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How I Lost Over 25 Pounds TWICE, and How I’ve Maintained My Latest Weight Loss for Over a Year

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The First Time I Lost 25+ Pounds

5 years ago, I was living in Stillwater, Oklahoma, working as the Events and Operations Manager at Oklahoma State University for the School of Hospitality and Tourism. My now husband, Andy, and I were engaged to be married, and I was a full-time student getting my bachelor’s degree in Career and Technical Education from OSU. I was so busy with work, school, and my social life that my diet comprised exclusively of carb-heavy processed convenience foods. As a result, I looked in the mirror one day and no longer recognized the small-framed version of myself I was used to. With a beach wedding and Caribbean honeymoon on the horizon, I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to kick my marriage off to a healthy start. Luckily, Andy was more than willing to make dietary changes and go on that journey with me. I know many women who struggle because their husbands are too stubborn to change the way they eat. Andy had been into health and fitness in the past and was eager to make it one of his passions again. I believe that his support contributed to my success and vice versa.

At that point in time, we decided to do the keto diet because a fitness instructor friend of mine had been doing it, and she looked amazing. Together we lost over 75 pounds before our wedding, putting both of us back into the ideal weight categories.

However, the diet, which is extremely low carb, was unbelievably strict and challenging to adhere to. We tried cooking ourselves, got tired of the limited options with what we could find in small-town Oklahoma, and got sick of eating so much fat. We also tried multiple food delivery systems, but the keto options didn’t taste good enough for us to want to actually eat what we ordered.

How I Gained It ALL Back

Then the pandemic hit right after our wedding/honeymoon in Jamaica. I was so sick of the keto diet that I convinced myself I was “trying to support the local restaurant community” by starting to eat take-out again almost every meal and reaching for the convenience items of my past. I gained ALL the weight back, and my husband gained about the same amount I did, less than he lost initially. Lucky for him! When I hated being tagged in photos again on Facebook, I knew it was time to get serious about my health/weight once more. Still, I knew I didn’t want to do the keto diet this time around.

The Second Time, I Lost 25+ Pounds

The first change I made this time was to stop drinking my calories and focus on sugar-free beverages. I have digestive issues and cannot drink most artificial sweeteners and/or diet beverages. The following products are primarily the only beverages I am willing to drink besides the occasional coffee or protein smoothie:

I attribute this change alone to 30-40% of my weight loss!

The second change was to stop eating so much fast and junk food. Eating anything at home will automatically be less calorically dense than eating something fried that you get in a drive-through. Plus, it’s typically better for your budget too.

I started trying harder to eat macro-balanced meals and snacks that included protein. I also started learning about healthy fats and oils versus unhealthy ones and started incorporating them.

I Tried Going Vegan

While getting back on the health/fitness wagon, we came across the movie Forks over Knives, and I decided to try and go vegan. While I can’t argue with the science, I can say that a vegan lifestyle is challenging for someone like me to maintain. Not only is it super-strict, like keto, but I cannot live without some dairy products like cheese! I also found that most vegan alternative foods contain unhealthy ingredients like seed oils or potential arsenic from brown rice protein. There are two things I still do from being vegan for like 5 minutes:

  • Use oat and coconut milk since I have some food sensitivities around dairy products like milk and heavy cream. However, I only use products that do NOT contain any seed oils or other unhealthy additives.

  • Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods into my diet.

I Got Active One Step At A Time

While doing keto, I worked in a huge facility and averaged 20,000 steps a day. This time around, I was a Director of Marketing. I had a work-from-home sedentary position, so I needed to come up with creative ways to move my body since activity wasn’t built into my routine anymore. I was out of shape, had scoliosis, and had an old cheerleading lower back injury working against me. So I started out nice and slow, much slower than I wanted. I found that even walking around the block would give me shin splints that would prevent me from being able to walk as often as I wanted to in the beginning. But I didn’t give up! The fascia-blaster from Ashley Black Guru helped me work out my shin splints faster to keep moving. I bought a little fold-up treadmill from Amazon, similar to this one, when winter came, when walking outside was no longer pleasant.

Feeling Like a Kid Again

As someone with scoliosis and other back issues, I cannot do most/many high-impact exercises or sports. Rollerblading is something that I’ve found I CAN do and really enjoy. It’s something from my childhood that I loved to do and gets me outside in nature, which is one of my favorite things ever. My husband and I will either “walk the mall” when the weather is bad or rollerblade together outside at our favorite pedestrian bridge on days we don’t work out.

A TikTok Product That ACTUALLY Worked

The second piece of workout equipment I bought was this TikTok trending “smart-hoop” from Amazon. I had tried to get into weighted hula hooping in the past. Still, I could never get over the pain/bruising or all the bending over I had to do when I messed up, having back issues. So this device seemed to solve both of those problems. I do wear something under it, like this belt, to prevent any pinching of the skin/belly. I started walking for 10-15 minutes, then hula-hooping for 10-15 minutes afterward. I still cannot believe how small my waist has gotten or the definition in my stomach when I NEVER do any crunches! It’s so fun to throw on with some music in your ears and get moving! However, it is a little loud, and you need space for the weight to fly around. Not only do I love the way I look since using this product, but my entire core, including my lower back and problem area, has gotten stronger!

Incorporating Weight Training

After a while, I was ready to take my workouts to the next level. I purchased some adjustable weights similar to these at Aldi. I got a poster with some activities you can do with dumbbells and started doing about 10 minutes a workout. It didn’t take long to start working up to new weight limits and seeing positive changes and definition in my arms/back/shoulders.

Group Fitness

I was very out of shape, injured, overweight, and weak when I started this fitness journey. It would have been hard to start with 45-60 minute cardio sessions when walking around the block gave me shin splints. However, after about a year of working out at home, I was ready to try dance fitness again. I had tried when I was younger, but my core was weak, and I’d get debilitating nerve pain when/if I overdid it. Anytime I’d taken a dance fitness class in the past, this would happen, and it was so embarrassing to have to stop to go cry in the corner while everyone wondered what was wrong with me. This time was different! I tried two unique classes at the same independent local gym, and although it was challenging, I made it through both sessions. I enjoyed Zumba, that instructor, and the class members, and I am still regularly attending to this day!

How I Am Maintaining My Weight Loss

Since I’ve incorporated healthy eating habits and activity into my routine, it doesn’t even feel like I am doing anything to maintain my weight. However, I am still doing the following:

  1. Not drinking my calories

  2. Avoiding Fast/Junk Food (most of the time)

  3. Eating Macro-Balanced Snacks/Meals That Include Protein and Healthy Fats

  4. Doing Something Active Everyday

If you are beginning your health/fitness weight-loss journey, try to do what I did, take it slow, and be patient with yourself and your body. Gradually building strength and making subtle dietary changes will become your new lifestyle. Then you won’t feel like you have to “diet” or “maintain” anything! If someone like me, who used to drink copious amounts of soda, ate tons of fast food, and never worked out, can do it, so can YOU!


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