How I lost 35 LBS in 6 months without fad diets or gimmicks, and how YOU can too.

Saira Valley

Posted on January 02 2019

How I lost 35 LBS in 6 months without fad diets or gimmicks, and how YOU can too.

With the new year approaching, I know many of my friends and family are looking to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. But this story isn't about weight, but rather, what carrying extra weight does to your health and longevity.

I went on a weight loss journey last year and lost 35 lbs in just 6 months. But as you embark on this journey, be aware. Anyone who tries to sell you a pill, or magic drink that they claim is going to melt your pounds, isn't looking out for the health or size of your bottom, they are looking out for the health and size of their bottom. The only way to BE healthy, is to eat healthier foods and move your body in healthy ways. But it doesn't mean crazy work outs, or crazy diets, or giving up every single thing you love. Read my story to find out how I lost 35 lbs and then another 10, just by following a simple, sustainable 2 step plan. 

I topped the scales at 191 pounds in the Fall of 2017. My health was in the toilet, my cholesterol was high, my blood sugar was borderline diabetes and I couldn't even take a walk with my kids without breaking into a sweat and running out of breath.
SV and MAK
At just 37 years old, I didn't understand how I had let myself go. I had three kids, and I worked long hours, but I didn't think my diet was that bad, or that my lifestyle was sedentary enough to pile the pounds on like that.

The scale and my lab tests disagreed. I knew I had to make a change, or my poor health was going to put me into an early grave. 

The first step for me towards better health was accepting that if I wasn't happy or healthy, I had to make a change. I couldn't expect to be healthier, be at a better BMI and body weight without making any changes at all. But to make changes, I first had to figure out WHAT needed to change. And that meant being 100% honest with myself about the choices I was making, and believe me, that was really REALLY hard. 

I began evaluating my diet and what I was regularly putting into my body. For me it was Dr. Pepper (aka nectar of the Gods), ice cream and eating meals out of the house. I was astonished when I realized how many calories I was drinking every single day. So my first step was to cut Dr. Pepper out of my diet completely and I cut my ice cream and eating out by 2/3.

Now before we go any further, two things. The first is that you will notice is that I limited ice cream and eating out, but I completely cut out Dr. pepper. Why?

Sv with MAK and ABBecause I know myself, and I am not capable of "cutting back" on Dr. Pepper. It is my krypotine and I have no self control when it comes to it. My sister's krypotine is ice cream. So she can have just one Dr. Pepper once in a while, but if she cracks open her Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream, she will eat the whole pint, night after night. I have found this reality to be true for most people, they have a gateway food that lowers their ability to set limits and controls with other foods, and it creates a cascade of poor food decisions. 

When you are evaluating what you need to CUT our of your diet VS. what you need to REDUCE from your diet, separate your food into categories of self control and no self control. If you cannot control how much you eat, you have to cut it out. This is where that brutal honestly comes into play, AND where keeping the weight off comes into play. By eliminating my highly addictive food items, but limiting others, I created a "diet" that I could stick to over the long term. You want to create eating habits that you can sustain. 

Second, I realize how hard this is, I don't say this lightly as if it's easy to just drop something highly addictive like a sack of potatoes. But YOU have to make a decision about what matters more. Your health, or your habits. 

By removing Dr. Pepper from my diet I lost 10 lbs in 10 days. No joke. 

It was also important for me to re-evaluate my relationship with food. For many years, through depression, stress and anxiety, food was a ritual. And I had imbued food with this healing power. As long as I saw food as  a bandaid for whatever my woes were for the day, the longer I would stay trapped in a cycle of eating my pain, and making my physical and mental health worse. I had to reframe food as fuel for my body, not medicine for my soul. This shift in mindset really helped support better decision making. 

walkingStep 2 was movement. When you are 1 pound away from obese, and have other health issues like creaking joints and achy muscles, moving can be very, very hard. But the good news is you do NOT have to RUN a marathon your first week. All you need to do is take small steps. So here is what you are going to do. 

You are going to put on some sneakers, dress for the weather, grab a bottle of water and GO OUTSIDE. 

Why outside? 

For one the fresh air is really REALLY good for your mind, your body and your soul. Second, when we walk on a treadmill we can get off when we get tired. But to effectively lose weight and build stamina, we have to PUSH ourselves a little bit more everyday. When you walk outside, when you get tired you have to turn around and get back home. There are no stop buttons or easy off options. This is again when brutal honesty with yourself and your goals will matter. Put yourself in the environment where you have the maximum opportunity to succeed. 

The first time I walked outside, I only managed 1/4 of a mile. Which means 1/8 of a mile out, and 1/8 of a mile back. I was devastated that it was all I could do. I came home and cried and thought the road ahead was so endless I should just drown myself in Dr. Pepper and leave this foolish notion of healthy living behind. 

But I didn't. I let myself have my 5 minute pity party, and committed to no Dr. Pepper, and to walking again the next day. And I also promised myself that I would add a few steps to my walk every single day. 

Stop sign winSo the next day, I walked again. But when I got to the landmark where I turned around the day before, I pushed a few extra steps before turning back. It was through this daily method of slow increase that I took my walks from 1/4 of a mile to 3 miles, 6 days a week!!

This image captures a HUGE win for me, it was the day I made it to the END of Blood road (my walking path). And walking from the beginning of Blood road to the end and back is a TWO mile walk. When I began, and could only manage 1/4 of a mile, I never imagined the day would come where I would make it 2 miles. But as you can see, I made it to 2, and then on to 3. Just by adding a few steps a day!

In fact, my walks became the ANCHOR activity of my day, and created tremendous momentum and added stability to my life. I found that after a few weeks of adding steps, and moving consistently, my weight started to melt off. My energy increased and I wanted to exercise more! I paid more attention to what I ate not by force, but by desire. Because I knew how hard I had worked to walk that day, and I wanted to maintain the results of that work so I was motivated to make smarter choices. 

side by sideBy doing this for 6 months, I was able to lose 35 lbs, and 15 months later, I have not gained back a single pound. In fact as my energy increased I added in barre classes and a personal trainer to lose an additional 10 pounds in 3 months! But I had to build up to that by taking incremental steps to build my stamina, endurance and strength. I still eat ice cream, I still eat chips and enjoy eating out, I haven't given up any of the of the foods I love, EXCEPT Dr. Pepper. And I am convinced, that making that one simple change, helped my body and my brain recalibrate to have a consistently healthier relationship with food that I have sustained. 

Weight loss and reclaiming your health doesn't have to be like climbing Mt. Everest. You can do HUGE things, with small steps but you have to be ready. Ready to have an honest talk with yourself about what you are doing to sabotage yourself, what you need to cut out of your diet and get yourself moving outside. I started my weight loss journey in October 2017, and went right through a brutally cold New England winter. I walked in snow, sleet and -15 degree weather. I made no excuses because in the end, no matter how I rationalized or justified my choice to my mind, my body would know. 

If you want to be healthier, stronger, leaner and FEEL good, you owe it to yourself to start NOW. You CAN do it. To get my FREE cut the crap guide, just click here!

This isn't a journey or a story about weight or vanity, but about health.  If you found this article helpful, Be sure to share it! You can also check out more of my story and additional tips on youtube! 

Shine on my friends, shine on!















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