I’m no stranger to weight loss – having previously lost 100 pounds through a combination of different diets.
I have two children and a husband and love cooking. I always prepared nutritious family meals – but it was the stuff I ate after those meals that was causing my weight problem.
I was utterly addicted to soda – Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke to be precise. I would have at least two bottles per day, sometimes more on weekends.
But my biggest downfall was ‘sharing packs’ of chocolate – things like Maltesers and Mars Planets. They come in large packs for sharing, but I would eat a whole pack by myself in one sitting!
Unfortunately, most of the weight crept back because I didn’t make permanent changes to my lifestyle to maintain the loss. So, in January 2012, I found myself at a weight I’d hoped I would never be again – 240 pounds.
However, in January, something clicked for me.
I can’t explain it, but I just knew I could lose the weight. And for the first time, I knew how.
I realized it would take time and I would have to make drastic changes to my lifestyle in order to ensure I didn’t gain the weight back. It was going to have to hurt – mentally and physically.
Learning the secret
While I’m afraid there is no magic cure, I didn’t do anything you can’t do too!
I began with a restricted 1200 calories per day (more on that in a moment), I did this in the first stages so I could familiarize myself with proper portions and control.
I also kicked the soda habit. This one hurt pretty bad and I wish I could tell you it was easier, but it took sheer determination to say “no”. Most importantly, I no longer bought the sharing packs of chocolate.
I’ll allow myself an occasional treat, but I always make sure I buy an individual portion and I log those calories!
I started exercising regularly. Every lunch time I’d go walking with a friend – normally for about 50 minutes. We would cover 2.5 to 3 miles. Gradually we increased our speed.
When the weather was poor, I’d do a workout DVD at home (I started with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred). The weight steadily came off, and then about six months into my journey the weight loss stalled.
Dealing with setbacks and obstacles
I was very frustrated. I was doing everything right. Eating right, exercising, logging all my calories, but I was lucky if I lost half a pound a week.
I asked some people on My Fitness Pal forums what they thought the problem was and every one came back with the same answer – I wasn’t eating enough calories!
I don’t know about you, but the thought of eating more calories to lose weight just didn’t compute within my pea brain!
But, I did some research and everything I found seemed to agree. After all, at 1200 calories there was no way I could eat less, so the answer must be to eat more!
Finding the tools for long term weight loss success
I found a helpful calculator that accounted for my current weight, height, age, gender and activity level. It told me I needed to eat 1623 calories per day for fat loss. I decided to gradually increase my calorie intake to this level.
It hasn’t been easy. After six months, to go from eating 1200 calories a day to suddenly consuming 400 additional calories took time to get used to. But, since increasing my intake, my weight loss has continued at a steady pace of between 1 to 4 pounds per week.
In June, I decided to try a new exercise: running. Reading the blogs of so many women who’ve lost weight and discovered a love for running inspired me.
I found a Couch to 5k ten-week training program. When I first started, I’d run and walk intervals of one minute. During the running intervals I felt like I would pass out! But I knew the walking interval was coming soon, so I would just tough it out.
In ten weeks, I’ve gone from not being able to run for one minute to running 3.1 miles! I absolutely love running and know it will help me maintain my weight loss. And even though I’m not at my goal yet, I know I’ll reach it.
Nothing stands in your way
I’ve found the best way to lose weight is to make changes to your eating you can live with for life. While that may sound like a long time, I’m not talking about being on a lifelong diet.
I’ve never once viewed this experience as being on a “diet”. Instead, I see it as simply changing the way I eat for the better. As mentioned before, I allow myself treats, but that’s exactly what they are – treats!
I’ve also found exercises I love doing. This is key to becoming a healthier person. Whether it’s running, biking, swimming, or lifting weights, find a physical activity you enjoy.
If you’re at the start of your journey and it looks like an insurmountable summit, I just want to encourage you to go for it!
Once you get into the zone, literally nothing will stand in your way of success and trust me, if I can do it, I know you can too!
Do you have a weight loss success story you’d like to share to inspire others? Check out the Half Size Me submission page for more information!
About the author: Mary Smith blogs over at A Walk in the Woods. Her blog follows her journey to find a new, healthier life through weight loss and fitness. So far, she’s lost 55 pounds with another 24 to go until she reaches her goal.