Posted: Apr 12, 2013 9:00 AM
After years of fad diets and yo-yoing weight, I never expected to be successful with my weight loss. So, four months ago when I joined Weight Watchers, I expected to lose 10 pounds, 15 if I was lucky. Thirty pounds later I'm still losing. Want to know my secrets?

Be consistent

Some weeks were better than others... birthday parties, vacations, freaking-holiday-Christmas-cookie demons, would pop up and I'd indulge. Those tougher weeks I'd lose a pound (or less), but I didn't let them frustrate me or throw me off my goal. Regardless of my weekly weight loss, I vowed in the beginning that I would stick to my plan, no matter what, for three months before I reevaluated (or threw in the towel entirely).

Recruit your family

As a mom in charge of feeding a family of five, there is no way I could've lost weight without their willingness to make the change with me. I'm not saying they went down without a fight (it's hard to give up french fries when you're 5 years old), but we gradually changed together and they were willing to do it to see Mommy happy. Also, enlisting my husband to help with the kids more, so I could work out, and discussing ways to change our grocery budget were integral too.

Eat your dessert

Daily if you can. I have a sweet tooth. Matter of fact, I may have a mouth full of them. I eat healthy foods throughout the day and then, in the evening, I reward myself with a sensible sweet snack. I stay committed to making good choices because I know I'll be doing my happy dance with my parfait at night.

Focus on fitness

I had a laundry list of excuses for why I couldn't work out: the kids, work, exhaustion, guilt, blah, blah, blah... None of them were legit. Once I got serious about weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle, I found the time to work out. Finding the energy was another story but eventually that came to. Now I look at my hour of exercise like I look at helping my Dudes with their nightly homework — must be done even if I don't like it!

Online support

Blogs, weight loss forums, even Twitter and Facebook help keep me on track. My online friends check in with me, give me praise and encouragement, and make me want to have success to report. Plus, I know I can turn to them when I break down and eat a cupcake in my garage while hiding from my children.

Habit changes

I had a bunch of really nasty food habits that needed to be changed (like baking a plate of brownies and eating them before my husband came home from work). But, I also started some good habits too. Most helpful? What I call pre-gaming my meals: I eat a plate of fruits or vegetables 20 minutes before each meal. It alleviates some of my hunger so I don't overindulge or reach for the bad stuff.

glass of waterDrink more water

Not diet soda. Not sugar-free tea. Water.

Rest more

Just because a good chunk of sleep makes me happy.

Get off the scale

Just stop obsessing about it because it will make you crazy to watch it go up and down all week. I weigh myself once a week, just to keep tabs on my goal and that's it.

Find your focus

For me, my weight loss is more about how I feel. Being able to chase my kid down when he forgets his lunchbox on his way to the bus stop (it's not even a block) without thinking my lungs are going to fall out on the pavement means that I am definitely on the right track. Oh, and looking fly in my clothing — that's important too. I don't care how many pounds the scale says I weigh because I know what size my clothes are, I know my body feels firmer and stronger, and going upstairs to get my kid out of bed doesn't make me want to hurl. Score!

Amanda Rodrigues weighloss before and during collage

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