The day it all began
A little over a year ago, I decided it was time to step on the scale. I had avoided weighing myself for literally years, but found it within myself to finally step on. Before I did, I thought to myself what is the highest number I think I will see? just to try to prepare myself for what might come. I thought the absolute highest I would possibly see was in the 220 lb (100kg) range. I stepped on and almost fell off.
I was 246 lb (nearly 112 kg). I couldn't believe I had let myself get so far gone. I was in shock. I could no longer deny that I was obese, that I needed a real change. I could no longer lie to myself "I look good for my weight", or "no one would guess how much I weigh". It was undeniable, right there, 246. Looking back, I think it was good to have this shock to my system to get myself in gear.
35F, 5' 10" / 178 cm
goal weight: ~ 160 lb / 72-73 kg
|weight||246 lb / 111.5 kg||175 – 176 lb / 79.5 kb|
|waist measurement||34-35" / 86-87 cm||28.5" / 72 cm|
|jean size (JCrew, Madewell sizing)||32-33||28-29|
In 2019 I began therapy, but this time with a body image and eating disorder specialist. I started seeing her because my self esteem was in the toilet. I didn't love myself. I felt uncomfortable in my body. My inner critic was out of control, telling me at every turn how worthless, fat, ugly, unlovable I was. I couldn't stand to take pictures, I could barely stand to look in the mirror, I didn't wear certain styles of clothes for fear of how they would make me look fat. In short, I needed some serious mental health help.
I worked with my therapist for about a year and a half. She helped me quiet my inner critic, be mindful about food and feelings of being full (stopping binge and restrict cycles). She helped me get the courage to buy the clothes I had avoided. I could be in photos, even if I didn't love how I looked. She helped me feel love for myself, even if I didn't look or feel the way I wanted to. It was invaluable and helped set me up for my weight loss success.
I lost weight with self love, which was a change from past attempts at "hating myself into a slimmer body" which never worked. I have compassion and appreciation for the old me, who did the work to get into a place where I could successfully lose weight. After all, it was she who took the plunge.
Weight loss summer 2021 – present
After I weighed in at 246, I could not believe I had 50+ lbs to lose. I initially wanted to just get under 200 and was delusional enough to think I didn't have 50 lbs to lose (lol).
I decided to first start with trying to eat better portions and track how much those calories were. I use Notability to hand write notes and made a note to track my calories and exercise. That first week of tracking and "being good" I was still eating 2300-2500 calories a day. And this was without the extra junk I had been eating. I can't imagine what my true calorie count was prior.
After a week or so of just getting used to tracking, I calculated my TDEE (https://tdeecalculator.net/) and started being stricter. I was at about 2000-2100 calories a day. Over time, I lowered my intake more and was comfortable with being in a deficit and feeling hungry at times.
CICO felt like magic, the pounds started melting off. I initially was weighing myself once per week, but after someone on here recommended Happy Scale, I started weighing daily in Oct 2021 and using the app's average weight.
I lost the first 50 lbs in about 6 months, then lost 20 in about 5, and have been maintaining for about 1.5 months. I needed a break from being in a deficit which had the benefit of proving to myself that I could maintain my weight. I just re-started eating in a deficit to try to get my last 10-15 lbs off.
No foods are off limits to me, I just have to track them. I baked holiday cookies, but limited my indulgence. I ate birthday cake the other weekend and enjoyed every bite. I prefer to think of foods as "treats" rather than "cheats". I enjoy the treat, then go back to my regular eating patterns. I do not feel deprived.
Exercise as part of weight loss
I know that it's way more important to track and limit food in terms of CICO, but exercise undeniably played a huge role for me. Even at my heaviest, I was an avid biker. I would bike around 120 miles (195 km) a week. I kept up with my almost daily bike ride and also started going on a daily walk of a 2-3 miles (3-5 km).
Exercise helps with my mental health. Getting out of my house and get some fresh air and nature is really helpful for me. While I am on my bike / walk / hike, I am also away from the kitchen. After exercise, my hunger signals are depressed so I am less likely to overeat.
As the weight came off, I noticed improvements with endurance, ability to bike and hike farther, ability to climb hills more easily (both on my bike and on hikes). I feel really good about my athletic gains.
Favorite low calorie foods / snacks
- Baked tofu (cubed and baked until crispy), topped with marinara sauce, or put over a bed of greens w low fat dressing, or tossed into stir fry veggies
- So Delicious coconut milk yogurt with protein mixed in (I like Orgain peanut butter chocolate)
- Chopped mini cucumbers with sliced cherry tomatoes, mixed with a little of Trader Joe's vegan feta. Optional to add low fat dressing or put over a bed or romaine
- Seltzer water is life. I get bored drinking plain water but will drink bubbly water all day
- Tofu "egg salad" (some mayo, mustard, relish) over low calorie toast or on romaine spears
- Taco salad (impossible meat) over greens with tomato, avocado
- Chia pudding (chia seeds mixed with almond milk, stevia for sweetness), topped with fresh berries
- Mini carrots / sweet peas / bell pepper slices / crackers with hummus or guacamole
- Tabbouleh (chopped red onion, tomatoes, parsley, mint, bulgur, lemon, olive oil)
- Soups (curried butternut squash or pumpkin soup; creamed potato and leeks; barley, white bean, and kale)
- Sliced cabbage sautéed with minimal oil, topped with sesame seeds and soy sauce
- Steamed broccoli topped with nutritional yeast, salt, red pepper