On Facebook, I think I've been tagged like dozens of times on that "25 Things About Me" meme, and over at Twitter, now that I have over 41k Followers asking me about how I lost weight, I thought I'd combine the two together. I'm all for two-fers!
Just to recap. I started a 25lb weight loss journey back in June of 2005 and reached my goal in January of 2008, and have kept it all off ever since. Above is me two weeks ago enjoying a day at a resort in the Philippines. Mom took the picture. I did post during the whole time I was dropping those 25lbs on my blog Back in Skinny Jeans which included Weigh-In Wednesdays. Here's that whole section called, "Steph Loses Weight."
So here we go:
1. I eliminated consuming any artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda which I was mostly consuming through diet sodas like Diet Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper, and in my coffee and tea drinks at Starbucks. When I did that 10lbs just fell off. My theory, and again I am no medical pro, is related to this study on how artificial sweeteners can increase your odds of gaining weight.
2. My basic eating philosophy is based around a concept I call "Eating Wellness." I created my food blog Noshtopia to share the things I love to eat, cook, and savor in. There's plenty of food shots too which helps me express my creative side. Admittedly too, I am a Whole Foods addict.
3. I pretty much stopped eating in the car like it was a restaurant on wheels. I don't go through any drive thrus either. If I want food, I park and go inside.
4. I was eating a bowl of ice cream, my favorite sweet after cookies, every night. That's a whole lot of sugar and fat. I started by cutting down the ice cream eating to three times a week. Now, I eat ice cream like once every couple months, and I eat rice or coconut milk based ice creams.
5. I have a Type II allergy to cow and goat milk which makes me bloated, gassy, and sometimes rashy. Eating the cow milk based ice cream every night was irritating my body and food allergies can contribute to weight gain or weight not coming off. My body is cool with rice or coconut milk based ice creams.
7. I started running again. I used to run 3-7 miles 4-5 times per week. I started training for a half marathon.
8. I got over the relationship "stopped working out" funk. I pretty much stopped exercising a year into dating my boyfriend, we also lived together. I got into that relationship funk where you start letting yourself go because in your mind you're like "Well, I have someone now so I don't need to work that hard any more." This attitude is what greatly contributed to me gaining those 25lbs. Okay, not saying it's right, just saying that is what happened.
9. The boyfriend and I broke up.
10. I realized I was overeating or more like emotional eating because I was compensating for the fact that I felt very alone and "not good enough" in my relationship with my Ex because he basically put me in Emotional Siberia for the last 2 years of our relationship compounded with the fact that I was struggling getting my business to a point where I had steady income. I'm not blaming him for everything. There were two of us involved. In hindsight, this was homework for me and instead of being more realistic about what was going on around me and taking proactive action, I ate and avoided conflict.
11. I donated my "fat" wardrobe to Goodwill.
12. I eat leafy greens every day. Mostly I eat arugula, spinach, and mixed greens. The greens helps me stay "regular." Consistent poops are very important to maintaining a healthy body.
13. Every day I do exercises where I focus on what I'm grateful for in my life. I work on my self confidence. I focus on being my own cheerleader. For so many years, I had the negative self bashing tape running in my head, and really if I can't be my own rah-rah, who will? How can your overall healthiness go up if you keep putting yourself down. The mind/body/spirit connection is very intertwined.
14. I stopped reading fashion magazines because they just made me feel constantly "not enough": body, beauty, and lifestyle.
15. I drink plain water every day. My daily goal is half my body weight in ounces. Your body needs water to be drop weight and to be healthy.
16. I stopped blogging about my weight. I blogged about my 25lb weight loss journey, and did a weigh in report every Wednesday. The blogging in many ways helped me stay focused on my goal, but ultimately it caused me more pressure and craziness. I already have an addictive type personality combined with lingering perfect girl traits, so the constant public display of my weight was triggering more negativity than positivity...for me. I also don't want my online brand to just be about my body. At some point, we have to evolve from the constant body focus. I do not deter anyone from the diet or weight loss blogging because in many ways it can be very helpful mainly for support and accountability. Here is my advice to help you have a more positive experience.
17. I view my health which includes keeping a healthy weight in healthy ways as an asset.
18. I do my best to no longer let the scale steal my happiness or dictate how I live my life. I'm letting go of letting my "fat" rob me of going out or going for my dreams and goals. I've spent too much time letting my lack of beauty prevent me from living until that magical moment when I'm thin and back in the skinny jeans again. Admittedly, this has been a tough thing to do, but I want to live more not just exist or wait until...
19.I fell in love with the Precor Adaptive Movement Trainer. I LOVE this thing!
20. I pretty much stick to shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. I buy produce at farmer's markets a whole lot more because organics are cheaper and there's no tax. Plus, I like supporting the farmers more directly.
21. I cook at home a whole lot more. Cutting down on eating out has saved me calories and money. I eat healthier when I know what's going into the dish plus it gives me content for Noshtopia :)
22. When I do eat out, I've been using Yelp a lot more too to read reviews on local restaurants. Lots of people like to talk about the healthiness or lack of it in a restaurant's dishes.
23. I don't count calories. I go more by portion size and pretty much stick to eating portions that are the size that can fit in the palm of my hand. I eat tapas size meals like 4-5 times a day. I'm more of a nibbler versus big plate.
24. I started back on the resistance exercise. Admittedly, I'm a cardio freak. I can do cardio for hours but don't care for the weight lifting too much. Mentally, I've been focusing more on "muscle building" as you don't have to work out in the weights section of the gym to build muscle. You can do pilates, yoga, DVDs at home, classes, stuff outdoors, etc. I'm just getting creative in ways to do resistance exercises to build muscle mass because muscle burns more calories and muscle is shapely :)
25. I eliminated the word "diet" from my everyday talk. If need be, I'd rather say, "I'm on a menu." On the blogs, I'll use the word "diet" more because of SEO purposes. Gazillions of people do searches that include the word "diet."
So, there you have 25 things I've done to drop 25lbs and keep it off. What are some things you've done to shed the pounds and keep it off?
Update: Thank you to Glamour Health & Fitness Blog Vitmin G for featuring us, "25 Things One Woman Did To Lose Weight -- And Keep It Off." (Apr. 21)