Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Ask Someone Who Lost 100 Lbs in 1 Year
Soooooooo…. Yeah, I’ve been owing you guys this blog for awhile now! I am SO sorry, but life has a way of well, getting in the way sometimes!
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, on my one year anniversary with Weight Watchers, I threw open a Round Robin Style Q&A invitation, where I invited readers, friends, even family, to ask me questions about my experience. Which was GREAT, because you guys sent in tons of questions. The problem was, I never came back with the answers!
So here they are, in no particular order (Please remember I am neither a physician nor a weight loss expert, just someone who’s lived this experience. If you need help getting started with a weight loss goal, I recommend visiting with your physician!):
What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why did you decide to start this journey?
Friends, there’s no delicate way to say this, so I’ll just say it. I was FAT.
I was fat, I was obese, I was flat-out unhealthy. And that made me slow, that made me depressed, that made me eat and drink more to mask the depression. And it made me not the happiest person to be around, or work with.
For me, I had an emotional awakening that went beyond my weight. I was unhappy about my job, I was unhappy about my weight, I was unhappy about the person I was becoming in my relationship and I was unhappy at the person I was putting out into the world.
And I tend to think that most people who end up overweight or obese are struggling with at least one of these issues or something else that’s causing them to turn to food as a means of comfort or control.
I decided that since time was going to march on with or without me, that I could choose the type of person I wanted to be. I gave myself permission to spend a year working on becoming a better version of myself.
That meant taking a look at some “ugly” parts of myself, some things I hid from the world that I really didn’t like, and giving myself permission to change them.
Stop drinking so much, quit smoking, get off your ass, stop talking shit about people and reveling in being “busy.” Drink more water, hit the gym, put energy out into the world that you want to get back, put down the iphone and take time for Mr. Big, my family and my friends and find a job that allows for a life. And so I committed to my own success, and to putting the time and energy I give so freely to others back into myself!
I didn’t have a set goal weight, I just had faith in Weight Watchers and a bright pink pair of running shoes.
You Really Didn’t Have A Goal?
I had a Size 14 black dress from 2009 in my closet, and I remember thinking “If I could wear that dress again, I think I would feel good about myself.”
How Did You Start?
So I started by researching the heck out of Weight Watchers, reading others’ menus, food hacks, recipes, etc. I joined a ton of WW groups on Facebook, so I could see how others were handling their menus, their struggles, their successes, etc.
I also scanned every food in my house and on those that didn’t get immediately thrown out (brownies, cookies, chips, etc), I wrote their PP value on the label in sharpie.
I also did a trip to the grocery store where I scanned everything I would normally eat or might want to eat so I understood what I was working with.
On Sundays, I menu plan my week, based on our schedules and what was on sale/looked good. After I menu plan, I grocery shop and prep my breakfasts/lunches for the week, so I always have good food readily available and don’t “shooting from the hip” because I don’t make the best choices when I do that!
Typically we grocery shop on Sundays and Wednesdays so we have fresh meats and veggies all the time.
So You Did All of This on Weight Watchers?
Yes, I did all of this through Weight Watchers, but I was not afraid to make the program my own! Through trial and error, I have built my Weight Watchers program to suit my tastes and my schedule. I following the Simple Filling guidelines, but I count points because it’s a good portion control for me.
*For those not following Weight Watchers, I focused on lean meats like chicken breasts, fish, shellfish, etc and tons of fresh fruits and veggies. I really limited starchy or carb-y foods, but made sure to get some full-fat cheese in several times each week, along with a Tbsp of healthy oil each day.
Over the year, I also cut out most processed foods, frozen meals and soda. For me, an egg or a couple ounces of lean protein keeps me more satisfied than a smaller portion of crackers, chips, etc and I feel better when I eat more “clean” foods.
I stopped reaching for chips because they weren’t there. I stopped going to the drive-thru because if I wasn’t hungry enough for the apple in my purse, I wasn’t really hungry at all
What Is Always On Your Grocery List?
By aisle/area, because even my shopping lists are organized:
- Egg whites, chicken sausage, chicken breasts.
- St. Andres cheese. Tzatziki sauce.
- Kale, mushrooms, green zucchini, yellow onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, salad greens, cucumber, fresh thyme, fresh basil, green grapes, bananas, apples, lime, ginger root, grapefruits, Brussel sprouts, green beans.
- Cooking spray, olive oil. Kalamata olives. Dill pickles. Diced tomatoes. FF chicken stock.
- Kosher salt. Peppercorn grinder.
- Frozen shrimp, frozen scallops.
What Does a Day of Meals Look Like for You?
During the week my meals are fairly standardized:
- 2/3c of egg whites
- Al Fresco Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patty
- 1-1.5c of sautéed veggies like kale, mushrooms, onion, zucchini and fresh herbs
- 1.5 cups of grapes or cherries
I do the same thing for meal lunches each week: I pick one protein, then cook it with a different sauce or spice: teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, herbs & pepper, lemon and chives, etc.
Then I make up 3-4 veggies like roasted mushrooms, sautéed kale, grilled zucchini, sautéed peppers and onions, and mix and match 2 of them for each meal. I often add a salad with 1 tsp olive oil.
Each meal is a little different, so I don’t get bored!
- Smoothie of kale, spinach, berries, ginger and the juice of one green apple
- Sugar snap peas/Cucumber
- Banana (on gym days)
- We eat out 2-3 times a week, but at home or out my routine is fairly consistent:
- 4-5 ounces of pork, chicken or beef OR 6-8 ounces of fish or seafood
- 2 cooked veggies
- Maybe a salad with 1 tsp olive oil
What About When You Don’t Want Your Packed Food?
