• 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!

    { 239 comments… read them below or add one }

    Mary Allison December 30, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    you are so HAUTE!

    Reply

    meghan January 2, 2011 at 12:06 am

    This is very motivational. I’m right there where you were when you realized how bad it had gotten. I have been reading your blog for a few months but rarely comment. I never knew this story and am so excited to learn that you have your own weight loss story behind you as well. I hope I’ll have less of a behind and more of a story behind me in the relatively near future. Good luck with your marathon coming up!

    Reply

    Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) January 2, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Seriously, you win the worlds best boobs award. If only mine we half as perky…… sigh. Good for you.

    Reply

    Sunny January 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. My story sounds a lot like yours except I haven’t lost the weight yet, well I did one time, but it was a crash diet so I gained it all back. I read blogs like yours to stay motivated.

    Reply

    Sara @ The Bucket List January 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips! Part of my new years resolution is to work off the weight I’ve gained from starting college to now. I hope that through these tips I’ll be able to reach my goal, over a period of time of course :)

    Reply

    Iesha Vinsant January 9, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Ive lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks thanks to the tips on this website thank you thank you

    Reply

    Lauren January 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Lost 40 lbs since I started reading your blog in May. Thanks!

    Reply

    Angie January 12, 2011 at 1:10 am

    VERY inspiring! :) You’re in amazing shape!

    Reply

    Valerie @ Love and Running January 15, 2011 at 9:55 am

    so inspiring. you look amazing!

    love your blog :)

    Reply

    Dawn January 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Loved reading this! You are definitely inspirational!

    Reply

    Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic January 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Great advice all around – congrats on your progress and continuation of a healthy lifestyle you look amazing!

    Reply

    Aleisha January 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Love your tips! They are a lot of helpful ideas. looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Reply

    E (from One Twenty Five) January 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Yours arm in the Red bikini photo = My Inspiration (in a totally NON creepy way of course)

    Everything above = fabulous = inspiration :)
    Thanks! E

    Reply

    Tiffany February 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Tina, how did you determine your own personal “feel great weight”? I’m just curious how to approach my own, considering that I’m dealing with eating disorder-related challenges still, and could stand to gain a bit more. I think it’s inspiring that you found the “ideal” weight for you, and can both eat well AND exercise to maintain that now!

    Reply

    Tina February 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Great question! I guess it just happened. All of a sudden, I realized that I wasn’t obsessing about food, calories, and the scale anymore. It was almost sort of easy to maintain that weight and I felt really good about my body, so it just became my “feel great weight.”

    Reply

    Tiffany February 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Wow, that is very inspiring, Tina, and I appreciate your response. This is my new goal. I am more than eager to stop obsessing, exercising out of guilt, and feeling unworthy of certain foods.
    Thank you for your perspective!

    Reply

    Arian February 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Great tips. I couldn’t agree more! Looking forward to coming back and reading more from you. :)

    Reply

    Karla February 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Tina!

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and I remember while reading through your wedding planning, wedding and honeymoon days about how balanced you seemed. I am now in that stage of my life. I will be getting married this summer and want to be toned and fit on our wedding day/honeymoon (and after) what are your tops tips/advice for looking so amazing…as you did/do? Did you do things differently to prep for you wedding day?

    Reply

    Lisa March 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I want to look like you! Your blog is amazing by the way!

    Reply

    Andy March 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I read your blog on counting calories, and I have to say it opened my eyes. I just want want to thank you for your insight and helping people to be balanced in their eating. You are one kool lady! I will take your advice on counting calories.

    Thank you!
    Andy

    Reply

    Kal March 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    This is the perfect spot to send this beg comment. Tina….I am in a challenge on sparkpeople. Not only is counting my calories key to successfully losing this tonnage and being healthy, but it’s part of the challenge and yesterday I had your cannellini bean grilled cheese sandwich which was part of my meal plan for the week and I made it and ate it BEFORE I noticed – no nutritionals anywhere….;/ So, I logged my bread and my cheese and the spinach but I’d really love to know how much this sandwich really is so I can write it down and have it for future reference. FYI, I can find this recipe all over the web – and no calories anywhere. Thanks so much! I know I’m being a pest but I’m really trying to do this honest, upfront and right.

