Week 1 update! Project 135: my journey to permanent weight loss

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

As you know, I recently doubled down to focus on getting to 135 pounds, which I’ve chosen as my “dream weight” goal because it would land me at a BMI of 22 (right smack dab in the middle of a normal BMI range). When I was significantly heavier, it never even occurred to me that I might be able to get there. I always viewed my “dream weight” as the mid 150s, which would put me just on the upper edge of a “normal” BMI. I’ve since realized that the only thing keeping me from the 130s is my own mind, and this realization came from life coaches who have taught me how much power my thoughts have had over me — coaching has been a huge part of my life for the past year or so.
I am currently participating in a group coaching program which helps me focus my energy on specific goals, and is teaching me to be curious about my thoughts and how they are creating feelings and leading to actions in my life that do, or do not, serve my ultimate goals. I’m a pretty smart cookie, but I’ve come to realize that that only means I’m even better at deluding myself! ???? We often get caught up in our own brains and aren’t able to see things objectively without someone to reflect things onto, someone who can show us what our brains are doing to us. For some people, this might be a therapist (and certainly, for anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health diagnoses, a therapist is critical). For others, like me, this might be a life coach. (I’d refer you to mine, but she only takes on female physicians in clinical practice; if you happen to be one and are looking for an amazing life and weight coach, email me!).

This coaching program that I’m participating in runs for 6 months from May 11 through November. The program’s first week has been spent reassessing my life: what is working and not working for me in various areas including weight/food, physical/emotional wellness, career, relationships, fun/adventure, finances, spirituality, and greater purpose/contribution to the world. We take a close look at all of these areas and constrain ourselves to just TWO goals that we would like to achieve by the end of the 6 months, and then work on getting really specific about how we are going to get there each week and month. (If you didn’t catch my New Year’s blog post on goal-setting, check it out for my 10 tips to successful behavior change — I am currently putting my own advice into action!)

You’ve probably already guessed that my first goal is to achieve my dream weight of 135. This is the greatest achievement for me I could imagine, because I have struggled with overeating and my weight since I can remember — at least 40 years — and I’ve never been below 140. I remember being in the shower as a young girl and fantasizing about having a magic knife which I could use to melt away all of the excess fat on my body. (Now, I just want to hug that little girl!) I have many deep-seated beliefs about myself and my ability (or lack thereof) to develop a healthy and peaceful relationship with food, and working on these thoughts is the work of my life. I’ve learned in the past few years the basic biological, neurological, and psychological reasons why I (and you) overeat (see last week’s blog for a basic overview, and a bunch of great references you should check out!), and I now know that I can control my own thinking and behavior — it’s just about the ONLY thing I can control! It’s just going to take practice. Lots and lots (and lots) of practice.

(My second goal, if you’re curious, is the creation of my YouTube channel and publishing of my very first YouTube video: a career-based goal).

Having chosen my first goal (forever after to be referred to as “Project 135”), I nailed down my specific weight goals for 90 days, 30 days, and one week. I know it will get a lot harder the closer to 140 pounds I get based on personal experience, so I want to lose 15 pounds in the first 90 days (leaving me the last 10 pounds for the final 90). I’ve further parsed out this initial 15 pound weight loss goal to 6 pounds the first month, 5 pounds the second month, and 4 pounds the third month… and then, for me to lose 6 pounds this first month, that would look like at least 1.5 pounds lost per week for the first 4 weeks. (I know that weight loss is not even and steady every day, and that the scale can look even a few pounds different based on whether I ate a lot of salt, whether I’ve pooped, or where I am in my cycle — so I will not beat myself up if the numbers don’t exactly line up every single week — but I sure am going to do everything I can to try!).

I wrote down specific behavior changes that I planned to execute in order to get me to my first goal. Beginning Monday May 11, I started planning all of my food the night before. I was not stingy with my choices because I wanted the main behavior goal to be sticking to my plan, so I chose high fat/high protein meals (not keto — still eating plenty of carbs too — but no sugar and no flour). I planned to journal my eating, to wait until I was physically hungry before eating and jot my hunger scale down in my bullet journal as a way to promote my own mindfulness about it. Of note, I am not weighing or measuring my food, so I can’t give you a breakdown of calories or macros. Here’s an example of two days this week:

I used to be great at time restricted eating (the easiest form of intermittent fasting, IMHO), but just coming off of tons of overeating and high sugar days left me wanting to eat more and feeling hungrier, so I wanted to ease myself back into TRE by having a small breakfast each morning. But by Friday I was able to go back to having only coffee with Nutpods (my favorite plant-based creamer which is 100% fat) in the morning and waiting until lunch to eat. It helps that I’ve been on service on the inpatient wards this week, keeping me busy all morning… I find it much harder to fast when I’m idle!

So… did I reach my first week’s weight loss goal of 1.5 pounds?

YES! Can I get an amen? Now, it helps that the first week is always the best as far as weight loss, as you drop some extra water weight that you’d gained from all the sugar and salt you may have been eating… so I won’t get too big for my britches and expect a 2.4 pound weight loss every week. But it’s exciting to see it going back down, and it helps to have a little cushion so that if I don’t make my 1.5 pound goal in one of the upcoming weeks, it’ll still be possible for me to reach the 30 and 90 day goals I’ve set.

Project 135 stats:
Starting weight: 159.6
Week 1: 157.2
Total weight loss: 2.4 pounds (1.5%)

Things to work on:
1. Noticing and allowing urges to eat more and stuff my belly after I’m already satisfied
2. Noticing my thoughts and feelings about hunger and eating in the afternoons/evenings – why does the same level of hunger feel like an emergency at 5pm when it feels totally manageable at 9:30 am? (Why is the urge to eat so much stronger for me in the late afternoon and evening?)

Hope you have a wonderful upcoming week, and I’ll check back in with you again next weekend with my next update! ❤️




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