I’ve been staying with my sister Laura ever since I arrived in Chicago six days ago, and while I shared many of our adventures in my last post, there’s something else I want to share: Laura has lost 64 pounds over the past nine months, and I’m so proud of her!
What’s really great is that Laura has lost it in a completely healthy, sustainable way. Her main method is counting calories. She uses an app called My Fitness Pal, where you log everything you eat and get calorie counts, and Laura has been using it the entire nine months. It provides lots of info, and can easily be used to set goals (short-term or long-term), and stick to them.
Counting calories has changed the way Laura eats, in good ways. She’s diligent about using a food scale and weighing her foods, so she’s getting exactly how much she wants, and that, in turn, is helping her recognize and stick to appropriate portion sizes. As a result, she doesn’t restrict herself from eating sweets or drinking the occasional glass of wine – she just does it in moderation, and knows exactly how much she can have without breaking her calorie bank.
One of her favorite things to do is make a big pot of Chicken Kale Soup on the weekend – she calls it Miracle Soup, as one big serving is 208 calories – and then measures servings out into smaller containers that she can grab during the week.
She sometimes starts her day with a breakfast sandwich: one egg, with 1 serving of shredded cheese, on a toasted English muffin. She sometimes adds other things, like a slice of Canadian bacon or a couple tablespoons of salsa, depending on what she has in the house.
I made us breakfast sandwiches the other day, and switched it up a little bit, by using 100-calorie pita pockets instead of the English muffins.
Laura has also been exercising 3-4 times a week, on average. She’s been using ClassPass to try out all sorts of classes around Chicago, although her mainstays are pilates, spinning and yoga.
I’ve been inspired by Laura to give My Fitness Pal a try. It’s the not the first time it’s been recommended to me. Many people have suggested I try it, most notably our other sister, Sarah, who also has been using it for a long time and has probably mentioned it to me five times. I didn’t expect, before arriving in Chicago, that I’d be giving this app a whirl on this trip, but I’m inspired by Laura’s success, and plus, I’ll be spending nearly a week in Laura’s house, where we’d be eating similarly, so it seemed like a good time to start.
I’ve already gotten in the habit of logging food as I eat it. The other night, we made dinner, and sorta made it up as we went along, and by the end, I knew exactly how many calories were in my bowl.
I called it “Broccoli Beef Surprise” (the surprise was other vegetables), and my serving, by itself, was 393 calories. When I ate it over Trader Joe’s Mango Jicama Slaw, the total jumped to 633 calories.
I haven’t used My Fitness Pal long enough to see results, and I plan on sticking to my monthly weigh-ins, so it may be a while before I see results on the scale, but it is fun and easy, and a good way to keep yourself accountable. And Laura is proof! Here she was in September of 2015:
And take a look at her now!
This is the 6th time in Laura’s life that she’s lost over 50 pounds, and I have a feeling this time the weight isn’t going to come back. She says that she’s been inspired by my dedication to weight loss maintenance. Conversely, it’s inspiring to see how these healthy habits have affected every part of her life. I’m excited to see what’s coming. Laura wants to lose more, and I’m sure she’ll be successful!
Keep it up, Laura!
Keep it up, David!