My Weight Loss Q & A
Questions about my weight loss journey going from 230 to 137. Maintaining my weight in the 150's.
Did you ever allow yourself treats/meals that are not a "better bad"? Why/why not?
Yes and no. My mindset going into it this time was a long term lifestyle change. It needed to be something I could do forever. So, I didn't have what most people called "cheat" meals. I didn't trust myself to. I stayed away from foods that I knew would cause me to lose control and binge. I have a very large family with 5 siblings so I also made the rule to not make exceptions on birthdays or holidays. There is a birthday once or even sometimes twice a month. This was for me the "if I make an exception today, I may not come back from it" for the whole weekend or even the whole week. I abused my body with food for nearly 20 years, I can take a couple years to be strict and get it back together. I remember one of the first birthdays I celebrated on my journey, I had a dairy free/gluten free/sugar free cake which I absolutely loved and was so excited about. That was my "cheat".
Tips when you hit a plateau?
When you have 100 pounds to lose, you are going to hit plateau's often. You have to be prepared for it to happen. You also need to know that it is not a race to the finish line. You are either going to lose weight and the scale isn't going to show it, or you need to maintain your weight. The idea is to be able to not gain weight in between losing weight. That's what's going to take you all the way. Most people struggle with losing and then not seeing a drop so they fall off. What if when you hit a stall, you continued to maintain your weight until you were ready to kick it into gear again. There's a calorie deficit to lose weight (harder, less calories) and then what you need to lose to maintain (easier, more calories).
What do you think of Intermittent Fasting?
IF has been something that I never personally could do on my journey. I have suffered lifelong with Binge Eating and IF puts me into a spiral. Not eating for that amount of time causes my blood sugar to crash and eventually I eat all the things. I know not everyone is like me and if it doesn't have a negative effect on your body and feeling dizzy/light headed doesn't happen to you, then go for it. For me personally, it wasn't doable. If it wasn't sustainable for me long term, I wasn't interested.
How long did it take for you to start seeing results?
I would say within 2 months I definitely started noticing. I was already about 20-30 pounds down at that point and I was taking photos daily to be able to make side by sides when I was getting into my head about not seeing a difference in the mirror. That helped me see it more clearly and motivated me to keep going.
How long did it take you from the start to get to the weight you are now?
I started my weight loss journey in May 2016. I hit 160 in November of 2017. So about a year and a half. I then went from 160 to 137 in November 2018. That was a slower but steady loss. I gained about 20 pounds from the time period of my botched surgery into maintenance. My body comfortably sits at 155 without too much effort. When I was 137, a bite of food with too much sodium would put me in the 140's so it just wasn't sustainable for me long term.
How often did you take pictures/measurements?
For the first couple years, pretty much every day I would take a photo. I never really took measurements. I did once when I first started but never again after that.
What kept you going when it got hard and pushed you?
I would say being sick of my old ways. I didn't want to be 100 pounds overweight. I didn't want to sleep my life away. I didn't want to hate the way I looked in every single outfit I tried on. I was extremely self conscious. I didn't even know what confidence was. It didn't take being at my lowest weight to start feeling confident, it took trying and I didn't want to lose that.
Did you see more benefits when cutting out dairy?
Dairy was a huge one for me. I LOVED cheese. Any kind of cheese was my kryptonite. I ate a lot of it. I didn't start losing weight until I cut dairy out. I went keto and actually gained weight. I realized it was the dairy so quit the dairy and started losing like crazy. So I ended up with a dairy free keto basically.
What is your favorite most effective cardio workout?
I LOVE the stair master at the gym. At first it was so hard for me. I only did 15 mins on level 2 but then gradually moved up to doing 30 mins level 7/8. I really enjoy it.
What do you do when you go to a party where there is junk?
