How to Lose 100 Pounds or More - My Journey to Lose 150 Pounds
My Journey to Lose 150 Pounds
Wow that's a big goal! Yep I know :-) But having big goals leads to big rewards and I'm ready for my life to change - big time!
So who am I and why am I writing this page? And more importantly - how can reading this help you?
My name is Gina and I'm writing this page to help as many people as I can who have the same issues with weight as I do. I've struggled with my weight since I was a child and became a pro at yo-yo dieting.
At age 31 I finally realized that I needed to make huge changes to my life if I wanted to live the best possible life I could. I was already starting to develop major health issues like pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain and fatty liver disease. I also was diagnosed with a severe emotional/compulsive/binge eating disorder.
Something snapped inside me and I was ready for change. I got professional help to get my diet, my body and my mind in shape. And now I want to share what's helped me succeed.
So far I've lost...
Welcome message from me!
This was very first video so please excuse my overuse of "um" and spastic eye movements lol
My ultimate goal is to lose 150 pounds.
I thought about starting this hub after I had completed my ultimate goal. But then I thought better of it because I've gained a lot of knowledge over the past few months and there's no reason why I can't start sharing my progress with you.
What's already helped me lose can hopefully help you too!
This page is definitely a work in progress. I have a lot to share that I'll be adding as I continue towards my goal of losing 150 pounds (and keeping it off for life!) I'll be adding more tips, resources, recipes and before/after photos.
You might notice that I've lost my weight very fast - I average between 3 - 5 pounds a week and I lost 12 pounds my first week. This is a direct result of my diet plan (doctor supervised), my commitment to walking 5-6 times a week and changing the way I think about food. You may not have results like this, but it is possible if you have the right plan and get help from the right people.
Learn how I am doing this below...
5 Steps to Weight Loss Success
Keeping it as simple as I can
So over the years I've tried a TON of diets and weight loss programs.
I reached a breaking point of total confusion and frustration in January of 2013. That's when I figured out that I obviously can't do this on my own.
After dieting and dieting and then more dieting I was 150 pounds overweight (ouch that stings to admit!)...so obviously what I was doing wasn't working.
So what did I do?
Well first I went to a weight loss surgery seminar and got totally freaked out - I did not want to have surgery. I told myself it would be my absolute last resort.
Then I think I got lucky, super lucky. Somehow I stumbled upon a wonderful local weight loss center run by medical doctors and therapists specializing in emotion eating disorders. I signed up and it was the absolute best decision I've ever made. This place has completely changed my life.
Now please don't get discouraged if you don't have a similar place where you live. That's why I wanted to start this page. I'm going to take what I've learned and share what's worked for me here.
I've summarized what I've learned into 5 steps for success. These steps may seem very cliche and redundant - however - its the WAY I've carried out these steps that have been so important. So please don't dismiss them yet!
1. Highly structured diet
2. Intensive behavioral therapy - Read my page about stopping compulsive and emotional eating
3. Getting more movement
4. Getting a support system
5. Rediscovering your life
I'll go into details below!
NOTE to nay-sayers:
My plan that's detailed below is designed for someone needing to lose a lot of weight - 100 pounds or more - who has emotional issues with eating. Therefore, I don't want to hear any negativity or "you're wrong" talk. I'm expressing what has been the only system to work for me so please respect that a lot of what I discuss does not apply to the average person who only needs to lose 20 or 30 pounds. Thanks. :-)
Step 1 - Highly structured diet
I've been obsessed with food for years. Call it food addiction, emotional eating, compulsive eating or anything else - but to me it was an obsession that literally controlled every aspect of my life.
And I had to break that obsession.
After consulting with my doctor at my local weight loss center, I decided to do a full meal replacement program. (You must be doctor supervised if you are going on a full meal replacement diet. Its low calorie and your body's health needs to be monitored by a medical professional. If you are interested in the program I'm following, you can find a local doctor that will help you at optifast.com)
The idea of going on a full meal replacement diet is scary to pretty much everyone. I was sure scared when I started. But after the first few days I felt incredible. I remembered feeling completely invigorated, like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.
What happened was I released myself from choices. I was making poor choices for my long-term health and I didn't know how to make better ones.
So I just had a doctor make the choices for me. Much easier - believe me!
Every week I go to see my doctor and buy a bag of nutritionally balanced meal replacements - shakes, bars and soups.
Now I want to make the point that full-meal replacement isn't right for everyone. You can replace just a few meals if that works better for you.
