Sunday, April 24, 2011

How I Lost my First Twenty Pounds

Eight weeks, two cooking contests, and twenty pounds ago, I decided to, once and for all, lose the baby weight I've been carrying since the birth of my son *ahem* nineteen years ago.

Given that the elastic insert in my maternity jeans had been stretched beyond recognition after 19 years of faithful service, and my baby was now a grown man and living on his own in Vancouver, it occurred to me it was probably time.

So here I am. Twenty pounds lighter and a hundred times happier. Able to watch myself in videos without cringing, touch my toes, and slide into a pair of jeans I've been saving for years but had no real faith I would ever be wearing again.

Better still, I can run.

You know, when I was in my 20's I had this strange notion that I had to be a "success" before I hit 30. It was this weird benchmark age that, for whatever reason, I believed harkened the beginning of the end - like if you didn't do it by 30, you never would.

But then I had my birthday and the world kept turning.

However, it occurred to me recently that I had been living a similar mind set.

I was heading into middle age, overweight and out of breath, believing there was nothing I could do about it.

Though I was once an athlete and a runner, I thought those days were far behind me, with no hope that I would ever run again.

In short, I had talked myself into believing this vision of myself as a happy go lucky, butter loving, Mrs. Clause like entity - and what a surprise it's been to learn I have always had the ability to escape the cookie factory!

I have the power to become whatever version of myself I choose to be.

Yesterday I ran for 45 minutes.

Today I will run again.

The journey isn't over - it has, rather, only just begun.

That said, I thought I would share some insights and ideas that have made these last eight weeks not only bearable but enjoyable - tips that, I believe, have encouraged my weight loss so far...

1. Track your food. I am using the Weight Watchers points plus plan and can't say enough about it as being sensible and easy to follow. I keep track of everything I eat and drink on a daily basis and find this has been a great way to keep things in balance.

2. Exercise everyday. It doesn't have to be an all out cardio fest 7 days a week but plan to do something active every single day.

3. Eat less. I know, no kidding. But what I mean is be aware of portion size. That was one of the key reasons I put on so much weight - I was eating portions that were too big. I have also learned to subscribe to the 20 minute rule. 20 minutes after eating a smaller portion I am always full. You don't always feel "full" in the moment - I eat now to feel satisfied. Full comes later.

4. Take the time to prepare your own food, including snacks, to take to work and make sure absolutely everything you eat is fresh and delicious. The key to success is in not feeling deprived in any way and the better prepared your food is, the easier it will be to stay on track.

5. Eat your evening meal a little later. If you have a healthy snack around 3:00 pm and can hold off until 7:00 pm for dinner - a meal later in the evening will keep you from wanting to snack later.

6. Go to bed by 10 pm. This keeps the late night munchies at bay because you will be sleeping right through them. You will also feel more rested and energetic in the morning!

7. Try taking apple cider vinegar - I use pure cider purchased from the health food store with something called "Mother" in it - not only has cider vinegar been scientifically proven to lower glycemic levels, it is good for lowering blood pressure.

8. Pick one day of the week to give yourself license. This doesn't mean going crazy. But if you have one day a week that is a little more lax (mine is Saturday) it gives you a psychological boost - remember, nothing will work for the long haul if you feel deprived - it also works to re-charge your metabolism each week.

Because the Weight Watchers program has you tracking your exercise, I use some of those points on my "lax" day - and to be honest, I've actually never used up all my points during a week.

Yesterday I enjoyed a steak, some dark chocolate, and a peanut butter cookie. Today I'm back on the straight and narrow :-)

9. Study light cooking techniques and try new recipes. I find Cooking Light magazine, Weight Watchers magazine, and other similar publications to be excellent sources of inspiration and information.

Remember, Philadelphia Cream Cheese products are also an excellent way to add flavour and creaminess to recipes without all the fat and calories!

10. Finally, enter a contest where you have to post live videos of yourself and announce that you are doing this to lose weight ;) The scrutiny of the masses has an amazing way of keeping a dieter on track!!

And that's the blog!

To everyone who has been emailing - it means so much to know others are being inspired by my journey and I can't wait to write about my next twenty pounds!!!

Be well everyone...


  1. That's awesome Lyndsay! You must be so proud of yourself! Keep up the great work!!!

  2. HOORAY!!! I find that we no longer can "diet" but change how we eat forever. This isn't going to change, we must exercise, eat better and enjoy life! so, how much cider vinegar a day do you recommend? ;-)

  3. Lyndsay I am so happy for you! It is great that you feel so good and you can help encourage others that they can do it too! I am still pulling for you and you have some great advice there! I totally believe in keeping active and portion size...or portion control!

    Remember...just because you cook light doesn't mean you have to give up flavor!

  4. Thanks Cindy :-)

    Mel, I've been taking a teaspoon in water before meals. It's definitely an aquired taste!

    Thanks Lyndsey - and I so agree with you!

  5. Wow, good going. I lost 18 pounds last summer, gained back 3 over the winter, and want to lose those 3 and another 10. It is a journey.

  6. I think the thing I struggle with the most is finding the motivation to do a little exercise every day. If I push myself (and I rarely do) I can do crunches and lift weights. But I do it until I don't want to anymore, which will end up being only one day and then forgetting or deciding not to do it.

    What I need is a weight loss buddy. I need to have someone I can push who can push me right back. I'm terrible at doing anything alone.

    I really miss my big sister.

  7. Great job Lyndsay! And thanks for all of the tips. Props to you for having the guts to document your journey like this, and keep up the great work!

  8. Congrats Lyndsay! Good for you!!!
    Thanks also for sharing those tips. I've found that #s 3, 5 and 8 work really well for me, especially having the "free day" once a week so I don't feel deprived.
    I'm really enjoying following your journey. Keep up the great work!