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Alright… You caught me. I was procrastinating and scrolling through my Facebook feed a while back, just killing some time when I saw a friend of mine post, “This is how I lost 220 pounds in about 18 months!” The post was headlined by before and after pictures, and I literally did a triple take. 220 pounds!! That’s crazy, amazing, awesome, and … it had me wondering: what weight loss tips could she share for someone at the start of their journey?
Here are some of her before/after pics:
During her journey, Kate went from a size 4XL to a Medium and from a pant size 28 down to an 8/10 (depending on the pants 😉)
So I reached out to my friend (Kate) to ask if she’d be willing to share a bit of how she made it happen. She was stoked to share her tips and a bit about her journey and I couldn’t wait to learn more from her! I’m a sucker for a great health and wellness / improving your fitness story!
Team… 220 pounds!
So, with that – here’s Kate detailing her weight loss tips and exactly how she shed 220 pounds:
Let’s get something straight at the beginning – I have never been “on a diet”
There was so secret formula. There were no special diets, like keto and no special foods or supplements that I ate/took. Weight loss is as simple as being in a calorie deficit (aka – consuming fewer calories than you burn/put out).
(A keto diet is grossly oversimplified as a “low carb” diet)
I don’t believe in ‘dieting’ because it sounds like something short-term. But, if you’re hoping to lose weight and keep it off, you’re really talking about a lifestyle change that you have to maintain in order to develop a healthy relationship with food. For example, keto wasn’t practical for me. For one, I couldn’t maintain that lifestyle forever, and two I feel like it complicates a simpler process.
Nothing against anyone who does it though!! It just wasn’t right for me.
My weight loss tips – how I lost 220 pounds in 18 months
I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories. And I track everything. Beverages and condiments totally count, by the way (but I choose not to drink my calories). Once you see how many calories are in ranch dressing, for example, you’ll find that some salads aren’t all that ‘healthy’ for you.
Once you start to see the calorie counts in all of the foods, drinks, and condiments you consume every day, you’ll start to see how every calorie matters.
But please don’t forget that healthy foods have calories, too!!
It sounds silly, but I like to remind people that we need to consume calories throughout our day. The point isn’t to eliminate all calories, it’s to make healthy choices about what calories you decide to put in your body, and how many you choose to consume.
It starts with a simple education.
If you are not aware of your food’s calorie counts and how to effectively control your portions, you could EASILY be overeating – despite how “healthy” all of your choices are. For example, a banana can vary by over 100 calories, depending on size. So personally, I like to weigh my food, especially fruits and veggies, because they vary in size and there is no set calorie amount for all bananas.
I also like weighing my food because it’s more accurate
For example (I have a lot of examples), if you use a measuring cup for a pancake protein powder (this is oddly specific 😂), you could easily over pack a 1/2 cup measuring cup and nearly double your calories. Alternatively, you could add an extra few ounces of salad dressing and grossly underestimate you salad’s total calorie count.
So it is critically important to pay attention not only to which foods your consuming, but also how much.
During your journey, you will learn which foods are calorie dense, which are high volume/low calorie, and which are nutrient dense. FOR EXAMPLE 😉, peanut butter is labeled as a healthy food, and it can be, BUT – It. Is. SO. Calorie dense.
2 tbsp of peanut butter is typically around TWO HUNDRED CALORIES. …SO many calories for 2 tbsp. 2 CUPS of broccoli is only 60 calories.
Like a said before, calorie deficit = fat loss.
So, say you’re limiting yourself to 1800 calories, you could literally eat 1800 calories of McDoubles and fries and still lose weight. You just wouldn’t feel good, you wouldn’t satisfy your hunger, and you would not be taking care of your body.
It will come naturally in your journey to choose more nutritious foods to fill your day, especially as you learn how certain foods are better for you, more satisfying, and lower in total calorie count.
I like to refer to my calorie limit as a calorie “bank”
I’m always thinking about how I’m going to “spend” the calories I have in my “bank”.
