On January 2011, I made a list of things I want to change about myself. I think I had about 7 aspects of my life, including weight, contact lenses, education among other things. The goal was not to complete them all but to progress on each section throughout the year. I was doing well in all of the categories but I fell the weight management needed some tweaking. I was already going to the gym and I had a personal trainer. But I didn’t see much decrease in the weight week after week. I knew I had to address food department.
Era of Change
Came January 2012. I was at the grocery store while spending the holidays at my parents’ house and I saw the Weight Watchers magazine with Jennifer Hudson on the cover. I have to say that she is my shero. Her success is one of the most inspiring. Just like all of America, I watched her go from starving artist to a full fledged star. With some smart business decisions and the right management, she can actually become powerful. I decided to buy both the magazine and the book. And that was were it all began.
I enrolled in Weight Watchers and started attending meetings the minute I flew back home. My fridge was already empty since I try not to keep food in there during my trips. So I felt like I was starting with a new lease on food. I cleaned out my cabinet or ate out everything that was left. Armed with new nutritional guidelines, I went shopping.
How did I do it?
1. Meal Management
One reason for my failures in the past is the lack of planning of my meals. I used to eat when I was starving and I ate everything in sight. I can’t eat a big meal at once but I made sure I ate enough to last me awhile. Instead, I started planning my grocery shopping weekly. I like flexibility in my meals so I plan a variety of foods for lunch, breakfast and dinner. I made sure to have my 3 snacks built into my consumption. Honestly, I did not feel that I was dieting or starving. I budget points to cover dinners with friends and my cocktails. I had desserts, I had my Oreo cookies and my ice cream.
For breakfast, I would have cereal, a bagel and cream cheese, french toast, pancakes, oatmeal. I limited eggs to brunches on Sundays as a treat. For morning snack, I would have some yogurt, some fruits. For lunch, I would have a salad or a light sandwich. I actually picked from a New York Times article called 101 simple salads for the season. One of the mistakes about salads is that it is full of high calories items. I take everything into account. I weighed, measured, or guesstimated the best that I can.
One of my favorite sandwiches is BLT with turkey bacon. I also made grilled chicken, eggs or chicken salad sandwich. Each one accompanied with veggies such as carrots, cucumbers or broccoli. For dinner, I would have some pasta (wheat), fish (tilapia) with some rice and beans or mash potato and more veggies. If I didn’t have a salad for lunch, I would have a salad for dinner. A quarter of my plate will be meat, another quarter starch and the other half veggies and salad. It was my quick and easy way to track what I ate.
I gave up on juice, sodas. It was just water or iced tea for the most part. I like the flavored water or added Chrystal Lights to my water gallons. I didn’t use real sugar, I started using Splenda instead of regular sugar. I dramatically cut back on additional sugar and salt in my diet. I use olive oil for cooking. I was already using margarine instead of butter. Most importantly, I ate what I wanted. I never deprived myself: I simply budgeted it, accounted for it and worked it off.
I also added certain rules that I have learned from attending meeting. One trick is that I ate my food in 10 inch plates, I ate salads in 12 inch plates. Or I would put my salad and my dinner on one plate so I am consciously aware of the amount of food I am consuming in one meal. Rather we notice it or not, we tend to fill up our plates when we eat. And then we cleared our plates: we are raised to do that! So the size of the dinner plate does matter. I do not go back for second servings. I was strict regarding point consumption. I tallied everything I ate. The app on the phone made it even easier. I supplemented meals with a couple fruits or vegetable servings. I also did not go past the inside of the plates, nothing on the rims. Instead of eating dessert with dinner, I would have it a little letter, making it count as a snack. I avoided pasta or heavy meals past 8 pm since I was in bed by midnight. Over a period of time, all these little things became a habit: I still do them subconsciously.
2. Physical Activities
As for exercise, I did something every day. I went to the gym about 3 or 4 times per week. I would vary my workouts. I would do classes with one of my friends. She likes her cardio workout: spinning, steps. I hate those and she made me go with her. She hates weight training and Zumba. I love them and I made her go with me. So we motivated each other. We even did a boot camp workouts together. I did my laps in the pool on saturday mornings. I also played basketball, ran laps around the court. Variety is key for me. On other days, I would walk or jog outdoors. I take my bike out for a ride. I participated in a couple races. One of my ultimate goals is completing a triathlon.
Every night, I did 100 crunches before I showered. I keep my exercise mat opened on the living room floor so I did not have any excuses. I can get them done while watching TV. In between my sets of 25, I did about 10 an rollers. Insanity was one of the best programs for me: my waistline literally melted. I borrowed the program from a friend to try it out. This is why I want to purchase my own copy.
In combination with my physical activities and the program, I lost about 25 lbs total in 3 months and I have kept it off. It took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and tracking.
I did hit a plateau and I am working on that. Again, my plan is to do a little something every year, not expecting to complete it all. One of the recent changes for 2013 is giving up meat for the most part. My other resolution are reinstatement of my gym schedule and Insanity workout purchase by this summer. My classes in the past couple semesters did not allow me time for the gym. Summer will be much better. I want to go for another 25 lb loss. I will definitely keep you guys posted. Follow me for updates.
I gave both magazine and the book to my mom as birthday presents. She has been my partner in the journey to healthy living. My sister has gone beyond her goal so I am totally motivated to persevere.
Any major changes in your life you want to share?
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