• Weight Loss

    I love food and I love eating. But, I don’t love dieting. Although I have always been a mostly healthy eater, I’m not one to turn down a piece of birthday cake or a glass of wine during cocktail hour. But indulging a little too much and a little too often resulted in a slow gain of 25 pounds by my early 20s.

    When I was younger, I’d managed to maintain my weight of 130 pounds by being active. I belonged to the dance team and played intramural sports, so it wasn’t difficult for me to motivate myself to exercise. After college, I started a desk job, and with that came long hours, pizza lunches, and plenty of happy hours. I continued to exercise almost every day, but it wasn’t enough—and my weight climbed to 153 pounds, which was too much for my 5-foot-4-inch frame.

    My Tipping Point

    I wasn’t happy at my heaviest, but I wasn’t really motivated to do anything about it until a ski trip with friends in 2004 put things in perspective. The vacation was a blast, but I quickly lost my getaway glow when I saw photos from our trip. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained. Every photo was a “bad” photo of me. I was so depressed that I threw most of them away.

    Soon after the ski trip, I left my desk job to pursue graduate school and took a part-time job working at the front desk of an upscale health club. One of the perks was a free membership, which was the motivation I needed to take control of my weight. I started exercising at the health club most mornings, taking Body Pump and spinning classes on a regular basis. Finding workout buddies helped too. I made some new friends who were avid runners and I began training for and participating in road races with them.

    Even though I was burning plenty of calories through exercise, I knew my eating habits were preventing me from losing weight. I wasn’t eating unhealthy foods—I stuck with salads, turkey sandwiches, and stir-fry dishes—I was just eating too much of everything. I started tracking my daily calories online at fitday.com. Counting calories really helped me understand my overblown portion sizes and just how many calories I was consuming.

    A New Life

    Almost a year and a half later, in the summer of 2006, I finally reached my goal weight of 130 pounds. My weight loss didn’t happen overnight—in fact it took a pretty long time—but that was because I wasn’t “dieting.” Through trial and error and figuring out what worked best for me, I made lifestyle changes, which have stuck with me to today. For example, I almost always have oatmeal with nut butter and a piece of fruit for breakfast. It helps set a healthy tone for my whole day, plus it keeps me full until lunchtime.

    Now I’m committed to maintaining my weight without missing out on any fun, like birthday celebrations or nights out with friends, which is the main philosophy behind Carrots ‘N’ Cake. Hopefully, my tips and tricks are helpful to you and you’ll share some of your own secrets and successes with me too.

    BEFORE

    December 2003

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    August 2003

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    AFTER

    July 2008

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    July 2010

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    April 2011

    June 2012

    October 2012 

    August 2013

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    What Worked for Me: My Weight Loss Tips

    Make an appointment to exercise

    Every Sunday I jot down my exercise goals on my Google calendar. Sometimes last-minute plans get in the way, but I generally stick to my schedule once I’ve put it in ink.

    Count calories—at least in the beginning

    I didn’t realize just how many calories I was consuming, so tracking what I ate helped keep me aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I don’t count calories anymore, but I track what I eat (and when I exercise) on my blog, which keeps me accountable.

    Eat fresh fruit with breakfast

    It’s such a small thing to do, but it sets a healthy tone for my whole day. Plus, fruit is low in calories and good for you!

    Reduce portion sizes

    This might seem like a “duh” tip, but just eating less of my usual servings helped me lose weight.

    Read a lot of health and fitness magazines

    These types of magazines are constant motivation and keep healthy eating and fitness interesting, especially when I really don’t want to get on the elliptical! Plus, I get tons of a great ideas for meals and workouts from them.

    Meal plan

    Every Sunday I sit down and plan a week’s worth of meals. I almost always make my own lunch, which means I have more control over how many calories are in my meal. I’m also able to save money by making sure I use up all of my fresh produce.

    Keep truckin’

    Maintaining my weight is all about balance. If I overindulge at a weekend barbecue or mindlessly munch throughout the afternoon, I don’t throw in the towel. I make sure my next meal is healthy and move on.

    Want Even More Motivation?

    Check out these posts!

    How I Beat My Sugar Addiction

    How I Get Myself Back on Track

    Tricks to Avoid Emotional Eating

    How to Lose Weight with a Busy Schedule

    Sunday Style: How I Set Myself Up for a Healthy Week

    My Meal Planning Process

    Q & A: Starting a New Diet and Cravings

    Healthy, Travel-friendly Snack and Lunch Ideas

    Tips to Curb Late Night Snacking

    How to Gain Support While Losing Weight

    5 Tips for Goal-Setting Success

    My Thoughts on Carbohydrates

    Protein Powders I Love

    I also write a weekly column for the weight loss blog on Health.com, so be sure to check out more of my posts there!

