How I Vowed to Wow... Setting a Goal and Achieving it!
Posted: Mar 7, 2008 5:58 AM
I've never posted in these forums before, but I feel like this a really important subject. I was never a person that had to worry about my weight. My entire life I’d eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and been skinny. However, within a year of moving in with my fiancé, I had gained 8 pounds or so. I’m 5’8”, and weighed around 138 pounds. This was due to several reasons. It coincided with two years of employment at Starbucks, where I was entitled to as many fattening espresso beverages as I could drink during my shifts (and discounts on pastries – even worse!). My fiancé also took me out to dinner a lot, which is a problem for many reasons. First of all, restaurant food is all pretty high-calorie -- that's why it tastes so good! Second of all, restaurants give you huge portions and you feel obligated to eat past being full since it's so expensive you don't want to waste it. Luckily, Starbucks was actually quite a physically demanding job (more so than it appears); otherwise I would have gained MUCH more. So does everyone reading this know the feeling when you put on those jeans you’ve had for four years and think, “Damn, these things have been shrinking!”? Then one day you realize maybe it isn’t the drier’s fault… One day I looked in the mirror and realized I did not like what I saw at ALL. Granted I was not obese, and I realize that 8 pounds seems trivial to those who have struggled with their weight their entire lives. However, losing 8 pounds or losing 80 pounds requires exactly the same strategies. And at any size, being unhappy with yourself is never a good thing. The unfortunate reality is also that the less you need to lose, the more difficult it is to lose it. I quit my job at Starbucks last September, and started trying to lose weight that same month.
I took a nutrition class at UC Davis to satisfy a GE requirement, and it was SO enlightening. If any of you are students or have the time to take a class at a local college, I would highly recommend taking one. Now I understand how the body works and what I’m actually doing to my body when I eat. Some noteworthy facts:
3,500 calories are in a pound of fat.
A gram of carbohydrates or protein is worth 4 calories, while a gram of alcohol is worth 7, and a gram of fat is worth 9!
The ONLY way to lose weight is to get calorie output greater than calorie input.
Three methods are needed to do this: diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
The more you already weigh, the more calories your body burns on any given day. It’s more work for your body to move 180 pounds than it is to move 110 pounds, regardless of any other factors. This means that your body needs to eat a lot to break even, so cutting calories will be much easier for a bigger person that needs more calories than a smaller person.
If you’re gaining weight, this means you are consistently eating more than your body needs. End of story.
Simply eating “healthier” does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you’re only eating fruits and veggies if you are still consuming more calories than your body needs. Granted you will feel better, and it’s a lot more difficult to eat 3,000 calories of broccoli than cookies, but counting calories is the only way to make sure you’re doing enough. By the way, Weight Watchers uses a chart that is based on counting calories but makes it more user-friendly. This is also a great way to go!
Like so many others, I’ve had a gym membership for almost four years, and in the last year before I made some changes I could count on one hand how many times I’d actually gone. I decided to take charge of my life and make some changes before I gained more weight. I want to look great for the wedding, for my soon-to-be husband, and for myself! But mostly, it’s just for myself. Everyone I told about my new weight loss plan told me I looked great and I didn’t need to lose weight – especially my fiancé. But it’s not about them. I looked at myself naked in the mirror and I felt disgusting, and I needed to do something about that, no matter what anybody else said. The most important thing about losing weight is to want to do it for the right reason, and the only right reason is because you want to do it for yourself, not for anyone else. So I went back to the gym, and started to get the wheels rolling, when I noticed a sign advertising five half-hour sessions with a personal trainer for $49. This is a remarkable deal, since the same would cost several hundred dollars regularly. So I signed up. My trainer worked out with me a couple of times, but he also started me on a nutrition plan. When buying the sessions I also received one month of access to a computer program that calculates how many calories are in everything you eat. The program estimated that my body needed around 2,200 calories, and he put me a 1,200 calorie a day diet. A 1,000 calorie deficit a day means I could lose up to 2 pounds in a week. This is also excruciating! I think that EVERYONE should count their calories for a week, just to realize how much potential energy (and therefore potential fat) you actually put into your body on any given day. It also really helped knowing I would get lectured if I didn’t stick to my nutrition plan!
On an average day, I consumed a Slim-fast shake for breakfast (180 calories), a granola bar or other healthy snackbar for a snack (100-150 calories), a meal replacement bar for lunch (150-200 calories), another snackbar for another snack (100-150 calories), and then dinner. So, I’m already at 530-680 calories without eating any “real food”! That’s half my allowance, and trust me I was hungry through all of this! For dinner, I had a variety or “healthy” choices, but one thing was constant – at the end of the night I was still hungry! Fast food is out. I do still eat Taco Bell. When on my regimented diet I would get two bean burritos with no cheese, onions or red sauce – just beans and tortilla, which is actually the way I like it. This is around 300 calories each. A burger? Forget about it! Check out the nutrition facts before you eat it. A whopper from Burger King is around 800 calories by itself. So I stayed on this 1,200 calorie a day diet for three weeks, and went to the gym about three times a week as well, and I lost five pounds in three weeks. After losing that first five pounds, I felt so much better about myself already! My pants were noticeably looser and I felt healthier. For the most part I stopped vigorously counting my calories after that, but the experience had opened my eyes to healthier decisions and I never looked at food the same way again. I stopped going out to eat as much too. It was truly a lifestyle change for me, which is one of the most important factors of losing weight -- it's what prevents you from gaining weight back! I haven’t eaten a pastry from Starbucks since I quit – those average 400-600 calories each! I still have a Slim-fast for breakfast and still keep a fully stocked variety of Luna and Pria bars for snacks and lunches. I’ve been going to the gym regularly. I try to go three times a week and burn at least 500 calories (about 50 minutes) doing cardio every time I go, plus weights. So if I eat 2,200 calories worth of food every day and don’t go to the gym, I’ll maintain my weight, and if I eat 2,200 calories a day and burn an additional 500 at the gym, I lose a pound for every seven workouts. Make sense? I’ve now dropped around 11 pounds and went from a size 6 to a size 2. I’m also much more toned and muscular than I was, and feel generally healthier, more energetic, and more confident. I weigh around 127 pounds and my goal is 125. I’m almost there. Good luck to everyone and I hope this was helpful. Feel free to ask questions if anything was confusing!
Thanks for your post :) I havee s imilarr goals to yours. I am 5'7" and weigh around 132-135. My goal is to become moree conscious of what I am eating - to generally make healthier choices and maintain portion control - that is a big one. While the numbers areen't as m much of an issue to me as how I feel and look, I am aiming for around 125-127. Last time I was most fit I was around that weight. i really just want to feel healthy and eneergized and to have my health/image bee just a part of who I am, not something that I have to think about and hope to change. Right now I am SUPER busy and my sleep and eating habits are getting the best of me.;... let's not even talk about time to work out! But, I am going to work on getting more sleep, eating on more of a schedule, and taking walks and doing enjoyable/physical things to relax. I love your idea about snack bars and shakes during the say - that will make it so much easier for me since I am so busy! And I can enjoy trying new recipes for dinner when I have the time.
It's good to know that you have succeeded.:) I'll let you know how things go for me :)