Things to Do - Become a Loser
A few months ago a good friend in the neighborhood started a "biggest loser" club. The premise was simple enough - buy-in cost $100 and then you had 7 weeks to lose 5% of your body weight. If you lost the weight, you received your money back. And the biggest "loser" could keep whatever was left in the pot.
Despite the relatively straight-forward premise of the whole operation, I hesitated. I definitely had some excess weight to lose (mainly T's baby weight, still hanging on for the last 5 years), but I'd grown accustomed to regular glasses of wine and dessert, why shake up the system? Anyways, I basically participated because most of my friends were on board and who wants to miss a party?
And now, I'm 10 pounds lighter and much more happy (we're already working on the club's second generation, which concentrates more on workout goals over weight loss). I hate cheesy blog posts where people annoy you with tales of their weight loss success, so I'll try to keep the pep talk/bragging to a minimum. Instead, I asked my fellow "losers" (all of who managed to lose the 5%) to contribute a list of what worked for them. All of the women who participated have different work/life schedules (some work full time and some, like me, are stay at home moms), so, hopefully, everyone can find a tip or trick that works for them. Here goes:
WEIGHT LOSS TIPS AND TRICKS:
* Hot water with ginger and lemon (it minimizes bloat).
* Bikram yoga daily if possible.
* Jenny Craig's food helped because it was ready to go, the right portions, and tasted good.
* I used to drink very little water, but now I rink 90-130 oz a day. This was a HUGE help.
* Chocolate fix - try semi-sweet or dark chocolate morsels. Semi- sweet has 10 carbs and 8 sugars per tbs and curbs choc cravings
* Wine fix - use a smaller glass and fill with ice first. Ice melts and you don't refill as much, plus you stay hydrated.
* Pre-washed organic salad mixes - makes eating a healthier lunch much easier and if it's organic I don't feel as bad not washing (hate watery greens!)
* Cooked chicken breast (like purdue short cuts) thrown on a salad.
* I joined Weight Watchers. Stick to it and it works. Weight Watchers really teaches you to make good choices regarding food but the program also accommodates splurges.
* In terms of exercise, I ran (very, very slowly), I pushed myself and signed up for a half marathon (with my husband). I had to train, so therefore I couldn't say no to exercise. We also picked a nice location for the half marathon and had a nice weekend getaway.
* Oh and I can't forget the team approach with friends! Couldn't have done it without the support and friendly competition.
* I limited my carb intake. Instead of having a bagel for breakfast I had two hard boiled eggs and fruit or cottage cheese and avocado. I tried to do this for two meals a day.
* I cut out most snacks. I have a sweet tooth so this was next to impossible, so I did allow myself a treat every once and awhile (like a donut once a week).
* I tried to healthier - more fruits and veggies, less processed foods. That was a lot harder than I expected.
* Exercise - I would have liked to exercise more, but its always hard to find time. I tried running (hate it), and I was doing Zumba twice a week.
* For the most part I eliminated sweets-except on Mother’s Day when I had two bites of chocolate cake.
* When I wanted something sweet I had tea with a splash of milk - not sure why this filled my craving but it did.
* The $3.50 small harvest apple salad at Quizno’s (conveniently located in my building) was a life-saver. Not a ton a food and only 350-400 calories!
* No alcohol except twice a week (on Fri./Sat.)
* No dessert, except on Sunday
* No food after dinner
* No other caloric drinks
* One snack per day
* Limit processed foods
* Limit portions
* Limit sugar
* Limit dairy
* Limit carbs
* Keep running food diary
* Weigh-in at home every day
* The biggest motivator for me on this challenge was the group of women who were doing it with me. Hearing about their successes throughout the 7 weeks was just what I needed to get me focused on taking better care of myself and get me going on this challenge.
* As far as how I lost my weight . . . my obstacle was my diet. I love sweets, Mexican food, and wine! I’ve always been a really active person, so working out was not a problem for me. To kick start my weight loss on this challenge, I decided to just eat whole, plant-based foods. I started with a “raw” week to help level out my blood sugar spikes and clean out my system. But, I really liked how I felt after the first week of eating raw that I continued it for another couple of weeks until the end of our weight loss challenge.
* I basically ate a ton of fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts. There is so much you can do with raw food - make soups, blend raw soaked nuts until they are creamy like ricotta cheese, make delicious smoothies, and so much more. I have always been a calorie counter when I needed to lose weight, but I took a chance that I would reap the weight-loss benefits as well as overall good health by just eating foods that are good for me.
* I get plenty of protein and fats through nuts and avocados (and I mean a lot of nuts and avocados) and found that after a while, I no longer craved the sugary or salty foods that come prepackaged. And, I eat as much as I want so that I don’t get hungry throughout the day. Eating this way for a few weeks doesn’t mean I’ve gone totally raw, there are way too many foods that I love and won’t ever give up completely, but I plan to continue like this for about 75% of the time.
Darcy (me) -
* I started out by spending a week on Gwyneth Paltrow's cleanse (available for free, with recipes, here).
* I loved how the cleanse made me feel, so after the first week I (loosely) stuck with a similar diet - very limited gluten, no sugar, very limited dairy. I love most of the recipes in Gwyneth's cookbook - It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, so I ate about 95% of my meals this way. I also read Alejandro Junger's Clean -- Expanded Edition: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself (Gwyneth's diet is based on Junger's theories) and made several of Junger's recipes as well (though I prefer Gwyneth's cookbook, mainly because the recipes are simpler).
* When I began to slack, I would get back on track by doing a 3 day juice cleanse. I love Jrink's juices and they deliver (click here for info). Also, when I hit a plateau towards the end I relied on Tracy Anderson's "performance cleanse" menu (available in her book - Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method: The Weight-Loss Kick-Start that Makes Perfection Possible) to lose the final 2 pounds.
* I completely gave up caffeine (except for a few "emergency" green teas). Honestly, giving up Diet Coke remains the hardest part of this diet. I haven't had one in over 12 weeks and I still think about Diet Coke constantly. I guess this is true addiction.
* Like Janet, I've always worked out. But I stepped up my game somewhat by purchasing (and obsessing over) a Fitbit Flex . I promised myself I'd walk a minimum of 12,000 steps a day and, for the most part, I kept with this goal (which proved much easier in spring, with its 70 degree days).