Disclosure: Contains affiliate links. All opinions are mine.
It’s 2020. I guess it’s as good a time as any to set a goal to lose 100 pounds. Daunting, isn’t it? It is for me. And I set the goal in April not honestly believing that I’d reach it. I mean: that’s a HUGE number that will take a long time to accomplish. Now, it was a number that I knew I needed to lose. In fact, it’s a goal that doesn’t even get my BMI to “normal”. Close to “normal”, but still a little higher than that. It’s at least WAY better than the BMI of 42+ that I started out with. But it was still ALOT.
100 pounds is a nice even, round number, so I set that as my goal. As of the time I’m writing this, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve lost 90 pounds of that 100 pound goal. And I’m still going. So I’m pretty sure I’m going to get there. #sofreakingproudofmyself
What tools helped me get there? You might be surprised that the answer isn’t anything fancy or really expensive. There isn’t a nutritional program or a supplement that I can credit for much of my weight loss. As great as some of those programs are and as awesome as they might work for other people, I didn’t use one. The huge majority of food that I ate to lose 90 pounds is food that I purchased myself and made at home. Regular food from regular grocery stores. No supplements. No vitamins. No specialty food.
But there were 3 main things that I did to lose weight:
2) Ate low-carb (sometimes low carb enough to be considered Keto, but not always THAT low carb)
3) Practiced Intermittent Fasting
All of those things are free. (Well, you know – you still have to buy food, but it isn’t some specific brand of low carb food that I used. Just you know, lettuce and tomatoes and cheese and broccoli and cauliflower and chicken and shrimp and beef. You know, food.)
Along the way though, I did use some things that really helped me do those 3 things.
I started trying to lose weight in April. At first, I didn’t start walking – that came 3-4 weeks later. By the time May rolled around, I was starting to walk more, but I had no idea how much I was walking. So I bought a Smart Watch that could count steps. The first couple of weeks, I didn’t set a step goal – I just wanted to see how many steps I was “naturally” getting in. Answer? About 4,000 steps on a work day (where I sit at my desk) and about 6,000 steps on a weekend. That wasn’t too much. So then over the next couple of weeks, I started setting goals. At the time, it was a really big deal for me to reach 10,000 steps a day.
It was hard at first for me to find time to walk. It just wasn’t built into my day. So whenever I’d have a “free” 15 minutes, I’d do this route that’s by my house. I call it “The Loop”. If my boys were busy playing without me (and my husband was home), I’d go on “a Loop”. Or a couple times a day, I’d make them go with me. Or once they were in bed, I’d “do the Loop”. If I did “The Loop” 4 times a day, I’d reach 10,000 steps.
It didn’t take long for me to really like hitting that 10,000 step goal a day. My app showed me how many steps I got in each day, week, month and I liked seeing the numbers rise. I started to find an hour each day to walk – more on the weekends. I started waking up at my regular time on Saturday (normally my day to sleep in) and went walking for a couple of hours. It just became important to me. There was even a long stretch of time that I consistently hit 17,000-22,000 steps a day.
These last couple of months, I’m waking up at 4:30-5:00 a.m. most days to get an hour (or more!) of walking in before my husband goes to work. Then I can get in another 30 minutes of walking in around lunch while the boys are at school. And usually another 30 minutes before picking up the boys from school. If all those stars align in a given day, it’s not hard for me to hit 17,000 steps. That doesn’t always happen though. And now that the weather is getting colder and windy and icy, I’ve had to switch my walking in the neighborhood for the YMCA a few times. I don’t like that nearly as well and I don’t go as long or as often.
I have a Vivomove S3 by Garmin, but you don’t need to get something that expensive. I bought this one because 1) I wanted a watch anyway, 2) I didn’t need anything uber fancy, 3) my brother works for Garmin so there was a Friends & Family discount thing going on and 4) my brother said to. My only regret is that I didn’t get the rose gold one…it’s really pretty!
Confession: I don’t like earbuds. I just don’t. They don’t sit well in my ears. I don’t know if I have odd shaped ears or what, but I don’t like them. But I wanted to listen to SOMETHING when I was walking. A friend recommended these AfterShokz Wireless headphones and I thought it was worth a try. They’re awesome! They go behind your ears like a goofy headband. (Yeah, it feels a little StarTrek-y!) They don’t fall out. They aren’t noise canceling (which I actually like) because I can still hear my surroundings (important if you’re walking outside near, you know, cars and dogs). They’ve just worked really well. Are they pricy? Oh yeah. But very much worth it for me.
