My weight loss plan

It’s nearing the end of January – so you’ve probably seen about 18 million blog posts about weight loss. A year ago I wrote a post about why I didn’t resolve to lose weight - and honestly a year later I can tell you that I’m 64 pounds less than where I was. Is that amazing progress? No. But guess what – - it’s REALISTIC progress. It’s a path that I know has changed my life. I’ve been slowly sharing my story all year through Instagram and Facebook, so I get a lot of requests from folks about what I’m doing. So today I’m going to lay it all out there with my weight loss plan. It’s not rocket science, it’s really kinda basic stuff – but I do want to share what I eat, how my mindset has changed and the tools I’ve used to keep up my journey for 14 months (including some new stuff that I’ve just started.)

1) I started thinking about food differently. Like radically differently. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to sink my teeth into a Big Mac about right now, but after it’s all gone, I know I’d have to walk 3 hours on the treadmill and it just doesn’t add up to me. I personally count calories. Really old school, really boring, but it totally works.

2) More fruits and veggies. I try to eat 9 servings of fruits/veggies a day. That takes up a HUGE portion of my food – but not my calories. I don’t always succeed, but it’s a good goal. I eat lean protein, low fat dairy, complex carbs and lots and lots and lots of fruits/veggies. (Here’s a sample menu of my weight loss eating plan if you’d like to see how I eat.)

My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter3) I keep track of everything I eat. The easiest way that I’ve found to do this is by using the My Fitness Pal app. The library of the app has every food you could ever think to eat – or you can scan the barcode of a food to get the nutritional information. It even tells you your percentage of carbs/fats/proteins has a guide to help keep it balanced. If you’d like to join friends to cheer you on, you can do that, too! (If you’d like to be friends on My Fitness Pal, look up ginaluker and send me a request.) If you don’t have a smart phone, you can also use the online version – both the app and online versions are FREE – yay!

4) I drink massive amounts of water. I do have my morning coffee and nightly glass of white wine, but other than that I drink water all day, every day. I drink seven 16.7 oz bottles of water a day. It seems overwhelming, but I pull out all seven bottles in the morning, and I can see my progress as the day goes on. I know by lunch I need to be on bottle 3 and by bed I need to finish 4 more. It works out to about a bottle every 2 hours – not so bad when you think about it.

5) I hired a personal trainer. This one is new to me, but I’ve seen massive changes in my body without a lot more weight loss just from the training. If you can’t afford a trainer, then walk a couple of miles a day. You want to get your heart rate up for at least an hour a day, five days a week.  If you are interested in hiring a personal trainer, my awesome-sauce girl Marilyn has given me some tips to help you find the right person:

  • Make sure your personal trainer is certified.
  • If your personality doesn’t click, then move on. (You’re going to spend a LOT of time with this person.)
  • They should have the utmost concern about you and should do anything they can to help you reach your healthy goals – you are NOT just a paycheck.
  • You’re paying for their time and expertise, so make sure they give it to you. (In other words if they are too busy with their phones, then they’re not concentrating on you.)

Brooks Ghost 6 Shoes6) Invest in the right shoes. Mine are Brooks Ghost 6 – which is on the upper end of the spectrum. Because I work out so much, I need good, comfy shoes and I’m totally willing to spend a bit more to get shoes that are great for my feet. Whatever you get, make sure they are comfortable and fit well – there’s nothing worse that walking three miles in horrible shoes.

TomTom Runner Watch7) Wear a heart rate monitor. I use a TomTom Runner GPS watch – but there is also another great option called a Fit Bit that works with the My Fitness Pal app. The TomTom Runner is a watch that you wear on your wrist, but also comes with a piece that straps around your lower chest to count your actual heart rate. It’s a great piece of equipment if you’re looking to invest. (I LOVE mine!) It hooks up to the computer to charge and shows your progress, where you’ve been and gives you a count of how many calories burned.

8) Getting pretty and stuff. OK – this one might not seem like a big deal, but I totally believe in it. Take care of yourself. You are worth it NOW… not 25 pounds or 225 pounds from now. Get a pedicure, get your hair done, get a massage – do something at least once a week to pamper yourself. I always feel better when my toes look pretty – so I go twice a month to get a pedicure. Take care of who you are now – pamper yourself or go and get pampered, either way you need to learn to embrace who you are and take care of yourself. Moms are notorious for putting themselves last – you need to be your best you to be the best mom you can be!

