Starting off, I want to thank you call for your support throughout my journey so far. I am down 100.1 pounds BUT still have a ways to go before reaching my goal of 160 (or is it 150 lbs? We'll talk about that at a later date.)
SO. . . Besides support and well-wishes, I have been getting an outpouring of questions about just how I managed to lose 100 pounds in 7 months.
Well, here's my secret:
I found a magic genie lamp and was granted 3 wishes. . .
I was a contestant on The Biggest Loser. . .
I counted calories, exercised, and created a deficit (nearly) everyday for the last 7 months.
DING, DING, DING! And we have a winner.
Seriously guys, I didn't take any magic pills, I didn't have weight-loss surgery, and I didn't go on some crazy fad diet. I just simply ate good food, counted calories, and exercised.
By this point, I understand that some readers have moved on from reading this post because I didn't provide some groundbreaking answer to how to lose weight or how to break through a plateau. I'm sorry. I'm going to be real. I'm going to tell you what worked for me, what I am going to continue to do to lose weight, and what may/may not work for you (of course, please consult your doctor before starting your own diet/exercise regime.)
Ok, what I did.
I wake up every morning and head to the computer. I log into my BodyBugg software and set myself up for the day. I plug in my armband and download my data from the day before.
Here is the screen I saw this morning, data from yesterday's caloric intake as well as yesterday's calories burned and subsequent deficit:
After I am done with my BodyBugg ritual, I log into SparkPeople. At this time, I still log intake on both web-sites. Each site offers something different and I kind of use them as back-ups for one another.
This morning routine sets me up for my day and roughly takes about 5-7 mins. Then I am free to start my day.
I log into the sites throughout the day to log my food. Because I am on summer vacation from school and eat all of my meals at home, it is easy for me to log all of my meals seconds before I eat them. Pre-logging and planning meals ahead of time is something I do during school or when I know I won't be home to log before a meal. For me, it is easier to log before I eat, rather then after. I like to know where I stand, as far as my caloric and nutrient intake, before I eat each meal. (I have had occasions where I have logged after a meal and it worked out just fine, I just prefer to log beforehand for peace of mind.)
Now that I am down 100.1 pounds, my caloric intake has dropped, from my initial 2200 calories a day, to 1700 calories a day. 1700 calories a day still affords me some awesome eats!
To be honest, I don't follow any real "eating plan." I eat when I am hungry and not when there should be a meal. YES, this means that I do not eat breakfast everyday. I know, I know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but since my schedule is not set at the moment (I wake up anywhere between the times of 6am-noon) I listen to what my body wants.
(BTW, a goal of mine in the next month is to get back into a schedule of sleep and awake. Summer vacation really threw me off.)
Also, I have to be clear that sometimes I do not eat 100% of my calories allowed for the day. Some days I will eat close to 1700 calories and other days I will eat 800-1000 calories. Obviously my lower calorie days are NOT days when I am exercising. Those are usually the days that I am stuck sitting behind a desk all day at school not moving much. Eating low-cal is NOT a daily occurrence - once again, I do not starve my body - I eat when I am hungry and the foods I eat are healthy, nutritious foods.
So, let's get to the food. Here are some pictures of what my kitchen looks like today. Please keep in mind that if you think it looks sparse, it is 6am on shopping day and Tim is still sleeping. We haven't been to the grocery store yet today (our scheduled shopping day) and will have a hefty haul of nutritious goodies filling my kitchen later this afternoon.
My "pantry." Here I have a ton of spices, canned goods, and "back-ups" of commonly used foods. I always stock plenty of canned tuna because it is one of my all-time favs.
Like I said, we haven't been grocery shopping yet today, but I always keep this area filled with fruits and veggies. We ate all of the bananas and apples this week.
In this cabinet, beef jerky, Kashi cereal (my new fav,) Craisins (which are awesome over low-fat vanilla yogurt or in salads,) and 100 calorie pack popcorn. The white-bread hot-dog buns are Tim's - I useArnold'ssandwich thins that I keep in the refrigerator.
Fiber One bars, Larabars, Special K, (Tim's Life Cereal,) low-sodium/sea-salt mixed nuts, almonds, and individual packs of pretzels.
Inside my fridge is my giant Brita water filter, (stuff left over from our 4th of July BBQ that I do not eat - like the coleslaw,) Whole Foods 365 brand low-fat Vanilla yogurt (my ALL TIME favorite food item at the moment,) 2% milk, Pyrex dishes of pre-portioned and pre-pattied lean ground-beef and turkey, half a spaghetti squash, turkey bacon, Pyrex dishes of cubed watermelon, hummus, salsa, celery, baby carrots, and spinach.