I am not a robot, and I definitely can go down the rabbit hole with the delicious takeout available around my work!
I usually only pack 4 days of lunch, so I have one day a week to buy lunch out. This lets me be a little flexible.
On those days, I’m happy to stuff my lunch back in the fridge, but I usually insist that whatever I get out is the same PP/caloric intake as what I brought with me.
How Do You Keep From Being Hungry?
I am rarely hungry, because I plan my meals and my snacks where each one keeps me full until the next one. I’m not afraid to add a second veggie or a salad if it’s going to keep me full until my afternoon snack. I have started adding an extra .5 cup of sautéed veggies to my morning egg whites, to replace the English muffins I now reserve for special occasions.
Planning ahead enables me to remember when I worked out the day before, so I can grab an extra piece of fruit for snacking. Planning ahead enables me to keep my portions smaller on days when I want to indulge in a dinner out.
Planning enables me to work full-time, commute and have an active social life, while making sure my best choices are right at my fingertips.
And worst case scenario? Drink water.
Second worst case scenario? Tough it out. Being a little hungry for an hour is not the worst thing in the world, and when we start to consider our meals as fuel, rather than entertainment, it become easier to wait it out.
How Did You Start With Exercise?
Exercise is, for me, a huge part of my life now. I feel better then I exercise, I sleep better and it’s such a great stress reliever.
When I started exercising, I couldn’t walk up the stairs at home without becoming winded. Can you imagine being 32 and not able to walk up the stairs? It was embarrassing and it kept me from enjoying nights out, walks on the beach and just general life.
But I also knew myself, and I knew I’d Just quit going if it was “too hard.” So I started small, with a half hour of biking and walking a mile on the treadmill three or four times a week. And every week I’d either add a little more time or intensity, until I was ready for the elliptical. I slowly added time and intensity on the elliptical, and now I do an hour of cardio 2-3 times per week, mixing elliptical, upright bike and stairclimber. Then 2 days I do a half hour circuit of weights, and a half hour of cardio.
When I get bored, I shake up my workouts and add bikram yoga, zumba, Aqua Tabata (when possible), outdoor biking, etc.
What Do You Do When You Can’t Exercise?
There have been times, when due to scheduling, a sore hip, etc I’ve had to take a few days off from the gym, and those are the days when 1 of 2 things happens:
- I need to stick to my daily PP or intake goal, without deviation. If I can’t run it off, I can’t have it.
- I decide to stick with fruit, veggies and other meatless options during the day, saving my points/calories so I can enjoy a nice dinner in the evening, again while staying in my PP or intake goal.
What Did You Weekly Losses Look Like?
I started out so heavy that my early losses were hilarious. -7, -6.5, -10. I’m not kidding, I actually dropped ten pounds one week. But over time, my losses have leveled off. Now my losses are -.2, -.8, -1.2, much more realistic!
I hit -50lbs about three months into my journey, and then I hit -75lbs about seven months into my journey. -100lbs took 10 months or so, and at just over a year, I’m at -110.8lbs.
I anticipate completing this phase of my weight loss sometime around the 16 month mark, with a total loss of -125lbs. Just 14.4lbs to go!
What Do You Do When You Maintain/Gain?
I have some rules for when I plateau or gain that have been helpful for me:
- Measure and track everything you put in your body. Any time I have an inexplicable gain, I usually wasn’t doing my best to track.
- Keep up on your water.
- Be careful of processed foods and high-sodium goods within 48 hours of WI.
- If you are exercising more than you did before and not eating any weekly or activity points, try eating some. Sounds counterproductive to eat more but you need to fuel your body’s extra activity.
- Not all points are created equal. I cannot eat carbs in the evening and lose consistently. Try avoiding processed foods, frozen meals, and add more lean proteins, fruits and veggies. It requires more cooking but is totally worth it.
- Be kind to yourself! This is an incredibly personal and vulnerable journey and you deserve the same kindness and patience yourself that you show to others.
What About “Loose Skin?”
I am lucky in that my cardio and my gallon of water daily really enabled my weight to come off evenly, rather than just one specific area of my body. So I don’t have lots of loose skin. Where I do have loose skin is my upper arms, my inner thighs and a little pouch at my midsection. I think Vitamin E is great, but there’s nothing quite like consistent cardio of low-weight, high # of reps weight training. I stuck to cardio for the first 100lbs almost exclusively, but now I need to do the toning if I want to get rid of the loose skin!
Did you know your boyfriend BEFORE your weight loss? If so, how has your big change changed him?
We affectionately refer to my boyfriend as Mr. Big. Yes, because of Sex and the City, also because he’s not the tallest guy, but mostly because he was a seriously BIG deal for me when we got together.
We knew one another for 7+ years when we started dating, and so he knew me at a variety of sizes (12-24), but he’s never known me this small. In fact, my parents & I figured out not too long ago that I was about 16 years old the last time I weighed this weight.
Our relationship has benefitted tremendously from this transition, because it came with a focus to get healthier, in every way. We bike together, and hit the gym and work out together on the weekends, but we also take the time to prepare great, healthy meals together, and while we do, we genuinely sit and listen to one another. We spend more time together one-on-one, having all kinds of fun adventures, and we push one another to take time to enjoy our lives more. Because I feel better about myself, I have more love and support to share, and there is a renewed focus on our bond, which has been the greatest part about the journey for me.
How Do You Stay Motivated?
To stay motivated, I take selfies alllllll the time, and when I need a reminder of how far I’ve come, I’ll absolutely do a side-by-side comparison.
Because the girl in the before photos uses food to push down her feelings and is, frankly, fat, uncomfortable and unhealthy. And I don’t ever want to be her again.
And of course, I get so much out of blogging and posting and talking to you guys!