Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reflections from ASHA’s Biggest Loser -- Guest Post by Mary Raucci

Mary Raucci was the overall winner of our recent 12 week Biggest Loser campaign with an oustanding 13.4% weight loss. Mary generously agreed to share the secrets of her success with you. 

Since winning ASHA’s Biggest Loser competition in April, and losing 30 pounds since I made the commitment to change in January, I receive a lot of questions about how I did it. Here is my advice and observations for anyone struggling with their weight:
This is Mary (left) with her friend, Jenny. Before & After. 
  1. Anyone who says it is easy is lying! Hard work and dedication is the only healthy way to lose weight. Diet pills, potions, and gadgets claiming the pounds will melt off without diet and exercise are not going to do it for you. You have to be ready to make the commitment to yourself to change your diet and exercise habits every day for the rest of your life.
  2. Find an eating plan that works for you. Do not select a fad or deprivation diet. Find something healthy that you can stick with. For example, if you love pasta and rice, don’t swear them off, have them in moderation.
  3. Front-load your calories. Start each day with a healthy breakfast. What worked for me was making a breakfast protein shake with a banana, orange juice, hemp protein powder, wheat grass and spirulina. For lunch I would indulge (with portion control!) my craving for carbs with a sandwich, or a dish with rice or pasta. Most of your calories for the day should be consumed in breakfast and lunch. Dinner should be small, light, healthy and low in calories. If you leave the dinner table feeling stuffed, you ate too much! The reasoning behind front-loading your calorie consumption is you need calories early to fuel your body for the day. Eating the biggest meal a couple hours before bed does not allow you to burn off the calories, and your metabolism slows during sleep so that food is primarily turned to fat.
  4. There is always an occasion to indulge. Doesn’t it seem like it is always someone’s birthday, or there is always something to celebrate? That is the great thing about life! But the bad part is, most of those celebrations are observed by eating and drinking excessively. Until you get close to your weight loss goal, you are going to have to resist indulging. Be social, have a good time, but learn to do it without a plate of food and a glass of alcohol in your hand. You may get questions and pressure from people if you are not partaking, but don’t cave to peer pressure. You are in control of what you eat. 
  5. If you relapse, get right back on track. If you have seconds of your Auntie’s famous apple pie, or raise a glass of champagne too many at a friend’s wedding, don’t beat yourself up. But don’t use a celebration or giving in to your cravings as an excuse to derail your weight loss. Do not think because you went off course one meal, one day, or one vacation, you need to blow off your diet and regroup at a later date. Don’t start your diet again next month or next Monday, start with your next meal!
  6. Make exercise a part of your everyday life. Make a commitment to put your exercise routine first. It is easy to make an excuse day after day as to why we are not exercising—I am too tired, I have errands to run,…isn’t it funny how something seems to crop up every day to prevent us from exercising? Create a weekly routine of exercise at least four days a week, and put it above everything that is not an emergency. It is easy once you are following the routine, but once you break the routine, it is so much harder to start back up!
  7. Find a role model. Find a friend or family member who is at their ideal weight and lives a healthy lifestyle. Spend time with them, and talk about how they do it. Observe how they eat, and try participating in their exercise routine. You can also find a celebrity weight loss role model, but take what you see and hear with a grain of salt! Celebrities often have lots of “help” and may not disclose how they really lost the weight.
  8. Not everyone is going to support your weight loss. You have friends and family who love you just the way you are, and sometimes they may not be ready for a “new you”. This is especially true for those with whom you share the behaviors that got you to your current weight. They may not want you to change your behavior, because they are not ready to change theirs, and they don’t want to be alone! Change is hard, and change makes people uncomfortable. Stick to the commitment you made to yourself, take the positive reinforcement where you find it, and don’t let negativity bring you down. Remember, you are doing this for yourself, not to please everyone else, because if your goal is to please everyone, you will always fall short!


Pam L. said...

Thanks Mary for the great post and congratulations. Your hard work paid off, you look terrific.

Danielle Huber said...

Thanks, Mary for the helpful tips! Your story is inspiring and we are all so proud of you at ASHA and happy for you! You look great! Keep it up!

Jennifer Harper said...

Mary, I am so proud of you! You did it!! You are an inspiration! Keep up the hard work and dedication! You are proof that hard work does pay off!

Anonymous said...

You are my hero! This piece is written excellently! Girl, the before and after pictures... you are the SHIT! you look great, and your positivity and happiness show. love you chica. AWESOME! WOOT WOOT! HEY!