How To Lose 20 lbs. without Starving Yourself

how to lose 20 lbs without starving yourself

Table of Contents

Hey everyone, I hope that you’re having a great day so far.

In my drive to help my clients and friends build a leaner, fitter and healthier body, I opened up my day to taking fitness and nutrition questions.

And immediately, I had someone post a question. Jay asked me:

“What’s the quickest way to drop about 25 lbs without starving myself and working out like a madman in the next few months? Haven’t been too active in a while wanna loss a lil off the tummy.”

This is a common question (or some variation of it) and one that requires more than a few comments on my wall to answer.

Which is exactly why I decided to bring the question to the blog to answer in more depth and to share with more of our readers.

However, before I answer that question, I want to tell you a little story.

My story of how I’ve managed to lose almost 20 lbs. and keep it off.

If you know me in real life, you’re probably wondering, there is no way I was 20 lbs. over weight.

Believe it, it’s true.

Although I can trace the real start of this story to 1998 when I first moved to the states and noticed a change in my health, I’m going to instead fast-forward to 2008, when the real sh#t started to happen.

At the time, I was 25 and working a full-time job managing a staff of 16 trainers at a local gym in New Hampshire. I would typically work 60-80 hours a week, and frequently 7 days a week.

It was a little ridiculous.

I was also in serious relationship which I was questioning, and felt stuck because I didn’t have the courage to leave.

The combined stress in my life toke a toll on my body and I started to suffer from serious digestive issues like gas, bloating, and constipation.

It even got to the point where it was starting to interfere with my training business. (Having to run away from a training client to pass gas in the bathroom is quite embarassing.)

After a year of working with a holistic nutritionist (Josh Rubin) I got a handle on my digestive issues.

Or so it seemed.

While I was working on healing my physical body and repairing my gut, I completely neglected my emotional body, and before I knew it, I was suffering even more.

As I mentioned earlier, my relationship of over 6 years was falling apart and at this point in 2009, it was over.

I was out of an unhealthy relationship but was now confused about my sexuality.

And to top it off I was unemployed.

Awesome.

This sent me deeper into depression.

And before I knew it, I had gained almost 20 lbs in less than 1 year. 

Needless to say, I was miserable.

After being unemployed for a year, I started a job in Boston, and soon moved there to be closer to work.

This is when things started to fall into place for me.

I pulled myself together and I began to gather all the pieces and connect all the dots.

Like the clients I work with, I also struggled with the same setbacks, obstacles and challenges.

So when Jay asked me this question:

“What’s the quickest way to drop about 25 lbs without starving myself and working out like a madman in the next few months?”

I knew I had to do the question justice.

I needed to answer it more elaborately and I knew telling my story would help because I managed to lose almost 20 lbs.

But it wasn’t quick.

As a matter of fact, it was pretty slow.

It has taken me about 18 months to lose 18 lbs.

Could I have lost it quicker?

Yes.

But chances are, it wouldn’t have been permanent.

This is the point of my story: to help explain that there is no quick way to lose weight and keep it off permanently.

Over the last several years, I have expiremented with all sorts of dietary fads and programs, and drawing from my own experience from losing almost 20 lbs., I have come up with a list of stuff to help answer Jay’s question.

My Lean Body Manifesto I’m calling it.

This manifesto includes the lessons and principles I’ve created for myself that have helped me to lose the weight without starving myself, or working like a crazy person.

I enjoy food, and dining out.

I have drinks with my friends, and I never feel burdened by my fitness program.

What I’m trying to say is that it is possible to lose 25 lbs. (as Jay has asked) but not quite in the way as most would think.

It takes times, patience, self-care and persistance.

Through my experience with my own weight loss, I’d like to share with you what’s worked for me, my Lean Body Manifesto. I hope you enjoy:

1. Understand that there are no quick fixes. Sustained weight loss is created through developing healthier lifestyle habits, not from pills, shakes or fad diets. This is #1 on the list because this is the most important thing to understand if you want to change your body for good.

