Weight Loss Journey: How I Lost 35 Pounds After Quitting the Gym
What made you decide to lose the weight?
There wasn’t one big event. I just set a date, April 1st, 2017, and decided that was the day I was going to get started. It just clicked. I said, “I’m doing this. Nothing’s going to get in my way.” I had run out of excuses like, “Oh, I’m not so fat. It’s not so bad being this weight” and “You only live once, so eat cake.” I had fooled myself into believing that it wasn’t too, too bad. When I look at my “before” pictures now, I realize that it was bad. I crept up to 187 pounds—a few more and I was going to weigh as much as my husband. Today I’m 152 pounds and feeling good!
How long had you been trying to slim down?
I had been wanting to lose weight since having two children—they’re both in their 20s now. Instead of losing, I kept gaining a little at a time.
What had you tried before to drop pounds?
I went to the gym consistently for over a year. I loved the strength and muscle I gained but I never lost any weight. One issue was that I couldn’t go to the gym and change how I ate. It was either one or the other. I couldn’t be that controlled. At the gym they said weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. So I said I’d stop the gym and change my diet.
How did you find a strategy that actually worked for you and keep the pounds off?
I read about Dr. Ro’s Lose Your Final 15 book in a magazine article. It was an easy program: No special foods, timings, smoothies or anything. All I had to do was eat 4 servings of lean protein, 6 servings of vegetables and 3 healthy fats every day for a couple of weeks. After that I could add in 2-3 servings of fruit and later 2-3 servings of dairy. It’s very low carb—so I quit even having sugar in my tea.
To say on track, in my head, I imagined Dr. Ro handed me ‘cards’ every morning—one for each thing I could eat. When I ate that food, I ‘played’ the card. No more ‘cards’ meant no more food. For protein, for example, I liked to have a boiled egg or a half can of tuna. I’d roast vegetables like cabbage and broccoli over the weekend and then put them in a big container that I could dip into over the course of the week.
Do you still avoid carbs?
Now that I’ve hit my goal weight I’ll have a carb here and there. I feel like my metabolism is much better so when I do eat a cookie, I don’t automatically gain three pounds. But I’ve pretty much given up carbs. One of my goals is to dodge diabetes, so I may as well give it my best shot. We get so many carbs in our vegetables anyway. To add a white bread or a croissant doesn’t seem worth it.
What’s one habit that has helped you maintain your weight loss?
Visualization of my week. I always think about the opportunities for the week—lunch with co-workers, a birthday party for a friend, or maybe a family get together—then I decide which one I want to gastronomically participate in and which ones I would physically and emotionally enjoy but stick to the healthier eating plan. I always had something to look forward to, so I never felt disadvantaged.
What advice would you give to other women trying to slim down?
Give yourself time, especially if you’re a little older like me. I thought my metabolism was broken. When I would watch what I ate for a week I may have lost a pound. When I was in my twenties if I had done the same thing I would have lost 5 pounds in that week. But my metabolism is back now! You might have to give yourself a little more time but it will get there. Be patient. You are worth it.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
I would encourage people to be part of Dr. Ro’s online community for their weight loss journey. I wish I had taken advantage of it while I was losing. It’s great support.
What’s been one of the highlights of losing weight?
When a co-worker asked me how I was accomplishing it. She had a list of things that were interfering with her being successful: a home renovation, a stressful job and two children. I had also been in a year-long kitchen renovation. I had an ailing mother who passed away and an aging father that needed different support. I was working two jobs to fulfill family needs. I suggested to her that losing weight, feeling better, getting new clothes and receiving a compliment here and there were the fun things in my life. They were the thing I had control over. The other things, not so much.