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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Ann

How I Lost 40 Pounds - Without Weight Loss Products

Updated: Jan 16

Weight loss is a touchy topic. It was for me for a really long time. Ever since my sophomore year of High School, I remember being really self conscious about my figure. I'd lost my dad the week before my freshman year of High School. A year later we moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. Through all the changes, trauma, and stress I started relying on food as a form of comfort. Slowly one pound after another I found myself getting more and more self conscious about the way I looked. This past year, I decided I'd had enough. I told myself that 2021 was going to be all about making choices that would help me feel more confident in my own skin.

In the last few months, I've gotten a lot of comments about my weight. Some have been very rude and some very encouraging. This blog post is specifically for those who may be in the same shoes I was in. I've had a lot of people ask me, "How did you lose the weight?" and all I've been able to say is, "Small habits over time." They always respond back by saying, "Come on, for real? Give me your secrets!" Although these are not secrets, I want to share my journey in hopes that it will help even just one person.

In this blog post, I'm sharing exactly what I've been doing that helped me drop the weight. I'll be covering:

  • Small Habits That Changed Everything

  • How To Enjoy the Process

  • Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food

  • How I Kept off the Weight During the Holidays

If you're sick and tired of trying to lose the weight with little to no results, I'm hoping some of these little changes will help you start seeing success. It's never too late to begin again. I'm here to tell you from experience, it's possible to start feeling confident again. All it takes is one step at a time. Let's dive in!

Small Habits that Changed Everything

A friend of mine is in email marketing for a large corporation. They work on email campaigns that go out to millions of people everyday. We were chatting about work one day and she said, "Data shows us what isn't working, so we know exactly where improvements can be made." When she said this, something clicked in my mind. I thought, "What if I simply started tracking my weight and my activity each day?" I wasn't planning on changing anything yet, I simply wanted to start collecting my own data to see where I could start making improvements. I started tracking my steps and began weighing myself each day. I found an inexpensive scale that tracks my weight, body fat percentage, BMI, and a number of other things. I'll link it here in case you want to snag it on Amazon!

To my surprise, weighing daily allowed me to see how certain foods were affecting my body. I noticed if I ate a lot of dairy, my weight would go up much faster than when I wasn't. I'll link the Fitbit I've been using to track my steps. I'm honestly embarrassed to share this now, but my steps averaged under 2,000 each day. I started going for walks with my dog and cutting out a little dairy and sugar here and there (but not completely!). After about 2-3 weeks of increasing my activity (5,000 steps per day) and cutting out the dairy, I had dropped close to 10lbs. Seeing this small improvement gave me the motivation to keep trying. Joyce Meyer says, "I'm not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be!" Celebrating the small wins always helps motivate me to keep going. Never discredit every small decision you're making each day to become a better you!

How To Enjoy the Process

If I had to choose a favorite pastime, catching up with friends over coffee would be it. Once I realized how beneficial getting extra steps was, I decided to ask my friends if they wanted to go for walks together instead of grabbing coffee. This way we skipped the $7 latte and burned calories instead of consuming them. This ended up being a lot of fun because we were able to catch up and also feel good about how we spent our time together. Getting active can be a challenge, but making it fun has helped make it feel like less of a chore.

As these small improvements started to add up, I began writing my weight and my steps into my Passion Planner (Use code ABIGAILH260 for 10% off your order). If you're looking for a planner this one is my absolute favorite! I've used this one consistently for 3 years now. I've never found any other planner that's set up better than this one! Writing down what I did each day, tracking steps, and my weight allowed me to see trends. Over the summer, I helped a few people move and I realized I got way more steps on those days than any other days. Even though helping people move is a pain, it's a blessing to them AND it helps you get active! At this point I was about 3 months into my journey of making better choices and I was down a total of 20lbs.!

Photo Credit: Jayda Iye

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food

Once I dropped 20lbs. I started to plateau. I couldn't seem to drop anymore, even if I was getting more than 5,000 steps and eating healthier. I realized it must be time to get more serious about the food I was consuming and actually start working out. I went and got a gym membership and to be completely honest, I think I used it less than 5 times. There were a few times I had really stressful work days and took out my frustration by walking on the treadmill. Having somewhere to escape to during those stressful times was definitely helpful, but for some reason I couldn't figure out how to consistently get myself in the gym multiple times a week. Instead of feeling bummed out about not getting in the gym, I decided to focus on my nutrition. I've heard great things about The Virgin Diet book and I've owned it for years... so I thought, why not give it a try? The Virgin Diet is simply about cutting out the main 7 high fi foods for 21 days.

