Sunday, January 23, 2011

You Asked For It

So sporadically since I've started sharing my weight loss with you all, I've been asked to reveal my secrets and tricks for shedding 60 lbs in under a year and I think its high time that I oblige.
Only thing is ... there aren't really any secrets ... or tricks either for that matter. Honestly my success is based upon an honest-to-God lifestyle change that sometimes even I am impressed with.
I look at myself and my current habits and wonder how in the world  this girl was ever closing in on 200 lbs - she's so active, so dedicated, so knowledgeable when it comes to foods - but I suppose I wasn't always the way I am now and there were some key changes that I made on my way. These changes are what I'm going to share with you now.

Things I said to myself and the changes that follwed:

1.NO MORE FAST FOOD FOR WORK LUNCHES: I was eating fast food for lunch almost every single day. McDonalds, Chipotle, Taco Bell, McAllisters, Wendy's, Moe's bleh! It was getting ridiculous! I started packing my lunches and snacks everyday : starting simply at first with Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones - then moving on to more lean meats, fruits and veggies  that packed more nutrients once I became more hip to the importance of these things. Today a typical packed lunch for me might be: home made Hungry Girl chicken salad ( made with minced chicken breast, red grapes, apple chunks, cucumber, f f. free miracle whip,. f. free plain yogurt, lemon spice seasoning and a packet of Splenda) on whole grain crackers with a side of baby carrots. For a snack at work I may have some dried edamame or a small apple. If I'm in a rush I do still have Lean Cuisine meals on hand but I am really trying to stay further away from pre-packaged meals these days due to artificial ingredients and preservatives. After I started really looking at the nutritional facts of the fast food chains I had previously frequented- it was no wonder I had put on so much weight - even some of the most innocent seeming things (like half a sammy from panera) were loaded with fat and calories - I am a major advocate of restaurants being required to disclose ALL nutritional values to their customers.

2. GET YOUR ASS ON THE SCALE: I used to say that I didn't weigh myself because it was simply a number that I didn't feel I should base my self worth upon. OK..true, my entire self esteem should not teeter upon a number- but I was in full fledged DENIAL! If I didn't know the number I didn't have to hold myself accountable and ladies - I didn't. I estimated my weight (always lower than actual) and that was that. Imagine my horror when I finally did have to come face to face with my number at a dr. appointment and it was about 20 lbs heavier than I had thought at first! I now weigh myself weekly - sometimes a few times a week - but I think thats mostly because I'm still working on losing and I get anxious to see if I am or not.

3. READ FOOD LABELS: Plain and simple - not all foods are created equal. You can look at two similar products and see that their fat and calories are almost equal so they must be nutritionally about the same - nope. What about serving size?  what about dietary fiber and protein? Poly saturated fats vrs. mono ... how much added sodium and sugar? All of these things are very important when considering which foods to buy. Honestly, I am a strong believer in staying to t he outskirts of super markets and only going for the pre-packaged items when absolutely necessary. I also swear by the idea that the fewer artificial ingredients- the better - but I'm not a complete convert.

4. DON'T DEPRIVE YOURSELF: If you really want something- have moderation. This is life after all- what fun would it be if we didn't splurge every once in awhile. Moderation is key- one cookie- not the whole bag. And for God's sake don't punish yourself after you eat it by exercising for 4 hours extra - make plans for your little splurges and move on -no one is perfect- and making lifestyle changes is hard- learn to forgive yourself.

5. PLAN AHEAD: Planning lunches and menus has been a life saver for me. I look at my calendar for the week and plan for the times that a meal out is inevitable or that temptations will be strong. If I have a big family dinner planned for Wed. night at Outback - I plan for that. I will eat a lower point (calories and fat) lunch and plan a healthy snack to curb major hungers so that I can indulge a bit more at dinner but also so that I'm not ravenous when I get there. Oh yes, and I definitely visit a restaurant's website before ever setting foot in the place- that way I already have something picked out before being tempted with yummy smells!

