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I went to Jamaica for 3 months then Africa for 2 months where I ate totally different foods then what I was used to.
Lots of starch, carbs and deep friend food.
Not only was I eating heavier foods, I was not exercising regularly at all and because of the cultural difference in Africa, I was eating heavy meals right before bed every night!
My trip was definitely worth gaining weight because I was there on volunteer work only.
However, once I got back home, I knew it was time to get into my healthy routine again.
Not only was I not 100% satisfied with how I looked, I didn’t sleep well, had low energy and I even had low moods.
I want to be clear that I’ve never been a fan of comparing yourself to what the scale says.
I believe as long as YOU and no one else but YOU are happy with your body, irregardless of what you weigh, is the most important thing, ever.
So I was not losing weight to appear like a model in a magazine or because I was self conscious. I would never recommend anyone doing that ever.
I merely wasn’t happy with not only how I looked, but mainly how I felt.
Here are my steps as to how I lost such a substantial amount of weight in a short period of time.
I want to make clear, unlike my other article 3 Tips To Start Losing Weight Quick, that this article is very different. That article is only applicable if you want to shed 5 pounds or start training your body for a big weight loss like what I did.
This article today holds challenges that aren’t easy.
However, if you are extremely serious about putting in the effort, I promise the end result will be worth all the tears and sacrifices.
I will even throw in a photo of me before and after so you can see that I’m really serious when I truly say I lost weight.
I’m not a personal trainer in anyway, I’m just a regular woman that lost weight and you can too.
I did not use diet pills or starve myself, I did it the good old fashion way by simply changing 2 things.
Step 1: Food
This is probably not a huge shock to anyone. There are tons and tons of weight loss programs, diets and products out there, but one thing they all have in common is; diet.
Some say it’s the most important thing, even more then actual exercise.
Whether it’s more important or not, it’s important none the less.
If your on this page your probably like me and gain weight a little more easy then others.
If you eat a grape, you better believe that grape will show in your stomach within a few moments.
If you had a super fast metabolism you probably wouldn’t be on this page.
I genetically gain weight more easily then others, not only that, I’m 5″4, so my weight doesn’t have a ton of room to go anywhere, except mainly my stomach.
My stomach is my “problem” area I call it.
It’s the spot of my body that I am not body shaming, however it is the area I have to work out twice as hard as anything else, because it’s where all the fat in my body likes to hangout!
I apologize for such a long explanation, however I don’t want you to think I’m this natural 100 pound girl that’s trying to sell products and write a blog post hoping it goes viral, nope.
So the first thing I really had to change was my diet.
Not dieting, but change everything I ate and how much I ate.
I had to completely cut out the following from my regular food intake:
• Breads (Pizza, Bagels etc)
• Sugars (Sweets, Donuts, Candy, Ice Cream etc)
• Salts (Chips, Pretzels etc)
Don’t worry, I won’t advise you to stop cold turkey…
I do recommend cheat days, I’ll get into that later on.
But seriously I had to cut out aaalllll those categories and all the foods that go along with it.
It’s hard, it will not be easy, but it is so worth it.
So start changing your meals to something like this:
Breakfast: bran cereal or granola with low fat yogurt always paired with a cup of fruit!
If your a coffee lover like me, sugar in your coffee with cream is okay…
That is something i definitely couldn’t give up, however that meant on cheat days meant nothing sugary for me!
Lunch: avocado and egg salad or a shake of some sort!
Diner: chicken stir fry with tons of veggies and rice is ok or chicken and another salad.
Drinks: Have tons of actual natural fruit juices that aren’t saturated with artificial coloring and tons of sugar.
Drink tons and tons of water, especially with lemon and/or mint which promotes weight loss and detoxes the body!
Snacks: baby carrots, an apple, a banana or a cliff bar.
The key here is to not eat anything after diner, so if you get hungry around 8 or 9 at night, sorry, you can’t eat anything!
If your hungry because, like I was, your used to eating, have some tea.
These are random food substitution suggestions, but they really work.
Another trick is to not buy any junk food you normally do, because if it’s not there at your house, you most likely won’t go out and buy it.
You want to eliminate any temptations!
Now for cheat days.
I believe you have to reward yourself, completely changing your diet is so difficult, at least it was for me.
