A couple of Spark members asked me for some tips and advice on how I lost over 90 pounds. Here is a random list of what I have done to lose 93.4 pounds since August 2011! I used to weigh 250 pounds. Now I weigh 156.6! I haven't been this weight since 2005! I have been pushing hard to get to my weight goal of 155 pounds, but I am extremely happy now with how much I have accomplished so far! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask! Sorry if any are repeats! I am sure I forgot some things too.
My main advice is this: everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for you. Try, tweak, and experiment until you find a routine that works for you. Then you may have to go back and alter some things to help you reach your goals! And you may have to change your goals too!
For those of you celebrating it - Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for all of the support, advice, and kindness from everyone! I won't be eating anything my family is having for our Thanksgiving dinner except a garden salad. This is the third year I will be bringing my own platter to dinner!
1. I track my exercise on the fitness tracker the best I can! If I forget a day, I go back and add it.
2. I track food everyday on Spark when I eat it. I try to stay in range of fat, protein, carbs, and calories. I am not on a low-carb or high fat diet. I try to keep everything in moderation.
3. If I can’t track right away, I go back and add what I ate.
4. If I know what I am eating before I have it, I pre-add it to my tracker.
5. I use the Spark SmartPhone Application when I can’t get to a computer
6. I make sure I eat enough. Eating too little isn't healthy. I use the trackers to help me find out how much I ate during the day.
7. I don't weigh food, so if I think I am over 1 serving, I count it as 1.5 or 2 depending on what I think is correct.
8. I don't eat red meat. I don't consider myself a vegetarian, but I don't eat sausage, bacon, steak, burgers.
9. I eat Turkey burgers, ground turkey or chicken sausage, tuna, other types of chicken. It is easy to replace turkey meat with beef in many meals such as Tacos, meat sauce, meatballs, meatloaf, chili
10. I eat lots of veggies with dinner! The more veggies I have, the less meat/rice/pasta part I have
11. I try to get no salt added or low sodium foods.
12. I try to get no sugar added or sugar free foods. Low sugar foods tend to be less calories than regular foods.
13. I don't eat fried foods like mozz sticks, cheesesteaks, crispy chicken, etc. The only thing I do eat occasionally is french fries and tortilla chips
14. I join 5% weight loss Spark challenges for 8 weeks. I do the best I can with what they offer, and also I make up my own mini goals (like no French fries for 8 weeks during the challenge)
15. Instead of mayo, I try to replace it with light dressing or mustard or hot sauce.
16. Fat Free doesn't automatically make it better. I use light dressing instead of Fat free most of the time.
17. I don't eat cookies or cake or candy on a daily basis. Most weeks I go without having any of this. I don’t eat certain sweets ever (such as brownies and doughnuts)
18. Occasionally I will have some icing off of someone else’s cake, but otherwise I just say No.
19. I would rather have more dinner than a brownie. I feel like my body could use the nutrients instead of the sugar!
20. I cut back on cheese a lot. Most of the time, I don't even taste cheese on a sandwich. So I cut it out!
21. It has been about 2-3 months being dairy free now. It is extremely difficult, but it helps with my stomach problems.
22. I use egg whites 80% of the time. Sometimes I have 2 egg whites & 1 egg.
23. I don't use any butter or margarine at all. I completely stopped using it and eating it. Corn on the cob is plain, no butter on potatoes, none!
24. I use oil sprays or maybe a bit of olive oil depending on what I am cooking
25. If I eat out, I make a lot of changes to what I am getting. If it has cheese, I say no. I order extra veggies, but ask how they are prepared. Steamed is good. I used to feel bad about what I am changing, but it is worth it. Now it is second nature for me to make changes to everything I order!
26. I eat 50 calorie sliced wheat bread or five-grain bread when I have bread.
27. I eat whole grain pasta and brown rice when I can. I try not to eat pasta too often because I just want more and more and more! Sometimes I cave in and have extra servings because it is just so good! I try to make my own sauce out of diced tomatoes, but I do still use jar sauce.
28. I eat 90 calorie granola/fiber snacks occasionally. One day I would like to make my own bars!
29. I don't eat potato chips or buttered popcorn. I have low fat popcorn sometimes!
30. I like pretzels, reduced fat wheat thins... like I said before, I don't weigh food, but I try to count out the serving size if it says it on the package. I count it out at home and keep mini-snack plastic bags full so I can just grab one serving at a time.
