I was so confident that I had achieved my final weight loss goal this morning that I imagined the scale was the mat situated in front of Phil Keoghan of the Amazing Race. I stepped up onto the white square appliance. The red numerals flashed up to the exact numbers I had hoped to see. I had done it. I had reached an ideal weight for my height, sex and age.
In my mind, I heard Phil’s voice:
“Jill Hedgecock, 33 pounds, 7 months, two pairs of tennis shoes, 231 miles, 215 containers of fat free Yoplait yogurt, 215 salads, 1,100 calorie entries into the LoseIt iPhone application, YOU are the winner of the Amazing Race Weight Loss Race. As the winner of this season, you are entitled to a shopping spree at the clothing and department stores of your choice and a lifetime subscription to a healthy eating style.”
The truth is I do feel like I’ve won the Amazing Race. No, I didn’t win a million dollars, but I feel like a million dollars. I didn’t even start out to lose weight. Back in March, a co-worker asked if I would participate in a company-wide program called Active for Life, designed to encourage employees to exercise. It was easy to accept her invitation, since I already exercised on a daily basis. Because I never quite got the start date from her, and working remotely, I feared my precious exercise points wouldn’t get counted for our team.
Enter the LoseIt application on my iPhone. This handy dandy free application had a feature that allowed me to keep track of my daily exercise minutes. I could log my hours and my team wouldn’t miss out on points.
Along comes my daughter, Lindsay, who insisted on setting up a weight loss goal, logging my daily calories, as well as helping me track my time spent exercising. She logged my foods for a few days, got my routine foods stored in the “My Foods” section of the LoseIt program, and from then on I was hooked.
I took a slow approach, set interim goals, and the weight just came off. The LoseIt program was so user-friendly. There were no complicated point systems. There was no need to track fats or carbs. The simple fact is that my calorie intake needed to be at, or lower than, my allotted daily calorie intake. As the weight came off, the LoseIt program assigned fewer calorie credits for exercise and less daily allowed calories. This fundamental concept allowed me to keep losing weight when other diets had failed.
If anyone is inspired to take the Amazing Weight Loss Journey, here are a few tips that helped me achieve my goal:
1). Don’t skip breakfast and don’t allow yourself to get ravenous. Small snacks can keep you on track. Fruit is amazingly filling. My “Good Deal” fruits include cantaloupe, plums and oranges.
2). Stay away from processed foods. The more raw fruits and vegetables you eat, the quicker the weight loss. Believe it or not, raw foods represent fewer calories than the same amount of cooked foods simply because you burn more calories eating and digesting raw foods.
3). Guilty pleasures: Fat Free Chocolate pudding: 80 calories and worth every one. Carmel apple suckers or Tootsie Pop suckers. Both are 60 calories and last a long time. One Diet Pepsi with lunch.
4). Surprisingly filling: Safeway’s Fiesta Chicken soup. A cup is only 100 calories, add a piece of fruit and 6 saltines or 5 reduced fat Ritz crackers and you’ve got a wholesome and surprisingly filling lunch.
5). Don’t deny yourself and don’t eliminate whole food groups. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, but in small quantities. I did not prepare a low calorie dinner that was different that what I served my family, though I often didn’t have enough calorie budget to indulge in a roll or a slice of bread. For the most part, I found it wasn’t what I ate as much as the portions I ate that made the difference. When I ate Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, I split it with someone. (Really, it’s plenty big- you don’t need a whole one). I also gave myself permission to indulge my food cravings. If I went away for the weekend, I’d make smart choices, but I’d give the LoseIt Program and myself a vacation.
6). Drink fluids. I drink about 12 oz. of green tea with my breakfast, and a full glass of water with dinner. Sometimes to ease my hunger, I would drink a 12 oz glass of water mixed with a packet of citrus BeneFiber. It taste like tang, is filling, and provides soluble fiber in your diet.
7). As far as exercise, I walked once or twice a day and I did sit-ups before bed. That’s about it. Studies have shown if you walk in the morning, you burn more calories. I’ve always walked my dogs in the a.m. so they won’t pester me while I work. Toward the end of my weight loss journey, or when I was in a rush and couldn’t do my full walk, I’d do short (and I do mean short) sprint intervals during my walks.