Chris and I started our weight loss initiative on April 6, aiming to meet our goals by October 1. My goal was to be 130 pounds. Which, after getting a new scale and coming to grips with the fact that I weighed more than I thought, meant that I needed to lose 26 pounds.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to meet my goal – weight has never come off easily for me. I’ve tried many different exercise routines and diets through the years and have rarely had any level of measurable success.

But I’d never tried counting calories before – all of my diet plans had been vague stabs in the dark, nothing objective and concrete. And since Chris had been successful with Lose It before, and it was FREE, I wanted to give it a try.

So…after entering everything I ate into Lose It religiously for 16 weeks, paired with a little (or a lot of) help from a nursing baby, I am already beyond my goal – at 128.6 pounds!

(I thought it would be a nice little reward to wear that poor shirt that I stretched within an inch of it’s life for all of my pregnancy shots. I can almost see it breathing a sigh of relief.)

Chris is also doing awesome – he has currently lost 31 pounds, and wants to lose 11 more by our deadline.

BeforeAndAfter Chris

Doesn’t he look fabulous?!?

He’s turned it up since I reached my goal last week – I’ve been celebrating with French Fries and coke, and he’s put his nose to the ground, refusing even a bite of my delectable treats.

Competition is a healthy addition to any weight loss plan, after all.

So – what did we really have to change?

Basically, all that the Lose It App does is give you a calorie budget and provide a database of foods built in so that you can keep up with it. We still eat mostly the same things, but tracking it really makes us think about how much and how often we eat – I’m convinced that accountability alone solved over half of my problem.

When I cook, I calculate the calories of each recipe based on the ingredients. I’ve made small changes to help cut calories, like using 93/7 ground beef, no yolk egg noodles, and finding alternative sides to replace our usual buttery croissant rolls. But I still cooked all of our family favorite recipes with minimal tweaking.

Going out to eat hasn’t been as hard as I’d feared – by looking up and going nerdy analyzing our calories beforehand, we were able to make some easy changes to make our favorites fit into our calorie budget – here are some examples:

(Warning: Calorie spoiler alerts ahead.)

  • Eating locally, albeit always our favorite choice anyway, definitely proved to be much more calorie friendly. Zoes has gotten even more of our business than usual, as has Taziki’s, Outtakes, Silvertron, Nabeel’s, and The Fish Market. (Also notable: almost all of these are Greek-based. Greek is healthiest!)
  • We still ate at Firehouse Subs every Thursday night before small group, but we cut the mayonnaise off of our sandwiches, barely noticed a taste difference, and saved 200 calories each.
  • We actually tried the option of wrapping our burgers in lettuce (instead of buns) at Red Robin, really enjoyed them (except for the messy part), and saved several hundred calories.
  • Zaxby’s was a killer. I analyzed each individual item that came in the meal, figured out exactly how many chicken fingers, fries, and sauce I could have, then split my meal with Ali – as opposed to thoughtlessly eating it all like I would have previously done. I saved over 500 calories.

Things that we do eat less of than we used to: French Fries, coke, chicken fingers, potatoes of all kinds, ice cream, but NOT chocolate – as I said in our last update, chocolate is a dieting necessity.

Cheat Days: We have a cheat day about every three weeks (and even more often recently). I remember each one with a delightfully high level of fondness – we ate whatever we wanted and didn’t look at the calories, and it didn’t throw us off track at all.

Calorie Budget: I ate a little over 1,500 calories a day, lost about 1.75 pounds per week, and still made plenty of milk for Noah.

(He’s actually gotten rather chunky as proof, of which a lady at Target noticed yesterday and commented that I was FEEDING MY BABY TOO MUCH. I would have nominated her to be in the Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club except that her comment quite thrilled me, considering my former lactational issues.)

However, I will say that the lack of any exercise in my plan (Chris runs, but I’m not joining him due to two foot surgeries) does have the drawback of no belly toning. Smaller though it may be, my abs still sag, wrinkle, droop, and pillow with sadness at being stretched abusively for months on end, only to be rewarded with the intense pleasure of being hacked open, leaving muscles and epidermal layers permanently traumatized.

Belly Skin

So. I’m going to utilize the rest of the time until our October 1 goal to work on my ab flab. I don’t know if it’s possible (especially since I have an aversion to exercise and I don’t remember a time when I had toned abs, even pre-hacking), so I am open to all of your ab-reclaiming recommendations.

Except for The Shred.

I don’t think I nor my hacked abs are brave enough to face that level of agony again quite yet.

85 thoughts on “Objectively Losing It.

