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Resolutions In Motion: Maria’s Shrinking!

by Megan

Today please welcome Maria of Agape Love Designs, with a guest post about her inspiring weight loss journey! Her pictures are just amazing, and I know they will motivate you to push toward your goals in this final stretch. She is also offering a lovely little giveaway at the end, so read on!

A little over 9 months ago I started on a weight loss journey, that I NEVER imagined would bring me as far as it has today. If someone had told me, before, that one day I would write about health and fitness, that I would be brave enough to do “fashion posts“, or told me that I would be a weight loss inspiration to ANYONE – well, let me tell you…. I’d be more than a little skeptical.

But here I am today, CURRENTLY, at a 70 lbs weight loss. (These photos are a little old and represent my 64 lbs weight loss.) When I first started this weight loss journey I couldn’t even bring myself to confess my starting weight! But I can admit now that I started out at 240 POUNDS! I am now down to 170 and my goal is to be 140 by (or before) the 1 year mark, which is March 1st. And today I am going to share with you some tips and things that helped me along the way. So if you need some inspiration, stick around!

Well, now, before I go any further… I guess I should remember my manners and take a minute to introduce myself! My name is Maria-Isabel. I run two blogs! My main and more “well known” blog Agape Love and my little lesser known “Mommy” blog Mommy Made. I am 28 years old, a Christian, wife and mother (to 3 beautiful little kidlets!).
Agape Love is a Christian based “lifestyle” blog focusing on faith, fashion, makeup, music, crafts, DIY jewelry & accessories, photography, of course my weight loss journey and much more too!
Mommy Made is like an online journal to my kids. Its a place to share fun quotes from the kids, memories, photos, as well as crafty things, recipes here and there, a little bit of kids fashion and all other things “mommy made.” It’s a place to hopefully inspire and BE inspired as a mommy!

