Today I weighed in at 280.0 lbs, which is a huge milestone for me. As I stated in the title this is the lightest that I’ve been since I was 16 (which was 5 years ago).
By the time I was 19 I weighed myself and saw 360 lbs on the scale. After that I decided to stop weighing myself, but I know I got heavier than that over the following months.
Around my 20th birthday I moved half way across the country for school, and seeing as I had a lot less money, I ended up getting down to 330 lbs without trying to lose weight. I sat at 330 for around a year, until I started this weight loss journey.
The main reason why this has been my most successful weight loss journey so far is because this isn’t a weight loss journey. That sounds stupid, but bear with me. I recently realized that the main reason why I failed previously was because I started with the goal of losing weight, and not with the goal of bettering myself as a whole.
I’ve found two truths about weight loss:
The scale fluctuates a lot, even when you’re doing the right thing.
You see yourself daily, so for most people it will be a long time before they notice visual differences in their appearance from the weight loss, if they ever do. (I’ve lost over 50 pounds this year, and still feel like I look the exact same).
If your only goal is losing weight, it’s unbelievably easy to get discouraged for the reasons listed above, and for dozens of other reasons. However, if you’re not focusing only on weight loss these things won’t be demotivating when they inevitably happen, and it is a lot easier keep pushing forward until you start getting favorable results again.
My goal from day one this time around has been becoming the person that I want to be. I started working on the mental health side of things first. I focused on identifying the personality traits that I wanted to strengthen, the habits that I wanted to develop, and the habits that I wanted to break.
After a couple of months of working on my mental health, and feeling better about who I was, starting to work on my physical health felt like the natural next step. I took it slowly, and started finding the things that worked for me.
After a couple of months of figuring things out I came to the conclusion that the following things worked for me:
Cutting most processed foods out of my diet: processed foods are calorie dense, and a lot of time designed to not only be “cravable”, but also designed to not be satiating.
Switching to a plant based diet: Eating plant based was a lot easier for me as a college student who wasn’t allowed to cook in my dorms, but I’ve also found a lot of anecdotal reasons to stick to it. Trying to get proper nutrition is a lot easier when the foods you eat are nutritionally dense like fruits and vegetables. Our bodies have an easier time recognizing that they’re full when eating unprocessed plant foods, and all the fiber keeps you full longer. The diet also help me to express compassion externally, which in turn makes it easier to show compassion to myself.
Intermittent Fasting: I follow an 18:6 schedule, meaning that I eat all my food withing a 6 hour window during the day, and then only drink water for the remaining 18. Anecdotally, I’ve found a lot of benefits to this. I’m almost never hungry anymore, but still have a healthy appetite when it’s time to eat. I almost never have food cravings, or even think about food during the day. I’ve broken the habit of sticking my head in the fridge every time I’m bored. (Note: the first 2 weeks of IF were pretty miserable with hunger pangs)
Exercise: I started off by walking a couple of miles everyday, and started getting really into nature. I found that the walking was surprisingly relaxing, and had a lot of meditative qualities to it that made me feel a lot better throughout the day. 5 weeks ago I started a running program called Couch to 5K, which is designed to bring you from not being able to run more than a minute at a time to being able to run a 5k in 9 weeks. Not only have I found it surprisingly enjoyable to get out there and push myself to my limits, I’ve also noticed that I’ve been gaining a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities since starting, which has been great!
Here’s a progress picture showing me at 333 lbs (August 2019) and 280 lbs (A few days ago). Not much of a change (other than the haircut), but it’s progress none the less: https://i.imgur.com/4XPI9SE.jpg
Tl:DR – Don’t focus on weigh loss, focus on bettering yourself a whole. At some point during your weight loss you’ll realize that losing weight isn’t changing who you are as a person, just like moving to a different country doesn’t make you any less depressed. By having more goals than just weight loss to focus on, you’ll have a lot more fun during your journey, it’ll be a lot easier to stick to, and when you get to your goal weight you’ll be the person that you need to be to sustain it.