Just before Christmas, I lost 10 lbs in 22 days. The fact that I was able to lose weight at all (and so quickly!) was, for me, impressive enough, but the fact that I’ve been able to keep it off for 2 months while eating like a total hog has been nothing short of a miracle.
Now, before I tell you what I did to lose those 10 lbs (12, actually), because this is the Internet, I feel obligated to a) say that I have no medical expertise whatsoever; I’m just an idiot with a blog, and b) preface this by admitting that I am a human garbage can (to give you an example, on Tuesday I ate 4 cupcakes and 3 doughnuts and I didn’t even feel bad about it). I’m just saying – this plan worked for me, but I’m not saying you should attempt it yourself, or that it would help you if you did.
Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s talk about the design principles of my “weight loss journey” (ugh! I hate myself for saying “weight loss journey”):
- I won’t do anything that I can’t maintain forever (for example, I would kill myself if I had to calorie count every day for the rest of my life).
- I have to trust the process (I have to trust that I will see a benefit eventually, even if that benefit doesn’t show up on the scale).
I know I just said that I don’t want to do anything that I can’t maintain forever, but I’m an all or nothing type of gal with no concept of self control (see Tuesday’s cupcake and doughnut intake). In late November, I was craving sugar HARD (even more than usual), all day, every day, so I went on a “diet” of sorts to cut down on my cravings before I attempted this “moderation” thing everyone’s been talking about.
I cut all overt junk food from my diet
I wasn’t overly strict on this one. For example, chocolate bars, chips, and baked goods were off the menu, but I’d still eat sugary cereal and my children’s snack foods (like gushers and fruit roll-ups) daily. I mean, I was good, but I wasn’t that good.
I stopped snacking between meals
Again, I wasn’t crazy strict about this one, but as much as possible, I tried to limit my food intake to breakfast, lunch and dinner times. It cut down on the amount of sneaky junk food I was eating. It took about 3 days to get used to the hunger, but then my stomach shrank and 3 meals a day was plenty.
I stopped going back for seconds
Portion control isn’t really my thing (it feels too much like obsessive calorie counting), so I heaped my plate with as much food as I wanted during mealtime, but I stopped going back for seconds. I feel like this was harder than not snacking between meals because I was hungry, and once I was on a roll, I didn’t want to stop. That being said, I stopped feeling sick and bloated after eating, which was well worth the effort.
I stopped drinking anything with calories
I switched out my Pepsi intake with diet colas and carbonated water (fizzy water is gross, but it grows on you). I stopped drinking coffee altogether being that I need a truckload of sugar and cream to make it palatable, and drank herbal tea without milk or sugar.
I’m probably riddled with aspartame-induced cancer right now, but I credit the switch to diet drinks with the bulk of my success (partly because it cut out a significant amount of calories, but mostly because it saved my sanity – it was an easy substitution when I felt like I was limiting myself too much in the junk food department).
So, that’s it. That’s all I did. It was difficult, but definitely manageable. I think having an end-date (Dec 20) really helped to keep me on track, knowing that this was a one-time thing that I wasn’t going to have to stick to forever – a jump start into moderation.
Unfortunately, after Christmas, I undid all of the hard work I did to lessen my sugar cravings when I fell back into old habits, eating junk food with wild abandon. There were, however, two exceptions that allowed me to keep the weight off and convinced me that “dieting” really is about lifestyle: I continued to drink (mostly) diet pop (Coke Zero being my favourite), and I stopped eating out. Chase and I started focusing on our budget in January, which meant we stopped going to restaurants 3-5 days a week. It’s surprising the impact that has had on our wallets and the scale.
I was going to do another “mini diet” for Lent (still my favourite religious observance – thanks for the second shot at New Years Resolutions, Christians), and in addition to all of the stuff I listed above, switch out my beverages with plain, un-carbonated water only, BUT… I abandoned that idea 2 days in. The real reason for my quitting is lack of willpower, but also I feel like harshly limiting what I eat is counter-intuitive to the “lifestyle” approach I want to have when it comes to dieting, which is to set realistic expectations for myself and the future. I need to work on MODERATION, not deprivation – something I can live with on a forever-basis. Slow and steady like.
So, I have a new sustainable plan. I’ll continue to eat more meals at home, and try to stick to breakfast, lunch and dinner – no seconds. I’ll also try to keep my junk food portions within reasonable limits (maybe eat 1 cupcake OR 1 doughnut, as opposed to a box of each). I’ll start there, and maybe, slowly, make some other changes. Baby steps.