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100 Pounds Lost in Eight Months--Here's How I Did It.....

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Monday, October 20, 2008

100 Pounds Lost in Eight Months

Ever since I reached my 100 pounds lost last week, I’ve been inundated with emails asking me, “How did you do it?”, “What motivated you to finally do it?”, “What did you eat/drink”?”, “How many calories did you consume?”, “What was your exercise routine like?”. So I decided I would type a blog to answer all of these at one time. Please feel free to continue to sparkmail me with questions. I'm happy to help if I can. :)

Here is my story.

The first thing I say is, half of this battle is a mental decision.

The Motivation Part
I know how hard it is to find that motivation. When you live most of your life with a love of food, and a body that gains weight like nobody's business. I've been on diets, on and off, since I was 13. My pediatrician put me on these horrible diet pills (per my parents request) at age 13, and I was only like 10-15 pounds overweight. But it was a sign of what was to be. (My sister was always skinny as a rail. Durn her! )

Honestly, one day this past February, I just woke up, and it was, as Oprah would say, if you're an Oprah fan, my "aha moment". I just sort of got it. I had this knowing that I could NEVER eat the way I've always eaten again. I had to eat healthy, and could never make a habit of eating junk again. Not that I can't HAVE junk once in a while. But a lifestyle of eating that way, no more. If you are prone to gaining weight, you have to realize, it will never do you any good to go on a diet. Never. Because what happens is, we go on a diet, lose weight, feel great, then think, "Wow, look at all this weight I've lost. Good job. Ok, now the diets over, yea me." Then we go back to our old ways of eating, and BAM! We're overweight again, sometimes worse off than before. You need to have your aha moment where you come to realize that eating like crap when we were kids can't continue into the rest of our adult life. You've no doubt heard it before, and it's so true. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change.

Now, coming to that point where you realize that is one thing. But actually choosing the healthy foods to make it a reality is another, I know. But I was so miserable, so unhealthy. I was so big and out of shape, I was, at least several times a week, thinking what my husband and kids would do if I died. Like, I was literally planning out in my head who would take care of them, how would my 3 yr old get along without me, since we are together 24/7. That should have been motivation enough for me to not have ever let it go this far in the first place. But it did. But now, I'm on the right path. Sometimes the Nike slogan comes to mind when I start thinking, "I don't feel like going to the gym to workout today." JUST DO IT! “Feel” has nothing to do with it. My time of the month, I feel like crap. Doesn't matter. Just do it. (And you know what, I DO feel better after working out in my TOM too, just like they say you will. And let me tell ya, I have serious female problems with my TOM, so if I wanted, I'd be perfectly justified in allowing that to be an excuse. But NO more excuses.)

There is a song by Carrie Underwood, (don't know if you listen to country or not,...) but part of it says, "I don't want to spend my life jaded, waitin, to wake up one day and find, that I let all these years go by, ....wasted....". I was listening to that the other day....and thought how that applied to me. I've spent 14 of my 15 years of marriage very overweight. I've not been able to take my kids to Six Flags because my rear won't fit in the seats, or teach my oldest to ride a horse, which was something I loved doing when I was younger. The list is a long one. I don't want to spend the rest of my 30's so big that I can't enjoy life with my husband and kids. I have red hair. One day I saw an older lady with red hair, very obese, walking with that walk that really fat people walk, like their legs are glued together...kind of a waddle. I saw her and thought, if I don't change, that will be me, and then I will have let my life pass me by. To be 50 or 60 and come to my "aha" moment. What a waste. Don’t get me wrong…not that it's not good to change at age 50. Anytime is better than never. But to have the ability to do something about it now, while I'm still fairly young, and not do it, would be a waste. It's like I got to look through a porthole or something, and see myself at that age, and think, "Oh, if I had only.....".

My “Diet” Plan
First I can say, if you're not ready to make a complete change of lifestyle, and if you're not ready to give up fast food, candy bars (cakes, cookies, etc), and if you're not ready to give up a lot of extra carbs, then you won't like my "diet" plan. And when I say give up, I mean about 95% give up. There is still room for an occasional treat, but for the most part, you have to be ready to say, "You know what, I want to be healthy MORE than I want to eat this food that's bad for me." Once you can reach that point mentally, it's really not hard anymore.

When I FIRST started, I told myself I would eat EXTREMELY healthy 5 days a week, and allow myself 2 days a week to eat a burger or some pizza, or a piece of cake, WITHOUT feeling guilty about it. Not two days to eat everything in sight. But two days when I wouldn't mentally punish myself for not eating perfect. This worked for me.

