Diet Preparation: My 10 Pound Weight Loss Challenge
My Rollercoaster Ride
Overall, I am a healthy woman. I have always been relatively thin, although my unhealthy eating while in my 20s led to some weight gain during some of the most stressful years of my life. I was 31 years old when I reformed my eating habits, and I have maintained a reasonable weight for several years.
Last Autumn I moved to Boston, leaving behind my active job that made it easy to keep the extra weight off. In only 4 months, I gained around 15 pounds. Stress and lack of activity could have easily caused me to gain more, but I got back on my feet and lost 5 pounds. A little bit of success is pretty motivating! On that note, I have 10 more pounds to lose. I invite you to join me on this undertaking.
This is the time of the year when we don't usually have to wear layers, and these are the times when our weight gain is especially noticeable. In Boston I am particularly aware of my figure, because I am surrounded by an astounding number of woman who are fit and trim. I see them walking in town fashionably dressed, at the beach, and in their form-hugging outfits as they jog up the street. They are everywhere, and I am reminded that I am not quite at my ideal weight. I am fortunate to not be obese, but it is also sometimes not as motivating to get off of my butt to work out. I know from past experience that once I get started, it gets much easier to keep going.
Diet Preparation Tips
- Get checked out by your doctor, if necessary
- Ease into exercise, if you are a beginner or have been sedentary for a while
- Start reducing your intake of caffeine, salt, sugar, alcohol, or whatever it is you are trying to cut down on during your diet or lifestyle change
- If desired, buy a diet and exercise log, and a journal to keep track of your diet and your thoughts and feelings
- Track your diet for one week. This will allow you to see any negative or positive patterns you have, enabling you to make and maintain healthy habits
- Think about what it is you want to accomplish during this diet. Do you just want to lose weight, or do you want to lose inches? Do you want to gain muscle tone? Do you want to gain energy, reduce your cellulite, or detox? Being specific will help you stay focused
- Find or put together a diet, or else just basic guidelines to help you stick to your goals
- If desired, build a music playlist for working out or walking. My MP3 player is a useful and fun part of exercising for me
- Think about any "tools" you may want during this time, and obtain them if you can. This may include a blender to whip up smoothies, workout video or weights, or maybe some workout clothes or a comfortable exercise mat. It varies from person to person, and many times we can get away without buying anything. Just work with what you have, and the environment around you
My Own Stats
- Medium build
- 5'10" (70 inches tall)
- 147 pounds
- BMI: 21
- Body Fat, 21-32%
- Weigh yourself
- Take down your measurements
- Figure out your BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Measure your body fat
- Take into account what size your body frame is
- Take photos of yourself before the diet, if you want a visual reminder
The range of the ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) is between 18.5 and 25. Anything less than 18.5 is usually associated with a lack of lean body mass, and may increase your risk of osteoporosis. Anything more than 25 increases your risk for cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
I like to use a chart like the one below to keep track of my stats. I usually weigh myself once a week, and I measure myself once every 1-3 weeks.
Sample Measurements Chart
Shape Up America provides an array of useful tools
These are a few examples of what you can find on the site to the right:
- Nutrition Center: shows menu plans at different calorie levels
- Supplemental Guide: Supplements that are promoted for fitness
- Shape Up and Drop 10: Solid information and guidance to lose weight in 10 steps
- Body Fat Lab: Information about your body fat, and the role it plays in your overall health. I especially like the Body Fat and Health Risk Calculator. You enter in basic information, and it shows you your BMI, your approximate body fat percentage (if you don't already know it), and what your health risk level is, based on your body fat and waist circumference
- Chef's Select Cookbook: A variety of healthy recipes, several added to it every month
- Meal Upgrade: Choose one of 24 meals that are frequently served in American households, and they provide several options for making it healthier. After choosing one or a few of the options, the "before and after" calorie and fat amounts are shown. It's interesting to see how a few small changes can make a big difference
- Support Center: Includes the Information Center, Motivation Center, Maintenance Center (for maintaining your current weight), and Feedback
- Tools: If the above sections were not enough, this one provides many other tools that are useful for obtaining or maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Family Activity Calculator, 10,000 Steps, Physical Activity Calculator, Resting Metabolic Rate Calculator, Food and Activity Diary, and Portion Control Tutorial
I really enjoy this website, since it is interactive, and provides a lot of useful information. It is an American site, but many from out of this country could find it useful, as well.
The American Heart Society website below is another great site for finding useful information on a basic, no-frills diet.
