How I Lost 90 Pounds & Became An Athlete!

Written by: on Monday, January 6th, 2014
Weight Loss Success Story

BEFORE: Rachel At 236 pounds, 11 weeks after giving birth.

Weight Loss Success Story

AFTER: Rachel at 144 pounds…happy, healthy, and slim.

It was eleven weeks after Rachel Shapiro Cooper, 33, had her daughter, Colbie, and she distinctly remembers the moment. “I was sitting on the couch next to my beautiful new baby and my mother in law—and all I could think about was how physically uncomfortable I was. It completely devastated me. I didn’t want to be sitting next to my beautiful family feeling this way.”

At 236 pounds, Rachel—a theatre teacher at a charter school in Newark, NJ—had reached her highest weight, ever. “When I look at that picture now, I looked enormous and sad,” she says. “My thighs are as big as the couch. It was at that moment that I said I was never ever going to feel this way ever again.”

“Changing My Mindset”

“No one sits there and says I want to be obese one day,” says Rachel, “but it happens. And it happened to me because I ignored how my body was feeling—for so long. And that’s not normal.”

Weight Loss Success Story

Rachel, after, with her husband Brandon.

“Everything about your health is a choice,” she says, adding that you have the power to change your health and your weight—for the better. “For so long, I was told I was overweight when I wasn’t overweight. That was a really damaging thing. People around me created this false reality for me. I wasn’t as thin as other kids, but I wasn’t the fat kid either.”

“But then I started to believe what every one else was saying about me—and I believed I’d always be the fat kid. Then I told myself that it was okay to be chubby and I started developing these habits where I felt like I could eat more. And when I got pregnant, it got worse: I had two breakfasts because I felt like I was entitled to it.”

“But I’m done with that part of my life: I’m not going to eat more just to eat more,” says Rachel, who is now pregnant with her second child and is thinner, happier, and has more energy during this pregnancy than she ever did during her first pregnancy. “I’m proud to say I ran a 10K already during this pregnancy—and I felt great while I was doing it.”

“Learning About My Body”

Right after she gave birth the first time, Rachel received bad news about her health. “I found out that I was pre-diabetic; my sugar was high,” she explains. “Plus, my total cholesterol level was over 300.”

Motivational Sayings

One of Rachel’s favorite motivational sayings.

“And I thought: ‘Who have I become? I knew when I saw this picture that I couldn’t walk through life this way anymore. Before I was overweight, now I was sick and I had to get well.”

“Between being a new mom and feeling totally out of my element, I felt like some obese imposter walking around in my world in this huge unhealthy body,” she says.

After Rachel started losing weight, running, and feeling great about her body, she found a lump in her breast. “I have very dense breast tissue, but because I had been overweight, I hadn’t really known my breasts—or my body. And I thought: ‘How is it possible that I’m healthy for first time in my life and this happens? Thankfully everything turned out fine [it was fibrocystic breasts], but it’s amazing how many women are not familiar with their body and miss things like this.”

“When I was overweight, I didn’t want to know my body,” she says, explaining that so many people who are overweight feel the same way—and aren’t able to recognize bumps and lumps, aches and pains because they’re out of touch with themselves. “But I was killing myself by not wanting to know my body.”

“How I Lost the Weight”

Rachel shared the go-to strategies, below, that helped her to lose the 90 pounds (it took a year and a half)—and helped to make her a runner, too.

woman stepping on scale

You will lose pounds, says Rachel, if you address your food entitlement issues up front.

First and foremost, though, Rachel says you have to change your mindset about food. “We all have this absurd sense of entitlement about food: We tell ourselves that ‘We deserve to eat this or that’. It’s like a petulant child—and we need to remove the petulant child from weight loss,” explains Rachel. ‘This need for immediate gratification is why people are fat. We have no patience. We’re not willing to wait until another day to eat something.”

“But the truth is: If you didn’t get to eat it today, you can eat it another day,” she says. “That’s a huge part of what I had to master. There will other chances to eat that food, there will be other parties.”

The bottom line, Rachel says, is this: “If you don’t do anything to fix your weight issues, nothing will change. Taking charge of your life and your weight is completely in your hands.”

