Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday.
As is tradition, I know most of us are busy writing down our New Year's resolutions. It is no secret that one of the changes that most of us want when the New Year comes around is to be healthier and to lose weight. I had my fair share of wanting this for so many years, but I just kept putting it off. But finally, I started my journey a few months ago. I'm not sure what exactly motivated me to start at that point. One day, something just snapped and I found myself saying, "F*CK IT! Let's do this!"
Photo provided by Abby Sta Ines-Jogno
To date, I have lost 90 pounds. I still have a few more pounds to lose, but I've come a long way. Lately, I've been receiving messages and inquiries on how I did it.
The truth is (and you're going to hate me for this), there's no shortcut to losing weight. There's no magic pill or fad diet that will get you there. However, it's not that hard either, and trust me, it can be done!
Photo provided by Abby Sta Ines-Jogno
Here, I'm hoping to give a little inspiration to those who want to lose weight.
Please note, though, that I am not a doctor or an expert. I'm just writing based on my own journey and experience.
So, without further ado, here's how I lost 90 pounds in less than 6 months.
For me, I did not wait for the New Year to start. It doesn't matter if it would be someone's birthday in a few days or the holidays are fast approaching. There's no better time to start than now. Remember what they say, "A year or month or week from now, you'll wish you started today."
Know your BMR and set your targets
BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is an estimate of how many calories you'll burn if you were at rest for 24 hours. It is the minimum amount of energy your body needs to function. This includes breathing and keeping your heart beating.
This is the most important thing and my key to weight loss. Count your calories right down to condiments. I became very meticulous with counting calories and it paid off.
There are a lot of apps that can help you track your daily caloric intake. Just make sure that your inputs are accurate and verified. Don't trust everything you see on apps. If you have to measure and weigh every meal, feel free to do so.
The key to weight loss is creating a deficit in your daily caloric intake and daily caloric maintenance.
Get a gym membership
Invest in yourself. We know that gym memberships don't come cheap, but this made me accountable. I wanted to make the most of what I paid for and it meant going to the gym on a regular basis.
My own personal work out? On my first day, I started at 30 minutes on the treadmill. The next day, I challenged myself to an hour of cardio and some weight lifting. After a few days, I found myself increasing the speed and inclination on the treadmill.
To date, I spend 6 to 7 times a week at the gym on the treadmill for at least an hour (more if my family plans to eat out) and lifting weights for 30 to 40 minutes. Once you sense your body adjusting to your workout routine and it gets comfortable or easy, make sure you increase the intensity.
If you want to eat more, move more
There are days when you just can't help yourself and you just want to eat. This doesn't mean that you have to suffer just because you're on a diet. What I do is work out first and then eat what I'm craving for.
For example, if I want to eat a double cheeseburger from McDonalds and it's about 470 calories, I will burn that 470 calories first and then eat.
Based on what I've read, this is what often leads to giving up – people crave for something, give in to their cravings, feel guilty afterwards, and just completely give up on their diet. But hey, don't quit, okay? There's always tomorrow or later. Just be patient and you will learn the art of self control and discipline.
I declared refined sugar the enemy
I have a sweet tooth. Oftentimes, I would find myself craving for something sweet after a hearty meal. When I embarked on this journey, I decided to quit sugar for a month to train my taste buds. It is, indeed, evil! A few days after quitting sugar, I did not crave for sweets anymore. To date, I use sweeteners like Green Stevia but limit it to only half a sachet a day. Just enough to give my coffee a little sweetness.
Let your family and friends know
When I decided to lose weight, I told my family and my very close friends about my plan. This way, they would understand if I turn down a second serving or skip a pig-out session. Plus, they're a great support system, who will help you on your journey.
Incorporate family activities as part of your work out. Every other weekend, my family and I would usually go to the mall, roam around, and eat. When I decided to lose weight, I invited them to skip the mall and join me in jogging and playing sports instead. We do this almost every week now and its fun!
Weigh yourself daily, first thing in the morning
I bought a digital scale and now weigh myself first thing in the morning. That time of the day when you can get the closest reading of your true weight. Weighing yourself during the day when you've already consumed food and water will show you how greatly your weight can fluctuate. So far, weighing myself in the morning has been very effective in tracking and managing my weight loss.
Water! Water! Water!
Most people I know have a hard time drinking the recommended amount of water per day. In my case, this did not come as a challenge since I love water. It's zero calories too!
Don't waste your calories on fizzy and sugary drinks. Sometimes, people think they're hungry when in fact, they're probably just dehydrated. When you're feeling hungry, try to drink a glass of water first and see if you still feel hungry after a few minutes. If you are, then it's probably time for a healthy snack.
Find alternatives for the food you love
Everyone I know knows that I love food! It makes me happy. I love carb-loaded foods like pizza, pasta, and burgers. This doesn't mean that you have to give up on them completely. Utilize the Internet and find alternatives!
Love pizza? Try a garden cauliflower crust pizza. Love burgers? Try making black bean veggie burgers. Love pasta? Try using zucchini instead. It's amazing how easy it is now to create healthy versions of comfort food. I personally love cooking for myself, so I can track the calories and be as accurate as possible.
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and work out!
There are days when you just want to stay in bed all day and do nothing. I've had those episodes more than once. However, when I feel that laziness is about to engulf me, I spring out of bed, dress half-heartedly and ask my husband to drive me to the gym. Trust me, once you step in and see other people working out, you'll be in the zone in no time.
Take pictures of yourself
Document your journey. Take pictures of yourself weekly or even daily if you can. There might be times where you feel demotivated, lazy, or stagnant. Browsing through your progress really helps a lot. Don't let the scale or other people's standards dictate how you should feel. Just always aim to be a better version of yourself each day.
Losing weight is not just about aesthetics. Looking good is just a bonus. What's important is feeling good about yourself.
It's nice when you can run up 5 flight of stairs without running out of breath, when you can chase toddlers and join their fun; when you can roam around a new city tirelessly. Most of all, it's great when you know that you probably have a better chance of living longer because you're healthier.
Presence is the best gift we can give to our loved ones. When you're trying to be healthy, its not just about you, but also about them.
So I urge you – if you're looking for a sign or a little push to start, this is it. Start today! – Rappler.com
Abby works as a client relations manager for a creative process outsourcing company. She loves to travel and write about her experiences. To put it simply, she refers to herself as a restless Sagittarius who's into arts, music, baking, cooking, reading, writing, and traveling.