Literally overnight, I completely changed the way I had been eating. I cut out the obvious sugars: candy, cookies, sodas, high calorie juices, milk (while good for you, still has a lot of calories, and I drank a lot). I cut out cheese, high fat meats, white pastas and breads. I “went brown“, as I like to call it. Whole wheat, low-carb, bread, pasta, tortillas, bagels, rice, etc, and these, in moderation. I started eating more fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. And water! I finally started getting in my 8-10 eight oz. glasses of water daily, and I know that has helped tremendously.

For two weeks, I made this plan for myself:
Mon==liquids only
Tues==normal foods, but keep it all low cal, low fat
Wed===all fruits and veggies day
Thurs=== my free day. I used Thurs because hubby is off on Thurs, and I wanted more freedom to eat out if I wanted
Fri===all fruits and veggies day
Sat===normal, low cal, low fat
Sun==free day

(Then repeated it one more week. But I wouldn't do it more than two weeks at a time, as you'll need more calories than that, especially if you're working out. )

For two weeks I did that as a way to jump start my weight loss. I think I lost about 15 pounds those first two weeks. I was so excited I was ready for more. But as I increased my activity level, I had to increase my calories. You can't live that way too long. But I was SO heavy, I needed that initial boost. I tweaked this initial plan, and it just kept evolving. I soon gave up my two days to splurge. I was desiring to eat super healthy because I was having such great success. But what it eventually evolved to, is what I still do now. Eat really healthy, but have an occasional treat. WITHOUT guilt. I plan for it, I allow room for it in my daily calories, and I enjoy it. In the past, if I ate something that was "off" my diet, I would feel defeated, think there's no way I can lose all this weight anyway, and then just give up. This way, I planned for it and allowed myself to have it, but I know it's a treat, and not a normal food I can eat all the time.

For liquids, I would pretty much have lots of water, chicken broth, even tomato soup, low cal or sugar free pudding, sugar free Jell-O. My theory was, anything you can swallow without chewing that didn't have a lot of calories was ok. I know pudding isn't really liquidy, but it fell into my category. :) Mind you, I wouldn't eat a case of pudding, but you get the idea. Mainly broths. I made my own chicken broth, since the store bought kind has so much sodium. Just basically cook some chicken in water, with some onion, garlic, spices. If you make it, make a big batch. You'll want it often.

My Exercise Routine
When I started, all I was doing was a very light exercise routine, which consisted of walking around my neighborhood, and bouncing on an exercise ball at night while I watched tv. In April, we joined a gym, and I began exercising three days a week. I would walk and do weights. Once the pool opened in June, I began going in five days a week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I would ride 3-5 miles on the recumbent bike, swim for about 20 minutes, then do an hour of water aerobics. Tuesdays and Thursdays I would walk, ride the bike for 7-8 miles, then do weights for 45 minutes. By the end of the summer, I had lost around 80 pounds.

NOW.....I am up to 12-15 miles on the bike. I do intervals between the bike and the arc trainer. Then I do a ½ to 1 mile walk around the track, using dumbbells to do arm work while I walk. Works my arms AND keeps my heart rate up. Then I do about 25 minutes of weightlifting, alternating days with upper and lower body. Then, I finish up with stretching. (Don’t waste a good weightlifting session by not stretching your muscles afterwards.) I try to vary my routine up a bit, week to week. Even if it’s just the amount of weights I use, or the order I do the exercises in, or the intensity. Your body gets used to the exercises you do; changing it up keeps it burning calories more efficiently.

Tips and things I’ve learned along the way:

Remember, with veggies, corn, potatoes, carrots, a lot of the lighter colored veggies have more starches which convert to sugar. So limit those. I don't EVER ban a veggie, starchy or not. But I do try to limit them. The green veggies are your best friends. Plus dark reds/purples.

Lettuce---the greener the better. Iceberg does nothing nutritionally for you. I use it on sandwiches some times, and as a filler. What I mean by that is, I make a spinach salad, and toss in some iceberg for bulk. Baby spinach is what I use most of the time, but there are lots of green lettuces to choose from. I like spinach on my sandwiches, and in pita pockets, and wraps too.

Grilled Chicken---I like to grill chicken with this awesome Lime Pepper spice. I always grill extra. Then I cut the extra chicken up into small strips, put it in a small snack baggie and freeze. I’ll usually have about 3-4 of these small baggies to freeze when I do it. Then I use them in chicken salads, or in a whole wheat pita pocket, or in a wrap for lunches. They are SO yummy this way, and beats the monotony of a sandwich every day.

Veggie Steamer---If you don't have a steamer, I highly recommend you get one. I use mine all the time. It makes steaming things so much easier. My favorite is broccoli, or a mix of broccoli with onion, zucchini and bell peppers. It's a definite must have.

