I am 60 pounds lighter than I was when I started my weight loss journey in 2022. I still have 60 pounds to go (HALFWAY MARK! woo!) and it gets a little easier every week. Follow my journey, recipes, fat loss science and lessons along the way on my Instagram account!
I didn't do this overnight. It's been HARD.
I didn't follow any fad diets – it was all about sustainable lifestyle changes. I ate less carbs, counted calories and worked out (all the boring stuff – but it works!).
Thing is, I'm not special in any way. I'm just a 35 year old mom who woke up one day and genuinely and deeply was sick of being where she was and made a decision to change.
My journey has been like a roller coaster ride of trials, tiny milestones, mindset changes and many, MANY aha moments.
I’m going to explain my story below and right at the end, you can get my TLDR; fat loss tips and follow real-time updates on my journey as I try to lose the remaining 80 pounds.
My Journey: How I lost 60lbs in 8 months
I've always been overweight. I’ve had an addiction to food my entire life without realizing that had a name. As a child, I was the fat friend and had the insecurities to match.
In high-school, I lost a bunch of weight and suddenly, I was “desirable”.
College (we call it university over in my homeland, Australia) was a blast and I finally had the energy and “hotness” to enjoy it. I managed to keep the weight off throughout university/college days. But then it slowly crept back over the years and by the time I gave birth to my daughter, I’d reached my all-time high of 130kg (286 lbs).
Ever since, I've yoyo-ed between being "thin" and being obese. Every couple of years, I would lose a ton of weight, only to put it back on the following year. It was exhausting.
Then, in 2019, I went through a traumatic event that sunk me into a very dark pit of severe anxiety and depression. It was bad. Like really bad. And so I turned to the only comfort I knew - food.
Noodles, rice, bread, cake. If it was starchy, I ate it. Nutrition was an afterthought.
But when you're so far down you can't see the light, sacrificing immediate comfort for an uncertain and unwanted future seems futile. So you eat just to numb the pain in that moment.
And so I ate. And kept eating.
I gained 30kg (almost 70 pounds) within 18 months. I was the heaviest I'd ever been and I was genuinely miserable. By the time the fog lifted, I weighed 270 pounds (123kg) and I could barely walk a few steps without feeling like I was going to die.
Snack plate that helped me lose 60lbs
I was sick of being too tired to play with my daughter. Too tired to walk more than a few yards without feeling like I was going to faint. I wanted my life back.
I realized that I had been self-sabotaging all those years and that the only way to get through it was to understand why I kept doing it to myself. Why I would lose weight, only to let go of good habits and then put it all back on again.
Many hours of introspection and a personal tragedy later, I realized that success scared me.
Because I was pinning all of my hopes on becoming that “desirable” person again and the awesome times she had. I realized that I was actually afraid I would try and fail at becoming her again or worse, succeed and realize it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Then, I had another super important insight.
It started when I began my fat loss journey with keto (this is a big and very complicated topic in itself but that’s for another day).
I only did keto for 3 months of my weight-loss journey but it taught me a valuable lesson. One day, after my main meal while on keto, I ate a piece of bread. And I was STARVING afterwards.
How the hell am I more hungry after eating than I was before?! I remember thinking.
I realized right then that most of the “hunger” I’d felt my whole life wasn’t real. The sensation of “hunger” is subjective and not always something to be trusted (not when you’re obese anyway).
300 calorie pizza - Lebanese bread (220 cal) + cheese and tomato sauce (100 calories) + non-starchy veg
I know this won’t go down well in intuitive eating circles, but if you’re someone who is obese, you don’t know how to eat intuitively. Period.
I started thinking about this quote I’d heard but never understood, ”Don’t eat till you’re full. Eat till you are no longer hungry.”
That never made sense to me till that day. Feeling full and not feeling hungry were the same thing, right?
Apparently not. I realized this very subtle distinction is what non-obese people know that people like me didn't. I ate till I was stuffed to the brim because anything less meant I was still "hungry". I ate WAY past my "no longer hungry" point because I didn't even know it existed.
Suddenly, I found myself paying attention to how I felt after eating. Was I still hungry? Like genuine hunger? Or was this just “eye” hunger? Eating because it tastes good.
This may sound stupid and obvious to someone at a healthy weight. But to someone like me, who had been overweight for most of my adult life, it was like a lightbulb went off in my brain...
I had no idea how to eat. 🍕
And that was when the real shift began. As soon as I knew the difference between “real” hunger and “eye” hunger, suddenly it became so much easier to stick to a calorie deficit because I knew that most of the hunger I was feeling wasn’t real.
The real reason you feel hungry all the time
Hunger is a weird thing. It’s largely controlled by two hormones - leptin and ghrelin - and when you’re obese, you tend to be much hungrier than the average person simply because of the way your fat cells influence these hormones.
It may feel “real” to you (because it is) but it’s not healthy.
It’s the result of an abnormality in the way that your cells are talking to each other. And paradoxically, the only way to reset that abnormality is to lose fat so that in the long-term, you feel less hungry.
As a pharmacist, I understood this but living it was something else entirely. Here are things I did to make the hunger pangs easier:
1. Ate in a mild-moderate calorie deficit : you can find out your ideal deficit here.
2. I took black seed oil EVERY SINGLE DAY. Research shows it can help with appetite suppression and fat loss. It probably only contributed to 10-15% of my weight loss but on a gruelling weight loss journey, every ounce counts. I used this black seed oil:
3. Prioritized protein: protein is satiating and is necessary for muscle repair and preservation (two super important things when you’re losing weight). I switched from a majority carb diet (which was hard as a mostly-vegetarian) to a high-protein diet.
4. Drastically reduced refined and simple carbs: by this I mean, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. I still have them but in much smaller quantities than I used to. I find that these spike my sugar levels and make me feel super hungry.
5. Gave in to temptation when it hit really bad: when you’re craving something and can’t stop thinking about it, just eat it. Honestly. Sometimes, you need to give in because ignoring it will make the cries stronger. I just made sure it was only a small amount and kept me in my calorie deficit (or at most, at my maintenance).
6. Intermittent fasting: this has been my savior. I only eat during an 8 hour window (usually 10am-6pm) and this helps me stay in a deficit because I can eat more per meal so I dont feel deprived or hungry afterwards.
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By Sabrine Elkhodr
Sabrine Elkhodr is an Australian pharmacist based in the USA. She has a Master's degree in postnatal depression and is passionate about helping moms feel their best.
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