My Weight Loss Journey (part 1)

This will be the beginning of a series of posts about how I have lost 43 lbs since April 2011.  Stay tuned for more as well as some new recipes I've created too!
I used to watch the Jenny Craig commercials and the Weight Watchers and think, “When we have money, I’m going to do that and finally lose weight.”  Or I’d eye the special diet food at the store and sigh, thinking I just needed money and I could finally get my weight under control. 
I resigned myself to the thought that I just wasn’t an athletic girl.  There’s no way I was going to start exercising regularly.  Just no way.  And I figured I must not have the “skinny genes”……I’d even be secretly angry when I’d see “skinny” people eating Twinkies!  How could they eat that and not gain weight?  It just didn’t seem fair.

Then I read a book called Made to Crave last summer.  My entire way of thinking shifted.  I realized that I was using food as my crutch.  I realized that no matter how much money I have, I would never lose weight and keep it off if I kept making excuses and if I depended on things to help me lose weight. 

Yes, there are great tools out there to lose weight.  But ultimately, the ONLY way I would ever lose weight and keep it off was if *I* changed.  I’ve finally come to the realization that I am ultimately in control over what I put in my body and how much I move it! 

If I’m completely honest, I will tell you what spurred me to begin this journey:  my 20th high school reunion is this summer.  I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone seeing me the way I was.  I was ashamed, and I was depressed.  But I was determined to make a change.  I was not going to fail.  Not this time.  I entered a brave new world where I was no longer focused on what I can’t have, but on all of the new things I can have.   Just that simple shift in thinking has helped me stay successful for one year and counting!

I’ve written before about how exactly I went about losing 43 lbs, but it’s worth repeating:  I ate less and moved more.  That’s it, folks! There’s no magic pill.  There’s no specific diet.  But specifically, I did several things that led to my success:

I joined an accountability group of 5 women who met with me weekly to weigh in, kind of like a free Weight Watchers meeting.  We met every Monday morning at a different person’s house (hostess made a healthy snack).  We shared recipe ideas (even did a meal swap twice).  Knowing I was going to step on the scale in front of those women kept me going throughout the week.  I needed that in the beginning.  And we eventually started a Facebook group called “30 Day Challenge” where we all posted our beginning body fat percentage and then posted our ending percentage.  The one with the biggest change got a $20 gift card from everyone in the challenge.  I think our first challenge had 14 participants, so the winner got $280!  Personally, I cut my body fat percentage in HALF!  I never won the challenge, but I lost so much weight and inches that it really didn’t matter.  Oh ok, it would have been nice to have those gift cards to buy new clothes to fit my new body, but honestly, it was wonderful to be part of a group of women who were making serious changes in their lives!

 I signed up for www.myfitnesspal.com and started tracking my calories.   I chose to make healthy meals my whole family could eat, and I measured out all of my portions so I was in control over exactly how many calories I was taking in.  I generally eat 1200-1400 per day.  There are a lot of diets out there that promise you weight loss, but I wanted something that I would stick with long term, and something that was safe for my whole family.  I do not eat “low fat”, “sugar free”, or other diet foods.  I eat REAL food, but more on that later.

Finally, I exercise for at least 20 minutes EVERY day.  Before I spent at least several hours on the computer (mainly Facebook & browsing the web) daily, so I had absolutely NO excuse to spend at least one half hour a day working out.  I chose to begin with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.  I’m not going to lie.  It was difficult!  I didn’t want to do it, and it hurt.  But I kept at it and posted daily what day and week I was on in the program.  The accountability of my Facebook friends kept me going.  After the first 30 days, I moved on to Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 3.  It was at this point last summer that I decided I wanted to make money inspiring others to do what I did and joined Team Beachbody as a coach.  I bought TurboJam and Shakeology and the transformation of my body continued.  I also purchased a Polar GT4 heart rate monitor to see exactly how many calories I was burning.  My goal is to burn at least 250 calories per workout session.  I found that I love kickboxing and martial arts training as exercise!  Who knew?  My son is graduating to camo belt in Taekwondo this week, and I've seriously thought about signing up for the adult class, too!

Part 2 of this series will be the online tools I have used to get my weight under control.