If you haven’t seen me in a while here’s what you missed.
I lost close to 50 pounds without ever dieting or taking a weight loss supplement or having a trainer. The first five to ten pounds came off slowly the next 20-25 pounds came off in what seemed like the blink of an eye, and the last 15 pounds dripped away slowly and seemingly continues to drip away. Since losing the weight, I sleep better, have better control of my mood, have LITTLE TO NO ACNE AT ALL (!!!) and feel overall happier. I’ve characterized my weight loss journey into four phases:
- Phase 0: Being unaware of how dire the situation was
- Phase 1: Realizing how large I had gotten and failed attempts at resolution
- Phase 2: Rapid miraculous weight-loss
- Phase 3: “Maintenance” and still seeing a steady drop in pounds (where I am currently)
I remember being a size 12.
Now I slip out of my dresses that are a size 2.
So what happened? Well, lets review.
“I think during this time I truly believed I could exercise my way out of a bad diet.”
During this phase: I was a fitness dance instructor and worked out at least 9x a week doing high intensity Zumba or hot yoga. I didn’t pay attention to how much weight I was gaining because I thought I was doing everything right. I was still vegetarian but everything I put into my body was based off of fun, taste and convenience (probably in that order too). It was a stressful time, I was re-entering the country from close to six months of world travel, nursing a break up and adjusting to a lot of change. Sleep was not really one of my priorities and I had the mentality that I could always make up lost hours with caffeine. Krispy Kreme was not only a form of stress management but an escape from life. I think during this time I truly believed I could exercise my way out of a bad diet. It really took me a while to notice all the weight gain. It’s truly only in retrospect that I realize how heavy I was. On top of truly loving Krispy Kreme and Taco Bell, drinking was my primary way to have fun. I was very into alcohol during this phase. My body didn’t really feel any different to me and I was still incredibly flexible. I was also always warm and always hungry. I remember distinctly that everything was going fine until one day when I snapped a picture of my stomach to my college friend with the caption “Okay, I’ve officially gained too much weight.” That snap marked the end of phase 0.
Phase 0 Fitness:
Walks, blogilates, yoga, Zumba & 5k’s apparently…
Phase 0 Things I did for fun:
Drink. Eat. Socialize. Make plans with people who liked to drink, eat, socialize.
“I figured maybe I could be healthy if I just got rid of my bad habits and exercised.”
What this phase looked like:
After realizing I had officially gained too much weight, I started “making” an “effort” to exercise more. I barely changed my diet, but from January to March, I made a concentrated decision not to drink. I figured maybe I could be healthy if I just got rid of my bad habits. My uncle and I did “56 days of excellence” whereby we each adhered to our own goals (think, New Year’s resolution but for a shorter amount of time and not starting January 1st).
As soon as the 56 days were over my normal drinking habits resumed… and got worse. I once during this phase accidentally pre-gamed a 5k because I was eating mexican leftovers for breakfast and thought a grapefruit IPA would “go perfectly with this”. And yes that 5k was at like five in the morning. I didn’t really see anything wrong with that.
Current me: “You shotgunned a beer at five in the morning.”
Old me: “Yeah but I was on my way to a 5k soooo. #Exercise”
I saw little progress during this phase (go figure) but I was still exercising more than five times a week. My skin was still terrible and I was constantly breaking out. Sure my face looks bad -but I am exercising” I’d tell myself, “must have something to do with my pillow cases.” I was always hurrying off to hot yoga, or squeezing in a run before happy hour and half priced margaritas. My diet wasn’t all bad. I’d normally munch on raw kale and it wasn’t Taco Bell and Krispy Kreme galore anymore. However, the last weekend of phase 1 I did spend an entire day making (and eating) donuts from scratch. Again, I thought everything was fine because I was doing yoga every day and working out. Another issue of phase 1 was my obscene lack of sleep. It was special if I went more than a week without pulling an all nighter. During this phase it wasn’t as if I saw no result, I did lose a few pounds. I was sort of cleaning up my act and seeing some progress, I noticed certain jeans could at least button again so I figured I was on the right track and it wasn’t on my radar to do anything more.
Phase 1 Fitness:
Yoga, Zumba, jogging, lazy swimming, some weight training
Phase 1 Things I did for Fun:
Happy hour, going out, socializing, reconnecting with old friends
Here’s where things get interesting…
“I wasn’t even trying to lose weight and it was as if 20 lbs just slid off.”
Phase 2: Total Revolution. My last semester at San Diego State.
At this point I had tried to get healthy and it didn’t work so I decided I wasn’t going to think about it anymore and would continue to do what I wanted. Also during this time there was a dude I had a huge thing for. I’m talking serious crush. The first time he referred to me as “babe” by text I fell out of my chair. We went on a road trip together and he said there was a book that was the best thing he’s ever come across in the genre of self-help and he put it on to listen to. Even though I think it’s stand alone content I think because I looked up him so much I really took that listen seriously, for example if a person I didn’t like told me to read some book it probably would have gone in one ear and out the other. To this day I still thank him for being a crucial part of my weight loss journey and exposing me to a new way of thinking.
The book is called The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. I have it on kindle, audiobook and a hard cover. It was my first exposure to stoicism and freed up a lot of mental stressors for me. It inspired me to make some serious subtle life adjustments and most importantly it started to tell me there could be more to life than what I was currently after. My mindset shifted from just needing to get by and having fun while I was at it, to maybe there was something more. I started to focus on asking myself who I really was and what I really wanted in life. I stopped eating out as much and barely made it to Krispy Kreme that semester. I lost interest in happy hour and started to dive into some of my other more productive interests instead.
