Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Guide To Losing 50 Pounds in 2011

I think 2010 has been a pretty awesome year. It started out with lots of potential. I had a new job to start in February, I was moving to Virginia for it, and I was FINALLY DONE WITH SCHOOL! Entirely too much time from the past 5 years has been spent focusing on school and everything that goes with it, instead of focusing on ME! So I started off 2010 at 200 lbs (I actually lost 15 lbs from 215 in my last semester of college), size 16, single, and while happy with myself professionally, I was NOT happy with how I looked.
I also don't really do New Years Resolutions, I made one once in 5th grade to stop biting my nails. I did... and started biting my cuticles... haha. But for 2010, I figured with all the crazy changes, now might be a good time to get into some healthy habits. So I did, started eating healthy (and less of what I was eating), and started to workout. It's now December 21st, and in those 12 months I've lost 49 lbs. And I really didn't start til February so it's more like 11 months and 49 pounds. WHOA BABY! I don't think I could have predicted I'd be this far along by now. But I'm 11 pounds from my initial goal, barely a size larger than I ultimately want to end up (I bought size 6 pants last week... I nearly cried). I'd say that's one successful New Years Resolution. I get asked this a lot when new MFP members add me as a friend, so... Here's how I did it!
1.  Don't go cold turkey.
I love treats, sweets, candies, desserts, ice cream... you name it, if it has sugar or chocolate I want it. So a "diet" that doesn't include any of the above just isn't gonna work for me. But I earn my treats. I had a piece of chocolate cake at the Christmas party for work on Friday. And I drove straight to the gym right after that party and worked out for over an hour. I'll have a little bit of ice cream in the evening, if I have the calories to spare. I'll eat out for dinner with my boyfriend and not feel guilty because I worked out every other day that week. It won't last if I didn't cut myself a little slack for being a normal person.
2. Find your soutmate workout. 
I'm stealing that phrase from Chalene Johnson, but I've gone through a bunch of different kinds of exercise, mainly because I have a short attention span. I've done EA Sports Active for the Wii, 30 Day Shred, Chalean Extreme, Turbo Fire, jogging, spinning... you name it! The fact that I mix it up has two purposes. The first is that I don't get bored, and the second is that my body doesn't get used to any one thing. I've found Interval Training to be useful, but I also like to run... and I like to do Turbo kickboxing. Just keep trying new things.
3.  Don't focus on the scale. 
We've all realized it at some point. The scale is evil. It was sent to our bathroom to ruin our mornings, mess with our heads, and in general cause pain and suffering. Except on those wonderful mornings where you suddenly lose a pound and jump around the bathroom dancing and fist pumping (yeah, I'm from Jersey... haha). However, DON'T LET IT DEFINE YOU! Take measurements EVERY MONTH, keep trying on smaller clothing sizes, have your bloodwork done and see your numbers fall back into a healthy range. Anything to measure progress is good! The scale is really a bad way to do it. I've finally realized that as I've shurnk and my progress (on the scale) has slowed. But I'm still shrinking. I lost about 4 lbs in the past month. But I lost an inch off my hips and waist and now am starting to fit in a size 6. Even though I've hit plateaus on the scale, I've dropped a pants size every 2 months like clockwork. So, PROGRESS!
4. Just because you didn't log it, doesn't mean you didn't eat it.
I'm guilty of this at times. I'll eat out, have NO clue the nutrition info, and I won't log what I eat. So it doesn't count right, it was a cheat? Nope, not how it works. I've found the more faithful I am to logging, the better success I have. That's the whole idea this website is built around. Keeping yourself accountable. I have my food diary open to MFP friends, it helps me stay on track, and others can see how I eat too. If you can't find nutrition info, find something in the database that's close. It's at least something. 
5. Yes, Virginia, there is a Starvation Mode!  
And unfortunately, I've been there. I thought it was a wonderful idea to drop 5 lbs really fast for my birthday by eating 1000 calories a day and working out every day on top of that. It worked for 3 weeks... I got to 155 for my birthday on time. And then I got stuck... for A MONTH! And I wondered "but I'm not eating a ton, I still workout, why is the scale not moving". Yep, starvation mode. My metabolism was dead.So after realizing this, I got my act together, changed my goals to lose 1 lbs a week (I have 1270 calories a day now) and started eating back some exercise calories (I eat between 1300-1400 a day total now). And miracle, the scale started moving again! But it's been a slow recovery, my metabolism is still working on revving up again, so I've lost 4 lbs in the past month. But I'm happy to see them go, and the inches are dropping off even faster. 

So those are my 5 pieces of advice for how you too can lose 50 lbs in 2011. I'm gonna keep following them, and I'm aiming to reach my goal of 135-140 sometime this Spring. With 11 lbs til 140, I'm confident I've set a reasonable pace for myself (those last 10 lbs are killer!) and I've set up a plan to do it. I just joined a gym. Yes, I lost 50 lbs this year WITHOUT JOINING A GYM! I worked out at home, outside, and occasionally in the free (and crappy) mini-gym in my office building. So you definitely don't need a million dollars to lose weight. A few DVDs, some determination, and healthier food was all it took. I didn't waste my money on diets, books, or meal plans. 
I'm happy to answer questions if anyone has them, just post below. And have wonderful Holiday Season and a FANTASTIC 2011!

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