How I Lost 60+ Pounds in 6 Months

Sunday, July 21, 2019

When I started my fitness journey, my mission was to redefine what losing weight meant because it always sounded like the most dreadful thing I had ever heard of in my whole life. Everyone always made it seem so tedious and unattainable. People around me lived in an eternal state of dieting—sorry to say—with little to no results.

It was a constant cycle of hearing every single one of my friends and/or relatives say, “I’m on a diet; I can’t eat that” or “I should go on a diet”. Needless to say, I never felt encouraged to lose weight, only to gain it because, let’s be real, food is amazing. Please. Whoever invented buffalo chicken wings with ranch and celery on the side, you are iconic, and I will always love you.

Food made it difficult for me to lose weight. It’s just that all food is so heavenly. But I knew I wanted results, and I knew I needed to control the amount of food I was eating and start working out. I also knew I wanted it to be fun. I wanted to make it easy for me, and I didn’t want any dieting restrictions or spend a year of my life doing something I hated.

So being the creative millennial that I am, I decided to take care of fun first and started documenting my fitness journey online. Social media helps me with fitness and weight loss because it’s entertaining. I use my Instagram account as a diary to look back on. I enjoy creating videos and pictures for myself. So when I started my Instagram account, weight loss immediately became a fun experiment, one that I’m still highly enjoying. I definitely want to write a whole blog about the world of Instagram and fitness soon because oh boy. We got tea.

For this journey, I created my own rules, my own world, my own pace and time. This fitness journey is my own personal project, and I’m my own coach and coach-ee.

FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Finding a method that suits you is one of the first steps to a fitness journey. Like, don’t try to fit into small socks if you’ve got flippers for feet. Not all socks are made for all people, and not all people are made for all socks.  Whether it’s going vegan, keto, paleo, carnivore, intermittent fasting, surgery, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, a regular calorie deficit diet, or any other method out there, I support your choice so long as it helps you reach your goals. We’re all just trying to figure out what works best our bodies and our minds. Plus, I don’t know what half of those diets ever are.

The following is what I chose for my life, what I felt would work for me, and what I knew would help me stay on track. It’s not perfect. I don’t know all the answers, and quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing 99.9% of the time, but I’m winging it, and it’s been working. Just like my four years in college. Five.

Ok, five and a half.

Six. Six years to graduate. Sorry, mom.

I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been, and I’m getting fit.

Let us begin. Here’s how it all happened.

Short summary (You’re welcome.)

Food: I eat everything in moderation, and I count calories: 1,350 per day, whether I work out or not. As long as I try not to go over my 1,350 calories, I eat whatever I want. With that being said, I don’t starve myself. If I need to eat, I eat. I try to choose healthy meals. I eat carbs. I don’t count macros (the nutrients you’re supposed to be having each day). I use the MyFitnessPal app. I drink two or three liters of water a day.

Working out: I started by walking half a mile a day for about 3-4 weeks almost every day. Then, I increased that to one whole mile. Then a mile and a half. Then two miles. And so on. I didn’t care how long it took me. I began jogging, too, but only for 30 seconds at first. That half mile sometimes took me half an hour, and that was okay, as long as I was moving. Now I do about three miles in about 40–45 minutes, and I can run for up to nine to ten minutes. I work out three or four times a week (I worked out almost every day when I first started but that didn’t feel sustainable in the long run. Badum ts). I do strength training, like leg workouts, arm workouts, and lifting, by following YouTube tutorials (no specific video).

Now for the details… Oh, we ‘bout to go in-in.

Before Getting Started

The weekend before starting my weight loss journey, I looked up different ways to get fit online. Thank you, internet. After doing some research, I decided I wanted a lifestyle I could sustain my whole life. I was afraid that if I started a specific diet, I would go back to the way I was eating once I had completed that diet. In a gist, I felt like diets wouldn’t teach me anything about leading a healthier lifestyle my whole life. In order to avoid the diet mentality, I decided that I didn’t want to give myself any real goals. I didn’t want to make it about the weight.

Here’s what I think: I believe that if I make healthy eating choices and work out, weight loss will eventually follow through, but my focus has to be on living a healthier life, not losing weight. Weight fluctuates. If my goals depend on weight alone, the scale will drive me bananas. If my focus is solely on the scale, I will eventually feel discouraged when the weight stops coming off. BECAUSE IT WILL STOP COMING OFF. Feeling discouraged often times leads to giving up and giving up is not something I plan on doing.

