Weight loss is a prolific topic in today’s society, and for good reason. According to the CDC in a 2016 article, 36.5% (more than 1/3!) of adults in the United States are obese – meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) score of 30 or above. That doesn’t include statistics on those who are overweight or nearing the classification of obesity. Let me tell you how I have lost over 40% of my body weight the old-fashioned way; through trial and error, success, failure, education, and dogged determination – and how I plan to go about continuing down the road (or maybe up the hill…) to a continuously healthier way of life
This is young me! I was almost always barefoot, resistant to wear clothes of any kind, and was overall just a real shithead. I was active, biking with my dad, rollerblading with my sister, comparing cartwheels with my friends, or running around in the swamp behind our neighborhood. But I grew up during a time of terrible misinformation and half-truths when it came to what was “healthy”. Eating a bowl full of sugary, over processed, fast, empty carb cereal isn’t a healthy way to start your day, America. Sorry. But that is what we were told, and that is what we believed.
Our family moved away from my childhood home and my activity level dropped significantly. My weight problem made itself known in this time period, from age seven on I went steadily from overweight, to obese, to morbidly obese. In the eighth grade I weighed in at 220 lbs. I maintained that general weight range for six years, through my first year of college, never leaving the 210-225 mark.
A slew of factors finally changed that, but not for the better. In my second year of college, I stagnated mentally, I was in a relationship that wasn’t beneficial by any means. I was eating ramen, pop tarts, ice-cream, fries and other poor choices with great frequency. In the final semester my activity level dropped to almost nothing. I wore only yoga pants, and didn’t really notice that I was gaining weight at an incredible rate. One day I spotted new stretch marks. Then more. I ignored them.
I went home for a visit and needed to wear jeans. Knowing that I had put on some weight, I decided that I’d just wear an extra baggy pair I had reserved for barn work and painting. And I couldn’t pull them past mid-thigh. I didn’t understand. I was devastated. I went out and had myself weighed, and was absolutely flabbergasted to read the number 272 on the scale. I was so incredibly disappointed with myself, and crushed by thought of all the weight I knew I had to lose.
So I made the decision, in June of 2013. I would not drop back down to my ‘original’ weight of 220; I would go further than that. I wanted to be fit, I wanted to be capable. I wanted to lose 122 lbs. of fat and hit 150 (update: Achievement Unlocked!), and I wanted to do it in no more than a year. That was a lofty goal. I quickly came to realize that it would not happen that fast. I set about doing research. The internet is an amazing place full of great information if you have the time and wits about you to sift through all the false information.
I set my game plan. High protein. Mid fat. Low carb. Exercise. I immediately began to feel better. I was strict about cutting out unnecessary fast carbs like wheat products. By March of 2014,I had lost 50 pounds,and set off to finish my degree with an INCREDIBLE internship in Moab, UT. I was very active there, and my more or less paleo type diet was well supported by my employers, and their community. I was able to lose another 20 pounds by the time I came home that June for a total of 70 pounds the first year. I was so jazzed to be 200 lbs , a number I had never seen before seen in my memory.
When I came home I was lenient at first, indulging here and there. I never gained any weight, but I never lost any in that time period either. I took my first paid job, in a retail setting, to begin paying off my student loans, and though I was strict with my diet again my activity level decreased. The Holidays were encroaching, and I began to slip, eating every tasty new product for sample in the break room. Between October 2015 and 2016, I gained thirty pounds back. I recognized that I felt stuck and needed a change. At that time, I left my job for a different one, just a change of scenery really. I began working in a jewelry store, and though it wasn’t really a good fit (awful, awful, just really truly awful) I stopped the upward gaining trend and was eating well again.
In March of 2016 I made my escape and made a point to take a physically active job in the garden center of a big box retailer and finally had put myself back on the right track. Taking a physically active (and outdoor!!!) position was one of the single greatest things I’ve done. I love working outside, first of all, and I love manual labor. I began working out outside of work, and continued to improve and adjust my daily diet to support my progress. Since then I have lost over 70 pounds again, and as of the time of this writing weigh in at 159 lbs. I have achieved this by eating a nutrient dense, whole and natural foods focused diet. I make a point to avoid inefficient choices like traditional breads, when I can choose a superior carb source (like sweet potatoes!) I make sure to lead an active lifestyle, and importantly, choose to exercise in nature as often as possible.
My current goal is still to reach 150. (UPDATE: Goal Achieved!) Am I done then? Oh hellllll no. To make it very clear, major weight loss is not a single event. It is only possible with an entire change of life style that must be carried forward and fine-tuned over the course of a lifetime. That being said, I do not feel like I have changed who I am so much as I have fought to become who I have always been. I feel that I will always be fighting to become more and more like me – life is about constant growth and progress, and we as people are constantly evolving with our choices and experiences.
It is sincerely my belief that reaching 150 lbs will not be my final goal. I see this as my preliminary goal. I have to get there in order to asses a new goal. Maybe I’ll decide to gain muscle weight from there. Maybe I’ll decide I want to continue to reduce my body fat percentage and drop overall weight again. We shall see! Please, join me in this journey. I’ll be here to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to live a healthy, inspired, natural life. I’m here to inspire you and help you reach your goals, big or small.
Read more about what I did, and continue to do, to lose so much weight and live a healthy, happy life!
- The Nutrition Guidelines I Followed for Major Weight Loss
- Tried and True Methods of Physical Activity I’ve used to Lose over 115lbs.
- How Training for a ‘Focus Goal’ Pushes you to Achieve Bigger Goals
- Responsibility for your Dependents is Your Most Reliable Source of Accountability
- Nutritive Kitchen Staples: Ensuring You to Thrive and Flourish
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