My Weight Loss Story – Losing the Last 12 Pounds in my 40’s

July 18, 2023

I struggled with trying to shed those extra pounds for years. I was never overweight, according to the BMI chart, but I was leaning more toward that line for many years. The truth is that the number on the scale can be just a number, and what matters is how you feel in your own skin. And I didn’t feel good. So I jumped from one diet to another, from being 100% vegan to trying the Atkins diet. I counted calories meticulously and even resorted to eating just 1200 calories a day (please never try this). I joined Weight Watchers a couple of times as well. Even though I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose, my relationship with food was terrible, and my body image was just as bad.

July 2018 – July 2023

Breaking Point – My Weight Loss Story

About five years ago, when I turned 40, I reached a breaking point. I had gone through countless cycles of restricting myself, only to regain the weight I had lost. It was frustrating! I thought, “If I don’t find a way now, I never will.” I started reading a lot about people’s stories on finding food freedom. That’s when I changed—I vowed never to go on a “diet” again. I still needed a plan because that’s the type of person I am. I like things planned out. And I love food. So I wanted something where I was not feeling hungry or craving foods I couldn’t eat and still felt I had control of what I was doing. And I wanted something that would last. Forever. Maybe I wanted too many things, but I did.

I knew it wouldn’t be a quick fix, but I was ready to try something different. I wanted to understand my triggers, learn from my mistakes, and grow each step of the way. I set a simple goal for myself: to lose less than half a pound per week. I wrote this goal down on my day planner. I was determined to lose weight as slowly as I could. I also promised to be kind to myself, even on days when I overate. Starving myself and excessive exercise were off the table. If I overate one day, the next day, I would go back to exactly what I had set out to do.

My Weight Loss Plan:

I started by writing down my plan, which consisted of four basic daily goals. I allowed myself to make mistakes without punishing myself. This newfound freedom and peace were transformative. Here are the four goals I set:

First, I focused on drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day.

Second, I incorporated daily walks into my routine. No intense workouts or gym memberships required. Actually, I canceled my gym membership because I wanted to take it one step at a time —I simply went for 40-60 minute walks at least six days a week.

Third, I made sure to fill half of my plate with vegetables or fruits. For example, I paired a whole apple with my oatmeal for breakfast. At dinner, I enjoyed pasta with steamed vegetables. If I wanted seconds, I had to fill my plate the same way—half pasta, half veggies.

Fourth, I continued counting calories, but I used it to my advantage this time. I knew that with my walks, I was burning around 1800-2000 calories a day; I aimed to eat approximately 1600 calories a day. On weekends, I encouraged myself to eat 1800-2000 calories, giving me the freedom to enjoy a little more without feeling like I had failed by Monday. Yes, if you do the math, I was hardly losing anything. But I was determined this would be a lifestyle change, not a diet. I was more interested in the long run.

My Plan for Difficult Days

I also came up with a plan for days I felt overwhelmed or anxious. Most people tend to turn to food to cope with emotional stress. So, I implemented a simple strategy—I would tell myself, “Today, I’m allowing myself to eat 2000 calories.” It may seem counterintuitive, but having that designated limit gave me a sense of control and helped prevent mindless overeating. By acknowledging my emotions and permitting myself to indulge within a reasonable boundary, I could satisfy any cravings without guilt or shame. I would think, “Today, I’m not losing weight, but I’m not gaining weight either.” To me, that’s a big win!

Ordering falafel, still enjoying all the foods I love

It took me several months, around eight months, to lose those 12 pounds. But during that time, something beautiful happened—I began to develop a healthier relationship with food for the first time in my life. By allowing myself to eat without restrictions, giving myself room to enjoy food on the weekends, and being kind to my body, I started viewing food as a positive source of nourishment rather than something forbidden.

Counting Calories

Counting calories felt liberating. I could eat all the foods I craved but still felt secure, knowing I wasn’t overeating. Having enough calories every day (not restricting) was like nothing I had experienced before. If I had cravings for desserts one day, I would plan those ahead of time. I could enjoy dessert after lunch and after dinner. I tried to limit desserts, but not because of weight gain, just because I am health-conscious; I know processed sugars are not good for you, period. Knowing it was “allowed” decreased the cravings a lot!

It’s important to note that this strategy wasn’t about strict calorie counting or depriving myself. It was about creating a balanced mindset and developing a healthier relationship with food. Some days, I would naturally eat fewer than the calories I had set out to eat, while on others, I might reach that limit. The key was to approach each day with self-compassion and flexibility, understanding that it’s normal to have variations in eating patterns and that a single day’s intake doesn’t define my overall progress.

With my family on my 45th birthday.

My weight loss journey was about much more than numbers on a scale. It was a transformative experience that led me to embrace a healthier, more balanced approach to food. By sharing my weight loss story, I hope to inspire others to find peace and freedom in their relationship with food and their bodies.

Remember, we are all unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. This is my personal experience, and I encourage you to explore and discover what strategies resonate with you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. You deserve to find peace and contentment within yourself, both physically and emotionally.

Some of the Foods I Eat Often to Maintain my Weight

Tostadas with Refried Beans

Yellow Lentil and Zucchini Soup with Coconut Milk

Edamame and Quinoa Salad

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