Alright, so you’ve finally decided to take your health seriously. So how do you go about making these lifestyle changes? This is where things get interesting. There’s an overwhelming amount of diet plans with conflicting points of view on what’s the right way to lose weight and get “toned”, “ripped”, “shredded”, or whatever gimmicky words that people try to throw out to the public. Well take it from someone who was once obese, you have to find what works specifically for your body and your genetics. Basically, it’s a process of trial and error.
When I first started my weight-loss journey seven years ago, all I thought I had to do was stop eating sweets everyday and I would look like Usher in no time. Yeah, it takes a little bit more than throwing out the Little Debbie snacks (lord knows I loved me some oatmeal cream pies, but that’s another story). In the beginning, my mom helped out on the nutritional aspect. She was the one that brought in wheat bread, brown rice, skim milk and special k cereal. At first, I thought she had lost her mind but I grew to tolerate these new foods and I started losing weight gradually.
Another factor that really helped me drop weight was drinking water. Before my doctor visit, I lived off of fruit punch and sprite remix (preferably aruba jam). Cutting out all of the excess sugar reduced my risk of diabetes drastically.
I’ve done a few diets in my day. During my freshmen year of college, I gave the South Beach Diet a try. For two weeks, I cut out all carbohydrates and ate small meals comprised of meat and veggies and light snacks throughout the day. I lost about 14 pounds in that short amount of time. It helped me to curb my appetite for carbs and eat cleaner.
The problem that I had with the diet was mostly a mental battle. Once I dropped so much weight, I felt the pressure to maintain my newfound size which I dubbed my “Slim & Sexy Campaign”. So I created my own diet; which consisted of living off grilled chicken and Special K cereal bars for a few months. I wouldn’t recommend anyone try that one out because, well I said so.
My friend also talked me into trying the Paleo Diet. Now that one lasted for a good two days. Basically, the Paleo Diet, you’re eating as clean as humanly possible: no bread, rice, potatoes, dairy, processed foods. Now I support the clean eating, but good lord I thought I was gonna kill someone two days without cheese. My mom tried to help out by making some vegetarian dishes (that spaghetti squash tasted like air). So yeah, I was all set with that one.
After years of trial and error, I’ve allowed myself to be less-restrictive. When you deprive yourself of certain foods, your mind can go into panic mode and binge eating feels like the only solution. So if I have a craving for oreos or a slice of pizza, I’ll let myself indulge a bit as long as I get back on track. I eat lean meats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, granola, almonds, brown rice, oatmeal, and WATER WATER WATER!!!
It’s definitely no walk in the park and sacrifices will have to be made to ensure long-term success. You’re gonna get frustrated and the temptation slip back into old habits is always around the corner. There will be days when you’re lacking discipline and willpower, but it happens to the best of us. I’m here to reassure you that your hard work will pay off as long as you stay motivated and stick to your goals.
Remember, progress is everything.