I have tried various weight loss strategies in my life ever since entering college and gaining the inevitable freshman 15. My figure and self confidence took a big hit after a steady diet of studying, snacking, parties and late night hotwings. I knew I needed to do something after a stark reality check on the scale. So, I made a “Sunday fat day” pact with a group of pals at the time. The ideas is to eat healthy all week and pig out on Sunday. 🐷
That same group also talked me into joining a gym. I’d love to say I was successful in these attempts but I quit going to the gym after only a few weeks. I spent the next year trying to get out of the stupid contract that I signed thinking it would somehow motivate me to go. I also gave away the “healthy” food that I never ate which, for a broke college student, was basically a few sad cans of tuna. 🍣😢
My next weight loss attempt was the “Eat two bowls of Special K a day and Lose 10 lbs in two weeks” diet right before Spring Break. Did I stick to it? I mean, have you tasted Special K?!?!😐 Granted, this was before some of the better flavors out now and back then consisted of a bowl of plain flakes and dehydrated strawberry. I once tasted and spit out chocolate. No really, ask my friends. Needless to say, these “diets” didn’t work.😩
It took a summer of extreme boredom, read way few keggers, for me to haul myself down to the little gym at my apartment complex. I slowly got into a routine of sweating it out on the treadmill a few days a week while watching reality tv shows. Apparently, my efforts paid off as my friends were shocked and commented on how fit I looked at a back to school bash right before the following Fall semester started.💃
I strategically signed up for a running class to continue my streak. I knew that this would force me to exercise at least the assigned three days a week in order to receive a good grade. Gradually, those last few pounds came off and I earned back my svelte physique from high school. I told myself, after one semester, “Ok, good. I’m a runner now.” After I completed the class and received my A, I wouldn’t run again for like, ever…
I experienced some weight fluctuation over the ensuing years. The “stressed out” diet did wonders for my ability to fit in skinny jeans during grad school but I would not recommend it. After graduation, I slowly started gaining weight due to poor diet choices, lack of exercise and a slowing metabolism. Notice a pattern here?🙋♀️ I was also struggling to find a job in my field and waited tables to get by while putting in resumes all around town. I had also moved to a bigger city away from home and family for more job opportunities and felt lonely.
I eventually landed my first professional gig but by then had developed the habit of turning to food for comfort and had thus become an emotional eater. I would devour salty snacks and carbs after work and follow that up with a big dinner. I ate light during the day but did not understand that yogurt, crystal light and lean cuisines would not make up for all of the additional calories I was clocking in at night.😳 Not to mention cocktails with friends on the weekends to blow off steam now that I could actually afford to go to a bar. I ended up gaining “the freshman 15” x 2. In fact, I’m calling it “the first real job 30.”🍹⏲🤷♀️
I remember feeling stuck and hopeless. I would try the latest no carb diet (Atkins) or exercise program (hello T25) but nothing was truly sustainable. To be honest, I love food and don’t enjoy super strenuous exercise. So, I would get frustrated and give up in despair after buying larger size pants each time I went shopping. Then, I decided to move back home and soon after started dating my now husband. I was happier than I’d been in a very long time and therefore properly motivated to get in shape.🥰 I began eating smaller portions at mealtimes and started tracking calories. I was shocked at how quickly those little buggers add up!!! No wonder I was gaining weight!🤔
I also started exercising for 30 minutes a day during the workweek. Nothing extreme this time that I would quit after only a few days. I simply did 10 minutes of calisthenics such as sit-ups/pushups/crunches in the morning and briskly walked around the mall while listening to my iPod for 20 minutes on my lunch break. After about three months, I lost most of the extra pounds and slid back into my skinny jeans with ease. I felt like myself again and received a lot of positive feedback that reinforced my healthy choices. ✅
Since then, I would periodically regain some of those LB’s but resolved to keep working at it in order to maintain my goals. I’m no longer in my 20’s, so have no illusions about returning to high school weight. I also had a baby and carried that extra weight around for a year.🤱 Then I made a New Years resolution to lose it and got back to monitoring calories and moderate exercise. Within a few months, I saw results and lost most of the baby weight.🌟
Next, I went on the “default diet” while living in Argentina for six months. Oh, you’ve never heard of this? Ok, let me explain. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that Argentines don’t believe in cooking shortcuts or overly processed food. Therefore, you make most meals from scratch and are forced to incorporate lots of fresh produce. You learn to naturally season food for flavor instead of relying on unhealthy additives. Again, SLOWLY over time I started trimming down. I didn’t have a scale but noticed that my pants were looser over the course of a few months.
In fact, my fave pj pants literally started falling off. However, this is no longer the case. We returned stateside in November and then the holidays happened. I’ve been making up for my “unintentional packaged food cleanse” with lots of Velveeta and potato chips. I’ve regained a few pounds and my pj pants fit more snugly around my waist but that’s ok. I enjoyed myself and now it’s time to get back on track. This experience taught me that the scale does not always tell the full story and that weight loss can be measured in other ways.
My current goal is just to feel confident in my clothes and healthy overall. I want to exercise because it feels good. I may hate it sometimes when it’s hard but I always feel better afterwards. My muscles are lighter, looser and more relaxed. I’m really interested in nutrition now vs. dieting. Over time, I’ve changed my mindset from banning certain foods to researching and trying new things in order to find what works for ME. When it comes to exercise, I try to endorse a positive attitude instead of a sense of dread. It is helpful for me to establish a consistent routine but not be fanatic about it. I will allow myself to be busy with other things or maybe prioritize rest for a day or two and then get back on the horse. 🐎
I also enjoy changing up my exercise repertoire with YouTube videos. I prefer Pilates, yoga, lifting small weights and short intervals of cardio. The treadmill is more fun when I’m really into a show on Netflix that I look forward to watching while walking (still not running). My absolute favorite is walking while listening to music or unplugged to enjoy the sounds and sights of nature with my family.👨👩👧💞 My current goal is to try to do some form of exercise for at least 20 minutes most days of the week. It benefits me to log calories for mindfulness but not to stress too much if I happen to go over that day. I also weigh a few times a week to keep things in check. I aim to nourish the inside as well as the outside of my body. However, I still treat myself to a fun snack and take pleasure in baking something delicious to nibble on with my family.🍰😋🧁
My Fitbit helps me to stay on track with my individualized exercise and weight management goals. I secretly love analyzing the data and trends. 🤫 🤓 Everyone and everyBODY is different. I think my weight journey has taught me the importance of education, flexibility and doing what feels most natural and good to YOU. Change takes time so I try to be patient with myself. Cooking with fresh ingredients can be challenging but also really fun! If I’m going to eat a brownie a la mode for dessert I don’t tell myself it’s a sin and feel guilty. But I do try to sweat just a little extra the next day. So my new approach after all of these years and acquired wisdom is simply this: to take my time and strive for balance. ☯️🧀🧘♀️
Mood Ring Kitchen
I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.
The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩🍳👩💻