31. I do like tortilla chips & salsa though.. but I cut back on that a lot! I don’t think I would be able to completely stop eating that food – but I accept that I can have it occasionally. I just try not to go overboard!
32. I drink water and diet iced tea and hot tea most often. I LOVE iced tea, but I hate how much sugar there is in it! I try to make my own and use sweet n low (although that isn’t good for me either)
33. Sometimes I have a small glass of fat free almond milk or use almond or coconut or rice milk with healthy cereal.
34. I don't drink soda except for the rare diet coke (if I have an alcoholic drink - but I try to stay away because the calories are crazy in booze drinks!)
35. I take progress pictures of myself and compare them to my old self. Seeing my whole body really makes a difference. You don’t have to be naked in them, but seeing the changes really helps motivate me to keep going!
36. I didn't have the motivation to exercise for months. I would go for 30 minute walks with my dog maybe once a week.. but I didn't feel like doing it. Something finally clicked a year ago & I exercise more now
37. I schedule my exercise and treat it like an appointment. If I cancel a Dr’s appointment, I reschedule it – same with exercising now!
38. I think I wanted to be more fit because everything changed. I feel happier, healthier, and full of energy.
39. I first wanted to lose weight just to be skinnier. Now I want to stay healthy. I get sick less often, and that is a HUGE motivator for me.
40. The scale pushes me a little bit, but mostly I just want to be a better person.
41. I measure myself every once in a while to see what progress I have made off of the scale
42. I keep track of other non-scale victories (like smaller pant sizes and best 5K times)
43. I get frustrated when other people constantly bring up my “strange” eating habits, but this is the choice I MADE for myself. I can either eat whatever food I want and gain back all of my weight, or I can deal with the comments people make every once in a while. I choose the comments and the healthier lifestyle.
44. Occasionally I watch & perform exercise videos on Spark. Some are even exercises you can do while sitting at your desk.
45. I have tried Zumba, yoga, pilates, and kickboxing.
46. When I can, I like to walk around the park or go for a kayak ride.
47. Spark changed my whole world, and I love sharing it with other people. I don't normally talk about my situation unless someone else brings it up because I know many people wouldn't understand how much it changed me for the better.
48. I learned that everyone needs their OWN routine and path to reach their goals. What works for someone else doesn’t always work for me.
49. When I start to get stressed, I sit and take a minute. I try to go over every situation in my head and try to look at every outcome. Sometimes I can’t help the stress, but I try to be realistic about it the best I can.
50. I don’t have cheat days – if I really want something, I will eat it! I go over what the “consequences” will be before I decide if I am going to eat it or not. I don’t feel guilty about what I eat anymore. If it will bother me too much after I eat it, I just won’t eat it!
51. There are good days and bad days. Not just on the scale, but in life. Some days I wake up happy. Other days I am moody, and I just want to eat everything in sight. I just try to stay positive and realize that the bad mood will eventually go away as long as I keep pushing!
52. I know some of us want the weight loss NOW, but it does take time. If you don't have the time now to drastically change your diet - even small changes help. Every step counts!
53. It is better to take your time than to give up! A couple of days of going over calories isn't the end of the world.
54. It is TOO easy to put weight back on, so I start over even if I get off-track!
55. I cook batch meals when I have time and freeze them.
56. Crockpot meals with lots of veggies are awesome! They are great for batch meals and also for a meal for more than one.
57. I pack my lunch at least 4 of the 5 days I work. I save money and have a healthier option instead of fast food.
58. I keep snacks like almonds, protein bars, and trail mix in my cabinets at work. My co-worker jokes with me saying that I could feed the office for a week if we got stuck in the office!
59. I add fruits and veggies as snacks when I can. They are tasty and good for the body.
60. I create grocery lists before I go to the store. It really keeps me on track instead of just roaming around wondering what I should buy for the week.
61. Occasionally, I eat protein bars instead of having a sandwich at work. Sometimes when I feel like I am going to get grumpy because I am hungry, I eat a protein bar. Even if I know I will be out of range for my food for the day, I would rather eat that! A grumpy Kimmy is bad news!
62. Reward systems are awesome. I used to give myself some rewards such as a new workout outfit or a haircut for completing goals.
63. If you normally drink soda every day for lunch - try not having it Monday through Thursday. If you can do that, let yourself have some on Friday. If it is too hard to give it up again once you have it, then try a different reward system.
