One month ago I made a post proclaiming my will to change myself. I set out on a journey to lose weight for good and more importantly, to become a stronger version of myself.
This post is an update on how I’m doing after exactly 30 days. I want to show you whether my plan is working as intended and how I am feeling right now. Spoiler alert, I feel amazing!
However, I want to make a disclaimer first: it has been 30 days since I decided to count my calories to make sure I’m only eating around 2500 to 3000 per day. It has been 30 days since I decided to start doing daily activities with at least two longer weekly sessions at the gym. It has been 30 days since I started holding myself accountable for what I eat and what I do. But I have been quite health-conscious even before that so for me, it wasn’t such a dramatic change of lifestyle habits.
Sometime at the start of the last year, I read Diet Recovery by Matt Stone. Up until that point, I had been following restrictive diets that did indeed caused some positive weight loss effects but also made me stressed and fearful of the weight bouncing right back. I was not in a good place, mental health-wise.
Diet Recovery suggests doing something called RRARF. It stands for Rehabilitative Rest and Aggressive Re-Feeding. The process is meant to fix your relationship with food and get rid of the stress of following diets all the time. I did for one month and I let my body rest. I ate what I wanted and how much I wanted without measuring my weight all the time (although I still avoided processed foods and tried to eat generally healthy things). RRARF also prohibits you from working out at all which I welcomed very gladly. I slept a lot and didn’t care if I didn’t leave the bed for 10 hours – it meant that my body was craving that rest.
The point of RRARF is to improve the body’s metabolism by increasing body temperature and thyroid function. The whole process is supposed to like a long session of meditation that rids you of the toxic stress and prepares you for a lifetime of healthy eating.
And while I did definitely feel more relaxed at first, it didn’t take long for the stress to appear again, this time due to different reasons. I felt guilty for sleeping all day and for stuffing myself with food. I could see the weight gain with my own eyes and I felt as if I were doing something bad. I looked at people around me who were going to the gym after a long day at work and I thought to myself: “is what I’m doing really the right thing?”. I felt lazy and disgusted with myself.
But now I see that what I was feeling was the pressure from the environment around me. I’m not blaming anyone from my family or friends. They have been really supportive and it’s not like anyone ever told me “wow, you let yourself go, didn’t you?”. But it’s just that my mind has been conditioned by the media to think a certain way. I was feeling lazy not because I was lazy – after all, I was simply working on my mental health. I was feeling lazy because people on TV were telling me that fat people are lazy. That I don’t care about my health or about how I look like. I was miserable because I felt I didn’t deserve the rest.
But now I realize that what they were telling me was a lie. I wish I could have noticed it sooner. Now I focus on loving my body the way it is and I enjoy the process of shedding the unnecessary pounds. Not because I hate them but because they keep away from doing what I really want to.
I even started talking directly with Matt Stone and he encouraged me to keep RRARFing. And he was right, I did have more energy. I did gain a lot of weight (around 50 pounds) but I also felt more vigorous, I felt like moving because I wanted to, not because I was supposed to. It was such an amazing feeling!
But then it all crashed down when I had a mental breakdown due to untreated PTSD. If you want, you can read more about it in another post. It caused me lose all of that gained energy. I kept to myself and rarely left my bed. I was in a really bad place and I quickly gained another 50 pounds. Thankfully I found a great therapist that helped me overcome my mental blocks and I was ready to set out on my weight loss journey again. I found inspiration in looking through before and after photos of other people and decided right there that I want that too.
IS MY APPROACH WORKING?
I am proud to tell you that yes, it is! I am gradually looking weight at a steady pace without feeling like I’m starving myself or forcing myself to do what I hate.
I follow just a few simple rules: I sleep enough to make sure my metabolism is working the way it should be. I am eating no more calories than I need for my activity level. I am eating enough calories to maintain high energy levels throughout the whole day. I eat healthy food but I do not care about whether I’m eating a lot of fat, or a lot of gluten, and so on. As long as it’s healthy, I put it in my mouth.
I move for at least 45 minutes every day. This is either a long walk with my family or a quick swimming session at the local pool. When it’s not crowded I swim for longer. I haven’t done that since childhood so it is such a thrill to be able to swim carefreely again! It is something I look forward to each week.
I also take a 90 minutes class at the gym twice a week. At first, I decided on aerobics but quickly found out that it wasn’t for me. It simply wasn’t something I enjoyed. So I went for weight training with a personal trainer and for now, I’m sticking with it! It’s great to have someone experienced to guide you and show you the right way to maximize your efforts. It takes me around 90 minutes because I also make sure to do a proper warming up session before and a stretching session afterward. It helps increase my mobility and prevents injuries.
I make sure to play with my kids (they love tag so I get some more activity there). It’s been great because I finally feel like I can keep up with them! I still do get tired rather quickly but I expect that it will also improve with time.
And for the actual weight loss results, I lost 10 pounds! This was so much more than I was hoping for so I am really pleased right now. I hope to keep up the same pace for the rest of my journey but I won’t stress over it if next month I will only lose 5 pounds. You know why? Because I now believe the number of pounds you shed is not an accurate measurement of how healthy you are.
I am happier than I have ever been in the past year. I get enough sleep and I don’t let stress take over my body and mind. I eat the food I like and I don’t spend all my time counting carbs and proteins and so on. I am able to lift heavier and heavier things. I have more stamina.
All of the above are indicators of a healthy change happening. The 10 pounds I lost are just a bonus.
I am living proof that you don’t need to follow restrictive diets to see an evident change in your weight. I know now that these diets are the last thing that will help you be fit and healthy. I wish many more people were aware of that and if my post will help convince even one person then I will be happy with that. I mean, I did eat pizza and I did eat several pieces of cake and still lost 10 pounds! It is possible!
THE NEXT STEP
I think for the next month I will try to write down what I eat during the day so that I can share it with you later. It might be hard to imagine what 3000 calories look like so I want to help people visualize that.
Hopefully, I will see another weight drop next month but I’m not thinking about that too hard. I simply want to get even stronger.
See you next month!