“Secrets” to Long-Term Weight Loss Success?

I got asked recently what was my “secret” to my success, and as I started to recount my routine I realized it’s not one secret but rather a series of common sense suggestions I apparently forgot for the majority of my twenties! 😉  
So here’s what I recommend to everyone starting out:

1. Measure and track everything you put in your body. I have done this for almost 11 months and any time I have an inexplicable gain, I usually wasn’t doing my best to track.

2. Keep up on your water. I get a gallon of water or unflavored seltzer (with fresh citrus) in every day, and more in gym days.

3. If you are exercising more than you did before and not eating any weekly or activity points, try eating some. Sounds counterproductive to eat more but you need to fuel your body’s extra activity. 

4. Not all points are created equal. I cannot eat carbs in the evening and lose consistently. Try avoiding processed foods, frozen meals, and add more lean proteins, fruits and veggies. It requires more cooking but is totally worth it. 

5. Be kind to yourself! This is an incredibly personal and vulnerable journey and you deserve the same kindness and patience yourself that you show to others.

  
Here’s how I allocated my points/calories during the week:

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 c egg whites
  • Sautéed kale, mushroom, onion & herbs
  • English muffin
  • Double espresso

Lunch: 

  • 4-6 ounces of protein
  • 2-3 sautéed veggies
  • Maybe a salad with 1 tsp olive oil

Dinner:

  • 4-5 ounces of pork, chicken or beef OR 6-8 ounces of fish or seafood
  • 2 cooked veggies
  • Maybe a salad with 1 tsp olive oil

Snacks:

  • 2, 8-ounce iced coffee
  • Apple or peach or plum
  • Grapes or cherries
  • Banana (on gym days)


Balancing the Busy Weekends:

I weigh in on Friday mornings, so I only use my activity and weekly points on the weekend. This gives me the points to eat a steak, share some pasta, have several cocktails, whatever our busy social life calls for.

Here’s my balancing act for busy weekends:

1. I make sure I get a good cardio workout in, both days.

2. I eat lighter for breakfast and lunch, eliminating carbs and sticking to a few ounces of lean proteins with fruits and veggies. 

3. I choose cocktails that are low in PP, like vodka & seltzer and I offer to be the designated driver at least one night! 😎

4. I don’t eat every course, only the ones I really wanted. One night I might have the salad and entree courses and skipped the pasta and dessert, and the next night I skip the soup but enjoy the entree and dessert.
Menu Planning and Meal Prep:

I plan on Sunday’s for what I’m going to eat through Friday, according to my work schedule. And then I prep some of my lunches, snacks, etc so they’re ready to go. 

  
I do the same thing for meal prep each week: chicken breasts, pork loin, shrimp. 

I pick one protein, then cook it with a different sauce or spice: teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, herbs & pepper, lemon and chives, etc. Then I make up 3-4 veggies like roasted mushrooms, sautéed kale, grilled zucchini, sautéed peppers and onions, and mix and match them for each meal. Each meal is a little different, so I don’t get bored! 

This type of planning enables to me to make sure I’m going to stay OP no matter what my schedule, that I’m eating my GHG and getting lots of variety so I don’t get bored. 

I use Pinterest, I love the Foodily.com app and sometimes I just google for low-fat or low-carb meals to find my recipes for the week. I also rely on what’s in season and on sale so I don’t break my bank account!

  

Work It, Honey

  

I work hard for my body, and so this workout routine may sound a little nuts if you’re just starting out.

I do five hours of cardio a week, usually split amongst the elliptical and the stationary bike. I do interval training, which is sprinting or pedaling fast for thirty seconds or a minute, and then resting for fifteen-thirty seconds. 

I try to do the half hour circuit training 2-3 times per week, as well, and admittedly I need to do more of this to tone my body!

Lastly, I try to get at least one 90-minute bikram yoga class in during the week, which is great for stretching and sweating out the toxins! 

  
*This is A LOT. When I started out, I would do a half hour on the bike, and just work to pedal a little farther or a little faster each day. Every couple days I would add a little more time, and then I slowly added 5 minutes on the elliptical, then 10, etc. 

