Not Martha

On Losing Weight, Slowly

I lost 25 pounds this year, yay! It took me a while to figure out what worked for me. Here is the short version:

30 Day Shred DVD

and

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

plus

Gilmore Girls DVD

or

How I Met Your Mother DVD

and

kale!

Slightly longer that would be: working out two to three times a week with the 30 Day Shred DVD and/or my Schwinn 430 elliptical machine while watching Gilmore Girls (or How I Met Your Mother) and eating carefully.

The Exercise Bits

I don’t want to be outdoors, running makes my knees hurt, it rains a lot here and it’s dark in the winter. I’m cranky and ugly when I break a sweat. I’m not motivated by competition or by being around people so a gym was not an option. I know I cannot be the only hermit who needs some exercise, so I’m writing about everything I’ve done in the hope that it will help somebody else. You can do it! Alone!

30 Day Shred was an easy choice, it’s 18 minutes of exercise with a bit of warm up and cool down. By the time I get to the point of either being exhausted or bored it’s over. It wasn’t easy, and I remember being able to do little more than standing and gasping for air during more than a few sessions, but once I got used to knowing it would be over sooner than later it made me work harder. It’s a good mix of strength and cardio and while I frequently swear at the television screen I still use it as my primary work out. I ignored the “30 days” in the title altogether and just did level one until I could get through it without stopping (which was a good long time). Then I’d do the next level and start all over again with the gasping. Levels two and three involve larger motions and are less repetitive, and to me feel like they go by faster. So if level one is making you nuts try level two.

I’ve written about this before so I’ll be brief, I love my elliptical machine. The big point for me about this particular one is this: After trying out a bunch of models I found that the Schwinn 430 (as well as the newer Schwinn 431) have foot pedals that are closer together and create a much more natural stance for me and my short legs. We’ve had ours for almost two years and we still both use it regularly.

[Click to read much, much more:]

I worked out two to three times a week. I fully intended to work out five days a week but that never actually happened despite my best efforts. On most days I did 30 Day Shred and about twenty minutes on the elliptical machine (or, half an episode of Gilmore Girls). On days when I was particularly sore I would just use the elliptical machine, on days when I was pressed for time I would just do 30 Day Shred, and on days when I was feeling oddly energetic I would race a 22-minute episode of How I Met Your Mother to see if I could do 200 calories before the credits rolled. Note: the calorie counts on elliptical machines are notoriously high, in my case I started thinking of it as just another unit of measure. My machine will display various things and I find it less distracting when I’m not staring at a timer counting down.

I’ve also come to appreciate how helpful having the right stuff can be. Good shoes, I like New Balance, with these brilliant, heat moldable inserts from SOLE for my fussy feat and arch support needs helped a whole lot. I also use 2, 3 and 5 pound hand weights (using heavier ones when it gets too easy) and a yoga mat for push up and crunches. Most important, though, is a good sports bra. I personally require one that zips up the front because nothing will get me to put off working out more than the prospect of tweaked nipples while pulling on a bra without any closures. Yikes.

The Food Bits

The bits involving food slowly sorted out into simply eating in moderation. Previously I had tried low carb diets and counting calories or keeping track of what I’d eaten in a day. And you know what? All that being aware of food all day drove me crazy. The result was that I grew resentful and obsessive and felt hungry all the time. And then I would eat a whole bag of Doritos. So instead I decided to try to just not think about all that hard. I ate more carefully, more kale less Annie’s Mac and Cheese, and smaller meals with more snacks. I started eating breakfast, something I’m not inclined towards, to keep my metabolism going. Slowly I learned how long it takes for me to get rid of sugar cravings (two weeks), and that bagged baby carrots make me ill, and that I really like farro and kale, and that a little bit of olive oil used to cook a meal makes it far more satisfying than when using one of those olive oil mister things. I cut down on sugar and white flour and beer and eventually started avoiding those things knowing that they would only make me hungry later. Apples and almonds and light Baybell cheeses are surprisingly satisfying snacks, a mug of green tea in the afternoon helps a lot. I ate more carefully during the week and less on the weekends.

Somehow this all worked out into a happy balance, I’m not desperately tempted by a second cupcake because I’m not otherwise denying myself food. I tend to not overeat at one meal because I don’t have sugar highs and lows, or when I do have a low sugar moment I don’t run straight for the nearest Twinkie. It’s still not easy, mind you, and I don’t do this all the time. But, I know that I can eat carefully without hating it completely, which makes me feel much calmer.

Evening, post-dinner sugar cravings do get me, though. I found that a single Dove miniature ice cream treat, 60 calories (small but effective), and a big mug of tea will squash it sufficiently that I don’t go to bed dreaming about cheesecake. Fruit works too but, well, chocolate is good.