1. Make the decision to put yourself first. It’s so easy for people—particularly mothers—to put others first, says Rachel, but changing this is key to dropping pounds. “You have to retrain yourself. “I said ‘I’m going to lose weight’ and

Weight Loss Success Story after finishing a race.

Rachel—already pregnant with her second child—and Brandon after finishing her second half marathon.

‘I’m putting myself before everyone and everything’,” she says, explaining that by doing that it made her weight loss a priority. She made it a priority every week to attend Weight Watchers meetings, which were key to her success. She made it a priority to cook healthy foods and pack a healthy lunch—and snacks—for work every day. And she made it a priority to exercise.

“Now I get up at 5 am and run on the treadmill. On Saturdays and Sunday, my husband and I trade. I spend an hour and 10 minutes doing a long run and then he takes time to do it. And that’s part of my life now.”

“After making this decision to put myself first, my life completely opened up,” she says. “I was happy and completely present in my life—with my daughter, my husband, my friends, my job.”

2. Create do-able goals. “At first, I never thought I’d reach my goal,” says Rachel. “I kept trying to lose weight and would step on the scale after a week and had lost nothing. I was so depressed—which made me want to give up. I stopped caring, stopped believing. I had so much to go, I felt like it was impossible. I didn’t have faith in my body. I felt like it was broken, like it was not like other people’s. I was deeply ashamed.”

Calendar for Weight Loss

“I stopped looking at weight loss week by week—and instead looked at it over the course of 30 days,” says Rachel.

“Then my husband, my beautiful, wise, forgiving sweet husband brought me a proposal,” Rachel explains. “He thought my issues with weight loss had to do with the fear of not seeing results. I would stay on program and then not see a loss and then collapse and binge and then not see a loss and it was a vicious cycle. He knew the Weight Watchers plan was realistic and healthy (he is a doctor after all). He knew that if I could just take the pressure off of each week, I might see success and that might lead to momentum. Well, that it did! We embarked on the 30-day calendar.”

“Brandon helped me create a calendar with goals for my life on it and each day I simply stayed on program I crossed off a box and at the end of 30 days we would re-assess” she explains. “I kept going to my weekly meetings and by the end of the month I had lost 8 pounds after not losing any weight for the six months prior.”

“We kept using the calendar for 90 days and then I made it below 200 lbs. Then I noticed myself starting to feel like, ‘I may be able to do this’. “

3. Believe in everything YOU can accomplish. “I was never a runner and

Weight Loss Success Story

Rachel, and her friend Marianne, after successfully completing a race.

now I run countless 4 milers, four 10Ks, and even a half marathon. There are all these lies I was telling myself,” says Rachel, who says that believing in how you want to be—not how others see you or how you saw yourself—is key to turning your life around.

4. Keep track of everything you eat. Rachel credits her local Weight

Weight Watchers Mobile App

Rachel used the Weight Watchers Mobile App to keep track of what she ate. (Available free on the iTunes app store.)

Watchers meetings, which she attended regularly, with helping her learn how much she should be eating every day— and staying motivated. “I never used to write down what I ate. Who wants to write down that you ate a quart of lo mein?” she says, explaining a key weight-loss strategy of Weight Watchers. “Now I write down everything I eat every single day. I have a Weight Watchers tracker app on my phone that I write my food in. It takes two minutes—and it keeps me accountable.”

5. Be honest about what (and how much) you’re eating. While the food tracker app helps, Rachel also relies on friends to keep her accountable. “I have a friend, Marianne, and we e-mail our food to each other every day,” says Rachel, crediting Marianne with being “instrumental” to her success.

“We follow up with each other. We send the good, the bad, and the ugly to each other. There’s no greater gift you can give yourself than absolute dead honesty. The act of being accountable and honest transforms how I relate to food now. It’s not a secret anymore. Your secrets make you sick, and I was no longer willing to stay sick.”

“Having people around you, like Marianne, who know your goals and remind you of them, even when you’ve forgotten is key,” says Rachel. “Real friends don’t tell you it’s okay when you make a poor food choice. Real friends aren’t afraid to be your ‘mirror up to nature’.”

