Weight Loss: How I've Done It

Happy Thursday friends!

Have y'all had a good week so far?
Mine has been much better than I was expecting being that it's the first week back after Spring Break, however, exhaustion has definitely hit!

My flight didn't come in from Orlando until late Sunday night, which made for an early morning on Monday.  Surprisingly, I breezed through Monday and Tuesday (likely running on adrenaline alone) and then exhaustion hit big time Tuesday evening.

That being said, I haven't even added pictures from my trip to the computer yet and am still getting all my ducks in a row since being home.

I have some great posts in the works, but, honestly just don't have the energy to put them all together.

After my last post, Resolutions Update and an April Fool, many of you asked how I've managed to lose 18 pounds.  I thought today I'd share what's worked for me and some basic tips I've picked up.

This will be a text heavy post, so I've tried to add in some Pinterest inspiration along the way and apologize now if I bore you!

But, before I continue, I'll give you the answer to my 3 Truths and a Lie for April Fools.  To recap, here is the list:

  1. Bryce and I met during my 4th year at UVA.
  2. I am naturally a brunette.
  3. I was a psych major in college.
Surprisingly, most of y'all guessed right; the lie was #1!  Bryce and I did not meet until the summer after my fourth year through mutual friends here in Richmond.  Here is a link to the first post I ever mentioned him in, and if you scroll through "Newer Posts" from there, you'll find a recap of the early days of our romance.  I can't believe it was nearly 2 years since that first post and since first meeting my B.

Additionally, I'll mention the other 2 truths.  I am naturally a brunette-kinda.  As a little girl I was blonde, but during high school my hair gradually changed into a dull brown.  I was born a blonde, and therefore think it's in my soul (ha!), but technically now would qualify as brunette.  And secondly, I was a psych major in college and also earned my Masters of Teaching while at UVA.

Okay, now onto the nitty gritty:  losing weight!

Part 1:  Simple Changes

I started the post with that picture because it really has proven true for me.  Around a year ago, I tried to start losing weight, pretty much by working out alone.  I saw virtually no results!  I may have firmed up a bit, but as a whole, working out alone was worthless.  

This time around I changed my diet and the first 5 or 6 pounds fell off without setting foot in a gym.

I started slow:  Sometime around the end of November or early December I cut Cokes out of my lunch.  I only drank one of the small 90 calorie cans each day and always justified it telling myself "It's only 90 calories!"  But what I didn't think about is what makes up those calories--sugars, chemicals, caffeine!  I switched to water, and usually add some lemon slices to it for flavor!

I also began focusing more on my body's natural cues at that point.  I had gotten into a really bad habit of overeating all the time.  Rather than eating until I felt comfortable, I ate until I was overly full and usually felt like I was going to burst.  

With just these two simple changes I lost the first 5 or 6 pounds-- it was painless!

Part 2:  Taking It to the Next Level

I was thrilled by those first pounds that came off, however, I knew that those simple changes weren't enough to reach my goals.  Once the new year began, I knew it was time to take it to the next level.

I did that in a few ways:

  1. REALLY changing my diet!
  2. Working out, some
  3. Allowing myself some leeway
  4. Keeping my eyes on the prize 

First things first, y'all know I'm a Southerner and you know how we Southerners eat.  We love our comfort food.  As stated in my bio on the side, mac and cheese is and will always be one of my favorite foods.  However, I knew I needed to take a step away from the comfort foods (carbs in particular) if I wanted to see real and lasting results.  

I changed my diet in 3 major ways:  
  • Switching to a low carb diet
  • Switching to a low sugar diet
  • Adjusting portion size
I should start my explanation of that low carb diet bullet with:  "Hi, my name is Allie and I'm a recovering carbaholic."  I LOVE carbs--my favorite food is by far pasta and I love carbs in just about every form.  Now, however, pasta dinners are more of a reward, rather than the norm.  I also have been more strategic when it comes to carbs.  I knew that a zero carb diet just wouldn't work for me, so now I focus more on adding complex and gluten free carbs to my meals (especially polenta!).  

Additionally, I have really cut my sugar consumption down.   At the beginning of March I did a two week sugar free cleanse to boost metabolism and curb cravings.  I've found that when you break the habit of eating things like sugars, the cravings tend to go away.  Not only have I cut back on sweets, but also sugars in many different forms.  For example, I switched from Honey Nut Cheerios (9g sugar/serving) to Rice Chex (1 g sugar/serving) for my morning cereal and cut my lemon yogurt out of my lunch (13 g sugar).  I also cut sodas out completely about 2 months ago (aside from the occasional cocktail with Sprite).  When I initially started, I still allowed myself Coke when out to dinner or after a particularly long day, but now I don't drink it at all!  

Finally, I really adjusted portion sizes.  Being that I'm not a fitness or health expert, I can't really verbalize what my portions are now, however, I'd reiterate what I said earlier:  I eat until I no longer feel hungry and feel comfortable, rather than eating until I feel full or stuffed.  To give you an idea, I'll share an Instagram pic of my dinner one night:

You'll notice the salad is the biggest portion on my plate!

Now to give you an idea of what all this "low-carb, low-sugar, reduced portion size" mumbo jumbo means, I'll share a typical day's eating with you!  I decided to include two dinners for a bit of variety!

You get the idea, right?

Working Out, some

This will be short and sweet:
  • Find a work out you love (for me, that's spin classes!)
  • Workout when you can.  (for me, that's usually about 2 times/week, sometimes 3, sometimes only 1!)
  • Like I mentioned before, 70% diet, 30% exercise--if you eat well, working out is more for toning!
Allowing myself some leeway

This has been key.  I strongly believe that my changed eating habits are not a diet, so much as a lifestyle.  HOWEVER, you'll never be able to maintain a healthy diet if you don't allow yourself some leeway.  People who limit themselves completely are more likely to give up or get to a point where they binge after depriving themselves for too long!

I'm a firm believer that most everything is okay in moderation.  I eat somewhat bland cereal 5-6 days/week for breakfast.  BUT, you better believe I indulge on the weekends!  Brunch is one of my favorite outings.  On weekends I allow myself chocolate chip pancakes, waffles, or cheesy omelets for breakfast!

Additionally, when I'm out to dinner, one of the last things I'm ever going to order is a salad.  Going out to dinner is a treat and if I'm at a restaurant and pasta is the best sounding thing on the menu I'm going to order it!

And finally, if I really want ice cream, I'll stop and get some (usually kiddie size, though!)!

Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

Finally, none of this would be possible without a big dose of motivation!

For me this motivation came largely from clothes (are you surprised?).  For close to a year and a half, I had a closet full of beautiful, but unwearable clothes.  I went from a size 6 to a 10 and felt defeated almost every time I looked in my closet.  I finally got to a point where enough was enough.  I wanted to regain possession of my closet, and also a lot of my confidence.  Fitting into smaller sizes has kept me going.  I'm proud to report that I can now fit in probably 99% of my clothes again and it feels great!  

Yesterday was class picture day at school and I felt so triumphant when I was able to wear a favorite Lilly!

I used to laugh this quote off, but now, I'm all for it!

I still have 7 pounds to go to reach my goal of losing 25 pounds, but I'm not dreading it--I'm excited about what is to come!  My next steps are to continue what I've been doing and try to up my workouts a bit, as well as add more tone/definition to my arms and abs.  

Wish me luck!

Do you have any weight loss tips?

What is your motivation for staying skinny?

Have a great day....tomorrow is FRIDAY!