    Reply

    yoga and weightloss March 9, 2011 at 8:21 am

    as you said no one want to suffer dieting and avoid all those cookies, chocolates and delicious food that we love to eat for loosing weight. same time won’t be liking that extra fatty look. we should keep our body fit and weight balanced without fighting food, but fighting the fat.. The solution is yoga, and what i meant is not just yoga but the sensible and useful style of yoga that can work accordingly to your body needs and nature..

    Reply

    Tina March 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Excellent, realistic, do-able tips… much appreciated. You’re a beautiful inspiration….
    From a fellow ‘Tina’

    Reply

    Miranda March 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Great tips! I have a very similar story.. weight gain and weight loss. I’ve kept if off using those same strategies! It has also really helped me to find fun ways to exercise, like taking my Boston Terrier for walks and rocking climbing with friends. I love your blog! Keep the recipes, tips, and Murphy pictures coming! ;)

    Reply

    Glocal Girl March 25, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips… Beinga competitive swimmer I’ve always been toned and the “Freshman 15″ didn’t come until after college when I broke up with my longtime boyfriend and went on a drinking/eating-out spree. The pounds crept on and it wasn’t until I made some conscious changes that I felt like “myself” again. I love reading about fitness your journey!

    Reply

    Kimberly March 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Hi Tina,

    Can you tell us what your favorite fitness/health magazines are?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Tina March 27, 2011 at 10:17 am

    @Kimberly: Check my FAQs! :)

    Reply

    terri March 31, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    i have gained about 7-10 lbs and feel like a fatty. i am having a hard time getting into the exercise eating healthy frame of mind! your tips are awesome and you look great! thanks for sharing!!!!

    Reply

    Celia April 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing – I love your story; I struggled with weight my WHOLE childhood and much of my teen years; at the end of high school I finally started to get it under control. It’s taken me 10 years to get to my goal weight, but I tried to go about it “the right way” by building and maintaining a pretty healthy lifestyle. I appreciate your blog, as it ABSOLUTELY helps to see new, fresh recipes, ideas, tips, etc. Thanks again! Glad to be following you!

    Reply

    Leah April 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    So inspirational! I’ve been trying to lose weight and it can be so discouraging! Love reading your blogs!

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    LA April 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    just made some of your oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, thanks for the recipe and motivation!

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    Nicole April 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    PLEASE tell me how you got those amazing arms!! I have been woprkign on my arms, and my goal is for them to look like yours! Is that a yoga body? ;) Beautiful and motivating! I follow Leslie at andherlittledogtoo…so CONGRATS on the book! I look forward to purchasing and reading..and now following your blog as well. I’m hooked!

    =) Nicole nicspang@hotmail.com

    Reply

    Nicole April 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    @Nicole: I just ordered your book and have enjoyed my first few days of catching up on your blog! Sooo well done! Congrats! :)

    Reply

    Tina May 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    @Nicole: Thank you! :)

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    Madison May 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I love your story and thanks for the tips. You look great!

    Reply

    Tamara May 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I just picked up your book at B&N and hightailed it over here to check out your blog. You look fantastic, and I just love your attitude! And your career change is inspirational… something I’m hoping to do someday!

    Reply

    Sonia May 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Hi there!

    Great blog – very inspiring.

    What’s your take on carbs? When should carbs be eaten, and how much? Of course, too much of anything is bad. But is it really not right to eat carbs post 5 pm?

    Thanks ;)

    Reply

    Tina May 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    @Sonia: I love carbs– and eat a lot of them, but I mostly stick to the whole, high fiber kind. I pretty much include carbs in all of my meals, so I usually eat them all day long. Hope this helps!

