I have been flooded with questions and messages from some of you guys ever since I mentioned in my Dresses for Your Shape video that I dropped 15-20lbs when I was in my teens. A lot of you wanted to know exactly what I did to lose weight and how I achieved that, so I thought I'd write a detailed blog post about it, because it's actually something I'm pretty proud of :)
Before I start I also just want to add a little "disclaimer" because I know that I am a huge advocate for healthy/positive body image and I truthfully believe that not everyone is supposed to be just one size. Please don't take this post as me telling you that you need to lose weight, because that's not what it is at all. This is only for those of you who really want to shed a few lbs the slow and HEALTHY way. It's also important to note that you should never lose weight for anybody else but yourself. Don't set out to be thinner just because someone else told you to, you need to want it in order to achieve it.
I did not lose a ton of weight at all, nor did I need to. I went from 130lbs to 115, and a UK size 10 to a UK size 6-8. (I'm 5'5" by the way.) I'm a lot more comfortable with how I look now. I also have maintained that weight for the last 5 years or so, which should prove that my method does actually work. It may not work for everybody but it definitely did for me!
Me on my 18th birthday (weight around 135-130lbs)
Sorry for the crappy pic, it's a picture of a photograph taken with my phone!
Me a week ago age 23, wearing the same dress (weight around 115lbs)
A screenshot from my video.
Here's how I successfully lost 15-20lbs:
1. Cut out sweets 6 days a week
6 out of 7 days a week, I ate absolutely no sweets whatsoever. Not a dessert, a chocolate bar, ice-cream scoop or even a jelly bean passed my lips Monday through Saturday. You may read this and think, woah...that's some discipline, but actually it wasn't that difficult at all. I was eating a lot of other healthy stuff, so I never felt deprived in anyway.
2. Eat 3 times a day
I ate breakfast lunch and dinner every single day. No matter what I always made sure to eat those three square meals. They looked something like this:
Breakfast - Weetabix with 2% milk and chopped banana
Lunch - Big healthy sandwich with tuna/turkey/chicken, mayo, lots of veggies
Dinner - Whatever my mom had cooked that evening and a glass of 2% milk (I loved milk! :) Fortunately I was blessed with a mom that cooked amazing, balanced meals everyday. She made a whole variety of things...pasta, fish, meat, stir-fry...and everything was made from scratch. I would eat a normal sized meal with all the food groups, making sure I got protein, carbohydrates and lots of vegetables everytime. The only thing I did differently here was not ask for seconds!
3. Eat fruit & low-fat yogurt
I snacked only on fruit and low-fat yogurt. This just worked for me because I like to eat both of these things! At about 4pm after I got home from school I would eat something like a piece of fruit (usually an apple) and a low-fat yogurt. After dinner I would eat the same thing but maybe with a different fruit (like orange/plum/peach/strawberries) and a different flavour of yogurt! This was my "dessert". My favourite brand of yogurt was and still is Vitalinea 0%.
4. Drink lots of green tea
I drank A LOT of green tea especially when I was studying at the weekends! I'm pretty sure it helped to keep cravings at bay, but other than that it's really good for your skin, metabolism and your health in general! I really recommend drinking green tea, especially if you don't like water (just make sure it's caffeine-free!). I didn't drink tea/coffee/soda. Never ever ever, when I was a teen! I didn't like coffee or tea and soda was just never in the house, my parents refused to buy it! Looking back, I'm really glad they didn't.
5. Have a cheat day
Here's the fun part! Remember how I said 6 out of 7 days eat healthy? Well one day a week, I would take completely off. It was generally a Sunday, because that's just how it worked out :) Obviously if there was a birthday or holiday coming up it would fall on that day, but generally speaking my cheat day was a Sunday. I actually kept a little box in the pantry, where I'd put any "cheat day" things that people would either gift me or that I'd get at Easter/Christmas etc. I found this was really helpful for me, because it meant that I wouldn't open the box till Sunday! Of course, with cheat days you don't want to go overboard. I love dessert and sweets so I would eat something like pancakes or a pastry for breakfast (yummy!), a regular lunch and maybe a bar of chocolate after, a regular dinner and then a slice of cake or a cupcake for dessert. I've heard that cheat days are actually really beneficial to your metabolism because they keep your body working and sort of trick it into having to burn more calories. (I don't know if this is true, please correct me if I'm wrong...it's just what I read/heard somewhere!) The other great thing about a cheat day is that when it's over, you actually will find yourself looking forward to eating healthy again the next day! Plus it's a lot of fun ;)
6. Say no to fast food
I don't think I ever ate fast food when I was a teen, whether I was trying to lose weight or not. It just wasn't part of my upbringing so I never craved it really! Even the desserts/sweets I ate were mostly good quality or home-baked treats that either my mom, my sister or I had made ourselves. If I were you I would just cut out fast food completely. I never even visited a McDonald's with my family as a child, except for at one or two other kids' birthday parties. In my opinion, fast food is actually a LOT worse for you than most sweets.
7. Swim twice a week
You may have realised that I haven't yet mentioned exercise. This is a touchy subject because for some people, the fitness part is more important than diet when you're trying to lose weight. I agree that keeping fit is very important, but when I was in school I didn't play any sports, I was not athletic at all and added to the fact that I was already super busy with studying, homework, etc. I also played piano which took up a huge chunk of my day (I practised for an hour every single day!). So that meant that I had very little time to work out. I was however, joined to a pool and every Saturday and Sunday I swam there for about 30mins. I am not saying that this will be enough to lose weight quickly because it probably won't. But the goal here is to lose weight sssllllooowwwlllyyy and healthily ;) Plus I know that teenagers don't have a lot of time to work out!
8. Get 8-9 hours of sleep
This is actually more important than you probably think. You may even not believe that it effects weight loss but it does. The more sleep you get, the more energy you have and the more motivated you will be to eat and live healthy. Sleep is so important, especially for teens because you need to be able to concentrate in school and on your homework and lots of other things as well! So get at least 8-9 hours of sleep a night and I promise you will see and feel a difference!
I really hope this post will help some of you who are trying to lose weight, as I know how difficult it can be. I definitely think that if you go about it the healthy way you will get long-term results. Don't try to lose weight too quickly because chances are it won't stay off. Also please keep in mind that I am NOT a nutritionist or a doctor so take everything with a grain of salt...this is just what worked for me! Always consult your doctor if you are about to start a new weight loss plan.