Losing 6 Dress Sizes in 5 “Easy” Steps

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I’ve always had very poor body image – it hasn’t seemed to matter if my jeans toted a size 2 or size 16 tag, I have always felt huge.  I realized I needed to give myself an attitude makeover or risk passing my short comings onto my two beautiful daughters.  I’d managed to pack on many pounds while on bed rest for the entire fall of 2009, pregnant with my first daughter.  I’d heard the myth that the pounds would magically fall off if you nursed your baby, but this absolutely did not happen for me.  By the time I had my second daughter, I was pushing 200 pounds. Keep in mind, when I take the “how big are your bones test”, I come you with: tiny.  I have these crazy boney Skeletor fingers and my thumb extends well beyond my index finger when circling my wrist.  Additionally, I am not quite average height, which my husband is only too happy to remind me means that I am “almost not short”.  200 pounds is huge on my frame – almost twice my healthy weight.

I started eating “better” with a goal of being “more healthy” – let’s face it, those ambiguous goals are great, aren’t they? You almost have to try not to achieve a goal like that!  I cut my wine consumption down to weekends only, I ate more whole foods and fewer sweets. This, along with naturally losing some of the baby weight after my daughter was born, left me about 50 pounds over my goal weight. Hmmm. Perhaps it was time to get real.

Step 1
I got real about my goals and set tangible, achievable short-term targets: My first goal was to get my BMI out of the “You are killing yourself with all your fatness” range.  I purchased a digital scale that to measure weight, fat %, water % and BMI.  Each time I achieved a short-term goal, I celebrated.  Yes, I actually celebrated when my BMI reached the “Obese” range.  Then I celebrated again when it reached “Overweight” and “Normal”.
Step 2
I got real about accountability.  I knew that working out had to happen if I was going to drop any dress sizes this century, so I made it worth my while to get up early and get to the gym.  First, I signed up with Gym Pact to exercise 5 days a week – or pay.  I originally had my pact set to charge me $5 per missed day, but I found it all to easy to part with $5 one (or more) days per week and ended up finding a penalty of $15 per missed day to be much more motivating in getting me out of bed in the morning.
Step 3
I got real about my food choices. It wasn’t as though I was eating horribly, but my portions were out of control, as was all the stuff I was heaping on top of my food.  I started tracking everything that went into my mouth every day WITH NO CHEATING.  Every last bite went into my My Net Diary app.  This activity taught me a lot about how many calories were in the healthy foods is confused with diet friendly food and it taught me a much healthier definition for a portion size. These are two skills you should probably learn if you have any hope of keeping the wight off.  Additionally, I do not think it is possible to consistently make nutritious choices that equal 1,200 each day.  Planning ahead with a menu of breakfast, am snack, lunch, pm snack and dinner will help you stay on track with foods that will fuel your body.
Step 4
I got real about my skill set. I was eating right, exercising 5-6 days per week and not seeing any results. Bummer. I didn’t have a clue what was causing me to plateau, so I enlisted the help of a personal trainer. She me set up routines to increase my workout effectiveness and keep me from getting stuck again. The biggest trick she taught me was to mix it up so that my body didn’t become too accustomed to an exercise – who wants to be ineffectual when they’ve gotten up 90 minutes before their normal alarm?!
Step 4
I got real about the math. Losing weight really is a simple math equation: the calories your body needs to run it’s basic functions + the sum of the calories you consume – the additional calories you burn. If that equation add to a number less than zero, you lose weight. I purchased a heart rate monitor and recorded an estimate of the calories I burned each day. It was shocking to me how few calories I could burn in 15 minutes, compared to the amount I could consume. Whenever I really wanted that treat, I would ask myself if I really wanted tomorrow’s workout to pay for today’s treat, or work off the hundreds of other treats that had landed me in a size 16.
Step 5
I got real about my endurance. One day out of every 3-4 weeks, I did not diet. I did not go crazy, knowing I’d spend the next week paying back the spree if I indulged too much, but I did relax and have a waffle. I did not, however, find an excuse to “cheat” very often. I knew I would be on this plan for 6-8 months and I did not want to prolong it any linger than necessary.
It actually wasn’t easy to lose six dress sizes over the course of six months, but I really love the feeling of being stronger and healthier and I feel good about passing that feeling on to my girls.
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