    Reply

    Abby May 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Very inspiring! I just started reading your blog and am addicted:-) I’m right where you were as well!! I’m 5’6 and just creeped up to 152lbs. I’ve been avoiding caring but recently I borrowed my mothers camera to put pictures online and every picture in my mom’s camera from the last year is a ‘bad picture’ of me. I’d like to be at a healthy weight of 140lbs but everytime I decide I’m going to do it this time for keeps (on a diet) I always fail. I’ve come to the same conclusion that it has to stop being about “dieting” and has to be about living. I appricate your story so much. I’m so sick of being ‘off’ the health wagon and then back ‘on’ the health wagon!! Thank you

    Reply

    tara May 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Tina- I found your book after reading Meals & Miles and And Her Little Dog Too. I have always been a “healthy” eater and exerciser, and since having a baby haven’t been able to get back into that healthy lifestyle. Finding this book and subsequently your blog has been the motivation I needed to get back on track. Thank you for your inspiration and healthy tips to get started. I hope to have a success story like yours!

    Reply

    Kendall June 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Hey Tina..
    Can you help a school girl who lives faaar from the closest gym and homeschools get back on track?
    We eat pretty healthily, but I’ve always picked up weight really easily. I kept active though, and until about 2 years ago, I was a normal weight for my height, and very strong and supple. Then my dad lost his job and we had to move. I started eating far more and stopped gymming, mountain biking (who with? All my friends were miles away) ballet and gymnastics. Now I’m fat and I hate it! How can I at 16 take control?

    Reply

    Glenneth June 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Are there are nutrition/health books that you recommend? Thanks!

    Reply

    Tina June 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    @Glenneth: Check out this post I wrote for Health.com: http://weightloss.health.com/2011/04/05/weight-loss-books/

    Reply

    Katie June 24, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Hi! Which magazines (about health, fitness, diet etc.) did you read? Which ones can you recommend? I’ll move to the U.S. and I have no clue about the American magazine market. I’m currently reading Self online and Women’s Health (also online, since I’m still in Europe). But I don’t really know any other magazines…
    Thanks!
    Katie

    Reply

    Tina June 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

    @Katie: Check my FAQs! :)

    Reply

    Xoch July 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    @Katie:
    I’ve been reading Women’s Health and I think is great! They have motivating weight loss stories, exercise plans, diet suggestions, etc. I got the subscriptions as a gift, but when the gift expires I’m definately renewing it.

    Reply

    Rachel July 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    You’re such an inspiration to all of us!! thank you for the awesome tips and the motivation. you look AMAZING!! <3

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    Xoch July 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I read your article posted on Yahoo Shine – Health Living, right after I finished I had to follow your blog in Bloglovin’

    I gained some weight after I got married (Im 5′ and was 115lbs. on my wedding day, but now Im 135lbs – so ashamed of myself) but after I read your weight loss tips I realized i’ve been doing most of them and when I stick with them for a while I lose even 10lbs, exept that I don’t have a workout regimen, nor will I run the 13 miles you ran this morning, LOL…

    But everyday I’ve been more motivated to start running, I exercise once of twice a week, for about 30 min. that helps a lot! Im hoping that reading your blog, finish reading my new book “Runner’s complete book of running for women” helps me stick to an exercise plan, track my intakes and loose at least 15lbs by the end of the year (considering that I have less than 6 months!!) You have become a great motivation, although I think that the beset motivation we have is our own self. Thanks so much for writing this blog, you help us a lot!

    Reply

    ืNina July 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

    i gained 10 kgs in a year (during senior year) and i’ve been so stressed out, from all the remarks, jokes, clothing i can’t fit in, getting criticized by almost everyone i know every time i see them…and resulted in binge eating and depression.
    your website’s really great. you’re an inspiration to me and i’ve been eating healthier and trying to include more exercise into my lifestyle. it’s good to realize that i’m not the only one in the world that’s going through this…
    thank you for everything :)

    Reply

    Clare August 10, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Hi Tina,
    I only recently came across your blog and WOW – such an inspiration! I just have a quick question. I absolutely looove to bake sweets and desserts – how often did you treat yourself to such things while you were trying to lose weight? Did you avoid them completely? I love baking for people, but I feel i have to try everything i make before giving it away (well you sort of have to right?), which gets a bit dangerous with all those calories! I feel that the only solution to my weightloss is to stop baking to avoid getting trapped, which does work i guess, but its become such a hobby that I wouldn’t want to stop! I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

