How Vowing NOT to Lose Weight Helped Amy Slim Down*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This month we have been highlighting Success Stories for people who set New Year's resolutions last year and stuck with them, to help you begin your own journey to success. Today we introduce you to someone who started 2013 with a resolution to try new foods instead of a goal to lose weight, which had previously not been successful. What she found was the year she chose not to set a weight-loss goal and focus on something else, she actually achieved weight loss, too!

Name: Amy Gross
SparkPeople Username: BrandNewAmy
Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
Occupation: Magazine Editor
Age:  46
Starting weight:  218
Current weight: 179
What was your New Year's resolution? My goal was to try 10 new vegetables in 2013. They didn't have to be exotic, just vegetables that hadn't made it into my typical ingredient list -- beets, turnips, Swiss chard, kale, and so forth.
Why did you set a New Year's resolution?  I always do, and probably for the same reason most people do: new year, clean slate!
What did you do to stay motivated? Staying motivated to stick with this resolution was easy. I did what I love to do: browse cooking sites for intriguing recipes featuring the new (to me) vegetable I was looking to try.
Why do you think you stuck with your resolution when so many people give up? That's easy: because instead of being about deprivation, my resolution was about eating and trying new things! I had always set the "lose weight and get healthy" resolution every other year and failed. Ironically, in 2013, the year I chose not to set that goal, I actually achieved it! So far I'm down 37 pounds.
What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful in sticking with your resolution?  As I mentioned, I love browsing cooking websites for new recipes. One of my favorite sites,, actually has a recipe index where you can search for an ingredient, and they'll show you a bunch of recipes that include it.
Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I lost 20 pounds doing my first challenge, so I thought I'd try again. Turns out, I was completely unmotivated, and I backslid a bit before losing again. Then I injured my hip while running and had to take some time off from it. My weight loss has always been slow, I deal with plateaus all the time, and I'm getting older. The triple whammy! But I'm super proud of the weight I've already taken and kept off since March. 
What was the hardest part about committing to your New Year's resolution? Finding recipes that both my husband and I would be willing to try. He's a pretty experimental eater, which is great, but it turns out that after encouraging me to try Brussels sprouts, he's not as crazy about them as I am. But even he acknowledges that trying new veggies helps keep us out of a recipe rut.
Did you experience any other benefits (improved relationships, reach other goals, improved self-image/confidence etc.) while sticking with your resolution?  I've met some wonderful and supportive people (mostly online) through my various weight loss challenges and they have been fun to take the journey with. It's always great to bond with people who just get it. The other perk to losing weight and livening up my culinary repertoire is discovering an entire new wardrobe in my own closet. There's nothing so fun as being able to fit into clothes you haven't squeezed into for years (well, except for buying new ones).
What advice do you have for others who might set a similar resolution for this year? Set a goal that's smallish and attainable, and look at it as a challenge to yourself from yourself, not as a punishment for past sins.
Now that you've succeeded with this resolution, have you/will you set any other goals?  I set goals all the time: "Today I'll track all of my food." "This week I will drink 8-10 glasses of water every day." "In three weeks, I will be running 2.5 miles." When I meet (or even better, exceed) those small goals, the bigger ones suddenly seem much more achievable.
How did SparkPeople help you achieve success?  I follow SparkPeople on Facebook and enjoy the daily polls, bits of wisdom, and funnies. And I really look forward to SparkGuy's daily Facebook post, telling me to "Hit 'Like' if I exercised at least 10 minutes or took any other steps to achieve my goals." There's something so satisfying about being able to hit that button. I do it every day!

*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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