Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Lose 100 Pounds - Nosh Edition

Guess what you don't do a lot of when you are
250 pounds?  Exercise take full body shot pictures.
In every picture I look back on I am either hiding
behind something/someone, or it is a head shot.

Facebook Status:  People frequently ask me how I lost so much weight.  And while the basic principles of "eat less, move more" reign supreme, my secret trick is that every so often I weigh myself and decide that it's okay to have a cupcake for breakfast.  And today was a delicious morning.

So, I used to be 100 pounds heavier.  When people learn that I usually get a lot of questions.  The most frequent is ... HOW DID YOU LOSE IT?  I don't claim to be an expert at weight loss.  I've failed more than I've succeeded through the years.   But this time it worked.  And it keeps working.  The quick stats:

BEFORE:  31 years old, three kids, 5'3", 253 pounds.  (All time non-pregnancy high.)(Pregnancy high, because you're dying to know?  267.)  

Say hello to my little

This was my sister's wedding.  I was really proud of myself because I'd lost
40 pounds for her big day.  210 pounds.

I'd either just gotten married or was about to.  Circa 2000-2001.
At Hosanna's birthday party in 2008.  I was excited to fit in a juniors extra-large t-shirt.

AFTER: 33 years old, four kids, 5'3.5" (because sometimes when you work out your back gets stronger and your posture improves and you might get a little taller - whaaa?), 148 pounds

Also, fun fact = Because all the pictures of me are winners, here is an especially awesome one of me the day I did the practice triathlon.  It was taken earlier in the day when I was still sick in bed with the flu.  Note the rockin' mom pony with elastic headband.  You better work.

Vacation run with my sis - of course my arm is raised in a victory cheer - it's a vacation run.
Okay, two things.  Yes, I am hiding behind a child again.  But also, it's  a super cute child and he is covered in cake.  So yeah, perfect weight loss picture.
December 2012 - 150 pounds, size 10 dress for Fancy Date with Lauren
I'm going to attempt to do this entire post without using the words "transformation" or "journey".  If I do this you each owe me four new followers dollars.

So, how did I lose 100 pounds?  First I had to learn basic math.  (Thank you, Elementary School.) The science behind weight loss is surprisingly simple when it's stripped down.  I decided to look at weight loss as budgeting.

Louis Vuitton Lockit MM Handbag.
Retail price:  $3650.00
Let's pretend you wanted to buy this Louis Vuitton handbag.  It retails for $3650.00.  If you are anything like me you would need to do some serious saving in order to purchase this bag, because, in the Land of Budgeting, there are no credit cards.  Or personal loans. You have two choices - save the money you are already earning, and/or go make more money and apply it to your Must Have Louis Vuitton fund.

So first, you figure out how much money it takes for you to live.  House, car, food, etc.  Then you figure out the difference between what you earn and what you need.  If you can save $500 a month you can have this purse in (approximately) 7 months.  If you want it before then, sister's gonna have to get an extra job so she can bank more cash.  With me so far?

You do the same with weight loss.  Say you want to lose 20 pounds.  If you can save 500 calories a day you can lose 1 pound a week, reaching your goal in about 5 months. But if you want to reach your goal sooner than that you need to hit up the gym and burn more calories to add to your Must Get Skinny Healthy fund.

That's the idea in theory.  I mean, you could always go and steal a Louis Vuitton handbag, wind up in prison, and eat baloney for the rest of your life.  Or, I suppose you could buy a rip-off L.V., but that's a little like this:

From far away you might fool me, but up close ... c'mon now.

So if you want the real deal - the $3650 Louis Vuitton, the decrease in twenty pounds that shows even when you are naked - how do you budget in real life?  What are the nuts and bolts of application?

A Girl's Gotta Eat

First, go to this calorie calculator and figure out your calorie budget.  Be honest.  (When I renewed my driver's license this June, I saw that the last time I had to report my weight I told a 75 pound lie.)(That's pretty ballsy.)(Or delusional.)(You pick.)  I use the 7 day calorie cycle (zig-zag) for regular old fat loss for two reasons.  1.  I can stick with that range forever.  With the extreme fat loss I can do about a week before I cheat. 2.  Zig-zagging my calories means that I don't plateau (just randomly stop losing weight) as much and I can look forward to a relatively "big" day once a week.  My big day is Tuesday, and I really really love Tuesdays.

Next, buy a calorie counter/download an app/search the internet for the calorie counts of everything you eat, and write them down.  This doesn't have to be all fancy and Pinterest-y;  I've used leftover McDonald's napkins before.  Oh, the delicious irony.  In the beginning I measured or weighed everything.  Now I can eyeball pretty accurately and save measuring for when my weight begins to creep up.  (And it does; how I love you, International Delight Iced Coffee, at 150 calories a cup.)

Finally, stay within your budget.  All the time.

It really is as simple as that.  If you are faithful, you will lose weight.  You don't need special food or crazy methods of eating.  I eat out (big surprise if you are a regular reader, hmmm?) and have never bothered with the specialty diets (i.e. macro nutrients, clean food, low-carb, low-fat, etc.)  The main reason I don't do them is I would never stick to them.  I can't eat low-carb forever so I don't eat low-carb in order to lose weight.  Once I've lost weight I want to keep it off.  And I won't keep it off if I go off my crazy low-carb (or whatever diet, no hate for low-carbers out there) and eat how I was eating before.  Because how I was eating before made me weigh 250 pounds.