I just needed to quit food cold-turkey because I was completely out of control with compulsive overeating and binge eating. And its worked for me.
So here's my diet plan that's helped me find success... - I eat 6 mini-meals a day
I use Optifast meal replacements since this is the product that's most recommended by my doctor and I really do love the taste of the meal replacement bars, shakes and soups.
- Every day, without fail, I eat 6 mini-meals. I even set an alarm so that I know to eat every 2 to 4 hours.
This method works so very well for a few reasons...
- I'm never hungry so I don't overeat. What happens when you go to a restaurant and you are famished? You eat too much! So the simple solution is - don't ever get famished. When you eat every few hours your mind can remain in control of your choices.
- I never get a sugar crash. Since I'm eating every few hours my blood sugar and insulin levels remain fairly stable. Therefore, I don't crash and burn and my body can be a fat burning machine.
Other Meal Replacement Programs
There are a lot of partial meal replacement programs on the market if you do not want to do full meal replacement.
I'm following the Optifast program.
I wanted something more strict, but these programs could work very well for you if you also apply the other steps!
You may be asking yourself "why is Gina recommending these plans if that's not what she's doing and they didn't work for her?" Well 2 reasons...
1. I truly believe other programs would have worked for me if I was in the right mindset at the time, was getting therapy and was working on the other 4 steps.
2. What I'm doing exactly may not work for you. You need to find the right solution for your life. So I want to give you some good options that align with the basic principles of weight loss that I've learned throughout my journey.
I've tried all of these in the past...
I personally don't love the taste of their products but I have several family members that have had great success with Medifast. They were just on partial meal replacement by eating bars/shakes for most of the meals and then have one "lean and green"
Again, lots of people I know have used this plan with success but this involves eating pre-packaged food.
I really love the taste of Slimfast's shakes and bars. If I wasn't eating Optifast products I would choose Slimfast.
This program is highly recommended and can be customized to fit your lifestyle. You get chef created meals delivered to your door. The program and meals have been created by a medical doctor. You can even add snacks so that you are getting enough foo
Step 2 - Intensive behavioral therapy -
What if you don't have access to a therapist who specializes in emotional eating?
Instead, read a book that's written by 3 of them!
I was lucky enough to participate in group therapy sessions with one of the co-authors of this book. The concepts I learned in therapy (that are also found in this book) have been my ultimate key to success.
Since I'm not qualified to give you a therapy session, I'll just refer you to the book below. But I can tell you what I've learned...
For years I've used food to escape from my emotions. Dealing with feelings of grief, sadness, anxiety, stress and anger is really hard. Some people deal with emotional pain by distracting themselves with something else - alcohol, cigarettes, food, etc. I chose food for some reason.
I've literally worn my emotions on my body. When life got difficult (which happens a lot to most people!) I just ate and ate. Through therapy I learned skills to catch myself before I binged and ask myself what I really needed. Of course its not as easy as that, but after learning HOW to break that viscous cycle of emotional eating it becomes a habit. Read my page about how I stopped compulsive and emotional eating
Or learn how you can break the cycle of overeating by reading this highly recommended book...
I can not stress enough how important your mindset is to your success. This book can help you achieve the level of self-awareness needed to take control of your emotions instead of eating them away.
This book is no longer in print, but you can purchase it used on Amazon or via another online retailer.
Step 3 - Move more
I know that's what you're thinking! And its OK, I hated exercise when I first started. Who am I kiddin' - I still don't love it!
But you don't have to stress out about exercise. Do what you can and just start moving. And if you can't do any exercise after speaking with your doctor about it - just have in your mind that when you are able to, you will incorporate an enjoyable activity into your daily life.
For me, walking was the perfect activity. I live close to a park so 5 of 6 times a week I take a very pleasant walk. And I get the chance to walk my dog which is always a blast.
When I started I had a TON of lower back and joint pain and I had a very hard time walking for 5 minutes.
But after just a few weeks I was able to walk 30 minutes a day no problem. Now I walk regularly and have added weight training to the mix. I wear a pedometer to keep track of my steps - check out my pedometer recommendation below.
Again, you do whatever is right for you. Maybe that's swimming, dancing, bike riding, gardening?
My Favorite Pedometer - The Fitbit - I got this as a gift and I absolutely love it
There's a lot of pedometers on the market so I'm just going to recommend the one I have and love. I wear my Fitbit every day. It tracks my steps, miles, stairs climbed and calories burned.
