project: marriage weight, be gone

Sean and I were looking at photos on his iPhone from when we moved in together in Berkeley until now. Holy crap, guys. We’ve gained about 80 lbs between the 2 of us, so as of yesterday, we are ON A MISSION.

My goal: 15 lbs down & no more cellulite on the front of my legs. Fitting into old jeans.

The starting weight: 143 (my highest ever)

Food: No sugar. Make way way better food choices. No more depresso eating. Smaller portions. Green juicin’ it. No delicious, delicious gelato.

Exercise: Try to actually move my body beyond car > office > bed. Yoga, Ballet Beautiful, tennis, and that godforsaken Tracy Anderson woman.

So far: Salad lunches, spring roll dinner, and cutting way back on coffee.

Will it last: That’s why I’m posting here. Accountability! I lost 11 lbs back in March 2011 when we got super healthy for babymaking times, but since the move, we’ve fallen back to bad habits. It’s hard to eat healthy here, without all the amazing California produce and raw restaurants. But I’m determined! Being healthier is so, so important in this fertility journey – but when the super healthy eating didn’t get us anywhere last year, it really hit me hard. Oh, ok, so that CRAZY HEALTHY PERIOD (about 4 months) didn’t work? Fuck it. I know that thinking is ridiculous – still, emotional food responses are a powerful force.

Willpower: Tips welcome – I know what I WANT to achieve, but man alive, breaking bad habits is hard! (Willpower tip #1, don’t post gelato pictures!!)


  1. Best of luck to you! I think accountability is a great motivator, but it sure does take guts.

    The difficult thing about weight loss is that “what works” is so different from person to person. Some folks swear by the buddy system, others by cutting out certain ingredients in their entirety – both methods that would never work for me. It’s so personal.

    I used a simple calorie and exercise counter ( during the months of July and August, to the tune of definite, nearly immediate results. (But, again – personal!)

  2. Willpower: doing it with Sean is probably the BEST thing you’re doing. As long as you’re both committed to this then it’ll go a long way.

    (Forrest and I once competed…he was out to lose 10#s before I could lose 5#…he beat me. But won in the long run. He’s put ’em back on and I’m down a lot more than 5. :-) )

    Good luck!! And if there’s any way I can support you from afar, let me know, okay?

  3. All I’ve got to say is: go you. You’re quite brave for throwing this out to the interwebz – major props.

    I have no useful tips since willpower isn’t exactly my expertise, except the encouragement (after doing a few Whole30s and other similar things) that it gets much easier as you go. And also: you’re beautiful no matter what weight – 15 pounds ago, 15 pounds from now, and right now. Really really.

  4. AAAAH! Go you! Let’s motivate each other.

    I’ve always been sort of anti-skipping one food entirely. It doesn’t sound well-rounded or healthy to me. But I’m finding that if I don’t have strict rules, I just do whatever the hell I want. I’m not good at saying, “Okay, well just a LITTLE.” So, for right now, I’m saying NONE of this allowed! And NONE of that either! And hoping that it kickstarts an actual sustainable habit. We’ll see I guess?

    GO YOU!

    1. I do the same. EVERY TIME, sugar is my downfall. I’ll start feeling all healthy and sleek, and think “oh well, now it’s ok, I can eat some pastry” and then BAM, I’m sitting in a pile of cupcakes with my pants buttons popping off.

  5. I have to say it – get a dog! No, I know you won’t and aren’t interested, but I recently started walking my dogs an “extra few blocks” each time, and it has had some good results. And, not to overstep my boundaries or anything, but several of our customers have adopted dogs and then POOF become pregnant within 6 months of doing so. I don’t know why. There may be research on it somewhere but I doubt it. :)

    Aside from that, I’ve been cutting sugars, eating protein based snacks most of the day instead of meals and eating a well balanced dinner, and it seems to work for me. A full glass of water upon waking is said to jumpstart the metabolism for the day and eat protein in the morning – it keeps you full longer than a bagel or other carb. The water thing is to help me be hungry enough in the mornings to eat.

    Down 10, 10 to go! 155 is my goal, but I’m 5’7″ and tend to look and feel thinner despite what the numbers say. I also figure 10 pounds more than I was out of high school is appropriate for 45.

    1. Ha! I’m pretty sure our newly-paralyzed cat will eat us in our sleep if we got a dog. We’re cat people through and through!

      I don’t eat any wheat (celiac) so the no-bagel thing is easy! I did stock up on nuts for snack times, and brown rice cakes with seaweed. Definitely making that switch from sugar / chips snacks to better choices.

