I lost 20 pounds in 2017

Is me.

In 2017, I lost 20 pounds.

This wasn’t something I necessarily set out to do. What I did attempt to do was make shifts in my exercising and eating. These shifts paid off really, really well. No one is more surprised than me;  I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting my weight and trying to figure out what would work.

But this? This worked. I’ve put it in a list form for easier readability. Maybe it will help you as well?

  1. Whole30. I’m not sure when I jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon, but I did. I never did the intense 30 day period but I did pull certain ideas from the program and stuck with them. (I would recommend reading the book; for some reason, their approach to food clicked and gels with what I attempt to feed my children). Basically, I eat a lot of protein (sorry, animals) and I try to eat only non-processed food and try to stay far away from processed grains. This means….


2. Eggs for breakfast. Eggs! Eggs for breakfast! This is very key. They keep me full all morning so I don’t start scrounging around for snacks by 10 a.m. I usually make a little egg salad with hardboiled eggs (packet of mayo, a little salt, mix it up and boom. Breakfast). This keeps me full for…

3. Salad for lunch. I know. Is there nothing more tragic than salad for lunch? It’s so boring! I hate it! Every day I’m like, “Ugh. Salad for lunch AGAIN.” But once I get over the disappointment of No Lunch Excitement (which I think we can agree is an important motivator to get through the work day), salad is pretty tasty and satisfying. This is what I usually get: Greens, shredded carrots, some sort of protein, roasted veggies, dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, a few croutons, some feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but ain’t nobody going to lose weight if they eat a meatball sub for lunch, you know? Dinner is whatever Nat makes but I try to stay away from pasta or anything carby.

4. I only do the egg / salad thing 4 days a week. Monday through Thursday. I call this block dieting. Monday through Thursday, I am strict. If I know I only have to eat this way for four days a week, and can eat whatever Friday through Sunday. It makes it easier to power through (and it means the kids and I can make cookies and pizza on the weekend, guilt free). 

Paul Ryan has one thing right. And that is his love of weights. Everything else: WRONG (including backwards hats).

5. Weight-training over cardio. For years (years!) of my life, I spent so much time doing hours of cardio as I thought that was the key to losing weight. But working out for that long made me sweaty and shaky; it would wreck me for the rest of the day and take up hours of my time (hours I don’t have). Because it was so onerous, I wouldn’t do it. Or only do it once or twice a week. Weight training for 30 minutes is really what made the difference. I do high intensity for shorts amount of time. If I know I only have to work out really hard for 30 minutes (and not an hour and 15), it gets me to the gym.

6. I invested in a trainer. I have a trainer for 30 minutes a week. You don’t need a trainer for an hour. Don’t let them talk you into that nonsense. An hour is too long, too tiring, and too expensive.

7. Don’t work out too hard, but go as often as you can. I know they say quality over quantity but I think the opposite is true for exercise. I guess I always figured if I took an hour and a half spin class once a week, this would be enough. But it’s not (sad trombone). You have to move your body every day. If you can’t lift weights for 20 minutes (but really, you can lift weights for 20 minutes), take the stairs. Or bend over and touch your toes. Walk around while on a conference call. Did you know your iphone tracks your movement? It does. Look at the heart icon. I can see how often I’ve walked and it motivates me to “get my steps up” (and say annoying things to my coworkers like, “I gotta get my steps up.”) Since I constantly have my phone on me, why not use it for things other than looking at social media? 


8. YouTube videos. I can’t escape from my children / family on the weekends to workout as they are still too little and, honestly, I miss them during the week and want to spend time with them. Since I’m stuck at home with them anyway, I Google “10 minute Yoga” or “10 minute high intensity work out with body weight” and do it in the living room as the kids play around me. I guess this is the crux of this entire piece: You don’t need to work out for a long time. The psychological barriers of finding an hour and a half to work out are too great. But what if you don’t have to work out for that long? Also, YouTube videos are great (and free) and nobody knows if you’re following along or not.

Weekend exercising with children.

9. I had some babies and got an IUD. I think some of the reason I used to be heavier was hormonal. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20s and I never got my period. I regulated that situation with the pill. And then after my babies, my doc gave me an IUD and it changed my life. I am not a doctor, but perhaps getting off the pill and having babies reset my hormones somehow? And then I got an IUD, which really reset them. It’s working out so well. I know an IUD isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s cleared my skin and helped me lose weight. I love it more than anything. It makes me feel so much better and I never get my period (again). 

10. Think of your weight as data points. I know that weighing yourself is emotional. But what if you stop thinking of those numbers as some terrible thing and start thinking of them as simple data? We do it all the time with our bank accounts, heating bills, etc. I weigh myself weekly and keep track of it on the little heart icon on my phone (love that thing! I should really learn what the real name of it is other than “heart icon thingy”). I’ve somehow tricked my mind into seeing these numbers not as my weight, but as simple data points I need to move down. It makes it less emotional and more motivating, somehow.

Anyway, here it is. Here is how I lost weight. What has helped you in the past? Let me know in the comments. Or not. Whatever floats your boat.

(If you’ve gotten this far, it probably means you like what I write. If you do, please subscribe to my newsletter. It’s short, funny and has some recipe ideas as well as some links to interesting articles, etc. It’s like The Skimm but for busy, tired parents and women who don’t look a day over 35. You can subscribe here. It comes out every Friday. )


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Drinking my coffee on a Friday morning and I fell down the Tankini Files black hole!
    I decided to comment because I also lost a crap ton of weight in 2017 doing the same thing you did. Lots of strength training, keeping a strict-ish diet M-F, getting an IUD and drinking alls the wine Friday – Sunday. It works! Three cheers for being healthier!!


    1. Dorothy Robinson says:

      Thanks for reading!! So happy you also lost some weight. I think IUDs are magical.


  2. Thanks for sharing your story! I think it’s great that you were focusing on changing your habits and not necessarily the scale, and ended up becoming so much healthier. That’s the ultimate goal!


    1. Dorothy Robinson says:

      Thanks so much for the note. I agree!


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