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My weight loss journey: How my “slip-ups” helped me “shape-up”…

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This post was originally published as a guest feature on  Greatist.com, the fastest growing site in health and lifestyle content, reaching more than 3 million visitors in just one year! Follow @jshakeshaftthe amazing fitness editor, who helped me with this post!

By Brittani Rettig (Brit)

Playin’ college basketball in 2006 – feeling FIT

Long story short, I’m a fan of “plans.”  It started in high school when I discovered Slim Fast and dropped 15 pounds.  I gained that back in one summer.  During college, I was captain of my women’s basketball team which kept the pounds under control.  But when I entered the working world, I packed on plenty of extra “cushioning.”   I tried Weight Watchers for about a month, but always skipped meetings and under counted my “points.” Then there was the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Lipodrene diet pills and the cayenne pepper/lemon juice cleanse (Beyoncé put me on to this one).  I’d lose 5-10 pounds with each program only to gain it back in a few months.  I had officially reached a point where I was failing at every weight loss system.  I was a 5’8” 25-year-old who weighed 179 pounds and felt “less than stellar.”  I had to get it together.  I REFUSED to let another day of my 20’s go by without rockin’ short shorts, high heels and lots of swag!   This is when I accepted my weight control Slip up #1: I tried to be perfect

Fall break vacation 2009 – weighing over 175 pounds

I have a super Type A (slightly neurotic) personality and get really pumped up about new a diet plan or workout regimen.  But if I slip up even once, I beat myself up and eventually quit.   Being mean to myself does not help me lose weight.  So, I had to accept the reality that most “plans” aren’t doable for the long haul.  This meant getting rid of my “all or nothing” weight loss mindset.  Instead of feeling guilty for slipping up, I started keeping a mental note of what I ate and tried to match my food intake with equal calorie burn.  For example, if I killed a burger and fries at lunch, that was cool.  It just meant I’d have a small side salad for dinner followed by an extra 30 minutes of cardio. Simple, right?  Not quite.

Despite having this revelation and starting to feel more balanced, I wasn’t losing as much weight as I wanted.  What was the problem?  After downing a bag of trail mix one afternoon, I realized Slip-up #2: I ate too muchSimply put, it goes like this:

  • Choosing a healthy snack = a good look 🙂
  • Eating five servings of a healthy snack = not a good look  😦

At a wedding in 2009 “mean muggin” – I was thick but still cute right? 🙂

The fact that I ate too much was the most difficult truth for me to accept because I actually ate healthy food!  The problem was that I simply ate too much of it.  So, it was really hard to burn more calories than I consumed, which is the only way to legitimately lose weight.  You’ve heard it before, “eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full.”  Well, it’s true.  I had to accept that portion control is just as, if not more, important than food choice.

On that same note, I discovered Slip-up #3: I overestimated my calorie burn.  Since I work out regularly, Ialways figured I deserved a diet “buffer.” But, turns out our bodies don’t blast as many calories as we think.    Calorie counters and heart rate monitors often over count calorie burn.  This is because several factors like hydration, stress, diet, genetics and room temperature aren’t considered.  The bottom line is this: The harder you work the more calories you burn.  So, I started using the Talk Test to quickly and effectively measure my Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and indirectly measure my calorie burn.   If I’m breathing really heavy (like “sucking air”) I know I’m torching calories because I’ve reached my anaerobic training zone.  Now when I work out, I try reaching and staying in this calorie blasting zone to maximize the burn!

Hosting a house party in 2010 – gettin’ my GRUB ON

I’m not going to lie, after weeks of trying to eat less and move more, I was having some serious hunger pangs!  Luckily, I found that simply drinking a glass of water did wonders for my cravings.  Check this, most of the time we think we are “hungry” we are actually “thirsty” due to dehydration.  Also dehydration makes us feel lethargic and we crave sugar and other simple carbs that make us fat. So there you have it, Slip-up #4: I didn’t drink enough water

Now, I was on a roll! After a few months proactively addressing my weight control “slip-ups,” I was feeling good, slim, and energetic.  So one day I decided to weigh myself.  Up 6 pounds?  WHAT?!  How did that happen?  Then I thought to myself, hmmmm… I had indulged in ice cream the night before and a little bacon at breakfast… and pizza on Friday night.

Ramped up my workout intensity w/  hour-long Turbo Kick classes

That’s when I clearly saw Slip up #5: I needed a reality check.  After that random weigh-in, I started weighing myself every morning (yes EVERY day) and have done so for over 1 year now!  This habit is controversial because body weight fluctuates for a variety of reasons (mostly due to hydration levels).  However, the fact of the matter is that the numbers on the scale are your body weight at that time.  THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE (or at least it did for me)!  Being mindful of my weight on a daily basis makes me think more deeply about what I am consuming, my digestion patterns, hydration levels, sweat output and calorie intake/burn.  While my daily weigh-ins help keep my weight in line, my “heavy days” can be very discouraging.  I have to constantly remind myself to keep the big picture in mind – my fitness, health and happiness, not just the numbers on the scale.

