**Update August 6, 2015: I have an update on still keeping off the weight and saving money from 2014-2015 and point #5 details what I changed since this post. **
The main goal of this post: Yes, you CAN lose the baby weight. And more importantly, you CAN keep it off. You CAN do it for less than $30. You CAN do this with a toddler in the house. I’m not a superwoman. I’m not an athlete. I’m not someone who can do 10 reps of 20 pound bicep curls. Heck, I can barely do 30 seconds of push-ups. I still eat waffles or oatmeal for breakfast almost every day. I did not purchase any special ingredients either: no coconut flour, chia seeds, raw goat milk or anything normally absent from a typical grocery store.
Why I am writing this post: I get asked about how I lost the weight, etc. many times, so I thought I would post about it. I have many blog followers because they are trying to eat healthier just to be healthy or maintain their weight. The #1 hurdle is actually NOT losing the weight, but keeping it off. Kellogg’s and all those other brands will happily help sell you stuff to lose weight. However, studies show that only 20% of us maintain the weight loss. I created this post into two parts because I have had to go through two phases: Phase 1 is Losing Weight and Phase 2 is Maintaining Weight. Why are they different? Because when you have different goals, you set up different rules. No one can keep losing weight forever and shouldn’t. Here is my journey, tips and how-to’s. Anyone can promise to lose the weight – and I’ve seen many of my friends on various “diets” just to gain it back because the diets were not able to be sustained. I don’t believe it is the person’s fault.
I have read so many books on healthy eating and exercise that I have lost count. Reading books really helped because it is very hard to NOT exercise when your books state all the benefits of exercise. I found it harder to eat cake, cookies, and fried potato chips when reading books about how unhealthy they are. So, if you need some extra motivation, merging your other hobbies with diet and exercise might help. It did for me.
My current weight is 135 pounds and has stayed between 133-138 pounds for 3 years. I know I was at 200 pounds and that is a weight loss of 65 pounds, but technically half of that was baby weight. I don’t want anyone to think I’m skewing my results or playing the “she had a baby” game so of course I lost weight. Before giving birth, I was consistently around 150 pounds and 5’9″.
The Basics of What I Used: **Update** Some of these videos are now FREE on YouTube in HD. Making out of pocket $0.
Photo of me on September 27, 2010:
September 2010: 200 pounds. The largest I have ever been. I gave birth to Juliana at the end of September. She weight 10 lbs. and 21.5″ long. I have no idea what size I am.
December 2010: 168 pounds. For the past 4 weeks, I have been steady at 168 pounds. The first 20 pounds of course fell off easily because… well, I had baby! But starting December, I was consistently 168 pounds that whole month. Juliana started sleeping a little better through the night.
January 2010: 168 pounds. Size 12-14. I open an account at LoseIt.com. It says I need to eat 1500 calories to lose 1 pound per week. January 1st seems a good time to start because it is the new year and also my baby girl is 3 months and starting to sleep better at night. I write a list of foods I can eat on the fridge that are really low in calories, so I can feel better about eating a lot of them: carrots, celery, lettuce, broth soups, cauliflower, tea and coffee.
February 2010: 164 pounds. Size 12. Weight coming off really slowly. I exercise at night for two reasons: 1, I know the kids will be asleep for sure or the hubby will be home in order to take care of it while I exercise. I can’t count on them being asleep at 5:30-6am. The kids… not the hubby. #2, my most trying time to NOT eat is night time. I love dessert and just want to go crazy because the evening makes me hungry. After exercising, I’m too exhausted to do anything but read for an hour and go to sleep instead of pigging out.
March 2010: 156 pounds. Finally! It took two months of exercise and eating right, but finally saw some progress and the weight fell off. Again, I used Loseit to track the calories and did my exercise routine in the evenings (routine is below).
April 2010: 150 pounds. Size 10 or 12 (my old clothes). This was my weight before having kids actually and “my goal” weight in Lose It. I can fit back into my size 10/12 clothes again.
May 2010: 143 pounds. Size 8. I stopped tracking my calories in LoseIt.com, but I have been so accustomed to eating a certain amount of calories that I just keep doing it without thinking. Still exercising 5 times per week, but not the same videos as before.
June 2010: 135 pounds. Still not tracking calories, but continue to workout 5 times per week for 30-45 minutes depending on the workout.
July 2010: 128 pounds. Well, this isn’t good. It’s too low. So, I eat a lot of nuts, beef and fuller fat dairy products in addition to what I normally eat to get my weight back up.