Losing weight is a symptom of changing habits and leading a healthier lifestyle, but it’s not the main star of the show. The main star of the show—the Jennifer Aniston of Friends, the Beyoncé of Destiny’s child, the Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, sorry Joe—is living healthier.

Choosing the Calorie Deficit Method

I’m going to try to explain what a calorie deficit diet is without using Google. “Calorie deficit” means counting calories to meet a certain number in a day in order to lose weight. So like, consume fewer calories than you burn. Which is also known as: Eat but work out. Did I get this right?

As much as I knew I wanted to stay away from the diet mentality, I also knew I needed some type of structure. I’d never been an organized eater. I ate at all times, as much as I wanted, as often as I wanted. Philly cheese sandwich for breakfast, burgers for lunch, and buffalo wings for dinner? That was me! So I needed something to keep me organized. I had (and have!) no idea what I was doing, MyFitnessPal seemed simple, straightforward, and logical for me to follow so I could organize my meals. It felt like something I could do without the app, too, because all foods have calorie labels and I learned how to do math in elementary school. Thank you, John I. Smith Elementary School.

(Dependency on an app is why I didn’t choose a system of “points”, where foods represent a certain number of points. I wouldn’t be sure how to count points without depending on an app, and I didn’t want dependency.)

MyFitnessPal allowed me to eat anything I wanted, and I liked the idea of a non-restrictive lifestyle. It made sense to me, and I could do the simple math in my head. I told myself: If I have to eat less than this certain number of calories, I will automatically portion-control my meals, which will keep me organized. I really did see it as a plug-in math equation. Breakfast (between 300–400 calories) + lunch (between 300–400 calories) + dinner (between 300–400 calories) + snacks (between 250 - 350 calories)  = 1,350 calories a day. In my head, this meant calorie deficit + exercise = portion-control + getting fit + getting healthy + losing weight. I can eat whatever I want if I stick to those calories. It wasn’t even about losing the weight—it was about feeling organized and on track.

MyFitnessPal recommended about 1,350 calories after I put in my weight at the time (245.6 lbs), my height (5’5), my weekly weight-loss goal of two pounds and selected “lightly active” as my activity level.

Then I went all out. I bought measuring spoons, glasses, and even a food scale. I was spending money as if the investors of Shark Tank had given me a million dollars to lose weight. And don’t get me wrong, the first two or three weeks of measuring my foods and reading labels were annoying. However, discovering calories and realizing what types of foods I had been putting in my body was helpful, fun and shocking. Money well invested, that was. Was I really eating an 800-calorie breakfast every weekend? Was nobody planning on telling me that the chocolate milkshake from Dennys was 600 calories? Or that my favorite chicken Fettuccini Alfredo from Olive Garden was 1500 calories?
NO. EFFING. WONDER.

The process of tracking calories got easier in time. We tend to eat the same things time and time again, so once everything I ate was tracked, it became just a matter of following a structure. After two or three weeks of this, I didn’t need to measure or weigh my food anymore because I knew the information. The power of creating habits.

Calorie Deficit Mentality: Don’t Go Bananas

Any method you choose comes down to how you go about it. For example, there are multiple ways of doing keto, and some ways are healthier than others. (Keto is that diet Kim Kardashian does. It’s low in carbs and high in protein and fats). Same with calorie deficit. I personally know people who have developed eating disorders from counting calories because they became so obsessed with how many they were eating versus burning. Learning from their experiences and my own laziness, I decided I would eat 1,350 calories a day whether I burned them or not. I still don’t worry about how many calories I’m burning at the gym and I’m genuinely too lazy to start counting those.

I also decided I wasn’t going to starve myself. Ever. I said, “Part of being healthy is not starving yourself.” So even now, if I’m hungry, I eat. I don’t usually snack between meals, but if I feel like I should, I do. As long as what I’m choosing to snack on is healthy, like a vegetable or a fruit, I feel good. Jokes. I would never snack vegetables.

In other words, treating a calorie deficit diet with a healthy mentality is crucial.

Health first, counting calories second.

I don’t count macros because I felt counting something else in addition to calories sounded annoying. My life can’t revolve around counting everything I eat; I’m trying to make my health choices sustainable and not tedious. More fun, less work.

The Tea on Intermittent Fasting



Let me give you THE TEA on intermittent fasting. The process of finding what worked for me led me to try intermittent fasting, which is when you don’t eat for a certain period of time—like, you fast for hours, or even days. Research claims that intermittent fasting has all these health benefits, such as increased energy, better mood, weight loss, plus others. Some people see a huge difference and swear by it, and some people don’t.

