My Journey to Wellness
Cellophane_star’s journey to weight loss started several years ago. In her story she discusses how changing her foods from processed to unprocessed have helped her shed 68lbs. Read on for her weight loss tips, all taken from her own experiences.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
As a kid, I was always overweight and I always hated it. I wanted to change the way I looked. I was very inactive and loved salty junk food like pizza and Doritos. I was emotionally addicted to bad foods. Eating fast food every day for lunch in Grade 12 helped propel me to my highest weight ever. By the time I started University later that year, my size 38 wide-leg men’s jeans were feeling tight. When I saw a hideous picture of myself from that time (posted in my CC gallery), I said “enough is enough” and finally decided I had to do something!
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I never made a real attempt at any diets. I never had the stamina or will power to last more than a few days.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
My health and fitness path happened in 3 different stages:
1. In 1999, a female-only fitness center called Active Women (similar to Curves) opened in my city so I joined. I had been inactive my whole life prior so I figured that joining this type of fitness center would cut down on the intimidation factor of a large gym. By finally moving my butt, cutting way back on fast food and soft drinks and trying to watch my diet, I lost 50 lbs within the next few years.
2. In 2004, I moved away from home, got lazy and regained 10 lbs. I realized I wasn’t going to get any thinner or healthier if I didn’t do some work. Once again, I fully committed myself to working out regularly and eating properly. I split my time between Curves and a conventional gym, exercising 3-6 times a week, and I completely revamped my eating habits once again by doing the following:
- Drinking at least 2 litres of water daily
- Drinking water with meals instead of diet soda, juice or milk
- Loading up on fruits and veggies
- Cutting down on bread, dairy and alcohol (but I didn’t cut them out entirely!)
- Carefully watching portion sizes (measuring when I can)
- Learning how to cook properly
- Experimenting with vegetarian/vegan recipes
- Eating more protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables
By doing this and eating each of the 4 food groups in every meal, I lost additional 20 lbs.
3. Several months later, my weight loss stalled but I was still looking to lose those “last 10 pounds”. At this point, I decided to quit Curves and I got very serious about my physical fitness and my diet. In February 2008, I visited a nutritionist who suggested I cut out artificial sweeteners, cut down on excess sugar and add more protein, whole foods and veggies to my diet. I gave up Splenda and fake foods completely and now consume 90-120 g of protein daily which has made a huge difference in my appetite. I am rarely hungry or snack-y. This nutritionist visit and the book Fast Food Nation made me take a close look at what I was consuming. At this point, I became a Clean Eater. I am very conscientious about my food choices: I eat whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods and avoid fast food “diet” food that has been overly processed or has ingredients I can’t even pronounce. I make sure to include lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables into every meal/snack and to eat at least one serving of dark green vegetables per day. I love searching for and experimenting with healthful recipes and trying new fruits, vegetables, spices and whole grains. I also drink plenty of water every day.
I later revisited my nutritionist and she suggested I cut out processed soy (from tofu and soy milk) in an attempt to lose a few more pounds and some body fat. A few weeks later, I was noticing inch loss and I was down a few pounds so I can only assume it was because of this elimination.
Fitness-wise, I continue to visit a conventional gym where I do cardio and strength exercises 4-5 times a week. I meet with a personal trainer regularly to mix up my strength training routine. I also take bootcamp-style classes and the occasional spin class at my gym (though I’d rather ride my bike outside on a sunny day). In summer 2008, I completed two 6-week bootcamps and I loved them. They really sparked a level of fitness in me that I didn’t know existed, motivating me to push harder than I ever thought I could. I even started running regularly, something I never thought I could do. In an effort to lose “the last 10 pounds”, I then switched gears to more intense and focused strength training routines with less hard cardio. I’ve become quite interested in Strength Training because it makes me feel strong and more capable.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
Calorie Count initially helped me with the beginning stages of food logging and the calorie counting concept, as well as giving me plenty of good food ideas via the Forums (who knew pumpkin in oatmeal would taste good?). Eventually, I started using the Journal feature and I gained a great community of online friends who supported me and shared their experiences. I discovered an interest in Food Blogging. I’m always posting pictures and recipes of healthy meals that I made.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
The most challenging part happened about two years ago. I was desperately trying to lose the “last 10 pounds” and even though I was eating healthy and exercising regularly, it wasn’t happening. That’s when I decided to hire a personal trainer and visit a nutritionist which made all the difference in the world. By seeking expert advice, I got personalized service that was tailored to my needs and it really worked.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
When I first started, it took a few months of consistent exercise to see any weight loss. After month 2, I dropped 10 lbs and then I knew I was hooked!
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
There have been many times where I’ve been proud of my weight loss accomplishments but I’d say nothing tops the feeling when you try on a pair of pants only to discover they’re too big and you need to go down a size.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
It was never really an issue. I absolutely hated being overweight and never wanted to be fat again. I think the key to my success was that I managed to incorporate a healthy diet and exercise into my routine so it became a habit, rather than something I begrudgingly had to do.
9. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I feel amazing! My life has totally changed from being a shy, grumpy, overweight teenager to a confident, attractive, fit woman. I think I look younger than I did 10 years ago. I can go into any clothing store and find something that fits. I don’t have to worry about being the biggest person in the room. I crave healthy foods instead of junk food and I love to cook.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- The key to long term weight loss is a combination of diet and exercise. If you can ntegrate these two aspects and make them a priority in your life, you’re on the right path.
- Stay away from “diet” foods. I am passionate about a “Clean
Eating” lifestyle and make sure that 95% of the food I eat are
unprocessed, whole foods that nourish my body instead of just filling
me up. (The best resource for this lifestyle that I recommend is
http://www.eatcleandiet.com/). Drink lots of water, eat lean proteins,
whole grains, tons of vegetables and fruit and you will be successful
and healthy. If you can’t seem to quit drinking soda or eating fast
food, read the book “Fast Food Nation” and you will never want it
- Seek out professional help from nutritionists, personal trainers,
life coaches, etc. You don’t have to do it alone.
- You didn’t gain weight overnight and you’re not going to lose it
overnight. Weight loss takes time and it won’t happen unless you’re
patient, determined, focused and consistent.
- Don’t let the number on the scale dictate how you feel about
yourself. Weighing in every day is futile. Judge your success by how
your clothes feel, how many inches you’ve lost, how much further you
can run, how much more energy you have and remember that the number on the scale is not the end of the world!