6. Take it one meal at a time. “Don’t think about how much weight you have to lose, focus on one meal at a time. Once you get through breakfast, that’s an accomplishment. Then you can move on to the next meal,” says Rachel. “What matters is how you manage your food in each moment.”

7. Prepare for ups and downs. Know that—despite everything you’re doing—you may not lose weight some weeks, says Rachel. “Weight loss is not one of those things that accidentally happens. The scale doesn’t lie. It will take a

Weight Loss Success Story

Rachel, with her friend Marianne, outside Weight Watchers, which guided her and helped her reach her goal.

while. There were weeks that I worked my butt off and I lost not one single pound. But again, I had to take the power away from immediate gratification and that feeling that ‘If I do everything I’m supposed to do, I should lose weight.’ Sometimes that just doesn’t happen. But you have to stick with it over the long haul to see the results—and you will see results.”

The Weight Watchers meetings helped Rachel with this aspect of her weight loss—as well as her entire journey. (After having reached her goal, she’s now a lifetime member.) “The Weight Watchers meetings were a place I went each week, on good weeks and bad,” she says. “It was the place where, for 30 minutes, I could brainstorm a challenge and get support. My leader, Kelly, (now my friend) and my fellow members shared in my victories and built me up when I felt like I could not keep going.”

8. Plan what you’re going to eat—before you go out. “I make a plan about food—and what I’m going to eat in social situations—and I stick to it,” says Rachel. “I determine beforehand if I’m going to have one glass of wine at a cocktail party. I write before I bite. Food is not a relationship I should be having. I want to put my emotions back into my relationships.”

“I always look at restaurant menu before going out to eat so I know what I’m going to have,” explains Rachel. “I always commit to a lean protein like seafood and sushi. And the best part: I eat it and can still leave the restaurant feeling great.”

“I mostly stay away from Mexican and Indian though because these cuisines are harder to portion out,” she says, “but nothing is off limits anymore. Generally, though, I try to stick to cuisines that are satisfying and healthy. I also have a two-drink minimum. My rule is: if I drink I’m never having dessert, and if I’m having dessert, I don’t drink.”

9. Add extra vegetables to everything. “I bulk up on veggies,” says Rachel.

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

Every Sunday, Rachel roasts a big batch of vegetables to add to lunches, dinners, and snacks during the week.

“On Sundays, I roast a bunch of vegetables so I can chop them up and add them to meals all week long. I make sure to have lots of vegetables with every meal.”

10.  Steer clear of packaged foods. “It’s so much easier to cook things for yourself,” says Rachel. “Cooking really doesn’t take that much time—just a little bit of prep work.” For example, Rachel makes frozen white fillets of fish with puttanesca sauce. “It takes 20 minutes to cook,” she explains. Another favorite: Chicken sausage with diced veggies, sautéed with beets and mushrooms on bed of polenta. Turkey meatloaf is another go-to dish: Rachel makes a big batch on the weekends so she has enough for lunch during the week.

Communicating with your partner about your goals is so important, too, particularly when it comes to meals. Rachel credits her husband with helping her stay on track. “Brandon would find my Weight Watchers Point allowance for the day and make us romantic dinners that were delicious and good for me, too,” she explains.

“Putting it All Together”

Reaching Weight Watchers Goal

Rachel is now a lifetime member of Weight Watchers after having reached her goal.

When asked how it feels to be a Weight-Loss Success Story, Rachel had this to say: “I feel very blessed to be able to tell my story. The more you isolate yourself and tell yourself you have it all together, the worse you do. When you surrender to the fact that you need help, the more successful you are.”

“It’s okay to not be able to do it all by yourself. I was paralyzed because I never wanted to do the hard work, the soul searching.”

Weight Loss Success Story

“One of the reasons I love this picture is I’m completely in the moment with my daughter, Colbie Laia, and not worried about having it captured in a photo—which was always the case before I lost the weight,” says Rachel.

“I make no claims to be a master of this or a perfectionist. I just need to eat the right food every day. I need to drink 6 to 8 cups of water every day. And I need to work out 4 to 5 days a week.”