Libby for Audiobooks
So what am I listening to in my headphones? Audiobooks! I started listening to music when I walked, but that was just okay. Not great, but okay. Didn’t keep me entertained. So I went in search of audiobooks. I mean, that’s what smart people do, right? And I wanted to be smart! I knew about Audible, but that was expensive. And if I was walking 1-2 hours/day, I was going to go through audiobooks quickly. That wasn’t going to be something that I wanted to pay THAT much for.
Enter Libby. It’s free! Well, it’s free for me because I have an Omaha Public Library card. You just get an account on Libby with your library card number and you’re off! Lots of audiobooks for free. You can have 10 books checked out at a time (plenty for me) and you can put a hold on 10 books (I’d like to do more!). You get each book for 14 days, then it’s off to the next person.
For free, it’s fantastic! Now, of course, the most popular books always have a wait – sometimes a really long one – but I can always find SOMETHING that I want to listen to. Your tastes are going to be different than mine, but I enjoy fiction or fantasy when I walk. I like to mentally “go to another world” so to speak. I’ve tried “Self Help Books” or books I’d read for work and it just doesn’t interest me when walking. I save those for reading with an actual book at night. So I recommend:
- The Harry Potter Series
- Jodi Picoult. Favorites are My Sister’s Keeper, Harvesting the Heart, The Storyteller and Keeping Faith.
- Liane Moriarty
- John Grisham books (especially his earlier stuff like A Time To Kill or his non-legal books like Calico Joe or Playing For Pizza)
- Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy – I’ve only listened to the first 3 as that’s all that Libby has.
- Ally Condie Matched Series
- Veronica Roth Divergent Series
- Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Series
You can get Libby where ever your device gets apps. (Note: the above links take you to Amazon so you can read about the books to determine if you want to seek out the audiobook.)
This isn’t free, but it isn’t too expensive. I bought a good water bottle JUST FOR MAMA. It’s a stainless steel one by Contigo so it keeps my water nice and cold for a long time. In fact, I can fill it up with ice water at night and it’ll still have ice and be cold the next morning. I didn’t set a water goal each day – just gave up my 100 ounce/day Pepsi habit and I needed something in its place. Water was the best choice. But I like it c-o-l-d and I like it icy!
This water bottle does a great job at that. I just keep it around me all day. It’s not a huge mega-big one so it fits in my cupholder when I’m in the van. It fits in the stroller if I take that with me and the boys. It sits by my desk all day. It has a nice little hook on the top for carrying it around. It doesn’t leak (in fact, my boys take the same kind to school and it does great in their backpacks.) It’s just a great, sturdy, long lasting water bottle.
I’m kind of a modest person. By that I mean that when I bend over, I don’t like people seeing down my shirt. And with 4 boys, I lean over quite a bit. So I’ve been wearing tank tops for years under my shirts or dresses when I need to. But once I started losing weight, my clothes went from REALLY TIGHT to HEY! THAT FITS! to IT’S KIND OF LOOSE! to OH MAN, THAT’S REALLY LOOSE. I didn’t want to buy entire new wardrobes very often, so I made due when I could. (Luckily this was all happening during the pandemic and I was working from home, so no one really noticed.)
I found this Half Tee company and decided it was worth a try. I’m hooked! It’s like half a tank top, so it covers my top half without going over my stomach. I really, really, really like that because that’s the part of the tank top that would get baggy on me, or it would hit at the wrong spot bunching up at my waist or, just irritate me. So buying even just one of these tank tops helped me stretch my wardrobe a lot longer before I started replacing clothing WITHOUT feeling uncomfortable. They’re great. I’m a big fan.
Note: If you use my Referral Link, I think you get a 15% discount on your first $25 order: I do too if others use my code, but since I don’t have any purchases planned, this really benefits you more than me!
Gin Stephen’s Books
I didn’t start practicing Intermittent Fasting right away. In fact, it wasn’t until a few months on my weight loss journey that I had even heard of it, but as I began to follow people who were losing weight or do Keto on Instagram, I saw rumblings about it. It eventually led me to Gin Stephen’s books on the subject. So I got them as e-books in July (about 4 months into my weight loss journey) and the thoughts really resonated with me. I can not tell you that it will work for you. I’ll leave you (and your doctor) to decide if it’s a good fit for you. But it has been awesome for me! She doesn’t tell you WHAT to eat, only that I need to eat less often to let my body heal, use up the food stores that I’ve been storing up for years and gave me options for doing that. Money well spent for me.
I’m not a doctor – how you eat, what you eat, and when you eat is a decision best left to you and those who know your medical history. This is just an approach that I’ve really appreciated.
Good luck on your journey – whether that’s to lose weight, gain some, keep at the same weight, gain muscle, stay healthy – whatever it is! Best of luck!
Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She tries to coupon, builds a smart stockpile, and always meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her on Instagram.