MY SLIM DOWN HACKS (HOW I LOST 15+ LBS IN A MONTH AND A HALF)
So, starting in late August, I noticed I wasn't as 'trim' as I like to be. Was I fat? No. Was I unhappy with my body? Not at all. Were my clothes not fitting? Not really. But was I getting to the point where I felt like I wasn't wearing certain things in my closet because of the way they were fitting or how they looked on me (ex: I was reaching for dresses instead of shorts because I felt like it was more flattering at the time). Make sense? So I made a few small changes, and those extra pounds literally fell off.
MY WEIGHT HISTORY
(personally, I think this is important when you're reading someone else's advice on how they lose/gain weight because every body is different). For me, my weight has always fluctuated. From high school into college, I decided I was going to lose all of my baby weight and just be as skinny as humanly possible. This took a turn for the worst when I became totally obsessed with it, developed a nasty eating disorder at age 18 and wound up in the hospital with a stomach full of ulcers. THAT WAS FUN.
My "recovery" from that was to start eating like a normal human again and of course, put back on some of that weight I had lost. And then I turned 21. Sugary drinks and 2am pizza did a number on my body and I found myself heavier than ever before.
When I was 22 or 23, I realized, I really did not like the way I looked, and decided I would start to try to actually get back to a normal weight for my body. Which I did. I felt great. Until one day my amazing, wonderful, love-her-to-death, former college athlete best friend made a comment that stuck with me: "You'd look amazing if you lifted some weights."
Oh, fuck. She called me skinny-fat.
She didn't mean anything malicious by her comment but it did get my mind going. So I hired a personal trainer. I was in the gym non-stop. I was on a meal plan. I ate like a rabbit. I had a fucking six pack.
Flash forward a few years, to me living in Texas, figuring out I loved Queso more than I loved abs, and buying myself a set of boobs. Through that process, I learned to love the skin I was in and getting boobs that 'fit my lower half' (more on this in my boob blog post) and ended up finding a weight range that I felt comfortable with my body at. Not necessarily my ideal body weight, but the weight that I felt good wearing my jeans but could still enjoy pizza and beer with my friends.
Since then, my weight fluctuates annually. I normally "get fat" in the summer because ya girl can't say no to a beer and a barbecue, and tend to thin out around September or October. For me and my body, my only goal is to make that fluctuation gap smaller and smaller each year and really try to hone in on what affects my body and try to regulate it a little more (which is exactly what's been happening over the past few years-- so go me).
BEFORE WE GET INTO IT...
LET'S GO OVER SOME THINGS:
1) I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not an expert. HOWEVER, I am a bitch who knows how to slim down when she wants to.
2) Every body is different. What may work for me and my body may not work for you. Just like how eating chicken and broccoli 3x a day didn't work for me. So take everything I say (or anyone for that matter) with a grain of salt. Learn your body and listen to what it tells you.
THE BIG THING TO UNDERSTAND I'm about to blow someones mind here. And probably piss off any hardcore nutrition people who read this but here goes:
All effective weight loss plans are all effective for the same reason... creating a calorie deficit.
Read that again if you need to.
You will not lose any weight if you don't establish a calorie deficit within your day/week. This means that you need to consume less calories than it takes for your body to maintain it's current weight.
It's that simple. It doesn't matter whether you are consuming 3,000 calories of spinach or 3,000 calories of french fries (yes, you'll get to eat a lot more spinach and probably feel better afterward) but it's still 3,000 calories.
Am I saying eat whatever the hell you want all the time? No. But you do need to understand that if you're switching from a daily diet mainly consistent of 4 cups of coffee and a bag of Cheez Itz from the break room vending machine and then switch to eating 6 small meals of smoothies, oats, chicken and veggies, and protein bars-- chances are you're going to be consuming MORE calories than before. Your bod will probably feel much better, but the numbers on the scale will also probably not be moving anytime soon. Make sense?
1. MAKE SMALL CHANGES FIRST.
We have all heard this so many times. But it's legit. Make small changes to your diet that may be so insignificant that you barely notice them at first and then build off of that. For me, I'm a big snacker. My go-to was always Cheez Itz and Gummy Bears. So my first move was to change up my snack options and to create a few go to quick 'meal' options so that I always have something low cal and filling ready to go.