In the freezer, turkey burgers, green beans, corn, blueberries, strawberries, mixed fruit (I make a lot of smoothies,) frozen meat (behind,) and Tim's Eggo waffles.)
Boca burgers, Boca Crumbles, Boca Chik'n patties, MorningStar chicken strips, "back-ups" of cheese, cream cheese, and Egg Beaters. Edamame, pre-portioned and pre-pattied turkey burgers, Dannon yogurts (frozen,) and hot dogs left over from the BBQ.
I should note that we shop at Sam's Club for the bulk (no pun intended) of our food. We pre-portion all of our meat when we get home and put only what we will eat that week in the refrigerator and store the rest in bags in the freezer. For more "specialty" items I shop at Whole Foods and Pick N Save.
A few of you have asked for a complete run-down of my weekly menu. Honestly, it's all over the place. Here are some examples of things that I eat.
Egg Beaters, salsa, Arnold sandwich thin, and 2 slices of turkey bacon.
Kashi cereal, 2% milk, and an apple.
Fiber One bar, 2% milk, and a banana.
Low-fat Vanilla yogurt, blueberries, and strawberries in a smoothie.
Celery, peanut butter, and raisins (or Craisins.)
Arnold sandwich thin, hummus, wilted spinach, and shrimp.
Boca Chik'n patty, sweet potato fries, and BBQ sauce.
Tuna, hummus, and wilted spinach in a tortilla/wrap.
Easy pizza: Flat-Out bread, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella. (add a variety of toppings - mushrooms, tomato chunks, olives, pineapple, sausage, Boca crumbles, ham, etc.)
Tacos or nachos (w/low-sodium unsalted/lightly-salted tortilla chips): turkey meat or lean ground beef, romaine lettuce, low-fat sour cream, corn, salsa, and grated cheese.
Huge salads. Romaine, spinach, nuts, raisins, corn, edamame, black beans, and salad dressing. Can add whatever you'd like - sometimes I add meat to my salads (i.e. sliced chicken breast.)
Baby carrots and peanut butter.
VitaTop, VitaMuffin, or Larabar.
Hummus, salsa, and tortilla chips.
I always try to add at least one fruit and one vegetable to each meal I eat and also include fruits and veggies into my snacking throughout the day.
(Note: I also try to make sure carbs are 45% or less of my daily caloric intake AND I watch my sodium. When I eat a lot of both carbs and sodium I tend to retain a lot of water weight. I also rarely eat "out" and if I do, try to pre-plan what I will order ahead of time or, if that's not possible, order sensibly (i.e. a small salad, or baked salmon.) I also do not drink soda.)
Besides logging my food, I also measure and weigh everything. I have a huge stash of measuring cups in my drawer and even a tiny Pyrex measuring "shot-glass" for measuring salad dressing.
Exercise is/was the other piece to the puzzle that made up my 100 pounds lost. Again, this is something that is very individual. I try to "really" exercise at least 5 times a week.
I started with the C25K program but then had gallbladder surgery and was advised by my doctor not to run because of possible bone deformation (passed down from my mother.) Now, I walk a lot and LOVE riding my bike. I also work out with my Wii Fit and videos like Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred.
The key, for me, in exercise it to mix it up. I have a very short attention span as it is, therefore changing up my exercise routine is important to keep me motivated.
I always take my iPhone (or iPod) with me for music. Again, this keeps me going.
Oh, and I count shopping as exercise. Sometimes I'll go to the mall and just window shop (or try on clothes with no intention of buying) BUT it keeps me up and walking for hours on end. I strive to achieve 10,000 steps a day.
If you are interested in tracking your workouts, I use the RunKeeper app on my phone. There are tons of outlets for tracking - SparkPeople (exercise and food tracking,) DailyMile, etc.
Phew, that was a lot of information.
7 months and 100.1 pounds lighter, that is what I did. Counted calories, exercised, maintained a deficit, and was strict with myself. I don't mean to say that you can't eat what you want - you can! I just mean, be sensible. I love pizza BUT I know I can't eat a whole pizza, so now I make my own "healthier" version.
It's all about balance, it really is.
I started at 338 lbs. 7 months ago and hopefully will be even lighter in the weeks, months, and years to come.
No magic pills, no fad diets, no reality shows, just simply eating well and moving!
I know there was a ton of information in this post andyou may still have questions. Feel free to ask. You can also e-mail me at JewliaGoulia@aol.com