So in 4 years I have lost a lot of weight but through a rather long process and a lot of determination. Have often been told how well I look by people I run into from my past or currently work with and some often ask, why? and how? So I figured why not document this little journey I have been on and if it might be helpful for anyone else that comes across it!
I was originally a size 16-18 (at 198 lbs) and morphed into a size 6 (floating between 140-145 lbs). I never EVER dreamed I would drop that much weight and nonetheless down to that dress size in my life! My goal originally was so much smaller from the beginning, just to maybe fit into my clothes, maybe a bit looser and if at all possible maybe drop one size lower than where I was at that time in my life.
Like most women I was starting to notice my clothes were fitting rather tight and heading up the next size and honestly was starting to feel really uncomfortable with that situation. A year prior, was in a wedding as a bridesmaid wearing a strapless gown which made me feel rather uncomfortable due to my size and second never wore anything that felt so revealing up on top. Now I am rather very conservative in the way I dress, so I was really not feeling very confident in my own skin in any way.
So my journey really kicked into gear after I was let go from the educational tech firm I worked with back in 2012. For years I lived a very sedentary lifestyle and not active at all. After all I would work behind a desk like most folks for 8+ hrs and maybe more when I got home and sat in front of the tv and eat all the wrong things around me throughout the day.
Well I figured while I was on the job hunt and going through the process of unemployment I really needed to set another goal and one that was to be more personal. Was already out of a job for 6 months and that could make anyone not feel very inspired and take a walk down depression lane. Feelings of anxiety and being nervous day-to-day were enough and wondering if I would ever pick up a new job anytime soon. So to keep my mind focused I needed another project to take my mind off of the day-to-day stress I was putting my mind through so I figured why not work on me?
While I was working from home it started with a simple task of just getting out and just walking for about an hour and a half 3 days a week (Mondays, Wednesday’s, and Fridays). Nothing strenuous, just me and a good playlist on my iPhone, after all it’s ONLY a small time-frame carved out of my day and knew that was a task that could be accomplished. At this time of the season we were approaching upon Fall so the weather was cool and it felt good to get out of the house and unwind. Plus I kicked the habit a year before of no longer drinking any soda after reading some health articles about how much sugar one consumes in just a week and how curbing that also cuts calorie intake which = weight loss. So my only beverages of choice to consume would be water (optional with crystal light), or tea (iced or hot with no sugar). Crystal Light really helped with having something with a little flavor to help kick the curb of craving something sweet from the get-go.
Soon the weather would take a turn for the worst where it would be too cold to go out with snow approaching. Lucky for me a new gym was coming into my little town, Planet Fitness. So I went to visit this location which was right across from the high-school I attended years ago. So I opened an account there because walking outside was no longer going to be an option. I never had a gym membership before and I certainly felt awkward and out of place. Never belonging to a health club before and having no clue if there would be people like myself you see in the commercials or pro athletes around I wonder what I was going to get myself into. So I took things slow and worked the same routine on the treadmill – walking. Soon I was getting too good and noticed I was not winded or feeling challenged, so I figured I would begin to challenge myself by walking at an incline and began to notice I was getting somewhere.
During the Christmas season my younger brother was kind enough to buy me this thing called a FitBit Zip for me because I was working out quite a lot. Loved this little gadget! This has allowed me to see how many steps I acquired throughout the day but also was able to sync with my phone to see my progress and allow me to even track of what I ate throughout the day, so I became more accountable.
After a couple of months of doing this I noticed that all of a sudden how loose my dress pants became and could now adjust to wearing a size 14! This made me happy!! I actually reached this little goal I set for myself and it felt or seemed effortless somewhat.
Eventually I was able to acquire a new job but was a little worried I would fall off track and no longer have this same health routine and would gain this weight back. So I made some further changes just to ensure this would not happen and continue to stay active in a couple of ways:
- shifted my workout schedule for the weekends
- do various workouts at home during the weeknights (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- and more importantly during my lunch take the last half-hour and walk around the beautiful city of Boston as much as possible.
This would allow me to meet my 5,000+ steps I needed to put in for each day so that it burns the calories I consumed throughout the day. I became more conscious of my diet and ate a bit cleaner by making better choices and staying within 1200-1500 calorie range.
