16 Pounds Down: Lessons Learned

I hit the 16 pounds gone mark on Sunday! Skipping right over 15 pounds, I realized that I’m half-way to my first goal and a quarter of the way to my major goal. I have a feeling I’ll be adding a third goal after that, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself or overwhelm myself. 60 pounds is daunting enough!

So I thought this would be a good time to review what I’ve learned so far and what has been working for me. (Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional or fitness expert. This is simply what’s worked for me so far.)

  • Focusing on clean eating, with an emphasis on vegetarian dishes, leaves me feeling energized and happy. For me, this means eating mostly vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean meats while cutting down on dairy (except for Greek yogurt) and white carbs (i.e. white bread and pasta). Kale has been my go-to veggie lately. I actually crave it when I don’t eat it for a few days.
  • Snacks are important. I generally have a handful of nuts around 11:00 a.m. and an apple in the afternoon along with some tea.
  • Drinking lots of water. It’s a habit I’ve had for years and I feel gross if I don’t drink enough each day.
  • There is no reason to be hungry. If I’ve eaten all my meals and snacks for the day, but am still hungry I’ll munch on some sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, tomatoes, pickled beets, orange slices, an apple, etc. As long as it’s real food (i.e. unprocessed) and low in calories I won’t let myself worry about it.
  • Portion control is important. I don’t track my food every day, but I do log a random day every few days to make sure I’m at least close to the range I’m aiming for. My Fitness Pal is a good app for that, although I think their calorie ranges can be a little too low. If the weight continues to come off, I don’t concern myself too much with being exact.
  • Leave room for treats. If I’m really craving something, I’ll let myself have it. I usually find just a little bit of whatever it is will satisfy me and I don’t feel resentful or deprived.
  • Think of food as a source of energy and healing. I really do see food in a different way now. It’s not a reward or a punishment. It’s just what I need to function and take care of my health.
  • Exercise is really important to me. Aside from the cardiovascular and possible weight loss benefits, I see exercise as a way to really connect with my body, to appreciate everything that it can do, and to be more comfortable in my skin. It also helps me to stop thinking about a million things and just focus on the moment for a bit. Zumba is my favorite form of exercise right now, but I also look forward to long walks with my husband, and an hour on the elliptical when there aren’t any Zumba classes.

And here are some progress pics! I definitely see a difference in the side view shots. While the before shots are from July 2012, I started my weight loss efforts in January 2014 at right around the same weight, so these are fairly representative of the situation. Here’s to more successes in the months to come!

July 2012


3 Months (March '14)

3 Months (March ’14)



3 Months (March '14)

3 Months (March ’14)

Before (front)

Before (front)


2 thoughts on “16 Pounds Down: Lessons Learned

  1. You look great! Congratulations on your loss. Your face looks so slim! Glad you are doing what works for you! Nothing worse than being miserable trying to lose weight with a program that works for someone else, but not for you. I”m still (and may always be) wrapping my head around food not being a reward.

  2. Thanks! I agree, it’s important to figure out what works for you individually. Otherwise, it probably won’t last for the long haul! I think it’s okay to let food be a reward (or at least a really enjoyable moment) some times. The trick may be to make sure it doesn’t become a frequent thing.

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