I have had a few requests to elaborate on my 10 day challenge posts. So I’ve decided to talk about weight loss and how I achieved mine, I’ve noticed people are surprised when they find out how much weight I’ve lost. Sure, 43kgs is a lot, but I gained 52 at least, and this goes deeper than the weight gain, it has many layers. And, this will explain my constant planning for meals and exercise, weight loss requires constant maintenance.
Firstly I think it’s important to look at the reason for weight gain, this is an important step because in order to analyse this you have to admit there is a problem. I kept telling myself after 10kgs and then 20kgs that I had stopped gaining weight, and that I had managed to maintain it. This was not the case. Mine began when I started earning my own money, I would spend it on food I previously was unable to obtain. In my family at school we ordered lunch once a week, and barely ate unhealthy food. So when I had my own money suddenly I could choose to buy all the things I was previously unable to obtain. I ordered my lunch, went shopping when I felt down and ordered deep fried fast food, unaware of the energy and fat content. When some of my clothes became snug I figured it was a growth thing, I was 18 at the time. However, it continued, I had gained 52kgs by the time I was 21. By that time I had moved out of home, ate when I was bored, never exercised and ate big meals. My partner (at the time) and I would order fatty fast food on the weekends, and I would opt for easier meals than cooking, to the point I occasionally had microwaved garlic bread for dinner. I can safely say my weight gain was a combination of inactivity, lack of nutritional knowledge and laziness.
As I gained the weight I started to notice physiological changes. My knees hurt, I couldn’t go shopping for longer than half an hr as the soles of my feet would hurt from the weight on them. My self esteem and body image changed as I’d gone from border lining u dear weight to obese, I could no longer fit into my clothes, and had gained 3-4 dress sizes. I found it hard to shop for nice clothes, as most of the shops I was used to shopping at no longer stocked sizes that would fit me, and I felt like I couldn’t fit into clothes that would hide my weight. My sides would hang over my jeans, I gained bra sizes, I no longer felt comfortable in swimmers, and if I wore a skirt or dress my legs would rub in the middle and damage the skin, making it painful. I would buy clothes in that 3-4size larger range and even they were struggling to fit, and I finally realized I needed to do something.
I knew I had issues with my weight, I still didn’t fully understand the impact the food I was eating had on my body. I would exercise sporadically, I would buy weight loss games and play them a few time a week then not at all for months and wondered why I wasn’t getting anywhere. I had suffered from migraines since 18, and still do, and that would deter outdoor exercise since a few times I went for walks I ended up with horrible migraines. Eventually the efforts I put in all dropped off, until a friend I worked with showed me an exercise DVD series.
The beginning of my weight loss was with this DVD collection, there was an AB one that I would do 3-4 times a week, and I lost 10kgs in a month. I managed to keep this off but struggled for 2-3years maintaining that weight. I would try many different things, meal replacements, appetite suppressants, detox, and bought different exercise machines during moments of motivation but none of it worked. The fad diets always lead to gaining the weight again, and the machines I bought would eventually be stored away once the novelty wore off.
Eventually after a big lifestyle change I finally seemed to get it. I started cutting back my meal sizes, portion control and started listening to my body. I no longer ate to feel full, I ate until I wasn’t hungry. I started to pay attention to the contents of the food I was eating, I would look up the calorie content and try compensating for the things I knew I shouldn’t eat but didn’t have the will power to give up entirely. I started going for walks, I even had access to a tread mill and after dropping half a size I could jog intermittently. After about a year I dropped almost two dress sizes, after another year or so I could fit comfortably in a size 2-3 sizes smaller than when I started the weight loss. I started jogging in the street 3-4 times a week combined with exercise DVDs, I bought a cross trainer, and managed to maintain 42kgs of weight loss.
Currently I still struggle day to day with food, reminding myself not to eat because I’m bored, I will drink water or coffee/warm drinks first. I calorie count most days, try and remain aware of what goes into my body, currently I try and avoid packaged foods, and eat fresh and healthy. I plan in advance, and I’ve started working out at the gym to try and tone my body and get back what I lost. Most importantly no fast food, or deep fried food if I can help it, and if I have a moment of weakness I make up for it the following day, in the gym and with what I eat.
If I’ve learnt anything from my journey, it’s that there is no quick fix, I was always waiting for some miracle weight loss fad. But at the end of the day you have to take care of your body, and the work you put in will determine the results.
Now my plan is to workout around 3-4 times a week and fuel my body with nutrients rather than empty calories. Fresh fruit and veggies, protein and an occasional treat, portion controlled and be mindful. You can’t hide what you eat in private, for it shows on the outside. To look good, you need to be good.
Like I’ve said before in a previous post, the secret to weight loss is “eat less and move more”, it’s about making better choices and going back to basics. That’s what the biggest loser is all about, just with more extreme workouts, and cameras. If I can do it anyone can!