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.)
3) 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.)
6) 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.
7) 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.