Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My not-so-secret Secret to Weight Loss.

I posted this on my Facebook page earlier this month and decided to post it here as well for additional reference, since I've gathered some new readers recently:


So for the past several months, people have been asking me how I've been losing weight. Well, to be honest, a) I can't cover everything I've done in a casual conversation in-passing, and b) as blunt as it may sound, I'm one dedicated motherfucker.

To start, I follow the Weight Watchers plan. I used to have an online subscription for about a year, but then canceled it when I figured out I can make my own spreadsheet to track points, use The Daily Plate as a free way to track my food in detail and make use of various free WW-related resources online (i.e., point and activity calculators, recipes, etc.). Keep in mind that I went out of my way to track food like this simply because of money issues. If you can afford a WW membership, by all means, buy one! If I had more disposable income these days, I would have kept it, but desperate times call for crafty methods.

I also blog about food and exercise everyday. See The Stretch Jean Incident. Older posts can be found on my old LiveJournal-based blog, That's Not Flab.

I wear a pretty snazzy heart rate monitor to accurately track how many calories I burn when I workout.

I have a gym membership at Accolade Fitness (only $20/month, no contract), as well as various workout DVDs at home. These include all 3 recent releases from Jillian Michaels, some Tae-Bo, and a few Biggest Loser DVDs. At my heaviest weight, I started out with the first volume of the Biggest Loser workout, mixed it up with some Tae-Bo and did walking/jogging/elliptical intervals at the gym.

Once I became more fit, I started taking on Jillian Michaels, full-out running and then incline training (if you've never heard of that, NordicTrack has info on their version of the torture device. My gym has a similar model, but I hope to buy the NordicTrack one someday).

As for equipment at home, I have a stationary bike, resistance bands, hand weights, a yoga mat and a jump rope.

I work out six days a week (four of which I get up at 5am and exercise before work) and track every damn bite of food that goes in my mouth. I do indulge from time to time, but I plan it in advance. And before I go out to eat at a restaurant (pretty rare these days), I always check for a menu online and nutritional information, if available.

We cook at home the majority of the time, so I've found that it's essential to have proper measuring spoons/cups AND a digital food scale. I can't stress the importance of a food scale enough, people. I quickly found that most pre-packaged chicken breasts are sometimes 2-3 servings per piece! Insane. I leave a few measuring cups/spoons in a certain spot in the kitchen so they're easy to find. Seriously, I measure and weigh food several times a day, everyday.

In between all of that, I also read a ton of fitness/health-related articles every week. I have a subscription to Fitness Magazine, but also read online content from Women's Health, Fit Sugar, That's Fit and most recently, Answer Fitness, just to name a few. More links on my blog page.

Lastly, supplements... I take a children's chewable multi-vitamin because the adult ones make me puke, even if taken with food. I also take a calcium supplement, a vitamin D supplement, a fish oil capsule and glucosamine (keeps my joints pain-free between runs).

Is my daily routine insane, neurotic and basically OCD? Yeah, pretty much. But losing weight is about breaking old bad habits and learning new good ones. All the steps involved in preparing/tracking food and working out don't even phase me anymore because they've gone from being special tasks to normal habits that have become ingrained in my daily routine. Just like brushing my teeth.

And, if it sounds like a lot of resources, it is. But keep in mind I've been going at this for 2.5 years already. I didn't wake up one morning and buy all sorts of equipment at once. I just invested in things as I learned more about what would help me reach my goal safely and effectively.

So that's the majority of it, in a nutshell. My aforementioned blog is the ideal place to go for details on exactly what I eat each day and what I do to sweat my ass off. It's pretty mundane after a while, but I wouldn't have made it this far without it.

As for where I'm at with my goal, well, that's been in a state of flux lately. My original goal was to lose 90 pounds. Then I thought, "Oh hell, just go for an even hundred!" Well, I've found that a 100 pound loss just isn't in the cards for me. After crossing the 80 pound mark, the rate of my weight-loss fell off a fucking cliff and I've been struggling ever since. So, I decided going back to my original goal of 90 pounds would probably be the best option. I'm about 5 pounds away from that mark, but I'm pretty sure it's going to take me at least another month or so to get there. In the meantime, you'll find me trying to turn my body into a machine by day and dreaming of cupcakes and wings by night. And for the record, when I do hit goal, I'm totally buying myself a gourmet cupcake. No, you're not supposed to reward yourself with food when hitting a weight-loss milestone, but I need to remember what it feels like to feed my soul with cream-cheese frosting.


Joanna said...

Your before-and-after pics are really inspiring..... You look great, but more importantly it sounds like you're really healthy.

Keep it up, and thanks for posting this!

Tamara said...

Thank you! And thanks for reading.

Mari said...

WOW chica our stories are so similar!!!!! you should be so proud of yourself...

I loved this "I'm one dedicated motherfucker" AMEN SISTA!!!!!!

Tamara said...


Thanks, hon! YOUR story inspired me as well and your blog has been motivating me all week. So glad I found it!