The tea is… I tried it for two or three months and saw no difference in weight loss after I stopped doing it. However, during those months, I became way more organized about the times I ate. I did 16/8 intermittent fasting, which means eating your meals over a period of eight hours and not eating anything for the remaining 16 hours of your day. You choose the time. I chose from 9 am to 5 pm because I needed to have breakfast before work. It was stressful, especially running back home after work to have dinner in time. I put in all this effort, but I wasn’t getting the health benefits the diet claimed I would. It wasn’t fun, so I stopped doing it. I didn’t find this sustainable in the long run, especially during work, birthdays, family dinners, or traveling. But it did give me structure, and that’s the biggest win.

So, the tea has been spilt. Intermittent Fasting didn’t work for me the way it claimed it would. It made zero difference in my weight loss. But I would do it again because it gave me structure. I still eat my breakfast at 9 am, but I don’t rush home to have dinner. Dinner is usually at 6 pm. I don’t eat anything after dinner simply because I’m not hungry after and I go to sleep early. Not doing intermittent fasting helps me more than doing it because I no longer stress over a schedule and don’t worry about having late dinners on dates, with family, with friends, or on vacation anymore, which I did when I was on it. It’s just how my brain works.

It works for some people; it doesn’t work for others. I didn't find it suitable for me. And that's the tea on that.

I Eat Three Times a Day and Snack
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I never skip breakfast. Breakfast makes me happy. On weekdays, I have breakfast around 9 am before heading to work. At work, I have my lunch at 1:00 pm, and it’s a light lunch, maybe with a fruit. At home, I have dinner at about 5:45–6:00 pm, sometimes a little later, sometimes earlier, depends on what I’m up to. I don’t eat anything before my breakfast or after dinner, mainly because I go to sleep early, and I don’t like going to bed with a full stomach. During the morning, I don’t snack. I have two or three liters of water throughout working hours and that keeps me full. When I get home from work, I’ll have fruits with my dinner, and then I eat dessert.

I eat three times a day because that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I know some people eat five times a day and others eat twice a day. In my family, we’ve always had three meals a day. I grew up in a Peruvian household in Miami, and that’s just the Peruvian (and most Hispanics’) food culture. Also, for Peruvians, the main course of the day is lunch. For Americans, the main course is dinner. I was born in Peru, raised in Miami, and some days I’ll have a big lunch and light dinner, and some days I’ll have light lunch and big dinner. I never feel hunger.

Food

AH. FOOD. That’s what got me to 245.6 pounds. The amazing, the delicious, the one of a kind: ALL FOOD.

Food structure was crucial in my journey. I enjoy eating and like to enjoy eating (see the difference?). In short: I don’t eat foods I don’t like. I liked MyFitnessPal because it didn’t put any restrictions on my choices. My choices came from me. If I wanted to have a 1,350 calorie Philly cheese sandwich for breakfast, I could, but that meant I was at my calorie cap, right? This app forced me to start making healthier choices. Don’t get me wrong: I still eat my delicious Philly cheese sandwich, but I’ve learned to modify it so it’s 400 calories instead of 1,350. I’ll do light mayo, half the amount of provolone, half the sandwich instead of a full one. See what I’m saying? It’s all in the tweaks.

I enjoy MyFitnessPal because it’s not a diet that says, “YOU CAN’T EAT ANY OF THIS!!!” It says, “Sure, you can eat whatever you want, girl, but you do have a cap, so like, choose wisely.”

It also doesn’t force me to track every day. There are days I don’t track but still “count calories” and go about my day as usual. That’s sustainable. That’s manageable. I can do that on vacation, birthdays, and holidays, too. I can live my life making healthier choices.

Making healthy choices became fun for me. Realizing I didn’t have restrictions removed the risk of failing, and it made losing weight enjoyable. I didn’t have to worry about anything other than meeting my 1,350 calories a day, and that felt simple enough. Over the period of six months, I tried different meals, went to different grocery stores, and accepted different free products from Instagram brands (like vegan cereals and protein bars), just to try healthier versions of foods I was already eating. When you find something healthy that hits the spot, that’s a win. But I am a simple eater and don’t like to cook.

The following is usually what I eat:

Morning: Toufayan’s pita pocket or whole wheat bread, one boiled egg with turkey bacon or ham, light mayo. I make this into an egg salad sandwich. To drink, I usually have drinkable plain yogurt or a green juice. I buy my green juices from a family-owned vegan restaurant. I don’t drink green juices that often, but I do sometimes. Sometimes I’ll drink almond milk instead, and other times I’ll dilute passion fruit juice with water. If I feel really hungry, I’ll make a protein shake with Slim Fast powder. But drinking one cup of drinkable plain yogurt and eating a whole egg salad sandwich usually gets me through to lunch. If I liked coffee, I would have coffee because it helps with hunger.

