Weight Loss

My Weight Loss Journey

My weight has always fluctuated up and down my whole life. I was always very thin as a child, but once I reached high school I was a little bit heavier. I have never been extremely overweight, but I have been considered overweight, especially within the last year or two.

While I was pregnant with my second son, Jaden, in 2006/2007, I gained a lot of weight because I had to be on bed rest for 6 months. For six months, I was only able to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, get some food when I was home alone, and go to the doctor once a week. Needless to say, I gained quite a bit of weight.

I lost a lot of weight after Jaden was born simply because I wasn’t confined to a bed. I joined a gym with a kid’s room when Jaden was about 6 months and slowly started working out.

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Within the past year or two, I started gaining weight. More weight than I was comfortable with.

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My clothes didn’t fit anymore and I wasn’t happy with myself. Although I was working out a lot, I ate whatever I wanted. I often figured that since I was working out everyday that I could eat whatever. No, that is not true. I didn’t start to lose any weight at all until I started tracking my food in a food journal, by eating small portions, and burning more calories than I consumed.

I want to say that all of my weight loss has been accomplished in a healthy, non-harmful way. I have never restricted food. If anything, I have a big problem with overeating. I never deprived myself of treats or cut out any food groups from my diet. I don’t exercise excessively, but I do exercise a lot. I am lucky enough to stay home with my kids and watch my niece so I am able to spend a little more time in the gym. I usually workout 5-6 days a week, for an hour to an hour and a half – cardio and strength.

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I first started my weight loss journey in March/April 2012. I was browsing through a local park district brochure and saw that they had a Spring Weight Loss Challenge. I paid $80 to join and went to weekly meetings. I ended up having mixed feeling about the Spring Weight Loss Challenge because it ended up being a Herbalife sponsored program. You can read my review here.

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But it was that program that had me writing down everything I ate which really made me see how much I was eating. It was a great starting off point for my weight loss because for once I was accountable to someone besides myself.

The Spring Weight Loss Challenge lasted ten weeks, and in those ten weeks, I lost 22 pounds, 14 inches and 12% of my body fat. I came in first place! I think my prize ended up being about $150.

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At this point, I was at a healthy weight for my height, 5’8″, but I was still weighed a bit more than I was comfortable with. I ended up gaining back a few pounds after the Spring Weight Challenge. In June 2012, I joined the Biggest Loser Program at my gym. You can read more here and here.

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I loved the Biggest Loser Program. It was very well organized and educational. The instructors were great and the other participants were so nice. I was sad once it was over because I almost felt like we were a little family. We met three times a week to workout, we met once a week to train for a 5k, and we met with a nutritionist. We kept food journals which we turned in each week and were given feedback on. I lost 11 pounds while doing the Biggest Loser Program.

After that I was on my own for a while, and I did okay. I felt a lot more knowledgeable about losing weight. The biggest thing for me was changing my eating habits. I started small by eating smaller portions and writing down everything I ate from breakfast to stealing a bite of my kid’s macaroni and cheese. It’s all those little things that you eat during the day that can add up.

I believe 100% that my food journaling is what helped me to lose 30+ pounds. Yes, it is time consuming to log all your food or count calories, but it is worth it. If you are serious about losing weight then just try food journaling for a week or two to see how much your really eating.

I keep a very meticulous food journal and measure out all my food (I kind of slack on this during the weekends). I’m not saying that you have to be as meticulous as me, but if I don’t do this, I will overeat. I am a big over eater and this is the only way that I keep it under control.

I try to stick to about 1400-1600 calories a day. The nutritionist said that it’s best to stick to about 1500 calories because anything lower than that is hard to maintain for an extended amount of time. And you should never go below 1200 calories a day. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s eating healthy with treats in moderation.

Love my chocolate peanut butter:

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I have never been one to deprive myself (which is how I gained weight in the first place) and planning my meals helps me to save enough calories for a treat at night. I typically eat around 1300 calories during the day and then have a 150-200 calories treat at night – a weight watchers ice cream bar, a cookie, etc.

I try to stick to healthy foods that are good for my body – fruits, veggies, fish, Greek yogurt, eggs, whole grains, etc. But I also let myself have treats in moderation. I try to eat most of my carbs during the day and limit refined carbs at night (bread, cereal, rice, etc). This is what works for me.

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I have also competed in four DietBets, which is an online game where you put money into a pot and then you have 4 weeks to lose 4% of your body weight. If you lose the 4% then you and everyone else that won splits the pot.

I do these programs and DietBets to help keep me accountable.

I also wear a Body Fit Media device on my arm that measures calories burned, steps taken, and the amount of sleep I get. I enter my food into the BodyMedia website, and I can see if I am burning more calories than I am eating.

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Currently, I am at a comfortable weight. I am not too skinny and I am not overweight. I fall right in the middle and I am happy with that. My greatest amount of weight loss was 34 pounds.

Now, I have comfortably settled in with about a 32 pound weight loss. That puts me at a weight that my body seems comfortable maintaining.

The process is still a journey. I know that if I don’t remain aware of what I eat and when I eat, I will put weight back on. Losing weight wasn’t easy for me and maintaining my weight will continue to be a journey. But it’s possible. I have never felt better or been as comfortable and confident with myself as I am now.

It’s a process and a journey, but it’s worth the effort to take that journey.

Here are a few pictures along my weight loss journey.

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PicMonkey Collage

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I owe all the credit for toning up to taking BodyPump classes three days a week.

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12 Responses to Weight Loss

  1. Pingback: Rain Day | Run Eat Play

  2. susie

    I think your fitness journey has been a very natural and organic process . I am glad I can read your blog and share your ups and downs. I love how honest you are with yourself and that only comes from within. Please keep the blog train rolling:)

  3. Kat

    I agree the small stuff adds up, I think I am going to follow your lead and do the same. Writing down everything makes so much sense. I tried using myfitnesspal.com and I lost 50 lbs but then I stopped and gain it back ( for a lot of reasons not just by stopping using the app). I think there is more accountability when you write things down and you are more aware of what you are taking in. My question being how do you calculate the calories of one bite on Mac and cheese? Well, not just that but I have a hard time with portion sizes.. Not with what they should be, because I know that part but gauging how many portions or servings you have in front of you.

    It’s a journey.. You’re doing great and I look to you for tips and inspiration!

  4. Tiana Rehe

    Heather, thank you for sharing your weight loss success story! It takes bravery to share your weaknesses and ultimately your achievements, which is an encouragement to us, your readers. :) I am reminded to start my food journal again, which is exactly what started my own weight loss success… why did I ever stop?! You look great, keep up the great work and please continue sharing your tips and the things that help you along the way.

  5. Emina

    Yes! Good job!

  6. I hate tracking food but you know what, you are right. If I want to get the last 5-10 pounds off, I think it is a must!! I am going to begin tracking officially tomorrow with the understanding that it doesn’t have to be a “rest of my life thing” but it needs to be a “right now” thing if I want to get serious about losing the weight.

    You have made an incredible transformation and have been truly inspiring!!

  7. Amy

    Your story is SO similar to mine! I agree completely about writing everything down- fitness and nutrition. It keeps you accountable! The journey of healthy living is constant and never ending but so rewarding. Love your blog, thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Wow, you look incredible. Congratulations! Your weight loss journey is very inspiring for me. :-)

  9. Pingback: Pool Running and My Fitness Pal | Run Eat Play

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