I'm Valerie! And here's how I lost over 140 pounds!
I have been overweight my whole life. I was the chubby kid, the overweight teenager, the heavyset overachiever at work. I had tried every diet (Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Lindora, fad fasts, low carb... you get the idea) but nothing worked. I would lose weight and then gain it back with some extra pounds on.
I was turning 40 years old and decided that I had had enough. I weighed 406 pounds!! I didn’t want to have Gastric Bypass because of the health risks, but I did decide to have Lap Band surgery. I liked that it was less invasive and reversible. It worked (well kind of)! I lost about 120 pounds (which is more than they told me I would) before my body got use to the change in portion size and figured out how to still accomplish overeating. I stayed at 286 pounds (still morbidly obese) for 3 years. But then I started to gain the weight back.
"What am I going to do?!"
I was back up to 315 pounds!! During one of my late night “What am I going to do?” panic attacks, I stumbled across the I Love This Diet website. It sounded so easy (and it is!) and doable (I’ve been doing it for over 2 years) and it was affordable (so affordable!)! I decided to give it a try.
"Following the plan"
I did exactly what the diet said. I bought enough fruit, vegetables, and dairy products for a healthy nutritional balance and then I got to pick from 100’s of frozen entrées, I felt like I was eating better than I had in years! I didn’t really have to spend much time counting calories, because when I followed the nutritional plan – I was on target! I saved money using coupons that I Love This Diet provided and by not going out as often.
"Smooth sailing until..."
The first 9 -10 months, I did really well. I lost at least 2 pounds a week and I was motivated. I went off program at times, but it was fairly smooth sailing. I was far from perfect, but I had the basics down and I was working the program. I could go out to eat if I watched the calories and followed the eating out guidelines. Life was good, until I started hitting plateaus.
That is when I started exercising. The exercise component of the program (which I had conveniently ignored up to that point) put me on the home stretch. When I paired exercise with the nutritional balance, portion control, and calorie guidelines – I began to really believe I could do it. Not only did I believe I could do it – I did it!! I had no idea that building muscle strength and cardiovascular stamina would lead to mental and emotional strength. It was the final piece of the puzzle. In the next year and a half I lost the remainder of the 145 pounds.
"Reaching my goal!"
I now weigh a healthy 170 pounds and I’m fit!! I still eat according to the I Love This Diet plan. I can go out, eat at a friend’s house, whatever I want and know what size portion I should have. Why?!? My eyes and stomach have been trained through the use of frozen entrées and the whole I Love This Diet meal plan.
"I have the life I never knew I could have!"
Bottom line… I Love This Diet really works. It’s a form of mental training. All of the components are there: proper nutrition, portion control, calorie guidelines, good food, affordable lifestyle, adaptable, exercise, support…. I could go on and on. This is my success story and it could be your story too. Be encouraged! It’s not easy, but it’s soooo worth it!! Thank you I Love This Diet!! I have the life I never knew I could have.
Sincerely and with much love,
From Alana T’s diet blog...
Starting Weight: 284.5 lbs.
Today is my first day on the I Love This Diet plan. To start, let me tell you a little about myself. I am a mother of two living in Texas. My husband is in the military and his formal Christmas party is coming up, which means I have to wear a gown. Eeep!
So, I started I Love This Diet in the hopes that I will look smoking hot in the black gown I bought. Yep, it is one size too small. Why is the one outfit I love always one size too small? Hopefully it won't be too small for long. I have one month to make it fit.
One of my biggest worries about this diet is that I couldn't have my morning breakfast cereal. I opened the Breakfast Guide, though, and the first option listed was to eat cereal and fruit. I feel like I've hit the jackpot. NOTE FROM I LOVE THIS DIET: Many cereals are NOT approved for breakfast. For instance, regular Cheerios are acceptable, but Honey Nut Cheerios are not. See the Breakfast Guide for more information.
Surprisingly, it is nearing bedtime and I haven't even gotten close to my calorie limit. I'm not hungry either. If this keeps up I'll be a smaller version of me in no time! Of course, this is WAY too early to judge -- could just be first day enthusiasm.
Weight: 284.25 lbs.
