Monday, October 10, 2011

You want to know the REAL secret to losing weight?

When you find out someone's lost weight, your first reaction is, "What's your secret?"  Am I right?

Trust me, I wish there were a magic pill that would effortlessly melt away the pounds.

I mean, nice would that be?  Just pop the pill in your mouth each morning, wash it down with a chilled can of soda and scarf a couple donuts along with it...and then just watch the pounds magically disappear.

Yeah and you might as well believe that childbirth isn't painful, while you're at it.

The REAL secret to losing weight is that there IS no secret.  It takes tons of hard work, patience, persistence and an extreme amount of willpower.

How do I know?  Because my life for the last 9 months has consisted of nothing other than hard work, patience, persistence and an extreme amount of willpower.   And I'm happy to share what's been working for me so far.

            January 2011                                             May 2011

IMG_3499 (1)      May28,2011

August 2011

That first picture is downright embarrassing.  I look bloated, tired and just plain old.  That's the heaviest I've ever been.

It was taken after a particularly grueling workout, having been convinced that I would be happy to have this picture to reflect on someday of how far I've come (SO true!).

You see, at the beginning of the year, one of my good friends convinced me and another friend to take on a personal trainer at a local gym here in town.  We were totally on board, loving the idea of getting in shape together.  We're all busy moms with 9 kids between the 3 of us but we were committed to making 2011 the year where we would take our health more seriously and finally do this.

We met with one of the owners of the gym and he recommended one of their female trainers, Jillian.

The minute I heard the name Jillian, I'll admit I had a vision of a totally rock-hard, muscle-clad chick yelling in my face, "Pick your fat, pathetic ass up off the floor and get back on the freakin' treadmill NOW!"

I imagined her breaking me down emotionally and getting in my face, making me reveal to her the deep, dark secret I was harboring, which was ultimately preventing me from losing weight.

And then she'd be all disappointed when my juicy confession went something like this, "Well, it was a combination of severe sleep deprivation, leftover pregnancy hormones and, simply, my love for Ben and Jerry's Phish Food that made my ass puff up to a size XXL."

Much to my delight, Jillian wasn't like that at all.  I instantly liked her, even though I would soon learn she was born the year I graduated from high school.

But how could I hold that against wasn't her fault that she had no clue who Joan Jett was OR that she lacked even one ounce of cellulite on her youthful body.

So we jumped in with both feet and hit the ground running.  At first, we worked out with Jillian 2 days a week but then, shortly, as we would go over our schedules for the following weeks, she'd increase our workouts to 3 days, then 4 days and, soon, 5 days a week.

At first, the weight came off, super slowly...often leaving me frustrated and wanting to throw the towel in.

That's when it became apparent that exercise wasn't the diet was the problem.  I wasn't eating enough.

Yeah, that's what I said....not eating enough.  I was taking in maybe 900-1000 calories a day, with the belief that I needed to cut back the amount of food I ate to lose weight.

In reality, my body was hanging on to every single calorie, especially on the days I worked out.

Poor Jillian kept trying to get me to realize that I needed to increase my calories in order to shed some serious pounds.  It seemed so backwards and I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was supposed to be eating anywhere from 1400-1500 calories a day.

Once I finally came to grips with the idea of seeing food no longer as my enemy but more as fuel for my body, that's when the weight began to come off at a quicker rate.  I was burning fat and, at the same time, gaining muscle...resulting in a faster metabolism, which helped me drop even more weight.

Since August, I've discontinued working out with Jillian because Tim and I agreed to only a 6-month gym membership.

As crazy as it sounds, I miss her kicking my ass in the gym on a daily basis. I was never one to look forward to working out but there's definitely something about having a personal trainer on your side, looking out for your best interests and helping you stay motivated toward reaching your goal.

Now, for exercise, I take walks often, which is a wonderful family activity.  This usually consists of my kids riding their bikes and me chasing after them, panting like an old fart as they scream, "Come on, Mommy....hurry up!"

Or I'll do one of the levels of Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred DVD, as I yell at that crazy bitch the whole time and wonder how the hell she stays in shape when she basically just stands there during the entire 27 minutes and yaks at us about "not phoning it in".

As far my daily diet, I still stick to the 12 Power Foods (ala The Abs Diet, which is mentioned in my list below).  I'm always switching things up...taking in 1200 calories one day and maybe 1400 the next.  The key to my success, I have found, is constantly keeping my body guessing at what might come next.

