Today I am posting the second part of my long post about tips and things I did to lose 20 pounds…..you can read the first post here – My Personal Weight Loss Story.
Here is the exact path I have followed for the past 6 months in case you want a bit more of an inside look. Like I said, I am no personal trainer, nutritionist or anything like that, so take it all for what it’s worth. These are just some things that I believe worked for me, and maybe can help you out too:
- The very first thing I did was put a shout out on Facebook to see if there was anyone else wanting to lose some weight who would maybe like to make some kind of a challenge. I ended up with a few people who wanted to, and we each threw in $20. We decided we would have 2 winners – the one who lost the most weight and the one who lost the most inches total. Since I had arranged it, people gave me their numbers and I kept them all privately. At the end, everyone sent their numbers in and I added it all up. It was just a friendly challenge, and each winner ended up with over $100, so they were pretty happy!
- I had set up a private Facebook group that we used to encourage and help each other, and it was a great way to get me going. Some people used things like 21 Day Challenge or P90X, others went to the gym, and we all shared ideas for healthier eating and things like that.
- After that challenge was over, (6 weeks), my sister-in-law wanted to try losing some weight from just having a baby. So she became my “partner”, and we both went and got gym memberships. This worked great because neither one of us wanted to be the one to say we didn’t want to go that day, so we always ended up going. And once we got there, we always had fun – it was just tough to make ourselves go sometimes!
- We got a personal trainer to help us for a few weeks when we felt we were starting to flounder a bit. We were starting to plateau and were finding ourselves ready to give up, so needed a boost to keep going.
- Now, I am still working at it. I still do cardio a bit, but my main focus has been weight training. I don’t do the giant barbell lifting or anything like that. I use dumbbells at home, used the gym equipment when I was there, bodyweight workouts, (things like pushups, crunches etc. which are still likely some of the most effective exercises anyone can do!), resistance bands, fitness balls – all of these things, finding the exercises that work out all muscles, following the training set out in so many places I have learned from. I have learned the importance of rest days so my muscles can repair, I learned not to exercise muscles on back to back days – do your own research on sites like Bodybuilding.com.
Did I diet?
I was very careful about what I ate. Smaller plates, no going back for seconds, I would make up vegetable stir fry’s almost every supper with a mixture of cut veggies I had in the fridge to cover most of my plate, no pop – I only drank water, coffee and green tea, never skipped breakfast, ate healthy snacks throughout the day, no sugar, made sure I was getting a lot of protein, and just learned to say no to a lot of things I was craving sometimes.
Supplements & Powders?
When I started out doing strength training, I was learning a lot from Bodybuilding.com. They recommended supplements and things you could take to help you. Some of them I used, some I didn’t. (These aren’t anything like steroids or weight loss drugs though!!)
What I used, and still use are:
Protein Powder – I use GNC Whey Iso Burst protein powder. I went in and talked with the guys in the store and we discussed what I wanted to do and they helped me pick out something that would be good for me. If you don’t have a store near you, you can always order online.
BCAA or Branch Chain Amino Acids – I am not even going to try explaining what these do – so I will just point you to an article that explains WAY better than I ever could…..http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bcaas-the-many-benefits-of-amino-acids.html
I do believe taking them has helped me, but you can decide on your own what you think. I use one from GNC as well, but Bodybuilding has lot’s of great deals.
*I do recommend doing your research, and buy from a reputable site. Bodybuilding is dedicated to this stuff so that is why I feel safe recommending to order from them. Here is a link to their store if you would like to order some of your own.
Multivitamins – Yep, just basic multivitamins to make sure my body was getting everything it needed. Some of you might already be taking them, but I wasn’t so this was something I started doing.
Want a quick summary of some of the things I did – short little tips that helped me? Well here ya go! (In no particular order – just the order I thought of them as I was writing:) I am sure there are other things I have forgotten but these were some of the main things I wanted to share.
There is nothing “earth shattering” here – just tried and true things that sometimes people forget when trying to find that “magic pill” that will make it all easier😉
**Eat smaller portions – use a small plate. It works.
**Cut out sugar wherever you can.
**Cut out all pop – even diet.
**Drink green tea – I drank a cup of flavored green tea every night to help me from feeling hungry:)
**Weight/strength train – don’t spend all of your time doing cardio! When you start doing some research you will learn so much about the benefits of weight training over just cardio!!
**If you stumble and have a bad day or even a bad week….don’t stop! Get back at it the next day.
**Have someone who is willing to motivate you, hold you accountable and hopefully even do it with you! This will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
**Don’t expect it to happen overnight. It likely won’t even happen in the first month – (at least that you will notice!). But all of a sudden, everything will start coming off and you couldn’t stop it if you tried:) You just need to hang in there for those first few weeks
when you feel like you are doing it all for nothing!!!