I don’t know why. I just do. Learning how you want to “spend” your calories and what’s “worth it” is all a part of the weight loss process. And you know, some days it’s worth spending 350 calories on some cake. But that doesn’t mean it should be an everyday thing.
I believe in creating healthier alternatives to satisfy cravings. For e x a m p l e, if you REALLY want pizza. I’ve made pizza on lavash bread and measured out the sauce, cheese, and toppings. Is it gonna taste as yummy as Papa John’s? I mean, no. But you’re gonna have to make some sacrifices just to get by.
Believe it or not, those cravings will disappear
(Mike: this sounds ridiculous but it is 100% true)
I would drink carbonated water to satisfy soda cravings, get halo top ice cream and other various alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth, but I don’t crave those things anymore. In the beginning, I did. I had so many alternatives, but now I find myself eating so much simpler. I think it’s important to satisfy cravings and not to go to an extreme because extreme deprivation will lead to binge eating/inconsistency. So don’t overdo it.
People always ask me for yummy recipes and what I eat on a day to day basis. Now, I view food simply as calories and fuel for my body. In fact, I will eat the same exact thing every day and it’s never anything interesting 😂. I love starting my day off with 30 grams of oatmeal, 4-6 egg whites, and some sugar-free syrup or Splenda 🤷🏻♀️. I promise you that it tastes SIGNIFICANTLY better than it sounds 😂.
But there ARE very yummy, low-calorie meals and treats you can make! The internet is full of great recipes. On MyFitnessPal you can even enter in recipes or frequent meals and the app will remember them for a simple easy click at your next meal.
I personally focus my diet around protein
So I eat tons of egg whites, chicken, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. As a general rule, it’s hard to lose fat AND build muscle, but it’s not impossible. Protein is my key… It is so important to build your muscles and help with your recovery from workouts.
As for snacks, I try to focus on fruits and veggies
I love broccoli, green beans, carrots, and berries. They are all super low in calories for high volume (meaning you can eat a TON and not use too many calories from your bank). They are also delicious, satisfying, and nutritious! And they help get you through the day.
I also want to mention how you can still have your favorite foods while losing weight!
But, as with anything, you should eat your favorite foods – in MODERATION.
I was pretty strict with myself for the first 14 months or so and only did one cheat day a month. It gives you something to look forward to or earn and it teaches you that you will be ok without certain foods.
You also don’t have to feel like you can’t enjoy going out to eat for special occasions. Lots of places have alternatives and even if they don’t, don’t be afraid to ask to customize your meal. I have zero shame
(Mike: and if you’re serious about losing weight, you’d be wise to have no shame either. I also had no shame on my weight loss journey).
At restaurants, I will ask for nutrition labels and also request to have everything on the side so I can eyeball my portions. I just want to emphasize that your life’s enjoyment shouldn’t be about food. There will be special occasions where it’s ok to indulge, but developing a healthy relationship with food and understanding its purpose in your life will help change your mindset.
Which also brings me to say that you WILL fail some days – and that’s OK
You won’t be perfect 100% of the days. And you HAVE to forgive yourself. You will be ok. Your progress won’t be ruined. Don’t over exercise to make up for it. Don’t starve yourself the next day. Don’t feel guilty. Remember you are human.
Being on point 80% of the time is better than never being on point. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and remember that you are only one choice away from getting back on track. You don’t have to turn a bad meal into a bad day. You don’t lose weight from one day of perfect eating and you won’t gain weight from one day of bad eating.
Don’t give up and you WILL see results
Hopefully, I covered most of what is helpful. Don’t be afraid to comment below or to get in touch with me by emailing Mike – I would love to help answer any questions!!! Best of luck to those of you on your journeys ❤️
As Kate said, please feel free to reach out in the comments below and let us know if you have any questions. And isn’t Kate awesome!?!? I was soooo impressed to see her results and I also love her writing style! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
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