Let’s jump in to her story:
✋ At what moment did you realize you HAD to lose weight?
I have always been overweight since first grade. I never liked how I look because of that. I tried really hard multiple times throughout middle school, high school and university trying to lose weight, but I would always fail. I would lose 5 pounds but then gain it back and get extremely frustrated.
I had a moment in 2018 where I really wanted to push myself to lose weight because my cousin was starting to exercise and change his lifestyle, except he wanted to get bigger and more muscular. That inspired me, so I signed up for the gym and tried to do keto. I lost ten pounds but then I eventually stopped and my weight went back up.
By the end of 2019, I told myself I wanted to lose weight in 2020 because I was tired of being disappointed in how I look and generally wanted to be healthier and happier.
1️⃣ What was the first step you took towards transforming your body?
The thing that was holding me back on my weight loss was my addiction to chips. I love chips. My favorite snack is xxtra hot Cheetos. I would eat them almost daily, along with other savory snacks. I couldn’t stop myself. Then suddenly, it just clicked.
In January 2020, I just stopped eating chips daily. I was already used to eating one meal a day since I was in middle school, so cutting chips meant cutting the extra calories I was consuming. By the end of January, I lost 10 pounds. And then, the next month, another 10. It became addicting and made me happy seeing I was finally making progress.
I basically did CICO (calories in, calories out) and IF (intermittent fasting). It made me realize how important food is and how it contributes to your weight. I learned that you can eat everything and anything but it has to be in moderation. And yes, I snack a bit time to time because I still love savory snacks but I don’t eat it daily now.
As for food, I ate whatever I wanted but will always look at how the portion sizes are for the food I’m eating. Also, I counted calories and made sure I was within my TDEE. This is what helped me on my weight loss and helped me avoid yo-yo’ing back to my old weight which happened a lot before.
💻 What apps/websites/resources did you use?
I had my cousin who is knowledgeable about food and weight (gain and loss). He taught me a lot about calorie counting and how the body works when it comes to energy. I used MyFitnessPal for a while to track my calories, but eventually stopped because I generally know how much I am eating now!
🍳 What kind of adjustments did you make to your diet?
The most important change I have made in my diet was cutting out chips and basically watching how many calories I was consuming. Losing weight is all about calories and how much you are eating. I was very sedentary in the beginning of 2020 but was still able to lose weight because of how I ate.
It really just comes down to how much energy you expend in a day. If you exercise and move around a lot, you can eat a lot more because of the energy (calories) you burn. If you don’t move around, you’ll have to eat less because that doesn’t require much energy!
🥕 What were your go-to staple foods that helped you achieve your goals?
I still enjoy snacking, so I would keep unsalted almonds or popcorn around because those generally low cal and healthy. I would also have my favorites like xxtra hot Cheetos around to satisfy my cravings—but it would be in smaller portions!
I didn’t have a particular go-to meal because I ate whatever I wanted still. A typical meal for me would consist of a protein like beef or chicken with maybe a cup of rice or less and a side of kimchi or radish! It was simple and filling.
💪 Can you talk a little bit about what you found to work the best in terms of physical exercise? What worked best for you and why?
I found out that I really enjoyed strength training. I did that for awhile around the end of February and March. I really loved doing it because it was actually fun. It’s the only exercise I enjoyed doing without feeling like I was dying and wanted to stop. I wanted to do more!
Find an exercise you enjoy and you will want to keep doing it. Unfortunately, I stopped strength training because gyms closed, but I was able to lose more weight because I watched what I ate. I am starting to exercise again because I want to be toned now and want to reach 110lbs. Those last five pounds are always the hardest to lose! Right now, I’m doing calisthenics and pilates at home which is working great!
🧾 What was the best advice you received (or read) along the way?
Change takes effort. If you really want to lose weight, you have to put the effort in.
My effort was quitting snacking daily because it made me overeat. This made my weight loss journey a lot easier because I’ve always struggled with it since I was very young. I just didn’t want to admit to myself that I ate too much chips because I loved it too much. I still allow myself to eat it time to time though because I don’t eat it everyday now!
🥵 What was the hardest part about your journey? How did you overcome it?
The hardest part of my journey is loving myself and how I look. In fact, I am still struggling with it today but slowly healing and growing my confidence and self esteem through therapy and support from friends and family. Implementing exercise back into my daily life is also helping tremendously.
My family and friends always tell me I look my happiest when I exercise and it’s true. I just feel better about everything in general when I get my body moving!
💡 Was there an ‘aha’ moment where everything began to click?
My ‘aha’ moment was when I lost the first 10 pounds like it was nothing. It helped me realize that weight loss doesn’t have to be a struggle and can happen naturally and easily if you just remove the unnecessary calories in your diet. You can still eat what you want, just portion it and make sure it is within your TDEE!
😎 How has your life changed since the day you took your before photo?
I feel more confident in clothes now! Whenever I feel like nothing has changed, I would dress up just to feel cute and it brightens up my mood. You can really see a difference when you try on clothes. Clothes are magic! I remember trying on a skirt that used to be too tight on me, now it’s incredibly loose. That’s when I knew I lost weight and it made me happy.
❤ Based on your experience, what advice would you give to our readers who are starting off as the ‘old’ you?
Remember, progress is a process. It took many years of trial and error to finally reach this point for me. I had failed and failed and failed. Out of all the failures, there will be a success. You just need to find what works for you and what would make it easy.
Don’t lose weight too fast or else it will bounce back. I would lose 20 pounds and then maintain. And then the next 20 and maintain and then finally the last 10 and maintained. Take your time. Do what makes you happy. Change will come to you when you finally find that one thing that works!
Thanks for the interview, Jenny!