How did I do it?
Since May 2015 I have lost 100lb naturally (7 stone 2lb/45kg). I have not had any weight loss surgery, taken any ‘magic’ pills or shortcuts, I have lost all of my weight by following a healthy balanced lifestyle consisting of lots of healthy food and plenty of exercise. I count calories and log all of my meals in a food diary to ensure I am in a calorie deficit over the week (meaning that I make sure to burn more calories than I consume, allowing my body to be burning fat resulting in weight loss).
As well as leading a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and exercise, I also firmly believe that a healthy mind is just as important. Even 2 years ago weighing 250lb, I believed in myself. I knew I wanted to lose weight and I knew I could do it! Having self belief makes you far more likely to stick to your plan and achieve your goal. Additionally, having the ability to pick yourself up after a bad day is important, as an emotional eater myself, I understand the temptation of going home after a bad day to binge eat in order to feel better, however this is a temporary solution with both mental and psychical damages in the long term.
This journey was not easy so I won’t position it as all fun and smiles. In two years I have faced many challenges, had several setbacks, laughed and cried (sometimes all in one day!) Some of which I will explain throughout this blog.
What do I mean by balance?
I’ve mentioned before in other blogs and on Instagram that I follow an 80/20% lifestyle and I always have done since the beginning, this means that for 80% of the week I eat healthy and for 20% I enjoy a treat. This works for me as I still like to enjoy meals out and sweet treats and lets be honest we can’t be 100% all year round.
What balance looked like for me 2 years ago when I started losing weight:
Saturday was my weigh day (at home) and also treat day so I ate whatever I wanted on Saturday evenings (literally anything I fancied) sometimes a meal out but usually a takeaway pizza, bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate and I wouldn’t log it or feel guilty. I’d make sure to get straight back on plan on Sunday morning or occasionally I would sometimes have a small treat on Sunday night like leftover chocolate from Saturday or tea and biscuits. From Monday I would then be 100% on plan for the duration of the week. One night of eating a lot of food didn’t ruin my progress as long as I didn’t continue to over indulge for the next few days and I ensured that I was in a calorie deficit for the rest of the week.
What balance looks like for me now:
I still follow an 80% 20% lifestyle but I am more strict with food (mostly because I have been good in the lead up to my holiday but also because I’m trying not to use food as a reward so I’m having less cheat meals). However, these days I don’t plan my cheat meals so much, I just have them when I fancy them usually every few weeks or so dependent on my social plans. I try to opt for ‘clean’ cheat meals where possible such as homemade burgers or protein pizza, then I save my remaining calories for puddings such as pancakes, protein bars, protein cookies or homemade protein ice cream.
Even now I am quite flexible – If I over eat on my calories on a meal or treat, I will simply adjust my calories accordingly, for example I won’t eat the snack I had planned for later on in the day or I will eat less the following day to balance out my calories.
I currently track macronutrients (macros) to monitor my daily food intake which means that I try to stick to a set amount of carbs, fat and protein each day. I have been eating around 1600-1700 calories, 180g carbs, 50g fat, 150g protein and I aim to burn 500+ calories a day – meaning that I’m in a calorie deficit. My exercise routine is based on 5 weight training sessions per week, daily walks to reach my steps and 3-4 short cardio sessions a week (e.g. 15-20 minutes of interval sprints on treadmill 30 seconds sprint 30 second rest at the side). Find out more about macros including how to set your own by clicking here.
Now I have reached my overall weight loss goal, my next goal is fitness, muscle building and strength so I will be increasing my calorie intake and reviewing my general food and exercise plan in order to reach my next goal.
Why I don’t like ‘diets’
I hate the word diet! To me, a diet gives the impression of a short term fix, possibly before a holiday or other occasion when people want to feel good before going away. While a quick-fix diet may provide you with a quick weight loss in a short amount of time, it’s likely that all the weight lost will be gained very easily and very quickly. A diet also has a negative stigma attached to it, for example I often hear people say ‘I can’t have that I’m on a diet’, or ‘I have to eat salad because I’m on a diet’ restriction or banning of your favourite foods can lead to a relapse and binge eating. My advice is eat healthy, get active, drink water and enjoy your favourite treats in moderation – again going back to the 80/20 view – so eat your veggies and protein but if you want a cookie, have it!
My biggest obstacles and how I overcame them
As I mentioned above, a weight loss/fitness journey is not easy. I’ve had several challenges to face and it really is a complete mental battle. That being said, it’s how you approach these challenges and overcome them that is important. I’ve listed below the biggest challenges I have faced over the last 2 years and my ways of overcoming them.
1) Binge eating
I previously had a very bad relationship with food. I could eat a pack of biscuits, large bag or block of chocolate, large bag of crisps all in one sitting just as a snack and I would often secretly eat in private (looking back, I’m not even sure why I did this). This was the biggest factor for me in my drastic weight gain throughout my teens and when I decided to lose weight I knew the binging had to stop. Even in the early stages of weight loss I had episodes of binges, often when I would be having a ‘cheat night’, for example I would have a pizza for my cheat meal sometimes with a side of fries and garlic bread, but then I would ‘need’ something sweet afterwards so would often have a bar of sharing chocolate then raid the cupboards because I thought ‘I’ve started eating now I may as well continue’. This is still something I am working on, even today, however it is a lot more under control now and I manage it with positive thinking and self belief.
