Not so long ago I weighed myself and almost fell on the floor crying. 365 pounds? How could that be? When did this happen?
I had to do something, but I thought getting healthy was impossible since I'm a writer and literally sit all day at the computer. While my fingers got a workout, the rest of me sure as hell didn't.
I needed to do something, though.
After one year, I have lost over 100 pounds. Here's how I did it.
I thought I was fat when I wasn't
I started out my body hatred at 150 pounds, size 12 and age 13. People told me I needed to lose weight. No boy would like me if I didn't lose 50 pounds. I had a 28-inch waist, 32-inch hips and 35-inch chest. I was toned. I was fit. I had huge muscles. My calves and thighs were like granite.
I thought I was a glob of lard.
Looking back now, I realize I wasn't fat. I went down a self-destructive road that led me to be 365 pounds. I wasn't fat, but I got there by believing I was. It's amazing what a poor self image can do to you.
Plus size models get a bad rap. I wish I had seen size 12 models back then. I would have believed that I could be curvy, strong and healthy and there wasn't anything wrong with that. I'm so glad girls today have better role models.
I've written hundreds of health articles in my career, so I know a lot about what you should do and what you shouldn't do to lose weight. I broke everything I've learned over the years down into some simple guidelines that are working for me. I'll go over them.
By the way, this is just what worked for me. I am not a medical professional and you should always consult a doctor before trying to lose weight.
Here's what I learned.
You're okay, I'm okay
It's okay to have fat on your body. That doesn't make you a bad person! You have fat, you aren't fat.
There are no bad foods
Eating "fattening" foods is okay, as long as you make sure to stay in your calorie range-ish. I used MyFitnessPal app (it's free!) to figure out how many calories I need for my height, weight and activity level.
Surprisingly, I wasn't eating enough on most days. Uhh, what? Lol! Apparently my body was in starvation mode and was storing fat like it was the apocalypse. Sigh. I would go off on benders because I was so hungry and my body packed it away like a bear getting ready for winter.
Don't skip meals
If you can't eat a healthy meal, guzzle a yogurt smoothie (they come prepackaged and have active cultures, which is good for the tummy) or a bottle of 100% juice/vegetable smoothie (no sugar added!).
Pig out on veggies and fruit
You can't go wrong filling up on these. Find your faves and stock up. I'm a glutton for berries, so I stocked up on grapes, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries while they were in season.
Soda... only sometimes
Cut back on the soda and replace it with black coffee. No sugar and you'll still get the much needed caffeine!
Get off your rump
Find projects that make you get up and move. This one is a little harder, but it's fun if you make a game of it like I did with my laundry.
Food is f-ing delicious
Don't deprive yourself, just don't go back for seconds! Savor it, go slow and keep a close watch on your tummy. When it feels full, stop eating.
Change your sitting arrangement
I switched out my office chair for a yoga ball and stand. I bounce up and down on it while I'm thinking. My butt looks great!
You can't get better if you're depressed
I hate pills, but sometimes you've got to suck it up and take medicine to make you better. I'd tried everything to overcome my OCD, depression and panic attacks naturally. I finally had to admit I needed help. I'm on Prozac today and I'm not ashamed of taking care of my mental health. I'm no longer eating to make myself feel better and I'm happy. That's a win on its own!
Get up and play
When your kids want to have a dance party, have a dance party with them. When the dog wants to play. Play! Having fun doesn't feel like work, but it does burn calories and build muscle.
This is going to sound a little woo-woo, but being positive is a huge key to my success. Everyday before I get in the shower I say, "You're getting thinner every day," or "You're getting healthier every day." Hey, it works! You can't lose weight if you're down on yourself.
One bad day (or two!) doesn't mean anything
You're human. You have cravings. Who cares. You do you, boo.
What this all means
I think you may be sensing a pattern here. My main mantra was, "Be good to yourself." When you start to take care of your body and mind like you would the loved ones in your life, changes start to happen.
I may not be bikini ready, but I'm healthier and feel like a new person. I can breath! I can walk into the grocery store without wheezing! You can see my neck muscles and collarbone! My back doesn't hurt all the time! I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and it's working.