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Sarah's Calorie Counting Success

 
Sarah's Details
Age 25
Height 5ft 6in
Start Weight 11st 2lb
Current Weight 9st 6lb
Goal Weight 9st 7lb
Weight Lost 1st 10lb
Working to Rate of Loss 2lb, then 1lb, then ½lb per week

Sarah: Before 11st 2lb…    After 9st 6lb

About Sarah

I have lived with my boyfriend for 2½ years over which time our eating habits have improved a lot. We used to eat high calorie dinners every day, get regular takeaways and I’d pop to the corner shop at night whenever we got sweet cravings.

Now we have both adopted a generally healthier lifestyle; we cook healthier meals, we eat out less, we go for long walks and play badminton together plus I have stopped getting treats just because he is having one.

I work in a 9-5 office job. I changed jobs six months ago and it significantly helped my weight loss efforts. I previously worked long hours with long commutes, which I used as an excuse to not exercise and not always cook. I also moved sites every couple of weeks so didn’t have a routine in terms of what food was available during the day.

Now I’m at a fixed location with good hours. I’ve joined a gym near work and have time in the evenings to cook healthy meals.The only problem is the new job has buffet style lunches, which are hard to keep control with!

What diets (if any) have you tried in the past?

None. I’ve moaned about my weight for years but never really attempted to do anything about it, other than try to eat healthier which never lasted.

The only time I successfully lost weight was when I couldn’t get a job one summer when I was home from uni, so my dad got me a gym membership for a month. In my boredom I exercised for hours each day without really changing my eating habits. As soon as I went back to uni the weight piled back on.

Tell us how your weight has affected your lifestyle.

I don’t think my weight ever significantly affected my lifestyle or what I did. During uni, I didn’t weigh myself and only realised how big I looked when I recently looked back at graduation photos.

During the day I usually covered up in baggy jeans and hoodies, not taking much pride in my appearance, then at night I would go out wearing mini skirts and vest tops, while drinking for confidence.

When I went on holiday with friends I always felt self-conscious and uncomfortable, because they are all slim. Generally, my weight and unhealthy lifestyle just made me feel lazy and greedy.

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

My weight started creeping up in my late teens and the more control I had over my diet, the less healthy I became. At uni, while my flatmates and I mostly cooked meals from scratch and ate small portions due to budget restraints, we had a warped idea of ‘healthy’ sometimes.

A salad at lunch would be full of pasta, cheese, bacon and mayonnaise. I also snacked all day; I have a sweet tooth so would eat lots of chocolate, shortbread and puddings. The main problem though was the drinking.

I’d go out a few nights a week, drink a lot of alcohol with fizzy mixers, then get McDonalds or pizza on the way home. This was paired with no regular exercise.

When I saw my graduation photos I was horrified. I was also ignoring the fact that I had to buy larger clothes. I weighed myself and realised I’d crept slowly into the overweight category. I knew if I didn’t do something then my weight would just continue to increase.

I wanted to lose weight and change my lifestyle, partly for health reasons but, honestly, largely for vanity. I wanted to look better and not feel like the fat one next to my friends.

Which tools and resources do you use regularly on WLR? Which tools do you find invaluable?

The food and exercise diaries are the key to WLR. I try to log everything and I’m improving on my bad habit of giving up logging when I’m having a bad week.

I find the history report really useful, as I often save calories through the week to use at the weekend. I also use the nutritional reports, which help me to focus on health as well as just calories.

The most invaluable tool to me is the forum. I have learnt so much from it, from new foods to reliable exercise programmes. The other members are great for providing support as well as inspiration.

I now try and give back, by offering advice to other members and recently, by running a motivational challenge on one of the boards.

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Have you purchased/used any products/fitness equipment that has helped you with your goals?

I joined a gym this year. I also bought a book, New Rules of Lifting for Women (Lou Schuler), and follow the strength training programme in that.

I do the workouts mainly at the gym, but have weights and a Swiss ball at home too. I purchased a heart rate monitor that I now can’t live without; it’s great to know reliably how many calories I’ve burnt at the gym.

Why do you think WLR has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

WLR is straightforward, you stick to your allowance and you lose weight, without having to remember rules about what you can and can’t eat.

The database, and forums, teaches you to manage your calorie intake and make changes that stay for life.

I can stick to it because I know I can still enjoy my favourite foods, nothing is forbidden, so I don’t feel restricted then end up binging.

As an accountant, I like the numbers side of it too. I know that I need a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1lb a week, or will gain if I go 3500 over maintenance. So when I see I’ve gone over by a small amount I can objectively see it’s just a small percentage of 1lb that I might gain.

Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

I’ve had lots of ups and downs.

When I first joined I wanted to get the weight off fast. I did, but then I put most of it back on again because I hadn’t learnt anything. I went through long phases of not even logging on to the site, let alone logging my food.

I tried again with a lower rate of loss, but still struggled a bit because I wasn’t exercising.

Things fell into place in 2011. I started the year with the mindset to finally lose the weight for good. I did it at a low rate of loss, from 1lb down to ½lb, and took it a week at a time. Halfway through the year I started strength training and loved the changes to my body. That really kept me motivated to carry on.

At 9 stone 9lb I got stuck and just couldn’t get to goal. By this point, I had stopped worrying as much about the number on the scales, because I could see other changes. I was a size 10 for the first time, I was losing inches and I was getting stronger.

Happy enough with that I moved to maintenance and managed to lose the final 2lb in my first week!

Since losing weight can you give some examples of how your life has changed?

Since losing weight I have become a lot more interested in health and fitness. I monitor my nutrition on WLR and try to eat healthier, for example getting my five a day. I also now exercise regularly for the first time and really enjoy it.

In 2011, I walked a night-time half marathon, my first ever fitness related charity event. I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing that a few years ago, but now I want to attempt the full marathon walk. I always used to call myself fat, whereas now I finally accept I’m slim.

Exercise routines adopted?

I do strength training two to three times a week, following the New Rules of Lifting programmes. This form of exercise has really improved my figure and self-confidence, plus I love seeing the progress in my strength.

I’ve started playing badminton with my boyfriend every weekend; it’s a fun activity that keeps us fit together. We also enjoy long walks around London when we can fit them in at the weekend.

What do you love about your body now?

I’m much more body-confident now and like to wear clothes that show off my figure. I love the definition I’m getting in my arms and stomach from strength training, these used to be my most hated body parts.

Sarah's Tips.

Your head has to be in the right place for WLR to work, it gives you the tools if and when you are willing to change.

Take it slowly; this is a journey, not a race. Slow and sustainable weight loss is much better if you want to maintain for life.

I live by the 80/20 rule. For me this usually means if I’m really good during the week and save some calories each day then I can still enjoy treats at the weekend, whether it’s a takeaway, drinks with friends or a meal out.

Don’t give up. A bad day doesn’t mean a bad week. If you stop logging you stop learning. It also holds you to account, knowing you will have to log something makes you stop and think about it first.

Think of your calorie allowance like your bank balance. You can’t just spend on everything you want. You have to budget in the basics and then plan what you want to do with the rest. Before you eat anything, stop and think about the consequences. For example, I used to have a 70 calorie Starbucks every day as part of my routine. I realised I didn’t need it and can think of much better things to spend 350 calories on, such as a yummy pudding at the weekend.

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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You can use the information on Weight Loss Resources to count how many calories you need to consume each day and how many you are actually eating.

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