64. Sometimes I have water instead of having a snack. Sometimes it really DOES help curb my appetite.
65. Drink water, water, and MORE water! Even when I am not thirsty, I try to drink as much as I can.
66. Sleep is extremely important. I used to stay up really late and only had 4-6 hours of sleep. Now I try to have 7-8 hours of sleep. It really makes a big difference for me especially when I had a tough workout. The sleep gives my body a time to rest and recover. Plus, I have less headaches now and I am less grumpy!
67. I take vitamins due to low iron and low vitamin D. I never took any weight loss supplements or medications or anything like that.
68. When I can, I try to park further away in the parking lot. Instead of fighting for a spot in the front, I park far away and walk the extra 30 seconds each way.
69. Sometimes we eat because it is habit. Example - If you go to dunkin donuts and get a coffee & donut every morning, try to change this routine. Cut out the doughnut and bring yogurt instead.
70. Or cut out going to starbucks or dunkin donuts or the fast food restaurant all together!
71. I bring my own food & snacks to parties and to other houses. I used to feel funny about this, but now I prefer it. Some of my friends like the "weird" food I bring now.
72. Experiment with old recipes to make them new. Use fat free cheese instead of regular or cut the amount in half. Use ground turkey instead of beef. try chicken sausage instead of pork sausage.
73. Stick to serving sizes even if you don't track it. I think the serving size for wheat thins is 16. Try actually counting out 16. Or have an actual 1/2 cup of ice cream to see how much that really is! I could choose 2 cookies or a whole bunch of grapes. Sometimes it is worth it to have the “bad” snack, but then I will be hungry much faster!
74. Sometimes a bite can make all the difference. If someone is having pie, take one forkful if you can. If someone has cheese fries, just take one if you can. Just one or two bites to give you the taste can satisfy cravings. It doesn't work for everyone though!
75. Even if you have a day where you eat four slices of pizza and two pieces of cake - Don't get too discouraged because we are making healthy decisions other days. Don't give up!
76. I ask questions – I ask random Spark Friends for recipes or for tips on how they lose weight. Knowledge is power!
77. Research! I constantly look up new recipes, motivational quotes, and other weight loss information online. I have looked up everything from Paleo diets to how to get rid of loose skin! The internet has a lot of great resources! I just remember that what works for someone else may not work for me.
78. Sometimes I use my lunch break to get exercise. When it is nice outside, I walk around the complex!
79. I give myself pep talks. Sometimes I need to talk myself into doing something and sometimes I need to talk myself out of doing something stupid!
80. Sometimes when I want a snack, I chew some sugarless gum instead. It sometimes helps me when I am so close to a meal time – it prevents me from too much snacking
81. I am not on a DIET. I have a healthy lifestyle. To me, diets are strict and most people don’t like them. I have learned what foods are better for me, and I try to eat them most of the time. I do have the occasional skittles… but most of the time I stick with something better
82. I read weight loss success stories. Everyone has their own goals, and I love reading how other people reach theirs. Even people who just started their journey are inspiring to me. It is fun following other people!
83. I try to give advice when I can. Many people have helped me and I love giving advice when I can. Plus, telling people random facts about myself like “I don’t eat brownies or mozzarella sticks anymore” really helps me be proud of myself.
84. I try to have ME time when I can. I go to craft and pet fairs by myself because I enjoy them.
85. Since I started my journey, I have tried new things like horseback riding, indoor rock climbing, Frisbee golf, and archery. It was fun and some new things count as exercise too!
86. When I can, I get a buddy to exercise with me. That extra push makes me want to exercise more sometimes!
87. I take compliments more often now. I used to be self-conscious when someone said something nice about me because I was feeling negative about myself. Now, I say thank you and I really mean it!
88. I eat a healthy breakfast every day. Even if I only have store brand low sugar oatmeal, that still counts as something.
89. I try new foods. I didn’t used to like asparagus. Now I really enjoy it! I never thought I would ever like something like spaghetti squash – now I love it.
90. I remember I am only human. I make mistakes. I am more forgiving of myself now! I try to figure out what is important and I try my best to be my best. If I slip, I try to regain my focus and keep moving forward!
@SHARONGOODRIDGE: My exercise schedule changes every month or two months. I used to just jog/walk outside to do 5K training and I also did zumba once a week. Recently, I did 10 weeks of cardio kickboxing 2 times a week and also did pilates once a week. Now, I am just doing 1 day of yoga and walking when I can. The cold weather is holding me back a bit because I prefer to be outside when I walk!