9) Set up a reward system. Because I have a LOT of weight to lose, I do it by weeks. For every six weeks that I stay on my path, my husband buys me a nice gift (he knows I adore nice shoes and purses.) If you’re not married, buy yourself a gift. It’s not about losing a certain number of pounds or inches, it’s an incentive to keep on this path for the long haul.

10) This is long term. This journey I’m on is not about a short burst of rapid weight loss to get me to a magical size. It’s about wrapping my head around the idea of thinking differently forever. Every healthy choice I make gets me closer to the healthy life style I want. It gets me closer to my weight loss goals. It makes me healthier than I was yesterday. Even when I slip and don’t register everything I eat for a few weeks or even a couple of months, I’ve still kept the weight off. When I’m diligent, then I see more weight loss, but I can see that spending the last 4 months  of 2013 off my “plan” showed me that I didn’t gain the weight back and I can make much healthier choices for the long term. It took me 20 years to put this weight on, it’s not coming off in six months. Heck, it could take six years – I don’t care. What I do care about is feeling better and getting healthier. And every smart choice I make means that is more and more possible.

I didn’t go on some freaky fad diet – I have changed the way I see myself, the way I look at food, and my entire attitude about exercise. And trust me… if I can do it, you can totally do it, too. It’s not a race, it’s not a fad, my weight loss plan is time tested advice: eat less, move more. That’s it. But the tools & ideas I’ve shared are really effective in helping to get the weight off and keep it off.

 

Comments

  1. Thank you!!! I LOVE this post!!! I started about a year ago trying to change my habits and my mindset. I’ve lost 61 pounds. I pretty much have the same philosophy, I don’t care how long it takes, I need to change the way I look at food and make changes I can live with the rest of my life. I have not said that anything is off limits but now that I know how much of a toll it takes on my body, it is easier to choose different foods. I feel a bit obsessed and I try to read things about nutrition and getting healthy to help me learn and to help keep me motivated but a lot of it is about dieting and losing weight quickly. That isn’t what I’m looking for. Your post really resonated with me, it is nice to know someone else is doing it the same way I am. Thank you, best of luck on your journey and congratulations on all you’ve accomplished!

  2. I need to do all of this! It took me 10 years to put the weight on, so I need to find the time to get it off. I already eat pretty healthy and drink lots of water but the exercise is definitely lacking. Thanks for the post!!

  3. And congrats on the weight loss!!

  4. Hate to contradict you but 64 pounds in a year IS amazing progress!!!! You are awesome! I’ve lost a total of 150 lbs over a period of 10(ish) years. My daughters and I all use MyFitnessPal!!!!! It’s the BEST! I’ve done basically the same as you in WHAT I eat (except when I don’t!), and over the years I’ve realized, counting those stinkin’ calories is still the best! I still need to lose at least 30 more pounds, which won’t leave me skinny, but I’ll weigh what I did in high school! Please keep those of us who don’t do Facebook, etc, posted here on your progress! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

  5. i’m super super proud of you. i just wanted you to know. :)

  6. You said: Is that amazing progress? No.
    GINA!!! You darn well bet that is! 64 pounds to me is amazing, and 14 months is a drop in the bucket to a long healthy life. Hail the power of fruits and veggies!

  7. Teresa F, says:

    You are going about it in such a simple way. It makes sense to just eat less, move more and eat smarter. You go girl. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. I agree with Bliss– 64 lbs is WONDERFUL! Congrats Gina! You’re doing great!

  9. Way to go Gina! Great post, great progress, 64 lbs is fantastic and just think about if you had to pick that up in a backpack and carry it all day. Great job. Great advice.

  10. Kelly Palmer says:

    Congratulations Gina!!

  11. Linda Coleman says:

    What a wonderful post! So nice to see a common sense approach to health. Congratulations on your weight loss and your continued healthy lifestyle. You are a beautiful inspiration. Thanks.