  1. Congrats on dropping the weight! You did awesome there!!

    I am convinced that the belly just never quite recovers post baby. I dropped the baby weight and pant sizes and everything and have certainly gotten ab muscles back (total advantage of months of “no life” where I’d spend evenings in front of the tv doing sit-ups and crunches) and even most of the stretch marks have faded away to barely noticeable, but if I lean forwards when naked the tummy and boobs are just these horrible saggy skin pouches. Le sigh…..

  2. You both look awesome!!!

    Thanks for sharing-you’re an inspiration! Now if I can get my husband to have a weight loss competition I think that will be the key.

    1. Thank you!! Yes, doing it together has been a huge key for both of us – it ensures that we’re both on board for the healthy food choices!!

      1. I agree with Missy – getting hubby on board has been the primary key to success for us too. It is so nice to not be the only one thinking about portion control! Rachel, thanks for introducing us to LoseIt! Oh, and Missy, we joined a “Biggest Loser” couples competition with a bunch of friends where we all put in money and weighed in weekly (with weekly winners and then a total winner at the end), and that was a big help too!

        1. I love the couples Biggest Loser idea! That sounds awesome!! And I would say that it has been even more important for Chris that I’m doing it – because I cook for him! He’s been thrilled that I’ve jumped on board. It really does make a difference to do it together!

  3. You look FABULOUS!! Way to go!!

    Here’s some workout advice from someone who doesn’t enjoy exercising, but I do it b/c I know that I need to:

    I love to use workout videos when I work out. It works for me. I hate jogging/hot weather/ And, working out at home, I can avoid the feeling of having to look good enough to be out among the public, but not like I “made myself up” to work out. usually, I work out in my pj’s.

    But, that all said, I have run across some favorite videos. The Biggest Loser workout is super-effective. I always feel sooooo sore after using that video. Denise Austin has a 12 minute a day workout that is really good. It has a different workout for everyday of the week. I usually do 2 days at a time b/c I feel like 12 minutes a day isn’t quite long enough. And, there is another workout series out there call “Fabulously Fit Moms”. I really liked that one too. I get a lot of videos from the library.

    Good luck in your endeavors!!! You really look great.

  4. Wow. YOU look awesome.

    You need to get Chris a smaller shirt so we can tell how awesome he looks too. Old baggy shirts are no good on newly-dieted husbands.

    1. That shirt was pretty baggy on him…hopefully we’ll get some good pics of us together this weekend in San Diego that will better show off his progress!

  5. Holy crap, Rachel, you look amazing! Seriously!! It’s really inspired me to think again about what I can accomplish in a few short months (have 2 – 2.5 months before we start thinking about expanding our family once again).



  6. I just lost a substantial amount of weight. I went from over 180 (not sure how far over, i stopped weighing for a while) to 145. I still have a ways to go but most of my weight loss has been due to working out. I started simple: Yoga. It sounds corney but it changed my life. I am the most toned I have ever been and it is relaxing, and fun while still being challenging. And kids love doing it to. I do it at the gym now but I started by doing videos at home.

    1. That’s awesome – congratulations!! I would have never thought that Yoga would make that big of a difference… maybe I need to try the Wii Fit yoga again!

  7. Girl, you are AWESOME!!!! We were actually about the same post baby weight! Unfortunately for me I haven’t been quite as good as you though. :( I’ve been hovering at the same spot and can’t seem to move! I hit the bump partly I think b/c I stopped nursing… but who knows.
    Maybe I can think about your 128 lbs and get motivated!!!!!!
    MAJOR kudos to you!!!

    1. I really think nursing has been a huge part of my success – they say you burn 400-600 calories a day, and I’m certainly never going to exercise that much!

  8. You and Chris looking amazing!!! Wish I would have taken a before and after photo of my self.

  9. Way to go! You look great! I’ve lost down to 128 too although I’ve just been maintaining since I lost what I needed to last fall. Somehow the intervals of walking/running keep working.

  10. You look amazing!! Congratulations!!! I have fallen off the bandwagon but you have motivated me to jump back on!!!

  11. Both you and Chris look amazing Rachel! Great job. Losing weight is not easy!! As far as ab exercises – have you tried swimming? There’s some good core exercises you can do in the water. If you don’t have a pool you can go to, try getting an exercise ball. There’s TONS of things you can do, like leg lifts, sit ups on the ball, abdominal twists, etc. Anyway, keep it up!

    1. Thanks!! I need something super quick and not high maintenance, so the exercise ball would be a better option. Plus, Ali would love it!

