DISCLAIMER: This post is based on personal experience only and is a simple guideline to what I have/continue to do to lose weight.
TW: Weight loss, diet
WHY I CHOSE TO LOSE WEIGHT
At the first of lockdown (March 2020), I weighed a decent 10 stone (63.5kg). Despite the fact BMI states I should weigh around 9 stone (57.1kg), I personally feel that is a little too much for me. Therefore, 10 stone has always been my ideal weight.
But due to my alcohol consumption and takeaway addiction, I very quickly put on 2 more stone within a few months, bringing me to 76.6kg in July.
Feeling uncomfortable, with only some of my wardrobe fitting me I decided changes were required.
Not only did I feel slightly squished in my jeans but I also felt tired, sluggish and foggy-brained. I was unmotivated and uninterested in doing anything thus making me a pretty lousy play partner for Ava.
My weight went up and down until October, when I weighed 75kg and I kicked myself up the arse.
HOW I HAVE LOST AND AM CONTINUING TO LOSE WEIGHT
I have tried so many different diets in the past but I, personally, am against fad diets such as Cambridge Diet and Slimming World.
I believe you need a certain mentality to be able to come off those diets, maintain that weight and have a healthy lifestyle. I do think they work but not for everybody and I always worry these things lead to eating disorders. Again that is my personal opinion.
Which is why I have done the below to lose weight gradually and creating positive habits. Healthy living is just that. A lifestyle. It’s not a monthly plan but a way of life. But it’s also about keeping your mind healthy too, which I will also discuss.
Shall we begin?
WHAT YOU NEED
- Smartphone to download apps
- Meal planner – see Freebies page for a printable shopping list and meal planner
- Calorie trackers like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch
- Tape measure to track your weight loss (scales are optional)
- Will power!
I have added some links to useful items within this post but you don’t NEED them.
CALORIE DEFICIT & COUNTING
ALL diets, and I mean, ALL have this in common. Whether you’re on 1:1 or Slim-Fast. The reason why you lose weight is that you’re not consuming many calories. However, you can end up hungry, irritable and likely to put weight back on once you eat “normally” again.
A calorie deficit is basically having fewer calories than the daily recommended allowance.
I started by having 1,500 calories a day so I was in a deficit of 500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose weight, you need to count calories. This changed to 1,200 as time went on as my goals changed.
HOW I COUNT CALORIES
A lot of people use MyFitnessPal but quickly give up.
The reason being is probably because they don’t like seeing the calories they actually consume or it’s too much effort entering it all up. But I personally couldn’t live without it.
To use the app properly you need to do the following:
- Join MyFitnessPal and set your goals (be realistic)
- Add FOOD. When doing this scan the bar codes of packages or search foods. There are a LOT of brands on there with information already entered.
Weigh your food and you will be able to enter the calories much more effectively.
If for example, your meal has 30g of rice, enter 1g as serving size and under Number of Servings enter 30.
- It’s a good idea to save meals if you tend to have similar meals each week. You can do this by going to your Diary, and where it says ADD FOOD there are three dots. Press that and select SAVE MEAL.
Next time you have that meal, you ADD FOOD and ADD MEAL.
- Stay under your calories!
- COMPLETE DIARY at the end of the day to gauge what your weight is predicted to be in 5 weeks if you have those calories each day. You cannot Complete Diary if you have less than 1,000 calories as this is the minimum you should have a day.
As of January 2021, I am consuming 1,200 calories a day maximum in order to lose 0.8kg a week. Some days I have less (about 1000), dependant on my appetite. If I’m hungry I will eat but I try to keep the balance.
PLANNING MEALS & WATCHING WHAT I EAT
Each week we have very similar meals. It just makes it easier to track calories and order food. Then when it arrives, we switch the meals around based on the dates or freeze the meat. It doesn’t bother me that we have very similar meals each week. I’m not that adventurous with food anyway. But if you are, try and keep things simple and be sure to check the nutritional information before buying. You’d be surprised how many calories seemingly “low calorie” items are.
Most of my meals include chicken or turkey… High in protein and low in fat. Nutrients are also definitely something you should track too, which MFP is good at doing.
