I’ve lost 28 pounds!

Yep, it’s true! It’s taken just about 4 1/2 months to loose 28 lbs. The first 15-20 came off pretty quickly. That’s pretty much always been the case for me. Then the weight loss started slowing down. And then, it stopped. For about 6 weeks I just circled around the same 3-5 lbs. Up and down, up and down the scale went but never dipping lower than about what I was when I hit the 25 lbs down mark.

Ugh, the dreaded plateau! I’ve lost 20-30 lbs MANY times over the past , oh I don’t know, 15 years. (I’m 33 incase you are curious.) That 20-30 lb plateau has historically been my undoing. I get discouraged and loose my motivation and will power. Or, in the case of Weight Watchers, I can’t justify spending all of that money to just maintain for weeks or even months on end. But this time was different. This time I stuck it out. I made it through the plateau (a first of many I imagine.) And now I’m slowly getting back to actual weight loss. This time, I’m armed. This time I’m loaded with weapons. My weapons are: apps – iPhone apps, exercise (imagine that, what a novel idea!), my wonderful Fella, my informative doctor, and the whole wide internet. I’m gonna break it down and tell you how and why all of these people and things are weapons in my personal Battle of the Bulge.

First of all, the apps. I got an iPhone 4 this fall/winter. I am in LUV with the MyFitnessPal app! This is a FREE app that calculates how many calories you need to lose 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 lbs per week. (It can even calculate your calorie needs to help you maintain your current weight or gain weight.) This app has every food and beverage you can imagine. Seriously, I can type in, for example, Almond Milk and it gives me dozens of choices. I can also use my phone’s camera to scan the barcode on any product and get the nutritional info. Also, if you want, you can connect with friends who are also using MyFitnessPal. I can share my successes and see the successes of others. It’s great, I’ve got my Mom using the app as well as connected with several friends. This makes utilizing a support network so easy! Making weight loss and fitness connections with my friends is so helpful. So, I’ve been logging and tracking what I eat and drink and even my exercise on MyFitnessPal since January 4, 2012. That’s the first weapon in my arsenal. Other apps I’m loving are: Nike+GPS, 5K Runner, and I’m learning to love the somewhat complicated Kinetic.

As you can guess from those last few apps, I’ve been exercising. I hope to create a post about this soon. But for now I will say that I have been working on a Couch to 5K program at a very stretched out, slowed down pace. I’m jogging. Seriously, this is happening. I’m jogging. Crazy! I’m also doing some other stuff like trying out a couple spin classes, walking, riding my bike, and trying to develop a regular routine with dumbbells and/or strength training and core exercises. It’s so satisfying to punch in my exercise on the MyFitnessPal app and see all of the calories I’m burning. I started out in January with two goals. First to exercise (preferably by jogging) 3 days per week. My second goal was to exercise at least 20 minutes each time. Most weeks I’ve been good about getting at least 3 days of exercise. And I pretty quickly was able to extend my exercise time to 30-60 minutes or more at a time. So that’s my second weapon.

My next weapons are actually people. My amazing and super handsome Fella decided to quit smoking in November, 2011. I’m so proud of him. He just decided to go cold turkey and he did it. Just like that! There were some twitchy, irritable and restless moments for the first few months. But he made it and he tells me that although it’s still not easy, it’s not as difficult as it was at first. When the the Fella quit smoking he decided to start jogging,(thus inspiring me to start jogging.) He needed a way to expend what he describes as “freak-out energy”, no doubt a result of the nicotine withdrawal. He also felt that jogging would help to reinforce how terrible smoking was for him and allow him to be hyper aware of how his lungs and his body in general were improving. Six months later, he’s regularly running 2-4 miles about three times a week. Not bad!

My doctor also helped by explaining her theories on weight loss plateaus. I think I’ll write more about that in another post. But this has really helped me see my recent plateau as something to wait out rather than let it derail me altogether.

The last weapon is the whole wide internet. I find that by reading, reading, reading and reading more about jogging, exercise, weight loss, nutrition, and health in general, I stay motivated and well informed. I really love reading blogs written by people who have achieved major weight loss and kept it off. Some of my favorites are: 110 Pounds and Counting and Beth’s Journey to Thin. These two women are close to my age and have lost 110 and 90 lbs respectively. They both are fully committed to regular and intense exercise as well as tracking food and calories for post-weight loss maintenance. Another source of information are magazines and cookbooks. A friend has given me some back issues of Runner’s World that I’ve devoured. Really, I’m a fat girl who can scarcely jog two miles and I’m telling you, this magazine has a wealth of information for beginners and marathoners alike.

Whew! This is a seriously long post. Thanks for hanging in there. I hope that I can get better about posting regularly and share more about my fitness progress. I also plan to follow up on some of those topics I teased about in my New Year’s post.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever struggled with a plateau in your weight loss or exercise progress? How did you get through it?