I am so excited to share my amazing sister-in-law’s story with you today! She is a girl who is gorgeous inside and out but is truly living and experiencing just how much a healthy lifestyle can change your life. She radiates happiness everyday I talk to her now whether on the phone, Google chat, or Facetime so hopefully some of y’all can benefit from the things she learned while making healthy changes in life!
Hello readers! For those of you who don’t know me, I am Bo’s little sister, Meg. I’ve made a few appearances in the blog, but now I am here to tell you my own weight loss story.
It’s not one of those “I lost 100 lbs and my life has changed” kind of stories. My weight has always fluctuated and I have spent plenty of time trying to keep it where I want it. But after college, it got pretty out of control. So this is my story about reigning it back in.
Here I am in July 2012:
I look pretty good if I do say so myself. I had just graduated from UGA and moved to NYC to take on the big bad city.
But here’s me a year later:
Instead of conquering NYC, I ate it.
The stress of moving to a new city and starting a life from scratch clearly did not go well for me. Apparently I thought the best way to adjust was to eat, drink and stop working out. Good solution right?
Luckily, a lot changed between July 2013 and January 2014. I moved into a better apartment (with better roommates), got a promotion and started dating my crush. Life was good but my body still was not.
The weight loss really started in January (where all resolutions begin). My roommate’s brother created a fitness challenge/fundraiser and invited me to participate. Without hesitation, I pledged my dollars, joined to Google doc and threw out everything in my pantry. I was finally motivated to get fit.
The entire month of February I had promised to eat only Paleo friendly foods, workout 6 times a week (for at least 30mins) and not touch alcohol. I still have the Google doc with all the rules. It’s titled “The FML Diet”. No joke – you can click here to see the actual file!
After one month of the challenge I lost 10lbs:
The workouts weren’t hard at all. I usually exceeded the 30mins limit and the more I worked out, the more I remembered why I enjoy it and the longer I stayed at the gym. I also got into the habit of going to a class once a week (usually SoulCycle, Uplift or Yoga).
So yes, “The FML Diet” worked. But like all crazy diets/month long challenges, It wasn’t going to last unless I learned from it and adapted. I had given up dairy, carbs, alcohol, sugar, all processed foods… pretty much everything except for fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs.
Some of those things I missed (*cough* alcohol). Some of them I, surprisingly, did not. The list depends on the person but here are some of the things I took away from the experience and have integrated into my healthier life:
I don’t need diet coke. In fact I don’t touch it anymore except for during particularly bad hangovers.
I don’t need coffee. I didn’t really miss the caffeine crazed mornings, the afternoon crashes and I sleep SO much better at night without it (which makes it easier to wake up and go to the gym).
I do need alcohol. Ok I don’t NEEEED it, but my point is that I’m not going to give it up. I’m just more careful and I don’t use hangovers as an excuse to eat crap.
Milk chocolate is dumb. I’ve always preferred dark chocolate and I don’t know why I ever wasted my time with milk chocolate (with the exception of a few pretzel m&ms).
Almond butter is way better than peanut butter. It just is.
Breakfast is awesome. I start every morning with a protein shake, greek yogurt or apple and almond butter. It makes eating a salad for lunch a lot easier.
Salads don’t need dressing. One of my favorite lunches is a simple fresh salad tossed with a little bit of olive oil and salt.
Cashews are the best nuts. Yes, they are expensive and yes they are fatty. But they are filling! I keep them at my desk for emergency situations because a small handful can go a long way.
Baking Paleo friendly treats are just as delicious as non-Paleo ones. You just have to find the right recipes. Some of my favorite desserts have come from this blog. (http://lexiscleankitchen.com/ – thank you Theodora!)
Getting out of bed at 6:00am SUCKS. But the rest of my day will be better if I do it.
All that said, I’m not perfect…
I like beer and pizza, I don’t always make it to the gym, sometimes I need French fries and sometimes a cookie makes my afternoon better. The point is, I know the difference between eating something unhealthy because I’m being lazy or deliberately letting myself enjoy it.
I made a lot of progress during the Paleo challenge but it wasn’t just that one month that got me where I am now. I lost 10lbs during the challenge and have lost 10 more since. I was very aware of how extreme that first month was and deliberately used it to get back into the gym and learn how to reasonably adjust my eating habits.
When the first month was over, people at work were constantly asking, “are you still doing that Paleo thing?” I always said no because they were referencing the extreme version of the diet but the truth is, most days I am. Mostly because the foods I was eating on the diet taste SO much better than what I was eating before.
I learned that a lot of foods just aren’t worth it. I used to have a hard time resisting pastries in the conference room or bagels in the morning. After week one I did not miss those things at all and realized I was eating them because I was lazy, not because I needed them. I was eating snacks because they were there, not because I was hungry. I learned how to listen to my body and reach for the right snacks, not the convenient ones.
I would love to lose some more weight but I am so happy and confident the way I am now, I have turned my focus to maintaining my healthy lifestyle and keeping up the good habits!
To find out more about Paleo Diet or find some healthy, delicious recipes check out these links:
If you have any great Paleo Diet recipes or blogs you’d suggest I follow, let me know as I know that it’s a life change for me, not just a fadingwant more information about this diet or some of Paleo’s health benefits check out this DailyBurn article or let me know in the comments and I can share the exact file I used!