I've dropped a total of 35 pounds so far (a total of 21 inches lost!).   In addition, I've been able to lower my dosage of thyroid medication and discontinue the cholesterol meds my doctor had me on.

I've got another 15 pounds to go to reach my final goal.  There have been weeks that have passed where I've lost absolutely no weight at all, between vacations and nothing other than pure laziness.

And, truth be told, there have been weeks where I've had a "screw this" mentality and I've eaten everything not nailed down.  It certainly hasn't been all sunshine and roses.  

While there are no quick fixes or easy ways to lose weight, I've found some things along the way which have been helpful....

1)  Drink caffeinated green tea at least two times a day.  According to some studies, green tea helps inhibit fat absorption and can also increase metabolism.

2)  Eat 3 servings a day of low-fat or fat-free dairy products.  Dairy is known to help the body absorb less fat.  

3)  Take supplements.  I take fish oil capsules, calcium with D3, a multivitamin and L-Carnitine.   While I do eat fish at least 2-3 times a week, I take the fish oil capsules mainly to help with my mood and to help lower my cholesterol but it also has been shown to help with weight loss.  

I heard about L-Carnitine after watching a Dr. Oz segment.  It's supposed to help your cells burn fat more effectively and increase your energy level, which I've definitely noticed since beginning to take these.

4)  Eat every 2-3 hours.  Instead of 3 large meals, eat 6 small meals.  

5)  Carbs and fats are not the enemy, as long as they're from healthy sources.  Carbs can be whole grains or from fruits and veggies....good fats can come from nuts, fish, olive oil and canola oil.   

The perfect snack = a 1/4 cup of almonds and an apple or a few whole grain crackers smeared with hummus and a handful of grapes!

6)  Stop the insane cardio routines!  Mix strength training in with your cardio to help tone and sculpt your body.  Yes, muscle weighs more than fat BUT muscle increases your metabolism so you burn calories at a faster pace.  Lifting weights will NOT turn you into a tough looking quarterback!  

7)  The New Abs Diet.   Seriously, it works.  I hit a plateau shortly into my weight loss "adventure" and happened to stumble upon this diet.  After reading the book, I shared it with Jillian to get her thoughts on it and she was just as excited as I was to try something different.

It basically consists of eating 12 power foods each day, like nuts, green veggies, eggs, etc.  What I love about this plan is that it's realistic.  It's not necessarily a diet but more of a lifestyle change because you can honestly maintain this way of eating for the rest of your life.   

You are discouraged from eating white sugar, white flour, white pasta...all the foods that have their nutrients stripped from them. 

But...and this is a huge are encouraged to have one cheat meal per week while you're trying to lose weight.  Yes, you can have whatever you want!  And once you're at your goal weight, you can even have an entire cheat day!   The author of the book actually says that a cheat meal/day is an absolute necessity in order to shock your body and change things up.  What's wierd is that I tend to drop the most weight after my cheat meal.  Go figure.

The book also shares a workout plan, along with pictures describing each move.  It doesn't require you to spend hours at the gym or expect you to go for a 3-mile walk every day.  The workouts are concise and spend your energy wisely so you get the best workout possible in a minimum amount of time.

8)  Get a workout buddy.  Not only does working out with someone keep you accountable, you'll benefit from the encouragement and support of someone who's doing this side by side with you.  

I'm definitely not a weight loss expert by any means or being paid to endorse the Abs Diet...I simply wanted to share what's been working for me so far.  

So, the moral to the story, is that there is no secret to losing quick fixes, no magical pills or powders (as much as the Kardashian sisters would like you to believe)...

It just takes some good old-fashioned hard work to get the results you want, people.

Got a tip you want to share, which has helped you lose weight and stay motivated?  I'd love to hear it!


Samantha said...

You look fabulous! The hardest part of losing weight, and getting fit for me, was increasing how much I ate. Doing P90X, I was supposed to be eating 1800 calories a day...and I found that it was nearly impossible for me to do that in a healthy manner! I think that I probably eat anywhere from 1200 to 1400 calories a day...and it works.

Brooke said...

you look incredible! great job & congrats on all your hard work!!

Nezzy said...

