Purge the Pounds, Part 1

Eight years ago, when I was most active, I weighed 145.  Four months ago, I bought a scale and discovered that I weighed 179.  Ouch!  No wonder none of my old clothes fit anymore!  When my husband had similar grim results with the scale, we decided that things needed to change.  Immediately, we did what most people do: we bought a gym membership.

Unfortunately, this was the third gym membership we’d bought, which would make that roughly the eighth time we’d entered a gym since our first sign-up… not a good track record.  Fortunately, this particular gym membership came with a meeting with a personal trainer.  Although we haven’t exactly followed her advice to the letter, we have adjusted it to accommodate for our personal preferences, time constraints, and (let’s be honest) sometimes laziness.  Nevertheless, I am down 13 pounds so far, and my husband has lost 38 pounds.  Considering the fact that we don’t have the time to put too much effort into any crazy changes, that’s pretty good!  Let me share how it happened.

When my husband chooses a project, he goes all in.  That was the case with this whole “weight loss” thing.  He did football and powerlifting through junior high and high school, so he already knew how to exercise.  He now poured himself into research, finding success stories, figuring out what did and didn’t work for most people.  Thanks to him, this ambition of losing weight (and leaving it off) is actually happening!  One think he emphasized was that a lot of our success depends on our mindset.  He said that this is not us going on a diet, but us making a lifestyle change.  It’s nothing drastic; just small changes that end up making a big difference.  Here’s how we’re doing it.

The first thing we’ll look at is food.  In order to lose weight, we had to significantly cut down on of a lot of things we enjoyed: soda, candy, ice cream, milk, cheese… things like that.  The good news is, we didn’t have to get rid of them entirely.  We just had to be considerably more moderate in our consumption.  It was incredibly difficult at first, but it became easier after a month or two.  Here is how our diet has been looking:

Breakfast: When we started, we decided to start each day with fried eggs, turkey bacon, and half a grapefruit.  We weren’t able to maintain it… not only did it make us get up earlier than we wanted, but I also got tired of fried eggs after a couple months.  I am currently eating a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, with unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk (apparently, dropping milk from your diet will help get rid of lower belly fat).

Mid-Morning Snack: I try to eat a handful of raw, unsalted almonds and an apple between breakfast and lunch (thankfully, my conference falls right in that time).  Usually I eat this snack, but sometimes I don’t.

Lunch: Originally, we were assembling a salad every evening and bringing it for lunch every day.  That made way too many dishes and took way too much time, and our salad stuff would go bad.  Now, we buy a pre-made salad from either Walmart or HEB (we like HEB’s salads better).  They’re about $3 apiece, and if we buy them on Sunday, they last all for the whole school week.

Supper: This has been the tricky one.  Our largest expense, besides bills, has been eating out.  We would save a TON of money every month if we could just eat in for supper.  Since I have all my piano lessons in the evening after school, I never have time to cook a decent meal, which means we end up grabbing something out.

What I’ve been trying to implement is a once-a-week meal: something that is easy enough to cook between Sunday evening service and bedtime, large enough that we can eat leftovers throughout the week, and good enough that we don’t get tired of it during that time.  So far, I’ve been making shredded chicken with fire crackers, barbeque chicken, italian chicken, spaghetti, lasagna, and egg rolls (when I’m feeling ambitious).  There are plenty more that I can make that would serve this purpose, but these are mostly what I’ve made.

This system works out rather well, when I am disciplined enough to cook Sunday night.  Not all the meals are physical-trainer recommended, but we lose more weight this way than eating out!  I’ll post some of my recipes in a later post.

Random Snacks: Since I’m extremely tempted by candy and other sugary goodness, we threw all that out of the house.  This put me in a bind, since I love snacks.  What I have found to satisfy my sweet tooth is to keep some chocolate almond milk handy (certainly healthier than my favorite alternate, ice cream), and keep a small supply of granola, bananas, clementines, and apples on hand.  Usually not all of these at once, but I try to rotate.

Do you have a weight-loss success story?  Be sure to share it in the comments below!

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