Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by irshad israr
Where to begin? Let’s start with my weight. This is, after all, a weight loss blog, so I have to talk about my weight. To be honest, it is not easy to put myself out there and let the world know my heaviest weight and even my current weight. But this is a weight loss success story. In fact, it’s an 80-pound (so far) weight loss success story!
I seem to instinctively know when I am gaining weight (tight clothes is a good sign lol) and instinctively know when to avoid the scale. Hiding my head in the sand is a strategy that has not worked well for me for over 30 years!
Looking back, I see that I convinced myself that I looked okay, I am still able to buy some nice clothes. Right? But every season, I needed a larger size and resorted to fashions that covered my stomach, butt and fat legs. But who was I fooling? Only myself.
Then I would hit bottom or rather another bottom. And I say enough is enough. I must do something. Enter the next diet. Followed by weeks of starvation and feeling deprived. And the love-hate relationship with the scale.
As you know, you pretty much always do well in the first few weeks of your diet. But it is only a question of time before you hit a plateau, go off track, binge, and so on. Repeat this cycle again and again
As I look back, weight was not an issue for me until my late twenties. I do remember in high school my female friends and I measured our bust, waist and hips. I was 34, 25, 26. However, the gold standard was 34, 24, 34. Although I was an inch or two off, I was fine and had a healthy body image.
After university, I worked on campus and went to the university’s gym Monday to Friday at lunch. I did an advanced aerobics class, step class, and water aerobics. A couple of times a week I did strength training with other colleagues after work. I was fit!
However, my diet was terrible! I ate a lot of fast food, junk, crap, and no vegetables. However, sadly it all caught up to me years later.
I tried a number of diets including paid programs and most of the newest and greatest diet of the day. In fact, I even had a type of weight loss surgery (Lab Band). I even trained for and completed a marathon and two half marathons. Sadly, they all worked until they stopped working and eventually led to more weight gain. I was the classic yo-yo dieter.
Losing Weight is Hard
Years of dieting actually makes it even harder to lose weight.
Losing weight is even harder for me as I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism( a low thyroid condition) over 25 years ago. Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are two common symptoms of a low thyroid.
Your thyroid controls your metabolism so I am sure my metabolism is low. Another factor is that years of dieting actually makes it harder to lose weight.
Also, I think that I am predisposed to obesity. Most members of my family, especially on my mother’s side, are overweight or obese. It seems that I genetically prefer fried chicken over grilled chicken or French fries over a garden salad.
Another issue that made losing weight difficult for me was back pain. Since April 2012, I have suffered from excruciating back pain caused by three bulging discs on my back and neck. I am sure that my excess weight may have been the cause or at the very least it did not make it easy to walk furthermore exercise.
I am also not a young woman and menopausal. Two factors that make losing weight difficult.
So as you can see, the deck is stacked against me. Failure will be easier than success. But I was hoping that I was going to be a weight loss success story.
The turning point for me was back in December 2018, when I was out of breath when I got to the top of the stairs at home. In January 2019, I was even too heavy for my scale. I bought a new scale and discovered that I was 314 pounds.
So In March 2019, I started exercising at home. I used a recumbent stationary bike for 20 minutes initially and then I slowly increased my time 5 minutes each week. I was exercising 5 to 7 days a week and loved it.
I was getting fitter. But I love food so much that I was really hoping that I could get healthier with exercise alone. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I was very wrong and sadly now that I look back I should have remembered that when I trained to walk a marathon, my leg muscles were firm and I felt fit but I didn’t lose the dramatic weight that I had hoped for.
So onto changing my diet, but first some reflection.
In order to be successful this time I think it is important to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work in the past. You know the definition is crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
I really felt that it was important for me to be my own diet coach. So it boiled down to two very simple, but powerful questions.
Why am I fat?
I was really honest about my eating habits. In short, I love to eat a lot of high-calorie foods. And my portions were even bigger than the typical North American portions. Secondly, I was extremely sedentary. I sat at my desk a lot. Furthermore, I was either lying on the couch or bed watching TV.