Woohoo!!! You go look marvelous!!! You certainly found the secret sweetie. When ya make it all about the health and not the weight, the weight will come off.

I know of what I speak of here. I've kept mine off now for around seven years. I was just too darn stubborn to go on Lipitor and take the chances with my liver of which I'm rather fond of. Heeehehe!

Since I'm stuck out here in the middle of nowhere I maintain with 'Total Body Workout' on BYU an hour every mornin'. Don't call...I don't answer the phone durin' it! Heeehehehhe!!!

I also made a lifestyle change on the way we eat 'round here 'cause ya'll know 'diet's' don't work!

I'm so proud of ya sweetie, I'd love to give ya a big old hug!!! I for one, know how hard it is.

God bless and keep up the great work! :o)

Enjoy your day

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Congratulations! You look amazing, and I'm so impressed you've stuck with it all year :-) It's paid off!

Nobodys Nothings said...

congrats on your weight loss, you look FABULOUS!

Teri said...

Wow Helene - You look amazing! I am so impressed with your dedication!

blueviolet said...

I've always thought you were pretty, but you're just glowing! I'm so happy for you, especially since it's given you the freedom to stop taking some of your meds. That's fantastic!

Your tips are excellent, and as someone who tends to strip out the calories, I know you're right when you say not to do that.

wonderchris said...

Helene you look incredible...and probably feel good too!! Great work!

Colleen said...

You look fabulous and I'm down right jealous! And a little discouraged that I no longer have any valid excuses. Lol If you can find time with 2 sets of twins what the hell is my excuse? Awesome progress!! Keep it up!!

The Jammie Girl said...

WOW! You look fantastic and I can tell just from your picture that you FEEL fantastic, too. Your hard work and patience has really paid off! Thanks for sharing the "secrets of your success" (even though I do still wish there was a magic pill or something). You've inspired to me try again. If you can do this as busy as your life is, then I have NO EXCUSE!!

Singedwingangel said...

You are one sexy momma and hard to believe you carried 2 sets of twins.. I want that body.. I have equipment just finding the time is my issue.

kristi said...

I try to track my food and exercise several times a week. I still want to lose 25 lbs but am down over 50.

HOA Mgr Lady said...

You look great and your skin looks like it is glowing! Great job!
I agree with all of your points ... vitamins; exercise and dieting - Course Gastric bypass helped me with the 1st 100 pounds but since then its been HARD WORK! No white food; my favorites! I still have a few pounds to lose but the way I feel It 's all downhill! GREAT AWESOME JOB!

Jen said...

Congrats! You look amazing.

Thank you for posting all these tips. I have kind of hit a wall in my weight loss journey and I haven't been doing the best job of watching what I eat. I need some new tips and tricks to get me back on track.

KSK said...

WOW! You look amazing! Great job!!!
**And the 'eat more' thing makes sense, although I never would've thought that! (I always heard that your body goes into 'starvation mode' though...)

Thank you for the tips!! I only drink 1 cup of green tea.. but I'm going to up it to 2! And I only take my prenatal vitamins - I don't eat fish, so I'll try the fish oil!

Karen and Gerard said...

Congrats on your weight loss--You look great in that last picture! I like your diet too; sounds very doable. I think having a personal trainer is a great help for anyone starting to a gym new who really is serious about getting in shape or losing weight. Having a trainer helped me stay motivated too.

Jenny said...

You look great! I'm so happy for you! Those are great tips too!

I lost 32 pounds on WW years ago, but have put 22 back on :(

I really would like to lose 15 of those pounds and keep them off for good! I just can't seem to motivate myself to exercise or eat better at all!

Missy said...

I am so proud of you. What a major accomplishment! And so awesome that you've lost so much BEFORE getting to the hardest season of all (for me) to lose weight! Oct/Nov/Dec . . .

Keep it up woman! I'm inspired.

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

Helene, this is an excellent post. I'm tweeting it for sure.

I am feeling a bit frumpy at the moment, and you've inspired me to watch what I eat a little more carefully and to make the effort to get out there for my walks again.

You look amazing by the way!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

You are one gorgeous lady! I'm so very proud of your achievements. That takes a lot of resilience. I'm learning to eat from a primal/paleo viewpoint. J and I are determined to stay away from breads and pastas and sugar and eat things that are non-processed. I don't think I've lost much since this is only the first week but J has already lost 7 pounds. Keep it up!!

ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska said...

You are one hot mama! Seriously- you look fan-freaking-tastic! I've managed to lose about 30 pounds over the last few years and have 15 or so to go before I'm at my super happy, bikini wearing weight. The things I've found most helpful have been: knowing that exercise is helpful in losing weight, but you have to start small and work up to longer distances, etc. Also, when you're not actually overweight, you can't attack those last pounds the same way that people with 50-100 pounds to lose can. Your body knows it is healthy and doesn't want to lose those last pounds. You have to take it slow and take it off in little bits- no huge calorie deficits, because it won't work.

Kimberly said...

Holy shite friend.
You're gorgeous.
Know what my problem kid is a garbage disposal and eats ALL THE TIME. So what do I do? I eat along with him. Have you ever tried those frosted animal cookies? Hello, heaven calling.
But I think I know what I need to do...
Get rid of the kid.
I mean the junk.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

You look fantastic, and you must feel even better! I agree with you. Eating healthier foods and moving more is the key. There is no magic fix and as many excuses as there are, none of them hold up. You just have to do what you're doing to get it off and keep it off. I find that walking my dogs first thing in the morning gets me started on the right track and believe me, there are many days that is the last thing I want to do. The endorphins kick in and I just feel better about the rest of my day. At night I have my own yoga routine which stretches me out, calms my mind and gets me ready to go to sleep. (Also burns calories) always a plus. So I start the day and end the night on a healthy note. (There's no saying what I do in between some days though.) Keep up the good work you look amazing. The even bigger bonus, at least for me is that, exercise staves of depression and anxiety too.

Kmama said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. You look amazing!! Thanks for sharing your tips.

Rhiannon said...

congrats hot mama! looking great! damn i guess just sitting around my hot house with no ac aint gonna cut it. I really do enjoy a great workout, but it really is hard to get back into the routine esp with a crazy schedule...

Kim said...

You look GREAT! Keep up the good work!! I not only need a personal trainer, but a personal chef. I'm going through one of those periods where I do not want to cook and am falling back on fast food, canned food, etc. Aaargh!

Eva Gallant said...

You are amazing and look terrific! congrats!

Zeemaid said...

You look great! Congrats! Thanks so much for the tips, it's always great to hear what helps other people lose weight. I tried the low GI diet but the one I was on was so extreme I couldn't stick to it. I did lose weight though.

Karen Peterson said...

First, you look fantastic!

Second, my biggest problem is not eating enough too!

Third, i really like the idea of a cheat meal/day. Now how do I stop making EVERY day a cheat day!

Char said...

You look great! Now I just need to put the wine down and do what you're doing. Thanks for the tips

Sela Toki said...

What an achievement. I took notes and you just motivate me to get back on track with eating right and exercising right. Thank you for that and you look amazing.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

First, you look amazing...seriously. You must be so happy with the changes that are taking place!

Second, it's nice to hear someone work their ass off for what they are trying to achieve. There is no quick fix. There is no magic pill. Just damn hard work by a little pixie who reminds us of who we used to be! LOL...those trainers are no joke!

I'm so happy for you...congrats on having all your hard work finally pay off!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Now did I not say something inappropriate about how hot you were looking when you showed us those vacation pics?

You are looking SMOKING hot :)

LOVE your system - will try a few things and actually I need to get back with my personal trainer - I actually need someone cheering me on otherwise once I get sore, I'm out of there (I think, "surely there's more to life than this?")


Love your new bod and sure Tim does too!

Amber said...

I love that you shared this! You look incredible, congrats on your weight loss!

I lost about 30 pounds at the beginning of the year and gained back give or take 5 over the summer. I'm now doing a total re-evaluation of my eating and exercising plan to include some things you mentioned (weight training, green tea etc). It's always helpful to hear what works for others for new ideas!

wustaz said...

I too have lost 35 lbs last year. For me, I started following weight watchers and working hard core on my treadmill. I do interval training on it and it's all about the incline. I have mine at the highest level when I am going the hardest. I too found I had to eat small amounts and frequently and I could feel when my body needed protein. I went through a period of time when I gained weight and I was not eating enough. I totally agree that you have to have "cheat" times built in. this is a lifestyle change not a diet and you have to be able to live too. congrats on your achievements so far and good luck as you travel further down the road.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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