Soaring with Confidence
Blogging and using Calorie Count’s tools are the major factors in Gretcho13's weight loss journey. Being aware of the calories she's taking in and then sharing them in her blog knowing that the whole world can read about it has allowed her to adjust her eating habits for the better. She has successfully lost 60 pounds!
She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?
Most people will tell you that they saw a particularly unflattering photo, or someone said something to them, and it made them finally realize it was time to make a change. Despite both of those things happening to me many times over, nothing ever really sparked a "Eureka!" moment for me. Instead, it was more like a slow build, until I finally reached my tipping point. One morning I simply woke up and decided that I was going to be going on my final diet. It's been over a year since then, and I'm still going strong!
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I think a more apt question would be what other diets HAVEN'T I tried! I considered myself a professional dieter! You name it, I've probably tried it: Atkins, South Beach, Slim Fast, the Cabbage Soup Diet... oy. The list just goes on. I haven't ever paid to join a program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig (oh, to be young and poor!), but I've tried to follow similar principles in past attempts.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
It sounds trite, but I honestly have done it the old-fashioned way. Counting calories, trying to be active, watching what I eat. In the beginning, I definitely had a strong reliance on pre-packaged foods and 100-calorie snack packs to get me through the day (and to make counting easier!) but over time I've transitioned to a diet based on the principles of whole foods and clean eating. I started a personal blog to hold myself accountable (by telling everyone I knew about it, haha) and still blog about the triumphs (and trials!) of my weight loss journey at http://honeyishrunkthegretchen.com every weekday.
I battled a lot of problems with binge and disordered eating prior to starting this final weight loss journey, so the important change for me was learning to view food different. Instead of using it as an emotional crutch, I now see food as fuel and a source of enjoyment (well, good food, that is!)
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
On Day 1 of this journey, knowing that calorie counting was going to be my method for weight loss. I wasn't willing to pay for a program that I thought I could essentially do myself (though I completely understand why others would want to!) but really needed hard numbers to keep myself on track. It was essential for me to find a website that also had a comprehensive, user-friendly app so that I would always have access to be able to look up the info I needed. The Calorie Count iPhone app made it so easy for me to track what I was eating throughout the day, so I would know how to budget if, say, I was meeting friends for dinner, or going on a date night (where, obviously, you're going to indulge a little more!)
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
My difficulties have always surrounded my desire to lose weight conflicting with indulging myself. I firmly believe that life is for living, and that you should allow yourself occasional indulgences so you are less likely to give up (like I did many, many, many times before, haha.) But I know that all of my plateaus have arisen when I loosened the meaning of the word "occasional". So I do still struggle with being able to balance the two sides of the journey.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I started seeing results immediately. It sounds completely crazy, but my first weigh-in reported a TEN pound loss! I was ecstatic, but knew that I still had a long way to go before the results started becoming truly noticeable. After about 30 pounds, I started getting compliments and comments on my weight loss, so that's how I knew it was, well, real. When you see yourself in the mirror every day, it's sometimes easy to lose perspective on the fact that you are literally becoming a shadow of your former self!
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I know that my issues with binging and feeling emotionally tied to what I eat are things that I am probably going to have to struggle with for my entire life. That being said, I honestly feel that my entire lifestyle has changed thanks to this journey. Of course I still get cravings for french fries and tiramisu, but other things that I used to have no problem eating definitely do turn me off now (Slim Jims, ick!) My weight loss journey isn't quite over yet, but I have confidence that this new approach is going to carry me into maintenance with ease.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Oh my gosh, it is just so much better. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. I was as depressed as I was obese before, and I took it out on my relationships and general satisfaction with life. Of course I still have bad days, but in general I am just, well, happy. I feel more confident and beautiful than I think I ever have, and I have developed such a passion for sharing my story and methods with others that are still living their "Before".
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I have been hovering around the same weight for the past 3 months or so (plateau!) I keep saying that my weight loss journey isn't over yet, since I would still like to lose another 20 pounds or so, but I know that this time I will make it to the finish line.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Fat won't make you fat! Incorporate portions of nuts, seeds, nut butters, fish, and avocado into your diet to help keep you full and satisfied.
- Make easy substitutions: plain nonfat greek yogurt tastes just like sour cream on a taco, scrap all your white pasta for whole wheat, and cottage cheese can replace ricotta in lasagna!
- Find exercise you enjoy: I've been forcing myself to keep running even though I, er, hate it. I need to remind myself to go back to what I enjoy doing - yoga, zumba, etc. so I don't start to resent the activity!
- EAT BREAKFAST! I was a breakfast skipper in my pre-weight loss life, and getting myself in the habit of having SOMETHING first thing in the morning has really made a big difference.
- Taste the rainbow. No, I don't mean eat Skittles, I mean that the more (naturally) colorful your plate, the better it is for you! Embrace meals that are comprised of multiple colors: red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, oranges, purple eggplant, black beans, and green, uh, greens. You know the drill!
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