I’ve been waiting to do this post for a year. I didn’t take many body photos along the way this year because I wanted to be able to see a difference. I can’t believe I’m going to share them publicly on the internet, but I am. I have been going on all year about losing weight and eating ice cream, and I want people to see that it really IS possible to lose weight and keep it off without restricting foods, going into a deep calorie deficit, and going insane. With just plain old moderation in eating and regular exercise.
My mission for this year was to not drink alcohol and to take control of my health by eating better and exercising consistently. I decided I would lift weights and try to eat close to maintenance to try to do some body recomposition. First let me say that I could not have done any of what I did this year without giving up alcohol. I wouldn’t have had the energy or drive to continue working out long-term if I kept it in the mix. Second, I also made the decision to just work out per my schedule, no matter what. I did that, except for in May when I seemed to be sick and fatigued the entire month. I’m not sure what was happening there. But I just let my body rest and heal.
I started small, just lifting weights 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. I used Nia Shanks’ Lift Like a Girl routine for a while, just basic stuff but trying to lift a little heavier whenever I could. I also did most of her Train to be Awesome program. I started running again, 3 days a week, anywhere from 2-5 miles. I did this for a few months and then started to work in more running. Now I am running 6 days a week, about 27 miles a week, and still trying to lift heavy-ish 2-3 days a week.
As far as eating, I just ate what I wanted. I tried to be reasonable and aim for balanced meals. I also tried to be hungry for my meals, not starving, but hungry for a while. I never cut out sugar or wheat or anything else. No need! Not giving up anything I loved made it easy. That just leads to deprivation and guilt when you finally cave and eat all of the things that you aren’t ‘supposed’ to be eating. Anyway the food part was really that simple. I ate ice cream almost every day for many months. Oh, and I never counted calories.
Fast forward to today and I made so much progress in 2015! I ended up losing just under 26 pounds, 11.5% body fat (according to my scale which I know isn’t completely accurate), and 17.25 inches!! That averages out to be just 2.15 pounds and about 1.5 inches lost per month. That would have driven me crazy in the past to only lose 2 pounds every month, but I knew it was going to be the only way for me to finally make lasting change and my best hope to keep the weight off. So far it’s working. I could have really gone nuts and tried to lose more weight and do it faster, but I know that would have backfired. I didn’t try to eat too little because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain my efforts in working out. Working out was what was going to change how my body looked. Besides, if you are trying to re-comp, your muscles need fuel to grow!
I thought I’d give a monthly breakdown of my weigh-ins this year to give a better idea how I moderately lost weight. The first number is pounds, the second is body fat percentage.
January 1 – 152.2, 37.5%
February 20 – 148.2, 33.5%
March 1 – 147.6, 34.5%
May 1 – 142.6, 32%
May 29 – 142.2, 33%
July 5 – 139.6, 32%
August 2 – 138.4, 31%
August 30 – 136.4, 31%
September 27 – 134.8, 29%
November 1 – 131, 29%
November 30 – 126.8, 26.5%
January 1, 2016 – 126.4, 26%
I also took measurements monthly. That was where the progress was the most exciting for me!
January 17, 2015
- Bicep – 12.25
- Chest – 39
- Waist – 31
- Belly – 36.25
- Hips – 40
- Thigh – 24.75
- Calf – 13.75
I lost anywhere from .5 to 1.75 inches each month.
January 1, 2016
- Bicep – 11
- Chest – 36
- Waist – 28
- Belly – 32.25
- Hips – 36.75
- Thigh – 22.5
- Calf – 13.25
If my math is correct, I lost 17.25 inches this year!! My goal was to change my body recomposition and I’d say that was a huge success.
If I could give anyone some advice on how to lose weight I’d say this:
Find a way to move your body that you like, that you will do consistently long-term. If you can, lift weights to give you the most ‘bang for your buck’. What worked for me is lifting and running. Use activity to make you feel good! Just stick with it.
Eat what you like, but try to focus on getting regular, balanced meals. Try not to eat too much.
Don’t use exercise to punish yourself for eating. Don’t burn off calories for eating too much. If you ate too much, just use it as a learning experience and move on.
Don’t label food as good or bad. Food is just food, fuel for our bodies whether it is cookies or salad. Don’t attach morality to food, it has no moral value, just nutritional. Save yourself the guilt trip!! Just try to eat in a way that makes you feel good.
Don’t deprive yourself of things that you love. If you love chocolate or ice cream (ME!), eat it, just in appropriate amounts.
So that’s that! I feel like I made huge strides and changed a lot in 2015. I reached my goals of consistent exercise and weight loss. I never really set a specific number goal and don’t think I will. I’m just happy to have lost the weight and inches and my new goal will be to keep them gone.
And here’s something I never thought I’d do, but I (mostly) feel comfortable enough now to do it. Post before and now pictures. This was from June 2014, I pretty much looked the same in early 2015.
I’m still carrying some fat, but not that much. And as you can see it is almost all in my belly, butt, and thighs. My body isn’t perfect but I love my body now! I actually have some muscle definition! If I never lose any more weight I’ll be fine with that, because my body can do cool stuff, like run and lift heavy things. I know I’m strong and that feeling is priceless. I imagine though that I will be able to lose 10 more pounds or so, if I keep lifting and running, which I intend to do.
So there you go. My year of change and weight loss. I hope that I will maintain it and not regain it. It wasn’t necessarily hard work but it took a long time and I don’t want it back!