Okay, so today I officially hit my official goal of 150lbs, down from 192 as of January 3rd, 2014. At 5’7″, after 2.5 rounds of P90X and 2 rounds of P90X3, that means I’m a size 6, sometimes 8. It feels surreal to say that, because most of my life I have been a 12, lately edging up toward a 14.

(And I am not being reimbursed by any exercise program, app or other any other thing that I mention in this post)

Family and friends have asked me what I’m doing/have done to achieve this, and make references to my “diet” that I’m on, that I must be “cheating” when they see me eat a piece of candy or have a beer.

So, let me tell you, and you’ll have the benefit of what I’ve learned over the last two to three years, and how I lost 40 lbs in 12 months.

Firstly, let me say that I never felt that I ate much, that I ate unhealthily, or that I was particularly inactive. I didn’t frequent fast food often & enjoyed cooking. My husband and I took up walking/jogging about 3 miles a couple times a week over the last few years. But after looking at pictures of ourselves while in Arizona visiting my parents, we decided it was time to take a more active approach.  Allow me to share a couple “before” images:

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before (3)before (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not the most flattering pic of me on the left here, but more and more weren’t.

 

Now, the trip I mentioned was in January of 2013, and we had been thinking of starting this P90X program we’d heard of. Diet-wise we really didn’t make any adjustments, though we had been incorporating a few meatless nights into our weekly menu for a couple years already.

Long story short, we did the 90-day program 2.5 times over the course of a year. We gained flexibility, strength, I noticed my resting heart rate was lower, but I really didn’t lose any weight. My husband lost about 10 pounds, but he had also cut the Coke (Zero) out of his weekend Jack & Cokes.

I was disappointed; though we’d seen improvements to our health and my clothes fit a little differently, I still had hoped the number on the scale would be affected.

2013’s holidays took their toll, and we were both at our all time highs the first week of January 2014- my husband (I think) was at 254 and I was at 192 when we baseline-weighed in. I had purchased P90X3 over the holidays and this time we decided to incorporate diet adjustments too. Tony (Horton) had always said it’s 80% diet & 20% exercise, after all. We figured he was exaggerating- how could you go from not working out to 6 days a week without losing weight? Well, there you go.

We cut out almost all alcohol for about a month to kickstart things, and started sticking to tracking our food and exercise on an app called MyFitnessPal, something we had tried sporadically the year before. We also gleaned some really good information from visiting a nutritionist twice this spring. (The app is free, and entering food is pretty user friendly- it searches an interactive online database, can look up recipes by url, and can even scan barcodes to make entering food easy)

My husband lost 40 pounds by the middle of the year. I lost half that in the same time frame. He had a heart rate monitor, and I was using his calorie-burn total, which was a big mistake- I purchased my own Heart Rate Monitor (HRM), and discovered I burn about 1/3 fewer calories doing the same workout. That helped, and my weight continued to drop.

We plan our week’s meals, as much as possible, and usually go out to eat once or twice a month. At restaurants our easiest method of controlling calorie intake is to turn down the rolls/bread at the beginning (they’re never anything amazing anyway), and not to order alcoholic drinks during dinner (if we finish and still want something, we do, but it’s easier for your body to process food without alcohol on top of it).

We weigh in once a week, every Thursday morning. Doing the weigh in just before the weekend is a win-win: if our weight has gone up we are watching our intake more closely over the weekend, and if it has dropped we’re encouraged by our success & don’t want to ruin it. My husband has been in “maintenance mode” the second half of the year & has been holding around his goal 5 pound range.

So, the short and skinny (pardon the pun) of it, is this– there are three aspects to what we did, and only one of them directly caused the weight loss.

1. Weight loss is calorie in vs calorie out. Period.  Never in the last year did I take in fewer than 1200 calories per day. To do so is unhealthy, and you can easily lose weight at 1200-1700. The app we used calculated our daily calorie goal based on height/weight/age/activity level/etc. If you have said “Oh my god, I could never take ALL the time to keep track of my food!”, let me tell you- it takes about 3-5 minutes per day, and 40 pounds is SO worth it.
That is it. You don’t NEED to eat healthy. You don’t NEED to exercise. I would suggest doing both, though.

2. Working out gives you “extra” calories, and makes you burn them faster. If you’ve ever looked at 1200 calories, you know there is NO wiggle room. That is not a lot of food. Our apps (we hooked up the HRM to the Endomondo app to automatically record our exercise and update our calorie totals in MyFitnessPal) added the calories burned to our daily total, adding some breathing room. Also, exercise increases muscle and muscle burns calories more quickly than fat. Your circulation improves, your heart rate improves. (Have I mentioned how great my skin looks suddenly?) It sounds cheeseball, but exercise helps you to become a “fat burning machine”, truly.

3. Eating quality calories is very important. You don’t have a ton of calories to eat. You’re working out. You need energy, and you need to keep healthy. What you choose to put into your body is going to affect your energy levels, you appetite, your mood… so choose wisely.  Not to say you can’t indulge- nothing is actually off my menu options…I can have chocolate, candy, doughnuts, french fries, etc.  I just have less. And honestly, once you start working out you crave more protein and rarely even look twice at sweets, or all those white carbs. Eating good food reduces snacking too… I rarely eat anything after dinner now. I eat three times a day- I don’t “graze”… I’m not hungry between meals, because my meals are satisfying.

So, there are the big “secre ts”. It’s so easy, I feel stupid for not just keeping track years ago- I could have been so much more fit & active all those years! Hence, I wrote this. If you want to improve your health, or shape, or whatever,

And here’s a couple recent pictures- the striped one is from 10 pounds ago, though. Oh, I also made a “Seven of Nine” and “Red shirt” costume combo for Halloween this year. That was a goal 15 years in the making.

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halloween

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