I get asked how I'm losing the weight all the time and so I figured it would be easiest to have a page dedicated to simply answering that question.
Everyone always wants to know what my secrets are, but the truth is, there are no secrets. Eating less and moving more are the keys to success in living a healthier lifestyle for anyone. I am not on a magic pill. I didn't have surgery. I didn't drink certain diet shakes. I haven't been starving myself. I am not wrapping the inches away. I am simply taking things one step at a time and learning all I can about how to improve my health.
When I began my journey, I was just as clueless as the next couch potato about how to eat well and what kind of exercises to do. But like most people in my situation I was good at sitting my butt in front of the computer, so I did just that. I got online and I researched as many different topics as I could about how to start eating healthier and working out. I rented some workout DVDs off Netflix and even found some were accessible on instant play from my Blu-ray. I followed the workouts as closely as I could and anything I couldn't do, I modified. Push-ups were simply me pressing myself against the wall back and forth. Once I built up enough strength to push harder in my workouts, I did. If I could do just one more rep or just a few more seconds longer than I did the last time then I knew I was improving. As for eating, I knew I loved food and that the only way I could really stick to this for life is that if I can still eat whatever I want to eat. So I do exactly that. I just eat less of things now and a lot of times I will substitute things. Instead of chips I will have veggie chips or carrot chips. Instead of frying fries I would bake them or have sweet potatoes instead. Instead of hamburger meat I would use turkey or only super lean hamburger. I would make my own pizza instead of ordering take-out. This is what works for me. I feel like if I crave something too much then I know I will give in at some point and binge like crazy on it. However, I have given up soda completely. I did that cold turkey. In that aspect, I feel like I am a bit of an all or nothing type person so it worked best for me to do it that way. I was highly addicted to Dr Peppers but I knew stopping the soda was the first thing I needed to do to begin my healthier life. I used to be a smoker and have quit that twice in my life so far. Both times I did that was also cold turkey. I know this won't work for everyone but it's just how I was able to cope best at the time.
When I first started doing this I had been out of work for years and so I was beyond broke to say the least. I cannot afford a gym membership and for most of my journey in 2011 I had no special equipment at home. I bought a used elliptical, shortly after finding out I was expecting, for $20 that the digital calorie/distance reader screen was broken but the actual exercise part still works just fine. My mom also bought a used treadmill from a neighbor the week I had my baby girl. I have been lucky to be able to use DVDs from my parents' Netflix account and from friends' of mine who let me borrow theirs and make copies, etc. I also make sure I try to get outside and do at least one thing active everyday. I would go for a walk or ride my bike pulling my son behind me or we would go swimming or whatever we could think of like just playing at the park together. As long as its active and getting me off my butt, it counts as exercise! Some people say you need to take at least one day off to rest each week, and on occasion I will do just that if I am too busy doing other things to get my workout in, but most of the time I will make the time to workout at least once every single day. This is what works for me. I am not a medical professional or personal trainer (yet!) so I can only give you advice on what I've found that works for me. As always, you should ask your doctor before trying any new diet/exercise routines.
I count calories and am trying to consume roughly 1200 per day. I use websites like www.fatsecret.com and www.calorieking.com or www.sparkpeople.com, and www.myfitnesspal.com to calculate the calories in the things I eat. Now that I have been doing this for several months I have actually memorized the calories in a lot of my favorite foods so when I am out and about I can just jot things down on paper or keep the number in my head to keep track of where I'm at for the day. Another helpful tool for me is the food scale my mom bought for us. I absolutely love this thing and use it every single day now! It is sooo handy! I highly recommend everyone to get one! :) It's really hard to calculate exactly how many calories you're consuming if you don't know how much food exactly you are eating. Two fruits of the same type can greatly differ in a calorie count if their sizes are different.
On the days that I remember to do so, I drink a protein shake to help rebuild all the muscles I break down while working out. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, this is not bulking me up it's keeping my body in good health and making sure I don't tear up my muscles too badly and get too sore to continue working out. I also take a Women's One-a-day vitamin just to make sure I'm getting the proper nutrition even if I don't eat enough of the right things some days.