how to lose weight

Surprise Progress

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That’s me right now. 🙂 Happy dance!

A few weeks ago I decided to suck it up and step on the scale. I needed to see where I was at since I was going to try and really get serious about losing the baby weight. I was surprised to see that I had lost a few pounds and it was a nice surprise and a nice motivator!

At the time I was eating around 1800 calories as a base and if I worked out and burned another 400 calories, I was eating most of those calories back. It really did depend on the day and the baby. If Logan was going through some kind of growth spurt and was cluster feeding or I just felt hungrier than normal, I was listening to my body and eating more.

When I saw that I was losing a little bit of weight, I decided it was time to go down to 1700 calories as a base. It’s only a 100 calorie difference but I thought it was time. I hadn’t been feeling ravenous lately so I figured it was a good time to do it.

My only concern was that reducing my calories too much might effect my milk supply. I didn’t want that to happen, hence the 100 calorie difference. Losing weight would be nice, but not at that cost. In the last two or so weeks since I reduced my base to 1700 I have noticed a little bit of a shift in my supply. I’m hoping it’s not too significant. I’m keeping a very watchful eye on it and if it does reduce too much I might have to back off on trying to lose the weight right now.

Well last week I got on the scale and was happily surprised to see another loss! This time I was down about 1.5 pounds! So for the month of July (and part of June) I lost about 4.5 pounds! That’s a lot!

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When I got pregnant I was 157 pounds. My goal is to get back to 150 (my original goal weight) so that’s about 20 pounds to go. 14 pounds if I just want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Seeing the 4.5 pound loss this summer was really encouraging. I was honestly feeling pretty discouraged because I figured I wouldn’t lose the pregnancy weight until I stopped breastfeeding, but something is finally clicking and I’m starting to see some results.

4 Months Post-partum
4 Months Post-partum

Another motivator is that some of the summer clothes I bought in May (in the bigger size) are a little looser now.

What have I been doing?

  • I’m tracking my calories every day.
  • 1700 calories is the daily base + some of the gym calories I burn.
  • I’m trying to make better choices about WHAT I eat.
  • I’m paying attention to portions.
  • I’m trying not to drink my calories too much. Meaning, no more orange juice with breakfast, trying not to drink diet soda, trying to drink more water, trying to keep the glasses of wine or beer to just Friday and Saturday nights, etc. All those extra beverage calories are not necessary and they add up fast.
  • I’m working out consistently–swimming, walking, weight lifting, cardio machines at the gym. I’m working out 5 days a week in some form (some days it’s just a walk, and that’s ok).

Here is an example of one day:

Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs, hash-brown patty, unsweetened iced tea, iced coffee. Calories: 407

Lunch – Grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a nectarine. Calories: 630

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Probably not the healthiest lunch but I’d been craving a grilled cheese sandwich for weeks and I burned a ton of calories on my walk with Logan.

Exercise – Walk. Calories burned: 607

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Snack – Trader Joe’s Chipotle Bean Dip with some raw veggies. Calories: Around 150

Dinner – Basmati Rice with a Vegetarian Indian dish on top and spinach salad. Calories: 500

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Dessert – Some pieces of chocolate and a glass of milk. Calories: 200.

Total for the day was just under 1900 calories (so 1700+ eating back some of the 607 calories I burned on our long walk). I did have some “liquid calories” (the coffee and a glass of milk) but I still had a bunch of calories leftover for the day.

Most of the time dinners are what Michael and I usually have–a protein and a vegetable. Like steak + sautéed sweet potatoes and onions + steamed broccoli. That’s a pretty good example of what we eat for dinners. Twice a week for breakfast I’m doing the overnight oats, the other days it’s usually eggs and an English Muffin or hash-brown patties (from Trader Joe’s–only 130 calories and so tasty!).

Here is another example of a gym day:

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That was weight lifting and the elliptical. As far as fitness goes I’ve got it pretty dialed in. I’m mostly back to what I was doing before I was too pregnant to do things! Being able to physical do the stuff I used to do has also helped with my motivation.

So onward and downward! I hope the scale keeps moving!

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

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My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.