The Weight Loss Bits

It was hard to figure out that I don’t have to lose weight at a miraculous pace. Forgetting all about trend/miracle/cleanse/easy diets, I still somehow had it in my head that if I didn’t lose a pound a week I wasn’t doing enough. I did lose a pound a week for a while and it made me miserable, and circled back to thinking about food too much. At some point I stopped trying for it and eased up a bit and discovered that I could lose half a pound a week without wanting to smash expensive things or sabotage myself. I’m perfectly happy losing weight slowly, it’s the pace that works out for me, and once I ditched the one pound a week idea I found I was much happier all around.

I’m a girl so I know my weight fluctuates wildly based on things like the time of the month or if my hair looks good that day. So I weighed myself once a week, before breakfast. People, even with it being gradual the weight loss didn’t seem to correspond with anything at all. I have notes that read “WTF?” and point to a week where I knew I ate pizza every day but lost a pound and a half, right next to a week where I did everything just right and gained half a pound. So now I don’t pay too much attention. I still keep weekly track but only because it’s sort of thrilling to look back at my weight in January as proof.

It feels strange to talk about how thrilled I am with a comparatively slow pace of weight loss in our culture of searching for effortless and miraculous slimness, but I keep in mind that even at this rate I was able to lose weight far faster than it took me to put it on.

The Motivation Bits

I let upcoming events for which I wanted to look good motivate me, I’m not going to claim I’m not vain that way. This year I got married and had pictures taken and saw a lot of family, and went to conferences and saw a lot of friends and people I knew but hadn’t met in person and had more pictures taken. I set goals but I didn’t set them too high (as in: the conference is in two weeks and I can definitely lose ten pounds by then!).

I also used the old trick of only watching certain shows while on the elliptical machine. I feel twisted about this but it’s true: I started looking forward to working out because it’s when I got to watch Gilmore Girls. Whatever, it works for me.

Also motivating? Reading about Sundry Mourning losing weight, having a second child and losing all that weight and starting up Bodies In Motivation, all while finding I was still sitting on my couch eating corn chips. I follow a few exercise blogs but unlike those I have no desire to up my exercise routine and train for a race or, damn girl!, finish a triathalon. Nope, I’m happy spinning the hamster wheel on my elliptical. I’ve run out of Gilmore Girls so I think I’ll have to find something new. What do you suggest? I’m leaning towards racing against episodes of Secret Diary of A Call Girl.

· comments [100] · 11-5-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

100 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Whitney // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I like working out to Buffy the Vampire Slayer — it’s such an active show it’s easy to feel smug that I’m being active too.

  • 2 jamie // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

    congratulations meg! that’s really impressive and (realistically) inspiring. i really admire your perseverance. i’m getting married in may but i’ve become a gym dropout. classes didn’t do it for me, but maybe some good music and the treadmill will. i’m so proud of you :)

  • 3 jamie // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:30 am

    oh–did your diet change how you cooked for your husband?

  • 4 Dora // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for writing about your journey. I totally understand where you’re coming from, although I’ve recently, gasp, started running and not on a treadmill either. I read “Born to Run” and it was all I could do to stay inside to finish the book.
    It appears that you enjoy the same television that I do. So, I’m guessing that you’ll like Secret Diary, especially the first season. I even have a friend that used the show as the inspiration for her home design.
    Thanks for the great blog.

  • 5 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Thanks! In this culture it seems sort of strange to say “it was hard and it took a long time”.

    Whitney – That makes a lot of sense, I miss Buffy, or more specifically, I miss getting to watch Buffy for the first time.

    Jamie – Not really. We have been slowly changing the way we cook over the last few years so dinners around here were just a little more careful about brown rice instead of white and not defaulting to mac and cheese on nights we are rushed.

  • 6 Susan // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Super inspiring Megan! I am determined to lose 10-15 pounds before I turn 40 in April and your plan seems totally doable. I already have 30 Day Shred but it’s still in the wrapper because, frankly, it scares me.
    Once I get through the big event I have this weekend I am unwrapping and starting. Thanks for the push!

  • 7 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Susan – You can do it! I lost 15 pounds between January and April of last year. I worked up through the three levels of 30 Day Shred slowly but I regularly cycle through the levels now. It’s a good work out and it’s so short that it’s not too scary. I never kept up with the sorts of workouts that required me to jump in place until I started wondering when this would all be over already.

  • 8 Matilda // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Congratulations, Megan! Thanks for posting this–I too am a hermit and I need to lose 25 pounds as well. Only I’m breastfeeding, working full-time and taking care of a house and 2 kids, so my weight loss will be even more gradual, but it’s useful for me to know that not losing weight quickly is not failure.

  • 9 Elizabeth // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Megan, thanks so much for posting this. I’m trying to motivate myself to do the small changes and keep getting waylaid by sugar, chips…ugh. I joined a running club at my workplace and I’m slow, and I walk a LOT, but I’m getting out there. My next goal is to add more greens and grains to every meal and cut the unhealthy snacks. Love what you said about cutting the sugar cravings. And congratulations!

