by Lisa Martin
I am just like you. I am in my thirties and managed to put on weight every year since getting out of high school. I was thin in high school (but thought I was fat back then! I would love to have that body back!). I went to college and got sick (sick enough to have to withdraw out of school). It was at that point that I started gaining weight. Over the years, I have tried many different weight loss programs. Obviously, none of them really did the trick for me since it was 2012 and I was well over 200 lbs. (I am only 5’2″, so yes, that made me obese). The kicker is that I never really realized exactly how fat I was. I knew shopping was a nightmare and expensive. I hated it. I thought I was semi-happy. I wasn’t. I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids, and at my weight, I really wasn’t able too nor did I have the energy to.
BEFORE NUTRISYSTEM: 226lb at 5’2”
When I started Nutrisystem in January of 2012, I didn’t know what was in store for me. I didn’t even know if it was going to work for me at all. I set a big huge goal of losing 100 lbs. (Talk to your doctor. I set my goal and then had my OBGYN and chiropractor tell me that if I got down to that weight, I would look too thin. Yes, according to the BMI index, I would be fine, but I trust the medical people in my life.) I didn’t honestly think I was going to make that. That being said, I also set smaller goals. Get under 200 lbs. Then 175. Then 150.
First, talk to your doctor and get a realistic weight goal. You can still strive for what you want, but it doesn’t hurt to have a medical opinion (plus, if you are heavy, you want to make sure you are doing exercises that aren’t going to hurt you). I wish I would have done this first. The next thing you need to make sure you do is take measurements. I didn’t do this till half way through my journey, so I don’t have a total amount of inches lost. Plus, this is a great motivator for the weeks you don’t lose weight. You often times will have lost inches.
Now, this is what I did. When I started the program, I told myself that this was a one time deal. I was going to do this, and I wasn’t going to screw this up. Yes, I was still going to have to make dinner for everyone else, but I had to stay on my program.
I didn’t have to worry about what I was eating on a daily basis. I didn’t even have to think about it. As a busy work at home mom, that is what I needed. I needed something, for once, to be easy.
I’ll be honest — you may be hungry when you start Nutrisystem. One of the big lessons I learned from my weight loss journey is that our portion size is completely out of whack here in America. I think a lot of our problem is not what we are eating but how much of it. When you open your Nutrisystem food, you may look at it and go, that’s it? I know I did.
Your eating pattern is Breakfast-Snack-Lunch-Snack-Dinner-Dessert. Yes, that is a lot of eating. However, you are adding in PowerFuels and SmartCarbs with your meals and for your snacks. These PowerFuels and SmartCarbs are things you buy at the grocery store like whole wheat crackers. There is actually a list of food that will help you decide what you are going to eat for those things.
You also will drink a protein shake every day. They recommend you drink it in the morning. I personally liked it at night. It is filling, and nighttime snacking is what always does me in. When I started wanting to eat at night, I would drink my protein shake instead. They have different flavors, so you can find one that you like. (I am a chocolate freak, so I was very happy to drink a chocolate protein shake every day!).
My top advice for when you start Nutrisystem is get your triggers out of your house. If you love chips, don’t have them in your house. You don’t need willpower to NOT eat them then. They aren’t there to tempt you.
I never would have been able to do this weight loss journey without the people around me. I often hear about spouses sabotaging you. Instead, my husband has been my rock. He tells me how good I look.
I also have a sister in law who likes to text me encouragement. You would be amazed how much of driving force that is. If you know somebody losing weight, I highly recommend randomly texting them how good they are doing on their weight loss journey. Even though I am no longer doing Nutrisystem at this point, she is still texting me, and it gives me the motivation to keep going on this journey.
Chocolate, pizza, hamburgers. You may laugh at that list. However, I got to eat food I liked. Nutrisystem made me realize that I didn’t have to give up the food I love. Instead, I had to eat smaller portions of it and find ways to make it more healthy. For example, I eat fat free cheese and fat free mayo now. I pay a little extra and I get the low calorie bread. (Though I now have been making bread at home and trying to figure out how to make that a little more low calorie.)
