From Women’s Health
My name is Lindsay Hannah (@viewtothetop), and I am 25 years old. I work as an outreach worker with the vulnerable population in downtown Oshawa, Ontario. I figured out a calorie deficit to lose weight and started doing workout classes and running outside—and I lost 86 pounds.
I remember being the biggest one out of all my friends as early as fifth grade. I was never considered medically obese, but I always felt I was overweight. I often had people make rude comments about my body, and it eventually led me to some unhealthy weight loss attempts and a history with eating disorders.
In the summer before 10th grade, I lost 40 pounds due to my disordered eating tendencies. I eventually got back on track and stopped, however, I still did not have a healthy relationship with food. And I still wanted to lose weight but in a healthy way. I just kept telling myself things like, “I’ll start on Monday to try to lose weight again!” but Monday would never come. My weight kept creeping up from 2011 to 2019 due to overeating, poor mental health, and medication.
I reached my heaviest weight at 24. My mental health was in a really bad place, and I was smoking more cigarettes than normal. I knew that I was getting older and I needed to make a change now—or this would be the reality for the rest of my life.
In February 2019, I decided to quit smoking after smoking half a pack a day for 10 years.
From February 28 to March 21, 2019, I gained six pounds as a result of quitting smoking. I kept saying in my head that if I did not smoke for 21 days, then I was in the clear and I could do *anything.* I always heard it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I thought maybe it would be similar to get rid of a habit. After those 21 days without smoking, I felt I could now do anything I set my mind to. And that’s when I started my weight loss journey.
I did a lot of research and followed various other weight loss Instagram pages.
My eating plan was simple: I just stayed in a calorie deficit. I was eating anywhere from 1,300 to 1,400 calories per day. (This is what worked for me—but everyone should work with a doctor or nutritionist to figure out what makes the most sense for you.)
I did not cut out any foods, so I did not feel restricted. For example, if I wanted chicken fingers, I would bake them at home in the oven to reduce the calories and choose nutritious foods the rest of the day to make sure I stayed within my calorie limit.
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and a few slices of turkey bacon.
Lunch: English muffin pizza (an English muffin, 1/3 cup low-fat cheese, 2 tbsp pizza sauce, a sliced turkey pepperoni stick). I put it in the toaster oven or oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Snacks: Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with tzatziki or mustard for dipping.
Dinner: Zucchini noodles with meat sauce (whole package of Green Giant frozen zucchini noodles, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 1/2 cup extra lean group beef, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese).
I also started going to the gym almost every day of the week.
In the beginning, I could barely be on the elliptical on the lowest speed and resistance for five minutes. But I worked my way up and continued to challenge myself and fell in love with the process.
Eventually, I started participating in classes like Body Pump and Caribbean dance. Prior to COVID-19, I was working mainly on strength training, but once the gyms shut down, I had difficulty continuing this. I started to run outside again, and now I can successfully run a 10k in under an hour.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
Change one: I stayed consistent over time. You have to give yourself the chance to see results. They do not happen overnight, and you may stall, but if you stop then you’ll never get closer to your goals.
Change two: I took progress pictures. Sometimes the scale does not move. Sometimes you do not believe that the scale is accurate. Progress pictures do not lie, and they are extremely helpful when you take pictures. (I wish I also took measurements to track inches lost!)
Change three: I made an accountability account. Sharing my story with others encouraged me to show up not only for myself, but also for my few followers. I did not want to fail after telling everyone I was going to do this. The support I got pushed me on days when I felt like I had nothing left to give. My Instagram page continues to give me the motivation.
Since February 2019, I have lost a total of 86 pounds.
Everything is better—not because I weigh less, but because I am taking care of myself. My mental health is better, my skin is better, my hair is better, my energy is better, and my relationships are better. I can finally be myself again and be confident in my own skin. I truly feel like the possibilities are endless for me.
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