  • 10 erica // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for this post. Like you, I am not motivated by gyms or classes in general, and I’m not competitive. While I’d love to think that someday running a mini-marathon would appeal to me, I suspect I’ll always be happy with my treadmill and rowing machine. I’ve definitely considered the 30DS videos, as there are sooo many fans on Bodies in Motivation. I’m still at the very beginning stages of my journey to face those changes that need to occur, but your describing that yes, it’s hard, but doable certainly helps!

  • 11 sprizee // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Wow, that’s awesome. Congratulations!

  • 12 Rebecca // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Congratulations, that’s great! I’m in the midst of going threw the same thing. I’ve lost 27 lbs since may and I’d like to loose 33 lbs more.

    I’m doing Weight Watchers. I did 20 weeks going to the meetings, but now I’m just doing it on my own using their website. I had the same issues you did with feeling deprived and hungry and I had to let up on myself quite a bit.

    For exercise, I was going on the treadmill for 3-4 days a week and I only could watch Farscape if I was working out. Now I’m taking a weight class that meets 3 days a week and I still try to do the treadmill 2 days a week. The class motivates me to exercise because I’ve paid for it and it’s in the morning so I get it done with.

    Keep up the good work (and the great blog!)

  • 13 jesser // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Good for you … seriously!! It is a big deal. I myself lost 45 lbs from Oct 2007 thru July 2008. I used many of the same techniques you did, including the un-beatable combination of cardio+TV. Unfortunately, I gained a bit of it back with my second pregnancy and this time it’s going much more slowly which is AOK too … just as long as it’s going!

    As for feed for your DVD player, I have enjoyed the following while on the run: Alias, Bones, Psych, Burn Notice, 24, Madmen and Stargate. I find that a little action helps keep me very engaged with the TV and not the fact that I am sometimes gasping. I also have 30 day shred sequestered in my DVD closet and I must make myself finally pull it out and get going … everyone raves so much.

    Once again, congrats! And good luck with the sustaining/further losing (if that’s what you’re interested in).

  • 14 grumperina // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I think that your approach would really work well for me. I also don’t enjoy working out outdoors, nor in a gym, and keeping track of what I eat (versus “watching” what I eat) just makes me hungrier. Small bits of exercise, like 20-30 minutes, are appealing because I find myself predominantly yawning during most exercise videos. So, yeah, I totally understand, and congratulations!!!

  • 15 tina // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Great to hear about your indoor exercising routine. I actually prefer running outdoors, even in the winter darkness (this is all thanks to the NYC Roadrunners who teach their beginning running courses under these conditions :), but soon I will be moving to an area that I don’t feel safe running outdoors in the dark, so it’s back to the treadmill and elliptical for me. I have somehow become convinced that ‘machine’ exercise is just no good, so it is nice to hear from you that it actually was part of your successful routine. Awesome job and good for you for taking such great care of yourself!

  • 16 Kris // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I just went back to the 30-Day Shred yesterday. I’d used it during my roller derby league’s off season last year and am starting again now that we’re in another two-month break. It’s insane how I can kick ass at a full contact sport with 6 hours of practice per week, but then get my ass kicked by 20 minutes of Jillian Michaels a day.

  • 17 Vicki // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! My head is finally getting to this approach. Gyms with other people stress me out and I eat more calories than what I would burn off. If I just calm down and eat moderately I feel more balanced and good. Thank you.

  • 18 alison // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Try watching Pushing Daisies. It’s a little precious sometimes, but often very funny. And gosh, the set design and costumes are beautiful. The only drawback is that there aren’t many episodes.

    There aren’t many episodes of Veronica Mars, either, but I recommend that as well, especially if you liked Buffy.

    Is the shred very hard on the knees? I considered trying it but wasn’t sure it’d be good for me since I’ve had two knee surgeries.

  • 19 Mary // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Congrats!! It’s so nice to read a success story that doesn’t end in I run 5 marathons a year now. Some of us still really don’t like exercise that much! Anyway, have you watched One Tree Hill? It’s fun — might be a great next choice. :)

  • 20 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Alison – I cannot say how easy it would be on your knees, but I can say it was easier on mine than other workout dvds I’ve tried. None of the cardio sessions last longer than two minutes. The workout does 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs — repeat for a total of three cycles which adds up to 18 minutes. I do jumping jacks on my yoga mat for a little extra shock absorption.

    Any knee pain I felt was from holding strength poses too long while my leg muscles weren’t yet strong enough to support my knees properly.

    Level two and three involve fewer jumping up and down style exercises. Perhaps you could watch all three levels and substitute a move for the ones you don’t want to risk?

  • 21 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Thanks so much everybody for the support! I appreciate it a huge amount!

  • 22 sheista // Nov 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Thank you for a fantastic, honest post! My approach to healthy living is very similar. Doing it this way I have gotten fit and strong and most of the time do not obsess about food. Your voice reaches a lot more than mine. Sharing your experience and knowledge will motivate many to begin to make changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

  • 23 Megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Megan-

    I just got back from the Dr. and (at only 23) was told I need to lose some weight. I stumbled upon your blog and your plan looks perfect for me. I just called Best Buy and am going to go pick up the exercise video right now!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration- I needed it!