Breads---Look for the words, “enriched“ whole wheat flour or white flour, and look for “high fructose corn syrup“, or “sugar“. If any of those are high up on the list, toss it and look again. I have found a bread that is only 50 calories, the lowest I've seen. Is it homemade tasting?....no. But I can have a sandwich where the bread only equals 100 calories, so that's worth it to me. It's Nature's Own Double Fiber Whole Wheat.

Bagels---Again, check the labels. I have found one called Nature’s Own Carb Check (Whole Wheat). It only has 150 calories in the whole bagel. I like to eat one of these with peanut butter and honey before I go workout. I eat breakfast at 6:30 with my kids. I start my workout at 8:00, and don’t get around to lunch until noon. This breakfast, with it’s fiber and protein, keeps me satisfied through my workout until I can have lunch.

My Top 4 Tips:
1. Drink your water.
2. Log everything you eat.
3. Exercise (whether you want to or not)
4. Get support from your friends on spark! :)

Life will ALWAYS throw curves at you. There will ALWAYS be something to get stressed at. That's why you need to make it a HABIT of choosing healthy foods, and not turning to food for comfort. You have time. You CAN do something about it still. But remember, it's not a diet. That’s why I always say, Half this battle is a mental decision. Once you make up your mind that this will be a new way of life for you, the hardest part is over.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • REESE1011
    Just read your Blog today & I'm in aweee this is exactly what I need to help me eat Healthy plus loosing over 50 lbs.... emoticon
    777 days ago
    Thanks for the inspiration :)
    1181 days ago
    Inspiring journey
    1654 days ago
    Thanks for your inspiration.
    1946 days ago
    GREAT for YOU! and what an inspiration to myself and others.
    I have more than 100 to loose and am just beginning. again. lost 60 on a restricted carb diet from a Dr., then found every lb again trying to prove to myself that I didn't really need to be gluten-free. wrong.
    so now it's back to gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, kind of like a paleo-type regimen.
    this site and blogs like yours will be a great help. there is no room for excuses, my health and well-being is up to me.
    thanks so much for being willing to share and help others, and WAY TO GO!!
    1967 days ago
    You know what is really funny?
    This is pretty much the exact type of schedule I have used in the past to lose lots of weight - I simply slipped off the schedule for about 8 months (but didn't gain any weight back).

    For weight loss this is the way to go.

    I'm not sure about the only liquid days unless you're drinking a Muscle Milk or too (I swear by these, ladies and gents!), but this is all wonderful, sound advice.

    Two days a week to eat what you want as long as it isn't binging or munching on whale blubber makes it amazing!

    Eat frequently, small portions! Only bread is Natures own White Wheat or Double Whole Wheat (both of these are awesome & the only bread I've eaten in over a year!).

    Water, exercise, fiber, protein, frequent meals/snacks in small portions, and above all support and encouragement are key!

    Good luck to all out there still on a weight loss journey!

    We can do it!
    2313 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2422 days ago
  • JOGOAL120
    I love your biog, Great job.
    I was 182 and now I'm 144 I still have 30 pounds to go. Its been so hard now to lose even 2 pounds it seems that my body needs another shock. I think I have put to much sodium that comes from cans soap,tuna in can or in bag,so I will cut that now.

    Anyway, I admire you to have the will power is hard work but is worth it.
    And like my husband say, Is not about the taste emoticon
    2496 days ago
    Thanks for this blog! It's a great motivation. Congrats on your successes. That's awesome! emoticon
    2671 days ago
    Great blog!!!!!
    2740 days ago
    emoticon a very inspirational and detailed blog emoticon

    Have made you a emoticon so that I can follow your progress.

