"We are living a public life on a global stage, the ones who can express themselves best, will be heard." -Laura Hill, Author The Great Story World Mix-Up, co-creator #whatisschool

Read the books I write with my children.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How I lost 30 lbs in 13 weeks

How I lost 30 lbs in 13 weeks
by Laura Hill

The "before" picture was taken last summer in NYC, I weighed 180 lbs.
The "after picture I took today at 151lbs, I have 20 more to go!

I am posting this for a friend who wants to shed pounds and live a healthier life.  Please share!

This past summer I decided to get in shape.  It wasn't for any specific occasion except that I had put on weight after having children and I wasn't feeling like myself anymore.  When I was pregnant I had gotten  up to a whopping 180lbs and though I had initially lost the weight I found myself creeping back up.

I have been on diets before and they all work for a short time.  The problem always seemed that the diets never really echoed how I eat in real life, which is moderate to good all day with my difficult periods at night where I find myself exhausted, overreached or stressed out from my day and now sitting down with a bag of chips or a candy bar.  

The other reason I was gaining weight was for the last three or four years I'd been writing almost exclusively, which can be a very sedentary job as you could imagine.  I would spend 6 hours a day at the keyboard then spend the evenings driving my children to dance, helping with homework, but never really taking the time to take care of myself.  It's no wonder that I gained so much weight!

So this summer, after a rough 6 months of surgeries for skin cancer I decided to lose 50 lbs, I was determined!

The first thing I did was cruise the Internet looking for diet ideas and I stumbled upon this one simple concept that became the basis for my entire plan:

To lose one pound of fat you have to burn 3500 calories.

This might not seem earth shattering to you but to me it was because knowing that 3500 calories =1 lb of fat meant that I could create a diet formula that would burn the amount of pounds I desired each week.

So let's stop for a moment and think about what fat really is.  Everybody is born with an unchanging body shape.  When we take in more calories than we burn it is stored as fat.  The fat is stored in cells that stretch to make room for more fat so when we lose weight we are really just decreasing the fat content of each cell.

When we gain weight we don't burn the calories, or energy we take in so foods that turn to sugar quickly like breads, sweet vegetables, fruits and snacks are huge players in gaining weight.  Even if I snacked on fruit all day since I was sitting at my keyboard not burning any sugar off I was still gaining weight!  The sugar also led to the growth of harmful yeast in my intestines causing bloat, heartburn and indigestion.

So this is what I did.  

Using the formula 3500 calories= 1 pound I determined what I would need to eat and what I would need to burn to lose several pounds each week.

I eat something like this every morning for breakfast, today it's a
two egg omelet with sauteed mushrooms and kale, took 10 minutes to make.

My diet
For me eating lean meats like chicken and fish, egg whites and nuts was an easy choice.  What was important was that they were MY choice, foods I like.  In the template at the end of this post you can put in the foods you like and the calories associated with them.  Mine looked something like this:

My Lean Protein List 
17 cal one egg white
35 cal 1oz chicken
35 cal 1/2 can tuna
20 cal 1oz (1/16 c) crab
40 cal 1 oz (2-3) shrimp 
27 cal 1 oz lobster 
1(1/2 lb) lobster=4 oz meat
70 cal 1oz (1/8c)ground chuck beef
40 cal per 7 almonds 

Then I added to my list what I call "no-cal" vegetables-the kind with no sugar or starch, again choosing food I liked and knew I could eat for a while.

My "No-Cal" Veggie List 
Green or string beans
Brussel sprouts 

Lastly, since I knew I'd be cutting out most sugar, carbs and processed foods I chose a few snacks to add to my list that would be very satisfying and allow me to eat a lot.  

My snack list
150 cal per 21 mini pretzels 
150 cal per 2 cups popcorn
Coffee with milk and 1tsp sugar

This is what worked for me, the list you make will include foods that you like.

I have to note that this is the point at which many people asking me how I lost the weight immediately say I could never do that.  And of course they never can because they've already decided they don't want to put in the effort a change like this will take. Remember, you are choosing foods that fit your lifestyle, you are in control that's why it will work, you can do this.