I don't eat it. Ever. I made the decision when I was 230 pounds that I was done. I was done eating that garbage. I remember watching a weight loss show one time and the trainer said something like "I just wouldn't put that in my body, it's not food". This really resonated with me. All the food that put me into my binge spirals was not usually food. It was processed junk. It had no nutritional benefits whatsoever. There was no point in eating it. When I would go to parties there was almost 100% of the time something I could have. The fruit tray without the cream in the middle of it. The veggie platter without the ranch dip. If not, I would eat plenty beforehand and then bring water to drink while I was there.
Did you count calories or macros?
Neither. I never counted. I relied on intuitive eating along with clean ingredients. I ate mainly whole foods, meat, veggies, fruits, grains etc. I stayed away from things that were loaded with ingredients unless the ingredients were all food ingredients like fruit bars, nut bars etc.I knew taking this route was going to take me longer to lose the weight but I also didn't care how long it took me. It was going to be years of practice and finding new foods I loved. This way, I could maintain it life long.
Did you take supplements when you began?
The only thing I ever took was pre-workout. Which is an energy powder basically with essential amino acids. It was liquid motivation to get up and get my workout in. I don't think I could have ever started working out without it. I was too out of shape.
How did you make yourself finally begin?
To be honest, my brother introduced my to Preworkout. Once I knew there was a product out there that would literally get me to get off my booty and motivate me to do my workout, I didn't see an excuse not to. It made me excited to start. Then the dieting came along with it. Preworkout motivated me to start working out, exercise motivated me to start eating healthy.
Lifestyle changes are hard. How can I find a workout and food diet that I actually enjoy and see results?
They are hard. But you know what's harder? Being 100 pounds overweight and struggling every day with yourself. I wasn't the kind of person that could learn to be happy with the way I was. My stomach was so big that I had rashes. I would smell instantly after getting out of the shower because of the moisture trapped between the folds of my skin. THAT was hard. Finding new foods that you can eat and still lose weight is the fun part. Going through items at the grocery store and trying them for the first time. Getting excited. Finding a workout program you love. It's fun once you find "your thing". Experiment. Try every single diet if you have do. I ended up trying dozens of programs and kind of taking a little bit from every one of them to form what I do today which I am very happy with. As far as finding a workout program, everyone enjoys something different. Some people love running. Some people hate it. Some people love weight training, some people hate it. Some people like to dance, some people hate it. Try everything. Some you'll love and stick to and some you will never do again. The fun is in the experiments!
Mindset hacks to follow through on a plan?
I would say use social media as accountability. Track your journey. I used Instagram for my accountability. Originally I was going to have a private account that only I could see but I could look back on whenever I was falling off track so I could see exactly what I was doing right when I was succeeding. Then it turned into nearly 200k people following me. You don't have to do it public though. Take a picture every single day. Write how you're feeling and what you're doing. Make it your one source of accountability. Don't skip it ever. If you're having a rest day, log it. If you're not feeling like posting because you're blah, post it.
Tips on successfully maintaining your weight?
I would say weigh yourself regularly. Once a week, once every couple weeks. Set a number that no matter what you will not go over. Then once you hit that number, back pedal. Cut back for a few days. It will come right back off. If I don't weigh myself, then it's easy for the weight to creep back up because I don't calorie count. If you counted calories, you would stay the same weight. But being perfect every day is not desirable for me.
How do you fight cravings?
Man, if I had the secret to this I'd be a billionaire. I've found that a lot of the times, it's water. I didn't drink enough water. So first, I will chug a bunch of water if that's one of the things that I didn't do so well that day. Second, coffee. Coffee always helps. Third, give in. BUT don't give in to what you're craving, give in to its low calorie similar food. If I want Ice Cream, I won't go get a huge container of it, I will get one bar. If I want chips, I will get probably rice cakes. If I want chocolate, I will get a dairy free stevia sweetened chocolate. If I want tacos, I will make tacos with gluten free tortillas and ground turkey. There's something for everything.
Were you ever scared to lose weight because of loose skin?
