Before I start my story, there are some things that you should keep in mind:
1. This is not a product advertisement. This is not a neighbor’s tale. This happened to me, and so it is a firsthand experience.
2. Everyone’s body is unique. Whilst my result may be the result of thousands, it might not be the result of every being in the world.
3. It is important to understand your body before you read my story. The best way to do that is to visit a nutritionist. The specialist will help you decipher the body’s weaknesses and deficiencies and how they can be eliminated.
4. This is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. I don’t believe in short-term diets because they cause weight regain. A lifestyle change helps one maintain the weight.
5. You should NEVER starve yourself. It leads to a slower metabolism and the weight loss comes to a halt. Moreover, you can end up acquiring diseases.
6. This meal plan works on portion control and eating the right fats. The weight loss is caused by creating a calorie deficit: basically, you’re burning more than you’re eating!
I am a twenty-three-year-old girl who was not active at all. I weighed 90 kg (198 pounds) with my height being 5’7. I was obese and my BMI (body mass index) was 31.2 which was extremely alarming as I was considered overweight and unhealthy. I became pre-diabetic, was diagnosed with PCOS, and developed low self-esteem. No matter what I did, I could not lose weight. A friend from UAE had liposuction which granted good and fast results, but I wanted to try to lose the layers of lipid and shed the pounds before opting for an extreme option. The first step I took was of going to a recommended dietitian to understand my body’s needs and requirements. She was the one who taught me how to calculate my BMI (Click here to calculate yours). For the longest time, I tried crash diets and slimming detox liquids but the weight always came back and according to my nutritionist, such things almost never work.
When I stopped fitting in all my clothes and had to shop at the men’s section, something in me clicked. For the first time in life, I felt like I wouldn’t stop trying even if I got no results because I had become huge. Remember, you need to lose weight for YOURSELF. In the end, it is about your health deteriorating, and you losing out on life. A healthy you not only makes you love yourself, battle everyday issues such as high cholesterol, hormone imbalance, acne, and mood swings, but it truly changes your outlook on life. So I knew that I had to do something that I could follow in the long run, something that would allow me to indulge in junk cravings such as pizza and ice-cream and not increase the number on the weighing scale. With the help of my specialist, I crafted up a diet that worked wonders for both me and my brother.
My Routine for 30 Days:
So my routine had some basic ground rules that could not be broken no matter what. These are the rules that you have to swear by.
1) You can weigh yourself only once a week and that too early in the morning. Weighing yourself regularly can cause depression and demotivate you. Moreover, it is actually better to lose in inches than on the scale. Fortunately for you, this lifestyle change will do both.
2) You have to drink 8 glasses of water. You can start with 6. It is hard in winter because you end up urinating a lot, but those are only the toxins being flushed out! (If you think you urinate frequently without any liquid intake, you might want to visit a urologist.)
3) You cannot have anything to eat 4 hours before you sleep. It doesn’t matter if you sleep at 12 am or 9 pm. Four hours before, you should be done with your last meal.
4) You need to get 7-9 hours of sleep daily. Your sleeping habits have an impact on the weight loss procedure. People suffering from insomnia tend to have food late at night which causes weight gain.
5) You should learn to deal with stress. Stress also has an effect on your weight loss regime! The golden Hakeem rule is: If it’s in the past, let it go. If it’s in the present and you can’t change it, let it go! Some people might feel that feeling stressed is inevitable. In that case, stress management is a great way to get rid of unnecessary blues.
6) Your only cheat day is Sunday. For other days, you will have alternatives for your favorite snacks but to have the actual snack, you have to earn it by eating clean for the rest of the week. Very soon, you’ll adapt to the change.
7) You can mix and match the weekly meals. (But you can only swap breakfast of week 1 with week 2 etc. not breakfast with dinner!)
8) You cannot have sugary drinks. Some of the options you have are fruit smoothies with honey, milk with honey, water, green tea, and fresh fruit juices.
9) Your nutritionist will give you your total calorie intake for a day. My Fitness Pal is an application that is extremely helpful with restricting and counting calories. My total calories for a day were 1450. I could not consume more than the limit and I kept track of it the application. It especially helped with keeping track of what I ate on the four cheat days that I had. The application adds calories if you’ve exercised so you earn yourself more treats.
My Breakfast for 30 Days:
The meal should be within 2-3 hours of you waking up. Initially I had breakfast right after waking up but later on, I had it after working out. Working out with an empty stomach burns more calories and kick starts you for the day!