  • 24 Jess // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Holy smacks, does this ever resonate with me. “Counting” and “restricting” diets make me crazy, I don’t run (gah!) and hate social exercise/classes, and the pressure with the whole “pound a week” thing. But this…this just might work! I’m honestly feeling inspired. Something I haven’t felt in, well, years! Thank you!

  • 25 leanne // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hooray for you! 30 Day Shred is what got me off the couch, but I’ve found I like some of her other DVDs better (i.e., I still feel like I get a good workout but not so much feeling like I’m going to die).

    I DVR Glee and watch that on our elliptical – the musical numbers tend to make me go faster, but they aren’t too long. I also designate certain shows as “elliptical only”. And if I run out of shows to watch, then I tend to go back to the workout DVDs.

  • 26 Amy // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Yay! Good for you!! I really like the idea of working out to TV shows, sounds like more fun.

  • 27 Rachel // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Congrats! It’s hard to find a replacement for Gilmore Girls. Their cute outfits always motivate to work harder while I exercise. I suggest Arrested Development, Alias, and X-files. Yes, X-files is scary and addictive, but there are a lot of them. It will keep you busy for a while.

  • 28 Laura // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for the inspiration Megan! I’m off to do the 30 Day Shred right now!

  • 29 kathleen // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

    this is super helpful and just may inspire me to get off my ass and finally put that 30 day shred DVD in the dvd player and see what it’s got. thanks for posting!!

  • 30 Heather // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Awesome post. Thanks for sharing this with us!! And of course, congrats!

  • 31 paola // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Congratulations! VERY inspirational as you’ve pretty much done the regime I’m just embarking on (though I do hope to do a triathlon at the end of it).

    Do you have a Wii? If so there are now some really good exercise ‘games’ you can get for it (My Fitness Coach, EA Sports Active and of course Wii Fit +) I’m able to get a pretty good workout from them and they’re more customisable so you get a different workout every day which helps with the motivation.

  • 32 Aimee // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Congrats on your slow-yet-amazingly-realistic-and-probably-permanent weight loss!

    Thanks, too, for sharing how you’re doing it, the working out bit especially. It seems so much more realistic than most guidelines.

  • 33 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Paola – I don’t have a Wii, but did consider one for the exercise games. Might still get one in the future. I used a PS2 exercise game for a while and watching the statistics generate graphs was really fun.

    It was unexpected but I did find an upside to using a DVD was that I could compare how I progressed doing the same program, like the first time I made it through level two without collapsing to the floor at some point was cause for a celebration.

  • 34 danielle // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:48 am

    if you like gilmore girls, i’m betting you would also like veronica mars. totally different premise, but the characters remind me of each other.

  • 35 K // Nov 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Yay! Good for you! It was my wedding too that got me to do it(all those photos!), and then after I’d had a baby and gained everything back it took the recession and not being able to afford snacks or going out to eat. I wouldn’t have chosen that, but the weight-loss part worked really well. Slow and steady is the way to go; great job! PS Have you tried Ugly Betty?

  • 36 chez shoes // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations! You make it all sound so sensible. I’m *still* trying to figure out what works for me. Sigh.

    Since an elliptical isn’t an option in my 300sf hovel, I think I may have to get a copy of that 30 Day Shred. But if I did have an elliptical, I’d use that time to re-watch Six Feet Under, which has to be my favorite show ever.

  • 37 Tasha // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Thanks so much for this post. I can totally relate! I LOVE the idea of the elliptical and watching my favorite shows. I’m thinking I’ll try it with episodes of Alias. Thanks again, Megan! You’ve inspired me!

  • 38 Amy // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I just wanted to say congratulations on your success — and thank you for posting about it! Ironically, your journey sounds a lot like mine, although I started working out w/ 30DS this March as a bet with my sister (I won :). That was the only thing that would motivate us — that and the photos from my wedding in 2007.

    “Everything in moderation” has become my motto in life, and that applies to exercise as well as eating. I don’t do races; I don’t count calories or have “off limits” foods; I don’t weigh myself every day (or even every week). I just keep getting up every morning to Shred (usually 6 out of 7 days), watch portion size, and drink lots of water.
    I’ve lost almost 22 pounds since March doing this, and even though it’s slow going, I think I prefer it that way. As cliche as it sounds, it’s a lifestyle change — I’m going to have to be able to stick with it forever, so may as well prepare myself properly. :)

    BTW, I never was able to do 30DS according to the “instructions” (i.e., 10 days on Level 1; 10 days on Level 2; 10 days on Level 3). That would have killed me! I did each level for 30 days, then moved on. Once I finished Level 3, I started over at Level 1 for 30 more days, just with heavier weights.

    Sorry for the long-winded note — just wanted to say a sincere thanks for recognizing your accomplishments! (That’s been the hardest part for me — giving myself credit.)

    Keep up the great work!
    Amy

  • 39 Vincci // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Megan! It’s always nice to see people finally figuring out what works for them, especially getting comfortable with the very gradual weight loss. Keep up the good work!

