What I ate to help me lose 20 pounds

IN April I decided that I had to change my eating habits — well, I didn't really decide by myself, my teen daughter was training for track and field and needed to do some early morning sprinting, and I joined her to safely monitor her 5:30 am runs, but I'd mainly walk along the route.

I liked the morning air a lot, and even after she had reached her target miles, we still continued, as the early activities also helped our mother-daughter bonding.

Within a week of this exercise alone, when I went on the scale I was already down two pounds, without adjusting my diet. So I thought heck, why not? I had never been pleased with my flabby thighs, but I was too lazy to exercise before and each time I'd eat less, the scale barely moved. So to see that change was very encouraging.

So even without really planning to go on an exercise regimen, I started dieting without really meaning to, again, based off my daughter's meal plan. Here are the foods I ate, that I believe helped in further weight loss.

Starting weight: 152 lbs, minus two pounds

Ending weight as of July 2022: 130 pounds

Multigrain bread

I replaced white bread with multigrain bread, and made sandwiches for lunch — lots of tuna sandwiches.


I love soup, and because it's an easy one-pot, I was making soup several times for the week, with wheat dumplings, chicken meat and corn and potatoes. That would fill me up.


Oats for breakfast, whether in porridge form or cold, would keep me full until way past lunchtime. I also stopped using cow's milk, and switched to almond and soy.

Sparkling water

I switched soda for sparkling water, as I needed the fizz without the sugar and calories. I don't even miss soda anymore.

No oil

I used the air fryer instead of the frying pan, and would just lightly coat my foods in olive oil and air fry, instead of frying in oil over the stove.

Light on the butter and cream

I substituted regular butter for low-fat butter, buttered popcorn for unbuttered, and switched to black coffee instead of using creamer. I also found that coffee would sorta keep me full, so I'd have a second cup around 11:30 am, and could then push lunchtime up to about 2:00 pm.

Rice alternatives

I totally cut out white rice, and used whole grain quinoa instead, because I hate brown rice. I'm not really a fan of quinoa either, to be honest, so I eat mainly wheat dumplings and pasta with my protein.


A cucumber and tomato salad, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and some feta, is simply divine, and will keep you full. It's nice to snack on, and very refreshing especially when it's so hot outside.

Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it too. I was the laziest, most uninspired dieter, and I'd truly spend my time wondering if I should take out a loan to do liposuction, because though I hated my gut, thighs and legs, I had no drive to do anything about it. If it wasn't for my daughter, I'd still be on my settee watching Netflix. So change is possible, you just have to have someone and something to push you forward, so you can run off on your own.

Carla, 43, is a work-from-home software expert.

Have you managed to transform your body through weight gain or weight loss? Want to share your story with us? E-mail allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com

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