    Thx for taking the time to share your experiences. emoticon
    2744 days ago
    Thank You for the information!!!! You have done a Fantastic Job. . Congratulations !!!! You are emoticon
    2778 days ago
  • SHAY3272
    Wow!!! You you really give me hope. Thanks for all the great info.
    2781 days ago
    awesome that you lost 100# ....I'm on my way....I'm on the mental track now and it's gonna happen for me this year!! People like you are my inspiration! Thanks!!
    2844 days ago
    thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!
    2846 days ago
    This was very helpful to me. Thanks for sharing!
    2903 days ago
    great ideas and I will try them- good job on the weight loss- I hope this works for me as well.
    2905 days ago
  • SANDI4477
    wow, what an inspiration..i truly admire your will power and your determination to STOP MAKING EXCUSES...trust me, im a pathalogical EXCUSE MAKER....i had to realize when i stepped on my scale just a few weeks ago and saw 291.5 pounds I couldn't keep going any further.....just 2.5 weeks later im 282 pounds..YAY!!!! im very excited and i love tracking my calories on the nutrition tracker, it keeps me in check no matter how time consuming or inconvenient it seems i know its helping me and making me more aware. I dont think i could do what you did that first 2 weeks of liquid only days and fruit/veggie only days but i DEF watch my portions and the quality of my food with the occasiona treat....i just dont EVER want to feel deprived! Keep it up Sparkie! emoticon
    2907 days ago
    great blog
    2908 days ago
    Thanks for the inspiration :) You totally rock!
    2908 days ago
    Thank you for all the wonderful ideas, and the tip on the Nature's Own Bread.
    2919 days ago
  • JULIEB45
    Wow what an inspiration you are!!!!
    2928 days ago
    Woo Hoo for YOU! Super to find another Big Loser here @ SP!

    I too have lost 100+ and saw MANY parallels with your experiences & what works.

    Like ORIGAMIFREAK what seemed to finally bring me my "ah-ha" moment was a particularly nasty gastrointestinal bout which had me consuming nothing but water for several days. I had been "percolating" a lot of ideas about finally getting serious about living a healthy lifestyle, but this appeared to be my "switch"...it was as though my body was trying to tell me something and I finally "got it!"

    I LOVE biking and this past summer celebrated a wonderful milestone as I biked the Kal-Haven trail in Michigan...a 40+ mile trek...woo hoo! I'm hoping to build on that accomplishment with yet further distances.

    Hey, hope you don't mind, but just HAVE to "friend" you...! :-)

    2933 days ago

    Your story shares a lot of similarities with mine - I lost 100 lbs between Dec 2, 2008 and July 21, 2009.

    - One day a switch going off in my mind. (In my case it was after a particularly bad case overnight of reflux.)
    - Gradually building up the exercise
    - Gradually learning how to fine-tune my nutrition
    - Of your 4 rules, I share #2 and #3

    Here's to better health and quality of life for all of us!
    2933 days ago
    I like your Blog

    It hit home in more ways than one for me

    I too have loss 75 lbs. I agree I had to get my mind right first and realized this is how I am going to eat for the rest of my life. Never thought I would LOVE to exercise.

    I feel so overwhelmed to tell the world.... Walkwithme

    2933 days ago
    very inspirational!!! What a journey you've had...I hope I can stay as motivated as you have been....really enjoyed reading this!
    2933 days ago
    all i can say is
    best blog ever
    great inspiring story
    thank u
    2967 days ago
    Great blog! Thanks!
    2969 days ago
    Congrats! Great Advice!!
    2969 days ago
    That is great and very inspiring to the rest of us. Thank you so much.

    2970 days ago
  • MARLIN515
    This is probably the best blog I have read so far! It is what we need to read more of on SP..I love success stories!

    My journey began with a mental over-haul, developing good habits and believing in myself. Thank you, thank you!
    2970 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your success with us - it is very motivating. Congratulations on your weightloss.
    2970 days ago
    Well said! When I was reading I was thinking of how many of these things I have already done. I just need to keep going. Thanks for sharing.
    2972 days ago
  • ME2448
    Very Inspiring
    2972 days ago
    You are very inspiring! Thank you for sharing how you did it! emoticon
    2972 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    2972 days ago
    Although I am still working on it, I tell myself to establish a routine. I argue, " If it is part of your routine, you will just automatically do it when you think you can't."
    2973 days ago
    That is GREAT encouragement! Good for you!!
    2975 days ago
    Wooo girl thank you
    2975 days ago
    Thank you so much for your tips! Congratulations on reaching your goals! emoticon emoticon
    2975 days ago
    wow I am impressed. I would love to be that motivated . I need to be that motivated. thank you for sharing
    2978 days ago
    Great blog! Good job on your success!
    2991 days ago
    Great blog. Well done on your success. emoticon
    2991 days ago
  • GABY1948
    This is an awesome blog. I have forwarded it to several loved ones that it may help. Thanks!
    2992 days ago
    thanks for sharing your success story
    2994 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    2995 days ago
    Thanks for the tips!! And great job on losing all tht weight.
    2995 days ago
    hay i like your idea of a weekly list some days you eat some not etc i think i try that . Not sure i can do the liquid one tho as i feed my grandbaby two meals a day so i see food and she pokes it in my mouth NO REALLY SHE DOES HONEST haha true tho

    good blog emoticon
    2996 days ago
    Congrats and thanks for the tips :D emoticon
    2996 days ago
    Congratulations on reaching your goal.
    2997 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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