December 2009 -- 257 lbs
When people see my results, or hear about my success, I get the same question: 'What's your secret? How are you doing it?' My response is the same every time: 'No secret at all. A lot of hard work at the gym, making healthy food choices, and watching my portions.' I get the feeling people are disappointed by my answer. I have learned that healthy eaters -- and by that I mean traditional healthy eaters, in the form of non-dieters -- are a rarity, and most people aren't interested in putting in the physical work it takes to change their bodies. I have received pleas for help and guidance, which I am happy to give, but seldom hear back once I divulge my 'secret'.
7/24/11 -- 207 lbs
I know that many of us are seeking an easy route. Our lives are busy, our bodies are tired, and if we could just find something that worked yet required minimal effort, well then, that would be fantastic. Believe me, I get it. Just a week or two before the above picture was taken, I sat crying in my doctor's office telling him that I couldn't get below 200 lbs to save my life. I was practically begging him for a diet pill. That moment, I would have to say, was a huge emotional low for me. Mostly because I do not believe in diet pills (my aunt had a stroke and died because of one that, at the time, was deemed 'safe and effective') and I am, down to my core, way too stubborn to take the easy way out on anything. But at that moment, I was hopeless. I blamed my hormones and had made myself believe that there was no way I could do it on my own. All I can say is this... Thank God for my wonderful doctor who refused to prescribe a diet pill. He told me what I already knew: diet pills are only temporarily effective (and incredibly unsafe), I needed to work out harder, and eat less. I left his office that day filled with a new stubborn drive to make myself better.
08/07/11 -- 202 lbs
So I started treating the gym like an appointment I couldn't miss, even declining coffee invitations with friends, so to not miss my scheduled work-out time. Each morning, Monday through Friday, I go. Believe me, there are days that I would much rather stay in bed, but I know that I will feel amazing all day long if I make myself get up and go. Staying in bed will only create a day filled with guilt and feeling lacking in the energy department. I recently read that going to the gym is like making deposits into your body's energy bank. The more you add, the more you have to use throughout the day. I find this to be quite accurate.
So what do I do at the gym? Well, I'm delighted you asked! I lift weights 5 days a week (alternating each day with upper body and lower body weights). I perform at least 60 reps at each weight machine. It is not my recommendation that you start with 60 reps -- I suggest you meet with a trainer to properly assess where you are and what your body needs (my guess is that 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps would be a good jumping off point). On these five days, I also sprinkle in some calisthenics, lunges, squats and ab work. Twice a week I teach a Yoga class. I rarely perform cardio... if I do, it's usually only 10-15 minutes on an elliptical machine. This may sound like a lot of work, and it is, but I am not at the gym for hours on end like you might suspect. You can get a great workout in 45 minutes if you work hard and stay focused.
'But you're a stay at home mommy, and you have time to waste.' Well, um, gee... thanks? Yes, I am a SAHM, but my time is precious, too. I have a little boy who's mind I am molding daily, thank-you-very-much. But really, if you have an hour a day to watch TV or check Facebook, then you have an hour to spend at the gym. And isn't half the battle just getting through the door? My new favorite quote is this: 'Exercise. It's better to be sore than to be sorry.'
08/28/11 -- 196 lbs
As far as eating goes, I strongly urge you to begin keeping a food journal. You will be amazed at where your calories are coming from. I don't suggest counting calories, especially if you are active. But know your serving sizes, understand ingredients (including good fats vs. bad fats, good carbs vs. bad carbs). Don't fall for marketing schemes (ie: lite and fat-free). Don't buy in to fad diets, no matter what the success rate claims to be -- or what celebrity of the month is endorsing it. When I began paying attention to my portion sizes, I was shocked. A family size box of Special K cereal used to last me only a week -- and I was the only one eating it. Now that I changed my cereal bowl, and measure my portions, the same box lasts an entire month. I eat healthy snacks. I use whey protein powder (in my cereal, after a workout, and before bed). Most importantly, I simply pay attention to what I put into my body.
09/13/11 -- 194 lbs
I feel like exercise and a healthy diet are important in supporting each other. You cannot out-exercise a terrible diet, and you cannot out-diet a sedentary lifestyle. To achieve results, you must eat healthily (this does not mean for only 12 weeks -- this means changing your lifestyle) and you have to move your body. Some people will tell you to focus more on cardio than weights, but I know that, for me, weight training and Yoga have been the best for getting results (and isn't that what we're after?). Building muscle turns your body into a calorie-burning machine -- even at rest. People have been telling me that they think my scale is saying that I am heavier than I actually am -- that would be because of my muscle mass. Your goal should be not just to slim down, but to change your body composition. I have noticed that, even when I am not dropping pounds, I am dropping inches because my muscle-to-fat ratio is changing.
10/2/11 -- 190 lbs
My advice to you is this, pray a lot (God created you, and wants you to treat your body well). Set small goals for yourself -- and treat yourself when you hit them (when I hit 180 lbs, I'm buying these gym shoes). If you start out with a 100 lb weight loss goal, it will seem insurmountable. Love your body, because you can't look after and care for something you hate. Know that your body is a beautiful vessel to carry you through this life, appreciate it and respect it. If you are the kind of person who needs continuous support, find a trustworthy accountability partner/gym buddy. When people give you compliments, say thank you. I have a really hard time with this, and tend to be pretty self deprecating, but my standard response is this 'Thank you. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel great.' Which is true. I do still have a lot to work to do, but I feel great for the first time in a very long time. My struggle recently has been with body dismorphia -- I can see progress in my pictures and on the scale, but when I look in the mirror, I still see every single one of those 257 lbs staring back at me. Even though 70 of them have been shed. This is why I am focusing so heavily on how I feel, because I do feel amazing.
10/16/11 -- 187 lbs
You can accomplish great things. You can make your body healthy. You have to work for it, but it is so worth it. Surround yourself with people who will love, support, and encourage you. I know that, if not for my faith, family, and close friends, I would have given up on this journey long ago.
Be healthy. Love yourself. And thank you for keeping me In Good Company