      1. Kale chips! I love them. And – I forget if you’re vegan or not – but you can make delicious “chips” with shredded hard cheese and a frying pan. Those are two of my healthy “go to” snacks.

  6. MORE (good stuff) worked for me and the husband, and has kept the weight off for about 1 year. I have a crazy good metabolism, and he has a crazy slow one, so perhaps it’s not only specific to us?
    So veggies – whatever I cook, I don’t try too hard to cut out stuff, but I add veggies to everything. I’ve made it my mission to have fruits twice a day and veggies twice a day, and I stick with it. I subscribed to a CSA and we eat everything in the box, no excuse.
    I also got everything containing sugar out of the house. Still eat the occasional desert or pastry out, but I don’t buy anything that has simple sugar in it anymore. And counterintuitively, I stopped skimmed anything – easier not to snack when you feel full from your morning latte.
    Good luck!

      1. Yes it is… I learned a bit from Paleo, for which I have respect, but I do feel like it encourages orthorexia in some… And for the sugar thing, I had to purposely relax after a while.
        There are enough demons out there without willing sugar into one :p

      2. I used to be the biggest sugar fiend of all time! I have been known to eat a giant bag of candy in one sitting until I went blind from the sugar and collapsed in a throbbing-migraine-puke-fest! EXTREME! It took me years to wean myself off the stuff! BUT I did it! I do still eat sugary stuff occasionally, but I definitely don’t crave it like I used to OR stuff my face with every last piece of candy I can get my hands on. You can do it!

  7. I’m glad you wrote this post. I’ve put on a solid 5 pounds for the past six years (post-college) and finally got serious about doing something when 80% of my pants stopped fitting.

    I’ve tried different programs/plans along the way and although I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, I joined Weight Watchers! The meetings are a little cheesy but I find the tracking program to be really easy, forgiving, and quick (moreso than calorie counting). Never thought I’d recommend WW but here I am.

    1. PS: I also feel like weight watchers creates good habits and I have learned a lot by doing it. This makes me feel like I do not have to stay on their program forever, super motivating.

  8. I’m currently at my heaviest weight ever, too, and it sucks. Post marriage weight gain? Mid 30s weight gain? It sucks. And I actually decided this week that I need to do something about the scale creep too! I know, in the past, the only thing that works for me is counting calories (until I can recognize portion sizes again) and exercising in the morning. If I wait till the evening I wimp out at least half of the time. Best of luck to you! Can’t wait to hear about your progress (and tips! share tips!).

    1. I’m hoping as I cut out caffeine and start exercising, I will SLEEP AT NIGHT, which will allow me to wake up earlier to exercise, which will create a CYCLE OF GOOD. I think we’ll try to play tennis this evening! Eeek!

      (Tomorrow’s post: I can’t move, what do I do?)

      1. We bought tennis rackets months ago with the good intentions of playing at the courts below our house. We’ve gone once. Which is a good reminder that I need to dust those things off. We can be limping old ladies together!

        I find the hardest thing for me to give up is alcohol. Not that I drink a lot, usually just a glass, but when it’s a glass a day (and ok maybe two on the weekends) my little frame packs on the weight.

        1. Now that I’ve said that, we have hail and lightning warning! Ha. Well, the weekend. There are 2 tennis court areas within walking distance to the house, so it’s handy! Plus, Sean’s dad was a tennis pro so Sean can teach me!

  9. Oh man, I have so much to say but will try to avoid tangents. I recently went on a pretty “crazy” mission to get healthier by doing the Whole30. I’ve written extensively about it on my blog recently but it really did make me recognize that A) I have some deep seated emotional issues with food (and alcohol) and B) that what we eat affects everything – the way we relate to our bodies, our mind and each other.

    Also, no disrespect to anyone who does weight watchers but I could not get behind a program that encourages eating fast foo or designates a point system to what we eat. I get that they’re trying to be accessible to the general public but this is the big problem with the food issues our country faces on a whole.

    If you’re interested in the Whole30 or paleo and want to chat about it more feel free to email me! I don’t think it’s The Only Way but I’ve seen incredible results for myself going grain, sugar and legume free.

    1. Ugh, alcohol is the hardest. Even last night I was like “well, just one drink.” I didn’t have it. BUT I WANTED IT.

      I’m trying to follow this: which seems kind of close to Whole 30. Other than no sugar, no wheat, no soy, I have a hard time being SUPER strict on things to the point of paleo. The goal for me here is to eat whole, healthy foods – but I know I will be eating yogurt, and nuts!

