I've seen so many posts on here asking how others have successfully lost weight.  So far, I've lost 89 lbs without pills, supplements, shakes, or cutting out food groups.  Here is what has worked for me:

  • Eating clean.  Absolutely #1.  Please see my other journal post on eating clean here.  Diet is 80% of the battle, and without eating clean, I could not have lost this weight.  Eating clean also fuels my exercise- when I eat unhealthy foods then try to exercise, I have a very hard time.  Now that my body is used to healthy foods, when I DO eat unhealthy foods, I feel it.  I feel like my insides are lubricated with fat, and I feel dehydrated and lethargic.  I hate feeling that way, and it definitely deters me from doing it again anytime soon.  That's not to say that I am perfect and I NEVER eat anything unhealthy, but rarely is a fast food burger worth the way I feel afterward.  There's a big difference between a bite of unhealthy food and gorging on 3000 calories' worth.  I do have a bite of chocolate here and a cupcake there, but they are rare treats, and usually for special occasions, and I don't keep them in the house.  If they are in the house, they are MUCH more likely to be consumed!
  • Running.  I started running 17 lbs into my journey, in September 2010, and since then I have lost (so far) another 72 lbs.  I could barely make it down the block when I started.  I had been doing some walking, but I knew that stepping up the pace would make a big difference.  I started out doing a 1.75 mile loop around my neighborhood, and I would run a block, walk a block, alternating along the route.  Then I stepped it up to running two, walking one.  Then running three, walking one, and eventually, I thought, "Maybe I can run further".  I ran about 3/4 of my route, and it felt AMAZING!!  I couldn't believe I did it!  I remember the first time I ran that whole loop, I was SO proud of myself.  Then I started adding 10% every couple of weeks, going further and further.  I was still walking part of the route, but that's fine- I was still doing it.  Then I signed up for a 5K that was in February 2011.  It gave me a goal to shoot for with a timeline.  So I kept upping my distance, and I ran/walked almost 3 miles a week before the 5K, which was a big step for me.  I knew I wouldn't be able to run the whole thing in time for the race, and I was okay with that.  I did my 5K in 39:47, and my goal was under 40 minutes so I was very happy with that.  I was SO sore after that!  Next, I signed up for a 10K in May 2011.  It pushed me to keep running, even though we were going through a remodel and a move at that time (as well as finals, as I was in school at the time).  I wanted to finish in under 1:30. and I did it in 1:17:11!  I managed to run (no walking!) from the 5 mile marker to the finish, which was huge for me.  Then I signed up for a half marathon (20K) in August 2011.  That was really big for me- a bucket list item.  It REALLY pushed me to further my running.  During my training, I suffered a stress fracture in my leg, which was very difficult for me to nurse.  I had to find other ways of exercising so I didn't lose my momentum or my fitness level.  I got back on my bike, which is something that I did more in the past.  It wasn't quite the same, but I could feel how much my running was helping my cycling.  I did some little runs with my leg wrapped up to try to test out my leg, and eventually was able to get back to running the full distances I needed to continue my training.  I managed to get myself ready, and ran the half in 2:51:32.  I also decided to sign up for a duathlon (run bike run), which was 3 weeks later.  I am now getting into triathlon, as I also enjoy swimming, and am fairly good at it.  So far with my running, the longest distance I have run without walking is 7 miles, and I am also training for a marathon.  Having race goals and signing up for races gives me goals that help keep me eating right and exercising without focusing on the weight, and the weight comes off by default.  As the weight drops, I keep getting faster and stronger, so it's even more motivating in that way.
  • Strength training.  Without building lean muscle mass, my metabolism wouldn't be as high as it is.  Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, thus burns more calories than fat.  I do strength training at least twice a week.  I don't have a gym membership, so I have to do this at home.  I would MUCH prefer to be doing this in the gym, but it's not an option for me right now, and I'm making do. 
  • Drinking primarily water.  I carry a Camelbak bottle with me through my day, and I aim for about 4 bottles per day (the bottle is 25 ounces)
  • Hitting rock bottom.  For me, there were a few steps.  First, I had a physical, where my blood pressure was 138/88, and my weight was 269 lbs.  I was floored by both.  Two months later (April 2010), I went skiing with my brother, which I had been SOO excited about, and by the third run, I had to take off my skis for the day.  I was ready to vomit.  I was beyond angry with myself and my body, enough so that I decided then and there that it was time to make some changes.  I was already reading Clean Eating magazine, and I had started applying the principles to how I ate, but I got much more serious about it, watching my portions and eating small frequent meals.  The weight started coming off pretty quickly.
  • Writing out my motivations.  At first, this involved things like getting my blood pressure back to normal, having less pain, and keeping up with my son.  Now it includes things like run a 10 minute mile, run a marathon, fit into a single-digit size, things like that.  This evolves as my journey continues, and I encourage anyone to write these out periodically to keep themselves motivated.
  • Sharing my story and helping others.  It's motivating to watch others succeed, and to feel like I'm helping people.  I hope it helps people to know that someone has been where they are, and has succeeded in losing a significant amount of weight in a healthy way.