The best part is...my Fitbit is synced up with my iPhone through their app and I have access to my stats, progress and the Fitbit community with my phone and on my computer.
Every week I set goals for how many steps I want to take in a day and I've made it into a fun game. It keeps me motivated to make sure I reach my goal every day!
I have the Fitbit Flex Tracker model but they have several options in several price points.
This is the model I have. It's easy to use since you just wear it on your wrist like a bracelet. It even comes in a variety of colors. The battery lasts for several days before it needs a re-charge.
I use my Fitbit to almost play a game with myself. I set a goal every day of how many steps I need to take, and it's a competition to make sure I get those steps in. You'll be surprised just how much little movements throughout the day can add up.
Step 4 - Get a support system
Don't be afraid to tell people around you that you need their help
I'm not good at asking for help or telling people no or being assertive about my needs. So this step has been a struggle for me but I'm soooo much better off then I was when I started.
Being around people that support you and your goals is extremely important. Its more important than you realize.
You are embarking on a huge endevor if you want to lose 100 pounds or more. You have to change a lot about how you live your everyday life. And if those around you are not willing to make any changes to help you, then you will face incredible frustration.
For example, let's say you trying a full meal replacement diet. For dinner you eat your pre-packaged soup (I've perfected the Optifast Chicken Soup - recipe to come soon) while your husband sits next to you eating a fast-food cheeseburger, fries and soda. How easy is it going to be for you to keep that up? Um, impossible!
You can NOT rely on willpower for more than a few days. To make lasting changes you need to completely change your environment and for that, you need everyone to be on board.
So what does my support system look like as an example?
I'm lucky that my fiance has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process. He wanted to lose weight too so he followed a partial meal replacement plan (He lost 40 pounds in 18 weeks). So when we ate dinner together, I'd have my Optifast soup and he'd have canned soup, salad and fruit. No big deal for me to watch him eat soup while I eat soup.
I told my family and friends that when we got together we had to do something other than go out to a restaurant. I had to be assertive about this and there were many times when it was difficult and awkward, but I knew that I had to do it in order to develop healthy habits over the course of several months.
So instead of eating out, we'd go on a hike, to the movies, shopping or out for coffee.
I did have people in my life that weren't supportive and I had to see them less or not at all. In my mind if they can't support me and my need to get healthy, how much can they really care about me?
Is that harsh? I don't know but I believe this process has shown me who my true friends are.
You can not do this alone and you can not do this with resistance all around you.
Don't feel alone....develop a strong system of support from those that love you.
Step 5 - Rediscovering your life
Find what makes you happy
Please don't dismiss this step. I did for a very long time and it just made me a very unhappy person. And its very hard to care about what you eat or care about your health when you aren't living a happy life.
For me this step started to make sense after I had lost a decent amount of weight and I was learning how to NOT rely on food as an emotional crutch. What do I mean?
Well, for years and years the majority of my thoughts were focused around food. Remember, food was literally an obsession for me! As I started to dissociate myself from needing food other than to fuel my body, my mind really cleared up. I know that may sound totally dumb but it is so true.
I no longer had to think about what I was going to eat all day or what diet I was going to start or what I wanted or what was "bad" or "good" for me to eat. Nope - all those thoughts were gone because I had taken food choices out of my hands.
I eat the same thing everyday so I don't have to think. And that is absolutely glorious. You have to experience this to really understand. But just try to image what it would be like if your mind was no longer filled with thoughts about food?
I felt like a new person. All of a sudden I had the energy and motivation to do other things with my time. I focused more on hobbies, relaxing, walking, spending time with friends and I even started a business. And all because I allowed myself to be free of obsessive thoughts and disordered behaviors.
What do you truly want out of your life?
Write a list. Write down your goals and dreams. But don't think about this list as if you can only achieve these things "when you're skinny." No I don't mean that at all!
You can begin achieving these goals when your mind and body become more harmonized.
You could be 200 pounds overweight but still find happiness in your hobbies and friends while you lose weight and get your body healthy. Do not put off your life....start living it right now.
One of the most important lessons I've learned through this process is that I had to heal my mind before I could heal my body.
The Most Important Thing
You deserve a life filled with health, happiness and love!
My results are not typical.
I am not a medical doctor or therapist and do not intend for the above to be considered medical advice. Please see your doctor for medical advise and before starting a weight loss program.
Would you rather send me an email? That'd be great! I know that this can be a sensitive topic and if you'd rather chat privately I completely understand. Just head over to my profile page (click my name at the top right of the page) and click on the "fan mail" button.
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