Saturday, July 30, 2016

Figuring Out How to Lose Weight in my 30s: I am OBESE!

Hello, my name is Toya T and I am obese. Yes, I said it...OBESE!!! I never thought that I would ever use that word to describe myself. But, after my most recent physical exam in June, I saw the dreaded five-letter word written in my health summary, and I almost had a stroke.

 I will admit that I have gained some weight over the past two years. Okay, full disclosure. I gained 50 lbs since 2014. Ugh!! Regardless of that number, I wouldn't have described myself as obese. Overweight? Yes. Thick and juicy? Yes. Obese and a potential contestant of The Biggest Loser? NO! 

Ugh! How did I get here? I was not a "fat" kid or teenager. For most of my life, I was what I would describe as petite thick---that is, short, small-waisted, and thick-thighed. Like most young adults, I gained weight in college, about 10 lbs during my sophomore; however, I easily lost the weight by taking biweekly African dance, tap, and ballet classes and stepping weekly with my college step team. Then I gained 20 lbs during the first two years of my PhD program. I was the biggest I had ever been, and I realized that I actually had to make some lifestyle changes to shed the pounds. I joined my local YMCA, worked with a personal trainer to develop monthly workout plans, and changed my eating habits with the aid of The Fat Smash Diet by Dr. Ian Smith (of Celebrity Fit Club fame). In the first 11 days, I saw big results; I lost 11 lbs. Within a year, I lost the rest of the weight and kept it off until five years ago.

2014                                                                                      2016

The past five years my weight has yo-yoed up and down; my body has gone between being fit and trim to its current state of round and juicy. Interestingly, despite overweight (and now obese), I have bene generally healthy. According to my most recent physical, my glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels are within a healthy range. So, my main health concern has been, and is, my weight.

First off, I know that the number on the scale can be deceptive, since muscle weighs more than fat. I have been very fit and trim, 145 lbs, and a size 8 (my ideal size). I have learned that it is definitely about how you feel, how you fit in your clothes, and how good (you feel) you look naked. Right now, I don't feel good about my body in and out of  clothes. All of my favorite outfits fit very tight on me---and not in the good way.

Summer 2014                                                            Summer 2016

In public, I have blamed my weight gain on the fatty goodness of Shake Shack (and its proximity to my job and home), my love of food and drink, stress of finishing my Phd program and emotional eating, my sheer hate of working out (especially when it is cold), and the winter of 2015 aka Snowmaggedon 2015 (which is when I gained the majority of the weight from eating and being trapped in doors by the 100 inches of snow). But, honestly my bad eating is to blame. I can push myself to work out regularly, especially if I have a very detailed workout plan set out for me with a definite beginning and ending (e.g., a 4-week summer sexy workout plan or a 30-day squat and abs challenge). What I have trouble with is keeping my love of fatty foods in check. Once I start eating something I like, it is hard for me to stop until the dish is clean. Put me in front of a Chicago deep dish pizza from Giordano's, and I will devour it in one sitting, no matter how much my brain tells me to save some for later.

Now, for the rest of the summer, I am challenging myself to get my eating back on a healthy plan and get my body back in my favorite outfits. This week I started a 4-week shred diet to detox and refocus my eating habits and a 7-week slim fit workout plan to lose the pounds. I will update you all each week on my progress and if you are interested in joining me on my 50 lb weight loss journey, I will share the tools, recipes, and health tips I am utilizing.