How Geeks Lose Weight.

For the past four months, I’ve been eating whatever I jolly well pleased, under the OBVIOUS assumption that all of the calories were going straight to Noah.

And really, it worked for me.

…for a very short while.

Then I quit losing…and I actually started to gain weight.

Wait.  What??  I just had a baby! It’s supposed to be all lose all the time!

Or not.

But still? The exhaustion of a new baby left me no motivation to do anything but continue a diet of large quantities of chocolate (mostly in the form of Cadbury Mini Eggs) and broccoli.  I had zero inspiration for any type of healthy alternative… unless you consider crashing comatose on the bed after putting all kids to sleep a “healthy alternative”.

But quite randomly, 2 weeks ago, in a flash of inspiration, I decided I was ready.

I told Chris about my weight loss inspiration, and, of course, being the perfect husband that he is, he quickly said I didn’t need to lose weight.

Then, after an acceptable amount of time had passed so that he could not be blamed for insinuating that I indeed needed to lose weight, he suggested that we work out a contest for the two of us to fuel our ridiculously-motivated-by-competition selves.

And, since we’re also insanely-budgety people, we agreed to monetarily reward ourselves at the end of the contest period.

I wanted to lose 20 pounds, he wanted to lose 30 pounds.

We decided that a per-pound prize would be the most motivating way of going about our reward.

So then it was time to decide what our per-pound rate would be.

Chris said he wanted it to be an odd number so that it sounded like he was for sale in the butcher’s section of the grocery store.

“Prime Chris! This week’s special – $8.99 a pound!!”

He also suggested that I should get a higher per pound price tag since I had less to lose…which, we decided, also went along with his butcher view. Because we all know that leaner meats are more expensive than “marbled” meats.

Beef

(His word, not mine.  I’d never call my husband marbled…until he did.)

After some geeky heaven of figuring and calculating, we decided on our price tags:

Prime Chris: $10 per pound.

Prime Rachel: $15 per pound.

Payoff Date: October 1st.

(He sacrificed his desire for uneven numbers for ease in figuring.)

Strategies:

Because we are, after all, complete geeks, the main diet plan AND motivational tool for us is a free iPhone app – Lose It.

(This product is one of a family of consumer items marketed to that niche American subgroup known as NLW, or “Nerds Losing Weight”.)

Along with pretty charts and graphs and lots and lots of numbers, it’s basically a calorie counter program, preloaded with every kind of food, brand, and restaurant.

This was a big step for me, as I’ve spent the last 29 years avoiding knowing the calories in any food product, afraid that the knowledge of how much something cost me in fat cells would surely ruin the taste of everything I hold dear in life.

And it kinda does.

But, again, being a geeky budgety person, knowing that I can BUDGET for my Cadbury Mini Eggs, even though I know how much they cost, makes the knowledge of good and evil not quite so painful.

And, since I’m breastfeeding (and pumping), I got to create those as “exercises”, which also helps make sure that I still eat plenty for said feeding of human being.

Lose It Screenshot

(Isn’t my pumping icon pure awesomeness? I think they’re actually snow shoes, but it looks pretty accurate to me…)

And for the record, now that I have opened Pandora’s calorie box, I’m appalled at how many calories per day I must have formerly consumed.  Shameful.

Other strategies we’re using:

– I’ve started back juicing occasionally – but only vegetables so far.

– I’ve cut down on sugar and (sob) chocolate.  I’ve actually (and fairly painlessly) gone two entire weeks with less than 30 ounces of Coke – I didn’t make it through many days with less than that before.

– I am not actually exercising yet, but I hope to start (maybe going back to The Shred?) at some point.  Obviously, my exercise plans are still as jell-o-ey as my belly.

– Getting back out the Wii Fit so that I resume my kicking of Chris’ tail at boxing and hula hooping.  Chris tried it a a few days ago, and it welcomed him back after some 500-ish days away – although it will consider him at death’s door until his weight is a government-BMI-approved 49 pounds or so.

(And I’m REALLY wishing I’d weighed in a 40 weeks pregnant so that I could see that stupid-trainer-thingy jump up and down with unbridled glee at my miraculous weight loss.)

But the calorie counting alone is already making a huge difference.  We started two weeks ago, and we’ve already lost 8 pounds each.

…Which means I was consuming approximately three pounds of chocolate a week.  Or something like that.

So bring it on. Anybody else on a weight loss kick?  Any good strategies for calorie-cutting or fat-burning?  And wanna be our friends on Lose It?


