How I Lost 30 Pounds—and Kept It Off

I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized I was overweight. My entire life, I had no problem eating whatever I wanted, being constantly out of shape, and while I did gain weight, it was never such an amount that I noticed. That all changed my last year of university. I ate a lot of pizza late at night, made big bowls of pasta with lots of cheese and sauce, and became addicted to “Pillsbury” cookies. And I didn’t notice the pounds piling up. I always just attributed the extra weight to being curvy, but at some point, you have to face the facts.

My doctor told me that I could lose some weight if I wanted to—I was only a few pounds over my weight limit, according to my body mass index (BMI)—but she never pressed the issue. So neither did I.

After I moved back home and started an office job, I spent more time sitting in one place for nine hours a day, typing away on my computer while snacking on chips, cookies, or tea biscuits—they were dark colored, so they made me feel like I was eating whole-grain food (tip: they’re not whole grain).

But then one day I looked in the mirror—I mean really looked—and I didn’t like what I saw. I was much larger than I was used to, but it had happened so gradually that nobody pointed it out, and no one quite remembered what I looked like before. I decided to make a major change.

I didn’t go on any specialty diets. I didn’t restrict myself completely. I made the following simple changes that people have been touting for years:

  • I ate a healthy breakfast (skim milk with cereal or whole-grain crackers with yogurt).
  • I ate lots of fruits and vegetables. These became my snacks du jour, and I always allowed myself a cookie or a treat if I felt like it.
  • I stopped eating a lot of bread. I haven’t had a sandwich in about a year, and I don’t miss it at all. Sandwiches aren’t filling for me, yet they can carry many calories. Occasionally  I’ll snack on a piece of bread with hummus.
  • I switched my sandwich lunches for big salads filled with lettuce, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and onions, and a protein, like tuna, chicken, or chick peas.
  • I stopped eating junk food late at night.
  • I started going to the gym. I hated the treadmill, so I tried group exercise classes, like Zumba, which I really liked.
  • I monitored every single thing I was eating. This was the least enjoyable part, because I forced myself to keep a food diary, and it’s really hard to see that all those tiny snacks add up. I don’t keep the diary anymore, but it definitely helped me recognize my eating habits.

I didn’t expect any miraculous changes, but, after two months, I went from a size 12 to a size eight. It’s been a year, and now I’m a size six. In total, I’ve lost about 35 pounds. I’m wearing clothes that haven’t fit me for six years. And it feels absolutely incredible.

I didn’t make any huge, bold decisions. I just chose a few areas in my life where I could work on myself and my eating habits. And it made all the difference. I don’t expect this to work for everyone, but I know it’s much easier than paying for expensive diet plans and forcing yourself to only drink lemonade, or eat oranges, or fast for three days—whatever the latest trend is.

Don’t you think it’s worth a try?