  12. Sarah Hall says:

    I just want you to know how inspiring you are! About 2 years ago I lost 55 pounds with the Lose It app. Since then I have gained it back plus some. It’s so hard to stay motivated and keep it off. You have inspired me to start again and remember that it’s a long journey that you just have to keep working on no matter how long it takes. Thank you for all your good advice. I signed up with my fitness pal today and I like the way it’s set up. It seems to have more options than Lose it. Thank you! You’re amazing! Keep it up!

  13. Great job! Sounds like you are doing it right.

  14. jane Conheady says:

    64 pounds? YOU GO GIRL!!!! You are a ROCK STAR!!! I just started My Fitness Pal and it really seems to be a great tool to keep me on track. If in one year I am 64 lbs less, I will be singing from the rooftop!!!

  15. Congratulations Gina! That’s awesome. :)

  16. I can’t believe you think that 64 pounds is not amazing progress!!! That’s incredible. I think you need a few more pats on the back from yourself. I manage to lost 25 pounds last year, have kept it off, and aiming for another 20 this year. I was thinking that was pretty incredible.
    I love all your advice, as it is what I did. Keeping track of food, and getting in plenty of activity worked wonders for me!

  17. Gina – 64 pounds is nothing to sniff at!! Good for you. Slow and steady is much better than fast. Just keep on going and focus on health. I want pictures!!! Are they here on the blog?

  18. Dinelle H says:

    You are doing GREAT!!!!! I got serious about making changes in my life this last July. I started using Fitness Pal myself. I thought I could do it with out Fitness Pal, but gave it a chance. It helps to actually see everything you are consuming, the exercise and the progress chart. I have lost since the first of August 24.5 lbs. It doesn’t seem like much but I have had to buy some new clothes. I get up at 5:15am and go exercise at our fitness center before work Monday – Friday. Then we also have a Zumba class available there too on M-W-F in the evenings. I ram eally trying to do this nice and slow and hope that I don’t go back to where I was. Keep up the great work you are doing Gina.

  19. CONGRATULATIONS, GINA!!!
    Be proud ! I certainly am proud of anyone who has such initiative & determination —stick-to-a-tive-ness! Wonderful! My downfall is lack of exercise —- & that’s the key!! Again …good work as you continue on your weight loss journey!!!

  20. Um yeah 64 pounds is huge! Be proud of that accomplishment!
    You are so right that eating healthy and exercise is the way to go. I use to starve myself all day just so i could have a snack at night. When I stopped doing that and started fueling my body by eating fruits/veggies and whole grains I saw a huge difference in my appearance. I use to exercise like a maniac now I just eat healthy and make sure I exercise 150 minutes a week. Mentally I’m so much better.
    A lot of great advice.
    Congratulations.

  21. Yeah Gina!

  22. Gina, good for you ’cause 64 pounds is pretty awesome!

  23. Dear Gina
    I always enjoy your blog. and I am happy to hear about your successful year of weight loss. I’m glad that you shared some of your methods with us.

    Congratulations

    Alice G.

  24. Oh Gina you go girl .getting healthy is always a good thing and also a great example for your girls. On another subject I have ordered a lot of iron on vinyl from Happy Crafters I saved a bunch of money . I am so glad you recommended them thank you

  25. Gina, you are awesome. Awesome.

    You are a beautiful woman, inside and out. I’m so proud for you to have set goals for taking care of yourself. So many people get hung up on weight loss, as if being skinny were Holy Grail. I am glad for you to be taking care of yourself so that you can live a long and rewarding life–you are a blessing to so many people, so it makes me happy to think of your having many years to live!

    Thank you for being an inspiration in 100 ways!

  26. Lisa Gross says:

    Good for you Gina, you have done great I need to get your mind set I’ve tried on and off weight watchers 4 times and it just doesn’t happen. I hope you keep talking about it on your blog I don’t do the other things. I have a good 100 pounds to loose and it took me 20years to.

  27. Congrats on the weight loss! Have you seen the documentary “Hungry for Change”? It really changed the way I look at food, I’ll never forget what something it said, it was basically talking about how dieting makes you think about all the things you can’t have when you need to be thinking “I can have it, I just don’t want it”. I’ve lost almost 40 lbs, (15 more till I reach my goal!) and that shift in thinking helped me get through a plateau. It doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally eat something bad or junky but most of the time I eat healthy. I notice on the days I don’t eat well that I feel off, not sick, just not feeling great and that helps me get back on track. Good luck with the rest of your journey!!!

