How I Lost 35 Pounds in 6 Months – Without Dieting

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For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my weight. Even when I was working with a nutritionist and a personal trainer and doing “everything right” – I still had issues losing excess weight. At the end of 2020 I hit a rough patch in my life and ended up gaining 40lbs. I knew I needed to make a shift, and I did! Here’s how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months without dieting: (and how I’ve kept it off!).

As a reminder: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be! Any claims in this article about how I lost 35 pounds in six months with zero diet or routine are based on personal experience and research. Please read my full medical disclaimer before engaging with my content or anecdotes. This post may contain affiliate links to certain products. I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you make a purchase based off of my suggestions. 

How I Lost 35 Pounds in 6 Months – Without Dieting

When I say, “for as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my weight”.. I mean that very literally. I grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s when ‘cocaine chic’ was the style. My body just isn’t naturally stick thin.

I tried a nearly every crash diet that would work, for a time, but I’d get bored of it. I would gain (typically more) right back. I fluctuated between a size 6 and a size 16 for the majority of 2002-2018.

Early 2018 I was starting to resent my work, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. Instead of looking at my reality for what it was – I chose to escape those feelings through food and weed.

By May of 2018 – I knew I had gained weight based off how my clothes were fitting. (AKA: I only fit into my leggings and even they were starting to feel snug.)

I stepped on the scale and was 218lbs. I had always struggled with my weight, but I had never gone over 195ish. Seeing “200+” was a sticker shock for me and I knew I needed to make a change. I joined a gym and made a commitment to take better care of myself. 

When I was overweight I was always very good at avoiding cameras. So, I don’t have many pictures of “Fat Jackie”. However, the day I joined the gym in 2018 – they made me take a photo.

Over the next year I worked with trainers and nutritionists to not only lose weight but also get strong for the first time in my life. I had always said, “I have no upper body strength” but truthfully, I had never tried to have upper body strength!

Within 8 months I was down to 183 and was able to do 40 pushups (the real ones, on your feet) within a minute. 

However, no matter what I did I could not get below 183.

I hit a plateau there.

The trainers and nutritionists were asking me, “are you sure you’re not cheating” on my diet plan.

I WASN’T! I was eating in a massive caloric deficit, but I could not lose any more weight. 

Then COVID hit and the gyms closed. I lost the business I had spent the last five years growing and just overall wasn’t motivated to continue strength training and cardio at home. Summer of 2020, I picked up yoga on YouTube and would go for walks, instead. 

I had been running a business for the last decade and COVID gave me the gift of rest. In that restful space in summer of 2020, I really settled into my feminine energy. Easeful, creative, soft, open, vulnerable, restful, nurtured. I knew that I had gained a few pounds but I didn’t care! I was happy and living my life.

Towards the end of 2020 as the days got shorter (and darker) so did everything else in my life. Between losing my business to COVID, my brothers heroin addiction spiraling out of control and going through a tough breakup – I (once again) escaped my feelings and my reality through weed and food.

I found myself over 200lbs again (at 204).

My birthday (January 6, 2021). A friend made me take a photo (I really didn’t want to) but it was the shake up I needed. I knew when I saw my face that I was over 200lbs again. And I realized I was wearing my “all black uniform” that I leaned on to hide under whenever I gained weight.

I didn’t want to be on this roller-coaster anymore. Dieting, losing weight, being comfortable in my body, gaining weight, being uncomfortable in my body… rinse and repeat, up and down.

I knew that the way I had gotten back into shape in the past wasn’t going to work this time. 

If it had truly worked last time: I wouldn’t have ended up back here.

I didn’t want to obsessively plan my workouts or count my calories and macros. My mind, body, and soul were craving a different shift. Instead of bringing the masculine, controlling, energy to my body that I used to lose weight in 2018 – I brought more of my feminine, intuitive, energy into it. I started to move and eat intuitively and in that space the weight fell off – and has stayed off.

If you want to hear more about my journey you can watch my video:

How I Lost 35 Pounds in 6 Months – Without a Diet or Routine

First and Foremost: I lost 35 pounds in six months by inviting a mind, body, and soul approach. This approach wasn’t just about “food” and “working out” and tending to my body.
This approach was also:
•my relationship to food and eating
•my feelings and emotions
•my habits and patterns
•my subconscious beliefs
•my relationship to movement and working out
•my body image
•my body itself

I didn’t just “lose weight” and tend to my physical body.