Why do I want to lose weight?
Now I really want to live longer and not have any more risk factors for obesity. I avoided going for annual medical check-ups for over 20 years. But in the past, I had borderline high blood pressure and slightly high cholesterol which did not require medication.
Perhaps I am lucky that I don’t have more serious medical conditions. But maybe it’s only a question of time. So I better get healthier before it’s too late.
Also Read : 2 Questions to Answer for Permanent Weight Loss
My Weight Loss Diet
So this is what I ate and continue to eat to lose 80 pounds. I eat whole foods made by Mother Nature – fruit, vegetables, chicken, and fish. No ultra-processed packaged foods and very few restaurant meals. I eat about 1400 calories a day and to be honest, I am not hungry.
I really try to eat protein and fiber at every meal. Why protein and fiber? Because they help you feel full. Once you are not hungry you will eat less and stay on your diet. This is what I really think is the secret for my success.
I practically excluded all liquid calories, just water, and tea without milk and sugar. I drink about eight glasses of water every day.
I also do intermittent fasting – 16:8. This means I fast for 16 hours and eat during the following eight hours. I eat dinner at around 6:00 pm and don’t eat for at least 16 hours the following. This is a lot easier than it sounds as I am asleep for most of the 16 hours.
One tip that I can give you is to focus on what you can eat rather than what you can. It’s a powerful change in your relationship with food that will help with your weight loss.
Also, you really need to try new fruits, vegetables and beans and healthy recipes otherwise you get bored and will lose motivation and quit.
Also Read: Best 5 Foods for Permanent Weight Loss
Also Read: Foods Rich in Fiber for Weight Loss
Also Read: The 4 Worst Foods for Weight Loss
My Weight Loss Exercise Program
I exercise twice a day for about an hour each time, six or seven days a week. Now I walk, wog (walk/ slow jog) or ride a stationary recumbent bike. I also did water aerobics (pre-COVID-19) and strength training twice a week.
For me, it was important to not just exercise but to be more active. And counting my steps is an easy way to stay active. I started at 2,500 steps, then got to 5,000 and now I can easily do 10,000 – 15,000 steps a day.
I even attempted CrossFit like exercise with my son while he was at home during COVID-19 lockdown, I must say that I was quite surprised that with some (many) moderations I was able to keep up with him.
I think it’s important to start at a comfortable level for you and increase the intensity and duration when you are ready. Also, mix things up a bit so you will also have fun.
My Favorite Weight Loss Tool Fitbit or Fitness Tracker
Finally, my FitBit has been a great tool. A Fitbit or fitness tracker has many features to help you lose weight and that is why I think it is one of the best tools for weight loss.
It is so easy and convenient to use your Fitbit or fitness tracker for particularly everything that matters when it comes to weight loss. Diet. Exercise. Water. Weight. Sleep. Support. It’s all there right on your wrist and on your cell phone.
Also Read: 9 Great Ways to Use Fitbit for Weight Loss
Weight Loss Success Story by the Numbers
All of these steps resulted in an 80-pound weight loss in just seven and a half months! No, I am not perfect, but consistency is the key. Perhaps once a month, life happens and I have an off day. But the next day I go right back on track.
I am now celebrating my one year anniversary and I’m still at 80 pounds. Unfortunately, right about the time that I hit the 80-pound mark, my thyroid became out of whack. Your thyroid affects your metabolism and obviously makes it harder to lose weight, despite your best efforts.
However, 80 pounds is still great and I am extremely proud of myself!
Here are my other weight loss success by the numbers:
- I lost 9 inches from my bust
- I lost 10 inches from my waist
- I lost 11 inches from my hips
- I went from 60% body fat to 49% in 12 months
- I gained 9 pounds of muscle
Also read: 7 Great Non-Scale Victories
Success breeds success so I am finding it easier to continue on my journey. See what happens as I lose the next 75 pounds!
Check out my interview with the 6 Weeks to Fitness podcast.