I woke up today, stood on the scale, and good news: I reached my weight loss goal!! Woo-hoo! I’ve lost 26 pounds since January 6 and now weigh what it says on my driver’s license.
Now, I’m no diet guru or health expert, and I’m really hesitant to write this post because it’ll look that way … but, a couple things:
- Whenever I mention my weight loss (including today on Twitter), people inevitably want to know how I did it.
- If, by sharing this, I can help even one other person lose some weight and get in better shape, it’s worth it.
So let’s throw caution to the wind, shall we? Here’s what I did…
No secrets, no tricks, no fancy diets, just this basic advice you’ve heard a million times: Eat better and get more exercise. And keep track of everything. That’s it. Seriously. It’s not rocket science.
I still eat hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, big sandwiches, etc. I still go out to eat — Olive Garden, Outback, local restaurants, In-N-Out Burger when I was in California, etc. But I also watch my calories like a hawk. I stopped eating stuff that was high-calorie and started eating lower-calorie stuff. Here are some of the foods that were key to losing 26 pounds.
1. Light Mayo / Mustard: I really love mayonnaise, but it’s really, really bad for you. One little tablespoon is 90 calories, and I used to put bunches of it on my sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, and other stuff. I’ve switched to light mayonnaise, which tastes much better than I thought it would, and I use a lot more mustard than before. Mustard has, like, zero calories.
2. Pickles: This is the greatest snack ever. Two pickle spears HAVE ONLY FIVE CALORIES. Five!!!! That means I could eat 32 pickle spears and it would be the same as one slice of American cheese. This is my main daytime snack, and I also put pickle slices on my sandwiches.
3. Skinny Cow ice cream: Best. Ice Cream. Ever. And it’s low-calorie. An ice cream sandwich (shown) has only 140 calories. They sell Dippers and Truffles that are even less. And they’re all delicious. Cari loves them. The kids love them. I do, too. I’ve eaten more ice cream since starting my diet than I did before.
4. Late-night snacks: I struggle with this, because we eat dinner at around 5:30 or 6:00 pm, and I don’t go to bed until 1:00 or 1:30 am. That’s a long time without food. Those Jell-O cups are only 70 calories each. The Del Monte Sugar-Free Mandarin Orange cups are even better, only 40 calories each. And delicious.
The only thing I’ve really cut down on is pasta, because a tiny little bit of pasta is 200 calories and I LOVE pasta. So, when we go to Olive Garden now, I order the Chicken Marsala or Mixed Grill, both of which are less than 800 calories. And delicious.
I’ve also cut down on cheese, I suppose. I used to put four slices on a sandwich, but now I use two. And sometimes I’ll skip cheese altogether and just have a hamburger. Cheese is a ton of calories and the taste reward doesn’t justify the cost.
I started working out on January 14 and usually go to the gym four times per week. Sometimes at night, sometimes in the morning. I do 10 minutes on the treadmill to warm-up, then do some weightlifting and sit-ups for about 20-30 minutes, then get back on the treadmill for 35 more minutes (with some great workout songs to keep me going).
This has been tough at times because a bad workout really gets you down, and you hit a wall and want to stop … but you can’t. Discipline, discipline, discipline. Fight through it.
For me, the 35-minute treadmill part is the hardest, but I keep myself busy by checking email, checking Twitter, etc. I even write emails and tweets while on the treadmill. It’s a great way to pass the time.
I already blogged about this a month ago: the Lose It iPhone app is amazing. Couldn’t have done any of this without it. Every day I input all my eating and exercise and it tells me how many calories I have left. I input my daily weight. I compare how I’m doing day-to-day and week-to-week. Love this app.
So, that’s about it. Maybe this helps someone? I hope so. It ain’t easy to lose weight, but the reward is so worth it. I feel better today than I have in YEARS … maybe even a decade or two.