Friday, May 23, 2014

How I Lost 50 Pounds

Okay, so this post has absolutely nothing to do with writing. I mean, not really. But my tagline for the blog is "Navigating the publishing world with splashes of real life," so I figured I'm covered to talk about real life too. Right? Right. Okay.

So if you're friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen me post this week that I've finally broken through the lost-50-pounds ceiling. And I have! I'm super-stoked about, and it is so motivating to see the numbers coming down on the scale.

But a lot of people are asking, "How?" or "What's the secret?"

I wrote a post on losing a while back, but I thought I'd expound a little bit.

First of all, there is no secret. I'm not taking a pill, or following a diet, or ordering foods from a company. I meal plan, buy all my own groceries, make all my own meals, every day, day in and day out. (Yes, I am tired just writing that. Ha!)

Basically, I subscribe to this principle: Eat less, move more.

That's really general to what I do. I am eating less, but not only that, I know exactly how much I'm eating. Down to every last calorie. I count calories. For a couple of months there, I was guesstimating, and I wasn't losing weight. So I went back to strict calorie counting, where I write down everything I eat.

This is not has hard as you might think. I email it to myself. In general, I eat 200 calories for breakfast, 300 for lunch, 100 for an afternoon snack, and 500 for dinner. That's 1100 calories/day. No more.

I do move more, but it's more specific than that. I do weight training twice a week, for 20 minutes. It's not hard to fit into my morning pre-work routine, and I listen to something uplifting while I do it. I go to the gym for carido 5 days a week (if my schedule allows, but never less than 3 days. I'm not that busy! It's usually 5 days/week) and I work out for 45 minutes.

I walk on the treadmill (with an incline) because running is only what happens when dogs are chasing me. If I'm bored of the treadmill, I get on the elliptical. I think I'm going to add a water aerobics class this summer for even more variety.

And that's what I do.

I personally think the key is in what you eat. I could probably reduce the exercise and still lose weight. But for me, the exercise MOTIVATES the good eating.

I'm not really sure what "Paleo" or "clean eating" are, but I think that's what I'm doing. I eat low-fat proteins, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and cheese. I eat very, very few carbs (bread, rice, muffins, cereals, granola, etc.). The only sugars I take in are from fruits.

Is it hard? Absolutely. Sometimes I just can't take it anymore, or I really need a treat. I have a stash for these days, and I am disciplined in how I eat them. (This means I eat the chocolate caramel covered pretzels, but I count the calories.) Sometimes I drop off the program for a week or more. And that's okay. I'm not on a diet. I'm living my life.

See, I'm an emotional eater. Eating makes me happy when I'm sad, distressed, stressed, overworked, mad, happy, joyful, celebratory, etc. No matter the mood--even if it's good!--eating makes it better. I have a little bit of an anxiety problem, and eating has always soothed that. Eating for family celebrations is awesome.

I'd like to eat everything, everyday, forever. The problem is, I weighed a lot. I could still do everything I wanted to do, but my quality of life was suffering. I didn't do some things because I was too tired, or didn't feel good about myself doing them.

One of the best posts I've ever read about losing weight went up by a friend of mine, Tristi Pinkston, a few weeks ago. Pretty much everything she says, I could ditto. I felt her post deeply, because it could be mine.

In the end, if you want to lose weight, you have to be doing it for yourself, for your own increased quality of life, for your own better health. You have to be dedicated to it, because it takes time away from writing, from work, from family, from friends, from everything. I do it, because I think my health and myself are worth the time away.

Maybe I didn't think I was before, or maybe I was just being lazy. I remember a time at critique group when we were talking about losing weight, and I remember thinking, If I wanted to lose weight, I could--and would. I don't need to. I'm fine the way I am.

I was lying to myself. I didn't know it then, but looking back, I can see that I wasn't being truthful with myself, rationalizing away the fact that I wasn't healthy or happy.

I don't know if I'm a ton happier now, because well, eating makes me the happiest. Ha! But I'm definitely healthier and I enjoy my life more, so that has to count for something.

And there you have it! How I've lost over 50 pounds. I hope to keep going, maybe lose another 25-30 pounds.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Lola Sharp said...

Wow, Elana! GO YOU!! I'm super impressed and proud of you. (I'm an Every Mood eater too.)
Thank you for sharing and good luck with your continued healthy lifestyle! <3

Mary @ BookSwarm said...

Woo-hoo!!! I'm on that journey to weight loss and better health myself. Eat less (and better) and move more. Seriously, that's hard but it's a long-term commitment. *high fives*

Savannah Bookswithbite said...

