Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I Lost 10.5 Pounds in 30 Days

In today's post I'd like to share with y'all how I lost 10.5 pounds in 30 days. Hopefully what I'm about to share with you will be helpful and encouraging.

On June 13th, the day I dropped of my husband at BNA (Nashville International Airport), I weighed 142.5. I weighed myself 30 days later on July 13th, and came in at 132. 

I weighed 132 in the picture that you see in the upper left hand corner of this blog.

What's my secret?

Prepare yourself. You'll want to write this down....

I exercised more, and ate healthier. Period.

 I'm sorry, I wish I had some secret easy button for you, but I don't.  I know this sounds crazy, but I've become thankful that there's not an easy button. I'll get to that later. 

Since last September of 2011(you can read this post to get an idea of what my life was like) I have slowly gained weight. I didn't exercise at all during the month of May. By the time I moved to Tennessee in early June 2012, I felt really flabby and out of shape, thus the 142.5. 

Fast forward a few weeks later and now I'm exercising six days a week, and my sweets cravings are nearly completely gone. 

So without further adieu, allow me to share 7 lessons I've learned that are essential in healthy weight loss:

1. It starts in your brain.
  • Before I moved to Tennessee I had made up my mind that I needed a lifestyle change. As you already know, a lifestyle change is more than weight loss or looking good.
  • I've also found that good role models are helpful. I have plenty of friends who are in great shape and look great in a bathing suit. As it turns out, they all eat healthy and exercise regularly. Weird I know. Also I have chosen a few famous people as healthy lifestyle examples. One example that I keep in mind is Carrie Underwood. She is very open about her vegan lifestyle, which is how I'd like to ultimately eat. And she isn't skin-n-bones jones, she is strong, which is what I'd like for myself.  Don't miss understand me, I'm not trying to be Carrie Underwood, we are all made differently, her self-discipline is what inspires.
  • The Bible says that our bodies are temples. "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with you bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 A healthy lifestyle is a way of honoring the Lord, it's a way of worshipping Him. So why not include the Lord in your exercises and what you consume? I have found that Jesus is absolutely the difference between 2.5 and 3 miles, or passing on what I know isn't good for me. Yes, I pray for strength when I run. My exercise time has become one of my most cherished times with the Lord. Seriously.
  • It's also important to trust the Lord with your life (this could be an entire blog post), because stress has a huge impact on our physiology. When we stress, we tend to eat junk, and stress depletes our energy and robs are motivation to exercises. This is all easier said than done, I know. But if I can do it,  you can do it! 
  • I choose to weigh myself only once a week at the most, and I made sure it was first thing in the morning. Remember it's not about numbers.
2. Food
  • In short, I eat less crap, and more fruits and veggies. :)
  • My weakness is sweets and "quick and easy". My grandfather would literally pour table sugar on his green salad; I'm not quite that bad. And my grandmother is the queen of the microwave; I quite possibly could be the princess. To curve this, I've become very purposeful in my grocery shopping. I just don't buy that stuff any more. I know I'm weak, so I don't even tempt myself by allowing it in my house. It's for this reason that I also choose to not even go down the "snack" isle. My sweets now come from more natural forms; like honey. The more natural the food, the better. It turns out that eating an apple is just as quick as a handful of crackers, and so much better for us. The only time I use the microwave now, is if I need to reheat something for a few seconds.
    I also consider this an essential to have around. 
    • Like I mentioned above, I try to eat vegan as much as possible. My digestive system is so much happier when I do this. I realize this kind of eating isn't for everyone, but I recommend giving it a try if you haven't done so. This is admittedly easier to do when my husband is out of town because he's a big beef/dairy guy. But I'm also blessed with a husband that will pretty much eat anything you put in front of him as long as it tastes good... the secret is to be prepared. There are tons of books and recipes out there for folks who want to give vegan a try. Keep the recipes simple at first, so you don't get discouraged. Most the stuff I eat doesn't require a recipe. For example, long grain organic brown rice with steamed vegetables (simple as that). One thing that I do continue to indulge in is ranch dressing. I know there's vegan versions for ranch dressing, I just haven't made the switch yet, it will come in time. :)
    • Also, I think it's important to mention that I'm not a food snob. If I'm at someone's home etc and they prepare a meal that has cheese on it for example, I'm not going to refuse to eat it. 
    • Alcohol is high in empty calories, so I have choose to leave that out of my diet. If you'd like to leave it in your diet, then I suggest doing so in moderation if you want to lose weight. The same goes for other high calorie consumables (ice cream, cup cakes, etc).
    • I also try not to eat for at least two hours before I sleep.
    I consider these one of my must haves. I buy the variety pack from Costco.

    3. Exercise
    • On June 13th, when I started this lifestyle change, I ran to the end of the lane I live on and back. Each day since then I've made myself go a little bit further, even if it's only 10 feet. Now I'm up to running 4 miles outside without stopping (my goal is 7 miles).
    • Here are some essentials while I exercise:
      • A good pair of running shoes
      • Music (check back next week, I hope to have a playlist for y'all). I CAN NOT exercise without music. I prefer fast paced, uplifting music. 
      • A supportive bra.