Today has been a little harder than yesterday. I'm bummed about some personal stuff and instinctively want to gobble down a bag of Cheetos. It makes me feel better once I realize that I can have some chips, as long as the serving is around 100 calories. I've found that I love Light Pringles. They satisfy my craving for salty chips without a weird aftertaste that you get from a lot of diet chips. Plus, I can have 16 chips for 130 calories. Okay, that's a little above the 100 calories suggested for each snack serving, but I find that when I add up my breakfast, lunch and dinner (as well as the fruit, veggies and dairy servings spelled out in the Instruction Guide) I have some extra calories to spare for extra snacks.
NOTE FROM I LOVE THIS DIET: Pringles Light is not on our suggested list of snacks for two reasons: 1) It contains Olestra, which for some people, may cause gastrointestinal distress. 2) It doesn’t currently come in 100 calorie bags, so that you’ll probably eat way too many of them at a sitting. If you are a big Pringles fan, then we suggest that you choose the Pringles Reduced Fat 100 Calorie Packs, but be aware that they are not a filling snack.
Speaking of lunch and dinner, I'm loving the microwavable meals. The only thought I have to put into making them is popping them in the microwave. I don't like having to measure my portion sizes. I had the Smart Choice Lasagna last night and it was fantastic. It was nothing like how I remember frozen dinners. It had cheese and everything that a good lasagna should.
My biggest problem is trying to eat enough fruits and vegetables. I find that a simple salad of greens and tomatoes with a couple tablespoons of vinaigrette is a tasty way to fill my quota and keep in my calorie limit.
NOTE FROM I LOVE THIS DIET: If simple green salads bore you, try adding a tablespoon or two of Annie’s Naturals Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette (20 calories per tablespoon).
Another thing to definitely check out is the Lazy Girl's Diet Cookbook (included in I Love This Diet), for fun ways to add vegetables to your frozen meals, and also as snacks (like the Baked Zucchini Fries!)
Weight: 284 lbs.
Well, according to my scale I've lost around half a pound so far. That's not amazing, but it's not bad after two days. I don't feel deprived, either, which is amazing. Usually by day three on a diet I'm dying for mountains of chocolate cake and bacon cheese fries.
I think the best part so far is that I get to eat so much. Before I started this diet, I generally ate two meals a day. The last meal of the day was usually full of calories, so I got all my needed calories and more in just one shot. With I Love This Diet, everything is portioned, so I can't overeat, but I get to eat more often.
The hardest part for me today was avoiding sweetened soda. I typically usually drink Diet Coke, but I'm out. My husband always keeps Mt. Dew all around the house. It's really tempting to crack one open, but I'm resisting.
I’ve found that downing a tall glass of water helps a lot with the cravings for food and soda. All of this water is making my skin look better, too. I actually ran errands yesterday without makeup.
Weight: 284 lbs
Today I feel like I can do this diet with my eyes closed. Everything is falling into place without much effort. I can remember the I Love This Diet Guidelines without going back to the Instruction Guide and I can even remember the portion sizes for the very few things that need to be measured (I love how little there is to measure with this diet--it's quick and easy).
To make things even easier I've put measuring cups in the bags and boxes of all the everyday "big-box" foods I eat, such as cereal and trail mix. That way there's no guessing and I get the proper portion without a fuss. I hate even a little fussiness.
My pants are looser and I'm tempted to try on my evening gown, just to see if I have to hold my breath while I wear it. I think I'll wait just a little while longer. I haven't lost but a few ounces so far, but my stomach seems to look tighter...am I imagining this?
Weight: 283 lbs.
I stepped on the scale this morning and was surprised by a lower number. Yep, I've dropped about a pound!
My pants are looser and I'm tempted to try on my evening gown, but I'm smart enough to resist the urge. I know I've only lost a pound and a half so far, but my stomach seems to look tighter...am I imagining this?
Honestly, I feel like I'm constantly stuffing my face. The way the diet is portioned out makes it feel like you always have something to eat. Last night, while I was eating dinner, I added up my calories to see how many I had left. I could still eat over 500 calories. I was so happy to see that I hadn't blasted through my allotment. In fact, it seems really hard to mess up on this diet as long as you follow the simple guidelines.
Weight: 281.75 lbs.
Now, I know no one will probably believe this because I hardly believe it myself. I weighed in this morning and couldn't believe what the scale said. I'd dropped another pound and a quarter! That makes almost three pounds, total, that I've lost this week and the week isn't officially over yet!
