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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Lose Weight While Working Full-Time - Part 1: The First 30 Days

Working Mom Baby Weight Loss
How to lose weight while working full-time.  Or how to lose the baby weight.  These are popular hot topics.  And yes I understand there are fads and people trying to sell diet pills, supplements, and fitness programs.  I am not trying to sell anything.  And no, I am not a health expert either.  I am just sharing what worked for me to potentially inspire you or give you ideas of how you might start or continue your weight loss journey.

I personally had my daughter a year ago this month.  It has been hard, and I have been trying to lose weight for the last year.  I am finally starting to see some results.  In 30 days, I lost 14 lbs and 12 inches.  I am not saying that's easy but it can be done, and I wanted to share what finally tipped the scales in my favor.

Here are the Things that Helped Me Lose My Baby Weight:
  1. Variety in Workouts - I get bored easily, and I think our bodies do too.  Over the last month, I definitely mixed it up.  I mostly did videos, specifically Turbo Jam, TurboFire, Les Mills Combat, and ChaLEAN Extreme.  I also threw in some spin classes at The Rush in Carmel Valley with my coworkers.  I think you have to find a workout that works for you.  To quote Chalene Johnson, I have found "my soulmate workouts" in the above mentioned videos and classes.  Once I get into them, they are fun, and I enjoy the music and can lose myself in them.  That is what you need to find in order to stay motivated.
  2. MyFitnessPal - Everyone says it, but I think that's because it is simply true.  You need to have a food journal to track what you eat.  I love MyFitnessPal because it is an app on my phone.  It easily keeps track of my calories, and even when I am dining out, it has many restaurants and fast-food places already programmed in there.  Whether you keep a written paper journal or log it electronically, visually seeing how much you are eating and the quality of your food choices can be powerful.
  3. StrengthsFinder - This was a big one for me.  We have leveraged this personal development tool in the workplace, and I LOVE it.  It helps identify your top 5 Strengths.  It is the concept that you can exponentially excel by working on your strengths, rather than trying to improve your weaknesses.  In order, here are my Top 5 Strengths:  Harmony, Empathy, Competition, Maximizer, Responsibility.  So basically, I want everyone to be happy.  I connect with others.  If we are "all good," then I will compete with you like crazy.  I like to help people maximize their potential, and once I commit, I feel a deep responsibility to follow through to the end.  So, my point is that you need to figure out what your strengths are and leverage them accordingly.  For me, the key was going to be Competition.  Enter the next bullet point.
  4. Biggest Loser Competition at Work - As part of a New Year's Resolution, someone suggested we start a Biggest Loser competition at work.  That person just posted it on the intranet, and then interested parties chimed in with suggestions on rules and guidelines.  We settled on a $100 buy-in, winner take all with a 30, 60, and 90-day weigh-in with the final one for the pot.  We modified it later to give $100 to the winner of the 30 and 60-day weigh-in winners.  I am by far the smallest competitor in the group, but I wanted to lose my baby weight, and I knew Competition was in my Top 5 Strengths.  Even if I did not win, I figured it would be great motivation for me to lose some weight.  Some of my colleagues tried to talk me out of it, since guys can typically drop weight faster and because they had more weight to lose, but for me, it only made me more determined.  It was a percentage of weight loss, and after running the numbers, I felt like I had a decent chance.  Especially after one of my coworkers said I was not even considered competition, it was on!  We had our first weigh-in this week.  And guess what?  I won!  Against all odds, I lost 9.5% of my body weight in 30 days.  I am a firm believer that if you set your mind to do something and you work hard, then you can achieve it.
  5. Spousal Support and Agreement - My husband is super supportive, and by that I mean, willing to eat whatever healthy recipes I come up with and my own personal cheerleader.  You need to surround yourself with individuals who make you feel good and support your healthy lifestyle.  The second part of this bullet point or "the Agreement" that really helped drive my results came about after I guiltily ate a whole sleeve of thin mints one evening.  You know how it happens.  I could easily eat a whole box in one sitting.  It becomes mindless, and then you just feel bloated and gross afterwards.  Enter the best decision I made during the last month.  I agreed to pay my husband $5 for EACH Girl Scout cookie I ate.  It worked.  I think I had a total of 3 cookies for the whole month.  It was just a steep enough price that I decided it really was not worth it.  And now, I have extended this agreement to anything that I know is unhealthy, like cupcakes, cookies, donuts, etc.  I can call it off anytime, and even my friends were like, "He's not here.  He doesn't have to know," but I would know, and I am a person of my word.  So this Agreement works really well for me.
  6. Accepting the Schedule - I work full-time, and I am also a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend, and a daughter.  With that comes a lot of responsibilities and a desire to spend time with my family and friends.  I fought it for a while, but after reading a fair amount of articles, I finally concluded that the most successful people workout before the crack of dawn.  So yes, I wake up at 4:45am every morning, and that time is mine.  I roll out of bed, put on the workout clothes I laid out the night before, and I pop in a DVD and workout in my living room.  I find that if I wait till later in the day, it just does not happen.  Things get in the way, interruptions happen, and I want to spend time with my husband, play with my daughter, have lunch with my friends, and meet my parents and sister for dinner.  Life gets in the way if you don't plan your workouts.  So bite the bullet and workout before you go to work.  I promise you will never regret getting up and working out in the morning.  "I really regret getting up and working out this morning," said no one ever.
Now, it is obviously a journey.  I still have 2 more weigh-ins to go at work.  I am excited to see the results and will keep you posted.  I gained about 45 lbs over the length of my pregnancy.  I was lucky and was able to lose about 20 lbs a month or so after my daughter was born.  The last 25 lbs have been the stubborn ones where the above components have really come into play.  Try changing just one small thing at a time.  You would be surprised how much it can make a difference.


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  1. Great motivation! Competition is in my top 5 as well. I think I would enjoy the biggest losser. I also heard there are apps out there that you pay money into and you split the pot with the other winners when peple don't meet their weigh ins.

  2. Thanks Bri! I have heard of those apps as well. Very cool. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. omg Raina, i'm so proud of you! thats incredible! Almost 10% of your body weight is a huge feat.

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    1. Great motivation! Competition is in my top 5 as well. I think I would enjoy the biggest losser. I also heard there are apps out there that you pay money into and you split the pot with the other winners when peple don't meet their weigh ins.

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