Real talk: At least once a month, I get asked about how I lost over 50 lbs since graduating from college and I never quite know how to answer it. I wish there was a clear-cut answer like “I ate 1500 calories, never any nightshades, also I pray the Lord’s Prayer and sing a Cardi B song to my quinoa. Also, unicycling.”
Anyway, I’d gained 20+ lbs between my sophomore and junior year but nothing about my habits had changed. Later I learned that I had a hormonal imbalance. That being said, I continued to pack on the pounds after getting out of an abusive relationship; I’d comfort myself with eating food, usually something with nacho cheese. By the time I graduated from college my BMI was well at the tippy-top of the Overweight category.
Being an overweight 22-year-old recent post-grad has its challenges, even if you have a boyfriend who loves you as I did. It’s the snide comments from your coworkers and classmates. It’s never knowing how pants will fit, how forgivingly a teeshirt will drape across your body. You endlessly pray in the 2 seconds after a photo but before your phone is handed back to you that the angles you position your face are acceptable. I would attempt to eat healthier, but that resolve would falter the first time I had a stressful day at work or grad school.
Eventually, by tiny changes and (though inconsistent) exercise I’d lost 30 lbs. I’d maintain that new weight range between the ages of 25-27. Until the spring every-single-thing-went-wrong-and-started-on-fire-at-once in 2016. I vacillated between eating too little due to stress and eating / drinking too much with my new coworkers at a tiny startup ad agency. I’d continue that back and forth through the end of 2017, even after that job, even after the fires had been put out.
As part of my 2018 New Year’s Resolution, I decided to start working out consistently. I learned over time that I enjoyed circuit training classes and dare I say it– loved running. When you’re losing weight, you pore over every single detail of weight loss; which macros to eat, what foods to avoid, every fad diet throughout the past 50 years. But I quickly learned during a weight loss challenge that I knew more than I thought I did about real nutrition; what worked for me, what didn’t, and what my overarching values about food and exercise were.
So that’s where we are right now, friend. I want to expand upon my thoughts on weight loss and what it means to eat healthily today. I’ll share what I’ve learned about myself, nutrition, and overall wellness over the course of my twenties. In return, I simply ask that you are kind to yourself and make the best decision you can the next time you’re at a crossroads; to eat your vegetables, when you feel bad about the face reflected in the mirror, and maybe sometimes to eat the damn cake.
By the end of this post, I hope that you see that my answer to “How did you lose that much weight?” was more about adjusting how I viewed myself, looking at the roles food play in my life and giving myself the grace to make those changes over the years.