How we dropped 44 pounds in 13 weeks
Let me first start by saying that I'm not writing this post to brag so I would hope and assume no one reads it as such. I've had so many people privately messaging me asking how we dropped the weight, what we've been eating, what exercise we were doing, etc. etc. etc. This is for you people!
Secondly, I am not an expert, and I won't pretend to be. This was literally our first real run at being healthy and fit at the near ripe ages of 29 and 30. A few jogging stints in college, and a run at Jillian Michaels in 2012, but that's pretty much it.
After crying on Christmas Eve day in my closest because nothing, literally NOTHING other than crappy old maternity clothes fit me, I knew it was time to stop making excuses. The stuff that wasn't fitting me at 5 months post partum was stuff that I HAD been wearing between the other two kids (and I had never dropped back down to pre pregnancy weight, hanging on to 5 pounds each time). While breastfeeding certainly helped me unload a lot of Norah's baby weight without doing much, my regular trips to the freezer for ice cream definitely wasn't my best choice. Each of my three pregnancies, I will admit, I used to eat whatever.I.wanted. While I did tone down the ice cream consumption slightly with Norah, I basically ate whatever I wanted, gaining 45, 35ish and 35ish pounds respectively each time.
Technically, my heaviest weight ever, 2 weeks prior to having Norah::
My other fall back between kids was knowing how much I gained (let myself gain) while pregnant. Between kids 1/2 and 2/3, knowing we wanted to get pregnant again, I saw little point in working hard only to gain another 40 pounds down the road. Our decision to not having any more children after Norah was my original fuel for this lifestyle change (only, Halloween and Christmas came first.)
I had read a ton of good things about the T25 exercise DVDs( buy it here. ) and so on a whim I put them on my birthday list. Yes, I made a "birthday list" for my 29th birthday. A guy needs a little help sometimes, and that's ok. :)
Thankfully, without much talking, Ryan was on the same page about finally getting healthy and the DVD set was what he decided to gift me, and gift me early (along with another highly rated DVD).
So our journey began on January 6th. T25 comes with some nutritional guidelines and a few recipes. We originally figured out that I'd be doing 1200 calories while Ryan would get 1600.
My original split was then 300 for breakfast, 300 for lunch and 300 for dinner, with 2 150 calorie snacks in between. I can't speak to what my average calorie intake was prior to this, as I have no idea. What I do know is it did take my body awhile to adjust to what was likely a pretty decent calorie drop. I will admit there were nights I cried because I was starving. After doing a little research (because I told you we were newbs, and everything we learned we learned from the internet), it was imperative that we got some form of protein in us after working out. Only, we were working out after the kids went to bed and thus I was all out of calories. After talking with a few people who knew a bit more about healthy living than us, I finally figured it was necessary to up my calories slightly, and add the protein in after workouts. 1200 is the absolute minimum anyone should consume, especially with the intense daily cardio we were doing.
We used this calculator :: http://iifym.com/tdee-calculator/ to figure out our TDEE (Total Daily Exercise Expenditure) and our BMR. Bascially, your body burns calories just by going about your daily life. After figuring out our TDEE along with our average calorie burn doing the T25 workouts, we took it down by 15% (I think). This gave me a goal of 1038 net calories (consuming about 1350 to include an after workout protein drink).
We used the myfitnesspal app to track our calories every single day. There is no way we'd be eating even close to what we were suppose to without it. Once you start tracking calories and examining nutrition labels, it is INSANE what is in some stuff. This was a super important piece of our puzzle. Once we started weighing, measuring and counting, it was completely eye opening to see what "real servings" were.
The first week of counting calories was rough. We had the MFP app, but sitting there trying to weigh spaghetti noodles and meat and making sure we were getting the proper amount was a MAJOR pain in the ass. Major. Had we continued measuring stuff out using any old recipe, I would have quit (or, likely, been super grumpy and annoyed) the calorie counting long ago.
Enter the next piece to our puzzle :: The Skinnytaste Blog . I had a few pins from her (and had made stuff in the past off this blog randomly), but once we started trying out her recipes, we didn't look anywhere else. I LOVED, and I mean LOVED that the calorie and serving size amounts were all there for you. Cook, measure and eat. SO.MUCH.EASIER. It helped that nearly every single thing we tried we absolutely loved (because when you eat healthy and watch calories, you can STILL eat amazingly delicious food, I promise!). We have made very very very few things in the past 15 weeks that weren't from her blog. And, she's coming out with a cookbook later this year---yes please! Because it's in blog form, she has categorical links on the side so when meal planning I could just click on whatever we were in the mood for (grilling, crockpot, asian, italian, etc) and blog after blog would pop up.
