I was overweight.
During a doctor’s visit years ago, I stepped onto a scale to discover shocking numbers. It was my first time seeing my then doctor, so after we recorded my vital signs we talked about my health and goals. She was trying to be kind, but when you tell someone that they’re overweight, it’s not something to take lightly.
I was a very active child and enjoyed sports and different outdoor activities. I would say my struggle really started after high school and left home. My weight would fluctuate a lot, but I noticed my clothing size get bigger and bigger. Honestly, I must have been in denial and dismissed everything entirely.
That doctor’s visit gave me the push I needed because someone was brave enough to tell me the truth. My health habits haven’t been the best.
I left the office determined to be healthy and took it on myself to change my lifestyle. Finally, I had the means and drive to map out a plan.
Here are my 5 major “don’t’s” that helped me lose 60 pounds in 2 years:
- Don’t weigh yourself. I know I probably sound nuts, but I didn’t weigh myself once in the two years I lost weight. Well, besides the two times I visited my doctor for an annual visit and that’s when I actually learned how much weight I lost. My goal wasn’t to lose weight…it was to be and FEEL healthy. At least for myself, if I start fixating on a number, I might drive myself crazy. So, losing weight is the result of being healthy, I quickly found that out.
- Don’t stay inside. I would say this is the most important step I took in my journey. Instead of going straight home after work, I would go to the gym four days out of the week for 30 minutes. I utilized a New Year’s discounted gym membership plan, but there are lots of different ways to make the gym affordable for you. I also used groupon, livingsocial and lifebooker deals on cardio dance classes to add variety to my workouts. Check out your installation’s gym facility, they might even have that available like mine does here at Fort Belvoir. If you live near or on an installation, there are also gym facilities that you can use for free. The elliptical was my go-to machine and I would listen to my favorite music to pump me up. It really was hard for me not to go straight home after ten hours of working and commuting every day. No excuses became my motto.
- Don’t diet. I would never stop eating the foods I loved. Are you kidding me? My favorite dessert is cake and I don’t think punishment is the way to go. Instead, reward yourself after a good workout. Motivate and encourage yourself that at the end of an hour of Zumba, there is a delicious cupcake waiting for you. It doesn’t go without saying though that I changed my eating habits overall. I made sure I stopped eating when I was full and actually stopped drinking soda regularly. Water became me source of hydration and it made me feel better, so I naturally stopped craving soda. Eat what makes you happy, but be mindful of moderation and nutrition. I never counted calories either, only practice recipes that were “more healthy.”
- Don’t expect a change overnight. It really took a lot of self motivating to get through each year, but a lifestyle change doesn’t come quickly. That’s why I never did so well with dieting because if I did, I would see immediate results, but then, it would be twice as easy to gain it all back and then some. I had to constantly keep telling myself that as long as I maintain my goals, it will pay off eventually.
- Don’t do this alone. It’s a rough journey and having a good support system is key. Before my husband came along, my roommates and friends helped keep me on track and went to workouts with me. There were still there even after my husband and when he’s away! I wouldn’t be where I’m at now without them all. Now, my husband and I keep active by hiking, biking and going to the gym together. We keep each other in check and I’m happy to say enjoy exploring new places, while working out.
After lots of practice, it starts to become second nature. I’ve maintained my weight and activity level for two years after I lost it. Remember the goal is to be and feel healthy!