**Make healthier choices, but don’t obsess about only eating vegetables, or no carbs after a certain time. All of that matters, but when you are just learning and starting out, worrying about all of that can cause you to just give up out of the sheer feeling of being overwhelmed. Choose healthier foods when you can, use a smaller plate, and have a larger serving of vegetables than anything else on your plate when you can:)
**Use only coconut oil or olive oil for cooking everything.
**Eat protein – eggs, (don’t worry about eating the yokes…my way of thinking is that all of the generations before us ate eggs every day and lived way longer than people today are!), find a Greek yogurt with a flavor you enjoy and will eat, tuna, peanut butter…and yes,
don’t be afraid to use protein powder! Make your own shake or smoothie after a workout, or you can even buy premade protein shakes that actually taste good!
**Make a motivation wall or board on Pinterest. I had a sheet with the weights that I could cross off as I lose each pound. Seeing those numbers get marked off was a huge motivation for me. I also had a private Pinterest board that I used to keep all of the quotes I needed
when I was struggling.
**Don’t compare yourself to the fitness models you see on the fitness sites or Pinterest. Just work to get yourself to the best you that you can be.
**Have I mentioned….drink water? That is literally about all I drank for the first 4 months I was doing this. (Except for my coffee and green teas:) If I went out for a meal, I got a water. When I got together with others, I had water. I bought a ton of the flavored water additives, like Mio, Crystal Light etc. for when I wanted some flavor – (don’t come on telling me about the hazards of these because I did what I had to do to keep me on track and feel like I was giving myself a treat now and then!). But, most of the time it was just plain cold water. I made my own flavored waters lots of times – with cucumber, strawberry, lemon, and things like that. Delicious!!
**Buy a great water bottle you can use to refill throughout the day to carry around with you to make sure you are drinking enough water.
**Get your vegetables for the week and cut them all up before putting them in the fridge. Having them precut and ready to use makes it so easy to throw together a small stir fry to have with your lunch, or grill some veggies in the oven for your supper. When they are cut and ready, they are so much easier for you to grab and you will actually use them!
**Use spices! Your food doesn’t have to be boring to be healthy!
**Eat breakfast. Seriously – have a good breakfast or you will be starving by lunch time and you will pig out. Plus it gets your metabolism moving
**Snack. Eat healthy snacks and don’t let yourself get hungry. When you are hungry, you will have less willpower and you will overeat when you do eat next.
**Stop making excuses and letting yourself off the hook when you don’t think you can do it.
**And, really….just drink water, OK?
Some Free Food Journal Printables For You!
Other people swear by keeping food logs of everything you eat. I believe this works great too – but I was no good at keeping track. If you want some fun food logs, here are some I made for my sister in law that she has been using…(you can click on them directly or right-click and choose “Save Image As…”)
Are you committed, or just thinking short term?
Basically, it will all come down to you and your own motivation. You need to decide that you really want to do it, and don’t let yourself make excuses. It will be so easy to let yourself say things to explain why you ate badly that day, or find reasons why you couldn’t work out – but you are only hurting yourself by letting these excuses win.
Find something you can enjoy and don’t stress too much about doing everything by the book. If you are stressing out and doing things that are completely unnatural for you, then you won’t stick with it. You will find out as you go what works and what doesn’t work for you.
My best tip is to find your “why”. Why do you want to lose weight? Do you want to just be healthier? Are you wanting to change and teach your kids to be healthier? You have to have a good why. If you don’t really care, and are just going through a phase, and you don’t plan on making it a lifestyle change for life, then you won’t stick with it. Find a good why – for your kids, for your health, even something like wanting to be able to buy a new wardrobe, I don’t know!
And, find someone to help keep you going. You will want to give up and cheat, or make excuses a lot. Find someone who won’t let you, and who is maybe working as hard as you are.
You can do it. Once you stop believing all the crap out there promising easy, fast methods with no work involved, you will be able to start making small changes that will all start to add up.
*I have recommended Bodybuilding as a good resource for protein powders and supplements – here is a link to their store….
**Also take a look through some of the Beachbody programs – they have some great, fun at home workouts! Click here to see what all there is…..
I am in no way a professional trainer or fitness expert. Everything I have shared here is my own experience. I am not responsible for any injuries, sickness or anything that happens to you from following any of the information I have provided on this site. I can not be held responsible for anything you feel you have learned through my own personal posts. Exercise should always be done carefully and at your own risk. Do your own research and make your own decisions before ever trying any kind of supplements. I do NOT recommend diet aids – there is no reason to ever use those when you can get better, safer and longer lasting results by simply following common sense lifestyle changes.
I may receive small financial compensation when products are purchased through links on my site.