      I also can’t do the calorie counting. It makes me binge.

    2. I am close to paleo as well, and have gained similar insights doing the Whole30. I’ve heard of something called the Healthy Baby Code through online paleo circles – I don’t know a lot about it, but the dude behind it has some paleo resources that I have found to be scientifically sound and reliable… so maybe his fertility stuff is legit as well? It might be similar to what you’re already looking into, but thought I’d pass it along as I have heard good things.

  10. I’m no expert on this since I am in the same boat – but I’ve noticed some trends from the times when I was at a healthier weight …

    * if I am exercising regularly, it is much easier to make healthier food choices, so I always have to work on the exercising first and then try to fine tune my daily diet

    * it takes a long time to develop good habits (they say 3 to 6 mos right?), so don’t give up and take it one day at a time. If you eat a turducken one day, give yourself a break, and a fresh start when you wake up the next day.

    *MOST IMPORTANT! = be KIND and GENTLE to yourself. I am really bad at emotional/bored/anxious eating (and you are going through a lot now), but I try to get a manicure or go to cheap movie night instead.

    Ya . . .I’m going to have to work on following this advice myself. I got sucked into buying the Fluidity system (from Craigslist) and if I don’t start using it again my husband will say “i told you so”

  11. Walk! That is my best advice.
    And stay happy. Treat yourself to other things than food. Buy some flowers or go to a consert. Positivity makes everything easier, also loosing weight.

    1. That’s the issue! We moved from a city where we walked EVERYWHERE to a rural area where you can’t walk anywhere!

      Totally agree, I usually lose weight naturally when I’m happy. The last year has been a lot of stress and heartbreak. :(

      1. So sorry that the last year has not been the best for you. Hopefully it will change to the better soon!

        A year ago I moved and started walking everywhere again. At the same time other things changed and I became more happy. So without actually doing something more specific, I’ve lost 30 pounds in a year.

  12. Man, what a bummer you can’t walk places. But it makes sense. I’ll see beautiful, pastoral looking locales and think, “People must go for walks all the time!” but really, they probably don’t. I’ve been walking as much as I can, and while I’m not noticing a difference in weight (yet), I do notice a difference in endorphin release and general sense of energy.

    I think you can and will do it, and if I know you at all, it’ll be in a way that’s tried and tested and works for you specifically. Right now, I just try to cook more and to ask myself thoughtful questions about the food I’m eating. But there are some things I just can’t seem to cut out of my life (coffee and alcohol, chiefly). I have turned away from many a cupcake at work, and if I want something sweet, I make the effort to bake the thing myself. The amount of work that goes into baking it and then cleaning up the mess means I’ll appreciate and savor it more slowly.

    Breakfast is the most challenging part if you’re not a morning person (like me) and don’t want to fall back on pastries and sugars. I’ve been making frittatas, cutting them into wedges, and wrapping the slices up. Perfect nutritious grab and go breakfast. I usually will do like, egg, and maybe a little cheese, and a ton of cooked greens. The one I made last night is that + bacon. (Yeah, not the best). But at least it’s not muffins and croissants and bagels, you know?

    How’s the produce around you? Have you thought about doing a CSA box?

  13. I think focusing on exercise instead of diets can be a real game changer! Running or light weight lifting, something more intense than yoga. It not only helps you burn calories but it gives you endorphins and makes you FEEL happy and amazing. Its always super hard to make myself do anything but once I start it feels so good. I’ve been having a lot of luck with running training programs: signing up to do something like a 5k with friends provides enough motivation to make yourself get up every morning and do the next run/workout. Plus you can watch yourself transforming/ becoming a stronger more athletic woman. It doesn’t matter so much if you are “thinner” so much as you are healthier, and weight loss should follow! There’s something about focusing on the exercise aspect that feels more positive than going on a specific diet. Diets deprive you, where as training or exercise make you stronger and healthier. You can then “afford” to eat a little bit of the treats you crave too, because you already burned it all off.
    I know it can also be just the lifestyle change you’re looking to to really kickstart serious weightloss. My friend recently lost over 110 pounds over the course of 2 years, and she started her journey by signing up to walk a 5k. She chose to focus on exercise and gradually eating healthier, trying out different eating styles but remaining consistent in the exercise.
    Psychologically speaking running/or exercise also helps me with mental clarity. My grandfather recently passed away and I gained so much good healing time just by going on daily runs in Golden Gate park, with my just headphone music and my thoughts. It makes a big difference.