I also tended to my mind and soul.

I had to acknowledge patterns and habits I had created with food. I had to dig into where those habits were born and uproot them to start fresh.

I started my new journey in February of 2021. The above left photo is April of 2021 (I had lost 10-15 pounds and was starting to get comfortable in my body again). The above right photo is July 2021 – 6 months into my lifestyle change and down 35 pounds. I think it’s also super important to note the photo on the right was the day after I got home from spending 8 days in italy where I didn’t restrict myself AT ALL. I had pasta, cake, wine, gelato, and all the other best Italian goodies every day on my trip!

In my shift, I finally surpassed my former plateau at 183 and found myself at 169. Here is how I lost 35 pounds in six months without a diet or routine:

How I Lost 35 Pounds in 6 Months – Without a Diet or Routine

Cultivated a Strong Body-Mind Connection

From intuitive eating to mindful movement and even just tuning into my intuition deeper: a mind-body connection definitely helped me lost 35 pounds in 6 months without a diet.

Our bodies are so much more intelligent than I believe we will ever know and definitely more than we give them credit for. My body often “requests” I eat certain things to support it, for example, a few days before my menstrual cycle begins I start to crave red meat.

This mind-body connection also helps me take care of my body through mindful movement where my body “requests” I take a heated yoga class or other form of movement to support my body. Other times my body is requesting that I don’t do some form of movement! Recently I didn’t realize how burnt out I was until my body gave me a bunch of red flags about wanting to take a strength training class, instead pushing for a restorative yoga class.

Intuitive Eating

I have been doing the soul work for nearly a decade now and the more I dive into that work – the deeper my intuition becomes. Tuning into my intuition for what to eat just made sense. It’s listening to MY BODY above all else and throwing out the other noise. Intuitive eating was such a huge part of the shift that I made that I wrote up much more about intuitive eating. As intuitive eating isn’t a “new” practice – I also included what it looks like for me, in this article: What is Intuitive Eating + More Importantly, How to Do It.

Stopped Counting Calories

I used to track everything I ate on an app. My first order of business in shifting my approach with my lifestyle change was to delete the apps and stop obsessing. I didn’t want to restrict myself anymore. I also couldn’t help but note that if this approach worked for me – I wouldn’t have found myself overweight again. I needed to gain the will-power and confidence in eating what I knew intuitively was right for me. Not eating “what I was allowed to” based off of how many calories I ‘had left’ for the day.

Started Counting Ingredients

The biggest shift for me came when I started to count ingredients over calories. Calories are just numbers, but ingredients are real (or, in some cases, fake). I made it a mission to eliminate anything *FAKE* from my food. Focusing on the food quality, instead of the caloric count, made a massive difference. I eliminated anything artificial from what I was consuming. Many of the ingredients in our “foods” are harmful to our bodies! Here are 7 ingredients I avoid at all costs: even in organic foods.

Eating Full Macro Meals

I used to avoid carbs thinking that they were the source of my problem. However, carbs aren’t a problem. REFINED AND PROCESSED carbs are. I started adding more fruit, potatoes, beans, and legumes into my diet. I also started to eat full macro meals.

Meaning each meal, I ate had a protein, a fat, and a carbohydrate and more importantly: ~BALANCE~

Changed My Opinion on What Healthy Means

For so long I believed “skinny” was “healthy” and that was far from the truth. One of the shifts that helped me to lose 35 pounds in 6 months was to look at health beyond physical appearance. You can read more about what healthy means to me here.

Stopped “Cheat Days” or “Cheat Meals”

This idea that eating certain (“bad”) foods was “cheating” had to go. Food isn’t the enemy and if I wanted a healthy relationship with food, I had to start treating food as my friend – not my foe. That healthy relationship required me to let go of the idea that I could only eat certain foods, on certain days.

Instead of having “cheat days” or “cheat meals” I started to create healthy spins on some of my favorite “unhealthy” foods.

I used to LOVE bacon, chicken and ranch pizza – so I created a healthy spin on that. I used a ranch dressing with clean ingredients, organic pasture raised chicken, organic bacon and raw cheese and made a clean version inspired by a very unclean dish!

