Diet,  Health

My 10 Step Plan to Lose Weight and Feel Awesome

You know how I was eating really good before? How I’d finally gotten past my food addictions, and even wrote about them? How I’d gotten to a place where my ideal weight was actually on the near horizon?

Yeah, well…

Let me back up for a second.

Here’s a picture of Grant and I on a plane headed to England. See how cute I look?

So, a lot happened after that trip. Most of it pretty epic and awesome, except for the sabotage part…

Oh man. I was at such a good place physically just before that flight.

I’ll tell you how it started, but first a quick story for context.

A few years ago, we spent two months living in Germany—Bavaria specifically. The thing about that region is that it’s less cosmopolitan and the people are more humble. Most didn’t even speak English.

But the other thing is that they make uh-mazzzing bread. I mean, just… “omg, get in my mouth right now” kind-of-bread. And pastries. And full transparency, we lived within three blocks of seven bakeries. Not even kidding.

So, every day we had freshly baked breads…and pastries. Not one or the other. Nope. Both.

Every. Single. Day.

For two months!

And you know what? I gained a total of five pounds. FIVE. How is that even possible???

I came up with a theory.

The food is different in Europe. Better.

The farming practices, and the quality, just better. Many areas of Europe practice sustainable farming and general living, so that made sense.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Back to that picture…

So, here we were again, traveling abroad: First England for a week, then Greece for a week, then Italy for three weeks, a brief visit to France, and then back to England for the next six months.

What an adventure, right?

I finally had an opportunity to test out my theory for real, using Grant and me as the living test subjects. Brilliant!

Or not…

Based on the assumption that the food is better overseas, we would eat whatever the local fare was, and see what it did to our health, waistline, and cravings. Carbs were back on the table. Literally. Along with desserts. Pasta, pastries, potatoes, bread—all okay.

This seemed to work out (for the most part) all the way through France—and wasn’t too horrible in England (considering). In the end, we gained 15 pounds each in the eight months of not restricting ourselves, with most of that weight accumulated in the UK.

But here is where my experiment went horribly wrong…

When we flew back home to the US, we continued eating the same way. Of course we did. After all, we had developed a routine and were conditioned.

I gained 20 pounds the first month home. Grant gained 30 pounds in six weeks.

Oh. My. God.

We tried to rein it in, but we continued dining out most evenings, and we could not restrain ourselves from eating all the foods we knew were addictive because let’s be honest, we were addicted.

Pasta, pizza, fries, burgers with the bun, ice cream, and yes, pastries. Needless to say, the addiction was real and the pounds piled on.

We tried to go back to low carb, but were traveling so much with zero self-discipline whilst dining out.

It’s safe to say we sabotaged ourselves spectacularly.

Which brings me to the actual lesson learned…

Modern food is pretty addictive—especially the refined carbs—no matter where you are.

Sure, they might do more damage in the US, than overseas, but in the end, they are still addictive and cause a less-than-awesome state of health. Lesson learned.

What I’ve learned is that dining out and eating copious amounts of restaurant fare, desserts, and carbs is incredibly unforgiving on the waistline.

I’m tired of obsessing over my weight. And I’m tired of worrying what other people think of my weight. I’m tired of the guilt and anxiety when I dine out or go to social functions. And I’m tired of feeling like there’s no end to all this feeling tired about it.

I know how to lose weight. After all, I’ve done it successfully twice in the past few years, reaching my ideal weight, and then later, nearly reaching my ideal weight.

It’s the keeping it off that’s been the problem.

But, hold on, that’s not a fair statement and an over-simplified description of the scene.

If you inspect both instances where I lost all that weight, you’ll see that there were three fundamental components that were missing:

  1. I never adopted a maintenance/long-term lifestyle that took into consideration dining out, social situations, holidays or travel.
  2. I never implemented an exercise routine to strengthen and move my body.
  3. I never stopped to acknowledge or appreciate the real progress I’d made.  

It all starts with a plan and a goal. I had neither.

The reality is that in both instances, I was never trying to lose weight per se, so I never had a plan beyond “feeling better”. I was trying to handle my health as the predominant situation. The weight loss was just a beautiful side effect of that. And when my health problems were no longer consuming my everyday thoughts, I just rolled with it. And started eating whatever I wanted.

In a way, I’d reached my goal of feeling better. But there was never a plan (or goal) for the weight loss part. Not really.

The upshot is that I do know how to lose weight (while gaining my health), and I do know how to keep it off for good because this time, I have a plan not just to lose weight, but to create lasting health. And, I have a plan that takes into account the three points above.

To be clear, this is not just about weight loss. This is about feeling awesome physically and living my best life for years to come. That means creating habits that will carry me through all the way at my best.

My 10 Step Plan to Lose Weight and Feel Awesome (Simplified):

  • Set clear goals.
    Obviously, the goal is to look and feel awesome. But the numbers include general goal weight, clothes sizes, and strength and fitness targets. Also, focus on what I want to feel like in my own skin 3 months, 6 months, a year from now.
  • Eat nourishing foods.
    Eat most of my meals at home. Organic, pastured, grass-fed. Very low-carb, moderate protein, healthy fats. Lots of veggies and salads, and some berries.
  • Have a plan for eating everywhere else.
    When dining out, only eat protein, veggies, salad. No sauces, no dressings, no special overly seasoned food, no desserts, no carbs. Eat before social functions, or bring my own nosh. Bring my own snacks for travel, and sweeteners for coffee or tea. When invited to dinner, be that person who makes sure the host knows what I can eat.
  • Drink LOTS of water.
    Start each day with 12oz water. Then another 8oz with lemon. Stay hydrated throughout the day with a target of at least 60oz a day.
  • Exercise every day.
    Move the body. Initially, walk/bicycle daily, then add strength training into the mix, and build up to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) several times a week.
  • Exercise discipline.
    Do it now. Don’t put stuff off. Do what it’s going to take even if it seems inconvenient at that moment. Don’t make excuses, instead be effective. Wake up early, stick to the schedule, make every day count. Think of it as creating a masterpiece. This is what self-love really means.
  • Track my progress.
    Photo journal, log and track my progress by weighing, measuring, and noting how my clothes fit and feel (it’s not just about pant-size). Keep a journal of what foods consumed and the effects after.
  • Share my progress.
    Share my progress on the blog, social media, and channels. Create a support system, a “Tribe of Awesome” that I’m accountable to, and where mutual support, inspiration, and encouragement are everyday occurrences.
  • Love myself.
    Realize that there will be ups and downs along the journey and that anything worthwhile takes work and dedication. So what? Focus on the awesome and love me at every point of the journey. Dress for the body I have now and enjoy the best of who I am right now and every day.
  • Celebrate the victories.
    Six months from today, I can be healthier, stronger, happier than I’ve ever been. Keep my eye on the mountain, but along the way, stop to acknowledge the progress and celebrate the accomplishments.

Consider this my way of drawing a line in the sand. One side is mediocrity, excuses, and feeling tired about feeling tired. The other side is where awesome lives. It’s being in the best shape of my life–for real and for good. It’s where we help and inspire each other to be the very best versions of ourselves inside and out.

Want to join me?

If you want to follow my antics and daily adventures on being more awesome, check out my Instagram stories <3

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