Some examples of lunches and dinners I have are:
- Chicken/turkey with vegetables and potatoes
- Chicken/turkey breast with whole grain wraps
- Chicken/turkey with rice (always wholegrain) and beans or veggies
- Chicken Korma
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Thai Green Green Curry
- Turkey Bolognese and red lentil pasta
- Bay’s Kitchen Sweet and Sour prawn stir fry
- Chicken/turkey fajitas
- Buddha bowls
- Homemade breaded chicken/turkey with skinny fries
The Bay’s Kitchen sauce (low FODMAP ) is to help IBS issues. They’re super tasty and have definitely helped both of our digestive issues. It’s also a great alternative to making your own if you don’t fancy it!
I also eat only whole grain and Gluten-Free pasta, rice and bread (as Paul is GF and low FODMAP so that means I am too 😂). Whether this helps the weight loss, I don’t know.
If I fancy some chocolate I have it. But I have a very small quantity and I have it very rarely. I don’t like feeling limited by what I can and can’t eat. With that said, sugar bloats you out so I avoid it as much as I can.
I actually prefer 0 calorie drinks like Diet Coke to trick my mind that I have had something sweet without affecting my calorie intake.
However, it’s important to me to have a couple of days a year where I won’t track calories. These days are Christmas Day and my birthday. It’s good to book those days in so you can plan your calorie deficit more effectively.
Limiting yourself too much can put a strain on your mental health and can lead to binge eating so here’s how I manage to still have “treats”:
- Plan out when I want to have as my “treat” and then ensure I don’t go over calories a few days before and after. I also make sure I still exercise to burn any excess.
- I don’t have cheat days (unless it’s on the two days I mentioned earlier) but I DO have the occasional cheat meal (once a month) which I don’t track or sweet treat which I do track.
- Start small… Rather than starting a diet for a week and having a day of eating chocolate, have one little bar instead (Freddos are good as they’re small but they are 95 calories!)
- Get a lockbox with a timer. Once you’ve had your treat, lock the rest goodies away.
- I have a limited number of sweets in the house this way if I do end up eating more than I ended I can’t continue.
WEEKLY WEIGH-INS AND MONTHLY MEASURES
To track my weight, BMI and body fat I use a set of scales and an app called Renpho.
I weigh myself and take progress photos weekly (I use Unfold to create a collage so I can SEE my progress). This helps me gauge whether I am losing weight and whether I am closer to a healthier BMI and Body Fat percentage.
Some weeks I lose nothing or gain a teeny 0.1-0.2kg. Factors such as water weight, PMT or what I have eaten the day before can be a factor for a slight gain. As long as I am in a calorie deficit I tend to lose weight. Unless I put on a full kilo, I’m never to fussed by this number. As that is all it is.
It’s also a good idea to measure your waist and hips to see the difference as opposed to using scales as the scales can be very misleading and put pressure on you.
However, I didn’t start working out until January! I lost a lot of weight with calorie deficit alone. But I wanted to build strength and fitness.
I tend to do whatever type of exercise I fancy 3-5 days a week as long as I move my body.
- Downdog app for HIIT and yoga
- Youtube videos
- Weights including kettle bells, dumbbells and barbell.k
I also try to reach 10,000 steps a day as this can help calorie burn dramatically. So if you don’t want to work out with weights, do HIIT, go running or do yoga, at least try to get in your steps.
Tips on how to get your 10k steps:
- Take the stairs
- Walk whilst on the phone or brushing your teeth
- Walk instead of driving
- Have smaller cups so you have to keep getting up to make drinks
- Invest in a treadmill or a fit cube to get those steps in whilst you watch TV, listen to an audiobook or get some work done.
These small tips can really up your steps and thus burning more calories.
But it’s not just about burning the calories. It’s also wonderful for mental health and building strength throughout your body, keeping you healthy and fit.
MY PROGRESS (SO FAR)
July 2020: 76.6kg
October 2020 (first progress photo taken): 75kg
February 2021: 68kg
My weight has been going down steadily weekly since the end of October.
At first, I aimed to lose a kilo a week and I set monthly targets which are good for the first few months. This ensures I continue to lose weight without losing too much too quickly. It also helps me get into a habit as opposed to just losing weight fast and putting it back on even quicker. I am now just steadily ensuring I have a loss, no matter how big or small, each week until I reach 63kg (10 stone).
It’s also important to me now not to focus on the numbers AS much. As long as my calories are under 1200 and I am exercising daily I know I’m doing right by my body and my mental health.
- Set reasonable goals for yourself
- Count calories, stay in a deficit
- Don’t limit yourself too much
- Don’t worry about scales too much
- Keep going
- Slow progress is still progress