Guys, I’m going to be honest, it takes a lot of work to lose 100 pounds. Regardless of what some people might say or what you might read, there is no shortcut or easy, magical way to lose a lot of weight. Large weight loss takes effort, perseverance, self-reflection, and a change of habits. To be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t want to do any of those things. And I didn’t believe that I could. I had this idea that I wasn’t capable, that I was unworthy, and that a healthy lifestyle wasn’t for people “like me”. It took a lot of self-reflection to finally change that narrative that I had, and reach a point where I was able to work on myself.
When I finally told myself, enough was enough, and that I deserved all my goals and dreams, I realized that I needed to make some serious changes in my life. I eventually realized that the reason I wasn’t able to lose weight (and keep it off) was that I wasn’t willing to change some of my core habits. Or more honestly, I was scared to make some huge changes. It wasn’t until I paused and did some serious self-reflection that I was able to identify which of my core habits I needed to change in order to achieve my goals. When I dedicated myself to changing those habits, that was when I was able to lose 100 pounds and keep it off.
Keep in mind while reading this post that these are things that worked for me. They may not necessarily work for everyone. However, I do recommend giving everything a try, because what do you have to lose?
10 Habits That Helped Me Lose 100 Pounds:
Drink at least a 1/2 gallon of water daily.
One of the best things you can do to help yourself lose weight and maintain the weight loss is to significantly increase your water intake. There are lots of different ways to drink more water. Remember that tea and coffee also count as water intake. The myth that tea and coffee lead to dehydration has long since been debunked. Another easy way to drink more water is to carry a water bottle with you throughout your day. Or to set phone alarms to remind yourself when to take a sip (or chug lol). You can read about more easy ways to increase your water intake in this post.
Walk between 6000-10000 steps daily.
Most experts agree that the average person should be burning about 200-300 calories due to exercise daily. I know this sounds like a lot, but it is absolutely doable. Walking at a brisk pace is a great way to exercise. Especially if you don’t have the time to do a full aerobic or strength training workout. Something as simple as a 20-minute walk on your lunch break, or a short but fast 15-minute walk before dinner can really make a difference in your daily calorie burn.
Early in my weight loss, most days I did a walk with my dog plus a workout. And over time, this just led to a habit of walking daily. Those daily walks turned into light jogs and eventually led to me running my first half-marathon. I can’t stress enough how walking is a great gateway to a fitness lifestyle.
Don’t eat after 8 pm.
If you’re wondering which habit is the easiest to adopt, this habit is it. Challenge yourself to stop eating before 8 pm, and then don’t resume eating until the morning time. Most often, calories eaten after 8 pm are calories we do not need. So ditch the late-night snack!
Regularly practice intermittent fasting.
I’ve mentioned in this a few times that I am a huge fan of intermittent fasting. I truly credit this style of eating for completely changing my relationship with food and for helping me to lose a large amount of weight.
Intermittent Fasting cycles between periods of planned eating and fasting with the most common being the 16:8. The 16:8 method requires fasting for 16 hours (half of these are sleeping hours) and eating during an 8-hour window. This method of eating works because you are never restricting what you can eat, simply when you can eat. And the reason it works for weight-loss is that short-term fasting has been shown to increase your metabolic rate. And of course, an increased metabolic rate means your body is burning more calories.
I still regularly practice intermittent fasting as a means of maintaining my weight loss. I like the freedom of not having to restrict what I eat, as I enjoy eating food. For me personally, I’d rather have to only worry about when I’m eating. It just feels more manageable. And I’ve been able to comfortably eat this way for a long period of time.
Exercise 4-5 times a week.
People don’t like to hear that exercise is an important part of losing and maintaining weight loss. But the truth is, exercising 4-5 times a week is the number one factor in my weight loss. I would never have been able to lose 100 pounds naturally if it hadn’t been for fitness programs like P90X, 80 Day Obsession, and training for my 10km race and half-marathon. Nutrition alone may help you to lose a significant amount of weight but if you truly want to be heart-healthy, and keep the weight off than you need to exercise. Here are some of my favorite home fitness programs that I’ve tried:
Healthy Snack First.
I talk a lot on my Instagram about how I still struggle with emotional eating. Emotional eating is by far my biggest struggle when it comes to maintaining my weight loss. Thankfully, I’ve come up with lots of little tricks over the past couple of years to help in this area. But the easiest trick is to allow yourself to indulge in a treat only after you have eaten a healthy snack first. Nine times out of ten I get full from my healthy snack and abandon my desire for the treat. It works because you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of anything, you’re simply telling yourself that you can eat it later. A delay of gratification is another way of practicing and strengthening your willpower which will make food choices easier over time.
My go-to snack is a protein smoothie. I often do two servings of fruit, a serving of vegetables, protein powder, water, and ice. This keeps my calorie count very low, my nutritional value very high and it will fill my stomach.
I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years now. This means I avoid consuming meat, dairy, and eggs. I absolutely credit removing red meat and dairy to achieving my weight loss. Now, I’m not suggesting everyone crazy change-up their diets right away, but I would highly recommend limiting dairy and reducing animal fat intake. It’s an easy way to achieve a calorie-deficit and (if done properly) means an increase in nutrient-dense foods.
An easy way to dip your toes into this style of clean eating is to adopt Meatless Monday. Challenge yourself to try new recipes, vegetables, legumes, fruits, etc to fill yourself up.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol.
I talk about not drinking your calories in another post but I’m going to take it one step further and suggest reducing your alcohol intake. During 2018, I committed to drinking little to no alcohol and it is unbelievable the difference it played in my health. Considering even a light beer is still almost 100 calories, even a couple of drinks adds up real quick. And if you’re drinking mixed beverages, then you’re looking at some serious calories. Easily drop a couple of pounds by removing or reducing alcohol consumption.
Nowadays, I allow myself to have the occasional drink each month. But I still commit to keeping my alcohol intake low. Overall, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin complexion and less bloating. Those are two great reasons that help me stay away from overindulging in alcohol.
Embrace natural sugars.
Personally, eliminating sugar from my diet is just not realistic. I’ve tried many times and have failed miserably. But, when I started to substitute white, processed sugars for more natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, agave, etc, it completely changed my waistline. Even though I was still eating sugar, I wasn’t gaining weight like I was in the past. Now, I’m not saying go overboard on the sugar because it’s from a natural source, but you can consume it more confidently.
When I’m craving sugar, I try to eat fruit first. Fruit is a great natural sugar. Personally, oftentimes an apple with some peanut butter will satisfy an initial sugar craving. And like I said above, eating a healthy snack first makes you less likely to have an unhealthy snack after.
Practice daily self-care.
Strangely enough, it wasn’t until I had embraced my body for what it was that the weight started to come off. I had spent decades hating my body. I was always looking at myself and seeing everything I wasn’t. But the day I chose to accept my body for what it was, and what it could do (my body birthed twins for crying out loud) I felt a complete shift. All of a sudden, I felt confident enough to try a fitness program. It didn’t matter how overweight I was, I knew my body could do hard things.