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Reaching my goal weight was great but maintaining it was more important - My Story of Weight-Loss

14th May 2019

Contained in this article to help you with your wellbeing, is one affiliate link for a nutrient tracker resource which may offer me a small reward for its promotion.

I’m often asked about the secret to my successful weight-loss. People tell me they have tried many different diet plans and slimming programs that worked for a while but they always end up putting back on the weight they lost.

This got me thinking about my own story around weight and body image. Maintaining a healthy weight was not always easy but gradually I found ways to succeed. This is a genuine account of my journey of weight-loss and maintenance.

Being Real

I wasn’t always a wellness coach, it took time & effort to earn those stripes.. I’m not a specialist in nutrition but I have learned healthy eating habits and more importantly I’ve learned the importance of developing self-awareness.

Some people may not have considered me to have been excessively obese but there was a time when I wore clothing three sizes up from my current size. Just like you I have my story and you cannot know every story by the cover of the book.

I love food but like a lot of people, I’ve had a tendency to eat mindlessly when stressed or needing comfort. Keeping my weight under control had been a constant battle, until I found new ways to keep myself on track.

By implementing new strategies, within four months I reached my goal weight, my energy level improved and I was enjoying my food more than ever.

"This is my weight-loss story, what it was like starting out and how I succeeded in sticking to my goal weight."

Wake-up Call

In 1999, I experienced burn out from stress of every kind. It was a terrifying and humbling experience that was also my turning point for change. From that moment on, I began to work on all aspects of my wellbeing.

I discovered I was riddled with negative beliefs, self-doubt & anxiety. I had poor body image, separating my body from my mind in an attempt to detach from emotions. I was acting like I didn’t matter at all. My needs and desires were too difficult to attain and presented too much fear so it was better to not have any, that’s how I justified it to myself. I had taken to wearing baggy clothing and making sure I didn’t stand out too much from the crowd.

Eventually a deep sadness took over and as stress escalated I crashed hard. In reality it was a blessing in disguise. If this was my worst moment, then it would hurt a lot less to pull myself together and start contemplating what I could actually get out of living.

With the support of therapists and guides who assisted in my development in the years that followed, I began to reclaim the real me. I decided to choose the best life experience possible. I dared to believe that I deserved to feel good, look good, to be dynamic, creative and free. It didn’t happen overnight and I could not have done it without the expertise I sought, along with a load of effort and persistence. This was the start of my ‘Authentic Path’.

"If this was my worst moment, then it would hurt a lot less to pull myself together and start contemplating what I could actually get out of living."

Finding Purpose

There was no silver bullet that got me into shape, a series of steps and moments of illumination led to my weight-loss and improved well-being. One of these steps involved honouring my desire to be an art-full singer, so I joined a singing school to nurture my innate talent. This gave me a sense of purpose and motivation to make the necessary changes for healing and transformation.

I used yoga, dance, fitness, counselling, reflexology, hypnotherapy, along with a commitment to my vocal studies which called for heightened self-awareness an artistry. Over time, a more positive attitude and sense of well-being began to accumulate and I liked it a lot.

During that time of transformation, I joined a slimming program. Within 7 months I had reached my goal weight. My new figure caused a stir, heads were turning and a number of my colleagues started to join the slimming class that I had been attending. I went crazy buying clothes which showed off my new figure. I wore bright colours and dyed my hair red. My hiding days were over.

"Over time, a more positive attitude and sense of well-being began to accumulate and I liked it a lot."

Life is Hectic Sometimes

I worked hard to progress in my studies and keep my bills paid through jobs I took. At times took part-time work to allow more time to study, that also meant living on a shoe-string budget. It was worth it. I studied languages & world cultures, spirituality & the advancements in science and technology, all while remaining committed to my vocal studies and exploring additional art forms.

During those years, I maintained a steady weight, until years later, having started my first business, life got hectic again. I was in new territory in both my work and personal life and the spot light was bigger and brighter. I got scared. An area of my life was still being affected by anxiety, if I continued to ignore this fact, all my other work would be in vain. This is what happens when you do this Authentic Path stuff, you come to face to face with your fears and they will not let up until you resolve to fight back.

It was a tumultuous time of stress, anxiety and emotional challenge. My weight slowly returned to where it had been in 1999, before my journey of transformation ever started, I was dismayed. Despite so many successes, here I was losing the battle with my weight. It coincided with the fact that I my sense of purpose was starting to fade.