You'd think that I've been doing hundreds of sit-ups and running several miles a day to get these results, but I'm actually not exercising any more than I usually do. It's great that this diet is working without doing any extra exercise because I really don't have time at the moment. I Love This Diet is really fitting in well with my everyday life.
I've found that the I Love This Diet Smart Ones, Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine review guides are right on the money when it comes to how full the meal makes you feel. I've also noticed that meals like heat-up sandwiches, (flatbread wraps or Panini's) aren't as filling as meals that have pasta or rice. The sandwiches are small and the pasta meals seem to contain more, so it makes sense. Pasta is often sprinkled with cheese, too, so it makes me feel like I'm being naughty when I'm not.
Weight: 280.25 lbs.
Today is the end of my first week on I Love This Diet and guess what? I've lost another 1 and 1/2 pounds! That's a total of more than four pounds lost for the week! I feel fantastic!
Just to test my new weight I slipped on one of my pairs of skinny jeans and they not only buttoned, but I didn't have to suck in my stomach while I was putting them on. Okay, let me clarify, for me “skinny jeans” are any pair of jeans that don't fit and haven't for a long time. So imagine how good I feel wearing my skinny jeans and typing this. My next goal is for these jeans to be too big and on their way to the thrift store. Wouldn't that be fantastic?
I hope the upcoming weeks will bring me a new dress size and a sexier woman to look at in the mirror. Still, I realize the first week is probably the easiest because I have all this enthusiasm.
Weight: 280 lbs.
Today is the start of my second week of the I Love This Diet. The scale reported that I lost a few more ounces, so I'm still losing, which is great.
I'm finding that there are a lot of great meals that I can eat on this diet. My favorite so far is the Smart Ones Sausage Lasagna. It has a rich-tasting sauce, lots of cheese and little sausage meatballs that are very tasty. I could eat it every day for a week with a smile on my face.
The thought of eating whole grain cereal for breakfast may not sound all that appealing, but I've found a couple favorites that make eating right a treat. Kashi GOLEAN cereals provide a full serving of protein, which keeps me fuller, longer, and has little nuts and berries that gives it a pop of flavor.
Another favorite cereal is the old classic from childhood, Honey Nut Cheerios. It makes me feel like a kid again, so of course it's not going to feel like a punishment to eat it every morning. I feel like I'm being sneaky and eating something bad. It's particularly good with slices of banana.
NOTE FROM I LOVE THIS DIET: Sorry Alana, but Honey Nut Cheerios are not on the approved list. Stick to regular Cheerios!
Weight: 280 lbs.
The scale says no weight loss today -- darn.
Today is my husband's day off, and it is really hard not to eat all the junk food that he shovels in when he's off work. He discovered my stash of low-calorie Pringles chips and dove into them. I don't think he realized they are diet food because they are just that good. The kids love them, too. In fact, my whole family really likes the foods I've been eating over the past week.
Usually when I'm on a diet I feel like everyone else is getting treats and I'm not. I like the fact that my family likes the foods that I'm eating on I Love This Diet. It makes me feel like I'm getting treats and they are the jealous ones for once.
I've been missing sugary drinks, but there are some diet drinks that taste great and take up the void. My number one favorite is Cherry Diet Coke or Vanilla Diet Coke. It has lots of sweet flavor, but no calories. My second favorite is Diet Rite sodas. They come in a plethora of flavors and taste just like a sugar-laden soda, but have zero calories and most of them are caffeine-free, as well.
Weight: 282 lbs.
My weight shot up overnight, but I'm not overly worried because of the time of the month. I'm bloated due to hormones, if you know what I mean.
This is the time of the month when I have wicked cravings for chocolate and carb-loaded goodies by the fist-full. I'm prepared for it, though. I've discovered Skinny Cow ice cream and candy treats. They are low-calorie, but have gooey caramel and creamy chocolate that tastes almost exactly like my normal treats. The candy is 120 calories, so it fits in well with my 200 calorie snack allowance.
Once again, my husband has snatched one of my dieting goodies. I was going to have the last two Smart Ones Chicken Ranchero Smart Mini Wraps and my husband insisted that he have one because they smelled so good. I really didn't want to because they are extremely yummy, but I took one for the team. Now, I need to go to the store and get more!
Weight: 281 lbs.