My Go To Breakfasts:
2 Eggs (Scrambled or Over Easy) + A piece of Wheat Toast.
Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese + Fruit (normally blueberries) + 1/2 Cup of Kashi Original Cereal.
My Fave Snacks:
Apples or Bananas I love fruit to fill me up and most of the time it's enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
PB + Wheat Toast/Rice Cake I have super low blood pressure by nature so I like to be able to have a little something here and there when I need it and this seems to be just enough for me.
Celery + PB Yes, like ants on a log. Because I'm a child.
Pamela's Whenever Bars I was recently turned on to these and while I normally try not to eat protein/granola bars because they don't really fill you up-- this has ingredients like chia seeds, etc that seem to help out in a pinch.
Pre-packaged Bags of Goldfish or Ritz Sandwiches. Pre-packaged is the key here. If you gave me a family size box of Goldfish, I would finish it. But I like having some 'bad' snacks around just incase and each package is under 200 cals so I don't feel guilty.
Diet Soda Ok, sue me for this. I don't care. Do I reach for a Diet Coke when I think I may be getting hungry? YEP. Is it bad for me and probably going to give me like a rare form of cancer someday? PROBS. But so is damn near everything else. This is my vice. At least it's not meth.
2. MAKE CRAVINGS YOUR BITCH
Let me let you in on the most well kept secret around: Appetite Suppressants. From the mild and natural to the extreme and hardcore. These little gems can be your saviors if you're "always hungry" or like me, and can't drive past a Chick-fil-a without having dreams about Mac n Cheese for the next five days.
I have tried them all and they are such a game changer for me when it comes to shedding pounds. A few of my favorites from more mild & natural options to more intense:
Garcinia Cambogia All natural & proven to not only reduce food intake, but also helps block fat production. This is something that you can take every morning as apart of your usual vitamin routine.
Relora Again, a more natural option. Relora specifically is helpful to those who struggle with stress eating. This could be especially beneficial to students or girls on the go.
Genius Diet Pills Kind of a "do it all" blend that is nice for anyone looking for a caffeine free option.
Phentermine 37.5 The gold standard of appetite suppressants. This has been a Celebrity secret forever. While you can find Phentermine "blends" online, to get the real deal Phentermine 37.5 mg you will need to find a doctor or licensed physician to prescribe it. You can typically find it at weight loss clinics in some states.
One dieting trend that I have found to be beneficial at times (especially for anyone with a busy schedule who really doesn't have time to try to fit "six small meals" into their day) is Intermittent Fasting. Trying out this dieting style is made significantly easier with the aid of appetite suppressants like those listed above. The general idea is to put your body through a daily "fasting" period where you don't eat. Sounds terrible, right? I thought so too at first but then I realized this is actually almost exactly how I eat.
I typically start my day with coffee, and really don't have my first real meal until closer to 10am or 11. When starting into intermittent fasting, I would challenge myself by either trying to stop eating at an earlier hour if I had my first meal at 10am, or I would try to hold off on my first meal as long as I could to give myself a little wiggle room for a late night snack. Either way, it's a really effective style if you're interested in giving it a go. I don't practice this everyday but every once in a while when it fits my schedule, I'll challenge myself with it.
3. KNOW HOW YOU MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS.
This is SO important for you to stay on track and I'll be so bold to say that I would bet money this is a huge reason people fail with diets. You need to know yourself.
Ex: One of my amazing clients, who owns a gym, gifted me one Christmas with some free personal training sessions at her gym. If you know me, you know THIS is my weak point in my health "routine" (we'll get into that later) so I challenged myself to 3 sessions a week of circuit training. I was on a solid schedule of weight/strength training and mild cardio. I felt incredible. My clothes fit me better. My body looked good.
After I stepped on a scale after a month of eating right and working out 3x a week minimum, I was 9lbs heavier than I was before! Now, yes, I fully realize this added weight was from my new more toned physique because "muscle weighs more than fat" and all that jazz but it was really disheartening. Why? Because I measure my own success in numbers.