Your completely retraining your body and your brain when it craves bad food or that feeling that tells us were hungry, when we aren’t.
Award yourself a cheat diner on Friday night and a cheat day at some point on Saturday.
That’s 2 cheat days only, once Sunday rolls around, it’s back to the “new healthy routine”.
Eventually you’ll want to have no cheat days at all until you completely transform your body to where it needs to be, then you can begin cheat days eventually.
The cool thing is, once you see your body change, once you feel different, it becomes harder for you to even want junk food.
I know it seems crazy right now, I remember being so excited for the weekend and wishing the week would go buy fast so I could eat pizza!
I’m going to recommend a few things I added to my lifestyle which improved my energy and ability to workout. I don’t mean to come off all “sales like” you don’t need these to lose weight, but it helps so much. Think of it as buying less junk food, alcohol, Starbucks and more. My goal is to help you get fit and so I’m going to of course suggest products that will help you attain these goals.
• I recommend you get yourself a shaker like this one: BlenderBottle Classic Loop Top Shaker Bottle, Clear Black, 28-Ounce so you can put protein powder and other essential powders I think are necessary into it.
• It’s also good to use an energy booster like Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplement, Watermelon, 60 Servings, 390g
It seriously gives you such a boost of energy and makes you want to workout, I always take this, especially on the days when I do not feel like working out.
It doesn’t make you feel jittery like drinking a ton of espresso shots either.
This isn’t something I’m going to suggest you continuously purchase, no.
It’s something to get you motivated to start the process of losing weight!
If it’s raining outside and I want nothing more then to eat pizza while watching Netflix, if I take cellucore (c4) I will end up working out. It’s that simple, it seriously works.
• Okay absolute last thing I will recommend before moving on to the second step in month one is Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder, Chocolate, 1.93 lb (19 Servings),this helped me so much when I first started out, plus it tastes amazing. It’s natural, it provides you with 20 grams of complete plant-based protein & 6 servings of greens
It’s great for filling that hunger gap you may feel after working out.
The next section I wanted to talk about was exercise, obviously. I won’t be recommending anymore products, I promise.
To me this is very important, because if you’ve gained a lot of weight and your trying to lose a lot, simply changing how you eat isn’t going to burn all the fat in your body.
I mean fat scientifically, I hope it doesn’t come off harsh or rude.
Again, I am not claiming to be an expert of any sort, but for me simply eating different was not going to make me lose the weight I wanted to.
Eventually eating less will prove results, but I wanted it faster, I wanted to my changes for summer, so I began in spring.
I’m sorry if you were hoping I would say you could eat slightly different, go on some plan and you’d lose a ton of weight, because that isn’t realistic or healthy.
Having worked in a hospital, I am all about promoting health.
Now, a lot of body builders will say contrary to what I am about to say and that’s fine!
I am just going to explain how I lost weight, if you already scrolled to the bottom of the page and saw my before and after photos, then I hope you give me a chance to explain!
I do not believe in weight lifting right off the bat.
The reason I feel so strongly about this is because our body fat turns to muscle…
so if you have gained an extra 25 pounds and start lifting weights, all of that fat will become muscle making you look bulky.
If your already small or at a fit weight your happy with and want to start weight lifting, I completely agree with that, I’ll get to that!
However when your first starting out, I don’t encourage anyone to be weight lifting.
Unfortunately for anyone who hates cardio here is the part your gonna really dislike.
For the first month or two your going to have to mainly run…
This doesn’t necessarily mean on a treadmill, you can run outside, go on a 1 hour hike or 1 hour walk to make the equivalent of running.
If you have stayed on my page, thank you for not leaving, even if you wanted to.
I don’t know how else to deliver this news other then, yep your going to have to run and run lots (not necessarily fast though, don’t worry!)
So, what should your regular workout look like then?
Monday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching
Tuesday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching
Wednesday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching
Thursday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching
Friday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching
(remember today’s a cheat day, yay!)
Saturday: Rest + Stretch (another cheat day, yay!)
Sunday: Rest + Stretch
Again, some professionals may totally disagree with my method, perhaps you might too.
I’m just writing about what worked for me.
I believe we can’t totally cut ourselves off form those foodie comforts, if you can, good on you, I certainly couldn’t.