- Move on – the worst thing to do is dwell on what happened and overthink about the situation, it’s already in the past so move on and leave it behind you.
- Drink water – stay hydrated the following day by ensuring you drink plenty of water, this can also help to reduce psychical hunger and reduce the chance of further binging.
- Be kind to yourself – you’ve had a binge but that’s ok, it was one day, it doesn’t define you and it won’t hold you back. Tell yourself you can overcome it because you are strong and do not put yourself down or punish yourself.
- Focus on getting through that day – don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or next week. Think about that day only and do this daily.
2) Thinking ahead too much
2 years ago at a weight of 250lbs I desperately wanted to be thin as soon as possible. Realistically, weight loss takes a long time as it is a journey not a race, however, being overweight was tough and as soon as I decided to lose weight, I wanted to lose it immediately. I originally had set an overall goal of 66lb to lose, but I didn’t set a time limit, the time will pass anyway so I thought I may as well work hard and reach my goal despite how long it would take. The process can’t be rushed and sometimes the longer it takes isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it helped me to learn a lot about myself including my ability to pick myself up and keep fighting through the tough times.
3) Working in an office
Working in an office means I am often surrounded by cakes, biscuits, sweets and other tempting goodies. Sometimes I will have a small treat but most of the time I resist and stay on track. What I find most difficult about this is the comments I receive from others. For example, if they notice I haven’t eaten a treat they will say ‘Chloe why haven’t you had one?’, there is almost peer pressure to eat something just because everyone else is (which sounds crazy but it’s true!) Don’t fall into the trap of eating something for the sake of it or due to peer pressure, if you don’t want it then don’t eat it – in 5 minutes other people won’t even remember if you have eaten their cake or not! Another tip which I find useful is to say ‘no thanks I don’t eat that’ rather than ‘I can’t eat that’ which implies you’re not allowed or your restricted, saying ‘I don’t’ implies that you are in control.
4) Social life
Life is constantly moving and we are all busy – this can sometimes be an issue if you’re trying to lose a few pounds however you can’t sit inside all day every day avoiding the outside world! You can still lose weight and have a social life. At the start of my weight loss I still went out for meals, drinks, parties etc, I just monitored what I ate and adjusted the days calories accordingly. 2 years on, I don’t have meals out as much, however if I do I will opt for high protein low carb meals such as a chicken salad, fish and veg, etc and drink water. Sadly I have lost touch with several people throughout this process as I don’t spend all my weekends in pubs/bars/clubs anymore, I don’t go out for meals as much and I will spend most evenings in the gym because I enjoy it. Other people may not understand your goal and therefore might not appear as supportive as you would like them to, don’t let this stop you from doing what you want to do. If you want to go to the gym rather than go out for a meal, your friends will understand, at the same time don’t give up your social life to lose a couple of pounds, life is all about balance.
My biggest tips for weight loss
- Don’t over complicate things – weight loss and fitness is a process, but there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do it – it’s a personal journey and it’s about finding what does and doesn’t work for you
- Be consistent – I didn’t lose 100lb in a week, it takes time, work hard and be patient and the results will come
- This is about being healthy not ‘skinny’ – I do not agree with detoxing, juice diets, low calorie plans etc (believe me I have tried them all in the past and they don’t work), this is about fuelling your body right in a healthy way to lose weight safely and naturally
- Don’t compare yourself to others – all of our bodies are different, some people can lose 4lb a week, some will lose 1lb. Focus on your own journey, every pound adds up.
- Don’t rely on the scales – our weight fluctuates daily therefore the scales can read heavier but it’s unlikely that you would have gained weight. Use other methods such as before photos to use in 4, 6 or 8 weeks time to see the changes that the scale won’t show. Additionally, a pair of jeans is also a good way to measure weight loss – try to listen to your body and the way you feel rather than relying on what the scales are showing
- Write yourself a plan – set a plan for the week for your meals each day and your exercise plans, this way you’re fully prepared for each day
- Set small goals – even weekly goals are useful and can help to push yourself and continually improve. This could be to do with weight loss or non scale related such as improvements in the gym, feeling more confident, etc.
- Reward yourself – I always reward myself for reaching my goals, this is a big motivator and keeps me on track to reach the next ones. It could be a new pair of trainers or a new outfit etc, be careful using food as a reward, as much as I believe in treating yourself, you don’t want to celebrate losing 1lb by overeating.
- Be positive – this also helps to stay motivated! (read my tips on staying motivated on another blog – Motivation: Positivity is Key)
- Don’t give up – it can be hard, you might get disheartened if you don’t feel any different, you might want to give up and go back to old habits, but stop, take a breath, remind yourself why you want this AND KEEP GOING!
I hope this is useful if you’re just starting your weightloss journey or if you just wanted some insight in general. Find out more tips, healthy recipes and workouts on my Instagram @healthyfit_chloe