"How did you get so skinny?"
I find myself getting asked this question regularly. It is hard for me to answer because the "what I did" is so connected to the "what I didn't do".
It is also a longer answer than I think most people want to hear. I believe most would like to know in one or two sentences what kind of "magic" pill I found to get to a smaller size. Since there is nothing magic about how I lost weight I am hesitant to give any answer.
What I didn't do (in no particular order):
Hate myself thin.
Wear clothes that didn't fit me as some kind of motivation
Go on a diet
Put a lot of emphasis on the number on the scale
Tell myself it would be impossible.
Try to make too many changes at once. My first change was to cut flour and sugar out of my diet. Once I saw I could do it for a few days I committed to six weeks of abstinence. I continued to eat fruit but 100% cut all sugar (even honey) and foods that included flour from my diet. I found doing both at the same time made it so I wasn't craving either a strongly. My second change was to cut out all snacking.
Allow myself small "fails" or a continuous flow of small cheats to my eating plan that have derailed me in the past.
Pick a goal weight too soon.
Hard core exercise
Keep a food journal. (It just felt too much like a diet.)
What I did do:
Loved and practiced gratitude for my body.
Bought new clothes each time I "shrank" a size - I thought of it like renting a wardrobe from the DI and returning it when I didn't need it anymore.
Made what I plan to be permanent changes to how I eat.
Used the number on the scale as information on how my eating plan was working and NOT a reflection of my value
I allowed myself to imagine that it was possible.
I set small achievable goals that I expanded once I built my confidence.
I considered my eating plan a commitment to myself and I was very diligent in following the plan I had designed.
Eating a healthier diet and feeling better were my first goals.
I moved to relieve stress and feel good.
Lots and lots of thought work. I had to learn how to deal with negative emotions so that I no longer used food as a buffer to feel better.
Learned all I could about eating healthy, specifically how to eat in a way so that my body would burn fat.
Learned about ketosis and how to expand how long my body spent in a fat burning state.
After a few months I began to limit the time during the day in which I eat. Currently I eat two meals between the hours of 11am and 6pm.
Prioritize sleep. If I have a few days where I get less than 7 hours of sleep, I can expect the scale to be up no matter what I have eaten.
My current food protocol (what I eat):
Protein and healthy fat at every meal
The carbs in my diet come from vegetables and a bit of fruit
I restrict the flour and sugar I eat to special occasions
I limit the starchy vegetables I eat