Lunch: Trader Joe’s cauliflower rice mixed with chicken and an orange or a banana. Or breaded chicken and white rice. To drink, either water or any zero-calorie drink. Sometimes, I’ll make myself a turkey sandwich on the weekends or buy myself a huge salad.

Dinner: Amy’s frozen pizza, a salad from Subway or Chicken Kitchen, or breaded chicken and white rice, Trader Joe’s turkey burger in a wrap (made with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and Toufayan’s wraps), a homemade salad, or a homemade sandwich.

Snacks when/if I’m hungry: I’m trying different protein bars but usually go back to Nature Valley’s crunchy oat meal. I’ll have bananas, oranges, or cherries. Yogurt, if I feel like that will help the hunger.

Dessert: I have dessert every day. Whether it’s in the form of Halo Top ice cream, Trader Joe’s crepes, Weight Watcher’s ice cream, or Pirate Booty’s white cheddar puffs, I’ll have it somehow. Funnily enough, I don’t actually have a sweet tooth, but I’ve definitely been into ice cream lately. Again, everything is measured and in line with my 1,350-calorie limit, so I choose low-calorie desserts all the time.

Water

Water has been it for me. I do see a difference when I don’t drink it. Water helps with water weight, which means it helps me keep my weight at a true number that doesn’t fluctuate much.

Scale

I weigh myself once a week at about the same time of day. I don’t even look at the scale when it’s not my weigh-in day. I weigh myself once or twice within the same hour. My weigh-in day is Sunday.

Cardio

I focus on doing cardio. I walk and jog for about 30 to 45 minutes, three or four times a week. When I started, I did cardio every day. I found that wasn’t really necessary for me. I slowed down my gym visits because I wanted to learn how to make this lifestyle sustainable, and I don’t think going to the gym every day is sustainable for me.

Like I said earlier, I started by walking half a mile every day, for however long it took me. I didn’t care how long that was. I couldn’t do more than half a mile because my calves would begin to hurt, and I would get out of breath (that’s how little in shape I was). Then, after a month of walking for half a mile, I started doing a whole mile with that same mentality. Then I increased it and stared doing a mile and a half and jogging for 30 seconds. I didn’t give myself a structure when it came to cardio, other than to increase my exercise as much as I felt comfortable with. At my own pace. I created my own method of getting fit, where I was the coach and the mentee. That made it so much better. I still do that. I’m my own coach.

What I do now: I run for up to 9 to 10 minutes (trying to get to 11 minutes soon!). I incline my treadmill as much as I can and do about two to three miles. It takes me around 40–45 minutes. Yesterday, for example, I did a whole mile on 3.0 at both incline and pace. Then I set the incline back to zero and ran for seven to eight minutes. I completed my 2.1 miles jogging and walking like that. Sometimes I push myself to do 10 minutes running, but other times I feel happy just doing anything at all.

Every week, I try to do something different on the treadmill. On the weekends, I like to go explore and walk somewhere other than the gym. It keeps me motivated.

Strength training

I am the most basic person in the world when it comes to strength training. I wish I could have more information about this, but I literally just YouTube how-to videos and follow along. Building muscle is important for our bodies, I just recently learned this. So if I want to do weights, I’ll type “30 min arm workout with weights” into YouTube, or if I want to do legs, I’ll type “leg workouts for 20 minutes” and choose the first video that pops up. I do this from home. I do it twice a week, sometimes three times, and sometimes just when I feel like it. I’m not as disciplined or structured when it comes to strength training, but I really should be because muscle SO good for you. It’s just hard because I don’t know how to do it. But following YouTube videos helps!

Thank you for reading. Or sorry.

I created a plan for my life that suited my mindset and my heart. I’ve had bumps in the road, but I see bumps and struggles as learning curves. Funny story, every Tuesday I post a progress picture on my Instagram of my weight from MyFitnessPal. As a caption, I decided to use the lyrics “Club going down on a Tuesday” because I thought it’d be funny to say “Club going up on a Tuesday” if I ever experienced any pleateaus, but that hasn’t happened yet. Consistency, discipline, healthy and positive mindset. If I ever do hit a pleateau, which I’m sure will happen, my plan is to change my routine, my calorie intake, my meals and my workouts to keep the body guessing. I’m ready!