I was in the beginning. But I had followed so many weight loss accounts with loose skin that it almost started to feel like a trophy. It was like a sign that you made it. I did try to prevent it as much I could. I even made a YouTube video about it before I knew how to make them (lol) about what I was going to do to prevent it. Weight training, lots of water, exfoliating, collagen, and moisturizing. Needless to say, that didn't work and I ended up getting skin removal surgery to remove 8 pounds of skin off my belly. There was nothing to be scared of though. I would have rather dealt with loose skin for the rest of my life over the extra weight.
What was the hardest part when you started your weight loss journey?
I would say realizing how out of shape I was. When I first started working out, I legitimately couldn't do anything. I would pause every 15 seconds to go (TMI) spit in the trash can because I couldn't breathe. A 30 minute workout would take me almost 2 hours because of how much I needed to pause it to breathe. There was a modifier in the workout videos and I had to modify the modifications. I was using 2 and 3 pound dumbbells. It was rough. It made me really emotional to see how bad I was failing. But I wanted it so bad. I knew if I did it every single day that no matter what I could only get better.
I'm thinking of having another baby. Should I try to lose the weight before or wait?
I would say definitely lose the weight first. For so many reasons. I was about 200 pounds at the start of both of my pregnancies and I struggled so bad, even moving towards the end sucked. My body was so big I had such a rough time. Not to mention I missed out on having a baby bump because I was so big I didn't even look pregnant. I didn't see the baby move way past the time I should have and so many other things. Get as healthy as you possible can before getting pregnant.
What was the thing that surprised you the most once you hit your lowest weight?
This is something I hate to admit because I don't want to discourage anyone. When I hit 137, I looked in the mirror and still saw a fat person. So much of the time. When I had clothes on, I felt small but when I took my clothes off there were times that I thought to myself "why did I do all of this to still feel fat". Getting my skin removal was vital in me realizing my accomplishments. All the skin made me appear "bigger" without my clothes on. I definitely didn't see myself as small as I was. I can only see it now looking back at photos.
Did you ever get sick of eating the same foods over and over again?
No because I would stop eating the foods that I would get sick of and find my new favorite foods. No point in eating something you don't like with as much variety as there is out there for healthy food options.
Did your breasts change with weight loss?
I went from a 38DD to a 32A. Except the 32A was still too big. I was so flat chested that my chest muscles were bigger than the breast tissue. I ended up getting implants just big enough to fill the loose skin and a breast lift to remove some of the loose skin.
Did you lose your hair?
I never lost hair. I think why I didn't was because I was drinking collagen regularly throughout and I also lost the weight pretty slowly.
Did your shoe size change?
I at one point was wearing a 10. I wear an 8 or an 8.5 now.
How often did you have to buy new clothes?
I was wearing a 2xl when I first started. I want to say after around 6 months I went to a large. Maybe 8-9 months a medium and then a small a year later. I ended up in an XS after I hit the 140's.
How quickly did people start commenting on your weight loss?
I would say after about a 50 pounds lost. People started noticing. After I got to the 150's, it would be a conversation piece when I started going places. Family members would say it to each other and it would just be like WOW. It was a little uncomfortable at first because I didn't want all eyes on me kind of thing but I learned to take it as a compliment. What was strange is when I started saying hi to people I knew in public and them not saying hi back or giving me a weird look because they didn't recognize me.
Was there ever a time that you seriously considered giving up?
I would say when I was seriously ready to throw the towel in was after getting my first tummy tuck which was botched. I had worked for years to lose all this weight and now my stomach had looked worse than my previous worse. I struggled so hard that I felt like it was over for me and I was done trying.
Did men start hitting on you more after you lost your weight?
I would say yes. I got asked out in Costco by a complete stranger. This had never happened before. A few other random times but I would say yes. And also attracted a different kind of guy.
Did your personality change at all?
I would say yes though I don't know if that came with my weight loss or growing up more. I would definitely let people walk all over me and take advantage of me a lot more than I do today. I'm a lot quicker to shut something down quickly because of not feeling like I am being treated the way I deserve to be treated. I was in a lot of mentally abusive relationships because I wasn't sure I could do better. Now I am more certain of myself.
Feel free to ask more questions in the comments below :)
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