Since August I've managed to lose 29 pounds, making me just 6 pounds heavier now than I was before I got pregnant with Joshua. I've had a lot of people ask me how I did it, so I thought I'd share my secret.
I ate less and exercised more.
Yep, that's the secret.
It all started when I joined a Biggest Loser-type competition sponsored by the local hospital. One of the perks of joining the competition was 8 weeks of free membership at the local YMCA. By the time my 8 weeks were up, I was a Y junkie, attending aerobics classes three mornings a week and hitting the elliptical machine on other days when I wanted to boost the old metabolism. When my 8 free weeks were up, I joined!
After I caught on to the whole exercise thing, I started using calorie-count.com. I entered my beginning weight, my goal weight, and the date by which I wanted to reach my goal. It told me exactly how many calories to eat every day in order to meet my goal. Once I started recording my calorie intake, I became very motivated to stick with it. It took about five months of hard work, but I finally met my initial goal. Now I'm staring down four more pounds that I'd like to get rid of, but I won't be disappointed if I don't.
I realize that I have some distinct advantages in my quest to lose the weight. First, I stay at home, and it's much easier to control my caloric intake when I prepare all my food myself. Second, Jay and I are committed to eating whole foods almost exclusively. We avoid almost all processed foods, which makes it really easy to control the amount of calories we consume. Third, it's fun to cook for four. On days when I make dinner for fewer than all four of us, it's hard to get excited about cooking. But since we eat dinner together almost every night, I'm always motivated to make good food. Simple, yes, but always healthy. Fourth, our schedule is such that I can get to the Y almost every morning while Jay stays home with the kids and makes breakfast. I know, hate me.
There are some things that I do that I think make weight-loss easier.
First, as suggested by my friend Gina, I take a dieting day off every week. Usually it's Saturday. On my day off I give myself license to eat whatever I want. Sometimes that means I eat two pints of ice cream and sometimes it just means I put butter on my pancakes. I've noticed in the past couple of months that I'm not as interested in eating sweet food, even on my day off. And since my stomach is much smaller, I don't just have the capacity for it.
Second, I avoid sugar, except on my dieting day off. Sugar and carbs cause the body to store more fat. Since that's what I'm trying to get rid of, I avoid the sugar, even if eating sugar would still allow me to consume less than my daily caloric intake.
Third, I exercise in the morning. It's just easier to get it out of the way first thing in the morning and not have to worry about it anymore. And it helps with metabolism.
Fourth, I record everything I eat, every day, except on my dieting day off. It's much easier to stay motivated to do the right thing when I have a number staring back at me, telling me whether I've met my goal or not.
There you have it. My secret.
Eat less. Exercise more.
I highly recommend it!