How I Lost 30 Pounds—and Kept It Off

I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized I was overweight. My entire life, I had no problem eating whatever I wanted, being constantly out of shape, and while I did gain weight, it was never such an amount that I noticed. That all changed my last year of university. I ate a lot of pizza late at night, made big bowls of pasta with lots of cheese and sauce, and became addicted to “Pillsbury” cookies. And I didn’t notice the pounds piling up. I always just attributed the extra weight to being curvy, but at some point, you have to face the facts.

My doctor told me that I could lose some weight if I wanted to—I was only a few pounds over my weight limit, according to my body mass index (BMI)—but she never pressed the issue. So neither did I.

After I moved back home and started an office job, I spent more time sitting in one place for nine hours a day, typing away on my computer while snacking on chips, cookies, or tea biscuits—they were dark colored, so they made me feel like I was eating whole-grain food (tip: they’re not whole grain).

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But then one day I looked in the mirror—I mean really looked—and I didn’t like what I saw. I was much larger than I was used to, but it had happened so gradually that nobody pointed it out, and no one quite remembered what I looked like before. I decided to make a major change.

I didn’t go on any specialty diets. I didn’t restrict myself completely. I made the following simple changes that people have been touting for years:

  • I ate a healthy breakfast (skim milk with cereal or whole-grain crackers with yogurt).
  • I ate lots of fruits and vegetables. These became my snacks du jour, and I always allowed myself a cookie or a treat if I felt like it.
  • I stopped eating a lot of bread. I haven’t had a sandwich in about a year, and I don’t miss it at all. Sandwiches aren’t filling for me, yet they can carry many calories. Occasionally  I’ll snack on a piece of bread with hummus.
  • I switched my sandwich lunches for big salads filled with lettuce, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and onions, and a protein, like tuna, chicken, or chick peas.
  • I stopped eating junk food late at night.
  • I started going to the gym. I hated the treadmill, so I tried group exercise classes, like Zumba, which I really liked.
  • I monitored every single thing I was eating. This was the least enjoyable part, because I forced myself to keep a food diary, and it’s really hard to see that all those tiny snacks add up. I don’t keep the diary anymore, but it definitely helped me recognize my eating habits.

I didn’t expect any miraculous changes, but, after two months, I went from a size 12 to a size eight. It’s been a year, and now I’m a size six. In total, I’ve lost about 35 pounds. I’m wearing clothes that haven’t fit me for six years. And it feels absolutely incredible.

I didn’t make any huge, bold decisions. I just chose a few areas in my life where I could work on myself and my eating habits. And it made all the difference. I don’t expect this to work for everyone, but I know it’s much easier than paying for expensive diet plans and forcing yourself to only drink lemonade, or eat oranges, or fast for three days—whatever the latest trend is.

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Don’t you think it’s worth a try?