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how i lost 9 pounds in 8 weeks

i'm a girl, and i'm getting married. so obviously i'm trying to lose weight for my wedding.

after scouring pinterest for diet and workout tips to pin to my 'wedding fitness' board, i somehow came across something fantastic: the 8-week weight-loss challenge.

i've done diets before, so i'm no stranger to trying different methods of weight-loss in terms of the food aspect. but, i'm not very good when it comes to will power, and an extra helping of pasta or buying a fastbreak after work always won out over an apple a day. the thing that usually makes me quit diets is they always seem to focus on what you can't have and not on what you can have. but the 8-week challenge is completely different from anything i've ever tried before.

the gist is that it works on a points system, so it's definitely better to do this with a group of people (and for money!). you get points for certain tasks each week (like eating 2 servings of fruits or keeping a food journal), and then points based on how many pounds you have lost. the thing i love about the challenge is that each person can do this diet in their own way, on their own terms. the rules are very broad and can be adapted to any type of lifestyle. here are the things that earn you weekly points:

contact with teammate
64 oz water
stop eating before 9 pm
2 fruit servings*
3 vegetable servings*
no sweets/surgary treats (only 6 days a week)
keep a food journal
30 min/45 minutes exercise (only 5 days a week)
*1/2 cup or 1 whole fruit/vegetable is 1 serving

drinking 64 ounces of water every day has made such a difference for me. while i do visit the ladies room more often, i also feel generally better because my body is much more hydrated than it was before. also not eating as late (when randy closes at work, he would pick up food on the way home and we wouldn't eat until 10 or 10:30 pm some nights) has freed up the entire evening for me and not only do i get more things done, i make it to bed earlier. but it's so great because each person can do this challenge in their own way. you have to eat 3 servings of vegetables each day, but not any specific vegetable. you need to work out 5 days a week, but you get to pick the exercise you like, and you get 2 rest days. my favorite is the one treat day each week, which i sometimes stretch to two days, but i'm not too ashamed about that.

myself and 5 others decided to try out the challenge. randy even did it with me! at first, it was annoying because i had to prepare twice as much food, but it ended up being a really great experience for us to go through together. making meals in the actual kitchen has made me feel more "wife-ly" and we both feel better from well-rounded, portion-controlled meals. we have also started jogging together when our schedules permit, and trying something new has been so much fun. i know losing 9 pounds in 2 months isn't super impressive (that's a loss of 1.125 pounds per week), but these lifestyle changes will help me to both continue to lose weight and to maintain my weight-loss going forward. also, randy lost 16 pounds overall, so if you need something impressive, there ya go!

as per the challenge's directions, there are 2 winners at the end of 8 weeks (any money that was contributed to the challenge is split between the winners): the person with the most total points, and the person who lost the largest percentage of weight. our group decided not to play for money afterall, but everyone involved lost weight!

in case you are curious, here are the typical meals i ate during the challenge:

breakfast: egg bake or greek yogurt
10 am snack: fruit
lunch: turkey sandwich w/ cheese on thin bread OR vegetable soup
always a side of carrots, green beans, or some other veggie
4:30 pm snack: granola bar or small veggie side or small fruit side
dinner: varied based on what i needed for points (but some
although there were technically no limits involving carbs, i tried to eat them earlier in the day so i could burn them off. and if for some reason i needed to include carbs in my dinners, i always chose whole wheats.
my typical workouts were either my wedding workout DVD coupled with some exercises found on pinterest, or a 2 - 2.5 mile jog with randy, or a 45-minute walk with lilly. (a mix of weight training and cardio is really good because you will lose inches as well as gaining muscle tone).

start your own challenge! print out your 8-week challenge guide here.

i've also tried the slow-carb diet, from which i got pretty good results in terms of pounds lost. however, the diet itself is pretty torturous. i also don't remember feeling as good as i do now when i was on the slow-carb diet. i can tell a big difference in my body physically, my clothes are fitting better, and i haven't had a problem with low-energy or feeling deprived because of the food i'm eating. the stringency of the slow-carb diet is part of the reason i fell off of it, but if that's something that works for you, i would recommend it.

if you decide to try the 8-week challenge, i would love to know! remember, the best way to achieve your fitness goals is to keep your eye on the prize and build a good support system for yourself.

happy losing!

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