I decided to make a single post that explains what I have done and am doing to lose this weight. I have been pretty successful, overall, and I get a lot of emails and comments asking either, "Can you please tell me what you are doing to lose all that weight?" or, "WOW HOW DID U DO IT!! PLEASE TELL ME UR SECRET!! WHAT DIET R U ON??" I always try and answer questions people send me, but since this gets asked a lot, I wanted a post I can direct everyone to for the answer. If you have read my blog, you already know what I am doing, but I understand that not everyone goes back and reads all my past entries (although I recommend it for motivation's sake if nothing else... the archives are on the left sidebar so you can always go back and read past posts). So here it is, in condensed form:
How I Am Losing Weight.
1. I count calories, every day. I personally use Sparkpeople.com because it is free and easy to use, but you could use other online counters like FitDay. You could also just write down your calories on a sheet of paper and add them up. It's important to actually measure your food so you know how much you are eating. Right now I try and stay right around 1500 calories per day, but I started out around 1800. You have to try a calorie level for at least a week or two, and then see if you lose weight. If not, you can adjust your calories until you see 1-2 pounds a week dropping off.
2. I go to the Farmer's Market or, when it's not open (winter), I go to the nicest produce section I can find, once a week. I buy a LOT of fresh fruits and veggies. I totally load up my fridge with them. Then I feel compelled to eat all that stuff before it goes bad. I end up eating a lot of healthy stuff just because of that. This has been the single most important thing for my success. Scope out a farm stand or a grocery store with a variety of produce and go every week. Buy a lot of stuff. Try new things. Look up how to prepare them on Google, and try new recipes from various online websites like A Veggie Venture, Allrecipes, and Kalyn's Kitchen. My 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day are based around veggies, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and low fat dairy. I use butter, bacon, and other fatty tasty stuff sparingly as a condiment with my veggies as long as I stay under 1500 calories. I watch my portions. I have learned what a serving is. I listen to my body, don't eat if I am not hungry, and stop when I am full.
3. Cut the junk. I stopped buying candy bars, Little Debbie cakes, chips, hot dogs, etc. If it is not beneficial to my body then I try not to eat it very often. I am not a fanatic and I do have some treats once in awhile, but I am trying to lose weight here and it is really not the time to be indulging in pies and cookies. I don't do 100-calorie packs either. I tried that, but I just ate the whole box in one sitting. So my snacks are fruits or string cheese or nuts most of the time. I have kids but they don't need junk food either. So I just try not to have junk food in the house at all.
4. Drink lots of water. I cut out sodas and coffee. I drink green tea, chai tea with skim milk, and lots of iced sun tea made from black and green tea. I used to add sugar to my iced tea but I cut it back gradually until I don't need the sugar anymore. Staying hydrated is a good thing.
5. I started moving. This was HARD. I was in a lot of pain. My knees were killing me and I had no stamina. I started out by just walking out the door and about 30 seconds down the sidewalk, then back. I did that every day. Each week I walked a little further. I got up to about 2 blocks (yeah my knees were SO BAD). Then I added a recumbent exercise bike at the advice of my orthopedic doctor. (I have severe degenerative arthritis, bone spurs in my knees, and a torn meniscus). I started out riding the bike for 5 minutes on no resistance. It was so hard. I did that 3x a week. Every week I added 2 minutes and when possible I upped the resistance a bit. Now I ride for 30 minutes, 6x a week and am up to level 4/5 resistance. I do over 7 miles a day. I also started lifting weights at home. I started by looking up basic exercises online, with a set of 5 lb dumbbells. Now I use 10-12 pound dumbbells and strength train 20 minutes, 3x a week (still at home). One of my goals is to be able to do push ups (normal ones). I started with wall push ups, worked up to 2 sets of 30, and now I am doing them off the kitchen counter. Soon I will be doing bent-knee push ups on the floor and from there, regular ones. I always HATED exercise, but I hate being fat more. And you will get to like it, eventually, as the weight comes off.
There are no magic pills, potions, or recipes that will make you lose the weight. It hasn't been easy by any means. It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort. I have five kids. I had to MAKE time for this to happen. You can do it too. Anyone can. If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. If not, you'll make excuses. The whole key is to never, NEVER give up. You make a mistake? Keep going. You eat something unhealthy? Make your next meal healthy. Don't wait til tomorrow, or Monday, or January 1. Do it NOW. And don't quit. You can reach your goal. Believe it.