I want to take you back in time to when I was 223 pounds, unhappy with my health, learning that my parents had heart disease and watching them both go through heart surgeries. I was always looking for real weight loss solutions. My health journey is so unique with so many little bits and pieces. There is a lot to cover and that I want to share, I thought giving the info in blocks would be the best.
This is all about self awareness, knowing when to seek help, who to help seek help from, making a decision and how to make a blue print- (before I even knew what a blue print was!)
Losing weight in 2022 looks wayyyyy different now than it did for me back in 1998 or the year 2000. Growing up with only seeing skinny people on TV, me being a different race from my friends, I have my Latina genes, we are curvy, my friends were petite and small. Different body types wasn’t something you heard of in the 80’s.
My Back Story:
A quick run down, I had extra weight on as a kid. The weight came off about 6th grade. My weight started going up around 10th grade but I didn’t dwell on it much at that time. I joined gym towards the end of high school and into starting a community college. I maybe took off 10 pounds or something but I didnt quite know what health goals were exactly. I just know I enjoyed going to the gym but I was still larger than my friends and maybe I was meant to be like this.
When I was about 23 years old, I was working full-time at a company that offered lots of overtime. I was a shift lead and we had to work it. Meanwhile, I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with life. I knew I enjoyed my employment at the time but I wasn’t sure I saw myself there at a desk forever. I made myself a deal that I would enroll in community college at night and work during the day until I found a path.
What a Sample Day of Unhealthy Eating Looked Like:
With working so much OT and having school at night, this is what a sample day of eating looked like:
Breakfast was something fast at Starbucks: a danish of some kind, plus a grande mocha.
Grande because I was exhausted….
Lunch was something fast food. It could be Burger King or maybe to-go Thai food. Don’t forget the soda! I was drinking lots of it!
I probably snacked back then. I can only assume it was stuff from a vending machine because my work had a ton of them and so did the college.
Dinner was fast food yet again. # 2 or #4, all I know was that it was a combo meal. And back then you could get it what ever size you wanted.
Now I’m not sure if you have looked at nutrition labels lately. But I can tell you that this was probably close to 3500-4000 (maybe more) calories a day , I wasn’t active, I wasn’t sleeping that good plus these foods held no nutrition.
An Official Diagnosis, Overweight to Obese:
I went from being overweight to obese. I was always good about going to the doctor every year and when they told me I was obese I was thinking no, not me I’m not like them. Well Kristina, not like who? My cholesterol was high and I didn’t even know what cholesterol was let alone how to lower it.
I remember telling a friend about this and she said no you can’t be obese, you’re not THAT big.( I mean maybe not the best words of encouragement) but she said if I wanted to check out a gym, she would go with me. So we went to 24 hour fitness and met with a trainer. He explained a lot and that I had it in me to get down to size 4-6 or something. The look on my friends face was that – that’s impossible, she doesn’t have to get to that size, there is nothing wrong with her weight.
I know my friend meant well, but to me unless you’re in the shoes of the person with the problem, then it’s really hard to know how they feel. None of my friends were overweight , not even her. Her joining me at the gym was inconsistent. I had to make the decision to go no matter what. But it was much more than that.
Real Weight Loss Solutions That Work:
Here are some very important and major steps you can take to make a blue print for your health. This is more geared towards someone who is obese (diagnosed clinically) with at least 25 plus pounds to lose . Also- Quick Disclaimer, I’m not a doctor nor a dietician or anything of the sort. I am just someone who stayed consistent through the years and this is my weight loss story. Always check with your doctor before starting something new.
I’m being very transparent with this info and I’m not trying to sell you a quick fix or anything in that nature.
However, this could save your life!
- Find a nutritionist. When it was brought to my attention that I gained weight and now I’m in the obese category, I asked my doctor, how do I change this? She replied movement and exercise is great but also it has to do with eating and portion control. She advised a few things but she also advised I make an appointment with a nutritionist. Probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Working with a nutritionist can cost money(mine was covered through insurance), however it was not intimidating and really helped me see what nutrition is.
- Read labels. One big take away from the nutritionist- I understood the importance of labels, quantity size and calories per serving.
- Give up soda. Yes even the diet stuff. I didn’t drink water growing up nor did I know the importance of it. I thought soda was just a way of life. I never once thought about the empty calories it has or if you drink enough of it, it equates to a whole meal.
- Swap out your foods. Here is an example of this : using ground turkey versus ground beef. Having cheese but using a lower fat cheese or using less. Having dessert but a smaller portion. So one of things the nutritionist had me do was to write down a week of eating. Then together we reviewed some of my favorite foods and I was told to create these food but swapping out ingredients to make it more healthy and also changing the way I prepare the food.
- Learn what heart disease is and if it runs in your family. Remember I mentioned both my parents had heart surgeries and heart disease. They may have been overweight or something but they were not obese. I’m basing this off the fact I was larger than them. Heart disease can attack you though nonetheless.
- Limit your stress. The overtime, the lead position, all that stress started to melt away when I switched departments. I was still attending classes at night but leaving that stressful position really helped.
- Think about what you’re going to eat for the day. I had a different job, but still the same long day schedule. I had to approach my meals differently . I started with doing away with fried things. Then I gave up soda. If I had to order fast food, I ordered grilled chicken and I would have an orange juice and I skipped the fries. I stopped having mochas and opted for black coffee with half and half.
- Find movement that works for you. This is HUGE for so many reasons. Your fitness should be tailored to you and no one else. We all have different needs, body types, restrictions (if any) , etc. one of the reasons I didn’t stick with gyms when I first joined was that all they had was treadmills and weights. I was so scared to go into the weight room. I felt like I didn’t belong there. And for me the treadmill was boring. Like really boring. I discovered through trial and error, I like walking outside. Everything about it, the air, scenery , saying hi to people, the rain, the sunshine, I love it all. I started slowly with walking one mile, then 2, and so on. I remember walking 6 miles one day and seriously I wanted to break down and cry. Not because I was in pain but because I was physically able to do so – and I was ok ! Then the motivation kicked in : What else could I take on or try? What was next?! That is what 6 miles of walking did for me, it gave me confidence. Once I was comfortable with walking , I discovered group classes . I HIGHLY suggest group classes for cardio and strength training, especially if you are not familiar with the equipment.
- Schedule your workout. If I knew I couldn’t make it to the gym until the weekend and I only had little pockets of free time through the day, I made sure to walk on my breaks and lunch time while at work. Also I mentioned earlier, my friends who wanted to join me at the gym at first but then they would cancel or what not , I simply stopped depending on them to go with me . With my workout scheduled, I would go even if they didn’t.
- Portion control your food. Cups, 1/2 cups, measuring by weight, however you want to do it. You will be amazed by how much a serving of something is, also you will be amazed by how much you’ve been eating prior to tracking your portions.
In conclusion with these 10 tips, these steps for me were all done by eating balanced. There was no keto in 1998 or in 2004, there was no secret teas or anything of that nature. My main fitness originally was kickboxing and a group strength class twice a week. If you want to learn more about my fitness and eating in 2022, you can check that out here.
I encourage you to start today and take care of yourself. If I can do this, so can you!