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Military Wife Loses 100 Pounds in 274 Days

I make no claims to be a Weight Loss Guru. I am just one determined chick who decided to take control of her life and body and lost 100 pounds in 274 days.

After years of unconscious eating, pregnancies, miscarriages, and fertility treatments, I found myself at 301.8 lbs. I carried that weight for 17 months before I decided enough was enough and started Operation SnapBack...My journey to reclaim my body and work my way back to me.

I lost my weight with no diet aid, surgery, personal trainer, or weight loss program. This was not because I was opposed to any of the above but because I wanted to build a personal relationship with my body and and have every pound lost be based on a personal decision I made.

Any time a military wife loses 100 pounds, she makes a lot of changes. I learned so much about food, exercise, decisions, and me during this journey. I jotted down a list of tips I learned during my journey. I hope they help someone change their life the way they helped me change mine.

El Brown’s 100 Lb. Weight Loss Tips

1. Understand that weight loss is math.  Move more + Eat Less = Weight Loss.

2. Choose smaller milestones. In my mind, I wasn’t trying to lose 100lbs. I was trying to lose ten pounds ten times. I celebrated each milestone like an Olympic win.

3. Be consistent. This is probably the most important tip. We all subconsciously know how to lose weight. The key is to figure out a way to do the things, day after day, you know will eventually get you to your goal.

4. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. I used social media. I posted pictures (Sweat Checks) after each of my workouts for friends and family. My Facebook and Instagram friends became my instant cheering squad and called me out if I they didn’t see a Sweat Check after a few days.

5. Take plenty of pictures.  You may look the same to yourself in the mirror for a very long time...the eyes and mind have a funny way of adjusting as you lose weight. However, pictures will show the Real Deal. As you lose weight it will be fun and motivating to scroll through your pictures and watch your transformation.

6. Use technology. I love apps like Nike+ and My Fitness Pal. They are both free and allowed me to track my runs, and progress.

7. Find an activity you LOVE...not like...and definitely not tolerate. Running was my activity of choice. I loved being outside. Running gave me an opportunity to gather my thoughts. It required nothing more than a good pair of running shoes and I could do it anytime at my own pace.

8. Compete against yourself. When I started running. I ran an 18 or 19 minute mile. I now run an easy 11 to 12 minute mile in just over five months of consistent running. Each week, I challenge myself to go a little faster than I did the week before. I race against me and only me.

9. Don’t reward yourself with food. Reward yourself with a new size pants, great pair of shoes, or new activity with friends, loved ones, or yourself.

10. Stop gathering over food. I used to LOVE to catch up with friends over brunch or lunch. The grazing over conversation adds up quickly. Now, I do Sweat and Chats with friends...a brisk walk in the park or a the harbor to chat and spill the tea.

11. Leans and Greens. Most of my meals are veggie and a meat. Not only is it a healthier option, but I save time and money now that I no longer plan elaborate meals with all the fixins’.

12. When eating out…plan ahead. Most restaurants post their menu and calorie count online. Go into a restaurant knowing exactly what you are going to order.

13. 400 Degrees Everything. When I was in need of a quick meal or snack, I would preheat my oven at 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil, put some raw veggies on it, sprinkle with a little olive oil and sea salt, and 15 to 25 minutes later I had YUM!!!

14. Travel with snacks. I keep healthy snack option in my purse and glove box. Gone are the days of stopping the drive-thru because I am famished.

15. Cardio, Cardio, and more Cardio. Just move everyday. Whether it is dancing with a broom or running on a treadmill, get in the habit of moving your body.

16. Say “No” to escalator and elevators. I take stairs all the time now. A simple way to add an extra bit of movement to your day.

17. Park at the back of the parking lot and jog to the entrance.  One of my favorites, but watch out for cars! 

18. When you get closer to your goal, break out the measuring tape. In the beginning, if you are heavier, the weight comes off pretty quickly. As you get lighter, it may take a little longer to lose that pound on the scale. A tape measure will show you your “in between pounds” progress.

19. Think before you eat. You have a choice right up to the very end. I have ordered or cooked food ...had the fork in my hand...mouth wide open...thought about it and changed my mind. That money or time I wasted on a meal that would have been counterproductive to your progress is worth much less than my continued progress.

20. Say a Mantra. Give yourself words of encouragement. Every morning when I got up I said, “I Got This!”

21. Tune out Naysayers. Sometimes, even well-intentioned people will say things that are less than motivating.  They say, “You don’t need to lose anymore weight.” Or, “You look fine.” Or, "How can you live without bread?”  Or, “How much weight are you trying to lose?”  Or, “I couldn’t do it.”  You get the picture. Tune Them OUT!!!!!! This is your journey, not theirs.

22. Acknowledge the foods you like. If you like a food that is not conducive to your goal, that’s okay. Just say you like it. I have found that saying it out loud instead of pretending it is not there or that I don’t want it helps me not succumb to tempting food. If a friend offers me a slice of cheesecake, I say, “No thank you but Key Lime cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.”

23. Be a little selfish. The duties of life can pull you in so many different directions and make it seem that time is limited. You have 24 hours in the day.  Give yourself at least ONE to invest in you. Non-negotiable. You deserve it.

24. Make small sustainable changes in your lifestyle. Once you lose the weight the goal is to keep it off. If you do something drastic during your weight loss journey it will be more difficult to maintain your weight once you enter your maintenance phase. Ask yourself, “Can I do this for the next 5 or 10 years?” If the answer is “No," consider rethinking the method of weight loss.

25. Love yourself through every pound!!!!!! In my opinion, I was GORGEOUS at my heaviest weight. I wasn’t my healthiest but I was definitely in love with some El Brown. This journey should not be one of self loathing trying to get to a size that you and others can finally appreciate but one of improving on the person that you already think is pretty darn GREAT!!!

26. START: These tips are completely useless if you don’t get started. Take that first step. Do something different TODAY! I lost 100lbs in 274 days... Just imagine where you could be on your journey just 30 days after reading this article. You got this!

El Brown, the creator of KinderJam® and Military Spouse Magazine’s 2012 Army Spouse of the Year, is an Early Childhood Education Consultant and Trainer, Certified Parent Educator, and sought after Public Speaker.

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