I put on a lot of weight in the years leading up to 2013 for a number of reasons.
I was in a really unhappy and slightly abusive relationship. I was working in a job I couldn’t stand, commuting upwards of four hours a day. I was also suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety. Eating gave me something to feel happy about, to look forward to and helped me while away the hours stuck behind a desk in the most boring job IN THE WORLD.
Nevertheless, one day I woke up, I looked in the mirror, and something just clicked. This was me at my largest:
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I needed to change the way I was living. Not just for the way I looked, but to improve the way I felt inside – mentally and physically.
So what did I do to lose weight? I will give you a brief run down here of the things which worked for me. I’m not saying they will work for everyone, but hopefully, they will give you some useful pointers!
I had tried numerous extreme and crash diets. I tried cutting out chocolate and biscuits. I gave in after a week. I tried juice ‘cleanses’. Didn’t work. I tried cutting out all carbs. It didn’t work I just felt tired all the time.
So I decided I wasn’t going to go on a ‘diet’. I decided to start eating in a way which would be sustainable for the rest of my life.
I still ate all the unhealthy food I loved, I just cut it down. I literally cut it in half. I used to take four biscuits at a time to have with my tea. Instead, I cut it to two. I did this for everything – I made all my meals smaller too. Sometimes I put my meals on a smaller plate so they looked larger and tricked my brain!
Doing this, I never missed any of my favourite food, and so I didn’t give up.
I also tried to make healthier choices where possible. So instead of having cornflakes for breakfast, I had porridge and fruit. I tried to eat food which would keep me full for ages and was perhaps lower in fat. I also ate lots of:
- Peanut butter!
- Water instead of fizzy stuff
Just taking on these changes, I noticed a difference very quickly.
This was the first form of exercise I started doing.
Swimming was terrifying at first, and I could barely swim a length. To be honest, I nearly drowned the first time.
I get going back though, at least five times a week. Sometimes I would swim for 45 minutes. Within a month, I had lost half a stone. It just fell off.
Swimming was awesome too as it toned up my arms, legs and stomach – it just a great low-impact form of exercise.
I was terrified about going to the gym. I saw everyone on the little treadmills and bikes through the window and thought “that will never be me.”
Nevertheless, it got to a point with my swimming where my body was getting used to it, and I stopped noticing a difference in the way I look and how much I weighed. I was also getting fed up of washing chlorine out of my hair.
I decided to go the gym for the first time with my mum, as she knew what she was doing!! I would definitely recommend going with a friend or family member first time.
I started off by simply going on the elliptical for 20 minutes or going for a gentle run on the treadmill. I did 100% cardio when I was at the gym.
My fitness improved so much and once again I saw a difference in the way I looked. However, after six months or so, I reached another plateau. I knew I needed to push myself even more.
This was the point when I started to notice my body becoming so much more toned. Weight training gave my body shape – I started to get shoulder muscles, abs and quads. It was great, and I felt sooo confident!
I started using the weight machines at the gym, as you can’t really go wrong with those. I had to ask some of the Personal Trainers in the gym for help though, as I wasn’t sure what they all did! It is FINE to ask by the way.
I would alternate legs and bums one day, and then arms and shoulders the next. On the whole I did weight training four times a week, alongside 20 minutes or so of cardio.
Once I got more confident, I ventured into free weights – using dumbbells and barbells etc.
Weight training really works. Once you start building muscle, your body uses more of the food you eat to actually keep it functioning. Therefore, less food is turned into fat. Your metabolism also gets a lot quicker too when you weight train. Be sure you’re eating enough to build muscle though! Or you won’t see a difference. Lots of protein.
I loved MyFitnessPal. I used it to track my weight, my exercise and the food I ate.
I found it particularly satisfying to see the little graph tracking my weight and it going down month on month. I gave myself little targets like to reach 35lbs lost, and then I would treat myself to some new clothes or makeup or something!
Supportive Family and Friends
I was lucky enough to have really supportive family and friends around me, who spurred me on to keep going.
This motivation kept me wanting to make them proud. I knew they were worried about my physical and mental health, so seeing I was making them happy get me going.
Seeing a difference in my mental health
One big thing I noticed change in myself once I started losing weight and exercising was my mental health.
I felt so much more positive about life, who I was and my purpose in life.
We all know how good exercising is for your brain, as it releases feel good chemicals. But oh my gosh I never realised how much it would change my outlook on everything. By doing weight training and going to the gym, I was also pushing myself out of my comfort zone, making me mentally stronger. This improvement just spurred me on to keep going.
These are just some of the key reasons why I was able to lose five stone. It wasn’t easy at all by any means. And sometimes it was quite disheartening when I felt my body start to plateau in the weight loss.
But just remember to keep challenging yourself physically and mentally, and cut down on what you’re eating. Don’t give up if you don’t see an immediate change – it does take time. And just make healthier choices in what you eat. But never give up the things you love to munch on most in life – this isn’t sustainable for ever and will just make you sad!
Let me know your weight loss stories if you have any! I love to read them. If you have any questions then please ask! 🙂