Megan took one step… then another, and another. Next thing she knew, she had a fitness success story of her own! Originally published on Skinny Fitalicious, here’s how Megan lost 80lbs in one year.
Weight loss is truly a cumulation of small lifestyle changes and sticking with them for a long period of time. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Today I’m sharing simple things I changed so you can see how I lost 80 pounds.
I walked everyday.
One day I started walking and that day changed my whole life.
When I began my journey, I didn’t have a gym membership or attend fitness classes. I was too embarrassed to workout in front of others. So I walked. A lot! In fact, my weight loss never began with the intention of losing weight. It began with wanting to be healthier and feel better about myself.
Through walking, I discovered physical activity made me feel really good physically, mentally and emotionally. I was more focused, more alert and had more energy. Walking became a pillar of my day. It was something I looked forward to and later, motivated me to live a more active life and explore other forms of fitness.
So when people ask me what fitness they should do when they are starting their journey, I tell them “just walk.”
I changed what I was eating.
When it comes to weight loss, what you eat far outweighs anything you do in the gym. For that reason, it’s important to eat balanced and healthy. What does that mean? Eating healthy means eating lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey), complex carbs (brown rice, quinoa, oats, fruits & vegetables) and healthy fats (hummus & peanut butter), cutting out processed foods & drinking more water.
I kept myself accountable with what I ate & how much I ate by tracking my calories (which I still do!) using LoseIt app. Tracking what I ate, taught me how to eat appropriate portions and serving sizes. It also helped me understand what balance of foods made me feel best.
I learned there is no diet like my own.
Everyone always asks me what diet I followed when I was losing weight. The truth is I followed no diet. I made my own. When it comes to eating, I believe there is no one size fits all & nothing better than simply eating healthy. Everyone has to find what works for them. What worked for me, may not work for everyone.
I embraced weight loss as a process, a way of teaching me how to improve my emotional relationship with food, how to eat proper portions. Through that process I found out what healthy foods I liked and those I did not. Weight loss is about learning. If you want sustainable weight loss, be patient working through the process and embrace its lessons.
I got creative in the kitchen.
Believe it or not, before losing weight I didn’t cook at all. I’m sure that surprises those of you who follow my recipes. Back then, I had zero interest in cooking a meal much less creating my own recipes.
Going through weight loss, motivated me to get in the kitchen and get creative. I never liked vegetables or healthy food. Everything always tasted bland to me. I knew the key to sticking with healthy living long-term would be creating meals that I would look forward to eating so I wouldn’t fall back on old habits.
Now years later, I’m creating my own recipes, styling food and photographing it for brands. And to think I used to hate cooking! It’s a testament to never say never. Push yourself outside your norm and try something you’ve never done before. Look to health magazines and blogs for inspiration.
I changed my environment.
Before I lost 80 pounds, I spent all my free time on the couch, watching tv, snacking mindlessly away on a bag of chips. When I became more active and took an interest in healthy cooking, I found myself spending less and less time in front of the tv. I eventually stopped eating in front of the tv. Those changes made it possible for me to stop habitually overeating.
I was also was living more; going out with friends, taking up new hobbies, traveling and willing to try new things. Sometimes the smallest change to your habits or where you spend your time, can make a big difference in achieving your goals.
I stepped out of my comfort zone.
Getting a gym membership was a pivotal moment for me in my journey. When I finally got one, I already had lost a lot of weight but I still wasn’t feeling that confident in myself. I feared everyone at the gym was staring at me or judging me for not being fit and over weight.
The truth is the exact opposite happened. No one stared at me and people were more than willing to help when I asked for it. Conquering my fear of going to the gym being overweight not only boosted my self confidence, but motivated me me to tackle other fears in life. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and ask for help when you need it. You will gain self confidence that will motivate you on your journey.
I set boundaries.
Since college, work and stress ruled my life. Everything came second to my career. It took over a decade post college graduation for me to realize that a successful career is meaningless if I’m not healthy and not experiencing life. I finally recognized it was my choice to be stressed out, to work long hours, to be inactive and to eat unhealthy foods. It was then that I set boundaries for myself with the number of hours I would allow myself to work. I made health, fitness and ME a priority.
I decided I was worth it.
I spent my entire life pleasing everyone except me. I was always chasing the approval of others because I lacked self confidence. When I finally realized I didn’t need the approval of others and that it wasn’t selfish to want happiness and good health for myself, I was free. I no longer held onto any guilt for doing something for me.
I told myself “you are worth it.” That’s when I dedicated time to working out, planning meals, knocking things off my life bucket list and most importantly, allowing myself to experience life without a set of rules or expectations. For once, I made me the priority. So tell yourself “I am worth it” because you are.