Disclaimer: Neither chocolate nor broccoli, Cadbury Mini Eggs nor marbled beef, juicers nor Lose it nor The Shred nor Wii Fit nor my husband requested to be reviewed in or compensated me for this post.  Although this post is, for purposes of full disclosure approved by said husband.

an update on our diet plan can be found here.


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Comments

  1. Terri Washington says:

    Congrats on the 8 pounds! I have been at the gym constantly and eating super well – lost 6 pounds. Went to a reunion weekend and gained it back by eating insanely badly for 3 days. Hmmm back to the gym. And do it now, cause it really is a lot harder when you are almost 50 – harder than it has ever been before!

    • I feel your pain. I’m petrified to take a “cheat day” because I’m afraid I’ll gain it all back. (sigh)
      Good luck at the gym!!

  2. Eleanorjane says:

    Wow, go you guys! My husband are attempting to lose weight at the moment. He’s doing well, but my motivation sucks. Stress = comfort eating for me and it’s been pretty darned stressful recently.

    We use Weight Watchers (without attending the patronising meetings). The ‘points’ system works similarly to calorie counting and gives you freedom to eat whatever with the parameters. Unfortunately the parameters don’t stretch to include pizza in my world :( (I COULD exercise for about 48 hours to work off half a pizza, but no.)

  3. I recently started a “get active” routine. It means getting up at 5am to go workout before my husband has to leave for work. Getting up at 5am is not something I would do otherwise…I often take a 20 minute nap after he leaves and before the kids get up, but we’ll keep that between us. :) I am hoping the pay off from working out is losing weight and have so far lost 11 pounds. However, I hope the biggest pay off for being active is being a good example for my kids, that they would start healthy habits now and continue them so they will not have to struggle with weight as I have. Way to go on the 8 pounds! I cut out soda 1.5 months ago, I’m pretty sure I know what an addict feels like now when they go through withdrawals, but I can honestly say, I have no desire to go back to my caffeinated days. And yes, that also means I often drop into bed like a zombie as soon as the kids are in bed. I’ll have to look for the app on the droid market. Keep working hard (and yes, just avoiding chocolate, nursing, and pumping are working hard)!!

    • Wow – I’m totally impressed. One thing I’ve never been able to do is convince my sleeping self to get out of bed to EXERCISE, of all things. I’m pretty sure that is one of the hardest feats of the human race. You totally get an award for that!!!

  4. Eight pounds in two weeks! WOW!

    You two are adorable geeks (and I mean that in the sweetest way possible)!

  5. I haven’t actually gained weight for two years, so I know I’m burning the calories I’m eating. That being said, I need to LOSE weight, not maintain. So, my theory is, I don’t have to count calories and tailor my diet, I just have to BURN more calories. I absolutely refuse to count calories, too depressing and it would probably make me eat more. My next problem is, I also hate exercise so for that we got an Xbox with Kinect, The Biggest Loser program and Dance Central. I’ll let you know how it goes, we’re only a week in and my weight fluctuates so much anyways that it’s hard to tell if I’ve lost any yet. Suffice it to say, the loss has been minimal at best thus far. Good luck, you’re off to a better start than me!

    • We really enjoyed our Wii fit a few years ago when we did it a lot – we just got bored with the same exercises. Chris really would LOVE a Kinect – such a better interface for exercise!!

  6. Last month I gave myself an early birthday present: sessions with a personal trainer. Now twice a week I work out during my lunch. I had been trying to do this on my own off and on (mostly off) for over a year and after realizing that I couldn’t do it alone, I decided that this course was best for me. This way for at least 2 days a week, I have an obligation to get my butt to the gym. I’m accountable. So far I haven’t lost much weight in terms of number of pounds, but I have noticed a significant increase in energy and overall feel-goody-ness. My clothes are looser fitting and even though I know I still have quite a ways to go, it’s nice having someone there pushing me constantly. My trainer is awesome, she’s always encouraging me, telling me what a great job I’m doing and how proud she is of me. After each session, I leave tired but happy.

    Good luck with your goals! The hardest thing I’ve found is trying to curb my appetite and eat better. I’ll take a look at that app you suggested. Calorie-counting may be just what I need to get my food obsession under control as well. :)

    • That’s awesome!! The “happy” feeling from exercise is something I rarely get and quickly forget about if I do get it. I must try again to exercise and see if I can achieve exercise happiness.

