I’ve struggled with my weight since I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 14. I went from being a petite girl who would finish her plate every night, eating as much as she wanted without much change to my body to a teen who ballooned up fast with high blood pressure and hypothyroidism which led to referrals by my doctor to see a nutritionist. Everything happened so fast. I would say that my weight was an issue for me since then. It wasn’t a huge priority for me in high school or college. I would go the gym every now and then but I wasn’t serious about my health – my weight just went up and down. Credit that to my thyroid meds not being leveled too. After graduating college and gaining more weight (partly because I loved a nightly pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream and partly because I no longer had access to my thyroid meds due to being jobless without health insurance), I reached my highest weight of 180 pounds in 2009 (I’m only 5’3″). That’s when I really got a wake up call. Seeing how close I was to being 200 pounds was a reality check. Yet, things still didn’t change right away. I read up on various diets and workout plans. I joined Planet Fitness and would go for a week or two, slack off and go back to my eating habits and couch potato living. When I started law school in a different state and was living in my first apartment on my own I used that opportunity to learn about healthy recipes I could cook for myself. I also was short on time due to the mountains of reading, research, internships and classes I had to manage. I started working out at home just a few minutes a day (15-30) and started seeing exercise not as an obligation or chore but something I could actually like. I lost weight and started getting results but then life got in the way and I put 25 pounds of weight back on after law school because I failed the bar, my grandmother’s passing, as well as, my dad’s passing six months later. I was eating my feelings and my workouts were on the backburner again. I didn’t really accept this as a lifestyle until January 5, 2015 and since then I’ve remained consistent
My struggles with weight loss have come from doing what others said would work, being impatient with results and not doing things I enjoyed. I was so focused on the scale, so focused on getting results FAST for a moment so I could go back to normal and not realizing that this is a JOURNEY and it can’t be about a destination or a short-term fix. Thus, I struggled a lot with sticking to a plan. I’d workout for a few weeks or a month then fall off for two or three months. I’d eat healthy for a week and have a bad day or eat too much at a meal or drink too much during a night out and feel like there’s no point in sticking to it because I’d messed up “so much.” I felt like if I didn’t eat “clean” 100% of the time and stick perfectly to my workout plan, I should just give up.
Learning about intuitive eating and incorporating balance into my eating rather than perfectionism has helped immensely because I stopped beating myself up when I had a glass of wine, burger or a cookie. I took the guilt and shame out of my eating and accepted it. I stopped eating “clean” and just ate according to my goals. I did a Whole30 earlier this year in April and that also helped me learn so much about my body. I learned that I don’t have to eat completely low-carb but I do need to watch my sugar and dairy intake because my body doesn’t tolerate those things well. Weight lifting has provided the most results. I enjoy how strong it makes me feel. Everyone isn’t meant to be a hardcore runner, cardio bunny, powerlifter, boxer, yoga guru, etc.. The journey is about exploring and finding what you enjoy. Quick fix supplements and fad diets just don’t work for me. I’ve tried many cleanses, teas, shakes, pills and fad diet plans that were really too restrictive for me. Of course, I got quick results after a few days or a week or two but this wasn’t something I could maintain for the long-term so when the cleanse or fad diet was over or my body got used to the shakes and pills, or when I just got plain tired of being hungry and tired, the weight came back on and I was always back to square one.
I usually eat intuitively based on my hunger/fullness cues but since I’m focused on losing my last ten pounds I’m making sure to get at least 100g of protein to help maintian my muscle and a good amount of food in my day without slowing my metabolism down too much by being too restrictive. After a couple of months I spend a week or two eating at maintanence to keep my metabolism high. I workout 4-5 times a week, mostly weight lifting. I do strength training 3-4 times a week and cardio 1-2 days a week. My rest days are on the weekends but sometimes I’ll do something active on Saturday like go for a walk, bike ride, play tennis or swimming. Once I reach my goal weight/body fat, I’ll go back to intuitive eating to maintain.
Advice for anyone starting out: be patient and kind to yourself while starting your journey. Habits are hard to change, especially at first. You will miss a workout, your body willl need rest, you will enjoy your favorite foods and that’s okay! Just take it one meal, one workout, one day at a time! My other advice is to find your WHY and hold on to that for motivation. What pushed me to be consistent in January 2015 to start my journey over again was seeing my grandmother pass away due to health related conditions the December before and watching other family members suffer with obesity and diabetes, etc.. I wanted to break the cycle in my family. I got motivated because I didn’t want to live life that way as I got older if I could prevent it. That is my WHY and that’s at the core of my days, weeks and months of working out and eating well even when I don’t see results or my weight has plateaued. Find your why and be in this for the long haul so you keep your healthy results! Don’t focus on weight and the scale solely. Take your measurements, notice how your clothes fit, acknowledge your energy levels and how good you feel!