No Crash Diets, No Pills, No Wraps – Just a Healthy Lifestyle

As 2015 comes to an end, I decided to write a blog of my weight loss progress so far, since May I have lost 4st 2lb (26.2kg, 58lb) and I’d like to share my journey so far with you.

Why did I Start This Journey?

2015 has been an exciting and rewarding year, however the start of the year was not so great. In January I felt tired and sluggish all the time and had been suffering with terrible headaches on a daily basis, sometimes lasting all day with paracetamol having very little effect on the pain. After various tests over a 4 month period it was determined that my headaches were being caused by high blood pressure due to my weight.

On May 18th 2015 I decided it was time for a change, I was not particularly unhappy with the way I looked on the outside however I knew that I was very unhealthy on the inside, so I wanted to do something about it – since that day I have never looked back!

Food and Exercise

I have tried several low-calorie diet plans in the past and found them to be unsuccessful, I’d be hungry all the time and I’d often go back to old habits after several weeks, this time I knew I had to completely change my relationship with food. Before I changed my eating habits, I would normally eat for convenience rather than for health, at the time I worked Monday to Friday 9-5 in an office based role, meaning that during the day I had little opportunity to exercise but lots of opportunity to eat! Like most busy people I thought I didn’t have the time to make healthy meals from scratch or go the gym (although now I realise that time was just my excuse). When I got home from work I would usually have a microwavable ready meal, a takeaway or go out to a pub/restaurant. Most of the time I would skip breakfast, over-eat at lunch time, snack on some chocolate or crisps throughout the day and then over-eat in the evenings.

My new food plan consisted of a big breakfast (high in protein and healthy fats), a smaller lunch and dinner with chicken and veg/jacket potato/salad etc and 3 snacks throughout the day including unsalted almonds and fruit. I also aimed to drink 2-3 litres of water each day.

I found it really useful to log my meals on my Samsung phone, I use the S Health app (similar to MyFitnessPal) to make a note of all my meals and snacks, it would tell me the amount of calories, fat and protein that I had consumed that day. I aimed to eat between 1200 and 1500 calories a day (although this did change as time went on) and 30g or less of fat a day. Some people say when you eat less you’re hungry all the time however I found that eating a big, healthy breakfast and eating the right foods throughout the day kept me feeling full and less likely to snack on naughty food throughout the day.

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Before May this year I did very little exercise, I disliked being active and I would choose to drive somewhere rather than walk but I knew that needed to change. I started off small, I took the stairs instead of the lift, walked to the shop rather than drive and went out for a walk on my lunch break or in the evenings. As I got used to walking I started cycling as often as I could, aiming for 1 or 2 long rides a week, I attended to the gym 3 times a week, went swimming 3 times a week and in October I joined a bootcamp and now I exercise 5 times a week.

Weight Loss and Other Benefits

With the combination of healthy eating and exercise, I began to see the benefits very quickly, after 2 weeks I had lost 9 pound and this encouraged me to keep going. On average, for the first few months I lost 2-3 pounds a week, however it has now slowed down a lot with my weekly weight loss average being 1 pound or sometimes no loss at all. I’ve learned that it’s important to not let myself get upset if the scales don’t show the results I wanted as there are many other benefits to a healthy lifestyle. The benefits I have noticed are that I have more energy, I am more toned (so even if the scales haven’t gone down I have still lost inches and toned), my hair and nails have grown, my skin is clear, I am able to function better at University, my headaches have significantly decreased and most importantly I am the healthiest I have ever been!

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Motivation

I’ve been on my weight loss journey for almost 8 months, this is the longest I have ever stuck at it before! Between October and November I had lost no weight for 3 weeks in a row, that to me was disappointing because I had worked hard. Sometimes in that position, when motivation is low, it is easy to think ‘what’s the point’ and give up, this is why I surround myself with a number of motivators to remind myself why I started this:

  •   Instagram – Social Media is a powerful tool, I have used Instagram almost like a diary with my weight loss, posting updates of my results on a regular basis and I follow many other people who are also on a journey similar to mine. It is inspiring to see the results of others and it has helped me stay on track.
  • ‘Pounds’ Jars – I have 2 jars which are labelled ‘pounds to go’ and ‘pounds gone’, they are filled with small pebbles and each pebble represents 1 pound. I find this a great motivator to see how much I have actually lost.
  • Weight Loss Folder – I have created an album on my phone where I save photos of my progress, whether it be images of my food, inspirational/motivational quotes or selfies, I have found it useful to look back on when I need some motivation.
  • Comparison photos – I had lost 2 and a half stone before actually noticing any differences myself, however when I put an old photo next to a current photo I saw a massive difference and I was amazed. Since then I try to create comparison photos regularly to remind myself how far I have come rather than how far I have to go.
  • Weekly Weight Monitoring – some people weigh themselves every day, which personally I think is too much. I would recommend weighing once a week as weight fluctuates throughout the week so 7 days will provide a more accurate result. I also keep a log of my weight loss in a memo so that I know how much I have lost in total.
  • Think of it as a lifestyle not a diet – many people would say to me ‘how’s your diet going?’ or ‘are you still on that diet?’ but I don’t like to think of it as a diet, a diet implies that it’s a short term change, however a lifestyle implies it is long term which I think is more motivating.
  • ilostwhat.com – this website is really fun if you are losing weight, it gives you an idea of how much weight you have lost by comparing it to an object. For example I have currently lost 58 pounds which according to this website is the equivalent to 58,000 pennies! (Imagine carrying 58,000 pennies around all day – no wonder I was tired!)

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Although I may have made it sound easy on here, it definitely is not easy, it is a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is so worth it!

If you are starting a health journey in the new year, here are a few things to remember which have helped me:

  • Focus on being healthy not being skinny
  • Don’t skip breakfast!
  • You don’t have to eat less, you have to eat right
  • Drink lots of water
  • Believe in yourself – you can do more than you think
  • Don’t expect results over night but it will happen so don’t give up
  • Choose progress over perfection
  • Do it because you want to

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Learn more or follow my journey here – https://www.instagram.com/chloe.longstaff/

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