I eat a chocolate chip granola bar every morning. (I am not a person who has to change up what I eat. I am pretty boring like that.) On the weekend, I may even have a cinnamon roll (yes, those are on Nutrisystem’s menu along with french toast, pancakes, bagels, etc.)
For lunch, I eat a lunch bar (which is covered in chocolate). I work from home, so I have a lot to get done while my kids are in school. I like foods I can eat on the go.
I also like Nutrisystem’s Tortellini and their Chicken Noodle Soup. Those you just microwave for 1 minute and then eat. Quick and easy, just the way I like it.
If you are part of the frozen foods program, Nutrisystem’s frozen lunch pizzas are to die for. Of everything, those have to be my favorite food.
For dinner, I had my choice of so many things. I could have my Nutrisystem meal match what I made everybody else in my house to eat. Some nights that made a world of difference. I often times had pizza, ravioli, hamburgers, etc. My favorite so-called junk foods that I could eat for dinner whenever I wanted was heaven.
Before Nutrisystem, I didn’t eat dessert. Now, I had my pick of so many chocolate things: chocolate pudding, chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate cake, etc. Being able to eat so many chocolate things allowed this to not feel like a diet. I didn’t feel like I was being restricted.
AFTER NUTRISYSTEM: DOWN 76 POUNDS
Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint. That statement is the hardest lesson I had to learn in this journey. I lost 76 lbs. in a year. I am currently the weight I was in college. I am pre-kids and pre-wedding. The hardest thing to wrap your head around is that 1 – 2 lbs. of weight loss a week is healthy. In a world where ads are constantly bombarding you that you can lose 30 lbs in a week, it is often times hard to remember that 1 – 2 lbs is really what you are shooting for. Until the end of my weight loss journey, I consistently lost something every week. Since weight loss is marathon, if you have a bad day or even week, you just get back on that horse. You are in this for the long haul.
What has this weight loss netted me? In jeans, I went from a 24W to a 10. In shirts, I went from a 2x-3x, to a M. I literally had to empty my closet and buy all new clothes.
Something else I that happened when I lost all of this weight is that I developed what I like to call “fat brain”. I do have a hard time buying smaller clothes, because I think everything should be baggy. However, with the help of friends and family, I am learning how to dress this much thinner body, so that is shows off all of my hard work. When I look in the mirror, I often times still see the heavier me. I luck out that I see the thinner me when I see pictures of myself (though I still see some of the fat I need to still lose). I am in the process of retraining my brain, so I see what the world does. I look at a picture of myself that I think I look thin in and remind myself every single day that is me
Portion control. Remember that portion control thing I mentioned earlier? I bought smaller plates. Smaller portions look bigger in small plates. Do I know I am tricking myself? Sure. However, go with what works! Learning to eat in moderation is key. Nutrisystem taught me moderation. Having ice-cream every night isn’t good for me. Having ice-cream once in a great while isn’t going to be the death of me either.
Good food choices. We eat out a lot. It never dawned on me when I started Nutrisystem NOT to order the Chicken Crispers at Chili’s. I like them. However, when I started looking at what I was eating, I saw the calorie count of those babies. (Let’s just say, it isn’t pretty). Instead of never going out to eat, I found that almost every restaurant has a “lighter” menu. Sometimes you do have to ask for it. What do I order at Chili’s now? The Margarita Chicken. It’s just as good as the Chicken Crispers and a whole lot better for me. If you asked me what my Nutrisystem journey has all been about, I would say: eating better and being healthier.
Exercise. Before Nutrisystem, exercise was a 4 letter word in my vocabulary. When you are fat, exercise is hard. I know that. However, Nutrisystem makes it easy. 30 minutes a day. You can even break it into 3×10 minute workouts if you need too. It is that kind of flexibility that makes the Nutrisystem workable. When I started, I thought I was going to die with a 10 minute workout. Now, I can Zumba for an hour (and I still feel like dying but for a different reason. We have an instructor that pushes us and kicks our butts!). I have also found ways to exercise that I like. I zumba now. I have an app on phone called Run Zombies Run that makes running a whole lot more fun. (It’s an app that has Zombies chase you. Your running speed is determined by whether or not you have a Zombie breathing down your neck. Yes, it is a whole lot of fun if you like Zombies.) You have to find something you like to do otherwise you will never stick to it.