    { 237 comments… read them below or add one }

    Home Weight Loss Now January 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Congrats on your Success Tina! I’ve reviewed some products to help people just like you to lose weight and improve general health on my blog, please check it out! :)

    Reply

    Justin January 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Wow Tina, you are truly a success story and I believe I can do the same as long as I keep my self on track and stay away from junk food, and exercise more.

    Reply

    Sabina February 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Tina,

    Firstly, AWESOME Abs, you go girl! I find that I can NOT do the one little piece of cake here and there as it ends up being a slippery slope for me. But you are absolutely correct, it must be a lifestyle change and done over time. Most importantly I found that there are certain foods that would stop me from losing weight and if I stay away from them, I am okay. The crazy thing is that some of these foods are often thought of as being healthy.

    All the power to you and keep it up.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Sabina.

    Reply

    what is cardio exercise February 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Keep posting the good work.Some really helpful information in there. Nice to see your site. Thanks!

    Reply

    Kelly February 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Tina,

    I just found your blog by searching for weight loss success blogs. Really nice blog and it is very motivating for the rest of us who are still working at losing weight to see the results you have achieved. Thanks for sharing what you have learned along the way with the rest of us :)

    Reply

    Tony February 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you so much for your useful information and source of achievement.Discover How You Can also Completely Transform Your Body To Look Your Best Ever In Only 25 Days With The Most Strategic, Fastest Fat Loss Program

    Reply

    Kev February 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Wow. That is some transformation. Well done. Also a great blog. Loads of “real life” information. In other words, what you have done that works, not just repeating what others say. Be proud! I hope you inspire others to reach their goals.

    Reply

    Choy February 21, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Wow you look absolutely amazing. I also love to indulge, especially on Mars Bars lol. You have inspired me enough to change some of my bad habits and to hopefully soon enough achieve my ideal physique. Thanks for the tips :-)

    Reply

    Brooke February 24, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Tina, this is amazing! Congrats on the success and let me tell you — you look amazing!!! :-D

    Reply

    Kali February 24, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Wow! Your weight loss journey is amazing! The “Read a lot of Health and Fitness Magazines” tip is great, but I also feel reading inspirational blogs like yours can be helpful as well. Great job!

    Reply

    Emilia Smith February 25, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Thanks for sharing your successful story. You look stunning!
    That’s a real inspiration how is possible to change your life style and eating habits with some determination and motivation. Really enjoy reading such stories. Keep it up!

    Reply

    Karen February 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Really great story! Congratulations your success. I’am just starting my diet plan. A lot to do – but I’ll be strong just like you ;)

    Reply

    Penny March 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Tina, Great blog. I love that you were able to get great results using a common sense approach to losing the weight and getting in shape. I truly believe that is the only way to do it to maintain the loss for a lifetime. You are an inspiration to anyone who is on a weight loss journey. Keep up the good work!

    Reply

    Magda March 14, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Hi Tina, I really enjoy your blog. Very encouraging! You look great. Warm greetings from Krakow, Poland!

    Reply

    Collin March 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I really think it’s great when people take control of their lives.

    Reply

    Andy March 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Reply

    Elize March 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Great story! You inspire me to work hard Thank Youi!

    Reply

    Emily March 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    First, congratulations!

    Second, what a great bunch of weight loss tips. Its awesome to see practical information people can easily fit into their every day lives. You’re an inspiration for people looking to lose weight without dieting :)

    Reply

    Marleigh Raye March 31, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    LOVE THIS! So much inspiration, thank you! Trying to get tips and motivation as well as encouragement by starting a weight loss blog about couples losing weight together! Hope I can be as successful as you, thank you!

    Reply

    Tim April 1, 2014 at 12:20 am

    I love seeing people succeed! You’re doing great!

    Reply

    Mark April 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Excellent post. I like that you posted after pictures that include a 4 year time span proving that you can lose weight and keep it off. This should really inspire people. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    Sarah @ Run Shop Eat Repeat April 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Great post, I love how you transformed your body through healthy changes like diet and exercise! So inspiring, it truly is a lifestyle change – not diet – that works. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reply

    Brownie April 8, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Enjoyed the tips, enjoyed the pics! Amazing what can be achieved if you truly put your mind to something :)

    Reply

    Sophie April 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Absolutely love this page – I can relate to it on so many different levels. I’m on my own journey back to where I used to be and I’m determined not to miss out on any fun whilst I do so!

