Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weight Loss Tips

Disclaimer: I feel really funny writing this post because I'm not at all one of those gals that jogs 5 miles a day even while preggo and is uber-strong and lives for fitness. I also don't look like the picture above. And most people who know me well would tell you that I love chocolate, cooking, baking, eating good food, reading writing, and crafting, but that exercise isn't really a hobby for me. But I do want to write this post because there are other moms out there who will benefit from these tips. It's probably stuff you've all heard before, and probably many times, but maybe hearing my take on it will be fresh inspiration for this week or this month in your own fitness journey.
About 4 months ago I got on the bandwagon "Getting Serious About Losing the Baby Weight." A couple of my good friends in MN were on a weight loss kick and they were seeing amazing results. They really inspired me. One friend is on Weight Watchers online and one is just very disciplined about hitting the gym or the running trail! I was motivated by a desire to be more active and lose the 10-15 pounds hanging on after 3 kids.
In 12 weeks I ended up losing about 9 pounds and in 2 more pounds I will meet my first goal and treat myself to a professional haircut, something I haven't had in a few years! After that, if I can, I'd like to lose just 5 more pounds and then I will be at my "ideal weight" goal. But if I don't lose the final 5, I will be content to at least reach the first goal. I'm really happy with where I'm at. Everyone is so different! My "ideal weight" might be your 9-months-pregnant weight or your "ideal weight" might be 30 pounds more than me, but the important thing is that we are healthy for our own body type and that we are able to be active.
Here are the things that have helped me the most!
1. Accountability
Every Sunday one of my best friends and I have to write each other an e-mail detailing our goals for the week and listing our current weight. We write about our successes and failures in the weight-loss journey and encourage each other with excitement and praise when we've made our goal. Another good friend of mine who is a fitness guru and I chat in person every week about how we are doing in diet and exercise too. This is my NUMBER ONE tip for losing weight. Join a group, get into an online club, or have a friend keep you accountable.
2. Punishment and Rewards
Some people seem to work well with only rewards but I'm one of those types that needs hardcore punishment to get my rear in gear. So, if I tell my friend that I need to exercise 3 times during the next week, but only do it twice, I lose chocolate for a WEEK! A couple of time of losing chocolate, especially around the holidays, was a killer for me and with the threat of this punishment hanging over my head I had several nights where I was doing my work-out late at night, no matter how tired I was! (And no, I didn't have trouble sleeping after that. I can exercise before bed, no problem.) The hardcore punishment idea works so well for me that I came up with another one to help me reach my goal of going to bed earlier this year. If I don't get to bed by 11pm 6 nights of the week, the following day I lose the priviledge of being online at all. It's been great! It's also nice to have a reward to look forward to in addition to the punishments. So, I am excited to be able to change my hairstyle in a week or two when I lose those final 2 pounds. My friend's punishment is having to write to me about her failures and losing coffee for a week.
3. Small Goals
It can be daunting to try to lose when your goal is big. Start small. Tell your partner you'd like to be one pound less each week or to just maintain your weight over the holiday season instead of going up. Don't try to lose 5 or 10# in a week. It's unhealthy and you're more likely to give up and go back to your undesired weight than if you take baby steps towards losing weight.
4. Switcheroos
I absolutely love the book Eat This, Not That, as you regular blogreaders know! I even bought a couple of the various editions for gifts for family members for Christmas! This book helped me to realize that you don't have to give up everything to lose weight, you just have to make smarter choices in what you eat. I love dessert and love a little chocolate pick-me-up during the day but now I'm looking for the "best deal" nutritionally. We have some neat pottery mugs that hold about 20 ounces of liquid. Even when I would only fill it halfway, I'd still have to add 2-3 packets of hot cocoa mix for that rich, chocolatey taste. Now, I use the smaller Corelle mugs we have, fill it halfway (4 oz.) with skim milk and have one hot cocoa packet in it for the rich, chocolatey taste. I drink green tea a lot too and save hot cocoa for the super-strong-chocolate-cravings! One night I was really, really hungry for a donut or piece of chocolately cake. But I told myself "No!" Instead I pulled a blueberry muffin out of the freezer to satisfy the hunger. Instead of cheese crackers or similar salty snacks, I make popcorn in a brown paper lunch sack in the microwave and salt lightly. A yummy yogurt and fruit smoothie (no sugar or honey added) takes away the craving for something sweet. A small, dark chocolate truffle satisfies my chocolate craving better than an entire milk chocolate candy bar. When I do make desserts or goodies, I try to use ww flour, cut back on sugar, and use pumpkin or other purees to cut down on the oil.
Tomorrow I'll continue with my final 5 tips.......