Get Up And Move. I take an active role in getting off my butt now. I volunteer to mow the lawn and to shovel. It burns calories! I no longer look for the closest parking spot (unless it is cold and snowing. Then I still do). My family and I are doing the American Cancer Society’s Rock & Roll Walk/Run this April. Before Nutrisystem, I couldn’t even think about doing that. I would have just donated money. This year, I will walk it with my husband and my kids.
Snack Size Is Your Friend. I love Doritos. Even a year of Nutrisystem couldn’t end my love affair with them. That being said, I am smarter about them. I don’t buy big bags of chips. I buy the little snack ones for my kids lunches. If I feel the need to eat some Doritos, I just have a snack size bag. It cures the craving and I don’t blow 1000 calories on it.
My experience with Nutrisystem is not necessarily going to be everyone’s. However, Nutrisystem worked for me. It taught me how to eat better without the stress of counting calories. It taught me portion control. It taught me to like myself again. It taught me that I like to walk into a store and buy things of the rack.
I often times get told I’m an inspiration. I have hard time accepting that, because to be honest, this wasn’t all that hard. However, somebody told me on Facebook that I have set such a great example for my kids. I had a goal to lose weight. I tried my best, and I achieved it. Well, I may not have achieved the 100 lbs. I originally was trying for, but my almost 80 lbs weight loss still is pretty good. I showed my kids what happens when you put your mind to it. That I can be proud of and stand behind.
I have 5 weddings this year to attend, because I will be able to walk into any store I want and find a dress that actually fits!
Nutrisystem gave me back the life I didn’t know I was missing.
I can run now. Running at over 200 lbs. was not going to ever happen. However, I can play soccer with my kids now (I even helped fill in as a coach last season.) Best of all, not only was I able to keep up 2nd and 3rd graders, I was able to get out of bed the next morning! For once, I didn’t feel old! I also did the Pretty Muddy run last year. (The Pretty Muddy Run is an all women race where there is running and obstacles. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. Well, you also get muddy.) This year, the family and I are going to do the American Cancer Society walk/run.
I can keep up now. When I was fat, everybody was always ahead of me, because I couldn’t keep up. Now, I am leading the crowd even though I am usually shorter than everyone else.
I get asked to be in fashion shows now. I recently was asked to be part of a fashion show for athletic wear. I can guarantee that wouldn’t have happened before. Plus, it was extremely nice to see that athletic wear is becoming way more fashionable.
PARTICIPATING IN A FASHION SHOW
I can walk into a store and buy clothes. For me, this is the most amazing thing. Can I tell you how great it is to walk into your favorite store and fit into the stuff there? It has been so long since I could walk into Kohls and just buy something off the rack. I’m not dreading having to get dresses for all the weddings we have this year. I am actually looking forward to shopping for them. I can walk into Dress Barn and actually fit in all the cute dresses they have. (Not that plus size dresses aren’t cute, they are just much harder to find.) It is so nice to find things that look good on me in a size 10!
MY DRESS FROM DRESS BARN FOR MY HUSBAND’S BROTHER’S WEDDING
It has changed my family for the better. As a family, we are more active now. We take the kids to the zoo for entire afternoons. I don’t feel like cutting my legs off after that adventure anymore. My kids don’t mind the whole wheat bread that is actually better for them. I hope that I am teaching them good health habits, so they aren’t my age and trying to lose weight.
“You look amazing”. From my chiropractor and my OBGYN, to the principal and the other parents in my kids school, to fellow bloggers and people I meet in conferences I attend, in many different ways I have received encouraging compliments countless times since I started Nutrisystem. Let me tell you that people telling you “you look good” makes you feel good about yourself and what you have accomplished. Everyone I see can’t believe how good I look. I can’t recognize myself either.
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE
I am happier. I can honestly say that. With my weight loss, every facet of my life has changed and has changed for the better. I take better care of myself. I dress better. I don’t walk into a room anymore and wonder if I am the fattest person in the room.
I can honestly say that losing weight changes everything, and for that, I am thankful.
Editor’s note: To contact Lisa directly and learn more about her Nutrisystem story, visit her blog at: MyThoughtsIdeasAndRamblings.com.
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