  • 40 sassypriscila // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Megan – thank you for such a comprehensive review of how you lost your weight. Congratulations on your hard work and payoff. I have more than 25 to lose and it seems like a drop in the bucket if I lose 1 lb so I really like how you approached your goal.

  • 41 Kathy // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I see danielle has the same suggestion, but I think you’d like Veronica Mars. I just borrowed the second season from a friend, and having a dedicated exercise series sounds like a great idea!

  • 42 Enna // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Secret Diary of a Call Girl is FANTASTIC, as is this post!

  • 43 Ladies, Go Here « Kosher Porkchops Dot Com // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:22 am

    [...] She does exactly what I do. Megan honey, you are starting to freak me out. [...]

  • 44 dawn // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:24 am

    thank you, megan! this is really motivating! I bought that elliptical machine after you wrote about it and I love it. it’s perfect, doesn’t take up much space and is low enough that I don’t hit my head on our basement ceiling. I recently fell off the exercise wagon (had a cold and then back pain) and I desperately need to get back on. thanks for giving me a little mo (as in motivation!). i find that my mood and energy are MUCH improved when I work out. anything seems possible.

    thanks for this great post- you are fabulous!

  • 45 Jessi // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Thank you so much for your post! I have been doing the shred since July and I am doing the same as you, just moving up whenever I feel ready. I really like the workouts so far.

    For shows: I recommend Ugly Betty! It’s silly and fun, and all the charectors are lovable. It’s my favorite show. Also: Dexter, if you don’t mind gory stuff.

    I am curious how you tracked your weight from week to week? Did you keep some kind of chart, or just use your memory?

  • 46 Jen // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I was going to recommend Veronica Mars too, so I’ll third (or fourth!) the vote. Congratulations!

  • 47 dawn // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:44 am

    PS I love reading my kindle while working out on the elliptical. It’s great- you can make the font a little larger so it’s easier to read while you are moving. I placed a small level on the elliptical to create a little ledge for the kindle to rest on.

  • 48 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Jessi- I just wrote it on a piece of paper, which I file away until the next week as hanging it view made me feel pressured, even though it wad by myself :)

  • 49 megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks again everybody! I wish you all the gift of perseverence if you’re setting out on your own routine.

  • 50 Megan // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    You might want to reconsider getting a Roku again. There are tons of great shows available instantly from Netflix – including classic and recent TV shows. My problem is that we only have 1 TV, and my husband gets very passive aggressive when I try to work out and watch TV at the same time. “Oh, you’re working out AGAIN? I never get to watch my shows anymore”. So I gave up and don’t exercise anymore. I’ll get my revenge when my muffin top smothers him in his sleep.

  • 51 Kim // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I liked everything about this post – just FYI :-) Nice work, and thanks for being so honest about your experience!

  • 52 J // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Many congratulations on the weight loss. That’s incredible! I lost 10 pounds this summer through a combination of tracking/reducing calories (but not getting too wound up about it) and exercise. One of my tricks was similar to your shows but with guilty pleasure books (kindle on the iphone works great for this).

  • 53 Meredith // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Gilmore Girls….how I miss that show!

    Congrats!

  • 54 Natalie Mikolajczak // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Congratulations! I need to drop 50 lbs. I purchased the 30 Day Shred after seeing it on your blog, and I love the fact that it is only 20 minutes long. I just need to get back at it. I will look into the elliptical, althought our condo is pretty crammed.
    I need to make some magic happen this year because I am at the point of feeling uncomfortable…often.

  • 55 CitricSugar // Nov 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    How I Met Your Mother is great for ab-strengthening too! You could put on Supernatural and pretend you’re running from the monsters or towards the attractive young men…. Whatever helps the burn. :-) Very impressed with your dedication – gotta get me some of that. I don’t need to lose weight but I do need to stop getting winded after a flight of stairs. :-)

  • 56 jillian // Nov 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Awesome post, Megan, and congratulations! Reading this was really inspiring for me. I have all the same issues with working out that you mentioned. I also have that dvd by Jillian…tried it once and got discouraged, so I’m definitely going to give it another shot. And, I love that you worked out to Gilmore Girls! I also tried all the things you mentioned with food, and found the same thing. If I drink less beer and eat more vegetables, things go a lot better. Mac and Cheese is still a great temptation though.

  • 57 kickpleat // Nov 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I’m so happy to read this and know that it’s possible. I don’t seem to have much success with losing weight except when I’m on vacation where I do a ton of walking around & not eating much because it’s so expensive. I have the 30 day shred dvd and love it, but I should do it more often. I need to get into a schedule. I love the idea of also having another means of exercise (like an elliptical or stairmaster), but we just don’t have the room in our apartment. As for tv shows, I’d totally recommend Veronica Mars and Gossip Girl. Addictive.

