My Story: How I Lost 50 Pounds Without Trying
A long time ago, during a weight loss expert interview, US News & World Report asked me to share how I sustainably lost weight myself. Their readers were very enthusiastically inspired by my experience as I kept receiving emails from them for weeks and weeks. That led me to believe it’s worthwhile to share it with you here especially because of how closely relevant it is to your dream, and how dramatically it might shift your belief about REAL weight loss.
If you are a friend who first met me in the last 16 years, just by watching at how I look, stand, talk, move, laugh, walk, dress myself, and interact with everyone, you’d had no idea that at one point of my life, I was a 50-pound-overweight, self-conscious, invisible girl with no self-confidence yet uncontainable obsession towards two things: food and diets.
When I moved to the US many years ago from China for college, I quickly put on 30 pounds in 3 months. I struggled to lose the weight and before I realized it, I’ve already dieted myself into compulsive eating disorder.
I remember spending hours and hours everyday researching diets, counting recipe calories, and thinking about food. And for a while, I binge ate three large bagels for breakfast every morning, each loaded with cream cheese and strawberry jam. The trauma was more than just digestive tract overload because along with every chunk of food swallowed was a mouthful of mixed bitter emotions — layered with self-disappointment, shame, fears, anger, and sadness. And for that entire year, I was either doing extremely depriving diets or rebelling through this extreme form of self-sabotage.
You see, the food and diet obsession can drug your mind and turn you into someone you don’t know….If you were ambitious, you lose your ability to dream big. If you loved to socialize, you now hide and become lonely. And have you ever asked yourself who you would’ve been if you’ve never had that trauma to begin with? I know I did during those days — A LOT.
By the end of that year, I put on another 20 pounds despite all the dieting efforts. And the worst part? None of the psychologists or therapists could help me with my ever-growing fears and addictions and the self-sabotaging mindset towards food. I was stuck in the slump of watching both my body and mind going completely out of control. The car was running off road at 80mph, the brake was broken, and I was stuck inside. THAT was the mental picture of the fears, worries, and misery I was going through daily when I kept overstuffing myself at breakfast and depriving myself for the rest of the day.
Soon, things saw a turnaround:
That summer, a month back at home in China transformed my life.
And the person who made that change happen was my mother – the strict, demanding, tiger lady who I dreaded so badly after making every single mistake growing up.
Before I met her at the airport, I’ve imagined various scenes where she crushed my already traumatized, shrinking ego. I was petrified! But that just showed how much I didn’t know my mom.
The woman who gave me life, although failing to recognize me within the first few seconds of the reunion, didn’t mention a word about my body. And later, she helped me lose a ton of it.
Through what? Time traveling.
Not by psychic power, simply by restoring the life that I used to live, through treating me the same home-made food I used to have all the time that made me happy, satisfied and fully nourished. So every morning, I woke up to a simple yet nourishing breakfast (generally it’s congee with kimchi or a bowl of noodle with a pan fried egg). At noon time, I had a bowl of rice with 2-3 plates of colorful, delicious stir-fries and a satiating, clear soup. For dinner, we usually ate the leftover from lunch, but my mom has a way of making everything look and taste like just freshly made. During the day, we enjoyed some fruit platters while watching TV or chatting.
This was the best that could ever happen to me at that time. It made me happy, and most importantly, it enabled me to feel like a normal person again. Indeed, when you’ve deprived yourself for such a long time, you forget what living like a normal person feels like.
And there was still one problem: I became even more scared of the scale because I knew I violated EVERY single rule for losing weight, including religiously counting calories, tracking foods, avoiding carbs, and exercising
I knew just looking at the scale number would ruin my entire vacation, I didn’t want that. So I cautiously kept myself away from the scale until one unexpected event happened.
On that day, the pair of pants which I wore during the trip back to China, for the first time, needed a waistband to stay on! I rushed to the scale as if I was on fire, and when the needle stopped, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was F-O-U-R-T-E-E-N P-O-U-N-D-S lighter.
But wait a minute, only by living a normal life? The thinking blew me away, and I knew one thing right
at that moment:
From this day on, I will not encounter another failure on weight loss anymore – just by doing what I’ve been doing.
I did exactly that after I came back to the US after the break ended. Ten months later, the
remaining 36 pounds disappeared.