If you’re a “just the facts” kind of person, I’ll give you the very, very short version, then I’ll explain the process a bit more.
Just the facts: I read a book (No Cheatin’ Just Eatin’ by Mary Jo Fay, an author that I know—I wasn’t looking for a weight loss book). The author shares her journey of yoyo weight. The key part of the weight loss process, according to Mary Jo’s trainers, is about the numbers: You have to eat fewer calories than you can burn. I tried to get into that but had a hard time calculating calories on my own so it didn’t go far. Then I saw a video (on another topic entirely) and the speaker mentioned his process of losing weight by using an app called “Lose It!” Know how many calories you need to eat. Keep track your calorie intake. There’s an app for that.
Bottom line: I was inspired. I had the tool (the app) to help me track what I was eating. So, in just over five months, I’ve lost 25 lbs.
More details, lessons and tips of my weight loss journey:
How I Gained the Weight
For most of my life I weighed about where I am now, since the weight loss. Two pregnancies changed my body. (Of course it was worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!). Then I got the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Among other symptoms what was happening for me was daily, deep, dark, dramatic fatigue. I connected eating to energy: If I was weak, maybe I needed more nourishment. It didn’t help. Once I had the MS diagnosis, I was on medication that came in the form of daily injections. For years. Thousands of injections. I wanted to hold on to my extra fat because I thought maybe it would protect me a bit more from the needle. It was an irrational thought, but that’s where I was.
Healthy Food Choices Didn’t Fix It
I am always on the lookout for the next idea to get my energy and health to more vitality. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I tried—that’s for another place (There’s a book about life with MS in the works.) I began to experiment with changing the way I ate. The first thing I let go of was sugar. I had a dream that made it clear to me it would be in my guts’ best interest to let go of sugar. I did. Nothing changed in my weight, but I did feel better and free of needing sugary desserts.
It was years later that I went to check out a health retreat. My husband and I had dinner there and during the lecture portion of the presentation the speaker said that if there are any issues connected to autoimmune disorders, it’s a good idea to get off of dairy. That one sentence was all it took for me to get off of dairy. Talk about addictions. I found dairy harder to let go of than sugar. It took weeks for me to stop craving cheese. Yikes! I remembered talking to someone years ago who told me that if someone just stopped eating cheese they would lose weight. I was hopeful I might lose the extra pounds but nothing moved. Still, I did feel a degree better. The surprising benefit of giving up dairy was that a chronic bladder problem completely cleared up. That was significant feedback from my body.
A couple of years after that, I decided to experiment with gluten. There’s a longer story in there that lead me to that decision. The surprise there was that some issues with my skin cleared. Again, clear feedback from my body.
I was eating mostly healthy foods (yeah, well, the Doritos and potato chips were still companions—but not that much). My weight did not budge.
With the idea of counting calories being the key to weight loss, and the app loaded onto my phone, I began the journey.
Taking into account your level of activity, age, current weight, and how fast you want to lose weight—how much you want to lose per week—you get a daily calorie budget. Your budget is how many calories you can eat a day and be on track for losing weight. You can eat what ever you want. You get to spend your calories on the foods you chose.
It doesn’t take long into the process to reveal where your big calories are coming from. My breakfast every morning is apples and nut butter. It came clear to me that I had to measure the nut butter so I could keep track of the calories. Instead of an unlimited amount, I had a measured amount. I love salads and I also love tahini. Measure and know how many calories you’re taking in.
- Find the seasonings that will make your food tasty and satisfying.
- Find snacks you enjoy that are lower in calories so you have go-to foods to grab.
- This is not about deprivation! If you’re feeling deprived it will not be a pleasurable process and doing something good for yourself can be a pleasure and a joy. Know what your treats are and know the portion that will work for you within your budget.
What I Learned in the Process
One of the surprising and happy things I learned along the way is that even if I went over my daily budget, I was still on track for losing the weight!
The Lose It! app asks you to click off when you have logged in all the foods you’ve eaten in a day. Then, they kindly give you the date that you’ll reach your goal if you keep it up. Sometimes for me the date was further into the future and sometimes closer. I was still on track though. It’s not about perfection; it’s about staying the course. This is a big metaphor in life. We’re never meant to be perfect, we’re meant to grow and learn and move forward, one baby step at a time.
The Effects of the Weight Loss
Because I’m tall, I actually don’t look that different to most people. Some of my clothes don’t fit any more. It took me a lifetime to put together a wardrobe that I feel good wearing and I felt like I finally got to a place of loving what I had and feeling like it was enough. Some of it can be altered, but not all of it. I learned to bless others by giving away what doesn’t work any more. Give yourself the gift of new clothes, new breath, and gentle acceptance of all of you.
A Word on Food Choices
If you’re here at my blog, you must know that I’m all about sharing ways to lift your spirits and your life. I mostly talk about mindset, letting go of the thoughts that bring you down, dancing with the thoughts that lift you up, taking action—baby steps—in the direction of your dreams. I’m not a dietician. Because of my own health issues, I’ve studied the effects of food on mood and health. What you eat affects you. A simple deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to depression. There is a lot of talk about what sugar will do in the body. It’s your life and as with so many ways of being, you get to chose what works for you and what doesn’t. The negative choices you make also have a pay off and getting in touch with that may just free you from beliefs that don’t work for you any longer.
Sharing my journey is just that—sharing what worked for me. I share it in case there is some little nugget here that will support another in a healing journey to release what’s no longer needed. There are people who need medical advice and that should be honored. (If you don’t trust your doctor, think about finding someone who you do trust.)
What ever your decisions, what ever you do, I invite you to be and do and journey in kindness and compassion for yourself. Weight loss, like everything else in life is a process, not a destination. Once I lost the weight my calorie budget increased to maintain. Wow, I felt like a rich woman. While I learned to eat and chose foods that would leave me satisfied, adding to my daily intake felt like such a luxury. I’m grateful of becoming aware of the tools. I’m grateful for my friends and family who patiently listened to my process my daily adventure. My blessing for you is to find what works for you, to take the next step and every step of your journey with joy, and also with kindness and compassion for yourself and those around you.
With love and many blessings!