thing.
We want to develop muscle. If I didn’t have a wedding gown to fit, I would have continued cycling. Who doesn’t want a firm butt? Muscle also weighs more. If the scale shows that you’ve gain weight, don’t fret. If you’ve been cycling or doing some other type of intense exercise that requires muscle building, then you may be developing muscles.
Weight loss is not always the main goal.
The truth is that I may never get down to the size I was in college and in my early twenties. As long as I’m healthy, active, and strong. I’m okay.
Overall, I want to develop a healthy lifestyle. I want to have an active lifestyle that consists of me eating healthy food most of the times.
And spoiling myself with junk food sometimes. I want to be strong. I want to be curvy. I want to have the best body that I can have. And, I’m willing to work for it.
So, S&T, you’ve listened to me babble about my weight loss journey: my ups, my downs, and my lessons learned. Now, I want to hear from you. What’s your best exercise/healthy eating tip? What’s your biggest weight loss challenge? And does anyone participate in Zumba classes anymore??