35 Pounds Lost: Finding balance
NAME : Ariyanna
BEFORE WEIGHT : 220
AFTER WEIGHT : 185
POUNDS LOST : 35
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I started gaining weight rapidly in college with no care in the world for nutrition, exercise or any kind of stability. By the end of college, I had generalized anxiety disorder with depression and was on a variety of medications to help stabilize my anxiety and get me out of bed. After college, I continued to gain and make unhealthy decisions because I spent most of my day feeling sick and tired.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
My weight affected EVERYTHING. I lost all of my self-esteem and confidence, I laid in bed most days and chronic daily migraines that made me miss work A LOT. Everyday was a challenge because I felt so uncomfortable in my body. It wasn’t even about looking good, I just felt terrible and everything hurt.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
The turning point was actually during my “before” picture. I was on a family trip with my boyfriend (now, husband) to Colorado and everyone was excited to hike. I wasn’t aware of just how out of shape I was, and during the hike I was falling behind and extremely out of breath. It was my wake up call when everyone was trying to look out for me and I realized I never wanted to be the one falling behind again.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I started to meditate to try and get rid of my anxiety. Meditation helped me calm my mind just for those few minutes and I fell in love with the calmness. I started to do yoga shortly after and started to really connect to myself again after years of depression. As I started to gain muscle and lose weight, I made better food choices because I started to make connections between how junk food made me feel.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
I started noticing the mental effects right away. After a few months of yoga, the physical effects of yoga started to help me lose fat and feel better. I just recently started aerial silks which has changed my goals to gaining strength rather than just losing weight.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
Most of the challenges came internally. I had all of the support from my husband and family to lose weight, the barriers were my own excuses. Once I started to become aware of my own excuses (“I’m not ______ enough”) huge changes and accomplishments came naturally!
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
Weight loss isn’t just making one good decision. It is making good decision in each moment. There are going to be ups and downs, and in every moment I have to ask myself if I am doing something that will help me reach my goals. Temptation is EVERYWHERE and I still crave fast food. Most of the time I have to ask myself if this is worth setting me back on my goals, and sometimes I give in. The most important part is that in the next moment, you’re making good decisions again rather than giving up.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I have been in a weight loss plateau for the last year and a half. For the first year I tried EVERYTHING. I started counting calories rigidly, I had a calorie deficit, I tried new forms of exercise, I gave up everything I liked. After awhile, I realized that I’m the healthiest and fittest I have ever been. So, I’m not working extra hard to see my goal weight on the scale. In fact, I gave up the scale completely because the pounds didn’t matter to me anymore. My goals are now in challenging myself, rather than weight a certain amount.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
It took me a year to lose about 35 pounds, but I took it really slow. As I said before, I’ve been in a plateau but I’m the strongest and most flexible I’ve ever been! 🙂
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
I only focus on non-scale victories now. Every time I work on a yoga pose for awhile without success, I feel so accomplished that one time I can do it! I have also started aerial acrobatics (an AMAZING workout). I hung upside down for the first time and almost cried because I had never had the grip or arm strength to do something like that. There are lots of moments where you surprise yourself on how amazing you really are!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I used to eat at fast food places a lot, it’s my weakness since I drive a lot for work. My husband tries to eat mostly paleo, so we don’t have any processed foods in the house. I eat eggs and protein shakes for breakfast, veggies/lunch meat/nuts/protein bar for lunch, and dinner is usually some type of meat and veggie dish.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I didn’t work out at all during college or when I was at my heaviest. I now do yoga daily, aerial yoga once a week, and a private aerial fitness for an hour and a half per week. A few times a week I also do squat training. I used to despise working out, and it took me a long time but I truly believe that you need to find a work out that you ACTUALLY like to do. I tried running and failed miserably because I despise running.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Find exercise that you actually enjoy!
- Keeping processed/temptation foods in the house was a big no-no for me. I don’t even keep anything unhealthy in the house (my family hates coming over because we have no snacks) but it was a huge turning point for me since it wasn’t available! I had to learn to snack on healthy foods.
- Prepare food ahead of time to avoid triggers. I knew one of my triggers was when I didn’t pack lunch and I was driving home hungry. I always make sure to have snacks with me to munch on during my commute!
- Find support. It’s not something you should do on your own and there are plenty of people out there to help you on your journey! Even if your family isn’t supportive, there’s a huge support system online, instagram, etc that can help!
- So corny but happiness is within you, the only thing holding you back is yourself.
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