    1. Exercise will really be a big part of it for sure. I don’t want to lose weight as much as get in shape.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. I hope you’re doing ok. I miss you & SF!

  14. good luck tamera! posting it on here will definitely give you more willpower to keep it up.

    and lastly, THANK YOU for swearing in a blog post. i thought i was the only one.


  15. I am right there with you on the highest weight ever combined with stress and depression eating. Hoping that you find a good combination of sustainable habits.

    I work as an addiction counsellor and loosely use the following tried and tested method(based in CBT) for behaviour change 1. track the behaviour, in terms of times of day, people around, mood etc. 2. Figure out what you like and don’t like about the behaviour. 3. top reasons for change (you could try making it visible somewhere) 4. biggest triggers or high risk situations 5. lines you can use to refuse an offer 5. good coping tools to plug into the trigger times 6. list who supports the change and can keep you on track. 7. note successes along the way and reward them with something other than the target behaviour. It is often helpful to make the top reasons, triggers and coping tools really visible, like on a card you carry or a lovely sheet of paper on the fridge.

    My current goals:
    *protein-based snacking,
    *7 raw fruits/vegs daily
    *earning the weekly treats with exercise (bike to and from work 15 minutes daily, tennis, hikes and more biking
    *1/2 hour of internet use daily or less so that I move my body more
    *non-food based rewards to deal with stress
    *taking it easy on myself if I mess up. All is not lost!

  16. Hi there! I live in a very rural area (an island in Maine) and I know how everyone drives everywhere, even around town. I find that pretty silly but to each his own.

    What I am trying to say is, you can walk wherever you want. I walk for miles and have learned to just be the weird tall girl who walks all the time. I listen to my headphones and really love it. It definitely helped with weight loss and now maintenance.

    I also do pushups every morning and can finally do real pushups for the first time ever. (I’m up to 15!). And I think some friends above are right; I used to LOVE fancy beer and drink it all the time til I realized that some fancy beers have 400-600 calories per beer….so I stopped and a lot of the belly weight that happens magically once you are in your thirties just went away. I also focus on protein and veggies and try to never eat empty calories. Just a bad idea at our golden age!

    You can totally do it but yes it does take 3-6 months and commitment. I have lost at least 10 pounds and feel so much better about myself because I now love the little bits of exercise that I do, and I love how my cooking changed and in general, my outlook on things. Good luck!

    1. I walk around our little town for sure, like on the weekend when I need to run to the co-op, but I work 50 miles from my house – so I’m out of the house at 7:45am for an hour drive, then not home til after 7pm. Most of the errands or things we have to do in the time we do have off from work/commute are not walkable distances.

      It’s just a really big adjustment.

  17. I was just writing up a list the other day with dishes/recipes to help me towards my own goal of losing weight. the idea is that if I have a lot of options readily available (and don’t have to think too hard about what to cook in that sense), I won’t be so tempted to go for the old favorites, dishes that I know by heart but that are pretty rich: pastas with rich sauces, curries with a lot of coconut milk…
    I could send you an e-mail with some recipes/ideas, if you’d like!

  18. yes to this… trying to do the same thing myself ahead of more fertility treatments. boo. but also generally want to feel/be healthier so not bad to have a big motivation to do so. I’ve had a lot of success with weight watchers in the past, though don’t know if I need something a bit more strict this time around. Huge good luck to you.

  19. Good luck Tamera! I am right there with you. I had a lot of success with paleo (like others above) and then slowly added back a few things like dairy and beans and was able to keep losing weight but like you, moving and depression issues have sent me right back to the bad foods and my weight loss has started reversing. I’m committing myself to getting back on track this month.

    Have you heard of the “2 days” rule? The idea is that you just have to do some kind of workout every day. You’re allowed to skip 1 day, you’re even allowed to skip 2 days but then you MUST work out again. Even if you skip a lot, you should still hit about 3 times a week. Plus if you know you have evening plans or whatever, you can just work around it. I know things like that are so individual but it helped me a lot.

  20. My family has suffered from problems with candida and gluten intolerance my whole life. My Dad turned me on to “The Body Ecology Diet”. I haven’t tried any of their products but bought the book, tons of supplements, followed the meal plans and I feel sooo much better.
    I also love everything I’ve ever made from this lady: and for fitness I find Lori Harder to be really inspiring!