2. Listen to your body. Everything that we ever need to know, we already know. And everything we ever need, our body will tell us. We just have to stop and listen.

3. Make small changes and improvements everyday. Change one thing in your diet and your life and make it consistent. Whether that’s eating less at dinner or going to bed earlier, pick one thing per month, and stick to it.

4. You will have setbacks, but don’t let it set you back. Things are going to get in your way and slow you down, which is totally OK. Just keep pushing through.

5. The quality of food you eat will determine the quality of your body. Bottom line: If you eat crap you’ll look like crap.

6. Emotional and mental health are just as important as eating high quality food and exercising consistently. Nothing starts without you first thinking of it. The connection our body has with our thoughts and emotions is undeniable. Everything you think, say, or do, is heard by every cell in your body.

7. Remove processed carbs, refined sugars, sodas, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Cut the crackers, cookies, and candies from your diet. Eat very rarely.

8. Center your diet around organic and grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, organic vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds (sparingly). That’s pretty self-explanatory.

9. Drink water. I like to shoot for drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs. strive to drink 70 ounces of water every day.

10. Get sleep. I don’t care what Nas says, sleep is not the cousin of death. Sleep is the cooler-aunt-who-give-awesome-gifts-for-Christmas-of-life.

There it is. My Lean Body Manifesto.

The exact things that I have done, that have worked for me, and which have given me results.

Even if you just picked one from the list, and incorporated it in your life over the course of the next month, you will be surprised at how much you can change.

Pick one thing.

Stick to it.

And then master it.

I hope that you enjoyed.

And I’m curious, if you were to add your own to the list, what would it be?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

Talk soon,

Sirena

34 Responses

  1. I love everything you’ve said here. It’s honest and to the point. I am curious what you would say to someone who is on a very strict budget and who also has much more than 25 lbs to lose. I love water and veggies so we’re good there.

    1. Hi Zingy,

      Thank you for your comment and your feedback. I really appreciate it.

      That is such a great question something I hear frequently. I would love to answer your question, how about I make a blog just for you about how to eat organically and healthy on a budget?

      I also keep a very tight budget and manage to eat mostly organic, so I think I can give you some guidance.

      Great that you are on board with veggies and water. If you have more than 25 lbs. to lose, I would think long term. You can still incorporate the advice I gave in the post about picking one habit, mastering it and making it a part of your lifestyle.

      Pick one thing a month. This month it might be eliminating soda, or sugar, etc. Master that and then pick something new to challenge yourself to.

      In the meantime, I would avoid eating out as much as possible to cut down on expenses and to make better food choices.

      I will work on your blog this week.

      Thanks Zingy!

      Talk soon,

      Sirena

  2. I love everything you’ve said here. It’s honest and to the point. I am curious what you would say to someone who is on a very strict budget and who also has much more than 25 lbs to lose. I love water and veggies so we’re good there.

    1. Hi Zingy,

      Thank you for your comment and your feedback. I really appreciate it.

      That is such a great question something I hear frequently. I would love to answer your question, how about I make a blog just for you about how to eat organically and healthy on a budget?

      I also keep a very tight budget and manage to eat mostly organic, so I think I can give you some guidance.

      Great that you are on board with veggies and water. If you have more than 25 lbs. to lose, I would think long term. You can still incorporate the advice I gave in the post about picking one habit, mastering it and making it a part of your lifestyle.

      Pick one thing a month. This month it might be eliminating soda, or sugar, etc. Master that and then pick something new to challenge yourself to.

      In the meantime, I would avoid eating out as much as possible to cut down on expenses and to make better food choices.

      I will work on your blog this week.

      Thanks Zingy!

      Talk soon,

      Sirena

    1. Thank you for being such an awesome client Linda!

      Love cooking, and so happy to hear that you are trying to do more of it 🙂

      See you at pilates!

