3 Things I did to Lose 20 Lbs

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The three things I did to finally lose 20lbs for good include eating in a calorie deficit, strength training, and the one mindset hack I had to master!

After my entire life of dieting, I was tired of setting the goal to lose weight over and over. I was tired of that goal filling up so much of my time, money, and energy. I just wanted to accomplish it already so I could get on with my life, and get on with living for other things. (read my whole weight loss story here)

So, I decided to go 100%, all in, for 6 months to see what would happen if I truly got honest with myself with how much food I was eating, and to NOT give up until the full 6 months ended, no matter what the scale said day to day.

And you know what? It FINALLY happened. I finally lost the weight I had been carrying uncomfortably for years. Here’s what happened!

  • I not only reached my goal weight, I finally had the body I always wanted.
  • I finally started keeping promises to myself.
  • My confidence grew in my ability to stick to a plan.
  • My energy improved, and
  • I truly loved the journey!

So, how did I do it? How did I lose 20lbs after 3 decades of dieting? (Yes, I started dieting when I was 12 or 13 years old!

As I look back now 5 years ago, these three things were pivotal in my transformation.

#1 – I ate in a calorie deficit

I knew I was eating too much food. Even though I was a healthy eater, I just ate too much food. It was innocent enough: A handful of nuts, crackers and cheese, peanut butter, pretzels, etc.

But I never had boundaries. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. And raising kids made it even harder because I was always in the kitchen.

So, first, I decided the amount of calories I needed to be in a calorie deficit, (which for me was 1200 calories). Many people will tell you that 1200 calories “isn’t enough”, but that’s the point. If it were “enough” you wouldn’t be in a deficit. Besides, I’m only 5’0 tall and at 50 years old, my metabolism just isn’t screaming fast.

Although I had counted calories in the past, it wasn’t until I counted EVERYTHING that I lost weight. The bites, licks, crumbs, gummy vitamins, condiments, vegetables, ALL OF IT. I am capable of eating an extra 1000 calories in untracked food, so if I want to lose weight, everything has to be counted.

I also decided to take the drama out of weight loss and look at it more like a science experiment. How could I say “my body is broken and I can’t lose weight”, if my calories were never counted accurately. I wanted the data. I wanted to either prove once and for all that my body was either resistant to weight loss, or that it followed the law of CICO. And it did!

(calculate the calories you need to be in a calorie deficit with this macro calculator here)

#2 – I Started lifting weights

I’ve actually been a fan of exercise my entire life. Not a fan of group sports, but just jogging, hiking, walking, etc. And I can honestly say I go jogging, running or walking almost every single day and have since I was 15 years old. It just makes me feel good, and I love starting my day this way.

But when I decided to “go all in” 5 years ago with weight loss, I also decided to sign up for a bikini competition (just to make sure I was truly ALL IN!) So, with that came weight lifting, for the first time in my life.

And, I found not only did I enjoy it, but it CHANGED my body. Even at the same weight, I noticed a better shape through my shoulders, arms and even my legs.

My current plan is

  • Monday: Leg Day
  • Tuesday: Shoulder Day
  • Wednesday: Back and Biceps day
  • Thursday: Leg day
  • Friday: Shoulders and triceps day.

This is a breakdown of each exercise I do for those 5 days.

#3 – Continually evaluated what triggers made me eat off plan

Perhaps the newest part of this journey that has really helped me lose the weight was noticing WHY I would let myself eat off my plan often enough to never see progress.

I’ve written a LOT of articles about this, but the main takeaways are:

  • I eat something that is not on my plan, or binge on a food that IS on my plan.
  • First I try to pause and notice what excuses I gave myself to justify the binge.
  • If I give in, I reflect on those excuses and try to poke holes in them. This would sound something like: “A second helping of toast is OK. Toast is healthy! Eating a second one really wouldn’t ruin my day.” And then, once I hear myself say those things I would try to refute the self talk. It would sound like “The problem isn’t the second piece of toast. The problem is letting yourself have seconds of everything. The problem is giving into every whim of cravings and desires in the moment you have them. It starts with toast and then it progresses to seconds of everything else. So, YEAH. Having a second helping just might ruin your day” LOL

I have lots more examples of these messages our brain gives us to sabotage our diet here!

Anyway- those are the three things! I truly believe these three things helped me reach my goals more than anything else on my journey!

Let me know… which of these three resonate with you? Which of these three will help you lose weight once and for all?

3 things I did to lose 20lbs

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  1. Love this!!!!
    I find staying on track without having seconds or eating just because is the hardest, I always have the urge to eat something after meals🙈trying to find a plan that will put my body into fat burn.

    1. I get it! Have you read my post about not snacking between meals?  When I realized, I needed time to digest my food and actually USE the food from the prior meal, I knew I had to stop eating between meals.Totally a game changer!’

  2. Thanks for this, Amy! Can I ask, do you always stay in a deficit now? I’ve been curious about what I read about “reverse diets” and such.

    1. Hi Ginger
      Thanks for reading my blog. Honestly, I haven’t been too successful about nailing the maintenance and that’s my main goal. I am either losing or gaining. It’s hard to find middle ground because I give myself a little flexibility, and it’s my slippery slope into excess!
      Once I can maintain my weight for a good year, I’ll DEFINITELY share what worked!


  3. Amy, your posts always resonate with me which is why I love your methods so much. I am 57, 5’4” and hypothyroid…but your recipes, meal plans, & general way to go about things just works! Funny…the other day when you posted your favorite protein dips I think you were reading my mind! Sometimes we just neeeed a quick, easy protein snack and not a meal. The psychology of food is a thing, too! Thanks for all the value you provide. Your meal plans rock as well!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write Staci! I appreciate it so much. It helps to know I’m not alone in this journey.
      Our mental self talk and psychology around food is no joke! We all know what to do, so it’s crazy how we talk ourselves out of our goals so easily!!

      Thanks again for popping in and following the plan. YOU ROCK!.


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