About 10 weeks into the diet I needed a new belt, this had been the only one that fit.
My daughter suggested putting in new holes instead so I could track my progress

My exercise program
So now that I had my food list in check I needed to decide how I would burn calories.  This was kind of a no-brainer as I was already hiking in the woods everyday, that took care of aerobics and leg toning.  I had taken up drumming again which is a great way to get a total body workout especially for the arms and core. Finally, since I love doing crunches I added that to the list to shape my gut, which was my biggest problem spot.  

Now, if you know me you know I blew my knees out mountain biking and can really overdo the gym. I usually last 3 months before I get injured.  My exercise list had to echo activities I could do consistently without injury-your list should fit your lifestyle too.  

After I had my list I attached the calories I could burn for each activity. This is what it looks like.

Sit-ups 450=150 calories 
Hiking 45 min=400 calories plus 150 cals residual burn
Drumming 60 minutes=250 calories

The Laura Hill Weight Loss Program

Now it's time to put this all together.  Your goal is to burn off more calories than you take in.  The more negative calorie intake you can achieve safely, the quicker you will lose the weight.  

Here is my chart from a typical day.  I've provided one for you below to fill in with your own foods and activities.

Tuesday 10/18
Calories in:
35 calories 2 Egg white omelete with mushrooms 
35 calories 1oz grilled BBQ chicken with steamed green beans 
35 calories 1oz grilled BBQ chicken with steamed asparagus
450 calories 60 mini Pretzels 
50 calories 1oz Tilapia with steamed green beans and kale 
90 calories 2 rice cakes 
150 calories 12 Doritos 
Calories in: 845

Calories out
Sit-ups 900=300 calories
Hiking 90 min=800 calories + 300 calories residual 
Drum 45 min=175 calories
Total calories out: 1575
Less total calories in:<845>
Total calories left: <-730>

As long as my total calories left was a negative number I lost weight. I did that for 13 weeks straight!  I also allowed myself condiments in moderation so the food tasted good, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper all made these very low calorie meals scrumptious.  There was purpose in this too.  I knew I was creating new eating habits, some of which I would continue after the initial weight loss in order to maintain my new weight.  I call this eating for life and is a part most diet plans leave out. 

 You need to develop new cravings to make good food choices after you diet.

This is the woods where I hike.  I like it because of the rolling hills,
deer and flowers.  I don't feel like I'm exercising, just enjoying life!

Eating for life 

Now, with the holidays upon us, cold weather and school started up again I'm finding I need to modify my diet.  I still spend the day on a very low intake of lean meats and veggies but have added in some carbs and sweets.  I've maintained my weight at 150 for three weeks!  

Now my goal is to lose the last twenty pounds by the end of March. 130 is an easy weight for me to maintain plus it gives me a 5-10 pound buffer I can stay within, indulging and then working the weight off again.  At that weight I can eat normally without much worry of ever going back up to 180 pounds. 

Remember, you can do this!  Your diet is a temporary state in which you are eating foods you like that are healthy and increasing exercise that you enjoy that targets your problem spots.

What you are getting rid of is a lot of over processed snacks, sugar and carbs that were dragging you down and an eating routine that was probably more habitual than need based.

It's easy to think of a million excuses why this won't work for you.  But it can! If your diet is vegetarian look to supplement proteins and burn sugar calories when ingested before they turn to fat.  If inhibited by physical ailments focus on the food you are eating and make a change.  Try to stick to foods you will want to eat post diet.  If protein shakes and frozen diet meals are your norm great, but if not they aren't a reliable diet base.  And always consult your physician before embarking on any diet or exercise regime. 

The point here is you are in control.  Make a plan that works for you and stick to it.  You will be thrilled with the results, I know I am!  

And let me know how you make out.  Together we are stronger and can turn our dreams into reality.

Post a comment here or tweet me @candylandcaper
No question is not worth asking and I'm happy to share what I've learned.