Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Weight Loss Secrets

Hi everyone.

This post is another in which I am sharing more about my personal story with you.   This was one post that I was especially interested to write and share because I know how much it helped me when others shared their tips with me, so I want to pass them along.

I have been able to lose 25 pounds and have kept it off for over one year. I am not an expert on any subject within this post, except on myself and what worked for me to lose weight.


 I used to  travel a lot and eat and enjoy the good life! And it showed.

When I saw this picture of myself, I realized I was beginning to look like my grandmother in my shape. I believe I was at about 145 lbs at my heaviest. I am not sure because I hated the scale.


I can't believe I am showing these pictures. I am 120 lbs today at 5'1". 

I am not model skinny, but I am strong! I admit I am proud of the fitness level I have achieved at almost 50 years of age. That is right, I turn 50 this year.

DISCLAIMER: My plan is effective, healthy, cheap and easy. But PLEASE TALK about any changes in
your life with your doctor. Do not take my advice without confirming with your doctor that these things will not harm you in any way. I do not know your particular health and everyone is different. That said, I believe any doctor would agree that the things I recommend are safe and healthy for most people.


MY NICKNAME WAS CHOCOHEAVY as a child. (In the 60s, when I was a child, there was a candy bar called Choco-Lite Hahaha yeah really funny I know).  I was dark complected and chubby.  I still remember how the names hurt. My weight for me is a very sensitive subject and I don't take comments about it lightly. I have gotten comments about it from very important people in my life and this has hurt me and affected me deeply. From reading the words of others, I know I am not alone in this being a very delicate and extremely personal subject closely tied to my self-esteem.

So to stay in shape, I have done aerobics and some form of exercise since I graduated from high school.  I have tried to stay in good shape and have always exercised as an adult. For a long time I remained within ten pounds of my weight when I graduated high school.

That was until I turned forty, and gave up working outside the home. The combination of these things at forty made it seem as if I had a new "Suddenly Fat (tm)" belt strapped to my belly. LOL

So, I did the Atkins diet. I lost weight, but it was a huge struggle and my body paid the price. I became chronically constipated, not very nice! That makes one even fatter!

I quit that and ballooned more than ever up to almost 150 lbs on my 5 foot one inch frame. Weight gain is common after stopping Atkins.

So, I joined Livestrong and counted each calorie and exercised like a maniac, with aerobics and weights to the point of injury.  I did not lose more than three or four pounds over months and months.  My problem here was I ate extra calories to account for my workouts, which is one theory, that you have to eat the calories back.  That did not cause significant weight loss.

For me I found I have to restrict calories more than the charts said to lose weight, perhaps my petite 5'1" stature is to blame?

Things changed for me when I began to exercise using the Butt Bible and other programs on my On Demand cable. I tried pilates and Butt Bible by Paulin Nordin.  These programs use the body's own weight as resistance. And the weight began to slip away.  I began to feel stronger and my back problems improved.  My confidence has also improved, now that I am at my goal. I didn't do huge amounts of aerobic exercise like jogging or walking on the treadmill very much, though have recently begun adding that back in.

Here are my secrets!

1. Weight loss starts above the neck.

If I tell myself, "Self, you can not have any more ice cream, wine or cheese until you lose all this weight. You are on a diet".

What will happen?  Can you guess?  I can tell you that very soon I will be consuming wine and cheese. And maybe ice cream.  Why?  I have a problem with rules.  I do not like to know I have to follow them. So I don't!  I found out how I can have anything I want to eat and not pack the pounds back on. Thing is, I do no longer want to eat many of the foods I know are fattening, like french fries. That kind of craving goes away, because there are so many tastier foods to eat than oily french fries.  Like strawberries, apples and raspberries : )

For foods that I love but are too fattening to eat all the time, like ice cream, I will have that for a holiday or on a special occasion only. As a treat or reward. Or if I just can not live with out it one more minute.  But I will get a single serving, not an entire half gallon or family package.

If I know I can have whatever I want, I do not feel deprived.  And I also find that I do not want cookies or ice cream very much any more, since I know they will turn immediately to fat, the desire for these foods diminishes.

2. VERY LIMITED amounts of packaged prepared junk or diet food is brought in my house. I do not keep any cookies, crackers, 100 calorie snack packs, diet bars, diet products, diet pills or other "diet aids" in my house. No gimmicks allowed here, they are unhealthy and non sustainable in most cases.

Keeping junk food out of the home will help improve the entire family's health. Anything with refined sugar is the ENEMY.

I focus my food buying on whole foods, lots of lean (now hormone free*) meat, veggies, herbs, cashews, almonds, fruit, Greek yogurt and now I am going more to organic food since I got my diagnosis.

I love cookies, they are my weakness. I do not eat them, usually. I don't buy them routinely. If I do not see a package of open cookies as I walk by my counter, I will not eat the cookies.  If I do not have cookies in my pantry I can not seek them out and eat them.  If I do not bring them home, I forget about them.

Until the next time I go shopping.  Then I want the cookies at the store. So if I can't convince myself to have a strawberry smoothie when I get home instead I go ahead and buy a small pack a the checkout.  Then I wolf it down, feel bad for a minute, but I don't feel guilty for long because I get home and I have no more cookies. But I am aware, and I don't fail to remind me, that is not helping me to lose weight.

