My name is Ariana T. (@_actuallyariana), and I am 27 years old. I live in Chicago, Illinois, and I am a project manager. I finally realized I didn’t focus enough on nutrition for weight loss and incorporated the OMAD style of intermittent fasting to lose 120+ pounds.
I was always just a bigger-bodied girl. I was still pretty flexible and I shopped at plus-sized stores, but I always had access to everything everybody else had. It wasn’t until I got to college that I started noticing small issues in my life that my weight caused.
For instance, I began to really hate summer. I never wanted to walk far. And one day, I just realized how small everyone else was. But still, I kept on trucking along. Admittedly, I also always had a notion in my head that I didn’t want to lose weight because I didn’t want to deal with having to buy new clothes.
At every doctor’s visit, I’d always have high blood pressure. And at every appointment, the number on the scale was always going up. Around the age of 25, my weight hit its highest of 310 pounds.
Fast-forward to 2018, when I buckled down (somewhat) and got a gym membership at 24 Hour Fitness. I tried to exercise away a diet that lacked nutritional value. (For example, I remember getting into the habit of leaving the gym every Friday night and then going next door to get chicken wings.)
After many unsuccessful cycles of trying to out exercise a bad diet, I finally got serious and straightened up.
There are two memories etched in my brain that finally made everything click. The first was during a trip to Six Flags with my cousins. I waited in line for about 45 minutes to ride my favorite ride, only for the employee to tell me I was over the weight requirement. I was extremely embarrassed. The second was during a trip to San Francisco to visit a friend. We walked so much, and I was always so tired. I knew after my second visit that I didn’t want to be miserable or associate a negative feeling when going to visit him.
So I started to adjust my diet first with a basic approach: calorie counting.
I went very old school and started by counting calories. I eventually tried the keto diet, the 21 Day Meal Plan, plant-based eating, low-carb, and Whole30.
What ultimately ended up working was intermittent fasting (IF) and calorie counting. I swear by doing intermittent fasting, specifically OMAD (which means “one meal a day”). Despite all the diets and ways of eating I have tried, this method is the most consistent thing I do pretty much nonstop. (Please note: OMAD may be an extreme form of intermittent fasting for some people. It’s just what works for me. Always speak to your doctor before making a major diet change!)
So, I usually skip breakfast and lunch. But if I am doing an evening workout, I will have a snack beforehand, and then dinner. I also make sure I am drinking water all day.
Here’s what I eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: I fast through breakfast, so I usually just have black coffee and water.
- Lunch: Ditto for lunch!
- Dinner: Salmon, sautéed veggies, riced cauliflower, two eggs, pork rinds, and fruit (typically strawberries, half an apple, or a pear).
- Dessert: Two piece of chocolate.
I was extremely dedicated to my workouts early on. As time went on I began to switch up my workout style.
I used to go heavy on the cardio and worked out for 40-50 minutes on the treadmill. Then I began to play around with the incline, and that’s when I really fell in love with the treadmill. I lost the majority of my weight by walking. I like to think that weight loss is 90 percent nutrition and 10 percent working out. Towards the end of 2019, I got a cycling membership. It’s always a nice alternative.
Today, my workouts vary and I am not as strict. I recognize that my weight loss journey has changed from 2019 until now. Back then, my journey felt like it was my entire life—everything I did centered around weight loss. Now, I have a more demanding job, I started an MBA program, then COVID happened. Now, I am giving myself grace.
These three changes made my weight loss a success.
- I focused on diet first, then added in exercise. I used to place too much emphasis on working out when food intake and *what* I am eating needed to be my main focus. You really can’t out-run a poor diet.
- I started intermittent fasting. Let me be clear: IF doesn’t work for everybody, but it was a game changer for me, and my body has naturally adapted to it.
- I started drinking tons of water. I take a water bottle with me everywhere. You will have to pee constantly, but just having the bottle near you will make you want to drink more water.
Since 2018, I’ve lost 120 pounds, and I’m still going!
My advice to others is to take the time to explore all options. Try out all of the food plans or ways of eating—you might be surprised at what you like. Follow a few IG accounts to get started. Don’t overdo it the first few months. And always remember that if you need help or if something seems off, go see your doctor.
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