  12. holy cow! you look amazing!!! way to go! hard to believe that you’re still nursing a baby too! this gives me hope for several months from now…post baby! :)
    also worth noting: that shirt must be like incredible elast-y material to fit you at 2 days before Noah’s birth AND still fit you so snugly now! Seriously, magic material!

  13. WOW! Congratulations to both you and Chris. What an incentive you are to all of us who have been procrastinating or, in my case, praying for the Second Coming right after I finish my cosmic brownie.

  14. Nice job!

    I lost 40 pounds (27% of my body weight) a few years ago by a very similar method. I am also convinced that the belly never goes away, but don’t let that stop you from taking up exercising. You won’t care as much about a lumpy belly when you know how good it feels to be fit and strong.

    1. That’s awesome!! And you’re right – I know exercise gives awesome endorphins and all – and I do like them – for about a week, then they’re no longer worth the effort.

  15. Congratulations! You look amazing; I am so jealous. I just have a weakness for food. :( But, I discovered a video in college that made me super hot back then. It’s called Super Stomachs by Joanie Greggains. It’s only 12 minutes long, and fairly easy– just variations of crunches, etc. It totally works.

  16. Immediately after ready your post about being that new scale I went straight to Amazon and bought one for myself, because you did all the research and I’m lazy. That you for that:)
    I quite like it. But when I first stepped on it, it showed me at 10 lbs heavier than my last scale:(
    Thank you for posting stuff like this, I find it useful and encouraging. I’m currently on a diet that is working but I have been wondering how to keep weight off after it’s done and I think that Lose it! just might be the ticket!

  17. Oh, and I forgot to say that as much as I hate The Shred, it really does work at toning. It helps to have a partner; I do it with my sister. And it is hilarious to watch my 2yr old rocking on his belly trying to do the pushups with me.

    1. It is hilarious!! Ali LOOOVED doing the shred with me – she still asks to do it sometimes still, a year and a half later. I really need to get it back out, but it’s SOOO hard…

  18. Rachel, you look great!!! & you did it so quickly. Congrats on your hard work! Also, Chris looks great too; y’all make a great team:)

    This is a teeny, tiny ab-tightening step, but I hate, no, LOATHE ENTIRELY, exercise. I hate to sweat, I hate sports bras & I hate being sore. But, one small trick I’ve always done is to constantly hold my abs tight whether I’m walking around or sitting around. I’m not talking about “sucking in” but just constantly holding them tight. You probably won’t get dramatic results but it’s a small, helpful step in the process.

  19. That is very impressive! So proud for you – you have definitely gotten me inspired! Chris looks great too, he’ll be a string bean by Oct. 1! Way to go!

  20. Both of you look amazing!!! Pilates is great for the abs and really helped my back aches from lugging around two kids.

    1. Thanks!! I’m really looking for something I can do from home, though – but it does sound fun, and you would be an awesomely fun Zumba partner!!!

  21. You look amazing!! I honestly don’t remember the last time I was in the 130’s let alone the 120’s! I’ve lost my baby weight, and then some, but I’m still a flabby mess under the clothes. Very frustrating, but I, like you, don’t remember ever being toned in my tummy so I’m not going to kill myself for it now, especially with the stretch marks I’ve gained. I would hate to work for that toned tummy only to still have it look like a cat with claws got stuck under my shirt.

    And Jillian and her Shred are EVIL!!!

  22. Okay, not fair! You look great!
    I’m also aiming for 130, but from the other direction. I’ve put on about 10 pounds over the course of approximately a year, am at 122 pounds, and… still look scrawny. Worse, most of the weight I have gained is in my belly and bum, and if I wear the wrong thing I look like I’ve got a baby bump. :(
    I would also suggest Zumba. I haven’t tried it because I’m cheap, but it looks fun!

      1. Zumba comes in all forms! It’s not just classes, there are DVDs and an Xbox Kinect game. Possibly also a Wii game, I believe. My reluctance stems mostly from not being able to try-before-I-buy.

  23. You guys look amazing!!!! I am totally jealous of your 128! I haven’t weighed that in about 7 years. You have inspired me to get back on the bandwagon.

    I stopped using Lose It because we don’t eat out much and it was hard to guess how many calories were in the foods I was making. I figured I wasn’t doing it very well since I was staying under calories but not really losing any weight. How do you use the recipes thing? Oh and I am totally with you on the baby belly…I don’t think mine will ever be the same again. I did ab exercises 5 days a week for 6 months and was hardly seeing any results. Very frustrating since I used to have awesome abs.

    Good job again! Are you going to keep using Lose It to keep it off?

