Top 5 Ways to Actually Lose Weight (from somebody who actually did it)

A new year, a new goal – and most people’s goal is to lose weight. It’s tough – really tough… But with a few simple lifestyle changes and some awesome iPhone apps you actually can do it, and do it easily. Now that that goal’s complete, what are you going to do next year?

1. Join WeightWatchers. I truly think that WeightWatchers is one of the best ways to go about losing weight. I joined in 2011 and lost 25 pounds – and have kept it off ever since through the Lifetime program. It’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle change… and I’m not being paid to say this.

Join Weight Watchers

Join Weight Watchers

It’s a program that is centered around community and being accountable. Two things that a lazy hermit is not good at…. (aka me!) Also, it ends up being a challenge that is actually effective. Their WeightWatchers app that helps you track food is amazing, especially since I’m always on my iPhone anyway, so why  not track what I eat there? Through the program I learned proper portion control, what foods are and aren’t good for you (avocados were a wake up call-  8 points!!!!) and I learned that the portions I ate before WeightWatchers were INSANE! The WW recipes are amazing – I’ve given up all of my other cooking books and pretty much use just WW ideas. (Some of my favorites include the Best-Ever BLT, Texas Casserole and Cauliflower poppers) I also met a great group of men and women who were also trying to do the same thing – and that support and group motivation is essential. Save yourself a lot of frustration and get your butt to your closest WeightWatchers meeting and sign up NOW!

"If you bite it, write it" is one of my favorite WeightWatchers sayings, and it's TRUE! The only way to succeed is to track - and don't cheat! You'll only cheat yourself.

“If you bite it, write it” is one of my favorite WeightWatchers sayings, and it’s TRUE! The only way to succeed is to track – and don’t cheat! You’ll only cheat yourself.

2. Track your movements. This is a new concept for me, one that is part of my 2014 ‘get moving’ goal. In the past, I tracked it with a pedometer, but  for Christmas this year I got a Jawbone UP24 – a nifty little gadget that looks a little like a thicker Livestrong bracelet, and communicates with my phone. (I know, I another phone thing! But they WORK!)

To be honest, I'm kind of showing off in this picture, because today was the first time I made both of the goals.

To be honest, I’m kind of showing off in this picture, because today was the first time I made both of the goals.

I’ve only had it for a few days, but so far I have been keeping a close eye on my habits – and boy are they bad. Luckily, this thing points them out, and instead of not knowing or ignoring my bad habits, I can make a change!

Jawbone UP24 ($149)

Jawbone UP24 ($149)

You set certain goals, like 8 hours of sleep, or walking 10,000 steps, and it tracks how far you have progressed throughout the day. Although, it turns out that 10,000 steps is a lot of steps… for the first time today I made the goal, and that was only because I walked around the neighborhood with my photo class. For some reason I really struggled to get out and moving. I even walked around my neighborhood out of desperation to actually meet the goal! (See! It worked – it got me moving!) It also tracks your sleep, and how well you sleep. It can even – get this – vibrate and wake you up at the best time in your sleep cycle.

3. Get juicing! I can’t help it – I’m a fad addict. If I hear something on the news that’s ‘revolutionizing’ anything, I’ll try it. It feeds my shopping addiction, and my goal of being healthy. Juicing was one of those fads I decided to try… and surprise, surprise – I actually love it!

Mean Green Juice (110 calories)

Mean Green Juice (110 calories)

Juicing is great because it’s pretty experimental and there really are no rules – there are lots of recipes out there, but there isn’t one specific recipe or way to juice. It’s also really fun to fiddle around in the kitchen and see fruits and veggies get TORN TO PIECES and come out as a nummy drink. Plus, if you get the right (in season) ingredients, it’s cheap! Check out this green juice I tried a few months back and haven’t stopped making. Juicing can be tricky though – remember that you’re consuming a whole lot of sugar along with the vitamins – and not much fiber. So be careful with how much you drink!

4. Drink more water! The ultimate duh step to losing weight, but one that I struggle with DAILY! One recipe for a more exciting drink is something I learned in college when I tried the ‘Flat Belly Diet’ (p.s., Don’t try the flat belly diet). The recipe is for ‘Sassy Water‘ – and it’s delish.

From my ‘Photo a Day‘ blog challenge in 2010…………..

Sassy Water
2 liters water
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight. Drink the entire pitcher by the end of each day. 
(Eat the cucumber after emptying the pitcher. You can even use the cold pieces on your eyes to reduce puffiness.)

Sassy water will help you stay hydrated - and sassy!

Sassy water will help you stay hydrated – and sassy!

The thing with Sassy Water is that you have to drink all the water on the first day, or you’re shit out of luck. Meaning, you can’t drink half of it today and half of it tomorrow… because by the second day the cucumbers have made the water taste like death (or more like gross lawn mower clippings). The ingredients are easy to have on hand, and it’s a super easy recipe to make before bed. I usually pour a majority of the water into a water bottle and drink it throughout the day, then binge drink when I get home… Which helps two things – it stops me from being super hungry because my belly’s full of water, and keeps my hydrated! Although then I sleep way worse because I’m always getting up to pee…

5. Running can be fun! No, really… I know that sounds like bullshit, and I totally thought that (and still do sometimes) but I recently (well not recently, I learned about this in 2011 and have been doing it off and on every since) became okay with running when I downloaded the Couch to 5K app… a free app that helps you train to run a 5k. Or, really just gets you off your butt and in a pair of running shoes.

The Couch to 5K programs can get you into shape the easy way

The Couch to 5K programs can get you into shape the easy way.

I’m not going to lie… running is still not my favorite activity (or even in my top 10), but with the training app, I slowly taught my body to not loath the activity. It’s great because it starts out slow… A 5 minute walking warm up followed by jogging for 45 seconds, then walking for 90 seconds – 5 times – and then a 5 minute cool down. Sounds easy, right? It is! Eventually you work up to a 30 minute non stop run. I remember the first time I did that, I ran home to the boy was was ecstatic – I never thought I’d be able to run 30 minutes straight!

Usually when I start working out I go full steam ahead for about two days, then my body aches and I swear off the activity for the next 6 months… not with the Couch to 5k. It’s gradual training really helped me to actually succeed at a physical activity and not swear off running (like the last 10 times I tired it). There are tons of 5k apps, but my favorite is the Run 5K ($2.99). I tired a zombie version of the idea, Zombies, RUN! but ended up switching back to the Run 5K because the intervals and daily goals are more reasonable.

Now download a few of these apps and get your butt MOVING!

I’ll also fish out a before and after picture of my weight loss… Oh boy— found one!

Me with the boy in 2010 - Me with the boy in 2013, minus 25 pounds

Me with the boy in 2010 – Me with the boy in 2013, minus 25 pounds

Although this one of me doing odd things on the beach is a little more representative of my everyday activities and actions…


2 thoughts on “Top 5 Ways to Actually Lose Weight (from somebody who actually did it)

  1. Pingback: Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress | Strand Style

  2. Pingback: February Favorites | Strand Style

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