This article is anecdotal and based upon my personal experiences. Please do not expect the same results or try to copy me exactly. Everyone is different with their own body type and preferences. Most importantly, everything in moderation. Do not cut any food group from your diet completely, even (healthy) fats. Fat help your body to absorb nutrients and it helps signals your body that you are full and turns off chemical signals to eat more.
The reason that people struggle with low calorie diets is because they try to do it all at once and they are so restrictive. You are not giving your body what it thinks it needs to survive. When you suddenly drop 800 calories from you diet, your body is going to fight back by making you crave the things that will give it the most calories and energy. Things like pasta, baked goods and soda.
If you try to give everything up all at once, you will fail. By cutting back a little at a time, you are still satisfying those cravings and not sending your body into survival mode. How much you cut back and how quickly is up to you. There is no such thing as cheating, you make the rules and you don’t want to deny yourself a little something now and end up binging later.
I weighed 145 then my husband and I decided to try for a baby, so I started trying to be healthier. I started taking a multi vitamin and folic acid, gave up caffeine and started walking at lunch time. I got down to about 130 and discovered I was pregnant. I switched to a prenatal vitamin and started eating more. I still walked, but I couldn’t do floor exercises anymore. At about 5 months, I started looking pregnant. I haven’t kept the weight off since, until now.
While Pregnant, I tried not to gain too much weight, after all, once your body gets used to being a certain weight, it likes to maintain it. Then after having my daughters, and breastfeeding, I lost the weight fairly quickly but even quicker, I gained it back. Then I slowly started to gain more weight. We would have pancakes for breakfast every week. Meals always contained lots of carbs, like bread pudding, pasta and buns and I would often polish off what the girls left on their plates.
Then I learned how high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) signals our brain to eat more. This was illustrated to me when I got some “healthy” cookies, which had HFCS in it and I ended up eating the whole bag even though I wasn’t really hungry. After that I tried to get rid of as much HFCS as possible, including dropping to one non-caffeinated soda a week. A few months later, I gave it up altogether, though I will occasionally drink it. Now that it has been so long, I no longer crave it, plus caffeine gives me headaches now.
After I turned 35, I started to gain a lot more weight. I started eating “Healthy” frozen dinners for lunch at work and was still gaining. Then summer came and I stopped eating them. I started to lose weight. I realized that all the extra carbohydrates were causing my weight gain (and lethargy). I cut down on Carbs and started a more active job and I started losing weight. I also started eating less for dinner and did not eat anything after 6 pm. (That’s when I tried a weight loss supplement that someone I know swore by. It was not very effective, since I had already stopped eating after 6, but the extra glass of water before bed was good.)
I had been eating a “good for you” cereal which had a lot of sugar in it. I switched to gluten free options for breakfast, like boxed cereal, regular oatmeal or eggs. I noticed that I had more energy
and was not getting hungry as quickly.
Then I went gluten free for a while and lost a lot of weight off my stomach. A few months later I read about a diet where you fast twice a week (on nonconsecutive days) to reset your metabolism. I tried it and, after the first few times, I wasn’t all that hungry on fasting days.
Now my oldest daughter is thirteen and I am finally back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which I thought was too heavy then. I still eat a little bit of gluten every day and I only fast for part of the day. I lost 20 lbs. then gained 10 back on a road trip. Now I have lost 20 more and have almost as much energy as before I was pregnant.
I’m not going to go into specifics about living a healthy lifestyle, you already know that. The hard part is breaking bad habits and finding a balance that you can maintain from day to day. Don’t get discouraged and never think that you have to change to fit into society. Losing weight is about being healthy, not fitting into a cookie cutter mold that magazines claim is the only way to be beautiful.