- Welcome to the No-Fad Diet
The American Heart Association provides tips and recipes for a simple diet
What diet plan do you prefer?
When I Get Ready For a Diet
- I think about my weaknesses, and how I can turn them into strengths
- I think about what has worked for me in the past
- I decide on exercises that will strengthen my body, help me lose weight, and think of some fun activities in between to avoid boredom
- I look through my resources (books, magazines, and websites, including HubPages) for recipes that are healthy and flavorful
- I write up a grocery list full of healthy foods (and a "treat" here and there), and shop for my healthy diet
- I find ways to motivate and engage me during the diet, and to reward me once I attain my goals
JamiJay has many healthy snack recipes, including this:
- Oven Roasted Chickpea Recipe
Homemade oven roasted chickpeas is a fantastic, filling, and delicious snack that everyone can enjoy.
Food Group Recommendations
Mekenzie has a great selection of delicious weight loss smoothie recipes
- Weight Loss Smoothies
Recipe's for delicious and refreshing weight loss shakes, smoothies and slushies. Whether you need to lose weight or just need a simple meal replacement, a smoothie is the way to go. Blend these tasty treats in seconds.
These Are My Own Basic Guidelines
- Drink lots of water
- Drink 2 cups of green tea per day
- Cut down on coffee (I drink a lot)
- Consume a high amount of protein and veggies, as well as healthy fats, and fruit at times. For the next 2 months or so I am reducing my intake of pasta and potatoes
- Limit or omit sugary beverages and beer (I don't drink soda, so this guideline isn't hard)
- Eat often, but in smaller portions
- Practice portion control
- When I eat out, be careful what I choose, and take some of my meal home (I pretty much do this, anyway)
- Don't snack mindlessly (this is one of my biggest flaws)
- Sit down and enjoy my food. It's not good to stand and eat!
My Diet Plan
The diet I am going on is in part based on Abby Campbell's book, "One Size Does Not Fit All". It is the best meal planning book I have ever read, and is personalized, based on your weight and activity level on any given day. She provides many illuminating facts about obesity stats, influences in society, and on the pillars of nutrition. She explains nutrient timing, and how to build a healthy plate. Her meal blueprints are incredibly useful, and her diet plan never leaves you hungry or lethargic. Best of all, there's no calorie counting! I like to count calories every so often, to make sure I am staying on track, but it is unnecessary while on this diet. She put a lot of research into this book, and is well qualified. She also writes many illuminating articles on health and fitness topics here on HubPages. If you would like to know more about Abby Campbell or her book, check out her website or her page here on HubPages:
Many times I like to kick start my diet by going on some sort of a detox diet for 1-3 days. I usually cut out caffeine, salt, sugar and alcohol during the time, and consume plenty of liquids and vegetables. But even when I don't do that, I try to eat and drink things that are very good for the liver and kidneys, and cleanse the body.
Lean Secrets has so many great videos on exercise, recipe and health topics. This one is an informative video explaining several cleansing and detoxifying foods
My Exercise Plan
- Every day I work (2-3 days per week) I automatically walk 30 minutes
- In addition, walk on the Harbor Walk (going along the beach) 2 times per week, 30 minutes each time. If I work more days than usual, cut this down to once per week, if desired
Workout in Apartment:
- Once a week, exercise my abs and legs in the comfort of home
- Once a week, workout my arms with my dumbbells
- Cardio once a week: The gym room in my building has striders, treadmills and a stationary bike. I will aim for 30-45 minutes
- Using the weights in the gym room, workout my arms once a week
- I will walk up the stairs in my building every other day, or about 3 times per week. Since I live on the 15th floor, it is a big workout. Yesterday I did this, and I think I counted two flights of 10 stairs between every floor. We have no 13th floor (superstition is funny), so that translates to about 260 stairs.
Once a week, give myself permission to leave out one of these, so I have about 2 days to relax. I don't want to overdo it, or give myself more than I want to handle!
Total exercise tasks, not including the automatic walks for work: 9, or 8 after leaving one out.
This is the beach I will be walking along more oftenClick thumbnail to view full-size
- To lose 10 pounds in about 7 weeks (by the end of July 27th)
- To get some of my muscle tone in my abs back
- To look better in my Summer shorts, little tops, and my bathing suit
- To energize myself
Secondary goal: (in case I aimed too high, or life gets in the way)
- To lose 10 pounds in about 10 weeks (by the end of August 17th)
Ideal: (If I turn out to be highly motivated, or Superwoman)
- To lose 12 pounds in 10 weeks (by the end of August 17th)
Articles About Dieting and Detoxing By Fellow Writers
- How Create, Organize, and Maintain a Healthy Diet Plan
Make a healthy dieting plan that works for you. Tips and free website resources for making your own healthy diet.
