July 3, 2014 by Lauren Grider
After completing my second Whole Life Challenge, I am even more convinced that this is the right lifestyle for me. I lost 16 lbs, 7 inches, and improved my workout by 13 reps. Since January 2011, I have lost 100 lbs.
When I started out on this journey, I could hardly imagine losing 100 lbs. I mean, that’s what other people do- people in magazines, in TV interviews, with best-selling books. Sure, I knew I was capable, and I knew that losing more than 100 lbs was the only way to reach my goal, but I couldn’t actually wrap my mind around it.
How did I do it? Here are my top 10 secrets for losing 100 pounds!
1) Nutrition is key. You cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet.
I can’t believe how often I hear people say, “Oh, well, you exercise, so you can eat whatever you want!” Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.
2) Go slowly and steadily. This is a marathon, not a 40 yard dash.
Enter a common conversation I have with my Zumba students: Student complains that they are not “losing any weight.” I ask what they are trying and how long they have been trying. They reply, “three weeks…” Significant body composition change takes time, people! The scale is not really even the best measure of your progress since the number can be affected by many variables. If the scale isn’t going down, certainly take a close look at your nutrition first, but if everything looks good, just be patient. Or, measure your progress in another way- take measurements, monitor changes in clothing, think about gains you’re making in the gym. There are many ways to measure progress.
3) Put setbacks out of your mind, stand up, and move on. Don’t wallow.
You didn’t make the progress you’d like on the scale one week? You went to the beach and had quite a big time over the weekend? You had some cake at your sister’s birthday party? All of these things are part of a normal life. Just try to get over it and move on. Don’t go crazy in the gym trying to make up for it. Just fall back on your healthy habits, and don’t freak out.
4) Eat real, whole food.
Eat things you have to prepare. Cook at home. Skip packaged crap. I can’t even remember the last time I ate at a fast food restaurant. Maybe 2012? And you know what? It made me super sick. If you can’t pack your lunch, run to the grocery store instead of going to a restaurant. Pick a few “last resort” restaurants that you do feel comfortable with in case of emergencies.
5) Limit refined carbohydrates.
Take unnecessary sugar (hint: almost all of the sugar you eat is completely unnecessary) out of your diet. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is full of sugar, and not even just in items you think of as “sweets.” Pre-packaged and processed foods, sauces, dips, soups, yogurts, sports drinks, and juice all have a tremendous amount of added sugar. Excess sugar consumption is directly related to weight gain, type II diabetes, and heart disease. In studies, controlled carbohydrate diets consistently outperform other dietary plans for body composition improvements and preventing chronic disease.
6) Eat enough real, healthy fat.
This is generally when people start to feel uncomfortable. After all, isn’t dietary fat responsible for a whole host of health problems? Aren’t we supposed to avoid fat consumption at all costs? Actually, no. Eating a low fat diet (and subbing those missing calories with sugar) is directly related to weight gain, type II diabetes, and heart disease. This is especially unfortunate because low fat diets are still recommended by most of the major medical associations. Never fear! Several brave physicians are working to change all that, but it will take time.
7) Plan adequate rest days.
One of the biggest mistakes I made, especially in the beginning, was booking every available section of free time I had with a killer workout. Teach an extra Zumba class? Sure! Run another 5k? You bet! Run a 5k, teach Zumba, then go to crossfit all in one day? Bring it on! You know what happened? I ended up falling off the back of a concrete pad and breaking my ankle. An accident, sure, but I’m convinced if I hadn’t been completely exhausted, I would not have been injured. Had I been adequately rested, I might have noted how close I’d gotten to the back of the concrete pad, or had the muscle control to steady myself without falling. Though my injury was a bit of a fluke, I am so thankful that it happened! It gave me a period of forced rest during which I proved to myself that I could continue my fat loss without killing myself with activity.
8) Tune out the haters.
Coworkers, friends, family- some are amazing, but some love nothing more than to sabotage your success. I don’t understand it. I don’t know why they do it. But, this is a common theme that I run into time and again. If you’ve done the research and put in the time to change your life, don’t let one or two naysayers stop you in your tracks. Surround yourself with caring, positive people. Build a team of support and lean on them during hard times. Don’t allow others to make you second-guess yourself.
9) Weight training is essential, especially for women.
If you are limiting your caloric intake and not doing resistance training, you are sacrificing your lean muscle mass. Don’t settle for “skinny fat.” Weight-bearing exercise is important for preventing osteoporosis. It is great for building confidence and strength.
10) Take it 10 pounds at a time.
If I try to look at the big picture, I start to freak out a little, honestly. However, if I think about getting to the next 10 lb bracket, or even the next jean size, I can calm down and focus. Break the goal up into reasonable chunks so that you can keep your sanity.
Progress Photos June 2014:
Weight Lost to Date: 100 lb
Weight on Scale: 226 lb
Jean Size: 14
1. Eggs Don’t Cause Heart Disease- Sugar Does, Mark Hyman, MD.
3. Saturated fat, carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease, Kuipers RS, et al.
5. High-Carb Diet May Increase Your Risk of Dementia, Joseph Mercola, DO.
6. A Randomized Trial of Low Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity, Foster, et al.
8. The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease, Robert Wolfe.
9. Resistance Training and Intra-Abdominal Adipose Tissue in Older Men and Women, Hunter GR, et al.