I never once dieted but it was as if 20 lbs just slid off. I started eating the healthy food at home and switched to 100% standing desks, which was not something I had the confidence to do up until that point even though I knew it was better for my back. I parked a mile away from school which was a great way to save hundreds of dollars on a parking pass and cut back on stress. Gone were the horrors of looking for parking at University and instead my commute to class became a sacred time of reflection. By the end of that semester all of my clothes were falling off and I donated that pair of pants I was so proud to button in phase 1.
When I think about it, during phase 0, I was chronically stressed, anxious about the future not knowing what to do (spend 10 minutes with the average college student and you’ll see I wasn’t alone). In phase 1, I was able to reduce stress and let myself off the hook by trying to live in the moment rather than be fearful of what’s to come, and then phase 2 was where I started to get excited about what’s to come and truly refine what I wanted. As I started to quickly clean up my mentality, my body followed suit. Now, in what you could consider phase 3 I live with absolute certainty about who I am and what I want.
Phase 2 Fitness:
WALKING. Walking was huge for me that semester.
100% Standing desks and rejection of the sedentary lifestyle
Yoga, Zumba, spin
Phase 2 Things I did for Fun:
Engage in intellectual debate
Find more personal development gurus to follow
Read and listen to audiobooks
Go for walks
Attend comedy shows that didn’t serve alcohol
***Side note: during that semester I SIGNIFICANTLY cut back on drinking the way I always wanted to and found better ways to fill my time. This was when personal development became a way of life for me.
50 pounds lighter and so much happier.
Phase 3 (maintenance):
Ever since I’ve managed to stay connected to my purpose the weight continues to slowly drip off. In the time that’s passed I’ve recommended The Obstacle is the Way to close people in my inner circle, yet their weight persisted. It’s not just about knowing new ways to think, new ways of thinking are just tools. You need to have a purpose, as I’ve said this entire blog post and forever, diets don’t work, there has to be a WHY. Staying connected to my purpose as a healer has made me see all the ways I used to use food alcohol and socialization for fulfillment in phases 0 through 1.
I was very surprised to get on the scale yesterday to find I weigh a measly 115 pounds. I don’t even know what my heaviest weight was because during Phase 0 I once had 3 checkups in a month and each time I was steadily heavier and heavier so I asked the practitioner not to tell me after I got on the scale. The highest weight I remember was 163 or 167. I blacked it out. My two beliefs about weight/weight loss that I’ve held my entire life are:
-Diets don’t work
-Weight isn’t a good metric
I still believe these to be true; however, I see now that when I was unhealthy I exploited these ideas. My health goals for now are still not centered around weight because I think setting out to lose weight is boring and in order for it to work, it has to be connected to something greater. A year ago did I want to lose another 10 pounds? No. I actually don’t like sliding out of all my clothes and not knowing how things in my wardrobe fit. However, did I ‘accidentally’ lose another 10 pounds because I was so focussed on this idea of improving my mental wellbeing and thereby ate brain healthy foods and did brain healthy activities? Absolutely.
What came after reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is the life I live today. I took a good hard look at the destructive areas of my life and found a way to replace them with something meaningful and productive that I could find fulfillment in. I changed my mindset and everything else followed. I fell away from college drama and lost touch with people who would drunk dial in the middle of the night. I have no interest in drinking anymore and I’m surrounded by people who feel the same. My mother was right: there are ways to have fun without alcohol. Self help and personal development became a huge part of my life. I am constantly looking for areas to improve, and even though weight isn’t my favorite metric, it’s still something to celebrate.
Phase 3 Fitness:
SOMATICS! (Barely any yoga anymore)
Dance parties by myself with my dogs
Walking almost everywhere
Phase 3 Things I do for fun:
Listen to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
Walk around the city
In the end my heavy weight ended up being directly related to my lack of direction in life. The reason I’ve had such massive lasting results is because I fixed what was wrong in my mind rather than just focusing on my body. If you read my story, you’ll see my bad habits were just a bandaid to cover up The Void and compensation for the absence of all meaning in my life.
I’ve summed up the three reasons I attribute to my rapid and easy weight loss
Exposure to a new way of thinking thanks to that book my now boyfriend turned me on to
Finding of my life’s purpose, thanks to that new way of thinking and a self discovery course called me on purpose
Living every day in connection to that with the understanding that my body reflects (to some degree) my mind
When I look at my transformation photos, I don’t see a fat Jade and a fit Jade. I see a version of myself that no longer aligns with who I am and what I was put here to do. I knew it back then, that something was missing, and that’s why my life (and body) was in such turmoil and now I live with a sense of peace I can pass along to others.
I used to suffer from lack of direction/meaning/clarity. I lived every day in uncertainty and stress. My comforting habits and idea of fun weren’t fulfilling, the things I did for fun were destructive and unhealthy.
I now weigh 50 pounds lighter because I have a strong sense of direction/meaning/purpose and clarity. I have certainty and a new level of peace calm and contentment. I took my bad habits and replaced them with things that make me feel connected and enthusiastic. I now only engage in things that align with doing what I was put here to do.
So my question to you is:
Do you feel like something’s missing in your life? Can you relate to eating and drinking as a source of fun and entertainment? Maybe it’s time to find your passion and live with purpose too. The me on purpose course by my company Emanant Wellness will help you to begin transforming your life without diets, pills or a fancy gym membership. Expedite your results by diving right in instead of spending a month reading a book like I did. Use discount code “tru20” for close to 50% off and join me in living at ease and letting the pounds slide right off.
P.S. I’m always cold and almost never hungry now.