  28. This is so wonderful and 64 pounds in a year IS amazing! Cheering you on!! ~Sonya

  29. Thanks for posting this- I really needed this today. Best of luck to you, and I’m going to try and follow your lead with all of these great ideas :)

  30. Dear Gina,

    Yet again you inspire! I’m so happy to read that you are putting yourself first ~ your success is amazing and your advice is spot-on. It’s all about what you eat and how often you shake your booty. Like everything else you do, I know you will be successful in reaching your ultimate goal. You GO girl!! xoxo

  31. Honestly I ALMOST stopped reading at ’64 lbs is not amazing’. YES. YES IT IS. That is over 5 lbs a month which is well over the normal average weight loss. I think you need to retrain your brain to realize this IS AN AMAZING LOSS.

    Thanks for sharing your plans and procedures. As someone also on the weight loss journey I did find some ideas that I am going to try. And for the record, I have lost 32 lbs in one year…and have much much more to go too.

  32. I’m so glad you shared this here. And SO pleased for you!! Taking care of yourself is the best way to care for the ones you love – who love you. Looking forward to updates when you want to post them.

  33. Congratulation Gina!
    you did well. you get the right way and finally you reached there! losing weight is the true way for living a healthy life. congrats once again!

  34. Maggie Fieger says:

    I think 64 pounds is amazing!! Your program sounds so sensible, and I am going to attempt to adopt some of them
    Thank you for such great ideas

  35. Gina 64 lbs in a year is awesome and a very healthy way to do it – that is AWESOME, girl! Also, I haven’t pampered myself in ages. I used to get a pedicure every month {usually by week three it was about time – lol} and I haven’t been in at least 8 months and you know what? I am going to go tomorrow, darn it. Thanks for that reminder to take care of me. :)

  36. It is amazing, isn’t it – what really works is less calories in and more energy expended – why then do I keep trying these quick fixes. Your weight loss is quite impressive! It is important that you recognize this and reward yourself. Your system is working and it is healthy. Congrats on all of your hard work!

    Sue

  37. Congrats on your success! I need to put some focus into my health and weight. I often go back and both on being good. I know what a challenge it can be. Thanks for the motivating post!

  38. Hi Gina! I am highly impressed with you. You really did well.

  39. I also eat healthy diet to live well and reduce my weight . And finally i reached!

  40. Heidi smith says:

    Gina I just tracked back to this post from today’s email/blog post. I missed this the first time around because it was my birthday! Been reading your blog for a couple years at least now and have so hoped you’d find a path to a healthier life. I started out at over 360lbs 3 years ago myself. I found out 2 years ago that I was type 2. (My anniversary was just a few days ago! My Dr is very hopeful that I may have reversed it!) I have had an amazing journey so far on MFP! Down nearly 170lbs and am nearing the end of my journey of loss and entering into the maintaining soon (and plastic surgery!) I sincerely wish you good luck on your path as well. The numbers may seem daunting and insurmountable some days but the time will pass either way. You’ll look back and amaze yourself! (I’m adding you on MFP!)

  41. weight loss journey is really a fantastic tour. It gives you a new life!

  42. Congrats on your weight loss! Any amount lost is always a good thing. I stopped GAINING weight when I stopped dieting and only ate when I was hungry. I do eat Big Macs, but one Big Mac keeps me full through lunch and dinner…..even though I eat “junk,” I still don’t exceed my calories for the day. Fat grams sustains you longer so you should eat much less food if you’re eating foods high in fat. Once I made friends with food, it stopped having such a hold on me. These days, my appetite is shot so it’s easy to only eat when I’m truly hungry…..I do believe my stomach has shrank because I can’t eat as much as I used to. I’m still not losing weight, but I’m thrilled not to be gaining any longer.

  43. Kris smith says:

    Hello I think you are doing great! I am also using the my fitness pal app. I just made some of your freezer meals like the TexMex chicken, broccoli pasta chicken, etc . and I was wondering if you figured out the calorie count for any of them and would be willing to share. Thanks and great job!

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