Friday, January 17, 2014

The Fitnasty Five

I'm approaching this Five on Friday a little differently than normal. Since going a little more public with my weight loss, a lot of people ask me for "my secret." As a disclaimer, I'm no dietician, medical professional, or fitness expert, I just know what's worked for me.

Here's a breakdown of five key factors that I think are responsible for my success in the last year:

Track everything.

Ev. Ry. Thing. That includes the handful of mini chocolate chips while getting dinner together (140 calories!), and the munchkin from the office kitchen (70 calories). I think I tried to trick myself for so long that if I didn't track, it didn't count, but that's not the way it goes with the scale. And you'd be surprised how much little BLTs (bites, licks, tastes) add up throughout the day! Tracking everything really makes you conscious of what you're eating, how much you're eating, and when you're eating it. Even if you don't plan on tracking every day forever, I think it's a necessary evil to at least get a baseline for what a healthy day of eating looks like.

Complete and total immersion.

To me, this means three things: first, I told everyone around me that I was starting Weight Watchers from the outset. It kept me accountable and made me conscious of the food decisions I was making around people who knew I was trying to lose weight.

Secondly, I made my kitchen a temptation-free zone. There are foods that I know I cannot trust myself around and I do not buy those foods. If they're not in my apartment, it's a heckuva lot easier to avoid that late-night urge to eat an entire bag of cheese cubes. For me, this means no pita chips, cheese cubes, Nutella, or naan bread.

Finally, I surrounded myself with a wealth of motivational resources, namely blogs and Instagram accounts. I follow at least two dozen fitness/weightloss blogs, and reading others' journeys and successes as I go through my Feedly or scroll through Instagram keeps my head in the game. It's a lot harder to talk yourself out of a 6am workout when the last thing I see before bed is a slew of #transformationtuesday pictures. Truth!

Discipline > Motivation

I think the reason I failed so many times before was that my motivation to lose weight was short-lived. I wanted to get thin for an event, or to wear a certain size pants, or to feel comfortable in a swimsuit in the summer. I still want all of these things, but that's not what keeps me focused. Because the minute that motivation does away, so does the discipline.

Now, my long-term goal is me. So I can be healthier, more confident, and happier in my own skin. Having a long-term focus makes it easy to stay disciplined, which is what it takes to make the right choices, even (especially!) when you don't want to.


I drink a LOT of water - 100oz a day, if not more. Not only does it help me to better understand the difference between thirst and hunger, but it's definitely helped my skin and hair. Plus, being hydrated is a key ingredient in having good workouts.

Find your new normal.

July 2012 versus December 2013
Above all, I think finding your new normal is the single most important factor in weight loss success. Eating only cabbage soup might help you lose 5lbs in a week, but when you go back to eating normally, the weight will come right back.

I joke that I started Weight Watchers because it was the only diet that still allowed me to eat Jimmy Johns. Okay, that's not a joke, it's actually kind of true. This isn't to say that low-carb diets are bad, but that they won't work for me. If I tried to lose weight by cutting carbs and zumba-ing on the daily, I'd have given up before I even got started! Instead, I focus on sustainable long-term changes that allow me to eat in moderation, while maintaining the freedom for occasional splurges.

The cliche really is true: it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. Making a true lifestyle change is about finding the diet (as in, way of eating) and exercise program that you can stick with for the long haul.

Secret's out!

What do you think are the keys to weight loss success?

Have any other questions for me? I'm happy to help!


  1. I love this post! You are sooooo right! I try to do these as well and it really, really works!

  2. Brilliant post. I totally agree about it being easier to resist temptation when it just isn't in the house!

  3. What a great post! Thanks so much for the insight, I agree with you about doing it for you and not for a specific event!

  4. I agree 100%!!! Great post girl

  5. Carolyn, you rock.

  6. Love everything about this post and agree with everything you've said, 100%. You made a post a few months ago about dedication vs. motivation and it really resonated with me. Since then, I use the term dedication over motivation, because you're right, that's what kept me on the straight and narrow.

    Triple like this whole post. You're officially my weight loss soulmate. :)

  7. awesome post. let me ask you, is that your screen shot from your WW app? cause how the heck did you get 69 activity points?im lucky if i hit double digits (and i admit im lazy)

  8. I love this! My #1 thing is accountability and tracking. Right now I'm publicly tracking my food/workouts and it helps SO much.

    I'm really excited to follow your running journey and would love to help in any way!

  9. Great post, thank you so much for your ideas and motivation!! I started WW a week ago and Im still getting back into it - I needed a step up from MFP and this one I knew would keep me from my BS :) Thanks!

  10. I love love love this post! Each of these five "secrets" are things I know but have yet to learn how to incorporate into my life long term. I definitely haven't gotten to the point of discipline rather than motivation. This will be the year that it all changes though. I WILL do this and I am super thankful to know that you'll be right there to support me and kick me in the bootay when I need it.