One thing that I have come to realise is that when you have been heavily overweight, you are much more aware of what you are eating and how physically active you are due to a perpetual fear of becoming overweight again. Above is one of my ‘before and after’ pictures; in the left picture, I was working at a fast food restaurant and I was drinking, smoking, and partying on a pretty regular basis whereas in the right picture, I was exercising regularly, eating a diet consisting of mostly clean foods and I was only going out about once every three months.
When I turned my back on my old lifestyle, I made a vow to myself that I would never fall back into my old habits. The first few weeks are the hardest because your body has actually become addicted to all the sugar, salt, additives, preservatives, and chemicals that you have been feeding it. You will experience a form of withdrawal which include mood swings, intense cravings, headaches, sore tummies, and even lethargy. Three weeks is all it takes to get over this first hump. Doesn’t sound like a long time does it? Trust me, if you are completely changing your diet, it feels like a lifetime. But do not worry, you can do it! Just be strong and remind yourself every day why you are making the change. I kept a food and exercise diary calendar to track how I was doing and to see, visually, what 21 days looked like.
Take it slow. You are not going to go from a Fast Food Soda-loving Sugar Addict to a Clean Eating Carb-free Saint overnight. No! Start making small changes and build upon this each few days or each week or even each month. My first step was cutting out all soda and fast food. There was actually a Taco Bell on the way home from my gym and I am proud to say that I resisted! My second step was introducing more vegetables into my diet and more fruit, whether it was blueberries on my cereal or carrot sticks in my lunch bag. My third step was switching to almond milk and then starting to drink green tea (I hated it at first). Then I began eating healthier snacks like rice cakes instead of potato chips, and grapes instead of candy. However, now, I’ve managed to cut out most grains and carbohydrates and hardly drink any milk at all, and I’m still semi-addicted to sugar, but that’s a story for another post. Don’t worry, I will be posting a lot about food and diets to give as much advice as possible to people trying to lose weight. As someone who has lost 45 lbs so far, I have learned a lot of tips and tricks!
When I was at my heaviest, I felt shocked and disgusted. I will never forget stepping on the scale and seeing it tip over the 200 lb (91kg) mark. I was heavier than my brother who was 6’2″ and I wasn’t quite sure how I had let it get to that point. I wasn’t just fat, sick, and unhappy; I was angry as hell. I was angry at myself for letting go and not respecting my body. This anger was what I used to fuel my determination and when I went to the gym, I channeled all that energy into my workouts. I was sick of being ‘the fat friend’. My friends couldn’t share clothes with me, going out to eat was stressful, shopping was traumatising, and going to the pool- let’s just say I became good at making up excuses. My greatest desire was to be normal-sized; I didn’t even want to be thin, I just wanted to be slim, fit and healthy.
One of the main differences I have noticed after losing weight and becoming more physically and mentally healthy is the confidence I have gained. I like to think of confidence as a glass tower; it’s only as high as you build it and it may be fragile but it gets stronger with time. Whatever you do, take time to love yourself and nurture your mind and spirit. Without confidence, a lifestyle change will not work.
Next Time… Which diet is the best diet?