But the results are so worth it: “Now I get up in the morning and go to my job without worrying about what to wear or what’s going to fit. That’s so damaging to your confidence,” says Rachel, who admits to never having worn pants with zippers before. “I would always wear dresses and stockings because that’s what felt comfortable. I didn’t own a pair of jeans or black pants. In fact, I couldn’t stand buying clothes. Now I buy 6s and 8s—and they fit perfectly. I don’t have to worry about buying clothes any more.”

“Suddenly I’m the person who can manage my live and thrive and not feel like I’m drowning,” explains Rachel. “Now I don’t look at things that are hard and feel like I can’t do them. I look at things and think about how I can achieve them. That’s an amazing gift.”

Weight Loss Success Story

Rachel at her sister’s wedding—radiating happiness and confidence.

“I was at the mercy of food for 30 years,” she says. “Enough is enough. The way I look at it: Food is either going to nurture and sustain me or it’s going to bring me back to a place where I never want to go again. It’s my choice. And I’ve decided I’m not going back to that place ever again.”

“But weight is just the beginning. What I learned about myself and my potential and the resilience of the human spirit has honestly transformed my entire perspective,” says Rachel. “I am an athlete. Together with my husband, we race through 5ks and 10ks and a half marathon. I’ve crossed the finish line in my healthy, strong body that birthed my daughter, that danced at my wedding, that crumbled in sadness and hopelessness, and that healed itself from a lifetime of pain. I am so incredibly grateful and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

 

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“5 Ways My Life Has Improved Since I’ve Lost Weight”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Mother and daughters at Marine Park

I requested, actually insisted, on pictures with me in them! I am living this life now, not hiding behind the camera, documenting the enjoyment of others.

1) I can actually walk around an amusement park without becoming exhausted! Last week my girls and I went to Marineland and I pet a beluga whale, an unforgettable experience. The whale, Isis, was like a marine dog, eager for human interaction. The 3 of us (and my 76-year-old mother) walked miles around this park. It was easy. The last time I had the opportunity to walk around an amusement park I recall it being exhausting.

2) I can play with my children without getting winded. My girls and I spent another day bike riding, playing on a playground, and picnicking at a glorious county park. The same park where I met their dad, just about 11 years ago. The same park where he asked me to be his wife. I played with my kids, hung from monkey bars, ran through a field and biked back and forth up and down hills.

 3) I now seek out fun, active things to do with my family. A couple months ago we put a tandem kayak on layaway. Layaway. The last day of

Melissa Juliano's bikes in a local park

Our bikes after our fun ride in the park.

our vacation we picked it up and went paddling. We also got a zippy sit-on-top kayak for my older daughter, Payton. She named it “Tango.” The four of us spent a few hours exploring a creek off Chautauqua Lake. Certainly not a strenuous outing, but it was active and together. 

4) I can proudly say that I live a healthy lifestyle. For 15 years I have practiced medicine and become more disillusioned with what I am able to do to help people. Lifestyle is everything.  I take care of very old 50-year-old smokers and drinkers. The obese populate my hospital rooms with diabetes, hypertension, wounds that don’t heal, depression, sleep apnea. Patients come to the hospital toting their own C-PAP machines in plastic grocery bags. I dispense insulin with the regularity of Tylenol. I have to lead by example. My patients notice. Last night I walked into a room in the ER to admit a lady who has been my patient for years. Despite her distress, she squealed with delight when she saw me. She told me how good I looked and that I glowed (despite my complete exhaustion). And then she said that if I could do it, with my work schedule and sleep deprivation and stress and kids and home, that anyone could do it. Wow. That was some unexpected, much welcome and very gratifying, recognition of what I have accomplished thus far.