  7. PS … your disclosure made me LOL! :D

  8. Good luck! My husband is doing the 4 hour body, which I think is a pretty geeky way to lose weight (tricking your body and whatnot). But, it is working. He is down 25lbs in 2 months. We did weight watchers years ago (when we caught a side view of ourselves after a couple of years of comfy married life) and both had success. He has said with the 4 hour body he is not hungry, which is a ton different from the calorie counting and denial of WW. I’m still waiting for his motivation to rub off on me. Although the $15/lb sounds pretty motivating…now if we could only find someone else to give it to us.

  9. I’ve use Lose It to lose post baby weight. It works so well! Continue on the healthy path, and start window shopping for what you’re gonna spend your reward on!

  10. Roxaline says:

    UGH! Rachel don’t remind me! The scale as stopped moving over here too. Why does it tease us with basically falling off the first couple of months and then stopping? I tried cutting my calories when Victoria was 2 months old and my milk production went WAY down. I guess I need to try again now that she is almost 4 months. Well……….I think I will wait till AFTER Easter. I wouldn’t want to have to give up candy now would I! :)

    • Seriously – If I could always lose weight at the rate that I lost it the first few weeks, wow.
      And definitely wait till after Easter!! :)

  11. I’ve been struggling too! The weight fell off after baby #1, but is being super stubborn after baby #2. I’ve been running and doing cabbage soup for lunch. No fun, but I lost two lbs last week!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Congrats on the 8 lbs!!! That’s exciting! :) I’ve been doing Atkin’s for about three weeks now and have lost almost 9 lbs. I’ve ALWAYS struggled with my weight. When I was in 9th grade, I did the LA weight loss program and dropped about 30 lbs. I have been at a constant weight now for a long time. I body is the ridiculously fluctuating type – I can get on the scale in the morning, midday, and night and each # will be different (pounds different). So needless to say, it’s been really encouraging to see the number on the scale slowly (but surely) come down…and now I’m at a weight I haven’t been since high school :D. I hope to lose about 6-7 more so we’re on the journey together. :) One thing that has helped me since I don’t like drinking water is propel powder. I buy different flavors and will split one package into about 4-5 big glasses of water. It makes me drink a ton of water and also helps me not eat as much. Every time I find myself thinking “hmm, I’m hungry” I stop myself from opening the fridge and drink some water instead and that usually satisfies it —meaning I wasn’t really hungry, but just bored or something. When I do eat, (I try4 -5 small meals/day) it’s usually protein and a vegetable. I’ve had to get really creative with my meals because grilled chicken and veggies gets old REAL fast. I’ll snack on things like grapefruit, sugar free jello, and fat free PLAIN yogurt with a splenda. One of the most encouraging things I have noticed is that my palate is totally different now. Things that I didn’t used to think were that sweet are suddenly REALLY sweet..meaning that I’ve changed the way my body perceives sweets (YAY!) :). Anyway, all that to say keep up the hard work! :) Once you start exercising you will be amazed the difference it makes in your weight loss. :)

    • I totally fluctuate, too. So annoying! Congrats on High School weight! That’s amazing.

      And on the water thing, I have hated water my whole life, but some bizarre switch flipped when I was about 6 months pregnant with Noah, and ever since I haven’t been able to get enough! So maybe you could try getting pregnant to like water?? ;)

  13. I did South Beach and that worked really well to get me unaddicted to sugar (esp chocolate). What I found worked well long-term was to eat the same thing for lunch every day. I had a simple salad. I just had romaine lettuce, usually ceasar dressing, a little cheese, and then I would take pre-cooked frozen shrimp, stick them in a little baggie first thing in the morning with a marinade (olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice for scampi or oil, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and cilantro for asian) and microwave them at lunch then stick them on the salad. Satisfying and low in calories.

  14. congrats guys!
    I WAS counting weight watchers points, but my adversion to numbers is dis-heartening…so I ditched that for a heathy eating plan. I’m sorta following the 17-Day Diet…
    this week I’m going with lots of lean protien, lots of veggies, a couple fruits a day (but only before 2 PM), no sugar (ok, except in my morning coffee), no fats (or at least VERY little-like a bit of olive oil), lots of water and green tea.
    after 17 days, i add in whole grains…

  15. After my second one was born, I continued to eat how I had during pregnancy (whatever, whenever, because I said so) since I hadn’t had a problem loosing weight the first time around (of course I’d also only gained half as much….), and absolutely freaked when they weighed me at my 6 week postpartum checkup and I had NOT ONLY gained back all the pounds giving birth had shed, but actually put on a few extra good measure clocking in ABOVE my last pregnancy weight. I breastfeeding, wasn’t the weight was supposed to just be melting off!?!? Apparently a slight passion for chocolate fudge doughnuts refutes all breastfeeding exercise…

    Oh, and your counting breastfeeding and pumping as exercise? Most awesome thing EVER!

