Saturday, March 24, 2012

Here Comes The (Skinny!) Bride

Nothing lit a fire under my ass to lose weight until the 6 month mark to our wedding arrived.  I went from being 130 pounds to a solid 215 pounds in just 1 year.  I had gone from a size 4 to a 14 in that time &  I still had a hard, if not impossible, time believing the size I was. I'm 5'9 so I did have more room to spread the weight but it was taking a toll on my body.  I'm not embarrassed to admit my weight- I'd be more embarrassed to admit I did nothing about it. At first, I was constantly squeezing myself into clothes too small because that's what I was used to and I couldn't admit how much I had 'let myself go.'  I stopped going out as much as I used to because I felt I looked terrible, to me I was almost unrecognizable.  I started wearing my fiances over sized shirts and gym shorts because I didn't have any clothes that fit.  And, if I dared, I probably could have parked in the 'Expectant Mother' parking space.  Yet, I did nothing about my weight until March 1, 2012- 6 months on the dot to our September 1 wedding.

Let me be quite clear- I'm losing the weight because I WANT TO. Losing weight will not work if you're doing it for someone else.  You have to be motivated, focused and willing to work for it.  It will be hard to get motivated (it was for me for the longest time) because you just feel so bad about the way you look and the fact you let yourself get that way. To be quite honest, I never want to look back at our wedding pictures and think 'wow, who is that cookie monster in the white dress.'  Fearing that might happen, the motivation came easier than I thought.  I want to FEEL as beautiful and perfect as possible when I walk down the aisle, damnit!  And I capitalize feel because weight loss is all about how you feel.  If you only lose 10 pounds but feel fantastic about how you look and the progress you've made, then that's what matters most.  I decided I wanted my goal weight loss to be about 60 pounds which was about 10 pounds a month or about 2 and a half pounds a week (a healthy weight loss and a very manageable one with hard work). So far, I've exceeded my goal as I've lost an average of 5 pounds a week.  So, now that I've taken my weight loss seriously and have seen results, we're ready for the good part: what I've done to lose 15 pounds in 3 weeks!

My first piece of advice (and I'm not a doctor, nurse, dietitian, etc.  I'm simply a girl who wants to feel good in my wedding dress.) is don't make your weight loss goals unattainable.  You will be so disappointed if you expected to lose 30 lbs in a month and didn't.  It's not worth the disappointment.

Another thing I did that has kept me so motivated and inspired to work out is make a weight loss goal and reward chart.  Here's an example of mine:

The more weight that is lost, the more expensive or desired of a reward!  I think it's important to reward yourself in some way.  It is hard work to stay committed to a life change with working out and eating healthy consistently. That should be celebrated and rewarded!  It also gives you motivation.. I'm working so hard for that half hour massage! Sometimes when I'm working out and get tired and want to stop, I think of this chart and keep going so I can reach my reward! 

Now, I hate working out. HATE IT. Being hot, sweaty, and achy is not my thing.  But I couldn't expect to lose as much weight as I wanted without working out so I decided to take up swimming.. again.  I was on the swim team in high school but the thought of swimming again 5 years after I hadn't been near a pool made me nearly faint.  I assumed I would drown on my first attempt back in the pool, but it went surprisingly well.  If you don't consider yourself a swimmer, I urge you to still at least try.  To me, swimming feels amazing- you're knees and feet don't ache from pounding on the treadmill and you're not all hot and sweaty after.  I can really feel all my muscles working when I swim.  If you absolutely think you cannot swim, start with kick sets.  These will work your legs and abs almost effortlessly and you don't have to worry about having your face in the water, moving your arms or trying to breathe during the stroke.  I swim about an hour and a half, 5 or 6 days a week.  I used to think swimming was rather boring... until I discovered a Waterproof MP3 player!  <-- click the hi-lighted text to take you to Amazon to buy the product for $59.95!  My opinion of the product?  It's great! I really don't think I'll be able to swim without it anymore.  I think swimming is easier with it since it's not as boring.  The volume can actually get to be pretty loud and it was easy to load music onto: no CDs or software to install- I just dragged and dropped songs from itunes to the JLAB folder and that's it! If something makes working out easier for you, then I say it's worth every penny!   

You've probably heard a million times: breakfast is the most important part of the day.  Well, I used to think sleep was more important and I was never up for breakfast or in a mood to make breakfast.  Do yourself a favor and START EATING BREAKFAST!  Since I've always heard it's so important I made it a habit to start getting up and eating breakfast.  I usually drink a healthy fruit smoothie made with Almond Milk or cereal with Almond Milk.  I can't say I know for sure my new routine of eating breakfast has helped with my weight loss but I can say I feel so much better after eating breakfast.  I do feel more awake and focused.  Give it a try and see how you feel!

My next tip is make your goals visible:  put your weight loss and reward chart on the fridge so when you're tempted to go for that bowl of ice cream, you'll most likely think twice about it.  

Schedule your work outs.  I'm a college student and I work 30+ hours a week (as a nanny so I'm always tired!) so most nights I just want to go home and veg out.  But, being a type A personality girl I am obsessed with planning so, if I have planned to work out and cut out a time for it, I do it.  I almost feel guilty if I've planned it and don't do it.  And, if you can spend an hour between Pinterest and Facebook you can certainly go for a brisk walk or bike ride.  Here's what a typical day is for me: 

And why in the heck do I schedule my wake up time?! So I have an idea of how much time I have before I really 'start' my day.. and so I don't roll out of bed and skip that all important breakfast ;)  It might have something to do with that Type-A thing I mentioned, as well! :)

Don't cut out meals. It's only obvious to think that the easiest way to cut calories is to skip out on a meal. Don't. I use this analogy: imagine a fire burning. In order to keep the fire going you need to add wood every now and then. If you stop adding anything to it, it burns out.  The same with your body- when you add food to it, your body gets reenergized and can work better.  If you withhold nutrition and fuel, your body is going to burn out like the fire.  I will say, I am not a big calorie counter.  I know eating Hardees and McDonalds is not a healthy breakfast.  I prefer to use (what I think is) common sense and knowledge and eat healthy foods like fruit and whole grain and vegetables. Baked chicken over fried, smaller portions, skip the pop, etc. You get the point.

Diet/Workout Journal!  I started keeping a diet and work out log (journal) and it has really helped me realize what foods I'm eating and what I may need to cut out and just how much time I'm devoting to working out.  I keep it in my purse and anytime I eat anything I write it down.  I usually skip dessert too just so I don't have to write it down. I may want a double chocolate brownie at the time but when I write that down and read it later, I realize I could have down without those extra calories.  You'd be surprised at how much you probably snack and munch on junk food throughout the day without even realizing it.  A journal would make you realize and cut back (in my experience).

My final piece of advice for this post is just because you've worked out doesn't mean you can then eat a bunch of junk food afterwards.  You're not a dog- don't reward yourself with food.  Don't ruin your great workout!! Trust me, you'll regret it after you do!

I said before I've lost 15 pounds in about 3 weeks so I was compelled to write this post as an effort to help anyone trying to lose any amount of weight.  I know it's hard, I know it's not instant, and I know it's really an entire lifestyle change, but it can be done!  I'll be posting before and after pics as I progress so stay tuned for those and feel free to share any of your helpful weight loss tips!

You can follow me on Pinterest: here  where I'm always posting workouts and healthy meals or on Instagram where I occassionaly post photos of healthy foods I've made with the directions at: amanda_cervantez