Wednesday, 31 August 2016

How I Lost Over 130 Pounds and How I Plan to Get to Goal #WeightLossJourney

I remember when returning from most vacations meant bringing back wonderful memories, magnets for the fridge, an odd statue, museum prints to frame and at least seven pounds for every two weeks away.  Not this time!  After a month travelling the USA I brought back most of the items-but not the fourteen pounds, in fact I only put on one and a half pounds.  I also brought back a bag loaded with Victoria Secret sports bras and makeup from Sephora ready to workout and look glam as I tackle the small gain and finally get to my new revised goal of 155 pounds.  While away, many beautiful women I met (including my sisters) wanted to know, 'How did you do it?'
At over 300 pounds (see right) I was pretty miserable and have blogged about the pain of trying to accept that this might be how I am for life coupled with society and their double standards for beauty.  At any weight I always felt beautiful and much of that is because I am blessed with a husband who as my best friend, never once remarked with negativity and only viewed me with eyes filtered by love.  I know this sounds corny, but...well it is true.  I hurt for women who express how their partners put them down even as far as giving them ultimatums, 'Lose the weight or lose me.'  It is only too easy to advise them to lose the partner-but, in reality this is not easy.  I know all too well the vulnerable moments when fear of never attracting anyone else will keep you in unhealthy relationships.  I seem to have digressed-the emotional aspects of weight continue to loom, to strike up conversation even in our moments of triumph.  I feel that more than anything else my weight loss journey had to be my own and entirely for my benefit.  Because of this belief, I wrapped myself in my own arms and said, 'It is time.'   I stopped trying to fit into a 'diet' and learned to 'biohack'.
Biohacking for me was a long process-it didn't just happen the day I spoke the words.  I did a lot of research listening to pod casts, reviewing studies, reading books, watching YouTube clips, keeping a diary of moods and foods, practising 'mindful eating', applying CBT (The Beck Diet Solution is great) and managing my ups and downs.  At first I went to Weight Watchers and lost fifty pounds.  I gained them back but returned to lose them again-you know how we sometimes do that!  After the second time, I started to implement strategies.  I learned my body and mind were drawn naturally to good food.  What a relief!  I also learned that keeping goodies in the house made me weak during times when I was bored.  Solution, no goodies-if I wanted the Ben and Jerry's, I would have to go and get it.  I began to talk to myself more-inside my head.  Okay, I have always talked to myself out loud-but I started to coach myself internally.  Especially reminding myself that: one bite might just be enough, it was okay not to finish the whole plate, saying no was not mean, it is fine if I go ahead and splurge as long as I get back on it the next day.  I also loved the 5:2 diet and the medical research behind it.  The only issue was I maintained my weight-which is a great issue after yo, yo dieting.  So, for about two years I kept off 75 pounds.  I felt pretty secure in my biohacking methods but needed to move to a better level of weight loss so I joined Slimming World in September of 2015.
Since I began the food optimising coupled with intermittent fasting and CBT, I have lost another 52 pounds.  My size has gone from a US 26 (size 28/30 in the UK) to a US 10 (size 12/14 in the UK) and I am feeling fabulous!  My time in the US after Hawaii and Arizona was spent in different states visiting my siblings, my dad and step mother.  They all were pleasantly surprised and so happy for me-they also totally supported my biohacking style and food optimising choices.  That is not to say I didn't indulge-I did!  I just made sure to stop when I had had enough and on days that I wanted to intermittent fast, I did.  I also made adjustments-the main one was to ask for a small when having any treats.  
The last leg of my time away was spent near Boston with my sister who is a fitness instructor and has developed her own brand Raqisafitness-Belly Barre and she has inspired me to start exercising as I move towards my final goal.  Up until this point I have not exercised apart from trying to keep to 10,000 steps a day with my FitBit.  I attended classes that she taught including deep water muscle toning which was brilliant for my trick knee.  I was most impressed with her Belly Barre class that helped me isolate muscles rarely used and prepare for Belly Dancing straight afterwards.  I am in love with her technique and will be blogging more about it in the future.  I was furthermore impressed by the gorgeous women in her classes of all ages, shapes and sizes!  Women just rock don't they?!  Especially when united in supporting each other to meet our fitness goals...well, life goals really.  In fact this post was inspired by one of her clients who just wanted to know 'How did you do it?'  I hope I have answered and I am more than happy to connect more!
My original goal with Slimming World was 12 stone, or 168 pounds.  Prior to my trip I had hit that target.  I have re-contracted with myself to aim for 155 and allow myself wiggle room from there up to 160.  I haven't weighed 155 for nearly 25 years, so I want to see how I feel at that weight and renegotiate along the way.  My new aim is to develop my muscles and cardio stamina.  After my return home last week armed with fitness technique, motivation and a few new fitness helpers (loop bands and a small ball for home usage) I joined my local gym.  A good tip from my sister was that any gym further than ten minutes away will not support developing a gym habit.  This one is ten minutes away with a second location offering more classes a further ten minutes-that one will allow me to do Pilates every Saturday morning.  After I am done blogging today I will create a schedule for the next few weeks and organize my 'office' room so I can relaunch my YouTube channel this weekend.   I go back to teaching for the new school year tomorrow and I am excited about bringing all aspects of my life together for the next year.  I'll be blogging and Vlogging along the way.  I hope this post helped in any way and I am always ready to connect to support-we need each other at times and if you are on the same journey, let us be inspiration to one another.

Leila
'Where weight, age and size are just a number.'