I’m no stranger to a crash diet and a crash fitness plan. I can go for weeks with the determination of a tank to lose a couple of pounds. Unfortunately, crash I do. I decided I wanted to lose 10 pounds that I undoubtedly gained as a result of getting on anti-anxiety meds a while back. If you didn’t know, they’re basically antidepressants, which notoriously cause weight gain.
Instead of doing my usual crash and burn dance, I wanted to find a routine I can stick to. So, right in time for the holidays, and after the warm summer days no longer allowed me to frolic poolside, I took up a diet and exercise combo that finally allowed me to shed those 10 lbs and lead a realistic lifestyle.
The Diet: Losing 10 Pounds in 2 Months (and forever off!)
I knew I didn’t want a fad diet. I already ate somewhat healthy and in pseudo-moderation. I say pseudo because I rarely calorie tracked. But, I have a rough idea of portion sizes, hunger cues, and what’s good for me. I also love snacking. I tried fad diets in the past. I did Dukan, Atkins, intermittent fasting, cabbage soup diet, and good ol’ fashioned starving myself. None of those worked for me in the long term, because here I am.
The Apps I Used
No weight loss journey is complete without a set of gadgets. While I’ve used everything under the sun over the years, this particular combo worked for me this time around. I always wear my FitBit to track sleep and activity, so I utilized its app also to track my calories. I set up the nutritional guidelines to cut out 750 calories a day, and as a result, achieve a 1.5lb weight loss a week.
For exercise, I went back to the SWEAT app, which features Kayla Itsines’ BBG program as well as Kelsey Wells’ PWR at-home workouts. Nutritionally, I wanted to reduce the number of carbs I consumed every day. I didn’t want to track macros, just roughly follow a lower carb meal plan. So, I invested in Mealime as my cooking app, which helped me create delicious low-carb dinners for the week and provided me with a weekly grocery list.
I committed to doing the SWEAT app workouts, which turned out to be three sessions a week. The app suggests two LISS or high-intensity cardio sessions, but I chose to count my 3-4 hours house cleaning sprees as my cardio instead of doing extra. So, basically, I hate cardio.
That meant I committed to simply moving around during the day and doing three weight training workouts.
In terms of meals, I got rid of all the unhealthy temptations from the house. For the first month, there were no more cookies, chips, cakes, ice cream, or anything remotely tempting of the sort. I also committed to cooking at home, so I knew exactly what would be going into my meals. Portioning would be simple because I was making Mealime meals for two. That meant, whatever I made, I could split in two and either feed myself and my husband or let him starve while I save the other half for lunch the next day.
Breakfast is an essential part of the day. But I didn’t have it. The truth is, I’m not a big breakfast person, so I didn’t force myself to have it. I settled on a cup of coffee until noon then switched over to consistent cups of tea throughout the day. I typically got hungry around 1-2 PM, at which point I would make a Mealime meal and eat half of what I made. I would then eat the other half as dinner around 6 PM.
Sometimes I mixed things up a bit and had a low-carb “breakfast-snack-lunch-type” dish like low-fat cottage cheese with a bunch of walnuts, berries, and a bit of sugar (because I’m human and it tastes better with sugar). I didn’t restrict myself to anything. I just paid attention to how much I consumed it and tried not to eat too many carbs. I almost entirely omitted bread from my diet. One of my favorite recipes is the borscht (family recipe) that I can make in batches and eat for several days. It’s super low-cal and very filling.
I had about one meal a week that I didn’t cook. Most often, it was the Impossible Whopper with medium fries from Burger King. Also, to give you an idea of the non-restriction, Thanksgiving just passed, and I had three pie pieces in one day along with two Thanksgiving meals. I also had an enormous slice of carrot cake today and yesterday. The rest of my week was reasonably clean eating, though, and I balanced off the cake today by eating a modest salmon and zucchini-corn salad dinner and only having popcorn at the movies for lunch. That brought me up to 1400 calories for today. I did my third weekly workout after the cake (sugary and carb energy), and I’m having my evening tea now completely satisfied and full.
I started at 135lbs two months ago, and today I am 124lbs. I fluctuated a few times during the past two months, most notably about a week ago I dipped to 123lb, but I imagine it’s because I had less tea that day so maybe I was dehydrated. For the past four days, I stayed at 124lbs, which I believe is my new low.
Long story short, I’m having my cake and eating it too. I didn’t think I could lose 10 pounds in such a short period of time, but it worked. Most days come down to merely following a clean eating schedule interspersed with some carrot cake here and there. I don’t deprive, but I also don’t mindlessly choose my meals. So far, that’s the approach that works wonders.