How I’ve Lost Weight (And Kept It Off) Without Losing My Mind

For the past four (almost five!) years on this blog, I’ve discussed ways to eat and live healthier—a bit hypocritically—as my own healthy eating habits haven’t exactly been “from A to Z.”

I’ve preached how making small adjustments to your eating habits are easy and offer healthy recipes ranging from smoothies to soups, but in reality, it’s just not that simple. Sure, I’d have those smoothies, but I’d also some cookies, some potato chips, maybe some box mac and cheese, and other not-so-great processed foods—moderation has always been a struggle for me.

Far too many times I’ve tried and failed to maintain healthy habits.

But despite my previous failures, I am persistent. And when I really want something, I will work my hardest to get it (it’s how I ended up in Scotland).

After a year of consistent healthy eating and more recently, consistent exercise, I’ve managed to lose—and keep off—20 pounds. During this past year of weight loss and self-improvement, I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t for my body.

Here are some things I’ve learned:

  • I love carbs, but my body does not (pasta is a longtime frenemy).  I consciously make a point to take twice as many veggies as any starch/carb being served at a meal and eat it most of it before anything else on my plate.
  • Eating mindfully and intuitively is a game changer. Taking the time to enjoy whatever I’m eating, and listening to my body and what it needs—whether that is a plate of roasted vegetables or a slice of pizza—keeps me from overeating.
  • And when I want something like a cookie or a slice of pizza, I’ll eat it.
  • Green smoothies help me eat enough greens. I drink one loaded with spinach almost every morning, with a handful of frozen fruit and 1/2 of a ripe banana.
  • Cinnamon has largely replaced sugar in my diet. Not long after I cut out most highly-processed snacks, a craving for cinnamon—often paired with peanut butter—appeared.
  • Natural anti-inflammatories are key. Due to my new workout regimen, I regularly take turmeric pills to help with inflammation and they seem to be doing the trick with muscle soreness.

It has also been really interesting to see physical changes as my fitness has improved; everything from head to toe is more slender and toned, and I’m two sizes smaller—this is probably the biggest change, seeing as I had been the same clothing size since junior high school.

I do want to emphasize that this has been the result of months of hard work, with myself typically working out 5-6 times a week; 3-4 of those days involving cardio and/or HIIT workouts, and 2 days of machines—one day dedicated to upper body/back, the other dedicated to legs/thighs/butt.

Another reason why I’ve been able to maintain and continue to improve my personal fitness is that I didn’t throw myself immediately into the deep end; I started going to the gym 2-3 times a week and phasing out/swapping foods for healthier options, and gradually increased the frequency of my visits to the gym.

It’s been a long road to get here—and I’m far from finished—but I’m happy to say that it’s not just all talk on here anymore. 😉

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