- Ten Tips for Losing Weight Dining Out
You can go to almost any restaurant and find suitable choices for your healthy eating style and also low calorie selections. Don't let your diet sabotage a good time.
- Three Easy Ways to Use Lemons In Your Diet
Lemons can be difficult for some people to get used to! However, they are incredibly beneficial for your body! Read on for the 3 ways that I use lemons in my own diet.
- Lemon Water: Diet Drink or A Detox Plan. Losing weight the easy way!
Lemon Water, the benefits are numerous. Diet Drink and a Detox drink, the plan is simple and easy. Lose weight and detox your body at the same time. Try it out....
Plans, and Progress Report ~ Week 2
June 16-22, 2013
The start of the week wasn't so good. We went to a cookout at Andy's parent's house on Sunday (for Father's Day), and they always have a large variety of tasty food. I wasn't good with self-control, and had a little of everything. Which is a lot. A large plate of food after nibbling on crackers and chutney. Dessert was a slice of cake AND an ice cream sandwich! I'll have to be very mindful next time.
On the bright side, Monday has been great! I got two of my exercise tasks done in one day, and I had small portions of healthy foods, lots of water, green tea, and slightly less coffee than usual.
6/22/13 It is the end f the week now. This morning I clocked in at 145.8 lbs. It has been fluctuating for the past 2 weeks, so even though I didn't lose any weight, I have maintained it. On the other hand, I have worked out and walked quite a bit this week, and can feel my body toning up. I haven't taken measurements of my body yet. I will do that next week. But judging by how I look, I'm doing okay.
This next week should be easier, because yesterday we stocked up on groceries. Now that I have lots of fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, and protein, I can eat the way I want to.
As far as exercising, I have done 6 out of 8 tasks. That is an improvement over last week!
I also tried out a quick and easy healthy snack recipe that Jami published (and dedicated to me). I will be using this as one of my snacks to keep cravings at bay, and give me energy. Check out the link below for the recipe:
Progress Report~ Week One:
My "pre-diet" went pretty well. I got a head start on starting my exercises, and eating well.
The first official week of my diet was June 9-15th. The few weeks before, my weight had been fluctuating between 145.5-147, so I wrote 147 in stats. At the beginning of the official diet, I was at 145.8, technically. End of week: 145.8 = maintained
My eating habits were pretty good. I had water, and at least one of the two desired cups of green tea. I did NOT cut down on coffee, as desired. But most of the time I was good at practicing portion control, and sitting down to eat. I couldn't have as much protein as desired, and had more carbs than I planned, but only because we are low on food. Once we replenish our supply, I will be able to maintain my diet the way I would like. I didn't have any beer or sugary beverages, although I did have one Diet Coke (extremely rare, because I don't care for soda) when we went out to eat on Saturday night. When we ordered food that night, I didn't overdo it, and only had a few bites of Andy's order of fries.
As far as exercising, I was good for about half of the week. It was actually my writing that got in the way of getting off of my butt those last few days! Out of my 8 desired tasks (above and beyond the 30 minutes of automatic walking on my 3 work days), I completed 4. So I didn't do so good, but it was better than a usual week. I walked up the stairs twice, and went on 30-45 minute walks outside twice.
Progress Report ~ Week 3
June 23-29, 2013
I have done okay this week. I still didn't exercise quite as much as I would like, since our gym room was unavailable for most of the week, and it has been raining a lot outside. But I certainly wasn't lazy. I have eaten well all week, and I have been careful with portion sizes, and about mindless snacking. I have made some delicious and healthy snacks to keep me from eating too much.
I have had some green smoothies on a few occasions, although I have moved my "detox plans" to next week.
I went from about 145.8 to 145. It's not a huge difference, but it is movement in the right direction! But even more important are the results of my measurements. I did not actually measure myself at the beginning of my diet, but since the last time I did (May 15th, when I weighed about what I do now), I have lost about 1/2 inch around my belly, 3/4 inch from each thigh, and a full inch on each arm! I consider that 4 inches, overall. I consider that a pretty good victory! My body is definitely gaining good muscle tone, which makes me happy.
