Ever since I can remember, my new year’s resolutions have always been: Lose Weight. What did that actually mean, though? Every year, I never seemed to get around to doing anything about it.
When I was younger, I tried my fair share of “diets” and failed miserably. Last year, I had a little bit of a health scare when I had some blood work done and my sugar levels were higher than they should have been. With the long-standing history of diabetes on both sides of my family, this was a cause for some nervousness. With the recommendation of seeing a nutritionist, I started my journey. Fast forward exactly one year later, this is where I am today: having lost 60 pounds.
I have realized that everyone has their own advice to share and practices that work best for them. Some people talk about cutting out all carbs, eating mostly protein, going gluten free, not consuming processed sugar and never eating out. From what I’ve learned, you need to trust your body and go along with how it reacts. For me personally, this meant a well-balanced diet.
I first sat down with my nutritionist thinking, “Oh goody, someone who is going to tell me how awful my eating habits are and try and put me on a strict diet.” I was so wrong.
I was extremely lucky to get a super motivational and friendly nutritionist. She never told me to diet, never beat me up when I fell off track and never gave up on me. To this day, I see her every single month and this month marks one year since I’ve started seeking her assistance.
She asked me to keep a record of everything I ate. By giving me the Ontario food guide, she explained the number of portions I should be eating: between four to six grains, two proteins, two dairy and five or more fruits and vegetables per day. The graph she gave me also indicated the portions of how much of each food I should be eating in accordance to how much sugar is in each item.
At the beginning, this all seemed very controlled. After my first month on my own, though, I lost 13 pounds. I told my nutritionist that I felt a bit restricted. This was the last thing she wanted me to feel, so she gave me ideas on what meals I could make, snacks I could eat and desserts in which I could indulge.
Once I opened up to the full extent of this new life journey I was on, I really started enjoying it. I would indulge in sweets five times a week, portion out the allotted chips I was aloud to have and even kept my favourite pasta dishes in my diet. From then on, I would lose between five to eight pounds per month.
My next move was to add in physical activity. I joined the gym in March 2015 and committed myself to working out three times a week. Since that first week (even when I broke my toe), I never missed a gym session. This is the one part I have been incredible proud of. Next month, will be my one-year anniversary of going to the gym. That, to me, is my biggest accomplishment.
I didn’t want this article to be about my journey but rather an inspiration to those who want to start one of their own. I am nowhere near done my journey, but I would love to pass along some advice that I’ve discovered along the way.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family and friends are here to support you. My family has been extremely supportive. They ask what kind of snacks and veggies I want for the week and chose whole wheat or rye bread options, taking my eating habits into consideration during weekly grocery trips. The little things help the most. Don’t get me wrong, there were some days where someone would come home with a bag of chips or chocolate and I would either try my best to portion it out, or just give in to my temptations and eat half a bag. However, having that support system in friends and family is going to help you succeed.
- Don’t focus on the number but rather how you feel. I weigh myself once a month at my nutritionist’s office. I would rather it be accurate on their scale versus weighing myself everyday to see that I’ve gone up 0.2 pounds or down 0.2 pounds at home. On my journey, I’ve discovered I would rather see a bulk number over the span of a month. Still, it’s not all about losing weight. It’s about feeling better about yourself and becoming a healthier person. Just because you weigh more than your friend, doesn’t mean they’re healthier than you.
- My biggest advice is don’t give up. There are going to be good days and bad days. Once you decide you really want to accomplish something, you will give it your all. Whether you make subtle changes or big to your routine, every single change counts. Even if you lose weight or gain some back, don’t get discouraged. It’s a process and a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix. Don’t deprive yourself of what you love.
I’ve mentioned some things I’ve done, but I’m also human and I understand how fluctuating weight can happen. My story is not perfect. I’ve gained some weight back, moved on and got back on track. I eat more desserts than I probably should. I go out to eat at least once a week. I crave salty snacks almost every day. The one thing I’ve always done is record what I eat. I am able to look back and see when my good and bad days are, and can look forward to seeing results in the future.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I really realized my accomplishments. I kept my weight loss journey relatively to myself. My close friends and family knew as they saw a difference in me. I never posted a picture of myself at the gym, or a status revolving around my health. To me, this has been my personal journey.
Others around me sought support and motivation through posting their experiences, and to me, those people are my role models.
Some of my good friends and fellow A Quarter Young blog writers have given me the strength to carry on. Amanda constantly posts inspiring messages and photos that keep me on track. Kaaleen spends every Monday night with me working out at the gym. These are the ladies that have given me the motivation and the drive to continue on. For that, I would like to thank them. It’s not all about what you eat or can physically master. It’s about the support system you have around you.
I hope any of my words of advice can inspire someone out there. I wanted this piece to show that we are not perfect and sometimes it takes a little spark to get us going.