The Three 22nds said...

I think accountability works well for a lot of people, but it doesn't work well for me. I am harder on myself than any accountability partner will be. Nor am I good at rewards and punishment. If I don't have the fortitide that week to get my exercise in, I don't have the fortitude to follow through on a punishment.

For me it all boils down to money and competition. I pay for my gym membership and if I don't use it I feel really guilty about the money I am spending on it. So I use it. I also sign up for races. I am afraid of failing, so you better believe I put the time in so I can finish. I also have to pay for the races ahead of time, so I don't want to bow out :).

I also quit weighing myself. I get weighed at my ob appointments, but I don't weigh myself at home or at the gym. For me it is not about that. If I am progressing in my exercise that is what I care about.

Eating is a whole nother issue for me. I have always eaten A LOT (can we say entire chipotle burrito even when I am not pregnant?) but manage to counteract it with exercise. I should work on making better choices, but one thing at a time...

Peachtree said...

Thank your for the inspiration!! I'm working on losing some baby weight too, so I'm glad for every bit of encouragement I can get!!

Kristin said...

I'm trying to lose weight this year as well - my first goal is looking good in my bridesmaid dress for my brother's wedding April 9th. I'm hoping to be down about 10 pounds from my starting weight by then. My big goal is to lose 25 pounds by January next year.

We purchased a recumbent exercise bike at the end of December and that's become my main source of exercise, and motivation. Of course, it cost money to purchase it and like the previous commenter, I want to make sure we didn't waste money buying it so I've been very diligent at using it. Plus, I know my husband will ask me everyday when he comes home from work if I used the bike and I don't want to disappoint him. He made absolutely sure before purchasing the bike that I would really use it because he didn't want to buy it and then have me not ever use it! I promised him I'd use it so anticipating the "did you use it today" question each day is good motivation for me! I ride the bike during the kids' nap time while I read a book. The time goes so fast while I read!

We don't own a scale but I knew my weight prior to starting my weight-loss plan. Lyndi has a scale and I figured that since we get together often enough, I'd just weigh in at her house periodically. I don't want to become fixated on the numbers so I don't think I'll get a scale of our own. I like going by appearance and how my clothes are fitting more. As of last Thursday, I had lost 4 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks. I was so happy and surprised with those results.

I'm really not dieting, but like you, am just trying to be more conscious of what I eat. I've been drinking the Acai berry juice from Walmart and I have found that it helps curb my appetite. So in between meals, or in the evenings, if I'm feeling particularly snacky, I'll drink a glass of that juice and it takes my cravings away.

Way to go on your progress so far! It's great that you have accountability and a support group of sorts with your friends. I'm sure that helps so much!

Lesley said...

Way to go -- you are doing awesome!! I liked all your tips and they were good reminders for me.

For me, I am most motivated by results!! On the flip side, I am incredibly discouraged by NOT seeing results. This whole weight loss thing has been one incredible journey, let me tell you :)

For me, I think of the snowball effect. Once I got the (snow) ball rolling and just got my rear in gear and started doing something, then it got better from there. There were some low points like when I was swimming like a maniac and not losing any weight but then it got super exciting when I started running and saw results! That kept motivating me to keep going and going until I finally reached my goal. Once I did, I felt like I was on top of the world. I never thought I could do it before and it was so much fun to see that exercise really works :)

I wouldn't say I'm super disciplined -- I have my ups and downs -- but I'm really beginning to love running and I just registered for a 5K race so that will motivate me to be training for it. There are days that it is SO HARD to bundle up and get to the gym but once I'm there, I work really hard and enjoy being there.

You are doing so awesome -- I am so proud of you for the 9 lbs weight loss! I am like you -- I LOVE chocolate and I also really love food in general. There are times my self control flies out the window and there are times I am "good." Oh well, I'll just keep working out and doing what I'm doing. Thanks for your encouragement!! Enjoy that upcoming haircut!! :)

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