How I lost 30 pounds (and counting!)

Confession: I am lazy. There’s nothing I like more than curling up in my easy chair and staring at my laptop for hours on end. Well, nothing except eating. I also really love eating.

Beginning to see how I became overweight? Yeah…

After a while, I decided the whole “being sedentary 95% of my life” thing just was not working out. Now, I’ve been on weight loss kicks before (some of you long-time blog followers will remember), and I usually stick with it a few weeks before going back to my old ways.

But—surprisingly—not this time.

What changed? Well, I’m not sure. Maybe the fact that I was losing weight and feeling better. Maybe the fact that I got a new job was kicking me into “new me” mode. Really, I don’t know. But months after starting to pay more attention to my weight loss, here I am—still at it.

Now, 30 pounds since mid-August is not a huge amount of weight. But slow and steady really does win the race, because losing at this slower pace allows me to eat more and not spend hours at the gym.

A comparison of what I looked like when I started  my journey and what I looked like after losing 21 pounds.

A comparison of what I looked like when I started my journey and what I looked like after losing 20 pounds.

So… how did I do it?

Yup. You guessed it—diet and exercise.

I know, I know. But honestly, counting my calories through MyFitnessPal.com and their phone app, and going to the gym 30-35 minutes 3-6 times a week is really the key to my weight loss. As you can see, the amount of time I spend at the gym depends on my week and how busy I am. Recently, my guinea pig got sick and I spent all of my free time playing nurse. During that time, I only went to the gym on the weekends, but I made sure to stick to my calorie goal so I would still lose weight.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of working out. Unfortunately I don’t experience that euphoria some people do when they exercise, and we’ve already gone over the fact that I like lounging, so for me, going to the gym has to be a part of my routine. After work, I drive straight to the gym. On weekends, I go with a friend. If I can’t make it to the gym 6 days, I don’t beat myself up, but I also make sure I don’t go too high over my calorie goal. Which brings me to another work-out motivator: when I work out, I can eat back the calories I burned, which means MORE FOOD. Seriously, some dinners I’ve had huge amounts of delicious food simply because I had the calories.

So, what do I eat?

Anything, to be honest. I do try to pick healthier, more nutritious options when I can, but I still eat takeout and convenience foods because they’re yummy and I like them. You only live once, as the kids say.

On Sundays when I’m not too busy or too tired, I like to meal prep. Sometimes I’ll prep two different dishes so I can have one for my lunches for the week and one for my dinners. Other times, I’ll just prep my lunches. For meal prepping, you can really make anything you know you won’t mind eating all week. I usually go with casseroles that can be divided into 6-8 servings so I can freeze the leftovers to use another week. I also like to bake chicken breasts and pair them with a side of some sort. If you think you’ll get sick of eating the same thing all week, try to make a couple different meals. For example, you can make one casserole and then make something else in the crock pot. Or simply make chicken with a couple different sauces and side options. It will all cook at the same time and temperature, but having BBQ chicken one day and lemon garlic the next will help you feel like you’re not eating the same thing every day.

On Sundays when I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll often heat up a family sized frozen meal like eggplant parmesan or veggie lasagna and divvy it up for the week. It’s not the healthiest option, but as long as it fits into the calorie goal MFP gives me, I’m fine.

So, what are my go-to foods?

  •  Snyder’s Eat Smart Naturals Garden Veggie Sticks: These things are SO good. They’re savory and salty without being high in sodium. The best part? You can eat 2 cups of these for only 140 calories. Yum!
  • Pumpkin seeds: I love to eat pumpkins seeds for a snack because ¼ cup is only 130 calories with 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, which makes them really filling. Since ¼ of a cup works out to be quite a bit of seeds, I can eat a few when I feel hungry and save the rest for later.
  • Spinach or kale: When I want to bulk up a dish of pasta or a casserole, I like to add in spinach or kale because it’s low in calories, high in nutrients, and helps fill me up. You can also add them to smoothies to add nutrients. Don’t worry! Your smoothie won’t taste like spinach or kale! Try this for a tasty and satisfying low-calorie lunch: 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup cheese tortellini, ¼ cup light Alfredo sauce.
  • Hot chocolate: When I’m craving something sweet, I like to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate. I’ve always found my hot chocolate to have a richer taste when made with water, which works out nicely for weight loss. You can find several varieties of hot chocolate that are less than 100 calories when made with water. And, yes, this includes the kind with marshmallows. Heck yes!

And that’s pretty much all I do to lose weight. Some people find that rewards help keep them motivated. Choose some items you’d really like and tell yourself you can buy them when you hit a certain amount of weight lost. For example: Tell yourself you can get a new bottle of nail polish when you lose 5 pounds, a new purse when you lose 15 pounds, or whatever you think will help motivate you.

What helps keep you motivated in your weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey? Let me know in the comments!

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