    • For the first 30 days my exercise regime was only cardio. Since then I have added weight training to my workouts, making my total workout time about an hour long.
    4. Water
    • This is something that I have struggled with. I know I need to drink 3 to 4 liters of water a day, but too often I fall far short of that goal. I do best when I have bottles of water already full in the fridge (or in the cooler if I'm traveling) ready for me to grab. You'd have to live under a rock to not know the importance of staying hydrated. :)
    5. The Great Outdoors
    • Fresh air and sunshine make me feel better. So when the weather and my schedule cooperate, I choose to exercise outdoors. I always feel better exercising outside vs. in the gym. But exercising in the gym is better than not exercising at all. I honestly can't think of a better workout than hiking or running in the mountains. 
    6. Shut Eye and Relaxing
    • My biggest struggle since moving to Tennessee has been adjusting to the Eastern Time Zone. I have not mastered a regular sleep routine as of yet, but I'm not giving up! My ideal sleep schedule would be to be asleep by 9 or 10 and up at 5 or 6.
    • I require 8 hours of sleep. My husband can get by on 5 or 6. Do what works for you and make sure you get that amount consistently. 
    • I also take a full 24 hours off from exercising (and most work) each week. I do this each week from Friday night to Saturday night (Sabbath). I've done this for almost 10 years,  and now my body is so use to that weekly break that by Friday afternoon it automatically "winds down". 
    • I've also recently discovered the blessing in unplugging once a week. During the same time that I mentioned above, I turn off my computer and my cell phone. I hope to share more about this in a different post.
    7. Moderation
    • Too much of anything can be bad. Too much food means obesity. Too much exercise means no life. Too much sleep means lazy. Too much alcohol means beer belly and alcoholism. Too much sun can cause cancer. You get the idea. Is there such a thing as too much fresh air? :) But seriously do all things in moderation.
    • It is possible to be obsessive about being healthy. Don't do that, no one will want to be around you. When you obsess over something, it becomes your idle, and God warns strongly against that (let me know if you need Bible verses to support that statement).

    I feel so much better since making these lifestyle changes, plus I can think clearer. Which means my prayer life is better and so is my ability to study. And for that I am very grateful.

    So why am I sharing all this? 

    I truly hope this encourages you if you are considering making changes in your lifestyle. Also, I could use the accountability. The lowest weight I have been in years is 129 pounds and I'm near that mark now. I don't want to stop there... I'd like to see how 125 feels... and then see how 120 feels. (By the way, I recommend using a BMI calculator to determine what is a healthy weight for your height.) So I am totally open to suggestions to conquering a weight plateau (please leave suggestions by commenting below). 

    For His glory.
    God is love,

    PS. ***I am not a health care provider. I'm just an expert on what works for me. There are no guarantees that what has worked well for me will work well for you. Pray and talk to your health care provider before making drastic changes, especially if you are on medication.***


    1. Thanks Vanessa....we make it so complicated don't we. I struggle with the same areas you do-I am not a natural exerciser or water drinker. I read Bob Harpers new book and have incorporated drinking a glass of water before a meal and one more with the meal-really helps. I'm also trying to go carb free after 2 which is when I typically want to grab that comfort carb. Oh and I have discovered that spinach makes a great pasta substitute. Layer your marinara over chopped spinach with any vegies (and a sprinkle of parmesan), and romaine lettuce leaves makes for a great taco sans the tortilla.

      I have only lost about 2 pounds (not 10 yet) but I have found that travelling is my downfall. I do well at home but in a restaurant I'm sunk. I know it is possible, I just haven't gotten that one down yet. And I have trouble drinking water and exercising while I'm away and out of a routine. So, I have work to do. And when school starts again and I develop more of a routine I think it will fall into place.

      Thanks for the info and transparency. What Jesus longs is for us to throw off our cloaks and be real with Him and with each other.

      1. I'm thankful you're not completely cutting out carbs like so many do! Thanks for the tips, I REALLY appreciate them! 2 pounds is a great start! Seriously! Don't forget that Jesus can help you with this too! He is with us at every meal and along side us when we exercise... imagining that has been huge for me, especially when I'm running!

        Slap me when I stop being transparent and helpful. And I'll do the same for you. Love you!

    2. Love that you are doing this the RIGHT way! Making changes like you have will help you keep that weight off and feel better in the long run. Congratulations!

      1. Thanks for the encouragement and for reading my blog! God bless you! <3

    3. Two years ago I decided to STOP dieting. Focus on me and really listen to what my body was saying. I lost 30 pounds in 4 months. I basically tried to fill up on veggies and fruits but still ate dinner with my family, but ate my salad first or whatever. THEN would eat a small amount of the main meal. I also increased my water intake and was walking 3-4 miles every other day. I felt better, my body was happier and the muffin top quickly faded away. I have since put a few of those pounds back on but because of a hectic summer schedule I have not been able to walk or exercise hardly at all so I am hopeful that I can get back to that soon and the weight will come back off! Thanks for all the encouraging words here!

      1. Those are some great tips too! Thanks for sharing! And thanks so much for reading my blog! Blessings to you!!!