I wasn’t always a big person. But after I started dating my husband, going out to eat became part of our routine. We had a ton of fast food, and I always upsized my meal—I loved the taste. Over the course of four years, I went from weighing 145 pounds to 290, which was a lot for my 5’1″ frame. After my husband and I got married, he went through a stressful time at work. Since I was worried about his anxiety, I found myself emotional eating to help combat the stress.
Besides having not-so-great eating habits, my exercise routine was non-existent. I thought there was no point in working out if my diet was totally off. I didn’t think it would make a difference.
I did try to lose weight with various diets, like the three-week diet, a low-carb diet, a cabbage-based diet. I even tried diabetic diets. Seriously, if you can name it, I tried it. The main thing that held me back from losing weight while following those plans was that they were too strict. I always got bored of eating the same things all the time.
I knew I was large and that I was having trouble getting around, but I never fully realized just how big I was. One day, I stepped on the scale and saw that I weighed 290 pounds. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that I was so close to 300. I told my husband that I needed to find a routine that worked for me so I could get back on track.
After researching different programs for about a month, I came across the Medifast program, which is basically a healthy meal-delivery company. I started eating five small meals a day, like oatmeal, meal bars, chili, and different soups. I also learned how to cook my own nutritious dishes, which usually consisted of lean protein and veggies.
I totally cut out desserts (pastries were my favorite!), as well as soda and juice. Water or zero-calorie flavored water became my new go-tos. To combat my sweet tooth, I started eating a small portion of cereal when I had a craving for sugar.
The smaller portions were definitely hard to get used to after eating super-sized everything, but my body began to adjust to more frequent meals. It really helped me understand when I was full and when I was actually hungry. Before, I would wait a long time between each meal and then totally go overboard when I finally did eat. I had to retrain myself to have a normal portion size and feel satisfied.
About a month after learning how to eat mindfully, I’d lost 30 pounds.
Besides looking more like I did when I first started dating my husband, I also started to feel so much better. I wasn’t out of breath, and I just felt so good. Even though I wasn’t a fan of exercise, I started incorporating 20-minute walks into my daily routine. Sure, it was a good way to burn a few extra calories, but I made it a habit becuase it left me feeling refreshed, too.
One year after setting out to lose weight, I’d reached 125 pounds, which was less than what I weighed when I first started dating my husband!
Now that I’ve reached my goal, I keep up with eating five meals a day and making sure that I’m actually hungry when I eat. Those changes have helped me stop emotional eating and maintain my huge weight loss.
Now, I love seeing myself in the mirror and am not disappointed in myself. Before losing weight, I was afraid to go out and do things because I didn’t like the way I looked. Today, I’m so much more outgoing.
And the shopping is pretty awesome, too. I love being able to pop into any store and not worry about whether they carry my size.
Be prepared for tempting situations. I always carried meal bars with me in case I was out and couldn’t get home to eat a healthy meal. Those kept me satisfied and helped me say no to things I knew weren’t good for my body.
Get a support system. I used my husband as a source of tough love and encouragement because he knew how badly I wanted to get healthy again. Even when I was feeling weak or frustrated, he told me to keep going and never gave me a way out.
Don’t give up on your new healthy habits when they start working. When I started eating smaller, portioned meals and cut back on my sugar habit, I lost weight right away. It was tempting to say, ‘Oh, this is working—I’ll just give myself some wiggle room.’ But by sticking to my plan, I lost more weight and learned to live without the foods and drinks that weren’t good for me.