Me now at 153 pounds 🙂 Feeling “STELLAR”

My slip-ups have taught me that weight management isn’t about the latest and greatest diet or workout plan; it’s about continuing on a lifelong journey of developing and strengthening healthy habits.  There will always be good days and bad days, but success comes from balance.  Now, at 27 years old, my weight ranges from 150-155 pounds.  I’ve maintained this weight range for over a year without the use of any expensive weight loss plans or diet pills.  I feel strong.  I feel healthy.  I feel authentic.  Most importantly, I ALWAYS rock my short shorts, high heels and lots of SWAG!

What are some of the “craziest” weight loss plans/cleanses that you’ve tried?

Do you have any “slip-ups” to add to my 5?

Me now in 2012 – teaching Turbo Kick for my “side-hustle” 🙂

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Author: Brit

I'm an entrepreneur, blogger and fitness instructor energized by FIERCE fitness, family, sunshine and hard work. Thanks for checking out my blog!

33 thoughts on “My weight loss journey: How my “slip-ups” helped me “shape-up”…

  1. Wow…amazing, loved this post! I saw a piece of me in you. Thank you for sharing Brit

  2. Yes, we learn from our mistakes! My mistakes usually come in the form of a cupcake. 🙂

  3. Very inspiring, you share your highs/lows being real giving hope to all that can relate to you, fighting weight is a beast, so, so proud of you. Thru Christ all things are possible, but you got to want it. Lv U Much…..

  4. Thank you Brit for being honest about your journey and helping others reach their goals. I am now adopting a “healthy lifestyle” because you! You rock!!!

  5. Thanks for my daily dose of Britspiration!!!! Great. Advice.

  6. Great article, Brittani. I especially like the Talk Test tip. And you look amazing!

  7. You are so inspirational! We literally have the exact same body frame, type, height, EVERYTHING and seeing these recent pictures of you makes me realize that maybe I look a little better than I thought I did. And I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only “crazy” that weighs herself every day for accountability. Great job!

  8. Great post! All of your advice is so accurate and realistic. You look fantastic and HAPPY! Keep it up 🙂

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  13. Awesome story! My whole childhood/teens was slip up after slip up, but I finally got it on track. Nice blog!

  14. Nice going!! I’ve always been a lil overweight myself but always sporty in school, but when i started putting on the pounds one summer and looked in the mirror…. i said enough is enough. Now I have educated myself, and still am, on fitness and nutrition (though I do have a sweet tooth!!), I can say that my body is shaping up nicely, I feel SO much better and much better self esteem.

    Now it seems my acquaintances who have always been ‘skinny’ no matter what they eat are starting to fall apart as they get older because they don’t see how important movement and good new nutrition is. Sometimes being overweight is a good thing – it shocks us into doing something about it and keeping us doing it!

    • So true! I think experiencing being overweight creates a sense of urgency to live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for sharing your story and please keep in touch 🙂

  15. I just found your blog on Pinterest. I’m also a Cornell Alum and congrats on maintaining your weight. I’ll be following your blog because I love to see sistas taking care of themselves!

    • Hey Cassia! So glad to meet you – yeah Cornell represent! Happy that you like my blog – please do keep in touch and yes, I do also love to sistas taking care of themselves 🙂 Lots of luv, Brit

  16. Awesome post – very inspiring and couldn’t hold more truth! 🙂

    • glad you like Jessica – sometimes it’s good for me to read myself to realize how far I’ve come and get a little motivation. We need some inspiration some times – all the best to you. Keep in touch. Lots of luv, Brit

  17. Great post and real talk. Portion control is where it’s at. Lots of people believe that they can over eat healthy food but those foods have calories too. Glad you wised up and got it right. Keep up the good work!

  18. Thank you for following our blog. We sincerely appreciate your support.

    -Marpay Fitness

  19. Yes, it is a journey…a lifelong journey. I found your website and shared it with many. My weight battle, joined Weight Watchers and got the education I needed to help me, lost 70 lbs., after 23 months. Not as hard as I thought but discipline was crucial! Like you, I ate healthy foods, but I was eating too much of those healthy foods, portion control is a must. And I found that I actually like exercising and moving around. Never to late to start, I’m 54 years young!!! Keep blogging, Brit!

    • Hi Cindy – Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It’s people like you that keep me motivated. Yes, weight management is a journey and a challenge but we are MORE than capable of mastering it. Please keep in touch and be blessed indeed! Lots of luv, Brit

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