Last summer, I lost 9 pounds in just over a month and blogged about it. I had promised I would blog about how I did it, but I never did, because I am clearly a liar. A lazy liar.
For the next couple months that followed the writing of that entry, I continued to lose weight. I continued to lose weight all the way to 131 lbs, and then I forgot how I had been keeping the weight off in the first place and decided that I was the exception to the rules that had been created by me, for me. Three months after that point, I achieved the impressed feat of gaining 10 pounds within two months.
If I was the “lets make excuses” kind of person, I would tell you that I have been under a lot of stress in the last 2-3 months, which is obviously the reason I gained it all back. If I was the “lets justify our fatness” kind of person, I would tell you that we had an especially cold and snowy winter season, and that this extra blubber was needed for winter hibernation and heat conservation.
But I am neither, so I will tell you this happened because I was lazy ass who was too lazy to write down what she did to lose the weight and keep it off, thus allowing her to: 1) forget everything, 2) break all the rules, 3) become a pig, and 4) gain it all back again.
So here is my long overdue weight loss guide. I could let you assume I’m writing this now of all times because I promised, but that would make me a passive liar. True is, I need to fit into a skin-tight spandex Latin ballroom dress in just under a month and I would prefer to do it without the use of Crisco or fishing line. Thus, the lose ten in thirty days challenge begins.
1. Know this: Burn more calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight; but eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight.
It’s a very simple, mathematically-trackable formula. You can’t beat the system.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism examined the effects of diet alone (25 percent fewer calories consumed) versus diet plus exercise (12.5 percent fewer calories consumed and 12.5 percent more calories burned) in overweight but otherwise healthy adults. Researchers hypothesized that the diet plus exercise group would lose more body fat, but results showed equal amounts of weight and fat lost in both groups. This confirms that weight loss is all about calories: If you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll lose weight. (Mayo Clinic)
2. Eat small, eat slowly, eat often
- Eat small portions, because then you can eat more often and never feel hungry.
- Eat slowly, because when you eat fast, you don’t feel full until its too late, and then you end up feeling too full, and SURPRISE! you over-ate. Again.
- Eat often, because then you won’t eat as much, you won’t go hungry, and because you won’t go hungry, you won’t be in such a hurry to shove food in your mouth, meaning you’ll eat slowly.
3. Drink water
Most weight loss programs leave you fatter than ever a couple months after losing it all because you just lose water and not actual fat. We want this weight loss thing to be long-term; It needs to be done in a sustainable, healthy way—so start drinking water, because you need it, it’s good for you and it will help you operate at peak performance. Here are some reasons why water so essential to weight loss:
4. Be realistic: moderation, moderation, moderation
The simple truth of the matter is that you are probably not going to be able to go cold turkey on everything bad and fatty for you; true change is a long-term thing. But it has to start somewhere.
You probably have some bad indulgences. You probably eat a lot of other things you wouldn’t normally consider “indulgences” but sneakily pack on the pounds regardless; like meat or dairy products, for example. The un-diet isn’t about turning you into a grass-eating, nuts-and-seeds-loving, soymilk-drinking vegan overnight (or ever). It’s about heading in the direction of a healthy lifestyle with you living at your optimal weight; and right now, that means moderation.
For example, the first time I lost 9 pounds in a month, it was summertime and I had a special place in my heart for Rolo ice cream. When I started the un-diet, I would still regularly enjoy my Rolo ice cream, just in much smaller amounts, accompanied by more exercise. Had I indulged this sinful (but oh so good) behavior in large amounts accompanied by no exercise, I would have gained weight. But I didn’t, because I ate a little bit of bad food in a smart way.
And just when you thought you were safe…
5. You need to get off your fat ass and exercise.
Surprise! I bet you didn’t see this one coming. You might have thought you were off the hook when you read point #1, but you were misled. As I mentioned in the previous point, the un-diet is ultimately about heading you in the right direction of a healthy lifestyle; and a healthy lifestyle, as you might have already guessed, incorporates exercise.
The un-diet is really not about losing weight, but getting in shape; so exercise is key. After all, you could lose all the weight you want any way and be a walking pile of bones, but what’s appealing about that? Besides all the positive health benefits, exercise will get you toned. And toned is sexy.
Something to note: when you start turning fat into muscle, your scale might not be as aware of this as your tape measure will be, so be sure to not only weigh yourself, but also measure yourself – waist, hips, thighs, etc. You’re going to lose it somewhere.
A recommendation on exercises:
If you’re anything like me, getting out of the house to workout is half the battle. This is why I love home workout DVD so much; just pop one into the computer you’ve been sitting at all day and start moving. It’s way easier than finding the motivation to get dressed and leave the house. Of course, you’re going to want to incorporate many different types of exercises into your exercise program, but this is a great way to get started (and a great element to keep in your workout regime).
Since my biggest weight issue is my stomach fat, I used Core Rhythm‘s “Secret to sexy abs” workout DVD (30 min.) almost exclusively during my one month challenge, and I am using it again in combination with two hours of running and six hours of intensive dance practice per week. (And as a bonus, it also dramatically helped my core body movement for dancing!)
So there you have it. I started following these principles again just over a week ago, and since then, I’ve gone from 142 lbs to 139 lbs—and this is including Valentine’s day weekend in which I was given way too much chocolate and forced at gunpoint (true story! … okay, not really) to eat deep fried brie at my best friend’s birthday dinner. (Of course, there has been a non-stop ache in my abs from attempts at redemption in the form of sit-ups and ab workouts, but I haven’t done any self-denial in the name of food or gone hungry, so I consider it all a success.)
Here’s to fitting into your skinny jeans again!
Disclaimer: I’m not a health professional, so naturally, I know nothing but what worked for me. Follow at your own risk. (But really, would it kill you to burn more calories than you eat?)