My journey is still in progress, and it's been about 2 years as of now, but 89 lbs later, I am grateful to see the scale going down, and I certainly feel better than I did 2 years ago.

Edit 4/17/12-

On March 10, I fell on a trail run, splitting my knee open and tearing my patellar tendon, which has set me back big time.  I haven't been able to run since then, and I don't know when I'll be able to run again.  DH found a Groupon for a gym membership for 2 months right around that time, so I've been back in the gym since the end of March.  I've found that the elliptical is about the only thing I can do to get my heart rate up without hurting my knee.  Swimming and the bike both hurt, so I have to stay away from them for now.  I've been doing a lot of lifting, which I have actually really missed.  My body is changing rapidly with the weight, and I've decided to continue a gym membership (at another, less expensive gym) once this Groupon membership is over with.  I took some before pics when I started back at the gym, and I look forward to taking pics again once the Groupon is done.  I wanted to get a sense of how much change will happen in that time.  So far, the scale hasn't gone down (in fact, it went up 3 lbs, but as of today I'm back down to 180), but I would imagine soon it will.

Edit 5/30/12-

I hit the 100 lb mark today!  I celebrated by going for an EPIC run (finally healed well enough to do some running again) at Crissy Field.  I created a post with pics.  It was really amazing, and a great way to remember today.

The strength training for two months was really awesome.  I noticed so many changes, and I really want to get a gym membership somewhere else now, until school starts (where I will have free access to a gym there).  I will be having DH take pics tomorrow.

Edit 8/2/12-

I officially hit my initial goal today!  The number in my head when I started this journey was 160, and sure enough, that's what the scale said this morning.  Hitting this goal is... weird.  Plain weird.  It's one of those things where you never ACTUALLY think it'll happen, but sure enough, it's here!  26 lbs left to my ultimate goal, but I'm not as stressed about that part.  I wanted to hit 160 before I started my nursing program, which starts in 20 days.  I'm curious how my journey will progress once school starts.  I don't plan to change much about what I've been doing, but I'll have to be even more flexible about my workouts.  I am VERY much looking forward to the gym access, though my arms are already looking pretty toned just from runnng, and I've been getting a lot of comments (compliments!) on my arms now.  I spent today celebrating by wearing a strappy dress I bought yesterday at work (for insanely cheap), though I was just at my mom's doing work for her all day.  I definitely feel like I still have more to lose, but I'm really happy to be at this weight, and it just blows my mind that I'm now getting close to the 150s, that I am ALMOST in single digit sizes (I actually have a second-hand pair of jeans in a size 6 that fit comfortably, but I'm a 10 in everything else).  Reality is still sinking in; of course, the fat girl inside never goes away.  Still weird to grab a medium on a clothes rack and it fits.

Edit 2/26/13-

Well, I'm about 1/3 of the way through my nursing program, which I knew would impact my weight loss.  I have gained back a couple of pounds, but that happened fairly quickly, and I've maintained for a good 5 months or so thus far.  I'm still running or doing something about 5 days a week.  I get up at 4AM some days (like before clinicals) to get in a 30 minute run.  It's definitely been a lesson in flexibility!  I run or go to the gym on-campus (a treat!!) around my lecture schedule (Mon, Tues, Wed lecture right now), and I run or bike from home on the other days.  I pack my food EVERYWHERE, including to Starbucks to study (then I order an unsweetened black iced tea and get free refills with my registered card!  Woo hoo!).  Packing my food has made a HUGE difference.  My stress is extremely high, and I'm sure that's been a big factor in how my weight has been.  Running certainly helps.  I really miss being able to get in nice long runs regularly, but I'm dealing with it.  I am still trying to race when I can (did a half earlier this month- with a cold).  I'm definitely NOT getting enough sleep.  I'm running out of things I can sacrifice!  LOL  My house looks like crap, but being healthy and doing well in school while getting in at least SOME family time are the things that matter to me right now.  Everything else is falling by the wayside.  But those are the things that will matter later- if I can't be healthy now, I'll pay for it later.  Husbands need attention, or they leave.  Kids need attention, or they get screwed up.  And school needs attention, otherwise, I'll fail or not get into my master's program, at least.  Houses can be cleaned later.  Like when I can afford a cleaning lady.  =)