For now, I’m tackling the next 6 months with the same mindset I’ve had until now. The training wheels are coming off; I’m tracking less on the app, and going to the gym a normal amount of times, like three times a week instead of every day. I’m teaching myself self-control. That’s a whole different journey which I will talk about on future posts. For now… This was my journey the last 6 months. I redefined what weight loss meant to me and it’s been awesome.

I appreciate whoever took the time to read this and hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions, I'm always available and will always try to reply.

IG: GetFitWithCabi

Twitter: GetFitWithCabi

Blog: GetFitWithCabi

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcdN-82H7NK9vhyjbKSSl3w

Be positive, go to the gym, do your squats, drink your water.

And be kind to people.

-Cabi

21 comments

  1. Love this!!following u on Instagram n u have been inspiring!!

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  2. Awesome cabi proud of u .......ill start mine ASAP , thanks for sharing your incredible journey

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  3. Instram led me to ur blog 🤗

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  4. I literally just cut and pasted this to everyone on my Facebook that I "talk" weight loss with. I just wanted to share my thoughts on your journey with you in a nutshell.

    So. When you were in school and everyone had to do that same assignment. But then you all had to read yours out loud. You know how others were worse than yours and some were better than yours? This girl is better than mine and I am a wee bit jelly. But that is ok. Because we are all not the same. I do love her positivity and aspire to be like her and an influencer like her BUT I am also a shy type so I don't know if that could ever happen. Anyway her blog if you want to check it out. She has lost 60lbs in 6 months
    https://www.getfitwithcabi.com

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    1. This is so incredibly sweet of you. I really really appreciate your kindness and sweet words about me! We are all different and we go at our own pace. Be true to yourself and genuine about your own journey, I'm sure you'll kill it!!! <3 -Cabi

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing ... you're amazing and inspiring, can't wait to see your progress over the next six months xx

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    1. Thank you so so much!! Me neither!! <3 This December, wonder where I'll be :)

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  6. Congrats on your 60 lb. weight loss! I’ve been following your IG for the past month and it’s very inspiring to follow your journey. You are so real and relatable. I love that you are so positive about the ups and downs of weight loss. It can be hard to stay that way when you don’t see the numbers move which is where I am right now. After reading this, I hope to be more positive and not rely on a stupid number to measure progress. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Not focusing on the number really helps me a lot! Of course we all do it, especially when we try to get to certain number, but it's felt better not to focus on what the scale says, and focus on what I'm doing day to day.
      Also, THANK YOU FOR THE KIND WORDS. <3 Congrats to youuu!
      -Cabi

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  7. Tengo casi 2 meses que comencé en mi viaje de pérdida de peso, me he sentido muy tentada a experimentar con dietas como la keto, per al final del día, siempre pienso en que bajaré en ese tiempo pero no será un estilo de vida permanente, un día, mientras buscaba insiración en cuentas de IG, llegué a la tuya y me sentí identificada como con ninguna otra, amé la manera en la que siempre estabas sonriendo y bailando y me dije a mi misma, "Yo quiero eso para mi" yo quiero cambiar mi vida, perder peso y ser feliz, desde ese día diario veo tus historias y publicaciones. Mehas inspirado bastante y este blog, fue realmente impresionante. MUCHAS FELICIDADES POR TUS GRANDES LOGROS EN ESTOS 6 MESES. MUCHA SUERTE Y FUERZA.



    PD: GRACIAS POR TANTA INSPIRACIÓN.

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    1. Hola!!! Pues muchisisismas gracias por estas lindas palabras! Realmente aprecio todo el carino! SE FELIZ TODA LA VIDA! un abrazo enormeee

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  8. You are amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing everything you do! It really motivates me not to be so hard on myself. I like your approach, you do you! I am excited for you, and hope to be like you! �� Keep up the great work!!!

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  9. Reading this made me so happy �� I just started my weight loss journey and it’s been tough. But hearing that small changes will make a difference Give me hope. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you conquer next ! (Also yay for Peruvians haha �� I was born in Lima adopted to MD )

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    1. I'm sooo glad it has helped you!!!! <3 YAY PERUVIANS UNITE! hahah

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  10. Gongrats on the size 10, yaaaay. Awesome job. I did the same journey 2016, gained it all back and then some. Better to stay at a weight i can hold for the duration next time. Got greedy and then laxed to dont give a beep. I do now :) Hugs!

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  11. So on this regimen you would eat normally for 5 consecutive days, then fast or restrict calories to 20-25% for 2 consecutive days. Intermittent Fasting Secrets

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