      Sirena

  3. I like that one best: “The quality of food you eat will determine the quality of your body. Bottom line: If you eat crap you’ll look like crap”

    Great picture Sirena!

  4. I like that one best: “The quality of food you eat will determine the quality of your body. Bottom line: If you eat crap you’ll look like crap”

    Great picture Sirena!

    1. Thanks Mon! I actually saw a similar saying on a bumper sticker a few years ago and it always stuck with me.

      That’s really the best way to put it, ya know?

  5. One of the most helpful “lists” that I have ever read. Thanks. My saying of the week is that sleep may be the best anti-anxiety medicine ever created lol. I’ve had “one of those weeks”. But the idea that I can’t do this fast and that I can’t just magically try and succeed by applying everything at once and expect to transform. And that’s what I want. Transformation not momentary change. So one think consistently applied until it’s mine, then move on to the next. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for your comment Ann. I am so happy you liked the list.

      OMG, you are so right about sleep being the best anti-anxiety. It is so true.

      Its like when little kids need naps, they throw tantrums. Well, as adults we are no different lol.

      Sleep is an aspect of our modern lives that tends to go by the wayside. If we all just slept more, we’d be less stressed, less irritable, and a hell of a lot happier 🙂

      Especially when you have “one of the weeks” it’s even more important to take care of yourself.

      If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know.

      Best,

      Sirena

  6. One of the most helpful “lists” that I have ever read. Thanks. My saying of the week is that sleep may be the best anti-anxiety medicine ever created lol. I’ve had “one of those weeks”. But the idea that I can’t do this fast and that I can’t just magically try and succeed by applying everything at once and expect to transform. And that’s what I want. Transformation not momentary change. So one think consistently applied until it’s mine, then move on to the next. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for your comment Ann. I am so happy you liked the list.

      OMG, you are so right about sleep being the best anti-anxiety. It is so true.

      Its like when little kids need naps, they throw tantrums. Well, as adults we are no different lol.

      Sleep is an aspect of our modern lives that tends to go by the wayside. If we all just slept more, we’d be less stressed, less irritable, and a hell of a lot happier 🙂

      Especially when you have “one of the weeks” it’s even more important to take care of yourself.

      If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know.

      Best,

      Sirena

  7. Agreed! And many people who are doing the “quick fixes” aren’t addressing the underlying issues. It’s not always a physical, food issue- like you said, emotional/mental well-being are just as important and need to be focused on. I work out for the mental benefit first, anything physical is an added bonus!

    1. Jen, sounds like you’re on a great track then, keep it up.

      We like to pick ourselves apart and compartmentalize our health into different segments, but it is all one in the same.

      I totally agree, that mental and emotional should be addressed first (or taken care of while you are working on your physical body).

      Thanks again.

      Keep it up girl.

      Sirena

  8. Agreed! And many people who are doing the “quick fixes” aren’t addressing the underlying issues. It’s not always a physical, food issue- like you said, emotional/mental well-being are just as important and need to be focused on. I work out for the mental benefit first, anything physical is an added bonus!

    1. Jen, sounds like you’re on a great track then, keep it up.

      We like to pick ourselves apart and compartmentalize our health into different segments, but it is all one in the same.

      I totally agree, that mental and emotional should be addressed first (or taken care of while you are working on your physical body).

      Thanks again.

      Keep it up girl.

      Sirena

  9. I think it also has to be about finding the right balance for your body. This is the hardest part for most people because they want someone to tell them exactly what to do and have it work but that may not be the case. Learning how to tune into your own body and it’s needs is hard work!

    1. Hi Katie,

      Thank you for your comment, and yes, I totally agree with you. You are absolutely right about finding the right balance for your body. Yes it is easier to follow what someone says, but we have very different hormonal, chemical and emotional responses so finding what works for us is key.

      It’s a process of trial and error, and from my experience, it does help to have a coach to guide you along the way.