    • According to research, you use 600 calories a day breastfeeding and making milk. I’m estimating lower than that since my milk supply is so low, but it totally counts!! :)

  16. todd and i are doing that! I promised him 10 a lb-he has already dropped 13! just by cutting out sodas! I do the small plate diet and its rockin! keep up the job! (oh and my wii fit character is now super sexy since she has shrunk!);)

  17. Wow, way to go on the 8lbs! That’s awesome! T and I REALLY need to lose a few pounds, but I have zero motivation. I HATE counting calories and I did WW in college, but I hate thinking about food every living second of the day. It becomes an obssesion for me and I don’t want to do that again.

    The frustrating thing is that we eat pretty healthy. I think we need to just get into the habit of eating smaller portion sizes. That seems to be our problem. And pop. We love our pop…coke for me and pepsi for him. :) We don’t eat chocolate or a lot of sweets…well, I don’t. I think T gets quite a few sweets at work.

    I am ashamed to admit I actually weigh a few pounds more right now than I did at this time last year when I had a three month old baby!!! Breastfeeding definitely helps with the calories, but now that we are down to two small feedings a day I don’t think it’s helping me much at all.

    Well, you’ve inspired me to do better! I think I might start serving our dinner on small plates like someone mentioned. I’ve heard that works.

    • Yes, coke was the hardest thing for me to imagine giving up, but actually not having it has been surprisingly easier than I thought!! I wish I liked Diet drinks, but I despise them.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Serving yourself in small plates does work very well…it’s a mental thing. You think you’re eating more when in reality your not. Another tip: when you finish eating and think your still hungry, wait 10 minutes and reassess. 9 times out of 10, you will be satisfied. It just takes a few minutes for your stomach to tell your brain :)

  19. i started paleo when c was eight ish weeks old. It actually helped my milk supply and I lost weight. 15 months later i am still doing it. Do things you can keep doing forever.

    • I did think about doing the Paleo thing – I almost mentioned that in my post and talked about how HOT you are. :) If I get stuck at some point, I may go to that. Just not ready to give up ALL carbs yet. What would we eat for dinner before we came to your house on Thursdays if not for Firehouse??

  20. Sarah Lockhart says:

    Congrats on losing the 8 lbs! That’s awesome. I am now back to doing the South Beach Diet. I was on it when I found out I was pregnant and LOVED it. I easily lost 15 lbs on it, but my pregnant body desperately needed carbs, so I gave up the diet. Now that Rachel is 8 weeks old, I”m back on the diet. My body feels better when I’m on mostly protein and very few carbs. Once I get used to not having the carbs, I find that I don’t have to eat nearly as much as I did before. I don’t count the calories — I just make sure I eat lots of protein, and I don’t feel hungry. I am making myself drink Diet Coke made with Splenda — I like it better than regular Diet Coke. I’d MUCH rather have a real Coke, but I don’t need the calories or sugar. I’m running on caffeine at this point since Rachel is only 8 weeks old, so I’ve allowed myself to keep having the Diet Cokes even though I know I should really be drinking just water. I’ll have to take that step later. I found a “post natal boot camp” workout video online. You can create your own workout by choosing differnt interval and toning sessions, and each one is only about 10 minutes, I like it becuase I can usually find 10 minutes here or there that I can work out, and, if I’m lucky enough for Rachel to actually take a decent nap during the day, then I can fit in a longer workout. Hopefully, the video combined with the diet will help.

  21. I can totally relate to your story. I also have a Noah and he was born a week before Halloween. He’s my third and I’ve breastfed all of them. The weight came off with the others but it’s not working this time. Maybe because I ate Halloween candy, a couple Thanksgiving dinners, and nonstop Christmas cookies for a couple months.
    Just starting to turn over a new leaf this week. Got new tennis shoes to try and get in 3 – 20 min vigorous walks a week (no kids). I love a good Oreo shake and didn’t want to share so I was eating it at 10:00 at night. I’m sure that was working wonders on my waist line. So, I’ve layed down the rule no eating after 8:00pm. This will force me to either share or actually eat the way I expect my kids to eat.
    I love that you count pumping as exercise! I have gotten lazy and not pumped but I think I will start back up again.
    Im working the baby steps so I’ll add a new change in a couple of weeks. Not sure if I could give up my beloved Coke but perhaps I could cut back.

