What a difference 65 short weeks can make:
70 pounds lighter,
75 cholesterol points lower,
and 13 pants sizes smaller.
I sure don’t miss ’em!
On the left, you’ll see me at my heaviest, about 199 pounds. Yes, I chose one of the most unflattering photos I could find. And yes, I’m hugging a tree :P
On the right, that’s me today, feeling healthy and happy!
Phase 1: Lose 70 pounds: DONE!
Phase 2: Get fit and toned: Working on it! Focusing on continuing to build lean muscle and endurance, lose more body fat, and replace it with muscle to tone those last jiggles ;)
So what changes did I make? First, and most importantly, I did NOT go hungry or ever eat less than the recommended calorie minimums. I felt full and satisfied, and nourished my body with delicious food, every day. I totally changed my outlook on food, going from a long time junk food vegetarian to a clean eating vegan. I cook a lot of homemade meals so I actually know exactly what’s in my food, and eat lots of small meals and snacks throughout the day.
I started from ZERO exercise and slowly slowly started adding exercise, until it became a regular part of my daily lifestyle. I started with a little here and there on the wii, then water aerobics, then eventually added in yoga, zumba, strength training, and jogging. Now I exercise 5 to 6 days a week, and actually enjoy it! I drink LOTS of water, working my way up to nearly a gallon a day. It sounds like a lot, but even so, my body could actually stand to be more hydrated.
But more than just calories and fats, I focus on nutrition and vitamins. I track my nutrients to ensure I’m giving my body the important things it really needs, and not just focusing on the calories. Veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, more veggies, more fruits, they’re all my friends. I don’t fear fruit! Natural sugars and carbs don’t make you fat, they give you energy!
Here are some official scientific results directly related to my new vegan lifestyle. In six short months, my cholesterol has gone from ‘High Risk, At Risk, and Borderline’ to ‘Ideal, Optimal, and Desirable’. My doctor was amazed. I about fell out of my chair!
Another important step was to cut down foods with extra unwelcome ingredients. You’d be amazed at how many foods on the grocery store shelves contain so many unnecessary additives. Now, my almond butter contains: almonds. My peanut butter contains: peanuts. My rice cakes contain: organic brown rice. My cashews contain: whole raw cashews. My black beans contain: black beans. I’ve read label after label after label to ensure I stock up on foods with no added salt, sugars, preservatives, or who knows what else! And yes, even though I wish I could cut out all the salt, my baked chips contain: potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt, and my crackers contain: whole wheat, safflower oil, sea salt. More on that in an upcoming blog post.
Next, I’m working on cutting out all genetically modified foods from my life. So far, I’ve successfully steered away from companies like Morningstar and Gardenburger, and will soon be scouring every brand purchased for the little happy “Non-GMO Project Verified” label.
Why am I telling you all this? Because if you take it one step at a time, YOU can do it too! It’s never too late to turn your health around, improve your life, and feel better! Your body and your loved ones will thank you greatly ♥
Note: People ‘joke’ by saying things like, “do you even eat anything?” or, “I heard you are just eating cardboard now!” which actually isn’t really funny to me. I’ve worked super hard to lose this weight in the healthiest way possible, through nutrition, sweat, patience, and determination, without the use of diet pills, starvation, or whatever other unhealthy things people do to drop weight. Also, I’ll have to continue to work hard while I learn how, for the very first time in my life, to maintain my weight.
For some reason, people feel really comfortable saying things like, “Don’t get too skinny!” or, “Dang girl, you’re too tiny!”. Sure, in their defense, I do know they are probably saying these things in a well-meaning way. But, if you look at it from my perspective, that’s not really kosher. Why? Because I’m basing my weight and fitness goals on calculations, measurements, and recommendations from health professionals. They are basing their opinions on, what… looks? My goal is not to be ‘skinny’, but to be fit, healthy, and strong. And awesome. Always awesome ;)
A good friend once told me: If you wouldn’t swap out the word ‘skinny’ for the word ‘fat’ in a sentence, and still say that to somebody’s face, find a better way to say it. #endrant