My Weight Loss Journey

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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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 2005, 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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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.

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93 Comments

  1. Tina, thank you so much for sharing this. Do you really find that cutting back a little for just the next meal is enough for you if you indulge? Maybe you just mean get back on track for your next meal. I just heard that a few places today. It seems like calorie-wise if I eat out or go to a party, it would take like a full day of really restricted eating to make up for it. Do you have certain strategies for that sort of thing so it doesn’t feel like a punishment? It’s hard for that to become a downward spiral for me.

  2. Great post! I think the tips are very sane and I have to second counting calories. You don’t have to do it forever, but it really helps to get a reality check! I track mine on SparkPeople, but it can also just be written down. Definitely helped me lose 95+ pounds!

  3. AWesome story and tips 🙂 Although I’ll admit, I’m not big on the fitness magazines. I used to be..but just the other day I read a story about how this one actress tays thin and it was by eating ~1300 calories a day, never snacking, and exercising her butt off. That’s just not right..

  4. I’m 5’4″ and 130 pounds too! Thanks for showing that! I get so frustrated reading Health, Self, Shape, Fitness etc with them ALWAYS showcasing 5’4″ girls who weight 120 pounds or less. I’m like WTF?! When I weighed that little I had a severe ED- so it’s GREAT to see you healthy and happy.

  5. I loved this post. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and although I was familiar with your story it helped to see it again, it’s that little bit of motivation I needed today. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for this post. I’m struggling with the same issues (in grad school, gained quite a bit of weight over the last year from poor eating and overindulging), and I have roughly the same amount of weight to lose. It seems impossible but stories like yours make me hopeful.

  7. I love this post. I struggled with both ends of the spectrum with weight (I was overweight as a kid, diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism, and ended up with anorexia when I became too obsessed with losing weight). Now, I’m at a healthy weight, I’m happy with the way I look, and I’m also a lot more reasonable about exercise.

    I love hearing stories about people getting healthy 🙂

  8. I love that you didn’t treat it like a diet. Living life helped me reach my goal weight too and maintaining it for over a year. I’m happy because I’m enjoying my life and enjoying my food.

    Your tips are the kinds that the magazines always give but hearing it from someone who has actually used them makes them so much more real.

  9. @Kristina: I started out with an online calculator, but then I tried different calorie ranges to see what best satisfied me. I also incorporated workouts into that 1800-2200 range.

  10. great post! it does take a long time if you do it right. I struggle with the whole “I just ran 7 miles so i can eat whatever I want” mentality!

  11. I love that your philosophy is to maintain your weight while not missing out on any fun. I’ve missed out on way too much fun because of my food fears and it’s something I really want to conquer. You give me inspiration though. 🙂

  12. Your a great inspiration, thanks for all of the great tips and your blog is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story! ~ Take Care

  13. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and didn’t know this story! I’ve actually been following a slow, get-back-to-my-“happy”-weight journey, and your blogs (and many of your blog friends) have been great motivation and inspiration for me. Thank you–I’m almost there!

  14. You’re really very inspiring and I can relate to the story – at least a bit. I have never been overweight but I have had periods in my life when I have been gaining weight because of bad eating habits. Now I’m fighting cholesterol and will make it better (and also lose the few kg I have extra around my waist ;)) and I really hope look as stunning as you do when I’m done!

  15. It drives me nuts that exercise and healthy isn’t enough to stay at the weight you want…..stupid portion sizes! It’s bad enough that I dont get to eat the fun stuff without having to eat less than I’d like to of the allegedy good-for-me things!

  16. I enjoyed ur story. I’m 5″4″ as well and eat 6 small meals a day and weight train and can’t seem to get over 106 pounds. I want to gain 5 more. If u don’t mind my asking what weight are u now? I consume about 2200-2500 calories a day and weight train 4 times a week and 30 minutes of cardio 2 times a week. This seems like it should be enough food. Any suggestions. Oh, and I just found ur blog not that long ago. Love it.

  17. Thanks for sharing this story! I reached my weight loss goal by counting calories, exercising, and I’ll admit being a little strict on myself at least in the beginning. Now that I’ve reached “maintenance mode,” I am trying to slowly (but surely) ease into not counting calories (my boyfriend was shaking his head at me just the other day for counting out a serving of crackers!!) but I can’t help myself. Since I know it works, it’s hard to let go. So many people keep telling me I need to up the amount of calories I eat in order to stop losing and simply maintain and relax on the calorie counting, but the fear of gaining the weight back is almost paralyzing! Did you deal with this in the beginning and if so, how did you overcome it?

  18. Thanks for posting! Love the blog and this story was just so inspiring. Also- SO PROUD of the 23lb weights with bicep. You go girl!!!

  19. Girl!!! What a great story. You have always inspired me and now even more so. I would really LOVE to feature you and your story on an upcoming “Wednesday Woot! Factor” post on my blog. I know you would inspire all of my readers big time!! I’ll shoot you a note, or email me at kellyolexa at gmail if you would be able to participate!
    Keep up the awesome blogging. 😉

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