Everyone has a different weight loss journey and this is just my story, I am definitely not an expert. I was never particularly overweight growing up but I wasn’t the skinniest girl. Like most young women I had body issues but nothing substantial that would have resulted in an eating disorder. I was happy with the way I looked when I graduated from high school but then I went off to University...
The first semester of University the cafeteria that was part of my residence was being renovated so we had to eat all our meals in a tent with a warped and muddy plywood floor. The food was luke warm at best and terrible quality. I found myself going to the grocery store off campus and buying pita bread, hummus and oatmeal. I ate those three things for the majority of first semester and I went home at Christmas skinner than when I left. I managed through the rest of first year and the summer in between first and second year without more than a couple extra pounds. No freshmen 15 for me.
Second year…I lived in a house with three other girls, turn 19 (the legal drinking age in BC) and discovered parmesan cheese and angel hair pasta. Things started to escalate. The summer in between second and third year I moved into an apartment that was located above a McDonald’s... That summer was the wildest summer of my life, I also happened to meet my future husband. Fast forward to November of that year, I went to Arizona with a friend, he is a photographer, he took a photo of me and showed me, that is when it hit me…I’m fat. Over the course of second year and that summer I had gained 20 pounds, this was 2009.
Here is where my weight loss journey began. Like I mentioned in my first post, I like to make goals. And I did, to lose 5 pounds by Christmas and 15 pounds by the next reading break. I got a personal trainer, and I worked out 5 days a week. When the 5 pounds didn’t happen by Christmas I got discouraged. I continued to work out consistently and still nothing happened. I tried restricting my food but I always had the excuse of if I work out I can eat whatever I want. I had bad days, good weeks and bad months. I joined a boot camp, I cut carbs etc. This went on until the summer of 2012 with absolutely zero results, I weighed the exact same if not more. My husband and I moved to Calgary, I had started a new job and we were recently engaged.
I now had a real reason to lose weight…a wedding. When we moved to Calgary we joined a collaborative healthcare. With that we had access to a dietician, kinesiologist, psychologist, nurse, doctor and massage therapist. Meeting that dietician changed my life. For those of you who don’t know there is a huge difference between a dietician and nutritionist. A dietician has a degree, certification and their philosophies are based on science. I am an engineer so someone who could speak the language of science was right up my alley.
I explained to her my goal of wanting to lose 10 pounds by my wedding, a year away. She began explaining to me how your body works and what it needs to do to lose weight and after that first meeting I came away with these four things:
- DON’T starve yourself, your body will hoard more calories and you won’t lose weight (she did a calculation based on my age, gender and activity level to find out how many calories I should be eating and the first few months that was 1700)
- PORTION CONTROL, follow the Canada Food Guide for serving sizes
- Drink 2L of water a day, it will help with your metabolism and prevent you from over eating
- Stop drinking wine, not forever but for a while
She gave me many tips and tricks and I learned a lot about the science behind food. For example don’t use olive oil for cooking, it isn’t meant for high heat and it breaks down quicker or if you have a glass of milk or cup of yogurt before a meal you feel fuller faster.
For that first month, I measured and weighed everything. ½ cup of rice, 75g cooked meat, 1 cup of milk etc. I made sure I had 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables, 4-5 servings of grains (because I was in weight loss mode this was less), 3 servings of milk and alternatives, 3 servings of meat and alternatives (because I was exercising). Meal planning became a full time job, I recorded everything that went into my mouth. I also begain using the Canadian Nutrient File, it is the best place to find nutritional information about food.
I didn’t weigh myself except for at the doctor’s office, I went in a month later for a check-up and I had lost 8 pounds.
The dietician and I met once a month and revamped my plan. In October my weight loss began to taper off so we changed my calorie in-take to be less. I also stopped working out because I was so focused on eating and I wanted to only do one thing at a time.
September – 8 pounds
October – 6 pounds
November – 8 pounds
December – 6 pounds
By Christmas I had surpassed my goal by 18 pounds. All in all I had lost 28 pounds and 3 sizes. I weighed less than I did in high school. I could not have done it without the dietician. It was amazing! I had spent so many years trying to lose weight and I had managed to accomplish my goal in the span of 4 months. I went from 160 pounds and a size 10 to 132 and a size 4. The phrase you lose weight in the kitchen and get fit in the gym couldn't be more true!!!! After Christmas I entered maintenance mode, I could increase my calories, bring back the wine and relax with the measuring. It has been almost two years since I met the dietician and I can happily say I still weigh 132 pounds.
One thing that doesn't leave you is the knowledge about portion control, it becomes a habit. I still find it difficult to put more than 1/2 cup of grains on my plate.