Now that you know more about me, let’s get back to my weight loss journey… Let me just tell you right away – Many people have asked me “What’s Your Secret” or “What diet are you on?” You may be wondering the same. Well, I didn’t do any crazy diet, and I didn’t have to starve myself either!
My “secret” is simple (and yet I know somewhat disappointingly) Eat Less and Exercise more!
Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking or out right purchase.” – Joseph Pilates
You have to WANT it AND go for it! Your desire to be healthy (healthy NOT skinny) must out weigh your desire for 2nds or a doughnut. It must out weigh your desire to sleep in/ laze around. You HAVE to MOVE.
For me, even though moving/exercising was hard, that wasn’t the really HARD part. The hard part was saying no to food. I realized through this journey that I sort of had an ADDICTION to food! Yes- I ate even when I wasn’t hungry. I ate just to eat, because it was good. Because I was bored, because I “couldn’t” stop myself (and didn’t want to). It was more than a bad habit that I wouldn’t stop even when I was STUFFED.
It makes me emotional just thinking about it. How I was full, but not satisfied….
If you’re someone like me who has trouble saying no to food, here are some help tips for you!
  • Get yourself signed up for my fitness pal. Its a great tool to help you keep track of your calorie intake. It gives you a good idea of how many calories you should consume a day based on your age, height, weight and how much weight you want to lose.
  • Eat LESS, more OFTEN (eat little meals/snacks often through out the day to help curve cravings)
  • Fill up on veggies and fruit (mostly veggies, though, if its green its good to go and usually has little to no calories!)
  • Do NOT drink away your calories! Soda, Fancy Coffee, Juice… Yeah have you SEEN how many calories for just a measly 8 ounces!? 
  • Drink LOTS of water. Be sure to get in your 8 glasses a day. But don’t go overboard, there is such a thing as being water drunk! Sounds silly but its true.
  • When you crave sweets eat fruit or (frozen) yogurt.
  • Limit sugar, carbs, salt and cheese. For the first 6 months of my weight loss journey I didnt eat ANY sugary treats… The only sugar I consumed was the little bit in the yogurt I ate, the mulitgrain cheerios I ate, and maybe the fat free milk I drank, other than that… It was a no-no for me. I also did NOT use salt, and I stopped eating cheese. For me…. these were foods that I had a hard time saying no to, that I know helped contribute to my over eating.. so I just stopped eating them!
  • If you are a snacker check out these great posts: DIY 100 Calorie Snacks, Healthy Snack Ideas, and Office Snacks/Snacks on the go.
Now I guess we should talk about the OTHER thing. Exercise. Yes, it IS a must. Sure you CAN lose weight with just changing your diet, alone, but not as fast. And the wonderful thing about exercise is that as you lose the weight, you will also tone up your body and gain some nice muscles. So you DONT want to skip the exercise. 
Since I started losing weight what I realized about working out AND eating right is this…. When you are JUST eating right in an attempt to lose weight it seems easier to give in to “pigging out” or “cheat days.” But when you are ALSO working out, even though you may WANT junk food… You are still less likely to eat it and waste a workout. You work so hard in the gym (or how ever you choose to exercise) that you don’t even want to eat junk food that you know you will have to work out extra to burn off. At least that’s how I felt about it. When I did a 600 or so calorie burn, there was no way I was gonna chow down on a 500 calorie muffin for breakfast! Get what I mean?
When it comes to exercise, Hubs & I got a gym membership. (And for the first 5 months we worked out 2-3 hours a day 4-5 days a week!) But if you can’t afford one, or don’t think you can make time to go, don’t let that stop you! Here are some quick and easy everyday things you can do for extra exercise:
  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • In a parking lot, don’t park close… Park far out so you have to walk a little extra.
  • Race your husband or (OLDER) kids back to the car!
  • Hold your baby while walking/shopping, rather than pushing them in a cart or stroller.
  • Pace or stand when you are on the phone, don’t just sit and relax.
  • Stand while you are eating.
  • Sit on a fitness ball while at the computer or watching tv.
  • Jog in place while waiting for something in the microwave!
  • Chew gum (sugar free)
  • Get yourself a set or 5lbs or 10lbs weights and use them while watching tv.
  • DANCE. Turn up the music and get down with your kids!! Or your husband, your dog… or ALONE!
I think you get the point! There are countless things you can do or improve that you already do EVERYday that can help you lose weight. In an extra effort… Take a walk or bike ride around your block or neighborhood! During the Summer, SWIM! Swimming is a GREAT way to exercise without burning a sweat or even feeling like you were exercising! The biggest thing, is DON’T make excuses. You DO have ways to exercise, even if you cant make it to the gym. It will be worth it, I promise!
Another thing to do is PUSH yourself. I’m not sure how many of you are competitive (like me). Yeah it’s not the most attractive trait a lady can have. HOWEVER, if you can use it to push yourself.. Compete with YOURSELF… Oh man, WATCH OUT! Here is what I do, I challenge myself!
For one, I HATE having the time show on a machine. For a long time it seemed like I would check it after what felt like forever and it would only have been 10 seconds! GRRR… So I decided to just set my machine to go for like 30-35 minutes and then change the screen to only show me how many calories I would burn!
So I would say, Im gonna burn x amount of calories! And then I would push myself to get there, and if I got there before my time ran out, say it was 300 calories, I’d say to myself “Ok lets see if I can burn 350” calories! At this point I would check my time… and there were times when I only had less than a minute left and just peddle harder or run faster to get 50 more calories burned in about 40 seconds!!!
Of course I know those numbers are not completely accurate, and only based on averages and such. But STILL this worked for me. It helped me PUSH myself. It helped me work out harder each time. I was competitive with myself. Other times I would put on a song, and challenge myself to run without stopping through the WHOLE song! It’s little things like that, in your attitude that can really make a BIG difference in just how good of a workout you can get! 
One other thing, this WILL be hard. If you are like me at all (emotional) there will be days that you CRY, a lot. I totally did! I’ve cried so much in that stupid gym that we go to. This will be hard, and it will hurt. But I can’t stress enough, how glad I am… How happy I’ve become through all this. How much CONFIDENCE I gained. Keep in mind “A Sore Body Today, A Strong Body Tomorrow.” It’s gonna be worth it… Every miserable second.
Here are a couple posts from my blog about exercise: Women SHOULD Lift Weights, Fitness Bucket List.