Great job Elana! I too am on a weight loss journey. I currently lost to date 69 pounds. Still need 43 to go. I also count my calories. I use the My fitness Pal app. It is hard. Sometime I just want to give up but I know I can do this. You are doing an awesome job!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Thanks, Elana! I'm so glad you said you weren't doing anything gimmicky. I've been doing the same thing you have and consistently losing weight a little at a time. But I can tell what difference each little bit makes. But sometimes I see friends who have lost a bunch of weight who are doing pills, surgeries, or really strict, crazy diets - and I think, maybe if I did that, I would look awesome. But I would be miserable - cause I love, love, love eating.

So I've set out to discover foods to love that are healthier and lower carb for a healthier me. =) Thanks so much for your post. It makes me feel so much better about what I'm doing.

You're awesome!

Jackie Garlick said...

Fantastic POST! How long has it taken you to lose the 50? I just want to be able to see an imaginary goal line. :)

E. Arroyo said...

And I thought there was a magic pill. Thanks for the inspiration!

ilima said...

Thanks for sharing, Elana. You rock!

Donea Lee said...

Never had the opportunity to tell you in person, but you looked great at Storymakers! Congrats!! This is inspiring ~ :-)

Carol Riggs said...

This is definitely inspiring, and I'm glad you found what works for YOU. It really does boil down to "eat less, move more." Writing is SO sedentary, it's easy to sit in front of a computer all day!

Jolene Perry said...

I'd be shocked if you had another 25 to lose!! lol.

I've lost 30 pounds since having my son (many years ago, lol) and most of it over a six month period about a year ago.

And I do just what you do. AND I know I'm going to have to keep working to keep it off. Our bodies don't like to lose weight, lol.

AND GO YOU! For realz.

Sara B. Larson said...

SO awesome Elana!! I'm so happy for you! Way to go!

Nichole Giles said...

Lady, you are amazing. That is all. <3

Angela Brown said...

Congrats on losing the weight. You've got a great plan/lifestyle change that's working for you. Keep it up :-)

Leigh Covington said...

I see that Paleo stuff and I don't know what it is, but it looks good. I'm trying the whole, "eat less - move more" routine too. It's a good thing. So proud of you though! That is an amazing accomplishment and you looked great at Storymakers!

Christy said...

You are inspiring Elana! It is not easy to discipline yourself to do what you are doing! I know, because I do it too! It is empowering, and it does have everything to do with writing, because reaching a goal like this bleeds over to other areas in your life! I'm so excited for you! Keep it up!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Fantastic Elana! I know how much time and dedication it takes because my husband decided to make a lifestyle change, much like yours, and lost 43 lbs in the last two and a half months. He's finally able to go running without risking injury, his back has stopped hurting, and he's able to fit into clothes that have been hanging in his closet forever because they'd been too tight. I am SO proud of him, because he's been battling with obesity since I met him and, like you, sometimes he'd convince himself he was fine with it, but he never really was. Now he's officially out of the 'obese' numbers and down in the 'mildly overweight' which he hasn't seen in years. His overall physical and emotional health are so much better, it makes my heart swell. Huge congrats!

JeffO said...

Terrific, Elana!

Hardygirl said...

So inspiring!!! And so simple--why do we make weight loss harder than it has to be (complicated diets, pills, etc.). It's all about taking control of yourself and WANTING to do it for the right reasons.

Glad you posted this!!!


Hardygirl said...

So inspiring!!! And so simple--why do we make weight loss harder than it has to be (complicated diets, pills, etc.). It's all about taking control of yourself and WANTING to do it for the right reasons.

Glad you posted this!!!


Stephanie Faris said...

Congratulations!!! That's awesome. I have developed an addiction to the game SongPop, which I play on my iPhone while I'm helps keep me on there. Anything to take your mind off of the long walk. But for me, resisting food is the toughest part. I'm so impressed with anyone who loses weight the healthy way. I lost lots of weight on Weight Watchers once...but I wouldn't say I was 100% healthy. I just kept my points low.

Peggy Eddleman said...

You are so awesome and so inspiring! Go you! (And dude. I'm totally doing water aerobics every day all summer. Let's hang!)

Liza said...

Good for you! You dedication has paid off!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

Awesome! When I had to lose weight after the pregnancies, counting calories and going for walks is always what I did. It takes longer than some of the gimmicks, but I'm happier when I do it that way--plus it's a sustainable life style change. Congrats to you on making your health a priority and reaping the results of your hard work.

Nikki Lewis said...

Thank you so much for posting this Elana! This is so inspiring. I'm going through something similar myself. I lost 10lbs the month before Storymakers and since nothing. :-( I haven't gained so I guess that something. But I need to get going with it so I can be more successful. BUT there are moments when I think "I can't do this." reading your story and what you did gives me hope and now I'm like. "I can do that." :-) So thank you. Congratulations on all of your hard work. You are amazing.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wahooooo!!!!!!! So proud of you - and thrilled for you. Well, well done :)

June G said...

Congrats Elena! I'm working on losing some weight myself. It really affects one's sense of self. I know you're counting calories, but reducing those carbs are a major factor! Looking forward to further updates! :-)

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