TW: I will be discussing weight gain, exercise and calories
Having always felt like I have struggled with my weight. Being a chunky kid/teenager, slimming down a bit after puberty, gaining weight again sucked. I felt so crappy about myself. I hadn’t really weighed myself much leading up to getting ill so I can’t say for sure how much weight I had gained but it was at least 1 stone.
Prior to getting ill, I would workout at the gym a couple of times a week and would eat a fairly balance diet, probably a little too snack heavy but still a vegan diet (they are healthier by default right?).
Once I became ill, I barely left the house for 2 months, I was signed off work and I spent most of my time just laying around feeling tired and sorry for myself. Then once I began to get back on my feet, I started working out a bit more – yoga here and then, that kind of thing. I thought I was doing all the right things but the weight just kept going on.
Clothes that once fitted nicely were not too tight. I had jeans that I had to wear with the top button undone – I refused to buy new ones. I was not going to be staying at this weight. I just felt horrible within myself. As I regained more strength. I got back into the gym, doing cardio and weights 3 times a week. My diet at this point had not changed greatly.
That cycle continued for months. Working out, thinking I was doing the right thing but no changes on the scales. FRUSTRATING!!!
Fast forward to lock down. Working from home gave me the flexibility to better plan my food. I began calorie and macro tracking. I had tracked my calories in the past but I was eating silly amounts like 1200 calories a day and I would beat myself up about not hitting my target. I was constantly striving to be well under 1200. I would do this for a few days, get super fed up and give up.
This time, I was determined to do it in a much more sustainable way. I looked into calculating my base metabolic rate (BMR) and my macro split for my goals. I set realistic targets this time. I set a target of 1500 calories a day with a 35% carb, 25% fat and 40% protein ratio. My BMR was 1871 calories a day so eating 1500 put me into a slight deficit meaning over time, I would lose weight. And I did.
Starting this way of living on 01 June 2020 weighing 146 lbs. Now this week, my current weight is 130 lbs. In 11 weeks, I have managed to lose 16 lbs – averaging a very healthy and sustainable 1.4lb a week loss. Ideally I would love to get to 116lbs but if that means restricting and stressing about food, then I won’t get there. This is all about balance. As I reach a weight I am happy with, I will slowly increase my calorie intake to find the sweet spot of maintenance.
Prior to changing my diet and tracking my macros, I thought I was just never going to lose the weight. I started to blame being chronically ill. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe my metabolic rate was shot. Maybe anything other than I needed to really address my snacking habit and thoughtless eating.
Whilst I have been eating this way, I have still enjoyed much of the same food I did before just in much healthier portions. No more covering food in oil, no more pasta big enough to feed 4, no more eating a whole pack of oreos in a day. Moderation and consistency are key. I have also taken days off from tracking for family events and trips away. 80/20 is golden rule! If you head over to my instagram, you can see the kinds of things I have been eating and how sustainable it is.
If you are feeling stuck in a rut with food and your weight. I would definitely recommend finding out your BMR and tracking your intake to see where things are. It is super easy to under-calculate in your mind or not count those biscuits. Even if you just do it for a week to find out your calories in v out. Although if you are prone to becoming obsessive with things, do not download a tracking app! It is not about losing weight, it is about being healthy and the best version of you, that you want to be!