I wanted to lose 15 pounds, and I finally have.
I started trying to lose 15 pounds in September, about 10 months ago.
In the fall I weighed 162 pounds.
I was carrying a lot of extra weight, especially around my middle.
Longevity research is notoriously complex but one common theme you’ll come across if you are researching any aspect of aging is that research (mostly in rodents) shows that if you eat less you live longer.
I wanted to lose 15 pounds because I was too fat
Living longer was not why I wanted to lose weight.
I wanted to lose weight because I was too fat.
At not even 5 feet 6 inches tall, I should not weigh 162 pounds.
It wasn’t good for me and I didn’t feel good about my weight.
I’ve never aspired to be skinny.
I have a curvy figure and though I’m not tall I am big-boned. My feet are so wide I wear men’s shoes.
But I do aspire to be healthy, energetic, and motivated to live my best life.
This is the only one I’ve got, after all, and I’m not getting out of it alive.
It took me 10 months to lose 15 pounds
So, in the past 10 months, since September, I’ve lost 15 pounds.
I weigh 147 pounds now.
I’m hoping that this weight is my new set point and that I’ll be able to keep the unwanted weight off.
How did I lose 15 pounds?
I didn’t follow a specific diet or a specific health guru or a book. But I did change my eating habits and lifestyle habits in some very specific ways that helped me lose weight.
I wanted to share them in case they can help you too.
Before I do, a caveat: I recognize that wanting to lose weight is a luxury.
A dear family member is battling a chronic illness and their challenge is to keep weight on.
That said, here are the 7 strategies that worked for me to help me lose 15 pounds:
- I did a 24-hour fast. Just once: I fasted for 24-hours for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, on September 18. I had been wanting to fast for a long time and this Jewish holiday was the perfect excuse. I find it difficult to fast because I tend to get low blood sugar. But this no-food, no-water fast felt really good. It was like pushing the “RESET” button on my eating.
- I started using the scale in the bathroom. I weighed myself every morning. Which was sometimes incredibly frustrating. If you eat a salty meal you will hold more weight and weigh in heavier. But research suggests that people who weigh themselves daily are more effective at losing weight.
- I started eating more vegetables. People who know me find this kind of astonishing since they think I already eat a lot of vegetables. But when I actually looked at my diet, I realized I wasn’t eating nearly as many vegetables as I thought I was. So I basically committed to eating vegetables, even for breakfast, and whenever I felt hungry. Yum! An easy way to eat more vegetables is to juice them. I did that more often too. But recently our juicer broke so I’m back to all that chewing.
- I stopped drinking coffee. I love coffee! And this could be a total coincidence. The reason I stopped drinking coffee was because of pain under my right ribs that a health professional told me could be related to liver issues. Switching from coffee to organic Earl Gray tea in the mornings had nothing to do with trying to lose weight but did mean I was drinking a lot less milk, which may have helped me lose 15 pounds? I’ve essentially stopped drinking cow’s milk, too, which seems to be a lot better for my stomach. (I drink goat milk, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened oat milk, unsweetened soy milk, or no milk instead.)
- I plated my food. It’s very hard to resist food on the table, beckoning for you to eat it. I also have teenage children who are hungry all the time and eat 3 to 5 helpings of food per meal. But for my own supper, I try to plate what I’m going to eat and not take seconds. Full disclosure: I find this enormously difficult and I’m often not successful.
- I tried to go to bed a little hungry. Everyone tells me that if you’re hungry you’re not dieting right. But since I wasn’t “dieting,” exactly, I didn’t listen. In order to get some of that belly weight off, I had to go to bed a little hungry. Plus when I can force myself not to succumb to it, being hungry actually feels good to me. It sharpens my senses and makes me feel more alert and alive.
- I shorted the sugar in my life. My husband can eat just one square of chocolate. That’s a foreign concept to me. I can’t be trusted with a milk chocolate bar or my kids’ Halloween candy. But I feel better and lose weight more easily when I don’t eat sugar. For a few months I ate no sugar of any kind. It was really hard at first. Now I allow myself a treat now and then. I try hard not to overdo it. (I usually fail.)
If you’re wanting to lose 15 pounds, I recommend:
✅ Watch Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, an eye-opening documentary about an Australian who does a juice fast for 60 days
✅ Watch Forks Over Knives, based on the world of T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., this film explains why eating mostly plants is probably the best choice (don’t attack me for saying this, please. Every human is different. We’re omnivores. If a meat-based diet is working best for you, I’m all for it.) Another option, if you like to read or listen to books on audio, is to read Dr. Campbell’s book, The China Study.
✅ Read The Blue Zones, this fabulous book about the world’s healthiest people includes a lot of helpful information about food. If you’re not up for reading the whole book, you can start by watching the TED Talk ⬇️
Readers, are you struggling with your weight? Have you found certain eating or lifestyle habits particularly helpful? We’d like to hear from you! Please share your best tips on how to lose 15 pounds in the comment section below. Interested in more health-related articles? Join me on my new Substack channel, Vibrant Life.
Published: July 30, 2019
Last update: November 8, 2022