    1. I ordered the book! Candida is a major issue for me, and I am not focused enough on annihilating it – SO MUCH of my health crap is from it. Ugh. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. Goodness, I’m at my highest weight ever too. It’s really tough. And I’m starting to admit that I might be here awhile by shopping for clothes that fit this body.

    For me, I need to do cardio. Walking helps me feel better, but it does not take off any weight. I need to do intense cardio. Also mixing in some weight training has helped too in the past. But like others have said, what works for you will be different than others.

    With the move and staying with a friend before we move into our new apartment has not been friendly on my body. I can’t wait until we have a YMCA behind our new apartment. I will have zero excuses not to go.

  22. So many feelings about this…orthorexia is so real, plus the marginal/maybe totally central body obsession and disordered thinking around food for me and so many I know and love. AND…I go up and down, wanting to look a certain way and hating how much energy I have to use up in order to look that way. Thinking about food all the time, and enjoying it less. Forcing myself to exercise. Beating myself up when the pants don’t fit.
    That said, I echo so much already said. Having a dog is amazing for an external discipline around walking all the time and also being home/downtime. No dog? Last winter I started eating my lunch while I worked and taking a walk for 1/2 an hour midday. It helped, both with fitness and with depression/no sun (welcome back to the Northeast)and overstressing at work.
    You really will have to put in the time to plan meals and shop and spend so much money on fresh-ish foods. I really like when my partner and I are on the same page and into making food at home that nourishes and tastes amazing; it can be hard to get there regularly but I try. The whole local thing is potentially a good concept: winter in VT means preserved whole foods, pickling/fermented things, what is available from nearby. Probably looks waaaaay different than Cali. Maybe incorporating that some?
    Sorry, this is so long. Lots of thoughts.

  23. I’m in the same boat right now- I would like to lose about 10 pounds. The weird thing is that I exercise about 3-4 times a week, but I just realised that I’ve gained about 5 pounds over the past 4 months! I think I’ve been eating too-big portions and too much chocolate because I thought I burned it off. Guess not! It’s hard living with a guy, because they can eat so much more and be fine. I have to remember that what’s good for him is way too much for me!

  24. I am right here with you! I went off sugar 2 months ago, dairy one month ago and gluten/wheat 1 1/2 months ago. I lost weight almost down 10 pounds (well it has been a long road of losing and gaining lost weight back. Been working on losing weight since June). I have an embarrassingly amount of lbs left to go. My weight gain has been a combo of relationship, school, stress and emo eating. Tamera We can do it!!

  25. Joe and I got one of these for each of us: (You’ve probably seen our endless competition for steps on Facebook, annoying, I’m sorry). It’s totally changed our morning routine, and now that we’ve had it about a month I can say Joe’s lost about 6-8 lbs, and my legs are so much more toned. We get up every morning at 6 and go for a walk for about an hour(this would have NEVER happened before) and during the day we’re always chatting at each other how many steps we’ve taken and how many flights of stairs we’ve been up. If one of us is closing in on the other we’ll go climb a flight (or 12, I now go up and down my 12 flights of stairs to my office 3 times a day) to beat the other. I never thought I was that competitive but apparently so. You can also have friends (like facebook) and see how much everyone has walked during the week, as well as join groups. It’s super motivating!

  26. Just seeing this post of yours and it sounds exactly like a post I just put up this past Friday… You’re a little ahead of me and I’m jealous because this is the hardst period (I’m just starting week 2). How are doing, sticking to it? But p.s. my starting weight is more than yours…and I’ll never tell. You are brave.
    Good luck! :)

    1. Doing…okay. Down 5 lbs and hovering around 137 – so 10 to go! But we did eat dessert while on vacation this past week, and now I’m back in grumpy sugar withdrawal. Luckily we walked so much that it was ok weight wise.

      I need to rethink the exercise stuff – or just get more into the videos. It’s now too cold for tennis – that came quickly. :/

      Good luck!!

  27. Commenting on an old-ish post because I’ve only just read it…..
    If you’re doing videos because it’s too cold, I find pilates helps. It’s a little bit like yoga but more hard core on the toning part. If you look for pop pilates on youtube or google, she has a lot of good videos that I use when going outside isn’t an option.
    I’m in a similar boat to you, except my “highest weight ever” came from taking some medication that didn’t bode with my body too well – ie. I put 10kgs on in the space of 2 months and that was almost 10 months ago and I haven’t been able to get it off. I also work long and don’t get home in daylight, how frustrating! So, not sure how to encourage you, but keep going!

Leave a Reply