Lastly I’d like to talk about a few other things that helped me along the way…
#1 A partner… I know this can be hard for some of you. I know I was blessed to go through this and have SUCH amazing support from my husband. If you can get your husband on board then do it! Otherwise, see if your sister, mom, or bestie will partner up with you! Having someone else to do this with you, will keep you going! When you don’t feel like going your partner will get your butt in gear! And vice versa….
#2 Having accountability… This was a big thing for me. I have wanted, or said that I would lose weight. I’ve made promises to myself before… And I never went through with it! When we started this, it was because my whole family actually decided to do a “biggest loser” challenge. So that was accountability. But also, I told the ladies in my small group bible study about it. I asked for their thoughts and prayers for me on it. I also BLOGGED about it. I asked for my readers to help keep me accountable. I decided to start taking photos of myself along the way… Hence the start of “fashion” blogging. I didn’t like doing the pictures so much at first… I still don’t LOVE being in front of the camera.. But I feel a lot more comfortable and confident about it. Anyways… I know that I would not have gotten as far as I have without the accountability I had. Not only from my husband and family, church friends, but also every single one of you who read my blog. And cheered for me along the way!
#3 Understanding… You need to understand this does NOT happen over night. Understand it will be hard, but you WILL be stronger and better for it. And most of all, understand there will be a plateau stage. Don’t give up! Keep pushing on! Don’t get yourself down over a little speed bump. Be sure to keep track of, or write down all the things you have accomplished so far and give yourself a pat on the back OFTEN!
Here are a couple more posts on my blog that you may find helpful: Fitness 101 Q&A, The Truth About Diet Pills.

Thank you all so much for stopping by and taking the time to read about my journey!
I hope you feel encouraged and inspired by it, and please if you have any questions or need someone to be a cheerleader for YOU, don’t hesitate to visit my blog, comment or email me! ♥

As a bonus for being here (and making it all the way through this post!) ;)
I’d like to do a little giveaway.
I am offering a sweet little gift to one lucky winner!

If you would like to win this custom hand stamped necklace simply leave a comment!Mandatory

*Extra entry* Follow Agape LoveMommy Made – Leave one comment letting me know you follow, and how you follow (GFC, Hellocotton, RSS, Email, Bloglovin, or networked followers).

Much Love & Hugs,

Resolutioners: One more week! Don’t forget to come back on the 18th to link up your final post about how you did on your goals! And, oh yeah, there will be the final giveaway for all the amazing prizes!
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Andrea Martin December 11, 2012 - 8:42pm

You are utterly amazing! Seeing your pictures just now was awesome! So proud to have you as a friend! Keep up your good work:)

justme5686 December 11, 2012 - 5:18pm

You are an inspiration!

Aileen Barker December 11, 2012 - 7:53pm

Wow! 70 lbs gone, that is so so amazing.

Raising Reagan December 11, 2012 - 6:13pm

Such an inspiration! Way to go girl!!


Megan Githens December 11, 2012 - 6:34pm

GREAT Inspiration! Kinda needed that right now! New follower here from the GFC hop! Looking forward to following you! Would love a visit over at Moms Surviving Kids!
[email protected] http://www.momssurvivingkids.com

Halie Renee December 11, 2012 - 8:32pm

You truly do have an amazing, inspiring story! I’m in the middle of a weight loss journey myself, and it’s such a struggle. This might be the helpful motivation I needed though!

Halie Renee December 11, 2012 - 8:32pm

Also, I am already following Agape Love via GFC :)

Kerri Cook December 11, 2012 - 9:16pm

So inspiring! You have officially made me reconsider my choices lately and I am dedicated to getting back on track ASAP. Life is too short to be unhealthy. Thanks for being so inspiring and congrats on your hard work! :)

Brittany Hendler December 12, 2012 - 2:51am

Thanks for sharing your story!!!

SpiritedLife December 12, 2012 - 5:23am

Way to go! I’m struggling with becoming a stay-at-home mom while trying to diet and exercise. There’s just so much food around!

Anonymous December 12, 2012 - 1:10pm

I am 39 and have struggled with hormones for a life time…I am at my heaviest and very down! I try to exercise and eat healthy but with no real results. It’s great to see that someone else have had results. Well done!

Brooke Anna @ Mommy Does December 12, 2012 - 9:29pm

Hey there, girl! You know I think you are a pre-T darn amazing bloggy friend! I’m so happy to see how far you have come in your journey!

Brooke Anna @ Mommy Does December 12, 2012 - 9:30pm

I follow both of your blogs via GFC!

Megan December 17, 2012 - 2:48am

You GO GIRL!!!
I am 25 and have done the exact thing! I started about March/April and said I am going to git moving more this year! I only started out a 192 but for me that is a little much! I am now 179 and counting. I would also like to git to about 160 but I do have a large frame so it might not be possible and that is ok with me same as Maria-Isabel I just want to be healthy! Thanks so much for the post! Keep it up Maria-Isabel!!!
I follow via email!