There are about a million different weight loss “methods” out there: Paleo, Low-carb, Low-fat, Clean Eating, pills, shakes, miracles, etc. There are services to deliver perfectly portioned food right to your house. There’s calorie counting, point counting, cabbage soup, grapefruits, some weirdo spicy honey lemon drink that Beyonce supposedly swears by. There are juice cleanses and colon cleanses. Some folks follow a ketogenic diet for no medical reason other than to lose weight. High protein, low glycemic index, and whatever Oprah is pimping these days.
With the bajllion choices out there, how can you pick the right one for you?
In the past, I’ve used Weight Watchers with moderate success. That means I lost about 15 pounds but it went back on pretty quickly. Eight years ago I used a program called “eDiets” which is now just a home delivery service. When I used it it was a program that planned out specific meals and snacks each day. This was handy because it also had a grocery shopping list! So my meals were planned AND my grocery list was made!
I ended up losing 40 pounds using that program and never once exercised. I gained 10 pounds back pretty quickly, but kept the rest off until I got married and it was all downhill from there.
I was newly pregnant with the boy for our first anniversary, and was 30 pounds heavier than on my wedding day. Then I gained A LOT of pregnancy weight, which didn’t fall off. Three years later I was pregnant again, but this time I breastfed and the weight really did fall off. But as soon as I stopped nursing, BAM! Weight gain city. By the time April of this year came around, I was the heaviest non-pregnancy weight I’d ever been.
I spent a lot of time researching different diets. I had a few rules I wanted to follow:
- I would not choose a diet that made me give up sweets and snacks. I knew I had to eat less of them, but I was not going to pick a diet that would backfire the second I ate a cookie.
- I didn’t want to pay for anything. I set my goals fairly low in an attempt to be realistic. I didn’t want to be a month into the diet only to find it wasn’t working and be out that money.
- It had to be easy to follow.
After all that, I realized that My Fitness Pal was probably my best bet. It’s a calorie counting program, but you can completely customize it. You can make it reflect a low-fat, low-carb, high-protein whatever. They have free apps for Apple and Android (the iPad app is my favorite platform, but the Android and computer platforms are great, too). Their food database is gigantic and it’s easy to add my own recipes. It even tracks calories burned by working out. Oh, and it’s completely free.
As of today, I’ve lost 39 pounds since April 1st. There is no secret miracle that got me here. No crash diets or cleanses. No pills. No shakes. No money out of my pocket. I didn’t even have to give up cookies and ice cream. Just good old fashioned diet and exercise. Which sucks because “diet and exercise” is a LOT of work. I’ve been at it for almost seven months now and still have more work to get to my Ultimate Dream Wonderful Happy Smile Time Goal (which is a mere 7.6 pounds away).
And of course, the more weight I lose, the better I feel while running. I no longer have knee pain that would have debilitated me in the past. My hip pain has vastly decreased (I imagine the reason I still have some is due to my scoliosis). My hope is that once I reach Ultimate Dream Wonderful Happy Smile Time Goal I can be a more efficient runner.
So if you’re looking for the secret to my success? I hate to tell you, it’s no secret. It’s a lot of work. It’s early hours at the gym. It’s eating only five chicken wings when I want to eat 20. It’s making smarter snack choices. It’s eating a real breakfast. It’s staying out of the drive-thru.
Oh, and if you’re on My Fitness Pal, look me up and follow me! My user name is Sticky41284.
Please consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program or exercise program. I’m not a professional. I don’t even play one on TV.