JamiJay's Two Ingredient Healthy Cookies
- Two Ingredient Healthy Cookies
Are you trying to live a healthy lifestyle? Do those pesky sugar filled cookie treats taunt you? Now you can give a little and bake these easy, two ingredient, banana oatmeal cookies at home!
Plans For Next Week
I have decided that I will go on some type of a healthy detox diet for one or two days next week - nothing drastic. Abby Campbell has been very helpful, and given me suggestions for when I do that. If you look in the comment section, you will see her recipe for a good detox drink, containing almond milk, greens, and fruits. I look forward to making it, now that I have all of the ingredients needed!
Progress Report ~ Week 4
June 30-July 6th
At this moment, it is July 4th, and I have 2 1/2 days left of the week. So far I am doing fantastic! I am below 145 (possibly below 144, depending on how accurate my scale is), my body is getting pretty toned, and my eating and exercise habits have been ideal this week!
Early in the week I had a couple of lower calorie days, with mostly smoothies and veggies. I felt fantastic after that!
I have gotten in the habit of taking my multivitamin, as well as my fish oil pills. Speaking of that, I will provide a link to Abby Campbell's article on the healthy supplement.
- How to Choose Between Types and Brands of Fish Oil Supplements
Are you looking for a fish oil supplement but don't know where to begin? Know the benefits of fish oil, how to look for fish oil quality, the types of fish oil, as well as the best fish oil brands.
July 7, 2013
I am one day late on my update. My weight has remained the same as the 4th of July. I have done pretty good, with just one splurge meal (homemade pizza), and 1 beer as a reward.
As far as exercising, even though I did great the first half of the week, the second half I didn't accomplish anything of note. I did go up the stairs an extra time, but that's about it.
On the positive note, I have started the first day of week #5 very well. I walked for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, even despite the heat. Hawaiian Odysseus (of HubPages) was my motivation! Check out his latest article on walking.
HawaiianOddysseus' latest article on walking
- There Be Giants in Hilo!
From the majestic statue of Kamehameha the Great to the fluidity of tall coconut trees in the balmy tradewinds to the enormous spread of gigantic banyan trees, the giants of Hilo are alive and well.
July 14, 2013
This past week went pretty well! I have another weight-loss buddy, Karen Hellier, and I am trying a version of the "Fast Diet" she is on. It's not a true fast, only reducing calories two times per week.
This week I exercised quite a bit, and I lost about 1 pound. I look forward to seeing how good I can do now.
Whoever has gone on any type of diet or exercise and fitness routine, I hope you are doing well. Feel free to update how you are doing!
The Fast Diet
- Another Day, Another Diet: The Fast Diet
After many attempts to diet over the years, the author attempts The Fast Diet as a way to lose weight without losing interest!
Inspired By HawaiianOdyyseus' Walking Hubs, Here Is Mine:
- Walking Along South Boston's Harborwalk To Castle Island
Come with me as I stroll along the Harborwalk in South Boston, ending up on Castle Island. With photos and thoughts, I hope to show you my experience
July 22, 2013
This time I am a couple of days late In giving the update. As far as weight is concerned, I am unsure what I weigh. My scale had been inconsistent. I get on it and it says one thing. I get back on it again, and it says I am several pounds heavier. I doubt that I have gained weight in the past week, because I have exercised quite a bit, and I have watched what I eat. It is a little discouraging to not know how much I weigh, but 1) I look fine 2) I have not gained inches and 3) I feel good. At this point, those are good bench markers on my progress. Furthermore, I am noticeably more toned. In June, I was concerned with my arms being a little flabby, as well as my thighs. They are tighter now, and the first few weeks of the challenge I lost inches. I have also gained some tone in my abs.
An Extra Mid-week Update:
My scale seems to be working okay now (or else my weight fluctuated, and it is back to normal), so I am actually just under the 143.6 I reported on 7/13/13.
My main reason for this update is to add a link to an article by Rajan Jolly that I found very useful for dieters, as well as those living a healthy lifestyle. It is about "resistant starches", which not only explains what they are and how they are beneficial, but provides a wonderful list of healthy foods. Here is the link:
- Facts About Carbohydrates - Resistant Starch - The Natural Fat Burner - Its Health Benefits - Superf
Resistant starch is a natural fat burner and superfoods are rich in this nutrient, thus offering a healthy way to lose weight. Learn about some superfoods for weight loss...
July 27th Update
I didn't accomplish my primary goal of losing 10 pounds by today, but I have made a lot of progress. I weighed myself this morning, and I have lost 2.4 pounds this past week! Yesterday was a low-calorie day, so some of it may just be water weight. But that is okay. Even if it fluctuates a bit, that is pretty good for one week!
