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How I Lost 40 Pounds Without Completely Restricting Myself In College

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and immediately felt awful about yourself comparing your body type to others? I have. For about three years I found myself doing this constantly and wondering how I could lose an excessive amount of weight as fast as possible. I tried different detox diets, weight loss plans, and supplements but nothing seemed to work well for me. Not to mention I love food and can be somewhat lazy and inconsistent when it comes to exercise. However, fast forward a year later and I found myself 40 pounds lighter, my mental health better than it ever has been, and more confident than I ever thought I would be. I did this without a crazy workout routine, without a diet, and without a trainer. My weight loss was not the holy grail to self-confidence, but it was the lifestyle changes I made that impacted my health in every way. So, here’s how I started on this personal journey and where the magic happened!

The Dreadful Exercise – Why go to the gym and push yourself to do things you hate? 

If I knew I had to step on an elliptical or treadmill to workout I would never go to the gym. Being healthy involves pushing yourself, yes, but how would I ever lose weight if I dreaded what I was going to the gym for? Realizing this, I began to think of activities that I would enjoy. I started Zumba (which I will tell you is not my strength) but at least I had fun while doing it. I also began to walk my dog more often, hike once in a while, and try to do something active that I enjoyed at least 4 times a week. These things don’t have to be hard, but moving your body is so important and a great first step into adopting a healthier lifestyle. 

As I began to crave more active activities and realized I felt better mentally, I magically ended up at the gym one day and picked up some light weights. I had no idea what I was doing and remember asking a girl next to me to explain what she was working on because she looked in shape and it was an exercise it seemed like I could do. To my disbelief, she completely dropped what she was doing and explained her whole workout to me! People are so willing to help others at the gym, you just have to get over that “I look ridiculous and have no idea what I’m doing” mindset. After this, it became something I do to this day. I never do cardio at the gym and still prefer to do that in a social setting but realized lifting is something I enjoy! However, I never would have gotten there without taking baby steps to fully decide for myself if I enjoyed it.

For Everyone Who Loves Food – Without the salad. 

So, considering how much I love food and the absurd percentage of my money that goes towards delicious treats, I realized I could probably make most of the dishes I enjoy. The first time I tried to make something I, of course, looked up the most complicated recipe with the mindset I was going to be a master chef. Long story short my chicken was completely burnt, the inside was pretty much raw, and my house had so much smoke in it I’m sure my neighbors thought I lit something on fire. However, I looked up this recipe because it had so many delicious ingredients and it didn’t seem like a “diet food” but something I would have enjoyed. 

After this traumatizing cooking experience, I began to cook things that were easier and fell in love with the dishes I could create! I stayed away from salad and bland meals I had no interest in eating and replaced my usual spending habits at fast-food restaurants with ingredients from the grocery store. My go tos became steak, burgers, a variety of chicken dishes, tofu, and even pasta. It wasn’t necessarily the healthiest thing I heard about making for weight loss, but once I got the hang of cooking, I was able to realize what I put into my food and looked for healthier alternatives. I wasn’t restricting myself from having the things that I love or eating past a certain time, I just began replacing easy unhealthy meals with things I could create myself. After doing this for a while, I began to like the dishes I made myself better than the same dish I would get at a restaurant! 

The Scale – No thanks. 

Your weight is just a number. Before my weight loss journey, I would obsess over my scale and base my progress solely on what it told me. When I began to be more active and cook, I didn’t even realize that I was losing weight. I didn't think to weigh myself because I wasn’t focused on it, I just felt better mentally. It wasn’t for about 4-5 months that I hopped on the scale and was blown away that I lost 20 pounds just for making simple changes to my everyday routine and being happy. Don’t get me wrong I was happily surprised, but it didn’t make me feel any better than how I felt before knowing. I knew I was healthier but for the first time, the numbers on the scale weren't my focus. 

Your Own Personal Journey.

Weight loss doesn’t have to consist of crazy diets, or the best thing in fitness right now. Your journey is different than the people around you. Finding ways to be active and improve your lifestyle is completely personal and customizable to you. Changing your mindset from focusing on how to lose weight as quickly as possible, to how do I want to be overall healthier can get you long term results without stressing or even realizing how much you’re doing!