August 2010: 135 pounds. Size 6. Pretty much stayed here the whole time. Continuing to exercise 5 times per week. Continuing to eat the same meals you see here on Whisk Together.
July 2014: 135 pounds. I exercise 5 times per week for 30 minutes each or 4 times per week at 45 minutes each. At least, anywhere that has a basement or gym. I learned that once swimming pool season hits to start exercising in the morning. Why? Being out in the sun and playing with the kids drains my energy. I have little internal motivation to exercise after swimming all day. Figuring that playing in the pool was “exercise”, I quit for a few weeks. And what happened? I gained 5 pounds. So, I started back to exercise in the morning instead when I had the energy. Ate the same things though!
Notes on my diet:
1. It was all calorie based.
2. I didn’t cut out any certain food groups (or not on purpose anyway). I ate grains, dairy, meat, cheese and all that other stuff that some websites state are not “healthy”. If you look, you can find a website or doctor to back up almost anything. It’s hard to sort through the studies and even harder to read the original study done. That requires me to remember Statistics class from college… which involves math… which hurts my brain. But can be done when necessary. (Healthy is in quotes because it is whatever healthy means to you. It means different things to different people.)
3. If you have been to a Dave Ramsey/Financial Freedom class or read about budgeting your finances, you probably came across the envelope idea. Money goes into each envelope labeled $$ for groceries, entertainment, gas, etc. Same went for calories. Because just like calories, we have only a limited amount especially when trying to lose weight. And the minimum consumption of course is 1200 calories. Don’t go below 1200 calories! Then, the body thinks it is in famine and starts to put on weight instead of lose it. This is how I thought of it and planned out my meals. It is NOT as bad as it seems. Like most people, I eat the same things over and over for breakfast and lunch! So, I just ate those things and put them on rotation over and over into the LoseIt app to keep track of the calories.
300 Bonus Calories were for “dessert”, or snacks when I was really hungry, or just omit if I didn’t think I was hungry. Dessert is in quotes because much of what I ate for dessert was really breakfast. Like cocoa puffs in milk is only 200 calories and just seemed so tasty after a workout for some reason. Yes, it isn’t great for you – but it was only temporary and while trying to eat fewer calories. If you eat real food ALL day long, I don’t think a bowl of cocoa puffs once in a while could kill you. But, I’m sure there are websites to say I’m wrong. There’s a website for everything!
Rules = Freedom
When you have rules on your budget, you create freedom to do what you want with the rest. Similarly with calories, when I have 2000 calories per day to spend, I spend them according to my rules. Dieting rules are listed below.
My current rules are:
1. Real food if possible.
Yes, Cool Whip has fewer calories. But, I don’t want to eat sugar, wax and condom lube.
2. If you really, really want it and can’t stop thinking about it, then eat it! Because you’ll probably eat 400 calories of other food trying to avoid the 300 calories of ice cream that you were trying to avoid anyway. Believe me… I’ve tried.
3. If the real food is REALLY high in calories, then maybe we can go with a lower calorie equivalent with not-so-terrible ingredients. Sometimes we use sugar free syrup from the store and sometimes the natural Joseph’s sugar free syrup. It is cheaper to buy Joseph’s online than at Whole Foods. Whole Foods charges $7 per bottle.
4. Yes, you CAN eat out. And, of course, I had rules for that, too!
Places We Ate Out:
Chick Fil A: #2 Chargrilled chicken sandwich, medium fruit cup and large diet lemonade (or carrot salad or tea) 400 calories
Panera/St. Louis Bread Co.: Pick 2 French Onion Soup 200 calories and tuna salad on wheat 260 calories or Broccoli Cheddar Soup 220 calories and many others!
McDonalds: Southwest Chicken Salad 320 calories
Most Other Places: Checked out ahead of time. Most places I could get a veggie and salmon or sirloin steak for around 500 calories. If the place had the word “fried” in the title… I probably couldn’t find much to eat there.
Continue to Exercise and Eat Right and….
1. Your blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels will be awesome!
2. Your immune system will get a HUGE boost!
3. You can rock that dress without a care in the world.
4. Your optimism will soar!
5. You will be less likely to develop certain cancers.
Unexpected Consequences of Losing Weight:
1. You have to buy all new clothes, bras and underwear. This might actually be fun for some. I hate shopping for clothes, so it was more of an arduous task for me.