  • 58 greta // Nov 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    awesome, congrats! this is truly inspirational. i haven’t had much success with losing weight either, and i equally hate the gym. every time i “decide” to lose the weight, i get discouraged at how slowly it goes. (and i’ve never bothered with the fad diets, since i know they don’t work in the long run.) it’s nice to see that i really did stick with it, it might actually work! losing 25 lbs over a year is fantastic. good work!

  • 59 lisa // Nov 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Congrats! It’s a long journey and one that is never quite over! I love “30 Day Shred” for the reasons you mention. I’ve also started doing the Wii Fit and I really love it!

  • 60 Seanna Lea // Nov 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    This is similar to how I lost about 40 pounds a couple of years ago. I didn’t have any indoor exercise equipment, but I had a gym that I went to a couple time a week and just ate my food in moderation.

    People asked me how I did it, and I’d say I ate chocolate every day. Because I did. The smallest highest quality chocolate I could afford to nip the cravings in the bud.

    You’ve done an amazing job! I did my weight loss with my husband (and I’m back on the bandwagon to make it easier for him to lose some more weight), so I know that going it alone is pretty hard!

  • 61 Ahava // Nov 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I literally just added that Jillian Michaels dvd to my Amazon order, before coming across your post in my reader. Funny how that happens! I’m happy to see that you recommend it and now can’t wait to try it.

    I’ve actually tried another JM dvd through Netflix and really enjoyed it. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I think Netflix (or other similar rental services?) is a great resource for workout videos. So many end up being cheesy or boring or whatever, so being able to try it out first is a great thing. (Also, they have several workouts on Watch Now.)

    Finally, I’d like to endorse Breakfast! The past few months, I’ve been eating breakfast regularly for the first time in my life and it has dramatically improved my appetite. A good amount of protein has been especially important for me.

    Congrats, Megan! And thanks for sharing, I kind of need a boost since we’ve been having all of this dreary rain…

  • 62 barrie // Nov 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Mad Men or 30 Rock. Also, do you think you’ll get bored of the same exercise routine day in, day out? Most people do. I wonder if more workout DVDs or even checking out what’s ondemand would work for you (the fitness/exercise channel has lots of good workouts – i especially love some of the yoga ones and the chick from Workout will definitely kick your butt). The only reason I’m saying this is because I have too many friends that are in the same position as you and after a year they get bored and give up. Don’t let that happen to you. You’re on the right track so far. Keep it going girl!

  • 63 Heather // Nov 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Bones! 30 Rock for sure!

  • 64 Kitty // Nov 5, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Oh thank you so much for this post! I have lost 30 pounds this year, also from eating sensibly and in moderation and not denying myself the occasional chocolate or ice cream. I worked out 5 times a week, starting with 10 minutes of walking on the treadmill in my study and increasing to an hour of HIIT. Sometimes 2 hours. Sometimes an hour followed by a water aerobics class.

    People (WOMEN) need to start speaking up about sensible weight loss. I have another 30 to go. Originally my goal last January was to reach my goal (60# lost) by my birthday June 30. But I found that even a .2 loss in a week was still a LOSS and that was progress. It took me one divorce and 8 years to put it on – why should I expect it would take any less than that to take it off?

    Regarding the WTF? I was sent to the UK on business in early September for a month. I stayed in a hotel and the work was so intensive that most nights I ordered room service. I had no access to a gym. I came back and I had gained only ONE POUND!!!! What is THAT about??? I can eat twigs and work out 2 hours a day and lose .2/week and then sit on my butt in front of a laptop with young beautiful men bringing me hotel room service for a FULL MONTH and only gain a POUND?!?!?!

    It makes no sense.

    Point is – get to know your own body and what works for it. Take a lot from everyone but not all from any one person. Experiment. There is no magic pill.

  • 65 mel // Nov 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I recently checked out 30-Day Shred from the library and really liked it. The workouts were really doable – time-wise – after work, even if I had something else scheduled that night. Keep up the great work!

  • 66 Cara // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I was just about to go into the kitchen and eat something else, but I think I’ll stick with green tea. Congrats to you!

  • 67 amanda // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Congrats! You’re inspiring and I think you did everything right. It also took me a year to lose 25 pounds and for the most part I’ve kept it off. (I could stand to lose another 5-10 but I’m not stressing on it right now.)

    I’ve been looking for a good workout DVD, too. I’ll give yours a shot.

  • 68 amanda // Nov 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Oh, how about Dawson’s Creek? Same era as GG and I seem to recall that was a pretty entertaining show along that vein.

  • 69 bunny // Nov 6, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Great minds think alike! =:D I needed to lose 20-25 lbs for the sake of my arthritic knees and feet, and did it with moderating my caloric intake over a period of 8 months. The more weight I lost, the easier it was to move around, and in turn to burn calories. What I did was to calculate the difference between how much of anything I tended to eat and what was a “single serving” size. So I found I was probably eating twice the amount of food that I actually needed. This was wrong to me on so many levels–gluttony, carbon footprint, economics, respect for my body’s changing needs as I age. It was an eye-opener.

