This post could have many titles.
- How to lose weight while on vacation.
- How to lose 5 pounds in a month.
- How to lose a size in a month.
- How to kick start your metabolism.
- How to not gain weight while you can’t workout.
While I think any of these would work, I want to go ahead and share a spoiler with you. This post will not share a magical secret with you that will leave you five pounds lighter by the time you finish reading.
After years of yo-yo dieting and wishing I was the size of those around me, I finally pulled up my big girl pants and joined Weight Watchers the summer of 2005, while I was interning up in Philadelphia. As some of you may recall from previous posts, over the course of the next 11 months I went from 192 pounds, which was my highest weight in June 2005, to 150 pounds, my Weight Watchers goal weight. My tactics for losing weight while enjoying my senior year of college were pretty simple and were in line with many of the Weight Watcher principles back then.
- I started a walk to run program which allowed me to go from running 30 seconds on the treadmill to running my first 5k.
- Back in Athens, Georgia during my senior year I worked out six days a week, religiously, and walked to as many of my classes as possible.
- I tracked points Sunday night through Friday lunch, allowing myself to enjoy Friday night through Sunday brunch enjoying tailgate food, drinks downtown, and brunch with friends.
Fast forward through my first five five years out of college and my weight has been a bit more of a roller coaster. While I don’t have time to go through everything right now, I know I owe you all a few more in depth posts regarding this roller coaster at some point. To make a long story short I’ll give you the bulleted version for now. Enjoy the photos as well which are in chronological order.
- May 2006: Graduate from University of Georgia (weigh ~ 150)
- June 2006-June 2007: A year of long distance relationship, few to little friends in my new town of Philadelphia, and loneliness lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, fat, and working out. (weight dropped to an all time low of ~ 125)
- June 2007-Sept 2007: Bo moves to Philadelphia and with his help and my parents intervention, I start developing a healthier relationship with working out, appreciating food for its nourishment and flavor, and start training for distance running. Run my first half marathon at the amazing time of 2:02. (Slowly gain weight, reaching 132)
- Sept 2007-March 2009: Go the doctor due to losing my period. She explains that I urgently need to gain weight as my estrogen and hormone levels are dangerously low. We do this through a mix of estrogen pills, protein supplements, and allowed “unhealthy eating”. (Plateau at 138)
- March 2009: Doctor recommends we try a few more things including eating foods that I would never imagine as our current routine isn’t working and i’ve reached a plateu at 138 which still isn’t a high enough weight for my build, metabolism, hormone levels, etc.
- April 2009-September 2009: Enjoy crazy amounts of alcohol, donuts, bagels, New York cuisine, bbq, and more while trying to gain weight and finally moving in with Bo in our first NYC apartment. Workouts and running continue but maintaining my previous pace becomes far harder as I am carrying more weight. (Weight finally reaches 155, my doctors goal weight for my body)
- September 2, 2009: My period finally comes back. Much celebration, happy tears.
- November 2009: Bo and I get engaged!
- November 2009-November 2010: New job, new city and wedding planning stress along with unhealthy eating habits I developed while trying to gain weight mean that I gain weight instead of lose weight for my wedding. (Weight reaches 168 on wedding day.)
- November 2010-April 2012: New York life, married life, marathon training, work travel and more mean that my weight fluctuates between 173 to 164 for over a year and a half. I develop a healthy relationship with food and embrace weight training through the help of my personal trainer, Lauren. I run 7 half marathons, 2 marathons and multiple other races while sharing my adventures with my blog readers.
- April 2, 2012: Finally decide I really want to reach 160 again so my shorts, dresses, skirts, and suits from the past three years all fit. Realize this will take more than just working out to happen as my body seems to plateau every time I reach 162.
Finally, now we’re at the point where I explain exactly what I did over the past month to go from 165 pounds to 159 pounds and lose a full dress and pant size. Don’t worry, I have more bullets for you!
How I Overcame My Weight Plateau
- Portion control! I returned to weighing, measuring and thinking about everything that went into my mouth, even on vacation. I made sure my plate always included more vegetables and protein than starches. On each trip I carried or purchased healthy snacks so I would be less apt to reach for chocolate, candy, or empty carbs. During work dinners I’ve gone back to ordering half portions or making special requests because it’s so easy and can lead to healthier and more delicious meals which I can enjoy versus dreading.
- I cut back on the alcohol. I went back to only having alcohol 1-2 nights during the week, other than my vacation week. But, while we were on vacation I only had 1 glass of beer, wine or cocktail 4 of the nights.
- I fell in love with fruits and vegetables again. Thanks in part to the Green Giant Vegetable Challenge and our trip to Hawaii, I realized that most of the time I prefer fruit over another dessert option and both fruit and vegetables are the best office snack, second go my beloved Greek yogurt. In line with this, I also went back to having the large size salads during lunch from Pax or Toasties instead of a bag of baked chips or a roll. The less processed food that goes in my system during the week, the better!
- I cleaned up my lunches. Sure, salad is healthy, but common sense tells you that even a rabbit’s favorite food can haul in more calories than a sandwich lunch if you load it with too many nuts, cheeses, dressing, and toppings. Therefore, during April I stuck with lots of vegetables and fruit on my salads, went back to having dressing on the side, and topped it with only lean protein (egg whites, eggs, grilled chicken, shrimp, or tuna) and allowed myself cheese or nuts in place of the lean protein, not in addition. While I was traveling, Subway became my best friend again as it’s always a healthy and reliable option who shares the calorie counts with patrons everywhere!
- Hello Mr Penguin Bo and I took our Penguin Soda Stream out of the pantry so we could use it more often. This alone has cut my soda, wine, beer, and Crystal Light consumption down and renewed my love of water. I’m now drinking at least a gallon of water a day, including what I drink during workouts.
- Sleep Every article I read about weight loss or running seems to mention the benefits of sleep. During vacation I enjoyed eight hours of sleep every night and since then I’ve slept at least 7 hours every single night.
Move I think it’s funny that I lost this weight and inches while NOT running since I always thought running was the key to losing weight. While on vacation my mom and I walked every day up a 1.5 mile hill at least two times. When I returned to NYC, even while battling bronchitis, I did planks and pushups every day. I think it’s important to realize that you don’t need to run a marathon each day, but you need to stick to a routine which you can do anywhere and everywhere. This morning, while I’m still in my hooded sweatshirt and boxer shorts, I’ve already done 2 minutes of planks, 20 pushups, and 5 minutes of sun salutations. I also got better about sharing the news that I was working out with co-workers while I traveled to Houston this week. In turn, I had a workout partner each morning!
None of this is ground breaking stuff and I’m sure you’ve all done at least one of the above at one point. But, even for a Lifetime Weight Watcher member, I forgot the importance of portion and counting. My salads became a means to enjoy cheese, my evening time with Bo or work travel and happy hours were a means to enjoy wine and beer, and work dinners had become an excuse to eat just like the people around me. If I could suggest just one of the above, it would be either cleaning up lunch salads or portion control as I think these are the 2 biggest changes I made.
There you have it. Happy Friday.