Current Status & 5 Key Tips for Sustainable Weight Loss

If you know me or have taken time to read through the few posts on this blog, you’ve probably figured out that losing 40 lbs and keeping it off is one of my proudest accomplishments. People who find out about my transformation always ask, “How did you do it?” as though they expect me to tell them about a secret pill or trick. I explain that I achieved my initial goal of losing 20 lbs through healthy eating and exercise, but that fitness eventually became a passion of mine — a lifestyle change that I have stuck with to this day. I’m writing this blog so I can share some nuggets of wisdom that allowed me to not only lose the weight, but keep it off for several years and counting.

#1: Get out of the “diet” mindset. Weight loss is only sustainable if you stop approaching everything as temporary. Living off a “diet” of broccoli and chicken breast will only last a couple weeks before you are ready to return to your old eating habits. Begin with making small sacrifices you can actually commit to, such as limiting the amount of fast food you eat or giving up sweets or alcohol (which is a killer for your fitness, btw). Once you’re ready for more, draft up a menu that meets your caloric needs (see #4) while still being appetizing to you. Over time, your body will stop craving unhealthy foods.

#2: Accept the reality that weight loss is 80% diet. Sure, there are some people out there who are blessed to eat whatever they want and still lose weight if they exercise. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people… nor is a majority of the population. Stop justifying eating greasy, fatty, sugary foods, or drinking alcohol because “it’s Friday” or “because I deserve it.” It’s okay to have a cheat meal every now and then, but you will never train your body to crave healthy foods if you are constantly justifying reasons to eat unhealthily. Set a goal to have a cheat meal once a week and stick with it.

#3: The type of exercise you do is important. If you are already significantly overweight, cardio + healthy eating will go a LONG way. I lost the first 20 lbs simply by using an elliptical and/or treadmill for about 45 mins each day. Once I reached about 130 lbs, taking off additional fat became a lot harder without sacrificing muscle. Steady state cardio will only take you so far before HIIT (high intensity interval training) becomes necessary. If you are only moderately overweight or just looking to shed a couple pounds of fat, HIIT + weight training will be your best friend. I do not recommend weight training alone if you are significantly overweight, unless you just really enjoy it and are willing to wait longer to see results. In either case, I also recommend finding out your body fat % and writing it down for comparison each month. You can find your approximate body fat percentage by using calipers or by using a body fat monitor.

body fat chartFitness101.com

#4: Track your calories and meal prep! Piggybacking off my comments regarding 80% diet, tracking of calories is a necessary evil in order to create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss. I tracked calories using the free MyFitnessPal app for the first year of my fitness journey, and it truly paid off. If you are unsure how many calories you need to in order to lose weight, see this nifty calorie deficit calculator.

Prepping your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ahead of time makes it easier to reach your target weight. It’s also less expensive than eating out, so what do you have to lose? Here is an example of what I eat in a day, while in fat-burning/muscle-building mode:

Breakfast: Protein strawberry + banana + spinach smoothie with almond milk – 300 calories, 30g protein

Mid-morning snack: Protein bar(s) – Approximately 200 calories, 10g to 20g protein

Lunch: Salad, sandwich, or burrito bowl – Approximately 500 calories, 20-25g protein

Post-workout: Protein smoothie – 300 calories, 30g protein

Dinner: Crockpot meal with some kind of protein + veggies + complex carbohydrates – 500 calories, 30g protein

Dessert, optional: Greek yogurt with cherries (if I worked out that day) – 150 calories, 20g protein

Approximately 2,000 calories; PROTEIN: 150g

Granted, this diet would be one that I follow if I am trying to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously. If I was overweight and had a more significant amount of fat to lose, I’d scale the calories back to 1,500 but aim to consume as much protein as possible. Protein will keep you fuller longer, and prevent any unnecessary muscle loss.

#5. Patience is key. Fitness is a journey, not a destination. – Don’t expect to see results over the course of a day, or even a week. Successfully losing weight is not an easy or quick process, and you must be prepared to endure setbacks and keep pushing. Don’t weigh yourself everyday. Set realistic monthly goals, and reward yourself when you meet them. Never lose sight of the prize! You owe it to yourself to commit to a healthier lifestyle, not a deprivation mindset.

Even today, I am still on my fitness journey. I don’t plan to lose more weight, but I am constantly working to make myself better– whether that is cutting down on my body fat percentage or trying to gain more lean muscle mass. With that said, here are my current stats as of 1/22/17:

Weight: 119 lbs; Body Fat Percentage: 24%; BMI 19.9; Chest: 34 inches; Waist size: 25 inches; Hips: 38 inches

jan 22 (2)

Because I am a firm believer in goal setting, here are some long-term fitness goals for 2017 given my current fitness level (which is mediocre at best):

  1. Develop quadriceps and calves. The bottom half of my legs are a little too skinny.
  2. Continue to develop upper body strength
  3. 19% Body fat, which leads me to…
  4. Visible abdominal muscles! Not expecting a super ripped six pack or anything, but a nice abdominal outline is attainable with the right diet/exercise plan.

That just about covers all I have for now. For my next post, I will begin posting information for my current exercise routine and meal plan if anyone is interested in keeping up. 🙂 Until next time/hasta luego!

<3

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The Evolution of Eva

Hello and welcome to my blog! It has been more than five years since I left the blogosphere, but I am so happy that I’m back! Let me give you some background:

I blogged for several years as an adolescent, documenting just about everything that happened to me from the ages of 14 to 22– even working as a student blogger for the University of Texas during my college years. Blogging was very much a big part of my life. At the age of 20, I had the life-changing experience of studying abroad in China. When we returned from the trip, friends began tagging me in Facebook photos, and I couldn’t help but stare at them in disbelief of how overweight I looked.

Mind you, I had never been a “fat” girl. My parents might have nicknamed me “Chubby Dubby,” but I always just considered myself to have a little extra meat on my bones — never fat. This time was different:

bigevabigeva2

Many people who read this might be thinking, so what? I’m about the size of the “average” American woman, according to current national standards. That might be true, but for me, this was a big moment. The moment I realized that I didn’t like the way I looked and now was the time to do something about it. That’s when something started to click.

I immediately started adopting a more healthy diet– chicken, vegetables, brown rice, fruit– that kind of thing. I coupled that with about 30 minutes of light exercise a few times a week, and the pounds just started melting off. People kept asking how I was managing such rapid weight loss, as if they had no idea how weight loss worked. The formula is simple: just use more calories than what you put in. Create a calorie deficit. I lost the first 25 lbs in less than 3 months by sticking to this principle.

This formula worked… up to a point. This is when I hit a plateau and started increasing my work-out intensity. Unfortunately, I did not know how to increase work-out intensity the way I should have. During my first year teaching is when I reached an almost unhealthy obsession with exercise. I was running nearly 7-8 miles every single day and only taking in around 1,200 or so calories. Even though I was the slimmest I’d ever been, I was no more stronger at 110 lbs than I was at 160+ lbs.

smallevaShortly after this period, I met and got engaged to my now-husband, who encouraged me to live a more healthy, moderate lifestyle. He also helped me stay more consistent with weight training, which has allowed me to increase my muscle mass, so my body fan burn fat more efficiently and keep me relatively slim. I’ve learned that true fitness is not measured on a scale, but in visual appearance! I am still far from perfect, but that is the fun of being on this fitness journey!

currentevaEvery day I learn more than I knew the day before about what it means to be healthy and fit. The purpose of this blog is to allow myself — along with help others — maintain accountability, set and attain goals, etc. Thank you for taking this journey with me!

 

Love,

Eva

 

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