How I initially lost weight vs how I lose maintain weight now. How my seasons of life change the way I look at my health and fitness.
I lost 30 pounds about 5 years ago. My daughter was 3, and I had two back to back miscarriages. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life, and I was both physically and mentally drained. I knew, without a doubt, that if I didn’t figure something out now that I would never, ever lose the excess weight and I would most likely continue to gain weight. I had reached a fork in the road, and I had to choose what path I would pursue. I chose health.
I had always been fit in the sense that I went to gym regularly and worked out. Usually 3-5 times a week, and I had gotten into running on occasion, even participating in a 13k. But I never seem to be able to get any significant weight off.
But after my first two miscarriages, something had shifted. I remember the day I realized that I needed to change, and what I most significantly needed to change, was my diet. So that’s were I started. I downloaded an app to my iPhone called Fitness Pal. It tracks your food/calorie intake and your workouts. I put in all my info…current weight, goal weight, age, sex, height, etc. and I started to track what I ate and how many calories I consumed and burned. I remember the first time I actually measured a quarter cup of almonds out and put them in a dish to eat. I had never done that before. It wasn’t long before I realized by sticking to a calorie restricted diet, that I had been consuming a ridiculous amount of food and calories for my size, and that was the reason, no matter how many days I spent in the gym, I could not lose any significant weight. Over the following 6 months, I slowly and steadily lost 30 pounds, and felt amazing. I physically and mentally felt lighter, more centered and less out of control, and I understood my body in a whole new way.
Things I learned from my initial weight loss:
Food is 80% of weight loss
I was consuming WAY too many calories for my size
I understood the feeling of fullness versus overeating
I understood hunger versus eating from boredom, depression or hormones
It’s been 5 years from this initial weight loss, I’ve had 2 more miscarriages and had a baby, acquired my Zumba and barre certifications, becoming a fitness instructor, and of course I am 5 years older, heading into my 40s next year. Most importantly I’ve gained a relationship with God, I know how much I want to be like Jesus, and understand and am humbled by what Jesus has done for me.
I gained weight with each of the miscarriages and, of course, with my full-term rainbow baby, but was able to lose the weight each time. And while I kept the knowledge of my initial weight loss, I had to adapt new ways of eating and working out as my body has changed and I’ve gotten older. Especially in the past 2 years, after doing two rounds of whole 30, experimenting with other health strategies like intermittent fasting, and better understanding what my body needs as I get older, I have changed my focus from cardio and calorie restriction to strength and flexibility training, and eating a more whole food diet where the majority of what I eat are vegetables, healthy fats, quality protein and fruit. However, I still make sure I never forget what I learned from my initial weight loss, understanding hunger and fullness and that food is the key to weight loss and maintaining weight. By realizing and addressing the changes I need to make to my health and fitness in each season of my life, I know that I am better able to answer God’s callings for me, even though it is hard at times to understand why something that worked so well in the past, might not in my current season.
Each season of life brings challenges and joys, and we must learn to adapt in those seasons while still maintaining and utilizing the wisdom we gain from previous seasons in order to live our best life, the life that God has called us to live.