We all will have setbacks and moments of weakness, the key is to recognize them as temporary, forgive the transgression and always try to do better next time.

3. Weight bearing exercise.  Use it or lose it. There is no way around this one. If you do not exercise, you will begin losing muscle after a certain point. When you age, you lose muscle and get weaker.  With less muscle to burn fat, you will accumulate the fat on your body instead, if nothing else changes. The only way to fight this aging process and weight gain process in a healthy manner is to build your muscles back. Starving to lose weight and not exercising is a path to weakness, aging and fitness failure.

Seeing and feeling the amazing results from workouts will be the best motivator you can find to continue.  I love working out now! I love to feel sore afterwards, and strong.  Just one workout, even a small one, makes me stand taller, and feel stronger. Yes, it is hard, and if it were easy, everyone would do it.  But it is fun and it makes me feel strong and alive. Also, knowing that exercise is the only thing I can do to stop the inevitable muscle loss with aging is a huge motivator.

Exercise like pilates and the moves in the Butt Bible by Pauline Nordin like squats, pushups, leg lifts, and lunges are cheap and super effective. Some of the exercises Pauline does are bad for my back, such as weighted Sumo Squats, so I modify the routine for my needs, but it is quite basic. Any weighted exercise combined with leaning forward can be dangerous for the back, so simply not using weights can make this one safer.

This is essential, because muscles are the our fat burning engines. And your butt and thighs have the biggest muscles in your body. So it made perfect sense to me that those muscles are the most effective and fastest fat burners. So I built them up. After doing this routine for one year, I have achieved the shape I feel I should have.

Also I generally stay active. I stand up at the computer. I take stairs.  I don't watch tv on the couch much.  This gets easier as the energy goes up and the weight comes off.  Once it starts, it is a HUGE motivator to keep going.  Also, once the weight loss starts in the face and I began looking more athletic in my appearance it was very encouraging and rewarding to me.

4. I eat lots of snacks and small meals throughout the day. This is a big concept to internalize and the biggest change I made. I eat every two or three hours. I never went hungry or without eating for long.

Three small meals with snacks in between is easy to do.  I shrunk my lunch and dinner down in size. I ate half a sandwich or a salad with lots of healthy veggies for lunch, and shrunk the dinner down by one third or so.  I made up for this smaller calorie intake by eating snacks between meals like a handful of almonds and an apple.

Here is where the head games come in.  When I am still hungry after only half my regular sandwich for lunch, I remind myself that I could eat the other half or a snack in an couple of hours or so if I am still hungry. I realized that I don't have to eat everything at once until I am chock a block full to feel satisfied.

Here is the fun part. When meals shrink consistently, the stomach will tend to shrink down in size too, and it takes less food to feel full if it isn't being stretched out all the time. This happens pretty quickly. So it is like you are giving yourself a gastric bypass in a way, and we know that will make you lose weight, but in a very drastic manner. This is easy and non invasive way to achieve the same effect.  You will feel full with less food.

5. Drink lots of water, take extra vitamin c and drink green tea, decaf if caffeine bothers you.

I do not drink any sodas or even diet sodas, except rarely. I drink filtered water from a Brita pitcher. I used to hate drinking water, but now I drink it anyway, sometimes in the form of herbal teas sweetened with honey. This saves tons of calories over drinking juice or soda.

To lose weight, I took from 1000 to 3000 mg of Ester C per day. Right now I am taking 6000 or so per day because I am recovering from surgery and it is essential for healing.  If you take too much it is eliminated by the body.

I encourage you to research Vitamin C, as I did.  You can't overdose on it, and it increases metabolism. But it can cause you to get "the runs", and is a diuretic. It is one of my top dieting secrets. : )

Drinking green tea has been shown to also have many health benefits, and the caffeine has the effect of suppressing the appetite and increasing the metabolism. This part of my plan can be problematic for some people in that caffeine is a drug and can affect you negatively if you have underlying health issues.  So again consulting with your doctor is the best idea before making any drastic changes.

6.   I cook my meals at home. I do not eat out, except rarely. This is such a big part of my weight loss success.  It takes energy and burns calories to shop and cook food rather than driving through. This saves you tons of money also, so you can buy more of  those nail polishes!  

The food prepared in American restaurants is usually laden with fat and sodium. Even a healthy salad can be a diet disaster in some cases.  If you are your own chef, you control the quality and calorie count. If you have never cooked before, believe me, there is nothing more rewarding than preparing a meal for yourself and family just the way YOU like it!

Once the excessive sodium from processed foods exits your system, you will lose a few pounds of water weight, I have read once it is about seven pounds on average.

7. Visualize yourself as successful.  Make a goal for yourself, and plan a reward when you reach it.  I pulled out a pair of shorts and put them where I could see, to remind me of my goal to fit into them.  When I reached my goal I promised myself a Cinnabon. I finally got a mini Cinnabon at Burger King recently :D

I hope that these tips are helpful : D

I really want to help anyone else who may be struggling and suffering with trying to lose weight, because I know how hard it can be, and also how it can be made easy, with the right mind set.  Because as I know, crying alone won't get those pounds off!


*I learned that my cancer type is fueled by hormones, which are added into our meat supply, so I have eliminated regular meat and only eat hormone free meat.

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