Last Friday, I celebrated (in my brain, not in external life) officially losing 10 pounds since I set out to shed my excess travel weight on March 1!
I started at 145.6 pounds looking like this, which was certainly not terrible by any means — but I was self-conscious and couldn’t fit into some of my favorite clothes.
And then on Friday, at 135.6 pounds, I put on my pre-travel jeans that I used to not be able to pull up past my thighs, and realized that they don’t just fit anymore, but I have a little extra breathing room, too.
Not to mention that I can (and did!) wear them with a white t-shirt and not worry about sucking in my gut because, well, there is no gut anymore. Casual Friday, bitches.
You might think that training for a marathon was a big part of this weight loss, but I can honestly tell you that every single ounce I lost was due to the food I ate.
I’ve been running consistently for months and months, and tracking 98% of my food since March 1, plus weighing myself nearly every day. What determines whether the scale is up or down has nothing to do with how many calories I burned the day before and 100% to do with what I ate!
I consider myself an 80/20 Paleo-style eater. I say “Paleo-style” because I’m not super-obsessed with every little detail of what is Paleo and what isn’t, but follow more general guidelines of eating mostly fresh vegetables, meat/fish, nuts/seeds, and fruit, and avoiding grains, dairy, and processed foods.
The 80% happens more consistently during the week, with a few treats here and there, and most of the 20% definitely happens on weekends and special occasions. I enjoy the 20%, but I also know exactly how it makes me feel to eat dairy (mucus-y) and grains (bloated) and sugary treats (jittery) and then am excited to get back to veggies, protein, and healthy fats. It’s a good balance.
Here’s how I held on to those extra travel pounds for so long:
We have two kitchens at work, and they’re both bursting with candy, chips, soda, cheese, etc. — everything that’s delicious and not that great for you.
From October through February, I never brought food from home and just ate whatever was served at lunch and what I could find in the kitchens. It wasn’t enough to GAIN weight, but it was enough to hang on to my extra, unwanted pounds.
Here’s how I lost them and now keep them off:
I bring a small, reusable Lululemon bag full of food to work EVERY DAY (emphasized because consistency is crucial). Yesterday, I brought cherries, apple, cashews and dried apricots, mixed lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, banana, grapefruit, baby carrots, tomato soup (in a bag, looks weird), and chicken sausage.
I didn’t eat the apple, carrots, banana, or soup, but I’ll probably eat those today. The point is that I had plenty of snack options on hand so I could grab something healthy and not get a handful of frosted animal crackers instead.
I make a huge salad for lunch EVERY DAY (tossed in olive oil that I keep at work) and eat it along with some protein I’ve also brought from home, like a chicken sausage, meatballs, leftover fish, chicken, whatever. Sometimes I’ll go through the lunch line to grab protein if it’s not breaded/cheese-encrusted, but often I’ll just ignore the catered lunch and make my own. It’s just easier to stick with what I’ve brought.
My co-workers say I’m “so disciplined,” but I’m really just a creature of habit. I literally make the same breakfast every morning, pack pretty much the same foods while I’m making breakfast, eat pretty much the same lunch every afternoon, and snack on similar things throughout the workday. I’m sort of weird in that I don’t get tired of eating the same things during the week.
On the weekends, I eat more of a variety, and I eat whatever I want when out at a restaurant, when it’s a special occasion, or when I’m a guest in someone’s home. Sometimes I genuinely do want a salad. Sometimes I want a burger with the bun, fries, and a milkshake. Sometimes I want triple-cheese mac ‘n cheese. I feel no guilt when I dip into the 20% and no fear of backsliding into consistently bad eating habits because I eat very well 80% of the time and truly enjoy it.
There are countless different ways to eat, and we’ll all never agree on one “best” way. I just happen to have had success with Paleo-style eating and calorie tracking (I still use My Fitness Pal 98% of the time) because these methods have helped me focus on eating real, nutritious food and understanding what portion sizes actually are (smaller than we all want them to be!).
I bust out measuring spoons and use a food scale nearly every day — not to be obsessive or to restrict my intake (I usually eat just under to well over 2,000 calories a day, depending on my exercise), but to make sure I’m eating the correct serving sizes (very important with nuts and nut butter!) or at least know how many servings I’m eating if I want to eat more than one. 🙂
As I always say, none of this is new or ground-breaking information. I’m just sharing what has worked and continues to work for me.
You simply can’t out-exercise a bad diet, unfortunately, so if you’re not seeing results from whatever you’re doing — CHANGE YOUR EATING! Choose vegetables, protein (whether it’s meat or vegetarian forms of protein), and healthy fats over weight-loss shakes, low-fat yogurt, and those stupid 100-calorie packs of cookies that never satiated anyone’s appetite in the history of ever. Seriously, the thought of those things makes me stabby.
It’s hard to get started, but once you do and get into a groove with new habits, it’s SO much easier to stay there! The impact it will have on your health, your energy levels, your happiness, and yes, your appearance, is insane. It’s worth it.
Start with the will to change, and then take action. No excuses.