5) I finally have come to realize that you can be happy even if you haven’t reached your “goal” weight. I had no idea what I was going to write when I sat down to do this blog post.  An apology to myself and whoever is reading for not losing 5 pounds a week seemed appropriate. But I ended up celebrating that I do not watch TV or laze away days sitting on my butt because I am too heavy and too old and too blah to do anything else. I do not idly hope that healthfulness will settle on me like a golden cloak. I do enjoy my ice cream and have given in to chocolate a distressing number of times, but I also walk, run, bike, paddle, hike, play, and move whenever possible. My lifestyle is so much healthier, active and rewarding. I will lose weight. It is inevitable as I slowly and steadily correct all the wrongs of my first 40 years. But it won’t be quick because there is no such thing as a quick fix. What’s most important is that I’m actually enjoying my life now. And that makes me incredibly happy—happier than any old number on the scale can make me.

 

 

 

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“Help! Dieter in need of a few words of encouragement!” Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Our new “lifestyle” is kicking my butt. My husband works out of town, I still work nights, and now I am a single parent. People do this. Others manage. What have I learned from all this constant effort at eating right and exercising to be healthy?

My fitness palNot sure! Because I still expect a Danish or an ice cream cone to make me less tired, less frustrated, less overwhelmed, less busy, less lonely. I’m trying to regroup and pull myself together. At 4 o’clock this morning, I wrote, “Help!” on my status for MyFitnessPal. My friend, Crystal, who has struggled too (she’s gained and lost a lot and gained back some and is now doing steadily awesome), came to my aide with, “Come on now! Let’s go! You’re not quitting now!”

Thank God for the love, support and understanding of those in the fray with me. Those 9 words flashing across the front of my iPhone when I got up today really, really helped. I made my shake instead of eating whatever. I sat down to write this blog about weight loss that I don’t even feel worthy to do because I feel like I go nowhere. Those 9 words will get me on the treadmill when I am so tired.  Thank you, Crystal.  I could use more support.

Anyone out there have any words of encouragement? Please, share!

 

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“Breaking through the weight-loss plateau—finally!” Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Woman's feet on scale

Now this is a sight that makes me incredibly happy! The needle on the scale finally moved!

Here I am again, revisiting my ALL-TIME LOW of 201. Just 2 pounds away from ONEderland! Last time I made it to this point something went terribly wrong and the scale went in the worst direction and got stuck there. But I am here again, because I have NOT given up and I have NOT given in. I am still fighting because I aim to WIN.

Just 2 more pounds to ONEderland. 2. More. Pounds. Then I NEVER want to see a 2 as the first number in my weight again. I am going to get to buy my new outfit from Athleta when I get to 199 and it will get there.

Family with children kayaking

I love being active as a family!

My plateau-hitting downer led to some research and some insights. As a family we try to be pretty active. But time to step it up a notch.

Saturday, we paddled the Chautauqua Lake outlet for 3 hours. Sunday, we biked the Allegany River Trail for about 1½ hours. All of us as a family.

It would seem that a few things have helped break through my plateau: Persistence, continuing to learn more about nutrition, high intensity shorter duration workouts, and more activity!

Almost to ONEderland!

 

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“My sinless chocolate cake recipe”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Sunday, May 20th, 2012
sinless chocolate cake recipe

This combo is the key to moist, delicious, lower-calorie chocolate cake.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE chocolate? I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest  for sinless chocolate cake. The recipe and a bunch of others for avoiding eggs and oil can be found at this website:  Hungry-Girl.Com. I bet we all have tried applesauce in place of oil before. This recipe is simple: cake mix, 1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt  (I use Chobani;  they buy their milk from family-owned farms!), and 1 cup water. It is dense and very moist and by my calculation, 134 calories a slice if you cut the cake into 15 servings.

Last night I warmed up some raspberries so they were a little saucy and put them on top of unfrosted cake for a delightful little indulgence.

I am ALWAYS interested in ways to shave a little sin off my treats. Please share yours!

 

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“How to take your workout to the next level”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, May 18th, 2012

 

woman stepping on scale

The scale hasn't been moving much lately...but I did lose a pound!

Morning: The scale budged. A smidge. I’ll take it but I don’t trust it. 203 is today’s weight. I’ve been getting on the scale every couple of days hoping to see some movement. After all, the rest of me moves a lot.

I’ve gotten some reader advice and support that I am grateful for! (more please!) Allison suggested short bursts of high intensity instead of more steady duration to shock the system that appears to have gotten quite used to sweating steadily for a solid hour. I sure like that advice because I am up to 60 minutes a day! So, today I have planned sprints on the treadmill.

