Hey guys! I receive many, many questions per day, so I thought it would be easiest to just compile my answers into one massive post! Please note that I am not a doctor or dietician and cannot provide personalized advice. I am simply sharing my experience and my journey, and I’m not comfortable telling other people what to do since we’re all so different and have our own goals and medical history and all that jazz! I will share what has worked for me, but that does not mean I have some magic diet plan or fitness routine (as fun as that would be!). We’re all on our own paths and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to one another. The point of this journey is to discover who YOU are and what works for YOUR body! :) Ok, now on to the fun stuff!
This is by far the most popular question, and it has a long answer. First I think it’s important to stress that this was a HUGE mental block for me in the past because I always focused on losing weight instead of getting healthy. I would eat only salads for lunch, cut out desserts and burgers, go to the gym and do the elliptical five days a week, etc. What I WASN’T doing was gradually making small changes, like trying to drink more water, looking for ways to move more, learning to cook, tracking my meals, eating nutritional foods, etc. I always wanted a quick fix, or I’d put a timeline on my weight loss like, “I have five months to lose 40 pounds because I’m going home for a wedding!” So for me, changing my mindset was everything, and I think that is directly related to how I stay motivated. While the scale undoubtedly kept me accountable and motivated, it was/is important for me to not make that my sole success indicator. I set small non-scale goals (drinking eight cups of water every day, tracking my food when I didn’t want to, choosing the turkey burger and sweet potato fries over the cheeseburger and onion rings, etc) and celebrated those kinds of victories. I also always looked at inspiring Instagram accounts, Pinterest recipes, and read up on health articles. I focus on how I feel, how I can walk outside without getting winded, how I’ve learned to cook and cut down on processed foods, and more. Progress pictures, taking body measurements, and fitting into smaller clothes is a great motivator too, even if the process is slow and you don’t see results fast enough (don’t let that discourage you!). The thing to know about this journey is that it is a lifestyle change that you have to live with forever. You have to take it one day at a time, maintain balance, don’t deprive yourself, and do this for YOU, not anyone else.
I always tell myself to think ahead. If I’ve already lost 20 pounds, but no one has complimented me or I don’t see a change in the mirror, should I quit? No. Why would I quit something that is making me feel better, prolonging my life, and uplifting my spirits/energy/attitude? It is a lifestyle change, and you have to be prepared to truly adjust your habits if you want to achieve your standard of health. I am living proof that this stuff isn’t impossible, it just takes dedication, commitment, and focus. This isn’t an easy journey, but it is completely worth it for me!
I eat a TON of fruits and veggies, I eat lots of lean meats and fish (deli turkey, ground turkey, chicken breast, shrimp, salmon, turkey bacon, chicken hot dogs), whole grains (whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa), and probably too much PB2 😉. I have cut down a ton on processed foods, I cook every single day, I bring healthy snacks to work, and I have completely cut fried/fast food (mostly because I now don’t enjoy it). You can also see all my favorite Trader Joe’s products here.
Yes, but remember that this is based on my preferences, my lifestyle, and my taste buds! I cut some things because they were making me feel bloated and lethargic, because I just didn’t care for them that much, or because I no longer find them to be “worth it.” Just because I cut these things doesn’t mean you have to! Here’s what I (mostly) stopped eating:
No, I don’t have a meal plan! I do prepare most of my own food and basically just cook with what I have in the kitchen. Below is an average-ish day for me.
Yes! And I still eat some of the other things, these are just great swaps if I want to go lower carb or less sugar or something.
As of right now, I run 2-3 times a week, I spin 1-2 times a week, and I strength train twice a week (I always have a rest day). HOWEVER, for the first five months of this lifestyle change, I only walked. I would walk a lot, and try to increase my distance/steps/speed/calories burned every week, but I didn’t do the gym. After losing 40 pounds, I decided to join Crunch and I started working out a few times a week (treadmill and elliptical). But I found that SUPER boring, and started doing C25K and Crunch classes instead and LOVED it. I also finally tried Soul Cycle and now I’ll never make fun of it again. To me, fitness is about finding something you genuinely enjoy. I do not look at exercise as a necessary tool to lose weight, I look at it as a stress reliever, a way to get stronger, and a hobby. If you hate running, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO RUN. If you cannot handle CrossFit, don’t do it just because you think you’ll burn more calories. Find what works for you and go with that! My weight loss was mostly about a diet change, not hitting it hard with exercise.