  • Gluten

  • Soy

  • Dairy

  • Eggs

  • Corn

  • Peanuts

  • Sugar & Fake Sugar

I absolutely LOVE food though, so this was a huge challenge. The only reason I decided to go for it was because I only had to commit for 21 days. I started by using the recipes in the book to plan out meals and create a grocery list. Obviously, you don't have to get exactly what I got, but I thought it would be helpful to include the grocery list I used when I first started. Just something to reference if you want to try this out! I'd heard about people ordering their groceries with InstaCart so I decide to try it out. Click here for $10 off your first order with InstaCart.

This helped me avoid all the sweet treats and cheese filled everything that I usually gravitate towards. I hopped on InstaCart and was able to order all my groceries from Aldi and ended up spending less money than I usually spend on my "unhealthy" grocery runs. The groceries we're delivered in about an hour which gave me time to clean out the fridge and tidy up the kitchen, so I could start with a clean slate.

After the 21 days, I dropped another 10lbs. More importantly, I realized there were actually healthy foods that I enjoyed eating. I also learned it's a combination of WHAT I'm eating and HOW MUCH of it I'm eating. No matter how healthy my diet is, if I'm consuming more calories than I'm burning, I'll gain weight. On the flip side, if I'm consuming less calories than I'm burning, I'll always drop weight. I'm not sure this is true for everyone, but understanding this small concept encouraged me to get more active. Seeing how many calories I burned on a short walk also helped me to see how some foods are just not worth the calories. For example, a small bag of chips I want to eat when I'm bored may require a 30 minute walk to burn those calories off. Instead of snacking when I'm bored, I turn on one of my favorite playlists and take the dog for a walk. Not only did this cure the boredom, it helps me avoid eating out of boredom or because of stress.

How I Kept off the Weight During the Holidays

At this point, Thanksgiving was quickly approaching. I made the decision to stay consistent and pig out only on Thanksgiving Day. If you've seen the kids Kung Fu Panda movie, I'm basically Po, the main character. I'm very motivated by food! haha I ate everything I wanted to on Thanksgiving Day without feeling guilty about it. I didn't want to weigh in the next day because I was afraid I'd screwed everything up completely. I stepped on the scale the next morning and had gained 3lbs. Whew!! Nothing I couldn't undo. Throughout the next week I increased my activity and got back to eating healthy and dropped the 3lbs. I'd gained. I knew I needed to stay consistent through December. To be honest, I didn't do amazing at this. There were some days I loaded up on so many Christmas cookies, pasta, bread, the list goes on. I gained 7lbs. in December, but just like before, I continued weighing each day and those pounds slowly dropped back off again.

The biggest thing I've learned throughout this whole process is that small good habits over time can lead to big results. In the same way though, small bad habits over time can lead to unwanted results. If you're on a journey to get healthy, focus on small changes. There's a quote that say, "You're not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Relax and master the day. Then keep doing that every day." It's easy to set large goals, but goals are only helpful for setting a direction. Create a process through small habits that you can implement each day. Then commit to those small habits each day and I promise results will come.

One day, or day one? You decide.

January 2023 Update:

I'm so excited to share that these simple habits continued to carry me through 2022 successfully. My goal for the year was just to stay consistent and not let all this progress escape me. Towards the end of the year I even decided to start counseling. This was something I'd been putting off for so long. Now, in 2023 my goal is focused entirely on mindset. Dropping the weight was great, but I feel as though I still have some mental things I need to work through. Crazy things can happen in a year. If you've read this far, you desire serious change. I commend you for doing the research, for reading other stories, and wanting to learn more... but I want to nudge you a little further. I heard Mel Robbins say on one of her podcasts yesterday, "Listening to research is not going to change your life – applying the research will." This rocked me. There's so many things I've been researching and learning about, but I know just collecting knowledge isn't what changes things – action is what changes things. So get out there, take a walk, invite a friend for a walk, find a way to make it fun. No one ever says, "I regret taking that walk with my friend the other day." Go for it. One small step at a time!

Photo Credit: Jayda Iye

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