By: Caitlin O’Brient
I want to start by noting that everyone’s weight loss journey is going to be different. What I did may or may not work for you. I would love if my program helped you to achieve your goals, but please know that it may not.
Even at my heaviest, most people would never have considered me overweight. But for my height I was literally on the cusp of being overweight.
Personally, I felt out of control. I had become completely unhealthy: eating and drinking whatever my heart desired and not supplementing those choices with exercise.
What really caught my attention was a combination of the number on the scale, my physical appearance in photos, and the way my clothes didn’t fit any more. Instead of accepting defeat and buying a whole new wardrobe, I decided to fight back. I knew I needed to take control of not only my health, but my life.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN…
When I graduated college I was in peak physical condition. I had spent over a year working with a personal trainer, attending 3-4 group exercise classes per week, and 2 dance classes a week. Needless to say, it wasn’t that difficult to understand why I was in such good shape.
Graduation rolled around and it was party after party, which meant a lot of alcohol and a lot of delicious, but unhealthy food. I kept making excuses like “You only graduate college once.” Which is true—but I kept using
that excuse for the next 3 months without any exercise.
Graduation Dinner, South Beach, May 2008
I moved home to spend time with my family and spend my boyfriend’s last month of grad school with him. And what do you know…? More parties!
To top it all off we had been planning a three week trip to Europe which ended with us going to my mother’s family’s cottage in Camden, Maine for my final family vacation before venturing into adulthood.
We ate and drank our way through Greece, Prague, and Amsterdam. When we came back it was lobster and bottomless glasses of wine.
Wine Tasting in Santorini, Summer 2008
At the end of the summer I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see I had gained almost 20 lbs since graduation! Not long after, I moved to LA and I continued to make excuses such as “I don’t have time to workout” or “I really can’t afford a gym membership.”
The holidays rolled around and wreaked havoc on my self control. My boyfriend’s younger sister was turning 21 the day before New Year’s Eve, so we decided it would be fun to take her for an all-out trip to Las Vegas! We ate, we drank, we gambled—we had a GREAT time.
It wasn’t until I got home and started looking through the pictures from our trip that I actually understood how bad it really was. I saw one picture that made me want to cry. I could not believe that girl was me! It wasn’t shocking that I wasn’t getting auditions or meetings.
What to do…? It was time to take responsibility and take control!
NEW YEAR. NEW ME.
I was very lucky because my mother was in town when I had this epiphany and she happens to be a Weight Watcher. For years my mother had been trying to convince me to give it a try, but I never took it seriously as an option for me because I had never been overweight enough to really worry. But she convinced me to go to a meeting with her before she left town.
I’m not gonna lie to you—I was really put off during the first meeting. I was hands-down the youngest person in the room and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It was a very difficult thing for me to admit that I had a problem and I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit. Weight Watchers isn’t temporary or a fad diet—it’s a lifetime commitment and a lifestyle change.
However, the energy in that room was so positive, that I decided this might be the right fit for me. This seemed like a very supportive group of people and that was exactly what I needed. Everyone talked openly about their successes and failures and they had really great tips for recipes and weight loss. Some of them had been coming to the weekly meetings for over 20 years! It was obvious to me that there was something really great about this program.
So, I signed up for Weight Watchers and I started going to meetings and tracking EVERYTHING I ate and drank. I set my goal at 120 lbs, which meant I had a total of 20 lbs to lose. I felt that 120 was a reasonable, attainable goal for my height.
I lost 3.4 lbs during my first week on the program! I kept going to meetings every week and I kept losing. By mid-March I had lost almost 12 lbs. That’s when I got too confident and down I fell.
I stopped going to meetings, I stopped working out and I stopped tracking. By mid-July I had gained every bit of the weight back. I felt disgusting and like a complete failure. I didn’t know what to do and I was too embarrassed to go back to my meetings and have to admit I gained it all back. How was I going to bounce back from this?
Well, first I had to swallow my pride and get over the fact that I had fallen off the train. It happens to the best of us and it was probably a good thing it happened to me. Now I am even more committed to the weight loss because I know how difficult it is to start over a 2nd and now a 3rd time. That weight does NOT come off easily once your body knows what you’re capable of.
(click above to visit the site)
Once again I am a very lucky girl! Around this time my best friend Lindsay was starting a new company called Kaeng Raeng. Kaeng Raeng is an all natural detox diet program that helps with weight loss. She was getting ready to do a free beta launch and I figured it might be a good way to get me back on track.
