Today is the final day of the Biggest Blogging Loser. 3 months ago, I started the competition along with 100 other women hoping it would give me the motivation to lose the weight I’d been complaining about for forever.
As of today, I have lost 18 pounds. I am able to wear my engagement ring again, jeans I haven’t worn in years, and even a belt that I was sure I’d retired for good. I am finally starting to see the change, and while I am nowhere near winning the prize money, I have TOTALLY won.
Because we’ve been so sick for so long in this house, I ended up losing almost all the weight through diet alone. If I’m honest, I haven’t exercised since January, unless you count typical toddler wrangling. Which makes me even more excited about my losses, because it makes me hopeful that in the next few months I can get back on the exercise wagon and get to my ultimate goal (and oh yes, I plan to keep it up).
My weight loss is not amazing, or unreachable by other people. It’s not fast, it’s not fancy, it’s not hip. I did, literally, the easiest, most basic things I could do. But it worked.So how’d I do it?
- Measure, measure, measure. One of the biggest things that has helped me over the last 3 months is measuring all my food. I have been diligent about it, with very few exceptions, over the course of the challenge. Because of that I now have a much better grasp on what a serving size is and how much of something I’m really eating. It took doing this to realize JUST how out of touch with that information I was. Knowing, and understanding, a serving size has been one of the BIGGEST reasons I was able to lose. (and also? it helped reset my brain so that now I almost *can’t* eat much more than a serving size. Bonus!)
- Track food. I counted calories. I know a lot of people who are doing Weight Watchers. A friend of mine did a food diary. I think that keeping a daily record of your food is incredibly eye-opening. I was able to see when (during the day) I was most likely to snack. I was able to see my ineffective food choices. And I was able to, gulp, really get my arms around just how much I was eating. Even if all you do is write it down, no numbers involved, that visibility on what you’re eating is definitely eye-opening.
- Have a support system. I owe Jennie a huge thanks for starting the Biggest Blogging Loser. I lost the weight but she gave me a support system of other people who were on the same journey. She gave me a group who were able to help me through a late afternoon slump, or talk me down from a swan dive into a vat of ice cream. I’m honestly not sure I would have been able to keep going without that group of support.
- Be accountable. I also have to thank Jennie for building accountability into the competition. Sometimes all that got me to keep on keeping on was the knowledge that come Monday morning I had to weigh in. It helped me know I couldn’t just abandon the plan because it was the weekend–I knew that I had that Monday deadline looming.
- Learn the triggers. We all have those things that lead us into mindless, emotional, or bored eating. For me, those things were the daily 3pm crash, 10pm boredom, and a super stressful day. Once I acknowledge those triggers, I was able to head them off–a handful of almonds at 2:30, giving myself something to do at 10pm, and a few “treats” that I knew were within my calories for stressful occasions. But it took being really mindful and honest about why and what I eat, and finding ways to address them.
- Learn what I really NEED. You know what I figured out? I need protein way more than I ever need anything else. Protein helps my headaches, makes me feel full, gives me the energy to get through the day. When I don’t have protein, I get in trouble. Knowing this means that I know if I have a breakfast that’s got enough protein, no matter how high or low the calorie count, I’ll make it to lunch. If I don’t? I’ll be starving (and grouchy) an hour later, even if I ate 500 calories of carbs. Knowing that about myself really helps me plan my meals and address my needs BEFORE I’m in the meal.
- Have a goal. I technically had a loss goal for the 3 months, but really my goals were to 1) complete the competition and 2)not take a week off during the competition, no matter what. Knowing that goal in my head gave me something tangible–and attainable!–to work towards.
- Eat good food. I would never have made it if I was eating nothing but “diet” food. In fact, I didn’t eat “diet” food by and large. I ate all my favorite foods–pizza, tacos, candy, enchiladas, chicken, sandwiches, soups, ice cream, fruit, veggies, cookies, you name it. I was able to do that by: finding substitutions/different cooking techniques (baking tortillas instead of frying, for example), eating ACTUAL serving sizes, measuring everything that went into a recipe and that went on my plate, and not letting one meal of a “less good for me” food sabotage my entire day.
- Remember it’s just food. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the numbers: the calories, the losses, and the gains. It’s when it gets into that weird headspace that dieting stops working for me–when I start obsessing is when I start to feel like “what’s the point?” because I’m hyper aware of every little number. I ran into that once during the competition when I felt utterly defeated at how *small* my losses were compared to some of my fellow competitors. I had to get my head back on straight after that–because at the end of the day, it’s just food, and it’s just a number. When I stop remembering that is when I need to reset. I never want “dieting” to take over “living” lest I stop doing one for the other.
As a note: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or psychologist. These are the things that worked for me, but you know yourself and your own issues better than me. Take these with a grain of salt and dose of YOUR perspective if you have issues that go beyond “hey, I need to lose a few pounds.”
As always, you can find more lists every Monday over at ABDPBT!