You need to give your body a rest, taking the weekend off from exercise is good.
The weekends though, I encourage you to keep stretching, that’s something you can do while watching TV.
It’s good to loosen up your body and gain flexibility!
This month you’ll want to bring your cheat days down to once a week, whatever day of your choice
This month you will want to start incorporating ab exercises.
I started doing ab workouts in the second month of working out, because prior to the second month, doing abs for me seemed pointless.
If you don’t have a flat stomach, yes you can begin doing abs, however if you don’t focus on burning the fat around your stomach, what’s the point?
I hope that makes sense.
Everyone’s body is different, perhaps it may take you 1.5 months or 2 months to start really seeing a difference in your stomach, so don’t focus so much on the months so much.
So your workout will look similar to the first month, still keeping up that cardio! (sorry).
However I have now incorporated ab workouts into each day.
Monday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout
Tuesday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout
Wednesday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout
Thursday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout
Friday: 30 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + potential cheat day
Saturday: Rest + Stretch + potential cheat day
Sunday: Rest + Stretch + potential cheat day
I wrote out some ab workouts here.
Food stays the same and yes, you still get one cheat day! (I will never take that away from you completely!)
This month is the fun month, because by now you will have lost all the weight you wanted to, your the size you are most happy with, now you can start toning.
This means you still do some running, but not as much, you don’t need to now!
Still do your stretching, your abs of course to maintain that and now you can do squats!
I wrote out some of my favorite squat exercises here
Monday: 15-20 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + 4 sets of 10-12 squat reps
Tuesday: 15-20 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + 4 sets of 10-12 squat reps
Wednesday: 15-20 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + 4 sets of 10-12 squat reps
Thursday:15-20 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + 4 sets of 10-12 squat reps
Friday: 15-20 min of cardio + 10 min of stretching + 15-20 min ab workout + 4 sets of 10-12 squat reps + potential cheat day
Saturday: Rest + Stretch + potential cheat day
Sunday: Rest + Stretch + potential cheat day
Again, every body is different, so don’t be hard on yourself at all if by month 3, you still have a lot of desired weight you want to lose.
Aim your goal to be by month 4 you will start toning things up and lessening your cardio!
I am merely sharing my own personal timeline and what I did to achieve that.
There’s no “perfect” timing, being able to simply lose weight, get active and eat different deserves a pat on the back!
If you didn’t scroll ahead, here is the moment you’ve been anxiously and maybe impatiently waiting for!
These weren’t right after my trip to Africa, however this is what I resembled after my trip and
the weight I maintained until I seriously started to workout.
#noshame, but was not happy with how I felt or looked.
Terrible quality photos, but you get the point.
After 3 months of working out this is the weight I was able to achieve and maintain for years
Getting to the weight I am happy with, like in the photo of me above, means I do get to up my cheat days back to 2 days,
sometimes I break that rule. That’s okay.
It’s okay because I have trained my body in such a way that a couple extra cheat days,
isn’t going to throw all my hard work away.
As long as I am careful, make sure I am exercises 3-5 times a week,
eating mostly fruits as well as vegetables and drinking tons of water, then I can maintain this weight.
Unfortunately since I am more prone to gaining weight more easily then most,
I may always have to be ultra careful about what I eat, when, how much and will always have to be physically active.
Another thing that’s okay, because exercise feels awesome, no complaints!
Nothing feels better then looking at yourself and loving the way you look.
At this point forward your going to have to always maintain some sort of routine,
maybe not to the extent of what I have to, it all depends on your metabolism, genetics and other factors.
So you can bring down the amount of cardio you do to at least 3 times per week, still eat healthy with a
couple cheat days, still maintain those ab exercises and tone legs, glutes and arms!
I’d strongly recommend getting some sort of fitness tracker. Yes you can download apps, but they all use data, nobody wants to be charged for overages using data!
Not only does a fitness tracker monitor the amount of calories your burning, it also helps monitor your heart rate, some are made to be waterproof and it will sync to your phone which is awesome.
You can track how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned.
If your serious about getting fit, it’s an awesome gadget to have.
Here are a few I’d recommend:
Pin it for later!
Perhaps in the spring as summer gets closer, if I have enough requests I’ll make up an email subscription surrounding getting fit.
Any requests or ideas please feel free to comment!