My best exercise advice is to do enough to sweat and push yourself a little further every day, but don’t go out and try to run a marathon or bench-press a Buick. It might be slower to start, but you are guaranteed not to hurt yourself and give up!
Be Selfish

So here’s the weight loss tip that’s probably more important mentally than any other, and no one EVER says it.  

 
This is #%@! hard!

Which is why you need to be willing to put the same time, effort and energy into I out body and your weight loss that you put into anything you want to be successful at.

As women we take care of everyone around us first, and often short ourselves on the effort, patience and love we show others. And that’s got to stop.

The 1-2 hours shopping and meal prepping takes up time every Sunday, but it’s giving you the tools for success at your finger tips. And when you eat better, you feel better – you know this!

The 5-7 hours spent in the gym or walking the road, doing an exercise video or a class are absolutely time you could be home with your family, but they are giving you a stronger, healthier body to spend better time and years with your family. And one of my favorite quotes to remember:

  
This is time for YOU and you alone. This is your affirmation yourself that you are worth your own time and efforts. And I’ve been amazed at the people who will invest their time, friendship and support in me when I demonstrated that I thought I was worth it. 

I am not a medical doctor. I am not an expert. But I am living proof that the plan works when you work it, and when you invest the time and love in yourself! You CAN do this! 

I Was Nominated for a Liebster Award! 

  
I’m incredibly excited to tell you that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award!

So first let me thank Amy from Amy’s Apron for the nomination! And check out her recipes, guys! I have shared the crustless tomato quiche before, and she does a lot of sweet (yet healthy) recipes, too!!
So what is it? The Newbie Blogging Liebster Award is an award given to new bloggers by other bloggers as a way to support each other in our journey to growing and building our blogs.

Amy asked me to answer the following questions about my experiences blogging:

Why did you start your blog?

As I progressed through my weight loss journey, I felt like I was having experiences with friends, family, even with my own emotions, that no one was really talking about. We talked points, calories, gym workouts, but not really about the intensely personal struggles of our weight loss. And the emotional ramifications of weight gain and then weight loss are huge, and when left unconfronted can cause a person to give up on their weight loss goals. 

Who are some of your favorite bloggers and why?

I love Amy from Amy’s Apron because I think her recipes are easy to execute and taste delicious!

I love Jeanne from Inside Out Motherhood because I think she’s incredibly honest and brave, and her blog is not just about motherhood!

I love following Erin from Naturally Ella on Instagram. Her food and recipes are all natural and clean, and also very unique! 

What are your short-term and long-term blogging goals?

Short-term I would like to get in a place where I blog weekly.

Long-term I would like to brand my blog with a logo, etc and essentially “go legit!”

What’s the easiest and hardest part about blogging for you?

I’m what Mr. Big (my boyfriend’s nickname amongst my girl friends) calls a “chronic oversharer” so blogging about my lofe, my menus, etc, is easy for me in that regard. 

The hardest part is sitting down and taking the time to write, edit, consider other angles, make sure I’m being articulate, etc! 

What motivates you to continue blogging?

Weight loss is intensely personal thing,  and reaching out for help and support makes a person incredibly vulnerable. 

Think about it. Taking on a weight loss journey is having to say, or at least think painful things like:

“I am unhealthy. I am worried about dying young.”

“I am not able to move or do the things I want to do with my life.”

“I overeat because I’m sad/stressed, because it provides me control, solace, etc.”

“I do not feel attractive.”

“I am unhappy. I do not like myself like this.”

So I blog to share my experiences and draw support from others, but also to show people that they are not alone in their struggles. I think there is comfort in that. 

What are your current top 5 favorite things?

1. I love Marshalls all the sudden, and I have found a ton of great dresses there lately!

2. I love the band Marianas Trench on my Pandora workout station!

3. I am on a tomato kick lately, with salt, pepper, fresh basil or chives and capers!

4. I started juicing and drinking kale smoothies recently, and I really, really like them! 

5. I am obsessed with the app Teux Deux, which helps me organize my life! 

What have you done, so far, that you feel has contributed to your success in blogging?

I share my blog in groups that are focused on Weight Watchers, weight loss, fitness, you name it!