While it wasn’t the greasy pizza I was used to – it still was super satisfying! I’d even argue that knowing it was created with all clean ingredients made it even more satisfying.

Stopped Vilifying Fruit for Being “Too Sugary”

For a very long time I looked at fruit as, “bad”. I believed that the carb/sugar count was too high in fruit to be good for me and I stayed away from fruit. However, after switching to intuitive eating, my body kept asking for fruit.

I started to dig into it and learned that fruits and real fruit juices (without added sugar) “do not cause a significative difference on glycaemia, glycation and oxidative stress”. New studies cite, “a noxious role for added sugars in foods” and “a harmless effect of fruit sugars without added sugar”. This essentially means that the sugars from fruit don’t negatively affect our bodies the way that processed sugars do.

Fruit wasn’t the problem – my opinions and attitudes towards, “sugar” was!

I used to avoid fruit at all costs – now it’s one of my favorite snacks!

How I Lost 35 Pounds in 6 Months – Without a Diet or Routine

Aligned my Diet with my Menstrual Cycle

One huge shift I made that definitely helped with how I lost 35 pounds in six months without dieting or a routine was aligning my diet to my menstrual cycle. During each phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle our hormones fluctuate. We can opt to support our body through those fluctuations with different foods.

Different foods = different nutrients.

Supporting my body through different foods in each phase of my menstrual cycle has also helped to alleviate some of the PMS symptoms I once encountered. My period is also much less debilitating and much more manageable than it used to be. You can read more about my experience in shifting to eat with the menstrual phases as well as the best foods for each of your menstrual cycle here.

Let Go of Guilt

This was one of the harder aspects of my journey. I had SO MUCH GUILT when it came to food. Guilt when I indulged. Guilt when I didn’t indulge. I guilted myself for, “letting myself go” when I gained weight. Then I guilted myself for not being kinder to myself.

I knew that if I wanted to move forward to find peace and ease with my weight, my body, and food – I needed to let go of the guilt. Whenever feelings of guilt would creep up, I would affirm to myself, “this feeling doesn’t serve the life I want to live”. 

Letting go of guilt wasn’t an overnight endeavor. However, I had spent the majority of my life prior living in that guilt. I owed it to myself to develop the discipline necessary to overcome the guilt. Letting go of the guilt I had helped me lose energetic weight. I talk about how to remove stored emotions in the body and lose emotional weight in this article. Dealing with the emotional aspect of the guilt I was holding on to played a huge part in how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months.

Stopped Skipping Dessert

Part of letting go of guilt meant to indulge, without the guilt. Not only did I stop skipping dessert, but I also dropped any guilt I had around satisfying my sweet tooth.

I did, however, ditch the over processed cakes, candy, and pre-packaged desserts. Instead, looking for healthier options for my desserts like these “Almond Joy” bites I made/love. All the sweetness with none of the guilt!

Changing my mindset about dessert and treating myself really impacted my overall success with how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months without dieting.

Life became about a balance between the indulgent dessert (above left) and the delicious, but not refined, dessert (above right).

Got on My Natural Circadian Rhythm

Our circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that regulates our human cycles (alertness, appetite, hormone production, and body temperature – to name a few). The circadian rhythm is ruled by the natural light of the sun (or the darkness by a lack of sun). This means that our circadian rhythm is controlled by, and aligned with, day and night.

Aligning my lifestyle more with the sun, and less with screens, played a huge factor in how I lost 35 pounds in six months with zero diet or routine. You can also read more about why I aligned my lifestyle with my natural circadian rhythm – and how you can, too.

No More Late Night Snacking

Getting onto my natural circadian rhythm meant that I was in bed and asleep by 11pm most nights. Prior to shifting my lifestyle 10-11p was around the time I would have a late-night snack (often, after a late-night indulgence with weed).

New science suggests that for healthy and active humans a small, nutrient dense snack before bed might benefit our overall metabolic health. However, the foods I was eating at night were not nutrient dense nor were they “small”. (Think: stoner snacks.)

Ditching the habits of smoking weed and snacking at night had a really positive effect on how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months without dieting.

Tended to My Parasympathetic Nervous System

We’ve all heard of “fight or flight” which is driven by our sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system drives our, “rest and digest” responses. I started tending to my parasympathetic nervous system to find more ease within my mind – later learning that it also helped me with my physical body health! This system of nerves relaxes our body is responsible for much of our digestion. 