Edit 7/8/13-

By the end of the first year of the nursing program, I was up about 15 lbs.  Fortunately, almost every single one is gone now, and I hope to be 150 by the end of the summer (and reach my goal by my birthday in March).  I am currently training for my first marathon (August 25), and doing my first Tough Mudder this Saturday!  I've really been focusing on my eating with school out.  I've been using MFP every day, and have really been trying to watch my macros (carbs, protein and fat).  I'm sticking to a 40/30/30 ratio, which seems to be working for me really well.  Again, I'm not perfect with this stuff, but I'm getting there.  I'm enjoying having more time with summer here.  I'm actually finding I don't have any desire to set foot in the gym, even though I have access!  I only want it for the shower!  LOL  I PREFER my workouts, even my weight training, outside the gym.  I bought a 25 lb kettlebell, and have been using it like mad.  I also got a tire from my FIL's friend, and it's a big heavy beast and I love it!  I do SO much with it!  I've been trying to work on pull ups and the monkey bars for Tough Mudder, and my arms are getting very lean.  I'm actually starting to see ABS.  Whaaaaat?  Overall, life is great right now; I'm savoring it before school starts again next week.  I'm down to 158 right now (the scale said 157 yesterday, but I'm calling it a fluke after my long run).  I've also decided that my ultimate goal is soft, and I literally have NO idea where I plan to end up.  I had planned to get to 134, but I think that will be too thin (even at 5'4"- I'm quite muscular).  We'll see!

Edit 4/30/14

Well, I did get down to 153 by the end of last summer, which was awesome!  I also completed my first marathon and my first Tough Mudder (did my second earlier this month, and have two more planned!).

This year, I did regain some of that weight, of course, as I let school once again impact my eating and running.  I've lost 6 of the 20 or so pounds I'd gained by Christmas (got back to 174, now 168), and as I am graduating May 9, I am back on track and slowly losing again.  I'm having minor surgery after graduation, which will keep me from running for at least two weeks, so my food will be 100% of my focus (which is good, because that's my biggest challenge).

Still unsure of my ultimate goal for the reasons stated above.  I've decided that it's just going to be whatever feels good when I get there.  I still want to get into ultradistance trail running and Iron-distance triathlons, which will, undoubtedly, impact my weight.  Right now, the only races on my calendar are the two Tough Mudders, but I'm looking at others.  The NCLEX (nursing licensure exam) is my biggest life focus for the moment, so once that's been tackled and I've begun working, as I have a job offer, then I can start looking at races again.

My runs have been shorter, because of time, but I am finding I'm getting faster.  My average road pace is about 10 minute miles, even with the hills around here, and 12 minute miles on the trails at Annadel.  I'm trying to do more speed work to keep improving my pace.  I'm also working on my endurance, as that took a hit with my preceptorship and everything else this semester.

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Mar. 22, 2012 at 5:15 AM Great journal! I really like reading stuff like this, people doing what it takes to reach their goals. really giving the nitty gritty of what it takes. I think I will try & find some old issues of clean eating. Never heard of that magazine. I read a tiny little blurb about how losing weight can help w/ speed in running. not sure how accurate it was, but it said something like if you lose two pounds you could expect your mile pace to improve by so many seconds. Anyway I would like to lose 5-6 lbs. Mostly for vanity, but if it could help w/ speed that'd be good too. I know I need to make diet changes. I use my running as an excuse to eat things I shouldn't or eat to large a portion of bad stuff. Running makes me very hungry though & I need to make better choices. I also like the write it down motivation tip. I forget how much this can help. Thank you for writing out your thoughts, this is a great story. Don't understand why so few views.

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Mar. 29, 2012 at 5:44 AM

I almost cried reading this. Your journey is AMAZING!!! How inspiring!!! I don't even know if I have words to describe how awesome this is!!!!! :) 

Congratulations! That's about all I can say. That and I am soooooooo glad I came across this!

Keep up the excellent work!  


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Jun. 2, 2012 at 7:39 PM

How many days a week are you running and what time of thday do you run?


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Jun. 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Great inspiration!  Thank you so much.  I am enjoying reading your posts and your journey.  I, too, am a self made runner and love the challenge.  I want to ask you if you could share a little bit about your 2x per wk strength training at home.  I don't have a gym either and don't know where to start.  Is there a particular program you follow or DVD you would recommend?  Thank you!  I wish you the best!


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Jun. 2, 2012 at 9:50 PM I think you are just a rock star in your journey! Congratulations. M

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Jun. 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM Great, you look great n are prolly 100% healthier, motivated. Want to drop 45 pounds.

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Jun. 4, 2012 at 9:31 AM

This is amazing.. thanks so much for sharing.  Keep up the excellent work - you look wonderful and happy and healthy!

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Sep. 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM Wow, that is truly amazing!

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Nov. 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Wow...I got goosebumps! Seriously, you are so awesome and motivating. Now I want to try running! lol...I don't think I am quite ready yet, I need a little more conditioning. I have only exercised about 5 times since starting to try losing weight, but by spring time I should be ready to roll! You are very inspirational! Good luck in everything you do!

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Dec. 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM Wow Suz! Thanks for sharing this with me!!

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