I’ve always been chubby, but it was in third grade that the weight really started to pile on. In high school, I became aware and self-conscious of my weight — I would teeter-totter up and down nine kilograms here or there on diets that never lasted. Then, once I got to university, I gained the freshman 20. My weight continued to fluctuate, and once I got married and had my three kids, it continued to escalate.
At this time, I was living a completely sedentary lifestyle. I wouldn’t say the food I was eating was terribly unhealthy, but I was eating way too much without a second thought about how it was affecting my body.
My wake-up call came two-fold in January of 2015. First, I went shopping for new jeans. The store I usually go to is for petite women and carries size zero to 24; I always liked that I could shop there because it wasn’t a strictly plus-sized shop. I got into the dressing room with a pair of size-24 jeans and they wouldn’t button. I realised that was my last shot at shopping somewhere that carried standard-sized clothing.
Just a few days later, I had an event at church where my husband and I had to get on stage to play a game. Someone in the crowd was videotaping it, and once I saw the video on Facebook, I was horrified. I was so used to seeing myself from the front that the side-angle in the video brought me to tears. I had no idea that was what others saw when they looked at me.
I knew I needed to healthier in order to take care of my kids, so I started researching long-lasting ways to lose weight. That’s when I found the LoseIt app. I used it to record everything I was eating each day and the results were eye-opening — I was eating about three times as much food as I needed to be. The app allows you to set weight-loss goals, and it in turn, gives you a number of calories to stick to each day. I knew that my goal weight was 59 kilograms, but I set the app to smaller goals that seemed more manageable. So rather than put 59 in, I started with 110, then 105, and so on.
I didn't change the amount of times I was eating each day, but instead, I lowered the volume of food I was eating at each of those meals. I also switched all my grains from white to brown, and switched to sweet potatoes. Today, I start my mornings with egg whites and turkey bacon, and follow with a mid-morning snack of fruit. My lunch is usually a wrap of some kind with turkey and veggies. An afternoon snack will be carrots with hummus or nuts. For dinner, I have a lean protein like chicken or fish with more vegetables. Throughout the entire day, I’m drinking lots of water — I average about three-and-a-half to four litres a day, which has helped the elasticity of my skin as I’ve lost weight. This is the way I eat most of the time, but I do a cheat meal every two weeks or so — that’s usually pizza or ice cream with my kids.
When I changed my diet in January, I began walking a kilometre each morning and night. After about five months of that, combined with my diet changes, I lost 30 kilograms and 61 centimetres. After that, I started going to spin class. I went to the 45-minute classes Monday through Thursday through September of that year. Then, after losing even more weight, I joined a gym where I did half an hour of cardio and half an hour of free-weight strength training five days a week. Switching up my workouts was vital to my process as it always kept my body guessing. By January of 2016, I weighed 57 kilograms and lost a total of 64 kilograms.
STICKING WITH IT
I’ve been maintaining my weight at around 57 to 61 kilograms for almost two years now. The weight came off quickly, but there were many plateaus along the way. During those times, I felt down on myself because the scale wasn’t budging, but then I continued to take my measurements and see that progress was still happening even if the scale didn’t reflect it. I pushed past the plateaus by changing up my diet and exercise habits.
I never thought I was an unhappy person before, but I’m so much happier now. I’m more confident, I've stopped with the negative self-talk, and even got my husband to go on this journey with me and lose weight as well. Our relationship has improved and now we’re great examples for our children when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle.
MY NUMBER-ONE TIP
Stay motivated, start slow, and get a good support system. I wouldn’t be able to do what I did without friends and family checking in on me every day. Having that positive force behind you holds you accountable to ignore the past and just move forward.
This story originally appeared on Women's Health US