I wrote a general summary of my weight loss story here, but I wanted to add a few more details…so here it goes. Please keep in mind that this is MY story, this is what worked for ME, and I am not suggesting it as a blueprint for anyone else. I also want to make it clear that I don’t have a perfect figure, far from it. I don’t have a six pack, I would never describe myself as “skinny,” and I still have areas that jiggle (that probably shouldn’t). I have however, worked very hard to be healthy, including being at a healthy weight. With that in mind, here are some of the changes I made to help me reach my goals.
I had to heal first
This was huge, and something I wish I would have realized sooner. I had just been through a really hard pregnancy, I was blessed (unknowingly) with a special needs child, we moved into a new house and completed a kitchen remodel, I had been beating myself up physically and emotionally because I couldn’t lose my baby weight, and I was struggling with hormone imbalance and mild postpartum depression. Once I took steps to heal myself (physically and emotionally and didn’t focus so much energy on my weight), I started seeing positive changes, and I SLOWLY started losing my baby weight.
I had to give up some control
I was scrutinizing every bite I ate. I was looking at food as a calorie or macro nutrient, and dismissing the nutritional benefits of what I was eating. I was letting eating control my life, and was having no success (luckily, I was smart enough not to starve myself or try a dangerous diet pill). I had to “take a leap of faith” for lack of a better term, and throw out the calorie and macro counting, and focus on truly eating whole, nutrient dense foods. The biggest impact this had on my diet was the increase in healthy fats I was consuming. I went from 15-20% of my calories being from fat to 30-35% of my calories coming from fat – my hormones were so much happier with me. I also learned that it was okay to include a “healthy indulgence” every once in awhile. I used to go weeks without having anything sweet, and then when I did give in and have a treat, I couldn’t stop myself. Before I knew it, my “allowed” cookie turned into 5 cookies. Now I like to include a healthy (and sometimes not-so-healthy) indulgence a little more regularly (as evidence by the recipes I post).
I had to cut out all artificial sweeteners and toxins from my diet
Yes, that included my beloved diet coke, and it didn’t happen overnight. It took me months to get completely off artificial sweeteners, (this included sugar alcohols, although I am not as strict with sugar alcohols as I am with artificial sweeteners). I was consuming diet coke, sugar free syrup, muffins made with crystal light, etc almost daily. I got rid of all of it and switched to honey, pure maple syrup, stevia, agave, bananas, and dates as my sweeteners of choice. I also took much more notice into the quality of food I was buying. I started buying higher quality animal products and produce. Since I was struggling with hormone imbalance, I became very particular about my animal products not having any added hormones. Note: I wasn’t consuming much sugar or highly processed grains at the time (I had been relentlessly trying to lose weight, and had cut those out a long time ago), but if I had been, I would have had to give those up as well.
I did a mild detox
I did a mild month long detox. During my detox I cut out all grains, animal products (with the exception of salmon, eggs, and goat cheese), and focused on a plant based diet. It is important to note that I didn’t lose any weight during my detox. I was focusing on healing. After my initial detox was over, I started adding whole grains and animal products back into my diet, and very slowly the weight started coming off. Note: after my detox I kept my plant intake high, especially my vegetable intake.
I continued to exercise
One HUGE advantage I had, was that regular exercise was already part of my life, and has been for years. I have always been physically active and exercised regularly, and that hasn’t changed.
I hired an online coach
After 1 year of slow and progressive weight loss, and finally reaching a healthy weight on my own, I still had a few vanity pounds I wanted to lose. I knew I was going to need a little extra help with the vanity pounds. I needed someone to keep me accountable, and help me fine tune my nutrition and workout plans. I hired an online coach, that did just that. She kept me accountable (which was the biggest help), helped me fine tune my cardio and resistance training workouts, and worked with me on my nutrition plan.
After all of that, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. In one year I lost 30 pounds (that is a lot on a 5 ft 2 in frame) and 19% body fat, but more importantly, I am no longer unhealthy (both physically and emotionally).
I don’t have any really good before and after pictures. Mostly because I rarely let anyone take my picture after my little boy was born, so this is the best I could up with.