There's a million ways to track your progress: photos, measurements, those skinny jeans you want to squeeze into, whatever it may be. For me, I'm a numbers person.
Everyday (yes, every morning) I step on the scale. Not in a crazy obsessive way where a pound is going to make or break my mental health for the day. But for me, it's a little daily task that keeps my ass in check. Lets say I spend my weekend with friends enjoying our days off, eating pizza and drinking wine, and topping it off with some Sunday morning pancakes, and come Monday morning, I'm up 2 lbs. I realize fully that it's more than likely water weight at that point and its my little reminder that maybe I should grab a salad for lunch that day instead of a burger. Make sense?
Additionally when it comes to weighing myself while on an attempt to lose a few pounds, I like to track my progress with the MyFitnessPal app. I don't record it every single day, but when I hit a "new low" I like to jot it down just to see how far I've come. It's something that keeps me personally motivated.
Whatever it may be for you, I encourage it. Let yourself and your own progress be your motivation.
4. GET THAT SYSTEM RIGHT.
Let's be very frank here: digestion is key. Wonder why you feel or look bloated? Why you have a belly? The problem could be that your body is hanging onto a little extra baggage. So what do we do?
Clean it out.
I'm not saying go develop some dependent on laxatives, calm down. But find a gentle cleanse online or at the store. I love a skinny tea here and there or even a pill cleanse for a few days when needed. It's great to reset your body especially when you've indulged a little too much on vacation or you're trying to kick start a diet. Not only will the cleanse rid your body of toxins but you'll more than likely shed a few pounds of waste you've been hanging on to. Along with proper digestion, getting your nutrients in is also incredibly important. Make sure you're giving your body the essential vitamins it needs so its not trying to hang on to anything extra. For me, I keep it simple and take a daily multivitamin which seems to do the trick.
5. WHAT ABOUT WORKING OUT? Again, every body is different. For weight loss (for me) light cardio is most effective. If you recall from my personal training story, my body is great at effectively building muscles (thanks genes!) but if I'm only really measuring by numbers, I don't love to start up some heavy lifting routine. YES, I KNOW-- fitness people reading this are like 'lifting weights wont make you bulky' and 'strength training burns calories all throughout the day.' Yes, fit freaks, I know. And I do love a good lifting day that leaves you that good sore. But for me, in order to just drop some weight the idea of just "getting moving" is enough for me to see the numbers on the scale move. In the past two months, I've lost over 15 lbs and have been to the gym a total of 3 times which essentially was just me walking on the treadmill and doing abs. I've probably only "worked out" (thank you at home work outs) like 3 more times. The majority of the time, I just have opted to take my dog on the longer route during her walks and thats been plenty.
BUT all that being said I DO like to have activities that I love in my pocket that I can choose to do and ENJOY. This way, it doesn't feel like a chore and it's more of a way to treat myself. My personal favorites are any bougee workouts. I love Pure Barre (I used to teach in Houston), I love CycleBar and Soul Cycle, and I love a good hot yoga class.
6. THE BIG, BIG SACRIFICE.
Ok, so all bullshit aside, I did make one HUGE change to my routine. I can say that THIS by far had the biggest impact on my weight and historically, has been able to make a big change in my physique. Ready for it?
I really haven't been drinking in the past two months.
Yep, thats right. Shocking. In Nashville, it's nothing to go out four times a week. As Christian says, "it's like no one works here." LOL well thats kind of true. It's like every weekend is a long weekend. With it being the end of wedding season for me, and football season back at home (I'm from State College, PA, home of Penn State University) I end up being in PA more than I am in Nashville. With that being said, I'm not drinking nearly as much. As a challenge, Christian and I even gave up our weekly wine & movie nights. I missed my usual glass of wine while cooking dinners initially but that quickly subsided when I saw how good I was looking.
So, my challenge to you is to break your usual habits. It's the end of October. Do you think we can do a sober November until Thanksgiving? Slim down before we pack on the holiday pounds!
I hope y'all found all of this info helpful! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to share your own tips and tricks for quick slim downs with me!