Disclaimer: This blog is based solely upon how I lost weight. This method may not work for others but with determination and hard work, YOU can achieve anything! I am, by no means, putting down anyone who chooses different methods such as diet pills or surgery. That’s their option, it simply was not a choice for me.
My name is Samantha and I am addicted to food. There I said it, I have a problem. I love food. I love how it tastes. When I’m sad, I want to eat. When I’m happy, I want to eat. When I’m upset or stressed, food is my comfort. Can anyone relate to this? We all, at times, have a dependency on something…whether it’s cigarettes, drugs, speeding or in my case, food. I didn’t become overweight from eating carrots (although, last week a carrot almost caused my death…a Twinkie would have never did that).
I’ve been chubby since birth. Comments in my baby book state the fact, “She’s a beautiful baby but a big one”. For years, my parents believed I had a medical condition and dragged me from doctor to doctor. I remember each one stating that it was simply baby fat and would be gone by the time I was age 5. But guess what? That never happened, I continued to get larger. Luckily for me my family was always supportive regardless of my weight but elementary and high school students were a different story.
Kids can be cruel. Simple as that. They are brutally honest and hurtful. Many times, I didn’t have any friends to play with at recess or I wasn’t invited to a sleepover because I was fat. All this did was fuel my desire for more food. I remember sneaking in the fridge at night when my parents were asleep to eat. In high school, when you think the teasing or bullying should be at a minimum, it worsened. Days I would come home after being teased constantly and turn to my one comfort…food.
I tell you all this for background purposes only. I’ve dealt with the demons from my past. One thing I discovered was self-love, loving myself no matter what size. Society makes it difficult at times, magazines show unnaturally skinny women with perfect breasts and flawless skin. What we must realize is that’s not real life…real life has circles under your eyes, real life has days when your jeans will not zip or hair days where a hat is a must!
January 3rd, 2017 was a turning point for me. I weighed 289lbs. That’s the day I decided to start my life over, to become a better me. I had spent the last part of 2016, heartbroken and wallowing in food. I had gained 20lbs over a four-month period which caused my blood pressure to once again, get out of control and for the first time, I actually felt disgusted when I looked in the mirror. It was time for a change and it had to start with me.
Junk food was given away or tossed. I realize this is something most people can’t do but I’m giving you insight on how I did it. If it wasn’t healthy, it was NOT coming into my home. I bought a food journal and downloaded My Fitness Pal and began tracking everything that crossed my lips. I made a list of goals and water became my best friend. I researched different foods, constantly trying new things to spark my taste buds.
I began following inspirational people on Instagram, people who had lost weight naturally and their methods. I enjoyed their stories and transformation pictures, I knew one day that would be me. All these pages had a common theme, eat healthy and exercise daily. Something I need to mention is that I’m lazy, I will be the first to admit it or I should say, I WAS lazy. I knew I should incorporate exercise into my new healthier lifestyle but I couldn’t make myself.
By April, I had lost 30lbs. Woohoo! I have to admit, there are many times I fell off the wagon and fell back into some horrible eating. It’s easy to slip back into bad habits. Time can be an enemy and you must prepare for whatever comes your way. I keep protein bars or unsalted almonds in my purse or car. Whenever hunger strikes, I’m not tempted to grab some nuggets from the drive thru.
Also, hydration is key. A lot of times, our body is thirsty and we mistake it for hunger. Everyday, I consume over a gallon of water. Water is essential to good health. I’m always amazed by people who rarely drink it. How do you live?! One of my favorites to make at home is infused water. I’ll use cucumber, lemon, mint, strawberries, oranges or whatever I chose to make my water a little more flavorful. I am not a fan of the drink mix packet, simply because they cause me to have cravings because of the artificial sweeteners.
I began to meal prep and did constant research on healthier recipes that I could make ahead. I bought containers and prepared snacks and meals for four days at a time. Hard boiled egg whites, cheese sticks, sliced cucumbers, celery, carrots, 100 calorie packs of almonds were some of my favorite snacks. I baked chicken or made turkey meatballs with loads of veggies for lunch and dinner, all seasoned with no sodium Mrs. Dash.
It was at that point, the weight loss stalled. I mixed up my diet, added carbs, took them away. I tried intermittent fasting, protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and cut back my calories so much that I was weak from hunger. Realistically, those things worked for a little while but it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle using those methods. I realized what I needed to do was exercise, no way around it.
I joined a local rec center and haven’t looked back since. I still have my bad days where I eat chips and pizza and cupcakes but they are few and far in between. The good days are plentiful. The days where I eat loads of fresh veggies, lean protein and exercise till I can’t walk. I can leave work in the worst mood, hit the gym for an hour and feel like a million bucks. Exercise help me shed the last 30lbs of my first goal and yesterday morning, on my 41st birthday, I weighed in at 228lbs the smallest I have been since elementary school.
If you struggle like I have and still do and want to change, then realize it all starts with YOU. You have to want it badly enough to do something about it. Take charge of your life and don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you. I loved my body when I weighed my heaviest at 360lbs (1999-2003) but my quality of life is so much better now. I have tons of energy and do things I only wished I could do in the past.
My next goal is 200lbs which I hope to reach by Christmas. That’s plenty of time but my focus will be more on exercise and toning vs. losing weight. It also helped me to reward myself every so often. When I lost 20lbs, I bought a new outfit. When I lost 50lbs, I bought a new ring and charm. By rewarding yourself, it may give extra incentive to work harder. Take pictures when you start and at intervals throughout, that’s something I did not do and I’m kicking myself now. I did made the layout above with pictures from 2013 and last Sunday to show how important it is to document your journey. I can have a bad day and the old pictures remind me how far I’ve come.
What I want to say to you all is this…you have it in you to be successful at whatever you chose. If you want to get your college degree at 50, go back to school! If you want a new job, don’t give up till you get it! Whatever you want, go for it…if life knocks you down, get back up and try it again. Remember, nothing is perfect and that’s what makes life so special. You started for a reason, find a way to make it happen.
Don’t give up. Eat your veggies. Exercise daily. Learn to love water. Simply be happy.