One of our amazing readers was kind enough to share her weight loss journey with us this past summer. A mom of four, she lost 40 pounds in 6 months!  She hopes to inspire others by her incredibly journey and below, she shares how she did it.
So you have lost 38 pounds in 6 months, what an accomplishment! How did you do it?
(Actually 40lbs now) After trying all kinds of ways to lose weight between pregnancies (i.e. killing myself at the gym and drastically cutting calories, counting down to a stick of gum), I was really looking for a lifestyle change.  I’ve always struggled to take the baby weight off, and with each pregnancy I seemed to start a little heavier than the last. I’m the kind of person who had to fight hard and be totally committed to lose weight, or so I thought, but then I’d get discouraged and binge eat because I was so hungry all the time.
My sister discovered toneitup.com in a SELF magazine at work and shared it with me. I began following the blog, completing the workouts my “trainers” posted, and eating “lean, clean and green.”  There’s nothing really to say except that the weight began to just fall off! Trust me, I wouldn’t have believed it had it not been happening to me! I’ve never experienced these kind of results before. I love that I get to eat and even *gasp* be full! I eat about every three hours, shooting for five meals a day, two of which are more snack-size.
This was key to getting my metabolism back! Even if I splurge for a meal now, instead of saving calories by starving myself the rest of the day, I make sure to still eat at least something small for my other meals. Instead of fighting against my body trying to overwork and underfeed it for results, I now have the perspective that I’m fueling my body to optimize results. My goal now is not to be skinny; my goal is to be healthy, fit and toned.

Before

After

What was your main motivation for the weight loss?
I’ll be honest, it started out that I just wanted to look as good as I could in my bridesmaid’s dress for my sister’s wedding this summer. I never thought this would be such a life-changing experience. Now I’m motivated because I love how great I feel and the confidence I’ve gained. I went shopping for my birthday and couldn’t even remember the last time I was not just satisfied, but excited about how I looked in the mirror! I’ve done my best to set realistic and achievable goals, both short term (usually for the month) and long term (typically linked to an upcoming event). I’ve also tried to keep the perspective that I would not allow this journey to consume me, but rather incorporate it into my life. Memorizing 1 Timothy 4:8 helped me keep perspective.
I know you mentioned eating healthy is was a big thing for you, what diet changes did you make?
My trainers, Karena and Katrena from toneitup.com, are all about eating “lean, clean, and green.”  I eat a lot of lean protein, like chicken, fish, and turkey. I try to avoid processed foods, this was difficult at first, but has gotten much easier as my body doesn’t crave the crackers and chips like it used to. This meant cutting out anything with white flour, soda (even diet), high fat dairy, non-naturally occurring sugars and a lot of cereals and snack foods. Basically if it doesn’t have a label that I can easily read the ingredients then I pass. I can eat as many green veggies as I want, and this helps me to feel full! I try to have at least a cup of greens (spinach, cucumber, and asparagus are my favorites) with both lunch and dinner. I still have my coffee, but use stevia, or raw sugar, and vanilla almond milk instead of flavored creamer.
What were your favorite healthy go-to snacks?
I love Greek yogurt with fruit, Kashi GoLean Crunch Honey Almond Flax with vanilla almond milk, KIND bars (I LOVE almond & coconut) and always have raw almonds and craisins in my car for on the go. Just remember to consider portion size when snacking! An ounce of almonds is great, but a cup is too much. I typically figure on amounts that I could easily hold in the palm of my hand and check labels for anything I’m unsure of.
Most moms struggle with finding time to fit in cooking healthy meals or workouts while juggling their kids’ needs; how did you do it with 4 kids?!
The old saying that, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” certainly holds true. I know if I haven’t planned ahead to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked with good choices, it will make eating well much more difficult. I try to plan ahead that if I’m grilling chicken for dinner I set out a couple extra pieces to cook and save for lunches. I have a whiteboard calendar on the side of my fridge where I plan my meals for the week for myself and my family. I would love to say that my family now eats everything I do, but my kids (and husband) tend to be on the picky side. I thought preparing a meal for them and then making something different for myself would be a time-consuming struggle, but it really hasn’t been. A lot of times I can modify what I make them to work for me—for example, if we’re doing hamburgers I make mine a turkey burger, skip the bun, and have it with a salad instead of tater tots. If’ it’s a casserole or pasta that I’m definitely not going to have, I’ll use some of the chicken I have saved (or use canned cooked chicken or I love Aidells chicken sausage) and make a big salad or stir fry with some frozen veggies, which takes almost no time at all.
It has been a blessing to expose my family to some new foods as well. We recently gave up rice altogether and have made the switch to quinoa, which was heartily approved by all! I’m on a schedule now with working out most mornings. I drop the elder two off at school and head to the gym with the younger two, who love to play in the childcare—obviously it’s very important to be at a gym with a great program; I love my local Gold’s Gym for its family-friendly vibe and so do my kids! When I first began working out, my youngest was too young to bring into the gym, so I would do the workouts on toneitup.com at home, typically after the kids were in bed, but sometimes I would work out during nap time and the older two would join in! I love that they are all growing up seeing that exercise is a normal part of everyday life. If I know we’re going to have a busy day and I’m not going to make it to the gym, I try to wake up a little early and get in a walk on our treadmill or a workout video online. Or I just skip it and don’t feel guilty; there are certainly more important things in life than working out and I’ll try again tomorrow.
If you could give one piece of advice to moms trying to lose weight, what would that be?
Seek progress, not perfection! Eat a little healthier today than yesterday, walk a little farther, work out a little harder. And if you screw up, don’t let the guilt discourage you, try again tomorrow! Commit to the process of progress.
Aleah’s Bio:
My name is Aleah and I’m a 28-year-old stay-at-home mother of four and I blog about my faith at depthoftheriches.com. My husband is Michael and our kids are Emma (7), Logan (5), Lucy (3), and Walter (7 mos). Much of my time is spent shuttling kids to and from school and soccer practice, as well as attempting to maintain our home and keep my family fed. I love reading, trying new restaurants, soccer, Disneyland, and spending time with family. I consider my relationship with Christ to be the foundation upon which everything else in my life is built. My favorite verses are Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Romans 11: 33-36.
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Do you have weight loss or fitness tips that you would like to share? We would love to feature you; please e-mail us at marcie@simplyrealmoms.com.