Proper digestion = weight loss.

This topic is so important that I wrote about my favorite ways to tend to my parasympathetic nervous system. There were also some things I had to stop doing to support my parasympathetic nervous system, which I wrote about here. Allowing my rest and digest to take priority DEFINITELY played a huge role in how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months without dieting.

Affirmations for A Healthy Body Image

I *love* affirmations. They have helped me so much. Not just with my body image but with my overall mindset. I believe that affirmations are one of the easiest ways to reprogram your subconscious mind. And my subconscious mind had a lot of work to do when it came to my body image.

Using affirmations for a healthy body image really helped me get through the first few months of my lifestyle change. The affirmations helped me to view my body as beautiful (even at more than 40lbs overweight) and to appreciate how much my body has helped to support me over the years.

Developed a Strong Sense of Self

Piggybacking off of the affirmations for a healthy body image.. I also started working on my sense of self. Being deeply rooted into knowing who I am, what I stand for and what I believe in was one of the emotional/mental shifts that aided me in how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months without a diet. I wrote up an article on “how to develop a strong sense of help” that can assist others in finding their own sense of self.

Mindful Movement Over Methodical Movement

When I first joined the gym in 2018 – all my movement was methodical and tracked. From the amount of calories I was burning to the amount of steps I was taking: I knew every metric of the movements I was taking throughout the day. And it didn’t have long term sustainability.

When overhauling my lifestyle, I stopped tracking how many calories I was burning or how many steps I was taking. Instead, I started to move mindfully, intuitively.

Some days I run. Some days I do strength training. Some days I do Pilates. I do yoga every day – but sometimes it’s slow stretching and other times it’s a fast paced flow in a heated room or an ashtanga practice to develop strength and stamina.

I lean into what I feel my body needs but also what I feel my body can support. Sometimes that means I must cancel strength training and opt for a slow-paced yoga class – just because that’s what my body is asking for. 

Took Accountability

It seems obvious but until I really took accountability for my actions – nothing was going to change. I knew that artificial sweeteners weren’t good for me, yet I continued to consume them. I knew that certain foods weren’t healthy or good for my body, yet I continued to indulge in them.

Deep down I knew that if I wanted to achieve new goals, I needed to be transparent with myself. I needed to let my body know it could trust me.

Taking accountability for allowing myself to get so unhealthy and uncomfortable in my body allowed me to take the power to change my situation into my own hands and definitely was a big factor in how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months.

Released Old Resentments, Angers, Fears and Doubts

Similar to releasing the guilt – one of the things I did to lose physical weight was to process the emotional weight I was holding onto. Often when we don’t allow ourselves to fully feel our feelings, or when we deny their existence, they will lodge themselves into our body. This is a bit of a complicated subject so I wrote up a whole article about removing stored emotions from the body and losing energetic weight. You can also watch me tell a (not so pretty) story about losing 7 pounds overnight.

You can also watch me discuss everything in this article in my video:

As I mentioned earlier, and as you can gather from the different pieces of this article, “how I lost 35 pounds in 6 months” wasn’t really about the food I was or wasn’t eating or the exercise I was or wasn’t doing. While movement and consumption definitely plays a factor – it’s SO IMPORTANT to be healthy mentally and spiritually if you want to see long term results with your physical.

While losing weight and looking/feeling better in my body is a huge plus. There are also some other positive changes I’ve seen since overhauling my lifestyle. Finding my balance is a proper gift that keeps on giving! Here are some of the other benefits I’ve seen, outside of losing 35 pounds in 6 months with zero dieting:
•better skin!
•healthier hair
•less anxiety
•less irritability
•easier menstruation
•less PMS during my menstrual cycle
•I cured my asthma!

In finding weight loss that wasn’t dependent on following a strict diet or exercise routine – I also found stability. I’ve had heaps of emotional/spiritual ups and downs since then and I haven’t lost myself in emotional eating or escapism through other unhealthy habits. I don’t beat myself up for indulging in delicious foods or skipping workouts anymore! Overall my lifestyle is just much healthier. And the best part? I got to keep all my favorite foods! In fact, I indulge more now than I did before.

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