Transformation of the Day: India lost 102 pounds. For many years, she faced the ups and downs of the weight loss rollercoaster, trying all kinds of methods and plans. Success came when she truly figured out what works for her, including eating high-volume/low-calorie foods, intermittent fasting, and walking. She shared lots of details with us about how she relased the weight.
Start Weight: 235 pounds
Current Weight: 133 pounds
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
My progress is what motivated me the most. Seeing my goals being met and seeing results made me want to keep pushing myself.
People supporting me and believing in me help me maintain. It’s like I almost don’t want to let anyone down.
How did you change your eating habits?
The biggest change was the time of day I would eat (intermittent fasting) and volumetrics. I started eating between 10 am and 6 pm, focusing only on meals (less snacking). I was NEVER successful with portion control and restriction in the past, so I started filling up on high volume, low-calorie foods.
For example, I’ll still have pizza, but instead of eating six slices to get full, I’ll eat veggies and salads before my main entrée, causing me only to eat 1-2 slices. This makes a HUGE difference in calorie consumption. You’re likely to be more successful because you’re not restricting yourself. Instead, you’re just adding MORE vegetables and low-calorie foods, making it easier to eat less of the higher calorie foods).
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
I walk. I walk for 30 minutes a day (2 miles) for 3-5 days a week. I tried going “really hard” in the gym, but I knew this was something I wouldn’t be able to keep up with. With everything I do, I make sure it’s something I see myself doing long-term. I’m 36 years of age, and in 20 years, I can still see myself walking. My goal is to get in anywhere between 10k to 15k steps a day.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
I started at 235 pounds (my heaviest weight was 260, having a child), my current weight is 133 pounds.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started this wellness journey in 2018 and have been making better choices since then. It took around two years to lose the weight, and my journey is not over.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to make permanent changes to be successful. Also, It’s better to make small adjustments instead of going in too hard.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Take your time, make small changes, create new habits, and set a routine.
Funny story: If I’m being technical, my journey started when I was 12 years old. I wasn’t huge, but I wasn’t the smallest either. I’ve always been “a little bigger” than my peers since I hit Middle School-age. Back then, my Mother started on a diet regimen that included meal replacement shakes. The program she was on specifically had you drinking the shakes for breakfast/lunch and eating a normal dinner. My Mother bought cases of this stuff! I would sneak into her stash and drink so many of these things because I thought there was some magic formula mixed in it that would literally burn off the fat (this is before I knew about calories, lol).
Obviously, it didn’t work for me, and I didn’t lose anything. I share this because it was the start of so many trial and error “diets.” It wasn’t until I started investing in educating myself on nutrition that I started being truly successful with weight loss. (NOTE: Back then, I was more focused on image instead of health.)
For my ENTIRE adulthood (except for now), I’ve been considered obese (BMI over 30). I really hit the pavement running with dieting in 2003, during my senior year in high school. To start my diet train, I’ve tried a very popular high protein diet. In my mind, I thought the diet only consisted of eating your burger without the bread. From there and into my adulthood, I’ve tried the boiled egg diet, the grapefruit diet, the soup diet, portion control, eliminating bread, and restricting myself from the foods I felt like I ate too much of (cookies, cakes, etc.). Not to mention, in 2018, my Doctor put me on the Mediterranean diet due to my high LDL cholesterol.
Nothing seemed to work long-term for me. The most successful diet was when I t 30 lbs from my “no-no list,” the diet where I was restricting myself from certain foods. I eventually gained that weight back and more, but that was the most I’ve ever lost.
Fast forward to 2019: I decided to start counting calories. I really didn’t want to. I just did it to say I ATTEMPTED ANOTHER DIET. My original goal was to count calories for at least 21 days. I set that goal because you must do something for 21 days to make it a habit. This was the start of my successful weight loss journey!
Yes, counting calories helped me lose weight. However, what it really did for me was allow me to start literally paying attention to the food I was eating. Counting calories can be a pain, but it can also be very eye-opening.
I started looking up my foods and exploring the numbers (calories per pound, calories I need to maintain and lose weight, activity level vs. calorie count, calories in/calories out, etc.). I began to educate myself on nutrition. Here is where I learned that ALL DIETS WORK! Yes, you heard me; ALL DIETS WORK! It’s really about what’s realistic for YOU to keep up with. Any diet that’s not sustainable for YOU will eventually fail you. For instance, Keto is very effective and great for weight loss, but it’s not for me. I can’t keep up with it, so Keto doesn’t “work” for me. This is where my mindset shifted.
In figuring what works for me, I had to evaluate myself and figure out why certain diets didn’t work for me specifically. For example…
- I don’t want to eat boiled eggs every day, so that does work.
- Grapefruit is lovely, but not every day.
Here’s where I had to dig deep and be specific. My problems consisted of cravings and portion control (I was eating large quantities of high-calorie foods). This is when I adopted a high-volume/low-calorie lifestyle. Since I’m ALWAYS hungry, I’ve started incorporating lower-calorie foods with every meal. This way, I can get full while eating some things that aren’t super low in calories.
Counting calories REALLY helped me start making better decisions and thinking twice about what I’m eating. Counting calories helped me understand that whole foods are better than processed foods, cooking your meals is better than eating out. Counting calories helped me understand the value of the “substitution method” (i.e., Soft drinks vs. diet drinks, sugar-free options, etc.).
During my trial/error phase and being on SO many diets, I developed several eating disorders. The biggest one is my Binge Eating Disorder which eventually led to Bulimia. I never had an issue with my relationship with food (other than overeating) but focusing so much on dieting caused me to be obsessed with food in a very unhealthy way. Learning balance is truly the best way to cope with any eating disorder, but it takes time and effort.
The biggest adjustment was shifting my mindset entirely on what a “diet” is. I stopped doing what everyone was telling me to do and started doing what specifically worked for me. I began incorporating things here and there that I knew I could keep up with. There’s so much to discuss, and so much I’ve learned on this journey, but this sums it up.
Intermittent fasting! We can’t forget intermittent fasting. I originally started intermittent fasting because I wanted it to help me with controlling my calorie intake. It’s easier to have fewer meals, and I can eat more calories per meal if I only eat two meals a day. I’m still going strong with intermittent fasting because I now have a greater knowledge about all the health benefits associated with fasting. You know, boost your immune system, anti-aging factors, autophagy, producing more ketones, etc.
My entire wellness journey has been on a trial and error basis, and THEREFORE, it’s so successful now. There’s nothing wrong with testing out different things to see what works for you. Diets aren’t one size fits all. You must customize and do what works for you.