Transformation of the Day: Jade lost 62 pounds. In 2018, this teacher re-started her transformation journey by making very practical changes to her eating habits and working out consistently. Meal prepping on Sundays, using MyFitnessPal, and adding weight training to her fitness regime are just three things that she did to get results.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
My motivation was to look and feel better. At my heaviest, I did not feel confident at all. I had low self-esteem and suffered from depression and anxiety. I knew I was not my best personal self, and a change was needed. I did not want to keep going down the same path I was on. That also inspired me to keep going.
I knew there were only two options: Continue what I was doing and keep feeling terrible or keep trying and make some progress (even if it was just a little). Even when I fell off track (which happened many times, lol), I told myself that doing something was better than doing absolutely nothing. Once I started to see a little bit of progress, that also inspired me to keep pushing forward.
How did you change your eating habits?
This weight loss journey has been a long one, starting about nine years ago in college. I lost weight, gained it all back and then some, and now have lost it all again. In college, I used the app MyFitnessPal to track my calories and lose weight. When I started my weight loss journey again in 2018, I went back to using MyFitnessPal because it worked for me before.
I started by eating about 1600-1700 calories a day. I did not cut any foods out of my diet. Instead, I really started to pay attention to food labels and portion sizes. I also bought a food scale and measuring cups to help with portioning out my food.
Before the pandemic hit, I started meal prepping, which was ideal for me as a teacher because I could prepare all my meals on Sunday. I prepped lunch to take to work every day, and my dinner was already prepared when I came home tired in the evenings. When I meal prepped, I usually just ate chicken breast, broccoli, and either rice or quinoa. I also would pack an apple and yogurt with my lunch as a snack, and usually a cookie or a mini candy bar as my “dessert.” On the weekends, I would have a “cheat meal,” which was usually something I had been craving that week.
After the pandemic happened, my workload increased, and sometimes I would not have the time or energy to meal prep, so I would buy Lean Cuisine meals to take to work and doctor them up to taste better. I also noticed a plateau after losing the first 40 pounds, so I did intermittent fasting with a 16:8 window (while still using MFP and calorie counting). Intermittent fasting helped me to shed the rest of the weight. I currently eat 1800-2000 calories a day to help me with weight lifting.
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
When I re-started my journey in 2018, I signed up at my local Planet Fitness and began using the elliptical machines there. I wanted a workout that was more intense than walking but easier on my joints than running. I only did cardio in the beginning. I lost the first 30 pounds using the elliptical 4-5 days a week for 45-60 minutes.
After the pandemic hit last year and the gyms closed down, I felt comfortable and fit enough to jog outside. Jogging turned into actual running, and sometimes I would run 6-7 miles a day 4-5 times a week. That helped me to increase my endurance and lose an additional 10 pounds.
When the gyms opened back up, I did a combination of running, elliptical, and stairs for cardio (not all at once, but just picking one to do for the day) for 30-45 minutes 4-5 days a week and lost the rest of my weight. After I hit my goal weight, I incorporated weight training (I recommend doing weights earlier, though. Don’t wait like me!) while still doing at least 30-45 minutes of cardio. My current weight training routine: Monday-legs, Tuesday-rest day, Wednesday-back and shoulders, Thursday-legs, Friday-arms and chest, Saturday-rest day, and Sunday-cardio only.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 233 pounds, and my current weight is 171 pounds.
What is your height?
When did you start your journey?
I’ve been losing weight on and off for years, but my current journey began in 2018.
How long did your transformation take?
I hit my goal weight of 173 pounds in October 2020, so about two years. I’ve been in maintenance mode for about nine months!
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
Nope! No weight loss surgery or skin removal surgery.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
Persistence and consistency are key! When you “fall off,” you can’t say, “Well, I messed up, guess I’ll never lose weight. You have to pick yourself up and keep trying! I fell off so many times, and finally something “clicked” for me and was able to stay consistent. Once you stay consistent, it becomes a habit. Even when I have days where I overeat, I get right back to it the next day!
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Enjoy the journey and celebrate the small victories! Thinking “I have 60, 80, or 100 pounds to lose.” can be very daunting and can feel impossible. Breaking up your large goal into smaller goals makes it seem much more achievable.
I would have a goal of losing 2 pounds a week. Sometimes I would lose only half a pound. Sometimes I would lose 3-4 pounds. I celebrated it all! And if you have a week where you gain instead of losing, don’t self-sabotage! I used to do that a lot, and I would eat crazy because I had a “bad” weigh-in. Instead, figure out what you can do differently for the next weigh-in.
Also, consider that we are women, so hormones and water weight can contribute to short-term weight gain. Remember, if you hop on the scale and see you’re 4 pounds up from 2 days ago, it’s not fat. It’s water! Enjoy the non-scale victories too. Sometimes I wouldn’t see a change on the scale, but I noticed a shirt fit differently. Or I would notice that I ran that mile a little faster and that in itself was satisfying. Just take it one day at a time, and don’t give up!