6. MOVE YOUR BOOTY: Until the past month I had not set foot inside a gym or in an organized exercise class. I just found ways to get my butt in gear that I enjoyed and that didn't feel like tedious exercise. I walked , then I started jogging, I did exercise DVDs, and discovered Exercise TV on Demand. I shoveled our sidewalks when it snowed, I raked leaves, I swam, I danced my ass off at the bar on a Saturday night. Even now when I am stressed beyond belief and my house is a wreck and all I want to do is get my life in order - I clean for all its worth- scrub on hands and knees, reach high to dust ceiling fans, go up and down the stairs for laundry...I just move! As I said in my last post though... I have started Zumba and that's a blast- but as I'm in the home stretch to reaching my "Ultimate Numbers Goal" I want to start targeting certain trouble areas for tone and I'm thinking of investing in a personal training package. Sometimes you do need the help of a pro and thats ok too.

7. KNOW THAT THERE IS NO QUICK FIX & NO ONE GETS CART BLANCHE: Diet pills, prepackaged foods, cleanses - they may all work for the right here, right now results that you want but the problem is not just that a person has extra lbs. - the problem is that there is  some kind of under-lying behavior that caused the extra lbs. to be there in the first place. A sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, thyroid problems , a new baby - a combo of one or more of those things - its my belief that once the underlying issue has been addressed and curbed the results can be reached and maintained. If you eat only pre-packaged foods for 6 months and lose 20 lbs but in the meantime don't learn how to eat better on your own- once you quit using the pre-packaged system - its all coming back.Also don't get discouraged by the size 0, toothpick girl that you sit next to in the break room eating a Big Mac and drinking a Mountain Dew- just because she's not wearing her poor eating habits on her body right now- doesn't mean she isn't doing harm to her body that will eventually catch up with her down the road; be it in weight gain or high cholesterol. Fatty foods are just as bad for skinny minnie as they are for you!

I hope this gives you some insight into the changes that I made for those of you who are curious. I am by no means a weight loss expert but I must be doing something kind of right.

Now I'm going to do something that I wasn't sure I was ever going to do when I began this journey... share my actual numbers with you - my blogger friends.

When I stepped on the scale at the Doc's office in September 2009 I almost fell over when I saw the number the nurse wrote on my chart: 199 lbs!!!

I didn't get mad or sad - kicked myself a little and moved on. Didn't even change anything right away- just though on it and finally it was thinking about my seniors at work that really got me moving. I thought about how this is they only body that I'll ever have, and this is the youngest I'll ever be again, and that I owe it to myself to treat it the best that I can now and get it in the best shape that I can now so that hopefully it will be there for me later.

Here are a few pics of me around the time of my highest weight ever:

My 25th Birthday August 2009

Round 1 of Our Engagement Pics: Sept 2009

Megan's Bachelorette Party October 2009

You all know the story from there - here are a few gratuitous pictures of late just for vanity:

Christmas 2010

NYE 2010

This week I have weighed in at my lowest adult weight ever : 138 lbs!!!

Blurry pic from a fitting room but I love it because I think I look TINY!

I'm not going to lie to you though girls- I'm in that yucky place where you weigh in one week and you're down  several lbs and the next week your up a couple and the next week your back down again - but I'm super happy to not be actually gaining or going at all above 141. 

My ultimate number goal is 135- so I'm so close I can almost taste it! 

Thank you to those who have encouraged me on my journey thus far- you've been an inspiration and I'm glad to "know" you. I hope my little "pearls" of wisdom helped in some capacity. As always I welcome your thoughts and comments!

For now, I must start thinking about bed!

Much Love Always!

Mrs. Amber Lane 


Miss Madison's Mommy said...

Your so successful because you totally GET it! You know it hard work and not just a magic pill. Good for you!! You look amazing :)

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Thanks for posting this!! You are definitely an inspiration to keep up with a healthy lifestyle!!!

That dress is gorgeous on you and you DO look tiny! I hope you bought it!

Christy said...

You look fantastic... great job!

While I still would like to lose another 10-12 lbs, I dropped about 25 lbs in the months leading up to my wedding last year. When people asked, I told them the same thing... it's a lifestyle change. Eating healthy and going to the gym. I was surprised at how many people were completely amazed that I didn't have a quick fix to share with them.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

You look great!! I started brown bagging it for lunch at work and it's totally made a difference.

Erin said...

Girl you look HOTT!!! I am really struggling to get this baby weight off - and 135 is my goal, too...but I am WAAAAAY far away from it! Thanks for your honesty in posting - you're really inspiring me to keep going and remember that it happens SLOWLY over time!