Here are some changes I made when starting out:
For most of my journey I did the Online program, but I am very independent and grew up on the internet, so it worked for me. I am now doing Online + Meetings and love it! It’s so nice to talk with people who just get what you’re going through, and it’s reassuring to hear similar stories and whatnot. If you want more accountability, meetings might be good for you. I also started with PointsPlus and moved to SmartPoints when Weight Watchers changed the plan. I love SP because it teaches you to make healthier decisions and I eat way more whole foods and less added sugar. I started with like, 42 PP and now I’m at 30 SP.
I’m not comfortable sharing that on the internet, but the whole point of this health change is to remember that numbers don’t matter! I am fit, healthy, happy, and that is what’s most important. :)
This is a very popular question and I wish I had a better answer. I am not a doctor, dietitian, or trainer, and I have no medical knowledge about how you avoid loose skin. Everyone’s bodies are so very different, and I do not believe there is one magical explanation for avoiding loose skin. I don’t do any specific exercise to “target certain areas,” I don’t have some skin care routine, and I don’t have any sort of solution for this common weight loss problem. Sorry!
When it’s late and I’m hungry, I first drink water. If I’m still hungry, I eat something light. I am listening to my body and if it’s craving food, I’m going to feed it! But I try and only do healthy stuff like frozen grapes or light popcorn with seasoning. If I am not actually hungry and just craving something, I try to distract myself with an activity, like taking a short walk or painting my nails.
However, bingeing is a huge problem for me personally and sometimes I just can’t stop myself - it’s like I become a savage monster who can’t concentrate on anything else unless she annihilates the craving. In this case, it’s very difficult for me to stop and I’m afraid I just don’t have an answer for it. However, I did read the book Brain Over Binge and it has helped me a lot. I have no idea if it “cured me” or if I’ll binge again, but it is a good read nonetheless. It talks about how we binge because we’ve created a habit and the animal instinct part of our brain thinks it needs to binge to survive - so it’s all about separating your true self from that part of your brain. Anyway, I think it’s worth checking out if this is a big problem for you like it is for me!
No, I don’t believe in cheat days. I personally feel like that mentality is forming a bad relationship with food. Instead, if there is something I’m craving that I really, really want, I’m going to have it. If it’s not worth it in my opinion, then I avoid it. It’s all about balance, and I don’t like to reward my hard work with “bad food.” And by the way, if I am treating myself, it is most likely a Levain cookie because DAMN.
Yes! You can find it here.
It's all about planning ahead! Buy whole produce (not pre-cut), and store in the fridge or freezer so it won't go bad. Look for sales and buy produce when it's in season. Plan out your meals for the week and use similar ingredients, then create a grocery list and stick to that list! You can definitely shop on a low budget, you just have to be dedicated and put the work in to make it as efficient as possible.
I used the C25K app and LOVED it! I literally could not run for 30 seconds straight without huffing and puffing when I first started, and now I’ve successfully completed two half-marathons. That app worked wonders! But if you hate running, don’t force yourself to do it. Find a sport/class/routine that you enjoy!
The most important thing to remember about this lifestyle change is that it’s permanent, and you’ve got to find your balance. I can’t sacrifice my social life just because I don’t want to gain weight. I plan ahead, have my indulgences once in a while, and move on. I will often look at the menu ahead of time and see what the healthiest options are and plan my day around it. Also, this is about MY health journey, and I no longer have problems making menu adjustments. I don’t care if people are judging me — I order my veggies steamed with no butter or oil, I ask for no cheese on my salads, I ask for dressing on the side, etc. I essentially go for a lean meat with veggies or fruit, and avoid anything fried, buttered, cheesy, crusted, sugary, etc.
If I’m going to a potluck or BBQ, I’ll bring healthy options for everyone to share so that I am contributing but also looking out for myself. In terms of drinking, I very rarely drink alcohol anymore, but I still go to happy hours and just order water with lemon! I have learned that I definitely do not need alcohol to have fun, and my body feels SO MUCH BETTER when I’m not hungover! :) If you do drink, I’d avoid sugary mixers like juices or sodas. Perhaps wine, light beer, and vodka soda are the better options.
Yes, several times. Nutritionists and trainers have told me that the best way to break it is to switch up your routine because your body is getting too used to it. I wouldn’t go and eat a whole cheesecake or something to jumpstart your metabolism, but maybe try different exercises that target different muscles, or try different veggies and whole grains.
Yes! List below.
P.S. Here are some links you might enjoy!
I hope this was helpful! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following my journey and supporting me through this important change in my life. It has been difficult to be so vulnerable and share these things about myself, but hearing your stories, your achievements, and your strengths has truly inspired me, and I am so grateful to have this community. Go slow, enjoy the journey, and live with no regrets. ❤️