  • 70 jo // Nov 6, 2009 at 8:50 am

    i don’t think you could possibly know how helpful this post was to me. i want to print it out and stick it on my fridge or something!
    it’s really easy for me to get caught up in the “i have to lose 2 pounds a week or i’m not going to do it at all” kind of thing. not on purpose but it just kind of happens. so knowing that you’ve gotten so far doing a slow and steady wins the race kind of thing is so nice! thanks for sharing!

  • 71 Kathleen // Nov 6, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Hi Meg!
    Very inspirational post.

  • 72 Michelle // Nov 6, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I bought 30 Day Shred last night. Wow!! I knew I was out of shape but Jillian kicked my butt in just 20 minutes. For those who want (almost) instant gratification, Best Buy has an online special for the DVD for $12.99. You buy it online and then pick it up at the store. No shipping and most stores have it in stock. Food journals and counting calories and/or points makes me crazy also! I know that many people have had success with Weight Watchers, but it makes me become more obsessive about food. Great job Megan and thanks for the inspiration.

  • 73 Jamieofalltrades // Nov 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Congratulations! I think doing it slowly is the best way to loose weight. You’ll keep it off then. You should treat yourself to brothers and sisters on dvd. I’ve been watching it when I had the swine flu and it’s pretty good. Not a lot of thought has to go into it.

  • 74 Anne // Nov 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Congratulations! That takes consistent dedication. Here’s to adopting healthier habits for life!

  • 75 Courtney // Nov 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    i really like the way you broke this all down. thanks!

    aaaand, i just sewed my way through season 2 of call girl — each episode is no more than 24 minutes. go for it!

  • 76 lisa // Nov 6, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    you rock, megan! congrats on the accomplishment! don’t know if there can ever be a replacement for GG. i cycle through my Felicity DVD’s every couple years and find it enjoyable. Beverly Hills 90210 is a hoot (especially the high school seasons).

  • 77 Robin // Nov 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    What an awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    One thing I wondered – did you do anything like counting calories for a brief period of time to get yourself started on the track of watching what you ate? Or just start thinking about it more?

  • 78 Uyek // Nov 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Great post.
    Encouraging/reasonable/achievable.
    And congratulations!
    I’m in shoes similar to Matilda so I have some questions, especially, about the gear …
    We’re moving and this month to a slightly larger apartment; there’s a slight hope of having a “gym” on the (new) premises. Do either of the elliptical trainers collapse or have collapsible/compact cousin? Our new digs won’t have too much more room and we may cancel the gym memberships to afford the rent. Maybe you or one of your readers can suggest a compact elliptical or tradmill?
    Again, great post! It make me (re)realize that healthy living isn’t so out of reach.

  • 79 smilinggreenmom // Nov 7, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I have heard how amazing probiotics are for weight management and I take Vidazorb chewables. I absolutely love them for all the health benefits they have! Probitoics are so great and have made a huge difference to me and to both of our kids.

  • 80 Alissa // Nov 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I watched Weeds while I did the elliptical, until I ran out of disks. Now, sometimes I listen to podcasts (This American Life, the Moth) and sometimes I watch a half-hour show,, but there isn’t a series I am in love with lately. I have tried Monk, and it’s OK but it doesn’t exactly motivate me to workout so I can watch it. Thanks for posting about this! I lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers after having my first daughter, but my little one is 4 1/2 and I still haven’t lost that “baby” weight yet. And calling it baby weight is so ridiculous.

  • 81 Making it Lovely // Nov 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    This was really nice to read. I’m making an effort to really lose weight for the first time in my life, and it’s good to know that just being sensible (eating well and exercising) can work.

  • 82 Julie // Nov 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Congratuations! I did the Dr.Bernstien Diet this year, lost 40 lbs. Figured out that after 2 weeks of paying through the teeth I could do it at home without Dr. B.

    I also treadmilled my way through all 7 seasons of Star Trek TNG, 5 seasons of NCIS, Gilmore Girls, The Office and Lost.

  • 83 Kimberly // Nov 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Congratulations! I need to lose 35-40 lbs by next August and I might try your approach rather than Weight Watchers where my entire day is focused on how much (little) food I have LEFT to eat that day.

    I’m afraid of the 30-day Shred. I’m really, really sedentary. I hate sweating and exercising. I’m uncoordinated. But maybe I’ll try. :)

  • 84 brooke @ claremont road // Nov 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for this. I’m terribly unhappy with my body right now — I’d like to lose 8 or 9 pounds and I just can’t seem to get there — and I need to constantly remind myself that I don’t need to do it quickly. I wish we had room for an elliptical as that would really help me, but for now I’ll stick to my So You Think You Can Dance workout videos (seriously fun) and the Shred (which I need to suck up and buy already). Thanks for the extra motivation.

    Oh — and baby carrots make me feel ill, too. What’s up with that???

  • 85 hillary // Nov 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for such an honest and realistic accounting of your experience. True inspiration!

  • 86 South American Slimmer // Nov 9, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I recently read an excellent book, I can’t remember the name, but it recommended losing weight at the rate of 1lb per MONTH by working out how many calories you need to maintain your weight and then subtracting only 100-200 kcals a day. The idea is that you will be much more likely to stick to a diet if it’s painless. I have to agree with that.