If you take a gander over to my Made it, Tried it, Loved it board on pinterest, you'll see a number of our favorites pinned (make sure you focus on the ones pinned from skinny taste, as I'm sure I still have a few not so skinny recipes saved on there). Unfortunately, I didn't keep up with it and I definitely don't have all our favorites pinned. If you're looking to get started with some yummy recipes from her, some of my absolute absolute favorites were the Asian Glazed Drumsticks, Avocado and Mango Salsa, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, Orange Chicken Makeover, Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas, Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Wraps and the Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa. I have a new-found deep love (and obsession) with all things avocado, mango, shrimp and salmon. Never have tried salmon prior to this and have learned to love shrimp!
While I was determined to get fit, I wasn't going to not live life. By nature of my fairly limited calorie intake, some things had to go completely. Cow's milk (which I'm sure I drank at least 16 ounces a day of), ice cream, junk food like chips, cookies and candy were essentially erased from my diet. We replaced cow's milk with almond milk (unsweetened vanilla and dark chocolate are my favs!) I wasn't going to give up pizza though. Or wine. Or beer. Or frozen yogurt. Or going out at all. We had cheat days, and we had days where we say, went out for pizza and beer, but didn't go hog wild. You CAN do this and still have the deliciousness that is pizza and beer.
So, back to T25 for a bit. It kicked our ass. It kicked our ass for a long time. We were in zero shape. I won't talk about my husband, but I was in flubby shape. Flubby, for sure. The first time we did it, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. We couldn't get farther than like 3 minutes without having to rest.
What we loved about it so much was that it changed daily. There was no Jillian Michaels screaming the same crap at you day after day (don't phone it in!--blerg). The first 4 weeks were the Alpha level and the 2nd month was Beta. Each workout had a different focus (upper body, lower, abs, cardio, strength, etc). The program comes with a calendar to lay out all the daily workouts which covers Monday-Friday (with two on Friday).
It took us something like 5-6 weeks before we could do an entire 25 minute workout without stopping. Nothing to brag about. 6 weeks before we were in somewhat of a shape for a mere 25 minute workout. But it was good. It was around the same time that my body was locked into this and I actually craved and looked forward to our nightly routine. For our post workout drink, I typically had a cup of almond milk mixed with half a scoop of vanilla protein powder (we used this one from costco). We also mixed the protein powder with the dark chocolate almond milk which was equally delicious.
After the T25 program was officially over, I moved on to this one, Brazil Butt Lift, which had stellar reviews on Amazon. A little light on the cardio and intensity as compared to T25, but this is absolutely the reason I'm wearing the size I've never worn before at Old Navy or Target, even though I'm sitting about 5 pounds heavier than my "college weight". My butt is smaller than it's ever been, and I've ALWAYS for as long as I can remember, hated my butt. I have muscles in my legs that I've NEVER had. This one toned me in all areas for the first time in my life and I love it.
Unfortunately, we didn't take official before and after pictures. I have a few here and there, but nothing official. This one was from about 3 weeks ago, 1 day after buying shorts for the first time in 7 years. 7 years.
I officially met my goal weight two Fridays ago on April 11th. 3 weeks prior to that I announced my determination to Ryan that I was going to reach my goal by his birthday, which I did!
I'm happy with every single area of my body except my tummy. It was stretched out to the max three times, and while it absolutely looks better than it did on January 6th, there's still some work to do, so I'm going to keep on keeping on. When I flex, I can at least feel the muscles, they are just hiding under that little layer of extraness that just needs to go home.
This is the best before and after we have which I posted on fb a few days ago.
In total today, we have each lost 22 pounds and I'm currently sitting 1 pound lighter than my goal weight. Last I checked I think I was at 23% body fat, so I want to drop that number a bit more too.
I lost 4.5 inches off my waist for a 14.8% change. 4.5 doesn't sound like much until you take that tape measure and wrap it around yourself to show what that 4.5 extra inches used to look like. holy crap.
I lost 6 inches off my rear end for a 14.4% change. 6 freaking inches. 3.5 inches off my thighs. Thank you Brazil Butt Lift. Thank you.
I also lost 4 inches off my chest and 2 or 3 inches off my arms. (Those measurements aren't tracked in MFP which is what I have in front of me right now).
So in total, 22 pounds and about 20 total inches lost.
So if you want to know what we did, essentially it was good ol' diet and exercise made possible with T25, Brazil Butt Lift, the myfitnesspal app, the Skinny Taste blog, and a lot of determination and supporting each other along the way.
Any other questions, feel free to comment and ask!