Well, I can feel that I'm getting a little less bloated. My rings are still tight and my feet are sort of...poofy. This is par for the course for me at this time of the month. Maybe when I lose the water weight I'll see that I've lost some real weight, too.
Today was my daughter's Thanksgiving Parent's Day. This is the day that the schools invite parents to eat a special meal with their child. Since I couldn't eat my heat-up meals in my daughter's cafeteria, I did my best to follow the I Love This Diet rules. I picked two vegetables to go with my small pasta portion and a milk to finish off my dairy servings for the day.
I think this diet has made my stomach shrink. While my husband was complaining that he was still hungry, I was stuffed to the top and could barely move. I'm not complaining! Getting full more easily is great. I don't feel deprived.
One thing has me worried, though. Both my birthday and Thanksgiving are coming up in the next couple of weeks. I'm wondering how I'm going to stick to the diet and still enjoy the yummy food that comes with one of my favorite times of the year.
Weight: 281 lbs.
I've been doing a lot of eating out of boxes, so, I got adventurous and tried one of the many recipes in the I Love This Diet Low Calorie Recipes Guide. I wanted something simple, so I picked the Skinny Tuna Melt. It is a concoction that mixes a tuna salad sandwich with a grilled cheese. It was so good I had one for lunch and one for dinner!
My breath may have smelled horrible after each sandwich, but my tummy was full and happy. I made extra so that my daughter could have one and she gobbled it right up.
The next recipe I want to try is the Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts. I'm not sure if I can get my kids to eat anything with spinach in it, though.
NOTE FROM I LOVE THIS DIET: There are 55 delicious, easy, low calorie recipes in the illustrated Low Calorie Recipes Guide. You can use any of them whenever you’re in the mood to cook instead of eating a frozen meal.
Weight: 280 lbs.
I'm back on track and losing again after the big bloat.
Throughout my time on I Love This Diet, I've gravitated towards one particular brand of meals. Smart Ones seems to have much more flavorful items than Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine. Of course, that’s just my opinion -- I have friends who are Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice fans (especially their “steamers” line.) The meals don't taste like they are diet food and many are very filling. If you’re particularly hungry, stick to the meals that the I Love This Diet Review Guides rate as very filling (rating of 8, 9, or 10 on the Fullness Index).
If you'd rather drink sweetened goodies instead of water, like me, I've found a solution that I love. It's called Mio. It is a little squeeze bottle of flavoring that you can add to your water. It comes in all kinds of flavors like Strawberry Watermelon and Ice Tea. Though it tastes like you just added sugary goodness to your water, it doesn't have any calories. There's not yucky sugar-free aftertaste, either. I think I've bought and used every flavor that the brand carries. It's a real lifesaver when you are contemplating drinking a can of Mt. Dew.
Weight: 278 lbs
Today is the last day of week two. I'm feeling good and feeling light. I've gotten rid of the monthly bloat and have even lost an extra pound. That means that my total weight loss is over 6 lbs in two weeks. Since I usually only lose one pound per week on a diet, I feel like I'm getting big results. After two weeks I feel like this is a diet I can stick with.
I can feel my clothes getting baggier. In fact, I think I'm going to need new bras. I've dropped a cup-size already. It's not the ideal place to lose weight, but on the bright side some of my pants are now noticeably baggy. It looks like a trip to the mall is in my future!
I finally tried a Progresso soup to change things up. I tried the clam chowder and it was just as good as some of the chowders I've had in restaurants. It didn't have that acidic can aftertaste, which was a pleasant surprise. I've bought a few other types of Progresso soups that I want to try. Adding canned soup to the mix makes things much more flexible for me when I need to make a meal for the entire family. I like it!
Weight: 277 lbs.
Whoohoo! I've lost another pound. This is a great way to start off week three!
I think my body is starting to change thanks to I Love This Diet. I already talked about how my stomach has shrunk, well I think my tolerance for junk food has shrunk, too. I tried eating a couple of cookies for my snack and they tasted way too sweet. How can cookies ever be too sweet, you ask? I'm not sure. I think the lack of sweets in my diet is lowering my taste threshold. I watch way too many cooking shows, and I think I've heard this mentioned at least once. If you don't eat a lot of sweets then sugar will taste sweeter to you than to a person who wolfs down a bag of Chips Ahoy every day.