Growing up I was always a pretty skinny kid. I’d eat mountains of pizza and avoid my mom’s healthy meals pretty regularly. I was labeled a ‘picky eater’ and had an extremely fast metabolism. For most of my teen years I weighed around 110-115 at the most.
Putting on weight was never really something I had to worry about when I was young.
That all changed pretty quickly when I entered my 3rd year of college. At that time I was living in a studio alone and working a full time office job to pay bills and get through school.
It was difficult and it was certainly easy for me to blow off steam with friends at our favorite local pub.
Unfortunately this unhealthy lifestyle led me to put on weight fast.
Tons of processed food (mozzarella sticks I’m looking at you!) + sitting in an office all day + drinking pints of beer multiple nights a week = L O T S of weight gain.
It seemed to all happen so fast too.
One day I was carefree and confident. The next I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes and wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit.
It seemed like my lovely beer belly and overall weight gain just continued to increase.
The weight gain positively wrecked my self esteem. I kept wearing baggy clothes and would postpone dating altogether (god forbid someone see me in my birthday suit).
I quickly set goals to lose weight fast. There always seemed to be a deadline or a life event coming up that I wanted to look + feel good for. Someone’s wedding, an upcoming vacation, or god forbid the beginning of summer.
I continued to try to keep a fitness journal of everything I was eating and the calories I was burning daily. I’d wear my fitbit daily and would always set ambitious goals of getting 10,000 steps and doing additional strength training as well.
But no matter what I did the weight never really stayed off.
I’d lose 5 or 10 pounds and feel so great.
And then a few days later it would always come back.
This cycle seemed to continue for years. It saddens me that a good portion of my 20’s were wrapped in such heavy insecurity.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago I hopped on a scale and was truly astounded to see my weight. I’d lost close to 20 pounds since I moved to NYC.
In only a few months that is such a crazy change. Again all of the weight loss seemed to happen while I wasn’t paying attention. Perhaps there is a secret art to not stressing about weighing in every single day.
Shortly after I realized I was back down to 125 pounds I found one of my old fitness journals from a few years back. It was filled with weigh ins + work outs + countless meal plans logged.
So what was it that changed so rapidly that led me to lose so much weight in just a few months?
When I recounted my lifestyle changes this is what I realized…
My Eating Habits Had Changed…Big Time
Before I moved to NYC, I pretty much tried every crazy weight loss diet out there.
I tried a really hardcore batch of veganism. However unfortunately all of the vegan substitutes I was trying were heavily processed and were not helping me lose weight at all (no matter how strict I was with a calorie deficit and calorie counting). There were also often times I would feel dizzy and incredibly zapped – I definitely wasn’t getting all the vitamins and nutrients my body needed at the time. (I fully support a plant based diet – keyword being ‘plant-based’ – just make sure you do your research so you have a well balanced meal plan before diving in).
I even tried Loni Jane (pictured above) + Freelee The Banana Girl’s famous Raw Til 4 diet.
They had such similar stories to mine in terms of weight gain that I was sure their diet would cure.
The Raw Til 4 diet was a bit intense though. Many meals can consist of eating 15 bananas or 20 dates in one sitting. That diet also did not help my number on the scale budge one bit. Even though I fell in love with their aesthetic on instagram, it simply wasn’t a lifestyle I enjoyed or could maintain. Working 9-5 at an office and then going home to do school work for another 5 hours left very little time to do serious meal prep (or allow the proper chewing time to down all those bananas).
When I moved to NYC I wasn’t thinking about dieting at all.
I was far more focused on career moves to pay the super expensive rent just to live here. Extreme worrying over diet and fitness took a back seat and with the brutal winter I had so many layers on I wasn’t worried about being heavily judged by my weight.
I let go.
I started eating the foods that I loved. ***The healthy foods that I love I may add***.
Some days I cooked. Other days I got take out from the Indian or Sushi place around the corner.
I started eating the following foods pretty consistently:
- Beans + Rice
- Lots of guacamole +/ avocados
- Veggie Coconut Curry
- Dark Chocolate
- Green Tea
- Dairy-Free Yogurt
Naturally meals changed up a lot but these are definitely the foods that have been most consistent.
Here are the foods I haven’t been indulging in:
- Pizza (maybe because I binged pretty hard on glorious NY slices when I first moved up here – just got pretty burnt out on pizza, dare I say it…)
- Fried foods (they just feel far too heavy and don’t even sit well on my stomach anymore)
- Dairy Heavy Foods (Dairy foods = mucous forming foods. Which for me usually means a mean break out within a few days of feasting on a leg of cheese so I naturally stay away from dairy)
I think it’s most important to find healthy foods that your taste buds naturally gravitate towards and simply go for it.
If you hate sweet potatoes but some XYZ diet plan says you have to eat sweet potatoes – Don’t force feed yourself to eat them!
The second you force yourself to eat foods you hate that’s when a diet starts to fall apart. Even typing the word diet is a bit cringey. I truly feel like most diets are not designed for you personally and that’s why they fail.
Really think about the foods you love to eat that also fall into the realm of healthy. You should always love and be excited about the meal sitting in front of you.
I Found A Workout Routine That Actually Worked
Another great struggle I had was always setting myself up to fail with super intense workout routines. I would join countless programs and instagram programs. The intensity always excited me.
But spending 2 hours in a gym 6 days a week was another thing I simply did not have time for.
Sounds silly but I naturally LOVE walking. I started doing a lot of it when I ditched my car and traded it for a metro card. I started doing lots of activities that involved plenty of walking. I would explore a new museum or check out a farmer’s market. I would walk to my local grocery store and carry back my giant load of food.
Even on my most busy walking days I would only clock in about 6-7,000 steps a day.
But they key was consistency. Of course I’ve had plenty of lazy days when I binge watch netflix and eat a bowl of guacomole. But more days than not I was active.
Light Strength Training 1-2X Per Week
Instead of a pricey gym membership and flashy fitness ware these are all the supplies I need for a decent toning session:
(You can find all of these products for affordable prices on amazon. Just click the images above)
When I felt up to it I would complete one of Tamilee Webb’s easy 15 min workouts.
They might seem super easy and that they couldn’t possible lead to crazy results but believe me!
You will notice some crazy toned changes if you stick to these simple workouts for a few weeks.
That’s pretty much it folks!
Again I really think it all comes down to eating the foods you love and engaging in active hobbies that you are obsessed with.