  22. I lost 40 pounds one year in 6 mths by counting calories and adding in excercise. I’ve never looked back! Obviously, with the addition of 3 children to my life, there have been seasons when I’ve had to get more tough on how much I’m consuming, but counting calories totally works for me. I can have whatever food I’m wanting, I just have to deduct it from my daily total. So, I can have 3 snickers for lunch, just nothing else for the rest of the day :). And, I still excercise and love it, although my time is greatly limited these days and I often opt out in favor of more sleep. But hey! I’ve got a 6 week old, so I figure it’s ligit for now!

    • That’s encouraging!! I have high hopes that calorie counting without exercise will be a big difference maker for me – especially since I seem to never lose weight when I exercise – only when I eat less. But if I need to add exercise in, I will try my best.. :) Congrats on the new baby, by the way!!

  23. Last year I lost 32 pounds using the Flat Belly Diet. I ate chocolate truffles every day, and lost weight. :) I learned a lot about healthy portion sizes and how to splurge responsibly. My husband is following the same plan this year and he’s really succeeding.

    • Wow – that sounds delightful!!! The truffles every day part, AND the losing 32 pounds!! Congratulations!!

      • It was fabulous! I *had* to eat things like pesto and hummus and cashews and avocado at every meal, because the eating plan focused on healthy fats. And then I counted calories. I did a 1400 calorie plan: 3 400 calorie meals and a 200 calorie snack. And I walked a lot. And I’ve kept if off for a year. I learned so much more than if I’d just given up whole food groups for months. I learned to eat the foods I love responsibly.

  24. I love LoseIt! That’s how I lost 12lbs right before my big surprise pregnancy last year. :) I’ve tried it off and on recently but have been disappointed with the lack of results this time. I didn’t know you could count bfeeding as exercise though! That’s awesome! And you can have loseit friends? How does that work?
    Congrats to you on the 8 lbs! You’re almost halfway there! Is it okay if I’m jealous?? :)

    • Yup, you can count breastfeeding! Most people use about 600 calories a day breastfeeding. I estimate low since my milk supply is low.
      And I think Lose it just added the having friends feature – you request via their email address.

  25. Kitty Engle says:

    Rachel, I really do not see where you have 20 pounds to lose but if you want to it is your body. I am still losing weight and the best feeling in the world is the new clothes I have in a size I have not worn in years. We have that wedding in two weeks and it felt so good today to get a really great dress. I have just counted calories and as of tomorrow I am starting back the yard work exercise. Yea, do it now because it is much harder at this age. I hope you win and get those jeans you want, just do not tell Chris.

  26. The most important piece of advice I ever received on losing weight is to make sure that you don’t feel continuously resentful of whatever strategy because otherwise your chances of putting all the weight back are very good.

    I did a sugarfast last year when I got tired of not being able to fit into my pre pregnancy pants, and it was amazing the impact it’s had on my longterm choices. We eat a lot less sugar now, just by paying attention to the hidden sources of empty calories.

    If you are looking for more motivation to avoid Coke, it is horrible for your teeth as well as your waistline. Maybe now that you’ve stopped drinking it you’ll have fewer unhappy visits to the dentist as a bonus?

  27. I too was weirded out by the pumping icon… snow shoes it is!

    I want to be your friend on lose it. I was doing good and got down to my prepregnancy weight at 4 mo pp when I had some freak hormone thing happened where I lost 5 lbs and my milk like literally overnight but since I’ve had surgery and can’t move I have to start watching what I eat (for the first time in my life :( ). Let’s be friends on Lose it… soon to be Lost it ;).

  28. : )
    I love the snowshoes.
    Thanks for sharing all of the excellent details.

  29. Wow, 8 lbs in a couple of weeks, that’s awesome!

  30. By the way, I’m bringing a dessert Thursday night that has cadbury mini eggs in it, so save up some of your daily mini egg allotment for small group :)

  31. Good for you! I’ve been counting calories too, although I’m not that great at it, because I find it’s a bit too much math since I make a lot of home cooked stuff and I’m often too lazy to figure out what’s in what, ha ha!

    That Iphone app sounds amazing! I have to get that!

    (I need an iphone too, but we’ll talk about that later :)

  32. Chris she got you buddy. September 1 would have been better end date, remember football season? Guess you will be tailgating with me eating salsa on celery sticks, a turkey frank with mustard (sans the bun) and a tall cool cilled bottle of water. Keep your chin up son the first 110 pounds are the hardest. If you will pre date the start to 12/6/2010 I want in on the action for a bargin deal of only $5.00 a pound ROLL TIDE.

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