For most of my adult life I have struggled with my weight. Starting in my teen years I developed a very disordered relationship with food and eating, and I frequently went though cycles of binging, restrictive eating, and other incredibly destructive behaviors that established a pattern of a totally fucked up outlook on food.
Whenever I would get into a panic about my weight I would either starve/restrict myself, go to the gym for 3 days then quit, start taking diet pills or herbal supplements, or get completely lost in binge purge cycles that would only be broken up by periods of eating my body weight in junk food or starving myself for as long as possible.
At different points in my life I have been normal weight, overweight, and “obese” according to the BMI scale but I would never once have described myself as “healthy” back then.
Food was my therapist, my enemy and my addiction, but it was never just food.
After my second baby I decided to try a totally different approach. I decided to focus on my overall health instead of ONLY my weight and I decided to do this by eating better and walking more. I knew I couldn’t prioritize the gym so I committed to allowing it to take time. It didn’t actually take that much time to lose over 70 lbs because I changed my diet, learned to love food and gradually made up enough stamina from walking to start jogging a little.
When I got pregnant with my third I had a very stressful job and some unfortunate incidents at work contributed to a nasty depression. I also had some medical issues at the time and I gained TONS of weight again. I ended up in the position to lose tons of weight again after my third baby.
I was so disappointed in myself but instead of beating myself up about it I decided to take control because I knew I COULD do it again. They say “Abs are made in the kitchen” and for me it was 100% true.
My weight loss was a direct result of 80% eating better and 20% simply walking.
Oh, and some MAJOR mental work on my outlook, bullshit relationship with food and self esteem.
The Mental Aspect
Part of the reason I always struggled with my weight was that I had a really disordered relationship with it. I also have struggled with depression and anxiety and I have found that my weird relationship with food was aggravated by these in particularly rough times.
I have found that getting TRULY healthy required a few NECESSARY mental “reboots”. These were:
- “If I eat unhealthy my day is shot”- not true. You have to become an expert at picking yourself back up and keep on keeping on. This is hard, but doable. Eventually you will be able to stop the cycle while you’re in it (if you tend to binge out like me) breathe, let go and start over. Where in life does one choice determine success or failure? Nowhere. And it doesn’t apply here either.
- “I want to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time”- Why the pressure? In my humble opinion this is a great way to sabotage yourself and set yourself up for failure. Let it happen and do the work. The timeline will do as it will. Once I stopped thinking this way I was way better at handling setbacks and sticking to behaviors consistent with my goals.
- “I lost then gained so I feel like giving up”- Ok so check out my graph. You can see 2 postpartum periods, one pregnancy and a dramatic loss (and another in progress). Pay close attention to the downward trend. See how it zig zags?? Weight loss is not linear! Don’t give up. Instead of making changes to lose weight, do it to get healthy. The rest will fall into place. Trust me!
Basically it all comes down to making small realistic changes that aren’t going to suck and set you up for failure.
How I Lost Weight Fast By Eating More
I love to eat. I am kind of picky and I love tacos, and ice cream, and sauces. I simply cannot stop eating things I love. So I had to figure out a way to keep eating things I would WANT to eat.
I am not a huge fan of food rules but the following guidelines and sticking to them 80-90% of the time helped me lose a lot of weight pretty (relatively) fast without the gym, or pills, or rice cakes, or feeling deprived. I also get to eat a lot following these guidelines because there aren’t as many empty nutritional choices.
Does this mean I don’t eat pizza or chocolate? Nope not a chance.
However I am privileged to be in a place where I have learned moderation. My experiences with the helplessness of binge eating have shown me that this is not as easy as “everything in moderation!” makes it sound. It is a learned skill for some of us.
Please note- I am NOT a doctor or dietician. These strategies are used to guide my own journey and are approved by my physician based on my own individual health profile. These tips are based on my personal experiences, values and lifestyle. Before starting any health, fitness or diet program it is imperative you consult a Doctor to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
- Eat a Mainly Plant Based Diet- Although I am not vegetarian I consume verrrry little meat products (more dairy because cheese!). Aside from being better for you health in terms of your risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses, the consumption of animals and animal products from large scale agribusiness has a huge negative effect on the environment. Some may (justifiably) argue for going vegan or vegetarian for these reasons but this is not realistic for me at this point, so I am just trying to drastically reduce the amount I consume. Additionally, our family is attempting to get our products from ethical sources and support local farming. I don’t like my money funding rich corporations to fuck up our planet.
- Avoid Processed Foods whenever possible. Make your own!- I try to make my own Sauces, marinades and spice blends. Aside from saving money these contain less sugar and salt and are free of additives.
- Avoid sugar and fake sweeteners. This one is difficult but I eat a LOT of fruit so that makes it easier. If you want to learn a TON of reasons to avoid sugar I seriously recommend watching Sugar Coated (should be on Netflix). If the dangers to your health wont help you make the switch, learning how the industry has no regard for the health of its consumers will. Personally, I also try to avoid Stevia and honey as well but that is just because they have similar physiological effects on the body. That being said I don’t go crazy trying to avoid hidden sugars, and I also believe in moderation. I definitely have honey, yogurt and other things that contain sugars (ice cream and chocolate are my main temptations and I will absolutely have them) and also use some sugar or sweeteners in cooking sometimes. Also my kids are allowed to have some treats and granola bars etc. but making the attempt to cut your sugar intake makes it so that the sugar you do consume is a more realistic and less harmful amount than what we usually take in when we aren’t actively thinking about it.
- Drink lots of water. I used to have a MAJOR addiction to pop. Now, I drink pretty much all water (for some ideas on how to spruce up your plain water, check out this post) or tea because I don’t want to drink up empty calories and because I am avoiding most sweeteners when I can.
- Use money saving strategies to reduce your household food waste- and have healthy stuff on hand so that whipping up a homemade meal or smoothie is EASIER than hitting the drive through! If you want to check out our ebook on saving money while eating healthy, just sign up for our email list 🙂 You will then be provided with a link for this free resource. For my pics and stories on just how easy it is to cook from scratch using what you have on hand, check out the Healthy Living for Hot Messes Instagram. Additionally, if you want to join a kick ass community of people looking to take control of their health through food choices and healthy lifestyle change, check out our Facebook group Eating Clean and Living Green
- Move More- Doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it! I lost a huge amount of weight mainly just walking! I am now ready to slowly incorporate jogging and weights. You may hear a lot about lifting or Crossfit or whatever and those things are great but the whole “make time for fitness” is harder for some of us than others. I used to try and wake up at 4:30 am to work out and I would end up watching the workout video on my couch spilling cereal all over myself before embarking on a day of being a total asshole because I was tired. I don’t recommend it.
The Key to Success
- EAT WHAT YOU LOVE. Seriously. Don’t deprive yourself, eat delicious, gorgeous food that you cant wait to consume. My home cooked food beats any other junk under the sun and yours will too, I promise! I was never much of a cook and I HATED vegetables. Now I cook like a boss and eat like a damn queen!
So If you have struggled with binge eating, or restrictive diets, or taking shitty pills and other crap than I want you to know that I was there too and it can get better. I have struggled with disordered eating and finally came to the realization that food is not my enemy. I can lose weight and eat a lot and LOVE food, without all the guilt, shame and other bullshit.
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Together we’ve got this!