    Personally, I try to diet in as painless a way as possible. I count calories, but I allow myself 1,700 a day, far more than most diets suggest. When I feel a strong sugar craving coming on I eat something, but something healthy (I’ve found that cravings almost always come on as a result of hunger). I don’t run, but walk everywhere and take dance classes instead (much more fun). Once a month, I have a day off the diet and allow myself whatever I feel like. That way, if there is a special occasion coming up, I just plan for it as my day off that month.

    My weight can fluctuate by as much as 5lb per day, so to me it doesn’t really make sense to weigh myself once a week. Instead, I’ve experimented with weighing myself every day and charting a moving average (that way, you can see that the general trend is down, even if your weight is up one day) and am now doing the opposite, weighing myself every 6 weeks. I’ve lost 10lb so far and the trend is still downwards and it’s been pretty painless.

    As for shows, I recommend Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The Wire, Blue Planet and Planet Earth. And my personal favourite is Deep Space Nine, but it’s strictly for Trekkies only.

  • 87 Ashlie // Nov 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I needed to read this. Congrats on your hard work! Thank you for sharing.

  • 88 Lisa // Nov 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I have to third watching 30 Rock. It’s the tv equivalent of cotton candy to me. Light and fluffy and gone (or over) before you realize it.

    And your post has reinforced my desire to buy the Schwinn 430. Next month, it shall be done! I gave up my gym membership earlier this year with the notion of buying it, but never did and have really let myself go…but now that I have my own house and a bedroom that can be converted to a “gym”, I have no reason not to! Thanks again, and congratulations!

  • 89 Whisperia // Nov 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one still addicted to Gilmore Girls.

    I’ve been looking to lose some weight, and have mostly found all of the information and different plans and workouts kicking around daunting. Your post is giving me inspiration to just start with something simple, get going, and keep experimenting until I find something that works. Thanks for posting this!

    I’m pretty sure working out to 30 Rock would keep me going for awhile. Now matter how many times I watch those episodes, I keep catching new things in them that I didn’t catch before.

  • 90 Margaret // Nov 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Oh! My most recent DVD/TV addictions: Friday Night Lights (also on Hulu), The Wire, Arrested Development, Mad Men. Also – Freaks and Geeks :) Congrats on the weight loss and thank you for sharing your tips!

  • 91 Karee // Nov 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Congratulations. I’ve had similar results – since January I have lost 16 lbs, not as much as you, but losing slowly seems to really be good for me.

    I’ve been walking everyday at least 3 miles and doing the Wii Fit Plus. Also trying to eat better.

    Simple and it works. It felt really good buying a smaller size in my Levis last week.

  • 92 jjzach // Nov 11, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I second the Friday Night Lights suggestion. It is a great show even if you aren’t a fan of football. It served me well for many weeks on my Elliptical.

    Thanks for the Elliptical suggestion! I got one after you posted about it a few years back. I had been searching for a treadmill and I’m so much happier with this because it better suits the space we had available. Great quality and my husband and I still use it often. We have the Elliptical set up near a computer so we can watch Hulu and both look forward to watching TV shows that the other one would not like (Him:Sci Fi Shows | Me: Grey’s Anatomy)

    It really has changed the winter months for me. Instead of feeling guilty about not using my gym membership I was able to cancel that and stay in shape during the cold months in Boston. Since it is in my house I can hop on for long workout or just 10 minutes during a phone call etc. I will stop gushing now.

  • 93 Marissa // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I highly recommend these shows, but someone else might have already recommended them, or you might already watch!

    The Big Bang Theory
    Hex
    Coupling (British version)
    Dexter

    And New this season:
    Modern Family
    Community

  • 94 katie // Nov 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    congrats on the weight loss! i love the 30 day shred [and how i met your mother ;)] – had been doing it pretty religiously in the spring, stopped over the summer while i was training for a half marathon, and now realize how much my body responds to the circuit training of the shred. trying to get back to doing it on a regular basis – level 3 is my favorite!

  • 95 Stephanie // Nov 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I am working out and losing weight very slowly myself. I’m just getting out of a halloween candy rut and getting back on track.

    I go to a gym (mostly to steal away by myself without my kids)

    I wanted to recommend “Veronica Mars” as other posters had. It’s only 3 seasons long, but a “must see.” Brilliant writing! I can’t say enough about it.

    Keep it up!

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  • 97 Shawnde // Dec 1, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Congratulations! It’s hilarious that I read this post while munching on an open bag of tortilla chips. Maybe you’ll help motivate me for weight loss in 2010. I can heartily recommend The Wire, too. Five seasons of addictive fun.

  • 98 sue // Jan 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Thanks for sharing – I did the 30 day shred the day after I read this.

    I used 2 cans of Chick Peas instead of handweights!

    Anyhow, wanted to thank you for your post – it feels like an honest and simple way to approach a more healthful 2010.

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