How I lost weight during COVID-19
The factors that lead me to lose 22 pounds in 2.5 months, my lowest body weight to date
235 lbs was what I weighed after I finished mechanics school in 2003, I was 20 then. I was always a chubby kid but the weight really packed on during high school when I would eat whole pizzas and consume 2-liter sodas to myself. Mayonnaise sandwiches and party size bags of chips were my go-to after school snack. Even though I was a bigger kid, the weight never seemed like a problem until the day I saw myself in a photograph. I turned to my sister, and said, “do I really look like that?” If I remember correctly, even she was in shock. You don’t normally notice weight gain or loss when you frequently see someone. Most people you see often don’t even notice weight gain or loss until the 8 lb mark (don’t quote me on that number, I remember reading that somewhere.) But that was the moment that I decided it was time to do something about it.
One of my best friends whom I’m still friends with today was a bodybuilder. I watched him go from a skinny weight of around 140 lbs in HS to a whopping 215 lbs in college. The drastic bulk was his attempt to gain muscle. He did what’s known as a dirty bulk. Which is just consuming everything in sight. Gearing up for his competition he shed the fat and came down to shredded 155lbs and placed 2nd in his first competition.
He became my guide to the beginning stages of my first weight loss endeavor. I copied the basic bodybuilding weight loss diet of eating egg whites for breakfast, chicken breasts for lunch and dinner, and cashews as a snack. In two weeks I lost 15 lbs and that’s when I really got motivated to get healthy.
From there I started lifting weights and watched my fat turn into muscle, but in the mirror, I just looked stocky.
Like many, my weight loss journey went through its ups and downs, and for the longest time, it seemed like I would hover between 180 lbs — 190 lbs.
When I moved to California in the spring of 2016 I was 185lbs, at least that’s what I put on my driver's license and for the first 2 -3 years in LA, I would yoyo between 175 lbs — 183 lbs.
My diets went from juice cleanses, to high protein/low carb, to vegan, and everything in between.
In the spring of 2019, I moved to San Francisco and took up boxing and kickboxing as well as started cycling again.
With the addition of not partying or eating out due to lack of friends, I got my weight to hover between 170 lbs — 175 lbs, once and a while I would break down into 168–9lbs. For as long as I could remember, I could never really get below that number.
Because of that, I thought I was destined to just stay around 170 lbs for the rest of my life.
Now fast forward to the present day, Summer of 2020 mid pandemic (not really sure if it’s mid at this point), I weighed in this morning at 150.6 lbs, a number I have never seen in my life. This is how I did it.
Once I heard we were going into a shelter in place and people were stocking up on toilet paper and junk food, I told myself that I would take this time to really dial in my diet.
I reverted back to a vegan diet 90% of the time. One day out of the week, I would eat whatever I wanted for my meals. It was my cheat day, and it helped me stay on track.
I reverted to a vegan diet, actually, I should say Plant-Based, because Veganism really means you don't consume or wear any animal products, and that’s not the case for me.
So, the reason I reverted back to a plant-based diet is that I remembered how good I felt when I first tried it a couple of years ago. I just felt healthier and lighter. My skin looked good ( I have eczema which is practically cleared) and I had a lot of energy.
The majority of food that I ate was minimally processed as possible and as fresh as possible. I made life easy for myself and bought a lot of frozen vegetables, frozen fruit, canned beans, brown rice, and vegan pasta.
These were all easy to make meals that wouldn’t deter me from eating them and ensure that I didn’t say “fuck it” and go down the street to In-N-Out.
I walked…I walked a lot.
I was still living in San Francisco right before shelter in place started, and 2 days before it went into effect, I moved back down to LA, Long Beach specifically.
I moved in with my best friend for two weeks while I waited for my new apartment to be ready. So in an effort to try to erase the 8 hours of sitting on the couch during zoom meetings and to discover my new neighborhood, I went for walks.
The first day was 2 miles, then I would go one block further every time. Eventually, on the weekend, I would walk up to 8 miles!
I didn’t have a scale to weigh myself, but I looked like I was losing a lot of weight and I felt great. The only thing was that we were eating a lot. Being in a house with other people is difficult when you’re trying to stay on a strict diet.
I would consume all the home-cooked meals we made, or we would order food, and we definitely snacked and baked a lot.
When I moved into my apartment and jumped on my scale, I was surprised to see that I didn’t really lose any weight, and I was 172lbs. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
I decided to add running and cycling
This is when things really got kicked into high gear. Now that I was living alone again, I was able to dial back in my nutrition and now I added extra cardio to my lifestyle.
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I would ride my bike for an average of 20 miles. Wednesday I would rest, but walk at least 3–5 miles. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I would run for an average of 5 miles. As time went on, I increased my mileage on all fronts.
One weekend I was able to clock in 50 miles on my bike, 6.3 miles on my runs, and up to 9 miles on my walks. The fat was melting off faster than I could count. I was on a high! I remember telling my sister “look how piercing my cheekbones are!”
That’s how I lost weight during COVID-19. My goal now is to drop another 10 lbs. I still have fat on my body that I would like to lose and I would like to get down to 140 lbs which have been a little difficult lately.
My bike rides and runs haven’t been as motivating and so the weight loss has slowed down dramatically, but I’m happy with how my body looks. I’m content at the moment, I just need to stay on track.
What I’ve learned during this pandemic, is that you can really achieve whatever you put your mind to.
I’ve lost a total of 22lbs in really a span of 2.5 months.
That’s a lot, and I’m not sure if that’s really recommended, but it’s proof that once you put your mind to something you can achieve it. I didn’t really need the pandemic to lose weight, but it was something I used in my head as a tool to motivate me and to really get me going.
My advice to anyone reading this is that no matter what your weight loss goals might be, learn to be happy with yourself. Learn to love yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
Also, keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. Part of the journey is trial and error, and not to be discouraged if something is not working for you. Keep going and don’t stop. We all have the capability to achieve what we desire.