Every week I continue to get emails from friends and strangers alike wanting to know one thing . . . how did I do it? What do I eat, what do I do to exercise and how much/how often? It’s a fair question, but the answers are never easy, and might disappoint you.
So, here goes nothing friends . . .
First you must realize that by December of 2011 I was at my heaviest ever. I was 212 pounds, which looks absurd to me now, but I didn’t even realize then how bad it was. I was wearing a 16 in jeans, but truthfully they were tight. I should have been in an 18. I was tired ALL the time, and drank coffee to combat the fatigue – which tore up my stomach (coffee is acidic) I also ate a lot of sugar to give me energy . . . just a vicious cycle. I was not active, at all, and I was getting sick pretty often – which I would just chalk up to allergies. With that being said, I was in bad shape. As I have related to you all before, something just snapped in me right around New Year’s. I was DONE. Done feeling miserable, done having no energy, done being this woman that I didn’t even recognize anymore.
To begin a clean eating lifestyle I had to clean out my fridge and my pantry of processed foods and processed sugar. This was not fun for anyone in my house. I went through a painstaking 2 months of figuring out what I should and should not buy/eat. I had to learn to cook differently. I had to let my taste buds adjust to A LOT less sodium and no table sugar. I’d be a big liar if I said it was all sunshine and roses because there was quite a bit of crying and whining around here – the kids made noise about it too. 😉
I would say that it took about 4 months to get the eating down. In that first 4 months I was pretty much a Nazi about what I consumed. I wasn’t ready then to test my boundaries and venture out beyond the basics. I do fudge a little now and then, and I splurge on what I like, but never to the point of over consumption. Always keeping in mind that while it is important what you eat, the portions are equally important. Or I can make it super simple – when you start to feel full, stop. Just stop. Throw it away, push it away, run for you life – whatever. Just close your mouth and move on.
So here’s what a typical day as it relates to food looks like for me.
Breakfast: I eat within 30 minutes of rising. I start with a Clif bar and a cup of tea. I eat again an hour to an hour and a half later – usually half a bagel with low-fat cream cheese or an apple. On weekends I eat eggs, maybe some turkey bacon and/or oatmeal, usually 4 oz of Simply orange-pineapple juice. (yum)
Mid-Morning Snack: If I don’t do second b’fast (yeah, like a Hobbit!) I will have a banana or an apple.
Lunch: On weekdays lunch is usually always at 11:15 or so. I will eat any of the following: packet of tuna on arugula/spinach with some cherry tomatoes and lemon juice and a dash of salt; a whole avocado with lemon juice and a bit of salt; a bowl of cereal; tunacado sushi rolls from Sprout’s (formerly Sunflower); turkey sandwich on whole wheat with spinach, sprouts and deli mustard . . . maybe some iced green tea, a glass of milk and if I am in a hurry and I don’t eat any of the above – an 8 oz protein shake will do.
Mid-Afternoon Snack: The cocoa roasted almonds are my favorite (and they come in 100 calorie packs!) but it might be an apple if I have not had one already or a banana. This snack is VERY important because it never fails that when 3pm rolls around I am absolutely ravenous!
Dinner: Okay dinner is sort of a wild card because on weekdays this is the only meal where I am cooking for everyone ( me plus three kiddos) For myself, I try to keep it carb free. I think it’s best to consume your carbs early in the day so they can be burned off by evening. I also run two to three times a week prior to dinner, so my meals are pretty protein packed. We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken, fish like tilapia or mahi-mahi or tuna; turkey breast and occasionally lean cuts of pork. We don’t do much if any red meat. It’s hard to digest and expensive. We eat vegetarian at least two dinners a week. So that might include a whole wheat pasta primavera, baked potatoes or cereal for dinner. We also enjoy omelettes, homemade veggie pizza, basic meat and three meals and because I love my kids I give them Chick Fil A every once in awhile.
You’ve Got to Move it Move it
Here’s the thing ya’ll, you can eat green and clean till the cows come home, but it’s not going to make a lick of difference unless you get your boo-tay off the couch. I started with doing Just Dance on my Wii with the kids. I love to dance, and I had to find something fun that also made me sweat. I did that every day plus I started using my Wii Fit and did Yoga and strength exercises. After that I added Jillian’s 30 Day Shred and eventually got Zumba for my Wii. I did this all in my home, mornings and evenings for two months and it was about February when I was about 20 pounds down. It was around then I joined the YMCA, started attending live Zumba classes and started the C25K program.
An absolutely essential aspect to all this was MyFitnesspal.com I tracked my food and exercise religiously, and it made all the difference in helping me to learn portion control and when/how often I needed to eat. Also the more you exercise, the more you need to eat. Your body is burning fuel, you have to give it more. Sounds crazy, but you really do have to eat to lose.
Out of everything I did exercise-wise, I really saw the pounds melt off when I got serious with the running. Not only was I losing weight, but my body shape began to change. Running may not be your thing, but find something that gets you excited, and go do it!
While it would seem like this would be a good place to end this crazy-long post, I cannot end it without imparting a bit of my heart as well. I look in the mirror now, and I still have to do a double-take. A friend said a very wise thing to me the other day, “Crystal, you’ve lost ALL this weight. You look like a completely different person, but inside part of you is still that insecure girl. Sometimes you’re still looking at everything through her eyes. It’s time to put those old glasses away. They don’t work anymore! Look at life, at you, with new eyes.” You can lose all the weight you want to, look like a supermodel . . . but even the prettiest girl/ the most handsome guy still feels ugly without the heart knowledge that they are loved. No amount of dieting and exercise can change that.
Love you all. Thank you for reading! Eat well, run hard and carry on!