    Reply

    Shonna April 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I have three kids and weighed more than 200 pounds when I delivered them. I felt fat, especially in my belly. I found this tea called Tea More Skinny and I also tried those body wraps on my stomach. I really wanted a natural way to lose weight without too much exercise, I mean I really don’t have time to go to the gym with three kids (they hate that little play room ,LOL). I did try some of those pills and it was a terrible experience for me. When I saw the Tea More Skinny on the internet I was really skeptical but honestly it worked for me. I went from 177 to 155 in less than two months. The tea tastes good, I still drink it. I go to the gym one day a week (Saturday mornings), eat a protein-filled breakfast and eat smaller lunches and dinner. I enjoy your blog and your story too…I hope you like mine!

    Reply

    Denise April 11, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Thanks for the inspiration. Planning exercise and meals is key especially when you are working at a desk job full time. If I have to go to the store, cook, and then eat, I end up just going out to eat.

    Reply

    Mel April 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    You look fantastic. It’s always good to see someone who is successful in an area i have not been. It gives me hope :).

    Reply

    Leslie April 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I like your idea about eating fruit first thing in the morning, and it setting the tone for the day.

    Leslie

    Reply

    Angela Brown April 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Very inspirational! Great ideas, thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Reply

    Tony April 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Very inspirational! Great ideas, thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Reply

    Mystery May 1, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Wow congratulations! I love your blog. You are my inspiration!

    Reply

    Scott May 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Tina,

    I have recently started eating fruit for breakfast every morning and I can’t believe how much better I feel.My sustained energy level was the first thing I noticed changing for the better,as well as my mood in the afternoon.
    I also agree with your idea of changing your “lifestyle”,not just going on a diet.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply

    Ashley May 21, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I’ve read your story a handful of times now and every time I read it again I’m inspired! I always come back to Carrots n Cake when I need a little fitness and food pick me up. Thanks for all you do!

    Reply

    Sandra May 23, 2014 at 5:15 am

    You are looking good now. More shape and more strong. Thanks for sharing the tips.
    I’m trying to lose weight now. Like you said, I eat less portion sizes than normal and it started to help me to lose weight. Also, reading magazines or books indeed help me to gain more “skinny knowledge” : ) Plus one more tip from me – eat less oily food. It works well on me.

    Reply

    Chloe June 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I only just found your blog but it’s awesome! You look so great! Kisses.

    Reply

    stacey June 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    What a great story, thank you for sharing & your tips

    Reply

    Steve June 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Congratulations Tina, you ve done and amazing job! You should be really proud of yourself :) Thanks for the inspiration

    Reply

    Angeli Yuson June 15, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Wow wow wow! Look at your abs! Looking amazing! Thanks for your story

    Reply

    Jenn June 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Wow, what a great story! Very motivational and you look great! I am sure that you probably feel great also.

    Also I really love your tips. Very real and doable!

    Reply

    Mike June 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Congratulations. I love your blog and hope one day to follow in your footsteps and achieve my weight loss goal. Thank you for the wonderful information. Have a fantastic day.

    Reply

    Mary July 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Wow! I always love reading weight loss stories when I need that extra push to the gym! Thanks! Now I’m off to burn some calories. I appreciate the inspiration.

    Reply

    Nicole July 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Great job on your success ! I love your writing format as well. I learned a lot on this page keep it up!

    Reply

    Rocker July 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    What a great story! I’m super motivated to lose weight now. I definitely can relate to looking back at photos to see what a difference a few short months could make. I’ve gained about 30 pounds since my son was born and I was just thinking about how I should be doing something to drop some pounds. I decided to go for it after reading this post. I will also chronicle my journey for inspiration to others. Thanks for your insight and keep up the good work!

    By the way, the crazy video thing that I couldn’t skip was painful to sit through… thanks anyways though. I know you guys have to make money somehow.

    Reply

    Len July 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Thanks for your story, so very down to earth. I find it hard to exercise due to injuries to my knees, sit down a lot at the computer, for my business. But am trying to eat better now, and have started having a warm water and lemon juice first thing in the morning, try some gentle exercise, bending and gentle squats, am getting better, keep up the good work.

    Reply

    Elana July 29, 2014 at 12:31 am

    You are amazing! Congratulations to you.

    Reply

    Alicia August 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Congrats! Awesome job.

    Reply

    Simon Young August 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I took up cycling as a motivation to lose weight and get fit. It’s working, but hard work up those hills…

    http://www.suffolkcycling.com/cycling/cycling-hills-weighty-issue/

    Reply

    Jason August 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Gongrats losing weight is not easy but you have to find out what works for you breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

    Reply

    Marcus Doleman August 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Wow congrats to you also, great job

    Reply

    TJ September 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Great Tips! Great Abs!!! Just wow on the abs!! Great job! Very inspiring! What did you do to get the abs to show? How long did it take?

    Reply

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