This post took me the longest to write. 4 1/2 months to be exact. It took me that long to shed ten pounds of the pandemic weight. It came off just as it came on, slow and steady. Chocolate, cheese, and carbs are my weakness.
2020 was hard and I baked and cooked a lot. Baguettes and cheese along with baked goods were a regular thing at home and stress eating had a lot to do with my weight gain. I didn’t have my daily workouts at my studio and walks outside to pick up groceries or run errands.
Before I explain more about the details about how I lost my weight, I should stress that if you have issues with food or suffer from an eating disorder you have full permission to click out of this post or skip it. I am sensitive to food issues and I want everyone to know this was done safely and in a healthy way.
I got the apple watch at the beginning of 2021 when I knew I wanted to make health a priority. It has helped me so much with keeping track of my activity and sleep. I wrote a whole blog post here on why I love it so much.
Find an Accountability Partner
This is a great way to help keep the motivation. Find someone to walk with or meet for a workout. You will have moments of weakness which is totally normal. You will want the unhealthy food when you are tempted. It’s great to have someone that is in the same healthy mindset.
I watched part of the Masterclass on sleep and I knew that I needed to make it a bigger focus. I set bedtime each night and I unwind by being off my phone before bed. A bedtime routine is very important in managing my migraines so they go hand in hand. Also, being active daily helps my sleep.
Henri has been a big part of my goal to get moving. He loves his walks and seeing other dogs. We aim to get three walks a day and they average around 100 calories each. Every walk helps him sleep a little in between so I can get work done. We meet friends sometimes which makes the walks more fun.
When I looked at what was different pre-pandemic vs my current life my daily walks really stood out. I used to walk to and from the dance studio and to the grocery almost every day. I was walking 5 miles easily and while staying home and safe, I wasn’t getting my regular exercise.
The apple watch really helped me identify which exercises helped burn the most calories. I tried the Peloton bike and yoga, but dance won out for me. It’s something I love and I schedule it in to my day. I am still working out via Zoom and hopefully will back in the studio soon. I dance barefoot in my bedroom and I know the studio would be more calories dancing with a group setting in my sneakers with more space.
I set a move goal on my watch and calories to burn daily and when I hit my goal, I sleep better. It’s a great motivation to get moving every day.
Weigh In/Tracking Calories
I initially used an app called Noom but I wouldn’t recommend it for long term use. It helps identify green, yellow, and red foods and leads you in the right direction toe make healthy choices. It was helpful in the beginning and since I eat a lot of the same foods I know what is good and not so healthy. What I didn’t like about Noom is the calorie intake recommendation. It says 1,200 for females which is unusually low and I don’t think it’s healthy. You can’t maintain a 1,200 calorie intake long term.
My Fitness Pal is a great alternative to Noom and helps you track a lot of the same foods and nutrition.
I never weighed myself before this year and I didn’t own a scale. I finally broke down and bought one. I really don’t like to focus too much on the number. I always felt if my pants still fit, then I don’t need to worry. I weighed myself at the beginning of 2021 and I do it regularly. It helps keep me in check and I know when I need to scale back or make adjustments in my diet. I don’t think it’s healthy to obsess too much about this.
There are days when I will go out for a meal or order out and I don’t stick to my regular healthy eating. It’s okay to splurge once in a while as long as it isn’t a daily habit. French fries, desserts, and cocktails are all part of this in moderation.
From White to Wheat
I made some simple and healthy modifications to my diet. I switched most of my carbs from white to wheat. This included whole wheat pita and pasta. I switched from regular potatoes to sweet potatoes. You have seen my recipes lately, I am big on the sweet potatoes. They are so good, sweet, and addicting.
I cut back my butter and olive oil. I measure out my olive oil when cooking so I can monitor how much I am putting in my food. I eat a lot of eggs at home and I cut back the number of egg whites to eggs. I don’t use a substitute, I just do one egg and one egg white instead of two eggs.
I make the same breakfast pretty much every morning. One whole wheat english muffin (Trader Joe’s has a great one), one egg and one egg white, spinach and onion. I toast the whole wheat english muffin and put 1/4 oz cheese on top for flavor. The spinach addition is a healthy upgrade to a traditional breakfast.
Daily Harvest has been great for smoothies and grabbing something quick and healthy.
Air popped popcorn with a little olive oil or butter and truffle salt.
Whole Wheat Pita chips. I make my own in the oven with olive oil spray. I add fresh hummus from the market.
I usually have a salad with protein, a sandwich with turkey and whole wheat pita, or a quesadilla with a whole wheat tortilla. I do add cheese. Feta, gruyere, or Cabot spicy cheddar, and this is all done in moderation and a healthy amount.
Salmon/chicken/shrimp with orzo or whole wheat pasta, almost always a salad or vegetable. I have been making a whole-wheat pizza with spinach and kale.
Alcohol in Moderation
I cut out alcohol at the start of 2021 and was dry for January and February. I slowly started introducing it in but in moderation.
I can’t give up my dark chocolate almonds. I eat them daily and love them. I switched to Halo ice cream which is a healthier version and drop in a few dark chocolate chips and top with fresh fruit for dessert. I have a sweet tooth and this is the best way to satisfy my cravings.
My weight fluctuates with highs and lows but I have been moving the needle in the right direction. This is a lifestyle change and not a diet. I still have 10 more pounds to go to my goal weight and there is no pressure to go fast. It has been slow, steady, and healthy.
I hope this motivates you to make a healthy change in your diet. I would love to know what works best for you and if you have had any success with dropping the pandemic pounds.