My plan: My machine is a sluggish old work-horse that takes a bit of time to reach speed so I am not going to pay attention to distance. I am going to set the speed to something challenging like 9.0 mph—and do 30-second sprints with a 30-second rest and leave it running (I know, this is dangerous to do!) so I will (carefully) hop on and off.

I am going to do 20 minutes of this and then a sustained slow run for another 20. I will finish my cardio with 20 minutes on the elliptical. And instead of vacuuming or doing any laundry (we have plenty of clothes, really) I will squeeze in 20 minutes with weights. I just got a new kettlebell that needs to be broken in.

Afternoon:  Allison has the right idea! I set out to do an

woman running on a treadmill

Sprints! Now that's the secret to an INTENSE workout!

interval workout that was IMPOSSIBLE!  I LOATHE to admit I can’t do something, but at 9.0 mph I could barely keep up with the belt on the treadmill and actually feared for my life. Or at least my limbs. I was dangerously close to being zipped off the back of the treadmill and breaking a leg. Now that would really interfere with my running. And 20 straight minutes of sprints?  Clearly, I had no idea what I was signing myself up for. That was near undoable. So, within the first minute I had to reevaluate my running capabilities. I ended up doing 20-second sprints at 7.0 mph with 20-second rest.

The first 2 minutes, my heart rate didn’t really zoom up with the sprint. I would recover rapidly during the 20-second rest for the first 5 minutes. By minute 9, I wasn’t sure I could go on. I was quite literally 20 seconds at a time after minute 10. I made it to 18 minutes and just couldn’t find it within me to make it to 20.

Afterward, I felt spent. It was awesome. And today, sore legs to boot. Yeah Allison! Thanks for the advice.

Can’t wait for my next interval workout.  I will make it to 20 minutes!  Or maybe I will try 8.0 mph.

 

 

 

 

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“What it REALLY takes to become a Weight-Loss Success Story”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, May 11th, 2012
woman on scale with arms up in triumph

It takes a lot of hard work—and a hard look at your reality—to become a success story.

Have you looked at the success stories on this website?  Have you seen the doctor who lost 120 pounds? Brenda wrote some very worthwhile advice in her story: eat right, surround yourself with active healthy people, stop obsessing about weight loss but keep your eye on the simple math of calories in versus calories out, and be committed to your goals.

Looking at Brenda’s advice and knowing how she succeeded by following those simple philosophies, made me realize I have to do more.

I credit myself with eating right, being active and staying committed even though I am not (at this moment) losing.  That is all true, but not true enough.

I finally had to take a cold, hard look at what I was doing—and as much as I hate to admit it, I could be doing better.

What it takes to be a Success Story  

Exercising 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week

Occasional sugary treats 1-2 times/week

Daily activity beyond exercise

Maintain nutrition program instead

of regularly giving yourself permission to eat what someone else is eating

My reality 

Fits and spurts of exercise with gaps of 2 to 4 days at times with no exercise

Daily sugary treats (although they’re written down & counted in my calories)

Taking the elevator up or down 1 floor at the hospital and parking as close to the door as possible

I never say dietI’m don’t think I THINK it enough either. And by that I mean making conscious better choices instead of letting myself believe my hips won’t notice the French fries.

How many of you have a reality that differs from what is truly necessary to succeed?  Please share with me and any little tips or revelations that have helped you get your reality closer to what is required. I can’t emphasize enough how interested I am in what has worked for you!

 

 

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“How to overcome a frustrating weight-loss plateau”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Consistency is key to successI don’t know if I believe this anymore, but I will act as if I do. My dietary transgressions are small—or at least they are to me. But they are apparently substantial enough that my scale does not move.

How is it possible???

I eat mostly right.

I exercise often.

Shouldn’t I see at least something?  But this week, my scale has not moved. Still 204. Last week I spent 200 minutes doing cardio. 200 minutes! How many calories is that? Must be thousands. Sunday, I did 80 minutes on the elliptical. That alone was 1,200 calories. Don’t you have to burn 3,600 calories to lose a pound?