Not all Dreams Come True

Some people’s sense of purpose comes from being a parent, having and being a loving partner or having a fulfilling job. Having a sense of purpose propels us to attain our goals. But not all dreams materialise the way we desire, even if we have worked hard to make them real. I had two choices, rethink my purpose or shake things up to see if a new pathway would emerge. I chose the latter.

Adventures in the Algarve

By managing my resources carefully, I travelled to Portugal’s Algarve, to see what opportunities might arise there. I reached out to the business community there and after one week I found a way to stay there on a very low budget. I spent the summer months in a caravan not far from the sea. I took part-time work in a cafe, rode a bicycle (in record breaking heat) up and down very steep hills and I volunteered during a fire on the mountain.

I shed some weight with my new survival routine and I had a sense of achievement as a result of my adventure. I made new friendships and I felt at peace there but with regards to recovering my sense of purpose, I was not any clearer.

Adventures in the Algarve 2019

Starting Over & Letting Go

I returned home and slowly my weight began to increase until a year later, everything changed. Within 4 months, I lost a stone and reached my goal weight just as I did 20 years earlier. What had changed? How did I achieve this amazing result in such a short space of time? It’s never one thing but there were some significant things that made a real difference.

I had returned to Portugal in the winter after that summer adventure. This time I would not be frantically trying to figure out if I could make my life there. I decided to let go of all expectations and just enjoy the beauty of the place and take things as they came along. I would be grateful for the experience, knowing it would be a long time before I could have this opportunity again.

The most amazing things happened before, during and after this trip. New people entered my life, filling me with ideas and possibilities I had never previously anticipated. I became quite tuned in to the fact that these encounters were not accidental. A series of events unfolded, it was like I was being prepared for a part in a show. Even though a friend died tragically during that period, despite the shock and sadness, it still felt like it was all part of a plan. I was being taken care of by some higher power in every decision I made and in every action I took. I didn’t know where it was leading me but I felt a very strong purpose behind it and from this I felt more assured that I was on the right path.

Ready for Change Once more

With a renewed sense of purpose and fresh outlook on life, I was ready for real change once more. One of my new friends introduced me to some applications that monitor fitness and nutrition. Without hesitation I downloaded them to my phone and started to implement them. These apps have completely changed my eating habits and exercise routine and within four months of use I am amazed at what I have achieved. The two apps I use are Google Fit and Cronometer and the good news is that they are free.

Google Fit allows me to set fitness goals. It records my move minutes and heart points based on distances I walk and how much I exert myself. It can record other types of exercise too, but walking had been my usual exercise until recently. Now I have started running. I never used to run.

Cronometer is my ‘secret-agent’ nutrient-monitor; it shows my calorie allowance and my BMI (body mass index) for my gender, height and age. Cronometer also shows me the amount of nutrients I am ingesting on a daily basis in relation to the recommended in-take. For example, if I am not getting the recommended amount of calcium, I need to add extra calcium based foods to my diet to get the balance right. Or I may discover that I am over-doing it on certain nutrients such as carbohydrates and fats, which causes me to adjust my portion size of foods which contain these nutrients.

"Having real data before my eyes gives me the power to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating."

Author of Seven C's to Calm - Reclaiming your Anxiety-free Self

The Cronometer requires me to weigh every edible thing I put in my mouth. I don’t see this as a chore because I’m getting good results. I have a small digital scales on my kitchen table which makes it very easy for me to weigh my servings. Having real data before my eyes gives me the power to make the right choices when it comes to healthy eating.

Using the Cronometer has influenced me to eat smaller portions of rice and pasta while increasing my in-take of vegetables and fruit. The Cronometer doesn’t tell me what to eat but I’ve been choosing non-processed foods as much as possible. I have introduced variety as there is nothing fun about eating the same thing every day.  For example, I have a breakfast box which I’ve stocked up with a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. I have hazelnuts, pecans, brazils, linseed, poppy, chia and sesame seeds, dates, prunes and sultanas. I have a jar of porridge oats and I maintain a supply of fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, melon and oranges.

In the mornings, I choose different combinations of these breakfast foods. I weigh my portions and enter the amounts into the Cronometer. One morning I might have yogurt with slices of orange and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and linseeds and the next morning, I could have porridge with dates or chia seeds.

