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Halfway to goal!!!! What I’ve learned along the way.

06 Oct

It’s taken a hell of a long time, but as my mom always says, slow and steady wins the race. It’s taken since January 1st, but I’ve finally reached my mini goal – 40 pounds lost!  40.4 actually but the important thing is that I made it halfway to my goal and I’ve learned SO much along the way. Here’s to 40 more!

  1. It’s really not that hard. For the most part I’m not eating anything special. Just doing my best to stay within the 1,200-1,550 calorie range that SparkPeople recommends. Some days I’m under 1,200, some days a little (or way) over 1,550, but for the most part I’m right in between just eating every day foods.
  2. Working at home has made this so much easier. I don’t think I’d be nearly this successful if I had to work outside the home and drag all my food to work with me. I have the ability to change my meals at a whim and no vending machine, snack day, spontaneous lunches out, or pot lucks to get in my way. The good thing is that I’m in such a great routine that if I was to work away from home again, I feel confident that I’d adapt well. My eating, anyway. I cannot imagine working in an office full of people ever again at this point. 🙂
  3. Counting calories is the easiest way for me. I’ve tried Atkins, Weight Watchers points, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and pretty much every other “diet” plan available. Most of them require one to know the calories of each item to do the calculations for points, etc anyway so just keeping track of calories really works best for me. I track everything on SparkPeople’s nutrition tracker and it couldn’t be easier.
  4. Calories are calories – I don’t like lots of fruits and veggies so some days damn near all my calories are carbs or carbs and meat or carbs and dairy and some veggies. Sure, I’ve probably lost the weight slower than someone who skimps on carbs or dairy, but my tastebuds and tummy are happy and I don’t feel at all deprived.
  5. Don’t deny yourself – I don’t believe in completely eliminating a food group for the sake of losing weight. Eat sugar, eat carbs, eat fats, eat them all in moderation.
  6. Form a habit – It’s been said that if you do something for 30-60 days it will become a habit.  It’s true. It took about that long for the exercise and eating right to become a habit and not a chore.  And once it became a habit, it became much easier to fall back into line after falling out of step and not just throwing in the towel what that “well screw it, I’ve already blown it today let’s just keep eating” mentality.  For example, the month of September totally blew. Two solid weeks of rain kept me from my morning walk routine. Emotional eating got a bit out of control due to some family health issues and the damage to our house from hurricane Irene. Plus we had tons of parties and events where I was just too tempted by yummy food and gave in. I was up a few pounds but never completely gave up. I kept exercising when I could, and here I am down those pounds and halfway to goal. Makes me feel confident that I can go home to Michigan in 2 weeks and enjoy all my favorite foods in moderation but get back on track when I get back to Maryland.
  7. Tomorrow really is another day – It is possible to get right back on track after an overindulgent day or two. It will NOT make me gain 5 pounds back overnight. It really takes a lot of screwing up to gain even half that back. Be kind to yourself when you fall.
  8. A HRM is your friend – For the first few months I had been relying on online calculators to figure out how many calories I was burning. In early summer I invested in a heart rate monitor and found that I’m actually burning way more calories than I thought. For example, SparkPeople’s calculator said I was burning about 200 calories during my daily 30-45 minute walk. But it doesn’t take into consideration that I run part of the time and half of it is uphill. According to the HRM, I’m burning at least double that. So spend the $60. It’s worth it.
  9. Moderation – Similar to #4 above. I eat what I want in moderation. I don’t like to manipulate the food too much with makeover or mock recipes or try to substitute something else as it won’t truly satisfy the craving and I’ll just eat the thing I originally wanted anyway. If I crave chocolate, I have a small amount of real good rich chocolate rather than trying to satisfy it with a sugar free fudgsicle or some sort of fake chocolate flavored thing. One Dove Promise melted on the tongue is all I need to satisfy a chocolate craving for only 50 calories.
  10. Fake stuff is gross – I’ve found a few low or no fat things that I really love. I hate yogurt but I really like Fage Total 0 or 2% yogurt. Plain, with fruit, or in place of sour cream, it’s great. But a lot of that fake stuff just isn’t good. Like at Starbucks, I find the “skinny” lattes undrinkable. For a few more calories I’d rather have the nonfat with the full sugar syrup and enjoy it rather than the sugar free and tolerate it. Especially at $4 a pop. A few months back I tried some sort of godawful coconut milk coffee creamer that tasted like ass. Waste of money.  Just have less of the real thing. There’s no point in suffering thru something that’s a Frankenstein of something you love. Again, you’ll just end up eating the thing you wanted to begin with and end up eating more calories than you intended.
  11. Try out different brands – If you don’t quite like something, try a different brand. For most of my life I’ve hated yogurt, but I’d been eating store brands or the cheap stuff that’s 3 for $1. Earlier this year I tried Chobani at work and loved it. Then a few weeks ago I tried Fage Total and loved it even better. Back in the day I used to try to rely on frozen single serving food for lunches. Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, etc. They were AWFUL. But they’re surprisingly good now. I’ve found the ones I like and keep them stocked in the freezer at all times for when I need a quick lunch or dinner and I actually enjoy them. Frozen entrees have come a long way since the 90s.

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2 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Life, losing weight, SparkPeople

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Halfway to goal!!!! What I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Frickin' Fabulous at 40

    October 8, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I agree with everything you said! Losing weight is not magic- it’s take in less calories than you exhert. Simple math. That’s why SparkPeople and My Fitness Pal are so successful. Oprah said if there was a magic pill she would have it!

     
  2. emjayandthem.com

    October 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I so agree with so many points here esp. on moderation and on fake stuff. Ugh. I never considered getting a HRM; thank you for the tip! 😉 MJ

     

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