My secondary goal was to lose 10 pounds by August 17th, which is 3 weeks away. I have lost just over 5 1/2 pounds so far, so that would mean I have about 4 1/2 more pounds to lose. But if I don't accomplish that, I would be very happy with weighing 139-140 pounds.
This week I have done a decent amount of exercise, and I have done very well with my eating. It has been the best week so far, when it comes to sticking to my "diet" and exercise plan.
August 3rd Update:
As far as my diet, I did well. I didn't exercise much, though, because I have had a lot going on. But I lost 0.8 lb. this week, and that isn't bad. I don't have much more to lose, so I don't expect to lose the rest really fast.
It is August 4th now, and I wanted to add another link. This protein smoothie is great as a post-workout drink, or as a meal replacement. I look forward to trying it this next week!
Protein Shake Recipe by Vespawoolf
- Best Homemade Protein Shake Recipe
Learn how to make healthy homemade protein shakes, popular with muscle-building athletes and dieters looking for meal replacement. Also included: a chart of common proteins to vary your smoothies.
August 6, 2013
Today I read another great fitness article, and also found a useful tidbit of information in the comment section. The article is by Karen Hellier, and it is on using a pedometer for fitness and weight loss. The useful comment was by HawaiianOdysseus, mentioning a cool app called iRunner, which maps out his route via GPS. I just installed it on my smartphone, and look forward to checking it out. Here are the links:
- The Perks of Pedometer Walking
A pedometer is good for one's health and a challenging and fun way to stay in shape.
- irunner free - Android Apps on Google Play
Get the Best Running App for Free: • Free Tracking of Runs, Walks, Bike Rides & More • GPS Maps & Records Time in Workout, Distance, Speed, Splits, Laps and more
August 12, 2013 Update:
Last week I did very well. I lost 2 pounds. Over the past several weeks, I have lost a total of over 5 inches from my thighs, arms and hip. I have slimmed down, and am only 1 1/2 pounds away from my target weight. Even if I don't get down to 147, I am happy. I am where I want to be.
This past weekend I ate more than usual, so I won't be surprised if I gain back one of those pounds.
I hope everyone else is doing well. Have a great week!
Final Results, End of Diet:
Over the past 10 weeks or so:
- Lost 8.4 pounds = 138.6 lbs final weight
- I lost approximately 1 1/2 inches from my waist, 1 1/2 inches from my hips, 1 inch from each thigh, and 1 inch from each arm. Total: Lost about 7 inches total
- My body is more toned and strong
- I have more endurance
- I regularly exercise now. Walking upstairs has become easy, I enjoy the walks along the beach, and the gym is my playground!
- I have regulated my eating, so that I am eating healthier most of the time, but also allow treats for myself. I watch my portions, save some for later if I start to get full, and I have reduced the amount of mindless snacking I do. This has set me up for good maintenance habits.
- B.M.I. 20
- Body Fat, 21-32% (I don't have an accurate way of measuring, so I'm unsure exactly what it is, and it has remained in the same broad range as before)
I am 1.6 pounds away from my original target weight, but looking at myself, I don't need to lose any more weight. At this point, I will work on maintaining my weight, and increasing my muscle mass. Result: VICTORY! Even though I lost under 9 pounds in this time period, I actually lost 15 pounds total this year, after gaining that much last September through this past January.
For anyone else who has gone through a diet, I hope you did well. If you are going on one soon, good luck!
Results From 10 Weeks
145.8 (-1.2 lb)
145 (-.8 lb)
144.6 (-.4 lb)
143.6 (-1 lb)
138.6 (-2 lbs)
Inches +/- overall
- 4 inches, approx *
Same as last time: maintained
- 5 1/2 inches
I weighed myself on Tuesday, August 27, 10 days after the diet's completion, and I clocked in at 137 pounds! I wasn't trying to lose anymore, so it was a surprise. I lost 1.6 pounds in 10 days. Although it wasn't completely necessary, I feel good that following the diet I haven't gained weight. I have established good eating and exercise habits over the past few months, which has helped a lot.
Has This Been Useful?
I hope that I have provided you with some helpful information and resources. I find it pretty motivating to write down my goals, and this is one big step up from that. This has been a great way for me to lose weight, and I hope it helps others, as well!
Credit To homesteadbound
All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs
To learn more about the author, or read more of her works, click on http://kathrynstratford.hubpages.com