Cronometer has given me the incentive to prepare my lunch and snacks for days when I am on the move, this means I can more easily stay within my calorie allowance and save some money too. I’ve started to explore new foods such as quinoa and yam and I experiment with flavours through use of spices and herbs. Instead of boiling my vegetables, I roast them in olive oil so as to retain all the flavour and texture. I still enjoy chocolate and cake treats now and again and the odd glass of red wine but I always stay within my calorie allowance.

Another advantage of using both of these apps is that they synchronise with each other. Google Fit tells the Cronometer how many calories I burned during my daily exercise. These calories (kilo-calories) are added to my daily allowance of calorie intake which means I can enjoy more of the food I like.

In both apps, I can record my weight as it changes and view a chart that shows my record over a period of time. I take into account that it’s normal for weight to fluctuate slightly from day to day and especially for women going through menstrual cycles.

Consistently using these two apps has allowed me to lose a stone weight (6.4kg) and to maintain that weight by staying focused on what I eat and on my exercise routine. I definitely recommend giving the apps a try. However, if you are serious about maintaining health and fitness you should realise that your mental attitude will play a big part in your success and this ties in with having a sense of purpose.

Inspiration for healthy living

"If you’re serious about maintaining health and fitness you should realise that your mental attitude will play a big part in your success and this ties in with having a sense of purpose."

Mind, body, heart and soul need to be working in unison. All aspects of yourself need to shift into a new gear in preparation for success. I share my story to provide inspiration for your unique Authentic Path to well-being.

Key Things to Note

  • Remember, I did not achieve success alone. I sought support for the things that were impacting my mental and physical health. Learning how to deal with anxiety led me to be more confident in the area that had been its trigger. I wanted more people to know that it is possible to reduce anxiety, so I wrote a book to support people who want to do this for themselves. My book is called ‘Seven C’s to Calm – Reclaiming your Anxiety-free Self.’ I also became reflexology specialist and I now provide Authentic Path coaching & courses for people who want to make their lives amazing.
  • Before embarking on any significant weight-loss programme you should consult your doctor, especially if there are underlying mental or physical conditions that are impacting your body weight.
  • While I’m a fan of the Cronometer, it does have some anomalies in terms of exact nutrient content of some branded food. The app is constantly being updated and improved with feedback from its users.
  • Forming new habits and sticking to them is easier when you have an accountability partner or someone who joins you in your new routine. Meeting new people with new perspectives helps to move us out of old ways of thinking and acting. Be open to making some new friends with a healthy outlook on life.

I hope you choose the best life experience possible for yourself, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight and fitness level appropriate to you. If my story resonates with you and you would like more ideas for your Authentic Path and Wellness, sign up to receive more through my newsletter.

Caroline Cunningham

Transforming your life is possible at any age, my own journey is a testimony to that. I believe authenticity and wellness are intrinsic to success in all areas of life. It takes courage and passion and they are within you, waiting to for the spark to set them alive. When you read my posts I hope you will get sense of my capacity to help you to succeed with your dreams and goals. Check out my books, online courses and personal wellness programmes designed to guide you towards the most powerful authentic version of yourself. Learn more about my journey here.

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  • I Discovered My Passion

    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

  • More Aware of Signs of Stress & Anxiety

    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

  • Authentic Path Inspiration

    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

  • A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

  • Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen, We Are Holistic, Ireland

  • Opening Up to Life’s Wider Possibilities

    I recommend Caroline for her creativity and ability to open one up to wider possibilities in life.

    Mairin O’Rourke, Co. Wicklow

  • Importance of Time for Self Care

    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

    Mag, Co. Carlow

  • Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

  • I Discovered My Passion

    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

    More Aware of Signs of Stress & Anxiety

    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

    Authentic Path Inspiration

    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

    A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

    Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen,
    We Are Holistic, Ireland

  • Excellent Mentor - Feeling Boosted

    Caroline is gifted and is clearly an excellent mentor & I will work more with her in the future. Caroline boosted me to get onto the right track very quickly, without me even realising. This means Caroline was very able to make me understand what I needed to do. (Focus for Success Programme).

    Alison MacColl, Reflexology Therapist

    Importance of Time for Self Care

    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

    Mag, Co. Carlow

    Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

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