Eating habits – how I lost 46kg

Most people assume I did some hardcore crash diet to lose as much weight as I did (46kg / 101lbs last time I checked).
People come up to me “oohh you’ve must have sacrificed 9e5f8eccc4c631a3eccdc51a504b9d4aa lot”, “I’m sure you had to keep your mouth shut”, “which weight loss supplement did you take?” (this last one is just plain offensive to me, tbh). Again, and again, I need to explain that I’m not, nor have I ever been, on a diet, I did not take ANY supplements. Instead, I corrected my eating habits for the long run. It was a painstakingly slow process, and I’m not done yet (and perhaps I’ll never be), but I “simply” made fundamental changes to what I eat, and started exercising.

Information / knowledge has been the driving force behind all the changes I’ve implemented. Learning and understandi11816300_1011699612203355_3103311428349738562_ong what certain “foods” do to your body and brain is, to me, one of the most empowering things. Once I started learning about nutrition I stopped falling prey, for example, to processed food claims of healthiness. I did not feel deprived because I didn’t eat that frozen pizza, I felt proud for making that choice for myself, but not because it “would make me fat”, rather because it would fuel inflammation, mess with my metabolism, drive blood sugar spikes, etc.

So, as many people have asked me, which were the major changes?
Keep in mind that I’m going on 2 years of this process, I did NOT introduce all these changes at once, nor quickly. I did it baby-step by baby-step, over several months, one change at a time. I changed with health rather than aesthetics in mind.

Major things I’ve removed:

  • Soft-drinks. It took me about 6 months to completely remove this from my life. You can read why on my post Soft drinks = ☠   I avoid fruit juices too, because they keep the sugar and lose the fibre of the fruit.
  • Pasta, white bread, and anything with refined flour in it. You can read why on my post Refined flour isn’t cool
  • Added sugar. To be totally honest I haven’t been able to completely remove it, but at this point the only thing I eat is dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa, which nevertheless has added sugar. You can read why on my Sugar = Drug of abuse Part 1 and Part 2
  • Pretty much all processed food: cookies, frozen meals, fast food, ice cream, pre-cooked meals, breakfast cereals, flavoured yoghurts, sausages and deli meats, chips, gelatins, salad dressings, etc. As a general rule of thumb, if it has an ingredient list I’m not eating it.

And then people look at me with that “what the hell do you eat??” face.

No, I don’t eat depressing salads and other preconceived ideas about healthy eating, I love food and cooking, and I create some pretty awesome tasting meals with the help of my bff: the Internet, which holds a humongous collective knowledge of recipes. Examples here, here, and here.

I eat real food, my friends 🙂
Protein, complex carbohydrates, real fat, fruits and vegetables.
5d849cf59097cdc1dab48dfe1192a3b3Eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, tofu, green peas, lentils, quinoa, all types of beans, chickpeas, oats, almost all types of nuts (some of them I don’t like the taste, meh, I’m picky), olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, mushrooms, cocoa powder (100%), several seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame; eggplant, collard, tomatoes, kale, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and pretty much all vegetables I can get my hands on; bananas, kiwis, oranges, pears, grapes, berries and pretty much all fruit I can get my hands on.
As for drinking: plenty of water, freshly brewed herbal tea and unsugared coffee.

Please take into account that at 1st… it was blergh, and there were a lot of setbacks, and that this doesn’t mean I don’t slip every now and then to some white chocolate covered almonds, or to a glistening orange pudding… Sugar is a hell of a drug, and I’m just human.
Correcting my eating habits was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, but it was beyond worth it and I’ll never go back. The overall way you feel everyday when you put proper nutrition together with exercise is one amazing loop, believe me.

Sorry for the long post, here’s a final thought:

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Success is like an iceberg

Recently one of my gym instructors shared this on her facebook page:

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From my point of view this is a perfect metaphor!

People don’t see all that we go through when journeying from overweight to healthy. Those who have not underwent this transformation tend to disregard what they don’t see and believe it’s an easy process. It truly isn’t.
Also, as I’ve talked about on my post about Setbacks, disappointment and failure are part of the journey. We should accept them and learn from them, instead of giving-up because of them.

(Other) Things that happen

After my last post about “things that happen” when you start getting into shape, I found myself thinking about OTHER things that happen. From my experience you can also expect the following:

-You’ll feel cold ALL THE TIME. I used to brave the winter months with little more than a sweater and a coat and now even during Spring and Summer nights I need at least a light jacket. I had never been this cold in my life, but then again, I had always had on my very own insulation bodysuit made out of fat.

– You’ll spend soooooo much money on clothes, especially if you’re a girl. I had no idea how seriously expensive it would be. Say goodbye to your favourite t-shirt or cardigan or whatever, for it will no longer fit and at some point even the seamstress won’t be able to help you with it. So you’ll need to buy clothes, but not just once, for as your volume loss progresses you’ll need to keep on buying / tailoring clothes so that you don’t feel like you’re wearing a tent all the time. Also, you’ll spend a lot of money on gym clothes and bras.

– Which brings me to: You’ll see your boobs disappear like it’s an act of magic. They shrink, and fast. And if, like me, you have always been a big breasted lady, be prepared for some emotional/identity readjustment.

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Weight ≠ Fat

Still on Step 1: Knowledge is Power, here’s some other key information: weight loss is not the same as fat loss. And at the time this was news to me.
I had learned, as most people do, through mainstream media that we must lose weight, period. That the kg on the scale is all that matters. But as it turns out, total weight is not really the most important thing. Body fat and muscle mass percentage matter a whole lot more.

Here’s an infographic for you!

weight vs fatYou can find the complete infographic here but keep in mind not to take things literally (for example the “track your body fat every 2 weeks”)

And another thing, as it turns out you can lose fat / volume, but actually gain weight if you are developing muscle mass, becaaaauuuuseeeee:

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