    1. Thank you!

      Each recipe took some work and internet research on every ingredient, but it was worth it. I add up the calories of the whole meal and then split it into servings.

      Yes, I’m going to keep using Lose It for the foreseeable future to ensure I stick to it!!

      Welcome back, by the way!!

  24. Wow. Amazing. Great job and I am completely jealous. This is inspirational! Now, I just need an iPhone for that app. I will look around Droid for something like it. Thanks. By the way, that shirt is amazing. It took a good bit from Noah and still looks great on you.

  25. You look awesome!! I used that app and lost 25 lbs last spring. And then I got pregnant. The baby is now four months old and I have yet to use it, but I need to. I wish my husband would do it with me but alas, he is a skinny twig, lol!! He can eat all kinds of crap and stay skinny. If I didn’t love him, I’d hate him ;)

    1. Thanks! Isn’t the Lose It app amazing? I didn’t start until 4 months after, either – it took me that long to get the motivation to even care!! :)

  26. Wow! I need that motivation…you look awesome! For the other commenters, I have a droid and have the my fitness pal app, which is really more about counting your calories and entering all the foods you eat than the fitness part. If you exercise then it gives you extra calories that day. I hope to have success with it like you did!

  27. #1: You look great.

    #2: This: “…my abs still sag, wrinkle, droop, and pillow with sadness at being stretched abusively for months on end, only to be rewarded with the intense pleasure of being hacked open, leaving muscles and epidermal layers permanently traumatized.”

    It’s why I won’t be trying to give birth to anything. Ever.

  28. Love the before/after pictures (and that you took the facing the same way just for my OCD self =) ) I can’t say it from experience, although I’ll be trying it post-baby, but I’ve heard amazing things about the Wii Fit hula hoop game if you want something more fun to work on your abs! =)

    1. No, it’s not over until October 1. we both get the money for how much weight we lose, and the person with the highest percentage lost as of October 1st is the bragging rights winner, and gets to pick our celebratory dinner. I should have that in the bag, though!! :)

  29. Both of you look amazing! Your abs look great in that picture and both of you look even younger! I visited a dietician a couple weeks ago and she gave me some meal plans for the 1,500 calorie range. It’s kind of hard for me to get started, but you are definitely an inspiration!

    1. Thanks!! I still think it’s all in the calorie counting – I’m sure you’ll do great with meal plans in hand! My hardest part was controlling my between-meal snacking – I almost do it out of boredom, you know? I had to quit that.

  30. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your weight loss story. Because of this post, Lose It! was the first app I downloaded after I got my iPhone in late October. I immediately started using it even through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Super Bowl eating. To date I’ve lost 25 pounds. My husband started in January and he’s lost 20. It’s the easiest way I’ve ever lost weight because I am still eating “normally”. (Normally for me requires regular desserts and plenty of cheese.) We did get a few strange looks from servers in restaurants as we delayed ordering several times in order to check calorie counts on our phones! I can live with a few strange looks knowing I’m fitting in my pre-baby clothes for the first time in six years. Thanks again!

    1. That’s wonderful!!! Congratulations!!

      I’m still using it – we’re coming up on our one year anniversary of LoseIt geeks. The accountability is just so invaluable, and once you’ve been using it for a while, it’s not that much trouble.

      Congrats again, and thanks for sharing!!

    1. Yup! We’re still using Lose It to track our calories. Chris has lost maybe another 15 pounds or so, and I’m staying steady at where I was at the end of our bet.

  31. I have had two kids close in age and learned about diastasis recti at the end of my 2nd pregnancy. When I was tested correctly I had a 4 finger width gap between my abdominal muscles at 37 weeks. Unfortunately due to a lack of diligence despite having the information I am still working on closing it. I learned about the Tupler Technique which is the only research proven way to close a diastasis recti. It can’t do anything about the lose, flabby skin which I am cursed with as well. But doing the exercises definitely works your whole core. Here is a link on how to check yourself for a diastasis correctly:

  32. First, you look wonderful! Second, I’ve been tracking my calories with My Fitness Pal and we have very similar goals. I hated to see breastfeeding come to an end for many reasons. I didn’t realize how I’d miss it for all the weight loss benefits. I started gaining back after weaning Walt. Oh that baby weight is no joke!

    If you see me and Walt strolling by your house, sweating and jamming to Katy Perry, just ignore us!

    1. We need to walk together! I’m now trying to get back to that weight. We’re giving Jemison Park a good regular walk-through, because my kids find walking in the neighborhood quite boring.

      If you see me running circles in our yard while my kids play in the slip n slide, just ignore me. :-)

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