Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Blogtober Day 10: My Weight Loss Story



You best sit down, we're going to be getting a bit more personal today.



This is me:


Or well, that was me about a month ago out on a walk with my Mum. It's also one of the first full body pictures I've seen of me where I like how I look. In the past three years, I've lost six and a half stone, or 92 pounds, or 41.7 kg, or a Rottweiler, depending on what unit of measurement you use (obviously, the best unit of measurement is dogs, but only because housecats have a smaller range of weights).

My original goal was to lose 100lbs, so I'm in the home stretch now and I want to be my goal weight by Christmas. I say 'original' because I told myself that once I get there, I'll reevaluate what I want to do (either lose more or switch to maintenance) based on how I look and feel.

I wanted to write a post about my weight loss because it's been a pretty big part of my life for quite a while now, and I talk about it with friends and family IRL, so it's a bit odd to not talk about it on my blog.

How did I do it?

I will admit readily to anyone who asks that I calorie count, using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. I don't even pay for it (although given the amount I use it and the results I've gotten, pretty much any price would be justified). 

The reason I chose to simply calorie count instead of joining Weight Watchers or Slimming World or following any specific diet plan is because I love my science and my numbers. I put in my details and the app works out my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and gives me a number of calories to eat per day, depending on how fast I want to lose weight. A pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, so to lose 1lb a week you need a daily deficit of 500 calories, and to lose 2lbs you need a daily deficit of 1000 calories. However, MFP won't ever give you a number of calories under 1200, as that's apparently the lowest you should go (although I do go lower on occasion, mostly to balance things out in the days before or after I've had a big meal or treat and gone over my allotted calories). 

I like the fact that the numbers reflect reality directly. If you eat X amount and burn Y amount, you'll lose (or gain) Z amount. Easy-peasy. I felt that counting syns or points is essentially the same thing, but not as clear. You don't actually know what you're counting or why or how they actually relate to weight or health. There's this extra layer in between you and the facts of weight loss. Having said that, I know that other people find systems like Slimming World or Weight Watchers easier or better suited for them for various reasons - maybe they find it easier to stick to or make healthy choices with, or they find calorie counting leads them to disordered eating or thinking. I just find that it's the best method for me.

I had lost weight before using calorie counting, when I was in my first year of university. The trigger then was that my cousin asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I said yes, and then promptly remembered that she and the other bridesmaids were all thin and realised that I would have to stand next to them in the same dress, and believe me when I say there was no motivation like that! I lost a few stone using Nutracheck, which was pretty much the same thing as MyFitnessPal except you paid for it, but I either didn't know about MFP then or it didn't exist. However, after the wedding I stopped counting and went back to my old way of eating and put on all the weight again. After uni, I moved home and my parents had started to lose weight. My Dad in particular was being very successful at it and I realised that I might soon weigh more than him - and as a woman who's much shorter, that would definitely have been a bad thing. So I started again, lost some more weight, and eventually stopped logging everything again and started slipping, as did my parents.

Then, just after Christmas in 2015, my Dad had a heart attack. Luckily it was mild, and the doctor told him that it would have been a lot worse if he hadn't lost as much weight as he had. But I thought about that, and the fact there's heart problems on both sides of my family, and realised I didn't want to have a heart attack in my fifties as well, so that started me off again and I've been calorie counting since.

Practically everything I eat gets logged in the app. I weigh everything I can and stick the exact weight in. If I can't do that - for example, I'm in a restaurant - I'll search the MFP database and try and find something similar and log that. I have a 638 day streak in MyFitnessPal - although I do take holidays off logging everything, to be fair. I still open the app every day though, mostly to check my step count and log what I can, and thus have kept my streak through trips away.

For exercise, when I started trying to lose weight all I did was try and walk more. On weekdays I try and get 10,000 steps a day (I use my phone to count, as it's pretty much constantly in my pocket). On weekends I don't walk as much, but I'll still try to get as many steps as I can in. I started going to the gym at the beginning of this year, but honestly I don't work as hard as I should there and I don't think it has done much for my weight loss. I do notice that I've gotten a bit fitter, though. 


How have I changed?

Personally, I've noticed I'm definitely not the same person I was when I started. Part of my change I'm sure has been because of my job - about two years ago I got a traineeship to work in TV and it involved a lot of networking and speaking and other things I wasn't comfortable with, but had to get used to. But the weight loss has definitely been the major part of coming out of my shell.

I'll put myself out there more, and talk to more people. I'm more confident in my day to day life. I'll wear clothes I would never have worn before - like dresses. I rarely wore dresses before losing weight, and now I own quite a few of them! I'll dress in nicer clothes - fewer hoodies and casual t-shirts. 

How I eat now has changed (obviously). While I still love chocolate and weekend takeaways, I'm a lot more discerning about what I eat - as Prue has said in the latest series of The Great British Bake Off, it has to be worth the calories. At the same time though, I'm a lot less fussy and more willing to try new things than I used to be. I take a salad to work with me every day for lunch - the old me would never have done that. When I do my grocery shopping, my basket is full of fruit and veg instead of sweets or frozen pizzas. I like picking up new vegetables to try and stick in my salads. I must admit, every so often I look down at my grocery shop and wonder when exactly I became this person... At the same time, I still can't resist buying sweet things if they're cheap! But now they sit in the house a lot longer before they're eaten. 

In general, I'm so much happier now than I was before. Even other people have noticed the change in me. Losing weight was one of the best things I ever did for myself, even though it wasn't easy most of the time. I suppose that's one of the reasons I want to be able to write about it, because it's had such a big impact on my life.

I'm not sure what else to say in this post. It's kind of late and I want to get this up before midnight, so it might be a little confused in parts! I would like to do a sort of series on weight loss - misconceptions, odd things I've noticed, advice and tips and tricks, what I eat, that sort of thing. If you have any suggestions on what I should write about, or if you have any questions, please let me know! I'd love to hear anyone else's experiences of losing (or trying to lose) weight!


2 comments:

  1. good on you girl, that's incredible! you wanted something and you went for it!! so much respect.

    ive been using my fitness pal for ages now, not to lose weight really but mainly to try and keep my diet balanced and healthy. it's really helped me understand the importance of eating well...and how many damn calories there are in some of my favourite foods haha!

    katie. xx lacoconoire.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I love MyFitnessPal so much, it is great for showing you how to eat well and keeping your diet balanced. But I agree, it's horrifying how many calories are in some (delicious!) food!

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