I’ve lost 15 pounds!
Ok, so I lost 5 pounds in one month back in January and then it took me another six months to lose another 10, but whatever, 15 pounds is a lot! I still have a few more pounds to lose before my wedding, but I’m really happy that I’ve made this progress despite the ups and downs (on the scale and emotionally) along the way.
I have been at this very weight, and 10 lbs heavier and 10 lbs lighter and everywhere in between throughout my adult life, but this current super gradual weight loss has been both the easiest and most difficult. It has been easy because I’ve only had to make really minor changes to my diet and exercise and I’ve been able to fully enjoy restaurants and social events and even a couple vacations without having to miss out. It has been difficult because it requires patience, since it’s a whole lot quicker to crash diet down some lbs than to be consistently, but slowly working towards a weight loss goal.
I have to say though, that of all the times I’ve tried to lose weight, this time I’ve been a whole lot less crazy about it. I’ve said before that I don’t believe in relying on willpower to stick to a diet (it just never works for me!). By dieting really slowly, I haven’t had to fight against cravings resulting from mental deprivation or physical/nutritional starvation. “Dieting really slowly” sounds kinda weird, but what I mean is that I’ve been trying to consistently work towards my weight loss goals, while aiming for only a small weekly calorie deficit, and also being ok with some weeks where I end up with no deficit or even a small surplus. If I look at my year so far (which I can do on MyFitnessPal.com), there are so many ups and downs in my calorie intake and my weight, but the overall trend over a long period of time is downward. And that’s the whole point, right?
Ok, here’s a run down of my most effective weight loss habits:
1) Logging my food. I have been consistently logging all my food on MyFitnessPal.com. Even on days when I’ve gone way over my calorie goal. Like waaaay over. Like times 3. And I’ve worked really hard at logging without judgement. Neither means I’m a success or failure. Neither means I’m destined to be thin or fat. There are no good days and bad days. There are just days that I log more, and days I log less, and I use this information to try to inform my choices. Not every choice, every meal or every day. Just choices overall and over time. Having a record of my food intake has helped me make little changes that are going a long way in helping me drop a few pounds with very little effort. For example, I’ve increased my protein A LOT, and I think that has been huge in keeping me satiated. I’ve also replaced some of my higher calories snacks throughout the day (carrot sticks instead of a granola bar) so I can allocate more calories to where I enjoy them more (dinner and evening snacks). These small changes add up over time. When I first started logging, I’d often get home from work with only 200 calories left for dinner, which definitely wasn’t going to work. Now I’ve found ways to tweak my intake throughout the day without depriving myself so I have plenty for a substantial dinner and snacks.
2) Exercising for the sake of exercise. Ok, so I just said how logging has been super helpful, but logging also drove me a little crazy. The way MyFitnessPal.com works is that you get awarded a certain amount of calories per day based on your stats and your goals, and then you earn extra calories by exercising. Remember how I said that at the beginning I’d have almost no calories left for dinner? I’d come home and hop on the treadmill and watch the time until I knew I’d earned myself enough to eat my dinner. And honestly, that got a little ridiculous. It would stress me out if I didn’t have time to exercise. That approach just wasn’t going to work for me. I decided that exercising to earn my food wasn’t going to work for me. I need to keep my food and exercise goals totally separate.
And my most recent change: 3) Walking everywhere! Motivated by a step challenge that I participated in at work last month, I started walking to and from work. That walk is over 5.5km and takes me about an hour each way, and I’ve been doing it consistently for 6 weeks. Then on top of that, I try to go for a walk on my lunch break. I’ve been averaging over 20,000 steps per day = upwards of 1000 calories per day = 7,000 calories per week = a loss of as much as 2 lbs per week! Of course, I haven’t actually been losing that much because, well, food. But it does make a huge difference in my overall activity level for the week. What I’m loving about the walking is that I’ve been finding it super easy to commit to walking to and from work versus committing to intense workouts. I’m still running a bit, but it has been so hot lately, so walking A LOT has been a great alternative.