I am so flattered that my recent blog post with my before and after weight loss photos was read by a few people out there. I am even more flattered that I just might have inspired a couple of people too. The comments have been very kind and inspirational to me as well.
In the before and after post I briefly talked about the keys to my weight loss. I thought maybe I could expand on that a little bit in this post.
First things first, set a realistic goal weight and target date. Don’t just say, “I want to lose xx amount of pounds in xx months from today.” Give yourself some time to think about a meaningful target date. For me it was my 37th birthday. Maybe it could be 4th of July or your anniversary or your child’s birthday. If there is nothing momentous on the calendar that works within your target range then book something. Maybe you could book a weekend get away with your favorite person. Book a spa day for yourself and pay for it in advance. The fact that you put your hard-earned cash down on something in the future will help you stay committed to your goal.
So once I had my target weight and goal date locked in I did the following:
- Calorie counting (I tried to stay at about 1200/day) – I used LIVESTRONG.com to help me determine my daily calorie intake with their online weight loss calculator. You enter how much you want to lose and by what date and it will tell you what your daily calorie intake should be. I also used the site to log everything I was eating to keep track of my daily calorie intake. I’ve never counted calories before, it was too tedious. But I knew it had to be done to keep me in line. I counted calories religiously for the first 4 weeks of my diet and logged them. After that first month of logging, I just “knew” how many calories were in what (well at least the things that I ate on a regular basis). The site also allows you to input calories burned from exercising. There are probably other websites that do something similar, but this is the one that I stumbled upon first.
- Portion control – This is easier at home than at a restaurant. I never really paid attention to my portions before. Especially if I was eating in a restaurant. Now, I kinda have to. Next time you are eating out, order something sensible in a half portion (stay away from anything deliciously fried or with melty cheesy, duh) . If they don’t do half portions, ask for a to-go container and put half away when you get your order. You can save that for your next meal at home (no, not for a second lunch or second dinner.)
- No sweets – Easier said than done, I know. This is the hardest part for me. This requires sheer will power. For me, out of sight out of mind really works. I can’t have anything sweet in the house. If I do, then I’ll eat it. I do manage to stay out of my daughter’s little cookies or “tooties” as she calls them (for the most part). One day my mom-in-law brought over a massive piece of cheesecake for us. I had to tell her that if it stayed in the house I would literally eat the entire thing in one sitting. It was really sad to see that piece of cheesecake walk back out the door. But it felt good at the same time to “just say no.” Anyway, this is where you really have to just visualize your goal. Picture yourself in those jeans, or cute dress that you want to fit back into. Keep an inspirational pic of a thinner you taped to your pantry door. Put it as your screen saver or cell phone wall paper. It will remind you what you are doing all of this for. You. What I did was keep that darn pair of skinny jeans folded on my bedroom chair. They stared at me constantly (when they weren’t buried under a pile of clothes). However, I made the mistake of trying them on midway thru my diet, I was still way too big for them. It made me feel so unaccomplished, but at the same time it really helped to keep my butt in gear. Anyway, I kept raisins around for a sweet fix. And fruit, in moderation. At night after dinner when I get that “I’m craving something” feeling, I would have a cup of chamomile tea. I know, it sounds boring, but it seemed to calm my cravings.
- Very little carbs – There is no way I could go carb free. Especially since I was sweet free. So I would have rice with dinner or have my tostada creations mentioned here and here . Every so often I’d allow myself roasted potatoes for example.
- Active (mommy) lifestyle – Like I mentioned in the weight loss post, since I was on a lower calorie diet, I kept my workouts fairly light but consistent (for the most part.) I suppose I could have really done hard-core workouts, but then I’d have to replenish all those burnt calories to prevent from feeling run down. And I’m sure that my idea of replenishing would include a cheeseburger and fries with a milkshake. So I just made it easier on myself by staying active and going on frequent walks. Nothing too heavy duty. However, now that I’m at my target weight, I do need to incorporate more cardio into my current active lifestyle. Ugh.
So there you have it.
I’d like to mention that I kinda just figured this all out on my own and there is probably a more “scientific” way to go about it. But this seemed to work for me. I hope that if you’re reading this and looking for a thing or two to inspire you to shed a couple (or many) pounds, that this brings you some inspiration and encouragement.
You can do it!
Until next Monday,