Even my workouts at the gym began to change. I would stay a half hour longer and start to explore and use new equipment. For instance besides the treadmill I like this thing called the arc trainer. It was developed for people with really bad knees and can’t do a lot of high impact workouts, it is sort of a mix between a stair climber and an elliptical. However there is no hard rotation on the knee and burns calories like crazy and helps minimize the waistline. I remember my first time on this thing I could only stay on it for about 5 mins before I began to think I was going to either die or pass out on it. After a couple of years on it I can sustain about a half hour at best a the highest climb incline with ease. Now starting to look like a pro athlete there after some of the looks I get working out intensely on this thing!
Over time I just started to drop even more weight due to my dedication and as a plus start to build a little muscle. Started to notice definition in my arms when I worked out on some of the assisted weight lifting machines. This helped with toning my arms where there was loose skin that finally began to tighten and noticed I could actually wear sleeveless dress shirts comfortably and not feel embarrassed.
As I became more comfortable with other equipment I started to look at working up the front area where you tend to see a lot of guys using free weights, weight racks and weight pulleys, etc. I was rather curious and watched enough people using these things that I could at least try to do something on one without looking like a complete idiot. Also wanted to know how else to improve my workout by incorporating other strength training exercises. Plus I read strength training helps to burn more calories way after the workout and that was an extra bonus!
At around this time I probably dropped from a size 12 to a 10 and with that had to go out on another clothing shopping spree.
Walking was becoming too easy of a task so I started to jog. Something I have trouble with due to a past knee injury and never liked doing anyways. This was never part of my regular routine so I started small. Like for every 5 mins of walking I would jog for 1 min and that was a stretch at the beginning as it was more like 30 seconds that then morphed into longer time-spans. Eventually I was able to sustain a pretty good pace and do certain HIIT intervals. Noticed that in doing this that time really fly’s by much faster until I was able to move onto the next workout.
Even my workouts started to get longer because I felt the need to hit every piece of equipment to workout my entire body. I have various routines now because I feel I have become rather efficient at them. At some point I hit a plateau where I was no longer seeing any further weight loss. So I know for my cardio workout to only proceed for 45mins and then move onto strength training.
Adjusting my workout like so I was able to drop from a size 10 to an 8.
So with that smaller reduction in size a lot of things were shrinking that I was unaware of. For instance I noticed it in my hands when I could no longer wear an heirloom ring I had (2.5 sizes smaller) and then my feet got smaller. Yeah I didn’t know fat existed there! It’s weird as I dropped a half size in my shoes. I could no longer wear some of my nice Ann Klein shoes at work one day because I kept falling out of them.
And don’t let me get started on my wardrobe!
Everything in my closet was either XL or L and it either got donated to Red Cross or sent to ThredUp to see if I could get paid for any of it for resale. I was happy yet depressed at the same time. I invested quite a lot of money into a wardrobe for a larger size gal and had to see it all disappear. I had to let go of my former self and had to go out and start buying smaller sized clothing. I was able to fit into a size medium or even small in some garments. Apparently you start to loose fat up in that other area women would rather not see go but made all he difference for me. Once I thought my favorite clothing store was cutting clothes differently when I started to fit a small. That was just insane for my head to wrap around at first but apparently that is where I am now.
I love the shape I am in now and never thought this is something that could ever be achieved. I hit a milestone at a size 6. Honestly think I am much smaller than where I was initially in junior high-school. Although the worst thing is sometimes I will look in the mirror and notice, “…gee I could improve this of that…” then have to remind myself what a personal achievement that has been made and be happy with where I am now. My workouts at this point are merely for maintenance and to help target other areas that will come off eventually but to not become to focused and obsessed with it and just be happy with everything else. There are other things to worry about in this world and not this little fat deposit somewhere around my mid-section.
So the worst feeling for my workouts is when I cannot get to the gym during a bad winter storm when we are snowed in. Often wonder why they have to hit during the weekend! Hate, hate, hate, the snow – more than ever as it derails everything!!! It knocks me off my schedule and feel awful if I miss out on one day on the treadmill. Yeah, I have alternatives such as working out with a Jillian Michales DVD or some workout app but it sure is not the same. Although it’s temporary I hate when I get thrown off track and just makes me want to work out harder when I get back there.
Now that I am more lean and workouts have gotten a bit longer (3hrs or so) I am not totally sure when I want to shorten them for more maintenance reasons just yet.
So that there is my story so far…
I often get a lot of questions on what it is that I actually do with my time, so I followed up this post which outlines my general routine – here
One thing I certainly plan on doing is sharing my success story within my Planet Fitness profile because that place is one resource that has helped me reach my goals!
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