It was quite alarming for me last winter when I suddenly noticed that the scale went up 15 pounds. I didn’t expect all the chocolates and cookies from the holidays would get back to me so quickly. After dealing with the shock and frustration, I hit the floor and worked hard to shed the winter fat. I dropped from 125 pounds to 108 pounds in one month. It was not an elevator ride going straight down, but in the end, it was a successful weight loss story for me. For a girl of 5 ft. 2 in., you too can tell the difference. Here is what I did.
1. Planned out my diet.
Although it may sound like a cliché, we really are what we eat. I used to start the morning with coffee and bread covered with cream cheese and jam. Those gooey toppings were delicious but unnecessary, and they went straight to my backside. So I cut off the cream cheese and changed my jam to sugar-free. That’s 150 fewer calories to start with each day.
Lunch is important. I always thought that my lunch menu was pretty healthy overall; it usually includes sautéed vegetables with rice or noodles. But that was a lot carbs to take in every day. Instead, I dropped my favorite spicy noodle soup and switched to veggie wraps. I like cabbage in particular, because it is rich in fiber and it has the effect of lowering my cholesterol levels.
Going easy on snacks is my alternative to cutting them off completely. During the long and exhausting afternoons, I do need some booster foods for energy. For healthy snacks that offer both the taste and energy, I choose to eat rice pudding in single-serve containers, and fruits in their own containers too, such as bananas.
Two of the most important things about dinner are timing and serving limits. I don’t move a lot once I get back to the house, so I don’t use a lot of calories. In that case, dinner before 7 p.m. is crucial for me if I don’t want all the calories from my dinner turning completely into fat inside my body. If I don’t pay enough attention to what I eat, I might put away six fried chicken wings and four chocolate cookies. This pretty much explains how I got my winter fat. So having 80 percent of what I normally eat, plus eating slowly to allow my stomach to expand to signal to my brain is how I manage to eat healthy and stay healthy.
2. Exercise for real.
I rarely had the chance to visit the gym before last winter. But trying to lose that annoying 15 pounds really demanded more than just a calculated diet. Getting on a running machine is not my favorite afternoon activity, to be honest, but it does burn that fat I hate, and I enjoy that very much. Three days a week hitting the gym paid back quite fast, and in addition to weight loss, I got tighter muscles. My boyfriend liked that, and I liked the look.
For those days I didn’t feel like going to the gym, I stayed indoors and worked out after some YouTube exercising videos. These videos really helped because I could find any video I wanted to target any particular part of my body. The best thing about these videos? They were all free. I honestly couldn’t jump up and down for half an hour without some coaching, so those five- or ten-minute-long fitness videos were my favorite.
When it comes down to it, losing weight is more about the mental game than the physical work, because it requires us to get out of the comfort zone and to challenge ourselves to change. Rewards like a piece of chocolate are never a setback but a reminder that we can enjoy life while living a healthy one.