It’s been almost 3 years, 2 surgeries, and 20lbs since my dad passed away.
My weight has fluctuated all throughout my life, but let me tell you… “happy” weight is much easier to lose than “sad” weight. Grief, on its own, can be such an ugly thing. A part of me felt like it died along with my dad, and it’s scary what sort of things I dug up to fill that void. Bad habits, bad friends, bad relationships… and bad food.
I am the heaviest I’ve been in my life.
Jesus, just typing that out was so… sad.
In fact, “scientifically”, I am borderline obese. Because based on my height, my normal weight range is 90-110lbs.
No, I’m not trying to weigh 90-110lbs. That’s crazy talk.
So here’s my goal: I want to lose 20lbs. I want to lose the 20lbs I gained to fill the void after losing my dad, and fill it back up with good things. Good habits, good friends, good relationships… and good (for me) food.
I woke up yesterday morning and someone had shared this post on Facebook.
(Before you get on my case about reading, much less sharing, a BuzzFeed post, you should I know I almost always only visit BuzzFeed to take their cheesy quizzes. The title of this post peaked my interest, though…)
“17 Things That Actually Helped Me Lose 85 Pounds”
What the writer shared about her personal experience was simple (and vulnerable, as she noted)—maybe some would say obvious—but it was true at its core. And I liked it. So much so that I’ve decided to challenge myself to lose 20lbs by June 30th.
Here are Arielle’s 17 points and some of my thoughts on where I feel I am and want to be as I work towards this goal.
- First I signed up for Weight Watchers and started off slow. I’ve been a Weight Watchers member since 2010 and I just started tracking actively again this week. While I have not been tracking regularly in the last few years (duh!), it is the only program that I’ve had long-term success with… when I’m using it, of course. Passionately recommended.
- I stopped the dangerous habit of restrictive calorie-counting (a road I have been down before) and focused on a healthy lifestyle. Agreed—this is what makes Weight Watchers so successful. Do not deprive yourself of the things you love. In case you’re not familiar with how Weight Watchers works, the program assigns a point value to every food. It then assigns you a daily allocation of points plus a weekly allocation of bonus points. (Most fruits and veggies are zero points, by the way.) You can enjoy the things you want to eat so long as you stay within the allocated points. Oh, and you earn points for being active. And not necessarily just “working out”. They have activities like Laundry, Bowling, and Walking the Dog.
- I followed the three most common pieces of advice when it comes to weight loss: tracking food, activity, and water intake. While doing Weight Watchers, I’m great at tracking food and activity. I downloaded Plant Nanny on Arielle’s recommendation and have been using it the last 2 days. I don’t know that I’ll be using the app long-term, but it has gotten me to drink plenty of water in the meantime.
- I finally started eating legit breakfast, not just a piece of fruit. This is actually on my (Chinese) New Year’s Resolutions list. I’ve started this week making a shake every morning, but plan to transition into “legit” breakfasts in the coming weeks.
- I skipped the gym at first and opted for walking instead. This one was a “game-changer” for me yesterday. I had ankle surgery last December and then shoulder surgery in October. I’ve been dreading getting back into the gym knowing that I won’t be able to jump back into my 5 mile runs without some time. So I’ve decided to give walking a try. Today I walked to and from work, a total of 10 miles. I don’t intend to do this every day, but will start with twice a week and see how it goes.
- I didn’t give up on myself when times got rough. Signs that I’m “giving up on myself”? 1) Purchase boxed Kraft Mac & Cheese, Captain Crunch cereal, Ruffles, and French Onion Dip, 2) Stay in bed beginning Friday evening through Sunday morning, almost always with no pants on, mostly in the dark, and once in a while without a shower. There is nothing sexy about my “Netflix & chill”.
- I stopped ordering Seamless and forced myself to learn how to cook my favorite foods with healthy substitutes. Eat24 is my version of Seamless. And I’ll tell ya, not only do I love to cook, but I’m a pretty good cook, too. It has always just seemed like a lot of effort because I can’t cook for less than 10 people. That, my friends, is the goal here.
- I did my research and learned that added sugar is the goddamn devil. This would be salt for me. Not much of a sweet tooth, but I’ll have potato chips or popcorn for dessert any day.
- And I learned that protein is the sweet, sweet angel. I already embrace this and am proud of that. Not just with meat, but also with tofu.
- I learned to celebrate non-scale victories. While my goal is quantified in lbs, I tend to focus more on measurements because once your weight plateaus—and it will—tracking your measurements can keep you motivated.
- About four months into my lifestyle change, I quit drinking — but not intentionally. The very first time I did Weight Watchers, all I did was cut alcohol for one week and I lost 7lbs. That’s when I knew how my body responded to booze. So, I’m practically there already. Except, of course, for those occasional nights of excessive drinking. I gotta work on that.
- When I finally felt comfortable enough to work out, I joined a gym and tried a bunch of classes. I like boxing and I like dance. When I’m ready, that’s my plan.
- I don’t sacrifice my social life — I just plan healthier meals and snacks around it. I’m actually quite good at this… in the right company. Now, that’s not a cop out to say it’s anyone else’s fault but my own if I binge with certain friends. Definitely some room for improvement for me on this one.
- On days when I feel like the same girl from eight months ago, I look at before and after pictures. I should maybe try this approach. I’ll admit, I look at “WAY before” pictures. The ones that remind me I’ve “let myself go”. And as expected, they only make me feel worse. Cue the mac & cheese and chips + French onion dip.
- I relied on support from the Weight Watchers Connect feature. If I’m being honest with myself, I probably won’t do this. However, that’s not to say that I don’t search for help or answers online. I’ve found that most questions I have, others have had (and have asked) in the past. Do your research. The internet is a beautiful thing.
- I took the hard but important step of donating all my old clothes. YES.
- I’m finally learning to love myself. I constantly remind myself that it’s not about my weight. It’s not about my size. It’s about how I feel—about how I deserve to feel. Ultimately, I owe myself a much healthier and happier self.
I am certain that by the end of my journey—whether I succeed or fail—I will also have learnings to add to this list. And I’m excited for that.