Something a Little Different – My Weight Loss Journey

No recipe this time, I thought I’d talk about my weight loss journey, don’t worry though recipes will resume after this post. This is something I’ve mentioned on My Instagram previously. I thought I’d talk about how I’ve lost/am losing weight, currently 120lbs/8 and a half stone/54kg in around two years with diet and exercise alone. At times it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been such an incredibly rewarding experience

A disclaimer – I am merely talking about my own relationship with food and experience of being obese. I do not speak for every obese person nor am I a medical professional

Some Context – The “Before”

I don’t like to use the terms “before and after”, as I don’t like any negative associations with my “before” self. I was still me, I just weighed more. I came to a point where I was sick and tired of finding it harder to move around, and becoming breathless quickly. I wanted a change

I used food to comfort myself, if I was having a bad mental health day, I would seek solace in food to get through it. Part of my particular mental illness is having poor impulse control, so often I’d already finished eating before I had chance to think “wait, should I really be eating this? Am I even hungry?” Mostly the answers were no and no respectively, but by then the food was gone

What Do You Feel Needs To Change?

To successfully change a behaviour, it’s often helpful to be mindful and work out why you’re doing it in the first place. What are you experiencing/feeling before you decide you want to engage in that behaviour? What kind of positive feelings does it give? How does it make you feel afterwards? For me, I would feel comforted and satisfied, then those feelings dissipated and I felt disappointed in myself, which would lead to wanting to comfort myself, and the cycle starts again

From a practical point of view, we all need to eat every single day. So separating the emotions and addressing those separately, can make the journey less complicated. Once I learned what need was fulfilled by eating in excess, I could begin to fulfill that same need with something else. I learned other ways to comfort and take care of myself, I’ve learned to love exercise, prepare nutritious food for myself and basically use food as fuel, rather than comfort

The Nitty Gritty

So, how do you go about actually losing the weight, especially when you want to lose quite a bit? I’ll list some practical tips, with the last one being an emotional and psychological tip;

  1. Counting calories. I worked out my basal metabolic rate (this is the amount of calories your body naturally burns at rest, there are various different calculators online to work this out) and I ate slightly under that. I wanted to lose the weight slowly and steadily. If you also want to do this, you only have to undereat by 250kcal a day to lose a pound every other week
  2. Eat the serving size as recommended on the food packet. Buy yourself some scales and weigh food out (paying attention to weather the calories listed is for the weight of cooked or uncooked food)
  3. Load up on vegetables. This adds more bulk to your meal without adding lots of extra calories
  4. Don’t give up foods you enjoy. Eat lower calorie versions, or eat the higher calories versions less frequently. Can you imagine never eating your favourite foods again? Neither can I, that would be horrible
  5. Drink water, I try to drink at least two litres a day. In addition to keeping you hydrated it will help you to feel more full
  6. Incorporate gentle, low/no impact exercise. Things like walking, swimming or cycling will get your body moving without stressing out your joints. Personally I cycle for just under an hour daily on an exercise bike
  7. Prepare food to take with you to work/school/uni/when out and about. That way you don’t have to rely on eating out, or buying something pre-prepared
  8. Lastly; don’t place too much importance on the scales. It’s good to keep track of your weight loss, but don’t forget to track other things too. Like being able to move easier, not getting out of breath as quickly, needing smaller clothes, increased muscle mass etc. Often people mistakenly give sole authority to what the scale says. Once you give authority to something, you give it power over you. This can drastically affect your emotional and psychological wellbeing. If you give authority to multiple sources, you gain a more accurate picture of your progress. So for example, if the scale doesn’t move one week, it won’t affect you as much because you know you’ve gained muscle mass, need smaller clothing and can move easier. That way you won’t be disappointed and tempted to binge to comfort yourself

A Few Final Tips

At first, I found it difficult to adjust to smaller portions. Before I would serve myself two, or sometimes three times, the amount the packet suggested. But after a couple of weeks it became normal and I got used to it

It’s perfectly okay to have meals/days where you don’t track the calories of what you’re eating. You don’t have to know down to the exact calorie, just a general idea is fine

Set small, regular goals, rather than larger ones. Goals like drinking a certain amount of water, doing a certain amount of exercise etc. It’s easier to achieve small daily goals, and you’ll be more likely to stay on track. It’s going to take time to lose the weight, it didn’t go on overnight and it won’t come off overnight either. It will take time and that’s perfectly okay

Work with your body, not against it. In the beginning I could only cycle for 10 minutes before getting tired and out of breath. My initial reaction was one of disappointment. But I decided to accept my capabilities without judging them. Over time I added five minutes at a time to how long I cycled for, and eventually I’d built up to an hour. It’s good to push yourself, but not to the point of hurting yourself

Lastly, respect your body. Don’t change it out of hatred for it. No one should hate their body, regardless of its size

I hope this has been of some help

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