If you won the lottery…what are the first three things you would spend the money on?

I would buy a home gym, probably first. LOL

Then I would ensure my nieces’ college educations.

And then I would buy oh so many pairs of shoessssssss…. 

 Do you have another job, besides blogging? If so, how do you balance life, work, and blogging?

I do have a day job as a development officer/professional fundraiser, and I have a commute of about 1.5 hours each direction, so I try to blog when I am on the stationary bike, on the bus, etc!

What are you most proud of? (blogging or otherwise…)

Last November, I set out to change my body. I got Weight Watchers and lost weight, got a gym membership and active, and then it wasn’t just about my body anymore. I took a chance and put myself out there and landed a terrific job. I got serious about being a good partner to Mr. Big, and our relationship has absolutely flourished. 

And then in June I committed to being a less negative, less bitchy and frankly, more positive person. And I like the way that makes me feel. 

 

I Eat What I Want On The Weekends and I Have Lost Almost 100lbs! 

Now, you know it wasn’t really that easy, right? 
I often get asked about how I can maintain a busy social calendar, and still lose weight. Talk about a spoiled brat kind of problem! 
But it’s true. I eat out or go out with clients or friends at least two or three nights a week, and usually, I still lose at my weekly weigh in.

I think the beauty of a system like Weight Watchers is that you can tailor it to suit your body’s needs and your schedule.  

After a little trial and error, I decided that I would weigh in on Friday morning. This means that my weekly points, that extra bank of points we get above and beyond the daily, resets itself on Friday morning. It also means that going into the weekend, I start with a clean slate.

Friday through Sunday is also when I get the majority of my physical activity in, to earn my activity points which I can also choose to bank or eat.

So Friday through Sunday, I eat my usual daily point total, and then I consume roughly 60 to 75 extra points in steak, cosmos, pasta, or whatever else is going on. Since I earned roughly 50 activity points over the weekend, I use a mixture of my weekly points and my activity points.

Then Monday through Thursday when I am commuting, usually in my office and better able to maintain my routine, I eat only my daily points total.

Having lost almost 100 pounds, I can tell you that this system of “point cycling” is a big part of my success. And here’s why:

1. I am never deprived. I went on vacation and ate slivers of Key lime pie, twice! If I want to have a second cocktail when we are out on the weekends, it’s no big deal.

2. By shaking up the number of points I eat each day, on a weekly basis, it makes it harder for my body to grow accustomed to the caloric intake and plateau. My only plateau in my 10+ months of Weight Watchers came from a lack of focus on my part, not my body growing accustomed to the workouts and my intake.

3. I am realistic about what my life looks like, and how Weight Watchers fits in. I could absolutely beat myself up over consuming 50+ points a day Friday through Sunday, and then despair all week. Instead, I built my weight watchers plan to accommodate my social life, and it works!

4. There are those who will tell you that they never eat their activity points, never touch their Weekly points, and to me, that is crazy! First of all, I could never keep to my daily points total every day, I never go over. Second, without my weekly points or my activity points, every time I indulged in something and went over my daily points, I would end up gaining or at least having a harder time. I would rather lose in smaller increments and get to eat more of what I want along the way, then lose the weight quickly and be unable to sustain it in the long term.

Now, there are also some points which I call the “flipside” of my version of “point cycling.” 

– If you were going to eat and drink like that, hitting the gym on the weekends is absolutely imperative. It will not work without some serious cardio or other fat burning activities.

– It is not always possible to restrict going out to dinner or stopping at happy hour to the weekends. And I do find that if I go over my daily points during the week, I have a diminished loss or a maintain week at my weigh in on Friday. 

– If you are someone so includes carbohydrates into their lunches and dinners, this is also a difficult plan. I eat an English muffin every morning, and that is usually the only carbs I eat during the day. If I am having pasta, or a big potato, or something like that, I only do so on the weekends. 

It should be said, though I would hope you already know, this is not an endorsed Weight Watchers plan. I’m also not a medical doctor, so me telling you about what works for me is by no means guaranteed to work for you. Consult your Weight Watcher leader or your physician about any weight-loss journey. They are the experts!