· Week 1: One slice of multigrain bread with an omelet made of one egg. The omelet should be fried in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. It can contain a pinch of salt and pepper. You can also add onions and tomatoes.
· Week 2: Two boiled eggs and a bowl of unsweetened or Greek yogurt.
· Week 3: Oatmeal with 3-4 tablespoons of boiled milk and one fruit of your choice. (Apple, banana or orange.)
· Week 4: Fruit smoothie with chia seeds. (1 teaspoon honey, a handful of chia seeds soaked for some time and fruit of choice). I mixed both berries and bananas. If you do not feel that it’s very fulfilling, you can have 28 grams of nuts.
My Lunch for 30 Days:
· Week 1: Grilled chicken with mashed potato and boiled vegetables. I marinated the chicken with garlic paste and paprika powder. The mashed potato only contained a pinch of black pepper. The vegetables I used were baby carrots, asparagus, and corn. Only one tablespoon of olive oil can be used so I covered the pan and let my food cook for twenty minutes.
· Week 2: Veggie and hummus sandwich. If hummus isn’t available you can use boiled chicken and avocado paste. You can also substitute chicken with salmon and fish which are healthier alternatives. Stuff the multigrain bread with as many veggies as you like.
· Week 3: Greek wrap. Fill the wrap with onions, blended tomato paste, chickpeas, boiled chicken, olives, corn, cabbage, jalapenos, pickles and a tad bit of feta cheese (optional). No ingredients inside the wrap should be store brought! You can also substitute the wrap with bread.
· Week 4: Open cucumber sandwich. It is called an open sandwich because the top is sliced cucumbers and not bread. Inside, you can have smoked beef strips or tuna piled with freshly chopped vegetables.
My Dinner for 30 Days:
Your dinner has to be light, just enough for your body to easily digest. The biggest mistake most make is to have a heavy dinner and light lunch and absolutely no breakfast. That’s a big no-no!
· Week 1: Grilled chicken with corn. The chicken cannot be served with any sauce, however, you can sprinkle pepper on top. The corn should be roasted or grilled.
· Week 2: Two soft boiled eggs and a salad. The salad should have cabbage, peas, and broccoli, with a poultry option of your choice: chicken, beef or fish, etc.
· Week 3: Baked chicken with cherry tomatoes. Pile up tomatoes onto the chicken with spices of your choice. I added salt, pepper, and oregano. Then bake the chicken for 12 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
· Week 4: Red shrimp with rice. The quantity of rice should not exceed the palm of your hand. I used brown rice but you can also use white rice. The rice should be boiled and sauteed green onions and carrots can be added to taste. The shrimp can be cooked in ginger garlic paste. You can also substitute rice with roasted veggies and a baked potato.
My Snacks for 30 Days:
You can have snacks twice a day only. They have to be between breakfast and dinner, not before or afterward. Here are some snack options:
· I carried a small tin of walnuts, almonds and cashew nuts. I also added very small chunks of dark chocolate to it. (You can only have bite-sized dark chocolate, it’s healthy!)
· Have five baby carrots with hummus. You can also have cucumber slices with hummus.
· Have half a sliced apple with a tad bit of peanut butter.
· Have four celery sticks with cream cheese.
· Have zucchini or kale chips. Instead of crisps and French fries, sprinkle spices on the thinly sliced zucchini or kale and bake it.
· 1 hard boiled egg between meals.
· Any fruit.
My Fitness Schedule for 30 Days:
· Week 1: 30 minutes of brisk walking.
· Week 2: 45 minutes of fast walking.
· Week 3: 45 minutes of fast walking with 10 minutes of jogging/running.
· Week 4: Swimming in the morning and 30 minutes of running in the evening. (You can substitute swimming with cycling, walking or yoga)
The Result after 30 Days: I weighed 78.3 kg! (172.6 pounds). I had only weighed myself once in between.
The Result after 60 Days: The weight loss process became slower because I had some extra cheat meals and sugary tea, but I managed to workout out more. (Less time but more sweating). I lost 7 more kg.
After that, I opted for a healthier lifestyle which included minimal snacking, daily physical activity and calorie counted food. It’s been six months and I feel healthier than ever, and I weight 65.5 kg (144.4 pounds). My menstrual cycle became regular, my mood swings decreased and I no longer face social anxiety. With my skin glowing, I love the new me!
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