2. You have to eat less than you used to… ALL the time. When you lose weight, you need fewer calories to maintain that weight. Someone who weighs 200 pounds needs more calories than someone who weighs 160 pounds (given that their calorie expenditure is about the same and for most of us, we don’t change our calorie expenditure too much unless perhaps you change jobs or totally change your routine).
3. That flab that you thought might FINALLY go away? Nope, still there! I know there are people that exist that have had children and get their fabulous 6 pack tight abs back. Unfortunately, the truth is that it just isn’t possible (for me anyway). (Or maybe it is if I had a trainer and an MD supervising me… but that costs money.) My lowest weight was 128 pounds, and I still have the flabby stomach and the inner thighs that don’t see the light of day. So, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
My collection of videos. Yes, there are 13 of them… but I’ve collected them over 3 years and spent less than $130. That’s about 2 months of a gym membership at the YMCA. There are other videos with Jillian out there, but I didn’t like them for various reasons.
FREE Videos: Some of these video are FREE to Amazon Prime Members as well! Some people don’t like what she says… just mute her! The girls are doing the moves for you right there. A few of the videos, and their levels, are free on Youtube as well. The computer, especially a laptop, can be hooked up to a bigger TV with an HDMI cable or regular cable depending on how new the TV and laptop are. And they are in HD!!!! WOW!!
–No More Trouble Zones: 45 minutes of strength training. Good beginner modifications. Still one of my favorites. Really listen to when she tells you to breathe. My workouts were better after I knew to exhale on crunches and inhale on the way down.
–Banish Fat Boost Metabolism: 45 minutes of cardio. Requires NO weights. So, you need one video and 6 feet of space. If I haven’t kept up with this workout, my hamstrings will sometimes be sore the next day.
–30 Day Shred: 3 workouts that are 30 minutes each. Beginner workout starting out. So hard at first, but after 30 days you really do see a difference.
–Kickbox Fast Fix: 3 workouts that are 20 minutes each. GREAT for when you really don’t have a lot of time. Or, combine 2 of them for a fun 40 minute workout. Beginner workouts where you can go as hard and fast for more advanced workout.
–Extreme Shed and Shred: First workout is 30 minutes. Second workout is 45 minutes. Even though she says in the video and on the cover that it is 2 – 30 minute workouts. It isn’t. The first one is fairly easy. The second one is intermediate. Doing them together nearly wore me out. It’s really hard to do them together, but a great way to do a full 1 hour and 15 minute workout if trying to lose weight and you have the time.
–One Week Shred: 2 workouts that are 30 minutes each. One is labeled strength and the other cardio. These workouts are created to be done in the same day – in the morning and night. Preferably, I’d rather do cardio in the morning and not at night. But anyway, they are definitely intermediate to advanced moves depending on who you pick to follow. As usual, there is a beginner modification. I think I used it on some moves. It really works you hard.
–Killer Buns and Thighs: 3 workouts that are about 35 minutes long. Beginner level. This one is fun and brings back the 30 Day Shred girls that we all know and love.
–Yoga Inferno: 2 workouts that are 30 minutes long. Level 1 is relatively easy. Level 2 is moderate. I start at level 2 each time because I found level 1 not challenging. This is a Yoga hybrid. There are yoga moves and there are high intensity intervals mixed in as well.
–Yoga Meltdown: Probably my least favorite of the videos… Some of the moves I am still working on doing like knee on elbow.
–Killer Abs: 3 Workouts for 30 minutes each. Great ab workout. Sometimes I think that level 2 is harder than level 3. This happens quite a bit to me in several videos. Love the moves, the results, everything. Definitely a beginner video.
–Ripped in 30: 4 workout levels at 30 minutes each. If I had to pick just ONE video to take with me to a desert island, this video is IT. First, there are four whole workouts! That’s like $2/workout! Level 3 actually feels harder than level 4. Why? I think it is the jumping lunges in level 3. This is difficult towards the end of a workout which she includes in circuit 3 out of 3. Jillian Michaels works everything in this video from abs to arms to glutes.
–Hard Body: 2 – 45 minute workouts. Level 1 was not so bad. Level 2 is exhausting. I do likes this video a lot because of the variety of moves. I know some people don’t like the DJ in the video, but I find it amusing.
–6 Weeks 6 Pack: 2 – 35 minute workouts. Level 1 is beginner. Level 2 is intermediate. If I find myself doing a lot of elliptical and cardio in a week, I will throw this video in for sure. It seems like if the abs are not worked consistently, then they tend to go first. Great fast paced workout that really gets you sweating.