How I lost 20 pounds by eating more food, working out less and relaxing more often.
Now, I thought long and hard about posting this because dieting is not something that I’m passionate about. I eat healthy and exercise often and the number on the scale has never been all that important to me.
But I was feeling really stuck. I was trying to lose weight for a very long time because I felt heavy, stiff and tired. I felt limited in how my body could move. I felt limited in my energy and I knew if I shed a little I would feel better. I could give two flying fudgicles what I look like. I just knew that I didn’t feel all that great.
So I tried to lose weight. For the last 4 years…..and nothing happened. I only got bigger.
I’m sharing because I feel this is of value, especially for women in my age bracket that are trying to lose weight but can’t. Women who want to stop thinking about it already and get on with their lives if only that scale would budge a little. Honestly, it’s empowering to be rewarded for your hard work. When we exert a lot of effort in something….it’s nice to receive some grace every now and then.
For three years I tried exercising harder. I tried dieting apps. I tried an eating coach. An intuitive eating coach. I tried vitamins. I tried fasting. I tried crossfit. I tried a personal trainer. I tried everything.
The more I worked out, the more I tried to manage my eating and the higher the intensity of both…….I would end up gaining. I also started feeling more and more stiff and arthritic in my body.
While different things work for different folks….here’s what I’ve changed and here’s what worked for me quickly, after nothing budging for years:
1) I managed my stress. Many people cannot lose weight if they’re stressed. So here’s what’s helped here.
- I pivoted my work. I shifted from work that was stressful and overwhelmingly busy and I created a new way of working that aligns more with my values. I still work hard…but it’s more fulfilling
- I wake earlier to do my morning routine (see latest blog post) which helps with my stress overall throughout the day
- I take stress management supplements like ashwagandha and drink more water than caffeine
- I go to bed no later than 10 so I can handle stress well
- I meditate or do breath work everyday
- I hired a coach that puts everything in perspective for me and helps me move through any problem with work or life
2) I balanced my hormones.
When you’re stressed, it affects your hormones big time. You can’t balance your hormones, if you don’t deal with your stress first. If you’re stressed….go back to number one and work there.
This can seem complicated but ultimately the remedy was relieving stress, eating balanced meals, sleeping well and watching irritants to my guts by eating healthy whole foods.
3) I ate balanced meals and more often.
I figured out what my macros should look like, measured it once, then forgot all about it. What learning a little about macros taught me was I was eating too little mass, too many calories and not the right portions of macronutrients. I eat way more carbohydrates now, way less fat and way more protein. I eat 4x a day minimum and they are big hearty balanced meals.
Sometimes I eat between a window 12-8 but honestly I’m pretty slack about that. Sometimes earlier….sometimes later….sometimes there is still candy or wine in the evening. I’m eating more food than ever and I feel great. I crave nothing, I eat everything and my body is uber satisfied.
4) I exercise way less.
I was killing myself with intense workouts before. Now, I do dog walks, 30 minute light spin classes and yoga. That’s it. And most of my yoga lately…..has been the lazy, lay around on pillows kind. Seriously. Sometimes I might push myself to do a 10, 15 minute workout like the ones I have on my digital studio. Body weight…..or baby weights….and that’s it.
Sometimes I just do my breath work for 10 minutes as it’s been pivotal in reshaping my core system and strengthening my respiratory system. This was a suggestion from my mobility coach Ian Markow….and he knows what he’s talking about.
This idea came by accident. I’ve been injured…(from intense workouts and lifting heavy) and could do very little. I was VERY resistant to doing less and *sigh* breathing workouts…..but it’s actually been transformative.
Because I could only do less, I really honed in on form and integrity. I feel stronger now than I did when I lifted heavy because I am using all of me and I have full body awareness. I’m lighter now and can move faster, stronger, better now too.
5) I do yoga everyday.
Yoga is practice of awareness. Once fully immersed in a daily yoga practice, you can’t ignore your body. I know when it’s thirsty, I know when I should feed it, I know the effects of toxicants on my system.
So I drink less beer and I drink more water. I have less caffeine and more sleep. I eat til I’m satisfied and not stuffed or starving.
The theme of all these changes……EASE. No more forcing, struggling, starving, pushing. I don’t do workouts that I hate. I don’t eat foods that I hate. Everything is easy and enjoyable. Everything. I was looking for a better answer than this for a long time. I was looking for the secret…..but there isn’t. We just have to get better at listening to our bodies subtle cues. We have to eat well and exercise still to have healthy bodies…but not to the extreme that we think. Of course an athlete has different goals than this. I’m speaking purely to the average human that is struggling with this. The answer might be to just remove the struggle.
How do you incorporate this into your lifestyle?
- Find out what healthy sized meals should look like for you (try @iheartmacros on IG, she’s got some great programs)
- Go outside everyday for walks (dog or no dog) and wash your brain from internet, social media craziness
- Drink more water and less everything else
- Do yoga and stress relieving practices
- Take a look at the stressors in your life and see if you can get rid of some
- Try some short daily workouts instead of the grueling and extended long ones
Here’s some right here https://karlajoytreadway.com/classes-2/powerup/
- Create a somatic journal. Do exercises and eat well and monitor how you FEEL….not how you look. Notice your mood, your energy and your digestion.
- Sleep well, go to bed a little earlier….and wake a little earlier.
- Create a solid, stress busting morning routine. Read more about morning routines here:
- Love yourself the same now, through it, and after it. You deserve love now, you are whole now and you are complete now.
Please share this if you or anyone you know….has been struggling with this. A little ease could be the key to achieving more with your health. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone to share this type of material. Everyone does not need to lose weight. I needed to, and I feel better now because of it. It’s never been about looks and it’s always been about my energy. If this is your struggle too, I hope you find this helpful and can use some of these ideas.
Enjoy eating more, sleeping more, relaxing more and working out less. See you on the mat.
With grace and grit,