In my 2014 year in review, I forgot to mention one thing. Last year, I accomplished my cliche goal to lose weight and ended the year almost 20 pounds lighter than I started it. I still have a small amount to lose before I reach my goal (whatever that may end up being), but this process has become so much more than that.
The main lesson I learned through this process was that losing weight isn’t easy. It’s more than just going on a diet, exercising more and drinking lots of water. It’s about making changes, figuring out why you are holding on weight to begin with and learning to let it go.
In August, Joel from Organa Wellness reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working with him and write about the experience the blog. After checking out his philosophy, I said yes and started an amazing three month journey.
The timing was almost too perfect, as I was struggling to get back in shape after my surgery and wanting to lose weight. I did not want to diet and Joel promised me that I would never have to, in fact that was his #1 rule.
Here are the steps I took to get to lose 20 pounds:
1. Step One: Focus on Food
My food journey started with two weeks of logging everything I ate. From there, Joel gave me a roadmap that I was to follow every day, no matter what.
Instead of a meal plan, this roadmap gave me the structure I need that was flexible enough to adjust to any day. It starts with eating within 30 minutes of when I wake up and then every 2-3 hours from there to keep my blood sugar stable. This plan has become second nature and I successfully followed it on vacation, at bachelorette parties and weddings and the many meals out that come with the territory of my job.
The next step was to cut back on portions, which was the hardest part. It took a few months to get to my ideal portions and reconnect with the feelings of hunger that I was not paying attention to before I worked with Joel.
It was so interesting and scary how much I was overeating before, stemmed from the portions I learned from being an athlete or through the media telling me how many calories I should have in my diet. Now I listen to my body and can recognize when I’m actually hungry and rarely get to the point where I’m too full these days.
Now I have a program that I can follow easily without much thought. The best part is- since I was never deprived I never felt like I was on a diet. And, the amazing thing is now that I no longer feel deprived, I find myself enjoying food more than I ever have before. I sound like an infomercial when I talk about food these days, but I fully feel like I will never diet again. It’s good to just live life after dieting for years and years.
2. Step Two: Enjoy Exercise
Ever since College, I have struggled with getting into a workout routine. Yes, becoming a runner helped and it was fun to reach goals for awhile, but I never really loved it.
When I started working with Joel, our main goal was to get my strength back, find a routine I could stick with and for me to enjoy exercise again.
Our first step with exercise was to figure out what works for me. I was already walking Penny every morning, so that became my cardio. I only add on extra cardio if it’s fun for me, like my weekly spin classes or an occasional run or class with a girlfriend.
I was doing some strength, but I started following a two times a week strength routine that was tailored to my goal to recovery from my injury and improve my core strength. My routines challenged me both mentally and physically and I started to look forward to how I would feel after the workouts. The third component was to attend yoga class at least once per week, which I’ve done religiously since August.
My main lesson when it comes to exercise that I learned through working with Joel is that it doesn’t have to be so difficult. I was so used to hardcore, all or nothing plans that I never really stopped to do what worked with my life. Well, now that I have I am finally to a place where I look forward to working out again. And, I feel good!
3. Step Three: Emotions are the Key to Weight Loss
This final piece of the puzzle was the one that I never was able to put together on my own before working with Joel: In order to maintain weight loss, I had to take care of myself.
Getting to this place was something I had never considered before, but when I did I immediately knew it was what I needed. Instead of focusing on the food and exercise, I focused on managing my stress, slowing down and letting go of my attempts to be perfect and embrace flexibility.
Once this piece fell into place, things clicked and I finally felt like I could live a lifestyle that I had been searching for. Now that my focus is taking care of myself, I always choose being nice to myself vs beating myself up over any setbacks. When setbacks happen, I have a routine to return to and the best part of all is that the key to this lies within me.
I could not say enough how grateful I am that I was able to work with Joel. I truly believe that things happen for a reason and I’m glad that the timing happened exactly when I needed to learn this life lesson. Thank you, Joel!