- 1.A Weight Loss Transformation Worth Sharing: An Introduction
- 2.A Weight Loss Transformation Worth Sharing: The Beginning
- 3.A Weight Loss Transformation Worth Sharing: Confidence is Key
- 4.A Weight Loss Transformation Worth Sharing: How It Happened
- 5.A Weight Loss Transformation Worth Sharing: Everyday Weight Loss Tips
I didn’t transform my mind and body overnight. If you’ve kept up with the first few blog posts of this series, you’re probably curious about how I actually lost 150 pounds.
Nothing happened; I had no “aha moment.” I’ve heard the burning question countless times, but I admit that I still can’t answer it. I don’t know what suddenly made me do it. I do know that for the first time in my life, it was self-motivated. That’s what made this time different, and that’s why I could successfully execute the decision to change my entire way of living like one might flip a light switch. At this point I also learned the truth about motivation: If it doesn’t come from within, it might as well not come at all.
I had no experience with proper eating habits and zero knowledge about how to establish them, so Jenny Craig’s “dieting for dummies” model was a perfect match for my ignorance. When it began, the weight loss process itself was relatively mindless because I began by relying on packaged meals. All I had to do was open the freezer, pick which cardboard box appealed to me most that day, stab the plastic wrapping with a fork a few times, wait between four and five microwave minutes and make the best of whatever was packed inside a plastic black tray. With rare exception, I did this for every meal for roughly eight months.
Eventually, I felt experienced enough to mimic the packaged breakfasts, lunches and dinners with my own food, and I built the fundamentals of my daily intake to resemble the Jenny Craig plan. I established an appreciation for a balance of protein, carbs, limited healthy fats and vegetables. One of the first and most significant lessons I inherently learned from eating pre-portioned meals is that we collectively have a dangerous understanding of portion sizes. I can say with confidence that we all need much less food than we think we do – I’d always eat a small bit, wait a short while and then encounter the pleasant surprise of satiation. You can always eat more if need be, but you can’t undo the damage of eating too much.
Before I knew it, my eating habits had been molded by Jenny Craig’s guidelines. I supplemented my small meals with fruit, made room for daily servings of dairy (fat-free milk, low-calorie yogurt) and occasionally enjoyed small snacks. I applied the rule that most vegetables were “free,” allowing me to match every stomach growl with mindless munching of carrots, tomatoes, celery – sometimes even an entire bowl of salad. I learned how to substitute one serving of carbohydrates for another and what to eat when I was lacking protein, and I made a habit of saving calories throughout the day for indulgences.
I gradually realized that the key to dieting was cultivating a calorie consciousness. Once I started paying attention, I observed that my daily plan first required 2,300 calories, then 2,100, then 1,900 and eventually 1,200–1,500. As months passed, my days required fewer additional snacks and longer workouts. I noticed that each Jenny Craig breakfast option had about 200 calories and that most lunches and dinners contained roughly 300. I could successfully take matters into my own hands after learning how to execute the fundamental rule of weight loss – the less you weigh, the less you consume – and lost more than 120 pounds in one year. Then I learned the hard way about extremity: There is a minimum amount of calories, there is such a thing as burning too many and the healthy way to lose weight is not by doing it as fast as possible.
If I can do it, you can do it! For my next post, I’d like to feature more specific details from my experience. I will share my tips on snacking smart, getting creative with fruits and vegetables and how and where to dine out. If there’s anything else you want me to discuss, leave a comment and let me know. Thanks for reading!
And if you’re interested in some inspiration, check out my first motivational speech here.