Permit me a moment to preface this…
Anyone who actually knows me would NEVER have thought I would ever do a detox. I used to think detoxes were a HUGE waste of time—and I still believe most are.
When I was in college I would see girls doing the “Master Cleanse” and practically passing out during dance class or breaking down crying because they were so hungry and so miserable. Why were they so miserable, you ask? Because they weren’t allowed to eat anything when they cleansed!
I thought these girls were out of their minds. I love them dearly—but no one in their right mind should do the Master Cleanse. It’s just not healthy. You drink water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for 10 days! The worst part is that the weight comes back almost as quickly as you lost it!
You’re not allowed to eat anything—someone please explain to me how that is healthy! If you can prove to me that starving yourself for ten days is healthy, then I owe you a coke!
Now back to how I became a believer in Kaeng Raeng…
What really sold me on this product is that it contains all of your daily nutritional needs and contains a ton of protein and fiber. While you’re doing the cleanse you can eat as much fruit and raw veggies as you want. In addition, you can mix the powder with water, juice, or milk. You have options—other detox programs don’t give you any flexibility.
I have always despised limitations, so this program is a great fit for me.
I began my 3-day Beginner Kaeng Raeng cleanse…
I added juice and fruit to it every time to make a delicious little smoothie. I was so full, I couldn’t fathom wanting other food. You can ask my friend—I watched her eat In ‘N Out Burger on my second day.
By the end of the 3-day cleanse I was more energized than I had ever been and I lost 4 lbs! I am proud to say I never gained it back. Kaeng Raeng really is a great product and I really do believe it’s the future of cleanses.
|AidsWalk LA 2009!|
Well, I hate to break it you folks—but Weight Watchers and Cleansing just aren’t enough to get rid of and keep weight off. We all make excuses like “I just don’t have enough time to go the gym.” I used to be the queen of that excuse. But I realized you really don’t need a gym to get a good workout. I bought 3, 5, and 12 lb weights from Target and discovered this is all you really need for some good at-home workouts.
What’s with all my luck??? I was yet again lucky enough to discover “Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred” on Time Warner Cable’s On Demand Exercise TV.
I committed myself to this program for 30 minutes a day, every day for 30 days. In addition I tried to attend yoga class twice a week when I wasn’t working. By the end of this month I had lost another 6 lbs. Yay me!
But what to do next…?
From this point on I realized that 30 minutes a day was no longer enough for my body since I had built up so much strength and stamina. I had to switch things up.
Currently I alternate about 3-4 Jillian DVDs, I go to Yoga when I can, and I use 5 lb weights for the 30-day shred instead of 3 lb weights.
I understand that I won’t be able to stick with this routine forever, because at some point my body is going to get used to it and it’s going to stop working.
But at least I’ve discovered that the key to exercise is to keep things fresh and more importantly, to keep surprising and challenging my body to do more.
The best part is: when you’re getting started you really don’t need to exercise for more than 30-45 minutes a day as long as you’re combining cardio with strength training. The key is to keep your heart rate up the entire time. Once you’ve reached a plateau, add another half an hour and you should be good to go for a while.
|Oh yeah… See those stars? Those are stars of victory!|
There are always going to be distractions such as birthdays, holidays, special events, etc.—you just have to stay motivated. It’s perfectly okay to indulge once in a while and you may or may not gain a little weight from your indulgences. If you don’t indulge once in a while, you could end up feeling trapped and unhappy. This usually leads to binging, which in turns ends up setting you back much more than if you had just had that one tiny little indulgence.
You also have to remember that it’s completely healthy for your body to fluctuate on a daily and weekly basis. Once I was able to accept these things, I was able to reach my goal with very little stress and in a much quicker time frame than I had expected.
Lessons learned? TRACK your eating, TRACK your weight, TRACK your exercise, set GOALS, and BE HAPPY with yourself! You only get one life, why not make the most of it?
Some of my favorite tips:
– If you’re hungry, drink water. Sometimes your body confuses being thirsty with being hungry. Drink an 8 oz glass of water, if you still feel hungry, then you probably are!
– Combine cardio and strength training in a circuit workout. I HATE running on a treadmill or spending an hour on the elliptical—what a boring way to exercise. Why not do a circuit workout that saves you time and boosts your energy?
– Fruits and Veggies are your best friend. Find something healthy you actually enjoy snacking on. Personally, I love clementines. You can have 2 small ones for only half a weight watchers point and they tend to tide me over in between meals.