A quick warning:  It is easy to get seduced by a "less is more" mentality.  The one that says "If 1600 calories a day helped me lose one pound this week, imagine what 1000 calories a day could do!"  Do you want to know what 1000 calories a day will do to you?  Make you miserable.  And about four days in, 1000 calories will make you binge.  You will eat 3000 calories in one sitting, erasing any deficit you built up and providing a healthy dose of guilt with a side of failure.  Take the extra calories up front; this is a plan for the rest of your life we are talking about here.

I have always chosen foods I love in order to stay within my calorie budget.  I'm not a big salad girl, I hate cottage cheese, and I really have to be in the mood for yogurt.  But I did start to notice (after obsessively responsibly tracking every bite) that certain foods made it easier for me to stay faithful. There were foods that kept me fuller longer, foods that took care of cravings for minimal calories, and foods that, conversely, royally messed me up.  (I'm not pointing any fingers, but um, yeah, any kind of bulk chocolate in the house, I'm talking to you.)

Now I know my body better and can make appropriate, informed food choices.  I've noticed that cereal doesn't really keep me filled up in the morning.  When I eat it I'm usually jonesing for more food mid-morning.  Breakfast is either toast with peanut butter and banana or cold oatmeal with whatever add-ins I'm in the mood for.  I also start every day with a huge splurge - my beloved Iced Coffee.

Lunch has always been a challenge.  I stay at home with the kiddos and we homeschool, so lunch just seems to sneak up and surprise me everyday. (Like, "What the heck, Lunch?  Didn't we just do this yesterday?) Leftovers are popular around here.  Or sandwiches.  I also probably eat one or two frozen diet meals a week for lunch, but I only eat ones I enjoy the taste of, because I will not shove crappy tasting food in my mouth to lose weight.

As for dinners, I eat whatever I am making for the family.  If we are having pizza, we are all having pizza. I just have to be mindful of my calorie intake.  Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready pizza has about 280 calories a slice.  I can choose to eat two pieces and write down 560 calories for dinner.  But that's all the food I'm getting, so I have to really want that pizza.  (And who doesn't want pizza?)(This has to be the best weight loss post ever.)

So, what's left?  Oh yeah, snacks.  I'm not gonna lie.  I eat snacks whenever I can "afford" them. This might be because I'm a perpetually hungry person, or because I just think eating is fun. (The advice just gets better and better, am I right?)  Since I'm a "quantity" and not a "quality" person when it comes to food, I like things that I can eat a lot of.  Popcorn, grape tomatoes, strawberries, greek yogurt because it takes forever to eat (because I have a process)(because I'm weird), nuts, chocolate covered raisins (see how I sneaked that in?  Like a boss.) ... really, anything is fair game if I can afford it.

To summarize:  How do you lose weight?  Consistently eat less than you do now.

Tomorrow I will post on the other side of my weight loss, in which I had to learn what it was like to sweat like a dude.

If you have any questions, please comment or email me:

P.S. FULL DISCLOSURE:  I wrote this entire post eating a Snicker's candy bar.  It was 280 calories of deliciousness, and took approximately 29 minutes of running to burn off.  It was worth every mile.


  1. This is great Kelly...and you ran a marathon too, wow! Your determination and honesty are admirable. Thanks for sharing about this and for your blog in general, I crack up every time I read it (that's a compliment)!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! That triathlon was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but totally worth it. Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you crack up :)

    2. If you dedicate yourself over the next 21-days and follow The 3 Week Diet as outlined, you will be walking around with 12 to 23 pounds of body fat gone from your waist, hips, thighs, belly and butt. Your clothes will be looser, you’ll look healthier and more attractive…and you’ll have more energy than you’ve ever had in a long, long time.

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  2. Great, informative, and as always, FUNNY post. :) Looking forward to the next one. LOL at the McDonald's napkin irony, btw.

    1. Thanks, Steph! McDonald's napkins are also useful for wiping the sweat off your face after outdoor Bootcamp ;-)

  3. Awesome post!! As I am finally learning how to live with a monetary budget, this really helped to put eating into a similar perspective. I don't LIKE having to budget money but it needs to happen for a variety of reasons. I won't LIKE having to budget eating. But... I also don't LIKE looking how I do! So, thank you, Kelly!!

    1. I heard someone say once, "Choose your hard." It's HARD to be fat, it's HARD to lose weight, it's HARD to maintain. So I frequently ask myself "which HARD do I want to be living?"

  4. Your blog is awesome! I grew up with Brian and found it through his page. Thanks for the humor and inspiration. Quick question... Did you have to adjust your calorie calculator for nursing after you had your baby? I checked out the calculator but am still nursing my 7-month-old. Just want to make sure I get enough to give him what he needs! Thanks!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you like the blog, thank you for reading. So, about the nursing. I didn't nurse Ezra for more than a few days, but here are my two cents. Nursing burns about 20 calories per ounce you make, so it really depends on how much you are nursing when factoring in calorie count. I would get your calorie count based on your weight, age, and activity level, and then add the calories you are using to feed sweet baby. If this seems like too much work, eat no less than 1500 calories (per La Leche League) and around 1800 would be adequate. I hope that helps!

    2. Thanks so much! That helps a bunch! :)


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