    Cheers,
    Clare

    Reply

    Tina August 10, 2011 at 8:09 am

    @Clare: I treated myself to sweets and dessert every day while losing weight– and I still do now! :) But, I enjoyed them in small portions (a piece of dark chocolate) with a bigger splurge once a week (a huge cookie from Starbucks), so I didn’t feel deprived. Maybe you can limit you baking to once a week, so you’re not tempted by the goodies?

    Reply

    Clare August 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

    That is so great to hear! I had a heap of baking to do today and felt awful after having tasted everything! So I think I will do just that – once a week would be like a little sweet reward for all the efforts put in during the week. Thank you so much for your response :)

    Reply

    Melanie August 31, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I love to look and feel sexy,even though I eat lots and lots of my favorite dishes, I maintain my figure using skinny fiber.A product that flat out works and has amazing results.

    Reply

    Jennifer September 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I am trying to lose about 25 lbs just like you did. Reading your blog and book helps to motivate me at times when I feel it is impossible. I was always super skinny in high school and college (just high metabolism) so I could literally eat anything and not gain one pound. Then I got a desk job and slowly but surely the pounds packed on and now I am trying to change my horrible eating habits and exercise habits. Thanks for the great posts letting us all know we are not alone. :)

    Reply

    Andrea (From Seed to Stomach) October 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I love this post. I’ve shed 100! lbs and recently gained a few back and this post helps put things in perspective. For me, yoga, body pump, and a plant-based diet are the keys to success. Now that I have grad school at night after work, it’s hard to get in as many work-outs during the week as I did at my feel-great weight, so I’m back to food-journaling (my version of calorie counting) and am trying to cut down on wheat and really need to stop eating 3 hours before bed (that’s the tough part!). Thanks for sharing your journey and keep up the good work!

    Reply

    Coral October 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    um you are GORGEOUS and such an inspiration!

    Reply

    Monica January 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Great blog! I really enjoy it!. Would you be able to post an example of your week menus? I will really appreciate it. Thanks :)

    Reply

    Tina January 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks! I’m so glad you like CNC! I blog almost all of my meals and snacks daily, so just keep reading or feel free to check out my old posts! :)

    Reply

    Monica January 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    @Tina: Thanks Tina!

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    Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] January 21, 2012 at 1:10 am

    April ’11 — you are my fitspiration :)

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    Jess March 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t know why but today I went back to read your weight loss story and was SO struck by how similar your story is to my own. The slow-creep weight gain that suddenly started showing up in pictures and affecting my self-confidence and frustrating me because, similar to you, I was working out daily, sometimes twice a day, but my eating was WAY off the charts calories-wise. Since last May, I’ve been tracking my calories in Fitday and have completely restructured my working out (barre workouts and running exclusively) and its change my body entirely (in 15 inches lost, almost 20 lbs lost) and given me a huge confidence boost. It’s funny – even your eating style is very similar to mine (love the oatmeal/pb/chopped apple or banana combo!!) today. I love it. Glad I read (or re-read) this part of your site!

    Reply

    jobo March 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Similar to what my sister Jess just said…wow, our stories are pretty similar to yours! It’s amazing what calorie-counting and really thinking about what you are eating does. And being consistent with eating and staying within the same number every day!! You look fantastic!

    Reply

    Kim April 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Tina,

    Thanks so much for you inspiring story. I read your blog every day and feel it has really helped me understand what a healthy lifestyle can look like. I read your book and my favorite part is about cookie Friday. I no longer eat sweets and foods I like with guilt.

    I started my weight loss plan 3 months ago and I’m 6lbs down. I’m reaching my goals but sometimes I get frustrated with how long it’s going to take. Do you have any tips that helped you stay motivated for the year that you were losing weight? Also, were there months you lost more weight than other?

    Reply

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