How can this be? Well, rather than getting completely and utterly frustrated (and believe me, I am just about there), I decided to do a little research and here’s what I discovered:

1) Weight-loss plateaus happen to everyone who’s ever tried to lose weight. They are not just happening to me (as I thought). They occur because, as we lose weight, the metabolism slows down. That means that…get this…I’m burning FEWER calories than I did when I was heavier doing the EXACT SAME ACTIVITIES! The reason: the body is achieving a state of equilibrium. Great. *$#@! Insert a string of profanities here!

2) Once you reach a plateau, things have to be changed up—or no more progress will be made. This means, that despite all the hard effort I’m putting in, all the exercise, all the eating right…I still have to do more. To lose more weight, I need to cut my calories further and/or increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. If I still with what I’m doing now, I will stay the same weight…just as I have been doing.

3) You have to cut 200 more calories a day. This is what seems to be the typical recommendation to start; don’t go overboard with calorie cutting (and never say diet!), but it seems that I have to cut just a bit more.

4) Do even more exercise! I find this hard to believe—and find it harder to fathom how I’ll fit any more exercise into my day, but this is what all the experts say. Some recommend not doing any additional “formal” exercise, but just to add more walking, moving, etc every day to burn more calories.

I must admit, I do feel defeated sometimes, but just hearing that I’m not the only person who has experienced a plateau makes me feel a bit better. But it seems I just have more work to do.

Have you ever experienced a plateau? Can you please share with me what worked (or what is working for you)? I need all the advice and support possible to get me through this! Write to me at melissa@valerielatona.com.

 

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“Tell me the one thing that helps YOU lose weight”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, May 7th, 2012
Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser

Bob Harper is one reason I am glued to my iPad while working out!

I have a new favorite workout gadget: the iPad!

I use it to download The Biggest Loser—and watch it, mesmerized, while sweating away. It makes the time pass so much more quickly…and I find that I can exercise for a lot longer than I could with just music! I am usually not much of a TV watcher; this is my first season, ever, watching The Biggest Loser (I download it from iTunes for just $20)—and I am hooked! It is so motivating! Plus, truth be told, I think I have a little crush on Bob Harper….

I know the iPad is expensive, but it’s absolutely worth it. I already spent 80 minutes on the elliptical doing hills and adding resistance while watching the contestants do the same. I don’t know about you, but I will gladly spend my money on anything that helps me get healthier and more fit!

Tell me the one thing that helps YOU lose weight.

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“What a real-life home gym looks like”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, April 30th, 2012
What a Real Home Gym Looks Like

My home gym doubles as a playroom (hence my daughters' drawings on the walls!), which is the reality for most people!

You want to know what a real home gym looks like? Well, for one thing: it usually doubles as another space (some people have it in their basements, by the washer and dryer; others have it in their dens; and some—like me—have it in the kids’ playroom). But … here’s mine! Cardio Central. Pumba, ever faithful workout partner, is lurking in the corner too. He stares at my feet whether I am on the treadmill or the elliptical. I have to pick my way through a floor littered with toys to get to my equipment. (Note to self: my girls have too many toys!)

But it doesn’t matter what the room looks like; what matters is that you get your butt there to do your exercise. If it’s not motivating, then you won’t want to step foot on the equipment!

Do you have a home gym? Tell me how you get motivated (and stay motivated to work out there); write to me at melissa@valerielatona.com.

Our treadmill is a free hand-me-down. Actually, we are the 3rd to house it. I am grateful for it in ways I never thought possible. Husband has had to repair it and jerry-rig the top back on. Sometimes, it doesn’t smell right. Every step could be its last. I have my eyes on a new one. It’s over $1,000. To save and prepare, I have been charging myself $3 each time I step on it. As it nears its demise, I started charging myself $3 to get on the elliptical too. The girls even pay 25 cents to use the equipment! I have almost $250 saved so far. Today, the self-imposed usage fee goes up to $5 because I am afraid it is going to quit before I am ready!

I am still on my quest to be a contender in a 5K race in May. May is tomorrow! I need to step up my training schedule. It seems I need to do more “suffering”…but it definitely pays off!

 

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