Well guys, the weight loss challenge that I embarked on three weeks ago ended officially yesterday. I just retook my measurements so I guess it’s time to write about my results with the Mommy Blogger Weight Loss Challenge by Dustin Maher.
First, I thought I’d tell you my thoughts overall with the challenge. I thought the challenge was very well thought out with the guidelines made clear and all the bases covered. He devised a system that was elaborate but simple at the same time – you knew what you would gain and lose points for and how many points you should be shooting for.
He offered meal plans and snack suggestions with the help of Leanne Ely, New York Times best selling author from SavingDinner.com. And he even included a spreadsheet where you could keep track of all your points. For three weeks I had that spreadsheet permanently open so I could sit down and log my workouts, meals and water consumption.
Things That Were Easy For Me
Water consumption: I am a constantly thirsty person by nature and back when I first started trying to lose weight (in roughly 2008) I trained myself to learn to love water. It wasn’t easy – I didn’t grow up drinking a lot of water and detested the taste. I was picky and would only drink certain water – like from a Brita filter only. Even bottled water still tastes gross to me for some reason. But I have two water pitchers in the house as well as a fridge water despenser and I wake up in the morning and grab a large glass and fill it all day. There were very few days in the competition where I didn’t have 8-10 large glasses of water a day (I think most of my glasses were close to 12 oz of water).
Weekly challenges: The first two weekly challenges were to read for 10+ minutes a day and to have a 10 minute conversation with someone every day. This was an easy 1+ point each day as I read every night before bedtime and, um, I love to talk. Every day during week 2 I found I’d managed to talk to someone for 10 minutes – and not just Dan, Michael or Emily! I guess it pays to be a chatty Cathy? In week 3 our challenge was to tell someone new each day that we appreciated them. I managed to do this 4 times with enough genuine effort that I allowed myself to mark it down (Maybe I’m too hard on myself?)
Soda: I don’t drink a lot of it. At least I thought I didn’t. I just counted 6 twelve ounce servings of soda in the past 3 weeks which was higher than I guessed, but still out of 21 days it’s hardly an epidemic. You should see how many times I caved and had coffee. Speaking of coffee, Dustin writes that you lose one point for each cup of coffee unless it’s black, which seems fair – but I’d like to point out that not all coffee drinks are created equally and also that us tea drinkers can do just as much caloric damage with a cup of tea as a small cup of coffee. Not wanting to be dishonest to myself, I logged my tea consumption also when there were more than 15 calories in my mug.
Fast Food (eating where there is a drive-thru): I went to Culvers once during the challenge. I got a salad. There may have been a small ice cream, too, but I’m only human. And it was delicious.
Not skipping breakfast: This only happened once and I did eat breakfast it just happened after the 2 hour allotment given on account of an untimely skype call with the grandparents. I was starving. But sometimes you have to put life on hold for the grandparents.
Refined Carbs: You also lost points for eating a non-whole wheat version of grains. This wasn’t too hard for me – whole wheat pastas and bread were already in the cupboards. It was just a loaf of dreaded french bread that proved to be difficult to avoid.
Things That Were Harder
Sleep: Only on the weekends was I able to score the max points possible in the sleep department. I could have scored higher if I’d given up tv and reading, but you know… I didn’t.
Sweets: We all knew this was coming. Jen’s dreaded sweet tooth. It’s the whole reason I was here doing this challenge if we’re going to be honest. I lost 30-40 points a week to my sweet tooth which translates to approximately 250 calories of sweets each day, most of which were consumed between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. And that is GOOD for me guys. That’s a marked improvement and sign of serious effort on my part. But still, that’s a lot of points lost.
Exercise: I got 5 points for each 15 minutes of exercise (with a max of 20 points per day) and another 2 points for 20 minutes of strength training and 1 point for breaking a sweat. I averaged 10 points a day for exercise but there were a lot of 5 point days, too, and only one day where I scored a full 20 and that was doing (one crazy intense) yoga class with my friend Erin. BUT I also exercised about 6 out of 7 days each week which is a huge improvement over my 1-2 times a week average before this program. So that in and of itself I think deserves a huge high five.
Dustin’s workouts were hard. The strength training kicked my butt and the cardio made me cry uncle. The core training was even worse than that. But I stuck with it and did his workouts most days of the week during the challenge. Around halfway through my husband started joining me in the workouts and there was a moment of total validation when I totally kicked his butt that first and second day. (We won’t talk about how he is totally kicking my butt now – men are such stinkers) This just proves how intense the workouts are in my mind and how far I came in a short time. He was insanely proud of me after doing the first workout and couldn’t stop telling me so. That didn’t suck. We are both planning to stick with these workouts regularly even now that the challenge is over.
Food journaling: This is something I used be really good at but I ignored it completely the first two weeks wanting nothing to do with the concept at all. But at the end of week three I begrudingly admitted that if I wanted to make REAL progress I was going to have to start tracking again and I’ve been using My Fitness Pal for about 4 days now. There was no good excuse not be doing it already except I’m incredibly lazy. It’s a great app with a large database and a good layout – you can use it on android or the iPad /iPhone and also just go to the website on your computer. So no matter where you are you should be able to track. I don’t fuss with perfect numbers, just a general idea – so if the food I want isn’t in the library, I just look for the closest thing. At the end of each day, the app tells you how you did and how much weight you could lose if each day were like that day’s numbers. Pretty spiffy.
And The Results
I scored a total of 975 points which sounds really cool except that I could have scored 805 points per week. So… not great. But I know what those points comprise of and there is a lot of good habits in them -a lot of sweat and work and water and protein and vegetables. So I remain proud of my humble progress. We have to start somewhere.
I also took pre and post measurements of my abs, waist, chest, hips, arms, calves and thighs. I’m not confident enough to tell you the actual numbers but I will tell you that my abs are 2 inches smaller but that for some reason my calves are 1 inch larger (that could be a miscalculation on my part). The scale seems to think that I may or may not have lost 2 pounds (it varies day to day, I’m not really sure). I know the numbers aren’t much but to be honest I don’t care about those numbers yet because I know that I worked HARD but that in other areas I still need to work harder. So that’s where I’m at. I’m getting better but I have a long way to go.
Anyone else do the challenge this month? How did you do?