WeightLossTipsI recently posted a then-and-now picture of myself and my weight loss. In the picture I said, “what a difference 9 months can make,” but the truth is I only started my weight loss journey in October (It’s just hard to find full body shots of myself, so the most recent was from nine months ago), so really I’ve lost about 25 pounds in a bit less than six months. I got a lot of positive comments (THANK YOU!), and a few questions about how I’ve done it. I thought it easier to write it in a blog post rather than try to comment with the answer, which is why I veer away from homeschooling for one minute to present to you:

The Five Secrets of My Weight Loss Success

One Bite at a Time

I have tried fad diets in the past, and while I might lose some weight in the beginning, I can’t stick with them and it all comes back. This time, I didn’t go into it with the intention of losing x amount of weight as fast as possible (though I did set a goal weight, but on no time limit), I just committed to making healthier decisions, like making sure each day begins with a green smoothie instead of a Pop Tart, or starting dinner with a big salad instead of immediately reaching for the garlic bread.

Don’t Give Up

Oh, you might think this means don’t get frustrated, but not really. Yes, that’s important, and to make that easier I say don’t give up any food you love. For me, my weaknesses are sugar and alcohol. Obviously I needed to limit my consumption of these things in order to lose weight and be healthier, but I would freak out if I knew I could never have those things again. It would never work. So I chose not to give up these items, but rather save them for special occasions (like, say, Friday) and make sure I enjoy really good quality sugar or alcohol items instead of just eating whatever processed nonsense is in front of my face.

C’mon Get App-y

Holding myself accountable has been the biggest piece of the puzzle. My friend Crystal recommended the Pact app, and it has made such a difference. With Pact, you can earn money for completing your weekly goals. The goals include logging your daily food intake, eating fresh fruits & veggies, and working out. You set your goals, so you can start as small as you’d like. I started with logging my food every day, eating one fruit/ veggie each day, and working out 3 days. Now I’m up to logging three veggies/day and working out five days. Like I said, you earn money, but you also have to pay money if you miss, which really adds some motivation to make sure I cram in those fresh foods at the end of the week. Working out can include a 30-minute workout, visit to the gym, or logging 10,000 steps per day on your Fitbit (or other sync-able device). My Fitbit is my new best friend, and we have been known to stay up late together pacing the house to make sure I get my 10k steps for the day. I also use My Fitness Pal to log my meals. When you see how many calories is in that cinnamon roll, it really makes it harder to enjoy. Trust me, I am currently sitting here with a green smoothie when what I really wanted this morning was a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Right now I’m grumbling, but I will definitely appreciate it when dinner comes around and I can eat more than a dry salad because I still have some daily calories left. (Let me add, sometimes I don’t make that decision. Sometimes, like I said in the second tip, I choose to have the cinnamon rolls instead, because I don’t believe in denying myself foods I love. When that happens, I try my best to do better through the day, or I start over again tomorrow— I just don’t let the cinnamon rolls be an every day occurrence.)

Move

I had no idea how sedentary I was until I bought a Fitbit. On one particularly lazy day recently, I looked at my steps and discovered I had only taken a little over 1,000 for the entire day! My kids are past the age of my needing to run after them constantly, so it’s very easy for me to be lazy and just not move much. Because of this, I’ve gotten in the habit of pacing, parking at the back of the parking lot (I realize the younger your kids are, the harder that one is to do), and dragging the family out for evening walks. My favorite trick these days is to grab my Kindle and pace the house. That’s become “me time.” I get to catch up on reading AND get a little physical activity.

Be Proud

I hate working out. I really do. And I really, really like junk food. To be honest, I don’t mind being fat that much. For a long time it was a whole lot easier to just say, “I would rather be fat than take up running/ quit eating carbs/ do whatever the latest craze is.” I made my change because I was sick and feared getting sicker. I developed asthma that has been difficult to control. My cholesterol is naturally high. My family has a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes, all diseases made worse by excess weight and unhealthy lifestyle choices. I don’t care about living forever, but I would like to at least live long enough to enjoy seeing my children grow up and hold my grandchildren. So, I had to make the decision to live healthier, but that doesn’t mean I have to become a marathoner overnight. I think we spend a lot of time beating ourselves up about what we AREN’T doing and not taking credit for what we ARE. My husband and I recently did a 5K, but guess what? We walked it. That’s right, I still don’t run. Maybe someday I will start running (slowly). I think it would be good for my lungs. But right now I’m really proud that I can spend the afternoon walking around my great city and not have to stop to catch my breath. My body is not a rock-hard powerhouse, but I’m really proud of the weight I have lost and how much better I look. Don’t compare yourself to others, or even to who you might have been pre-kids, just be proud of who you are now and the steps you are taking to make yourself a healthier person.