On New Year’s Day, I stepped on the scale after 10 months of avoiding it and I found out I had gained 9 pounds. I was horrified! But I started a health and fitness plan that got me back on track. This is how I did it!
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How I gained weight
Last year was incredibly hard for me. My sister died of leukemia, my husband fell ill, our family business nearly went bankrupt, and we had to downsize and move to a tiny house. Difficult times.
With all the stress and anxiety, my healthy eating went out the window. I’m prone to emotional eating so you can imagine I indulged far too many times.
On top of it all, I lacked the energy and the motivation to work out properly. I kept working out, but my exercise routines weren’t challenging enough. I had no real progress. In fact, I didn’t even have enough physical activity to keep me from gaining weight.
During the holidays, I finally had to admit all my clothes were tighter and I felt physically terrible. After the New Year, I finally stepped on the scale and realized I was 9 pounds heavier. The horror!
How I got back on track
To tell the truth, it was hard to get back on track. I realized I had to stop eating unhealthy food and I had to do challenging workouts again. I had to clean up my act.
Even though a few months ago I took on the No Junk Food Healthy Eating Challenge, I was still eating too much and not healthy enough.
I joined Scott Colby’s Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days Facebook group, and it was everything I needed. I found a community, workouts, meal plans, and a motivating coach in Scott. I admit I didn’t stick to plan perfectly, but I started feeling like my old self again.
After those 7 days were over, I stepped on the scale and found out I hadn’t lost 5 pounds. I had lost only one pound, but I had gained the momentum, the motivation, and the direction I had been lacking. Thanks, Scott!
It’s been almost 4 weeks since I started, and I’ve lost 3 pounds. I’ve already noticed my belly is getting smaller, and my clothes are fitting a bit less tight. Yay!
But what exactly am I doing? Here’s the plan.
Healthy eating plan
1. I eat natural, single-ingredient foods and avoid food from a bag or a box
This means I eat food I have to cook, not food I can simply grab out of a bag. Any food that’s ready to eat or precooked is processed, and it has to go because that’s what makes you gain weight.
2. I try to keep daily sugar intake to 25 grams or less
Of course, this means sweets, snacks, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and anything of the sort is out of the question. Artificial sweeteners are not allowed either. The sugar limit includes fruit, so I try to have only one or two small servings per day.
3. I drink 8 glasses of water a day
This isn’t easy. Some days, I only have 6 glasses of water, but I try to drink as much water as I can. Infused water is great for this! I also have to limit my alcohol intake.
4. I avoid certain foods
Specifically, I avoid dairy (including cheese), anything made with wheat, and processed meats like ham and sausages. I had been indulging too much on these foods, but they make me bloated and they’re not good for fat loss.
5. I eat complex carbs, lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats.
Complex carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, beans, amaranth, and sweet potatoes are great but I only eat them after my workout.
I need to eat protein in every meal, and it can be eggs, lean meat, chicken, turkey breast, tuna, sardines, other lean fish, or nuts.
I need to have veggies in every meal. It can be any kind of veggie except lettuce because it’s not very nutritious.
Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, nut butter, and flaxseed are also on the eating plan.
Sample meals for the healthy eating plan
I play around with the ingredients, but I need to have protein and veggies in every meal, and fruit and complex carbs only in the morning or after my workout. A sample menu might go like something like this:
Veggie omelet, diced fruit, and green tea
Leftover chicken breast, veggies, and green tea
Lunch (post-workout for me)
Smoothie with almond milk, oatmeal, and fruit
Overnight oatmeal with chia seeds and nuts
Chicken breast over a green salad and vegetable soup
Lean meat over sauteed veggies and a green salad
Veggie sticks and 2 tbsp of nut butter or a handful of nuts
2 hard-boiled eggs and chopped veggies
Challenging workout plan
I spent an entire year slacking off in my workouts and it did me no good. Now, I try to make my workouts harder and more challenging, and AMRAP circuits are great for this.
On one day, I do a dumbbell workout. It could be squats presses, lunges with bicep curls, renegade rows, and sumo squats with high pulls. I do 10 to 14 reps of each and repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes.
Another day, I do a bodyweight circuit. It could be push-ups, mountain jumpers, in-outs, and burpees. I do 15 to 20 reps of each and repeat the circuit as many as times as possible in 20 minutes.
I also do a HIIT workout on another day. It could be 5 Tabata circuits or 60:120 intervals for 15 minutes with a high-energy move like burpees.
This is more challenging than what I was doing because rests at kept at a minimum and I have to push myself to the limit every workout.
The point is that I need to make sure I’m working out hard enough so that my heart is pounding, I can’t speak, and I feel like I’m at my limit. I alternate these routines so that I exercise 6 times a week.
Start losing weight again!
If you’re stuck in a plateau, or if you feel like you just can’t lose weight, don’t throw in the towel just yet. You have to raise the bar. Remember if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
I must admit sometimes I make mistakes. I still need to work on sticking to the plan. Sometimes I don’t push myself hard enough during my workouts. Sometimes I give in and have some cookies. I’m only human, you know? But it doesn’t matter. What counts is that I realized I was making a mistake and I did something about it. I decided to change and I’m not going to give up. Will you?