      Thank you again, and if there’s anything else I can help you with, let me know 🙂

      Talk soon,

      Sirena

      1. Sirena,
        Thank you! When I first met you, I was eating healthy things, but I remember the specific comment you made to me. “Well you maybe eating things that are healthy ,but you may not be giving your body what it needs.” So true……..Thanks to you I give my body what it needs, which is a lot of fatty foods. : )

        Another comment you made to me as well was…… and forgive if these were not the exact words……. ” So your eating the right stuff for your body, but are you thinking positively about what you are giving to your body?”

        Thinking positively about the many great things you are doing to your body can be the hardest. At least it was for me. Coming from a background of being overweight my whole life and constantly having negative thoughts about my body made that a hard habit to change.

        That comment changed me, and since then I have lost 2% more body fat and 5 more pounds. Making the grand total of weight that I have lost 65 pounds. It took several years for me to lose that weight and body fat, but I have kept it off. Well worth the wait. I finally feel comfortable. : )

        Now do I still have some habits I would like to change?? Yes, but I pick one at a time. Picking a new one this week as a matter fact. Time to move forward!

        Thank you for sharing your story and your knowledge! Many people appreciate it.

        Best,
        Meg

        1. Hi Meg,

          Thank yo so much for your comment. I remember exactly the times we had those discussions too.

          I’m so happy and proud of you for coming so far long and for making positive changes in your life. It’s not easy, it takes courage, and persistence, and you’ve managed to do all of it.

          We often time forget how much the body is in tune with our emotions. Pent up emotions can show up physically in the body and this is also a lesson I’ve had to learn through experience.

          You’re doing the right thing, picking one habit, mastering it, and making it part of your lifestyle. One thing at a time.

          I miss you dearly friend!

          Much love,

          Sirena

  10. I think it also has to be about finding the right balance for your body. This is the hardest part for most people because they want someone to tell them exactly what to do and have it work but that may not be the case. Learning how to tune into your own body and it’s needs is hard work!

    1. Hi Katie,

      Thank you for your comment, and yes, I totally agree with you. You are absolutely right about finding the right balance for your body. Yes it is easier to follow what someone says, but we have very different hormonal, chemical and emotional responses so finding what works for us is key.

      It’s a process of trial and error, and from my experience, it does help to have a coach to guide you along the way.

      Thank you again, and if there’s anything else I can help you with, let me know 🙂

      Talk soon,

      Sirena

      1. Sirena,
        Thank you! When I first met you, I was eating healthy things, but I remember the specific comment you made to me. “Well you maybe eating things that are healthy ,but you may not be giving your body what it needs.” So true……..Thanks to you I give my body what it needs, which is a lot of fatty foods. : )

        Another comment you made to me as well was…… and forgive if these were not the exact words……. ” So your eating the right stuff for your body, but are you thinking positively about what you are giving to your body?”

        Thinking positively about the many great things you are doing to your body can be the hardest. At least it was for me. Coming from a background of being overweight my whole life and constantly having negative thoughts about my body made that a hard habit to change.

        That comment changed me, and since then I have lost 2% more body fat and 5 more pounds. Making the grand total of weight that I have lost 65 pounds. It took several years for me to lose that weight and body fat, but I have kept it off. Well worth the wait. I finally feel comfortable. : )

        Now do I still have some habits I would like to change?? Yes, but I pick one at a time. Picking a new one this week as a matter fact. Time to move forward!

        Thank you for sharing your story and your knowledge! Many people appreciate it.

        Best,
        Meg

        1. Hi Meg,

          Thank yo so much for your comment. I remember exactly the times we had those discussions too.

          I’m so happy and proud of you for coming so far long and for making positive changes in your life. It’s not easy, it takes courage, and persistence, and you’ve managed to do all of it.

          We often time forget how much the body is in tune with our emotions. Pent up emotions can show up physically in the body and this is also a lesson I’ve had to learn through experience.

          You’re doing the right thing, picking one habit, mastering it, and making it part of your lifestyle. One thing at a time.

          I miss you dearly friend!

          Much love,

          Sirena

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