Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Journey to a Healthier Me (The "Formula" Behind the Weight Loss)

My IRL (in real life) facebook friends (is that an oxymoron?!!!) have been asking me to share the "how" behind my current weight loss. So, I present to you the "formula", if you will, behind how I have taken off nearly 30 pounds this summer.  My wish is that someone reading here, maybe even you, might be helped by my own personal journey to get healthy!

I am not, nor do I present myself as, a certified dietitian.
I am only sharing what information, Mary, my nutritionist/dietitian, has shared and taught me over the past 8 weeks. 

And as we've all heard over and over...
 "Before embarking on any weight loss plan, consult a physician."

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let's get started, shall we?!

When I first met with Mary (May 29th) I weighed 212 lbs., took a daily nap, and barely moved a muscle!  After all, I chased 3 kiddos around each day...didn't that count for moving my muscles?!!!

Prior to our meeting, Mary had emailed me a food diary entry that she asked me to keep for one "typical" day.  I was mortified.  I mean, it's one thing to keep a mental running record about what you consume during the day...it's quite another to put it in writing...and then have to share it with the food police.

And "food police" is exactly how I felt about Mary.  

Don't get me wrong, I wanted to take the weight off..

...I just wanted to do it by exercising more...maybe increasing my water consumption...and throwing in a garden salad or two! 

Not changing my ENTIRE eating habits.

I wanted to die at that first meeting when I brought my completed food dairy entry...Mary's exact words, "Oh my goodness, Valerie.  You are preserving yourself from the inside out."

And let's face it...I didn't weigh 212 lbs because I ate lean cuts of protein and steamed  veggies!

No, I ate "fortified" breakfast cereals or frozen waffles with maple syrup with skim/fat free milk for breakfast....I ate leftover macaroni and cheese (and not from scratch) or spaghetti o's and meatballs that the kids didn't finish at lunch...and for dinner we ate lots of frozen pizza, Hamburger Helper, or "Mexican" dishes that involved lots of ooey, gooey cheese, tortilla chips, etc.

Yup, preserving myself from the inside out.  And apparently, my kiddos too!

So, where to begin cleaning up the train wreck of an eating program that I was following???

At our first meeting, Mary drew an illustration of what my breakfast/lunch/dinner plate should ultimately look like! The grated cheese reference cracks me up!  I think I looked like I wanted to cry when she told me that I needed to cut out my massive cheese consumption and so she threw me a bone...a sprinkling of grated cheese on my scrambled egg beaters!  LOL

There you have it...in her own words..."Less than 25 grams of sugar per day"!

Brainstorming a list of protein choices...I really was at a loss of what to eat when I first met with Mary.  My diet was comprised mostly of crackers/potatoes/noodles etc. 

Step 1:  We reviewed my pitiful food diary entry of a sample "eating" day.

Step 2:  We then had a short review/lesson on the good, the bad, and the ugly of sugar/carbohydrate/protein consumption.  (My personal eating philosophy is this...protein=good...carbohydrate=bad (unless it comes from a natural source such as fruit!)...and sugar=UGLY!) 

Step 3:  We then came up with some "rules".
As in...
A)  I don't eat after 8:00 PM

B)  I eat a minimum of 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (There is no set calorie number that I am to eat each day...in fact I've never even counted up how many total calories I consume in a day.  I might figure it out just so that I know!)

C)  I do not consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day!  (The SUGAR rule is HUGE for me.  Remember, I have been gestational diabetic 3X, a definite precursor to Type 2 diabetes.)  SUGAR in DAIRY products count toward my 25 grams...sugars that naturally occur in fresh fruit do NOT count!  yay!  And by the way...The American Heart Association recommends no more than 20-24 grams of sugar for women per day...so Mary isn't crazy like I thought!)

D)  I drink half my body weight in water.  (Yes, at one point I really was drinking over 100 ounces of H2O a day...I am down to 90!!! Woo Whoo!)

E)  I am expected to eat within 30 minutes of waking up.  (This is a personal struggle for me.  Since it has been so stinkin' hot here in Kansas City, I have needed to wake up and take my daily walk between 5 and 5:30 AM each day.  I walk for one hour and have zero appetite upon returning.  Plus I am hot and sweaty and need to get myself cleaned up before the littles get up.  So, I'm usually  not eating until 1.5 hours after waking.  Apparently, this makes for an unhappy metabolism.)

F)  I am expected to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes 5X a week.  (This has now become my most favorite rule to follow...I currently walk 60 minutes (briskly) a day EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Using my cars GPS device I mapped out a 3-mile route to follow.  Mary would like to see me cover that same distance in 50 minutes.  I'm trying...but still walking with a bum foot!)

And Step 4:  I was asked to keep the dreaded "food diary"!  

Sample page from my food diary notebook.

Yes, it travels with me everywhere...and gets a bit greasy!

Just keepin' it real...my preschooler loves to use it to practice "writing"!  :)
While this might seem like a lot of "rules" to follow, they have actually become 2nd nature to me. The rules were there, basically to help me follow a "program" of sorts...without being on any official program (like Atkins, Weight Watchers (WW), Jenny Craig, etc.).  

And that's what I love about this...and maybe even why I have been experiencing so much success.  

For the first time, I am not following anyone else's program...I'm following the Valerie Kueter program.  Mary knows her stuff and devised a program around me...with my personal strengths and weaknesses. 

Unlike WW (which I have tried many times...and lost weight on!) where I was accountable to somebody else...and was in a group setting (allowing for anonymity), I am now accountable only to myself...but I'm also sharing that information with Mary in a very personal, very intimate setting.

And it's been totally free!  No membership fees...no weekly or monthly dues...no missed meeting (and guilt) fees, etc.!  If I can't meet up with Mary because my kiddos have VBS or are sick, we just reschedule.  If Mary needs to push me back a week because the Wellness Program has her traveling all over the state of Kansas, we just reschedule.  You see, in the end, what I've come to learn, is that I have always been the one in control of my eating habits.  I just never exercised the word NO.

But the best part of all is the change that has come internally.  What started out as just a desire to lose the weight and feel better...has truly become a passion to live life in a healthy manner, and to educate those I love and care for about the importance of  truly understanding where their food comes from...how it is processed...and what it is doing for their bodies (both good and bad!).

So, there you have it.  

No magic weight loss pills.  No group therapy.  Just a whole lot of will and determination coupled with an amazing cheerleader and food educator in my dietitian, Mary.

Oh...and maybe a bit of "brainwashing" from watching one too many Netflix documentaries on the obesity epidemic in America...farming-organic gardening...and food production in America!  LOL  More on that to come!!!

So, my next post....

Sample menus of what I actually eat every day along with some awesome recipes and links to some of my favorite food bloggers!

If you have any questions or would like further clarification on how I do what I do, please do not hesitate to contact me via email (address is on my sidebar).  

Hugs and Kisses,


At LuLu's in Gulf Shores, Alabama with two of my favorite 3 guys! (July 17, 2012)

Eight weeks ago today, I would not have purposely mugged for the camera!  Now I LOVE to be photographed with my kiddos...and I still have weight to lose.  I just FEEL so much better about myself!

Me with 2 of my 3 precious gifts at "The Hang Out" in Gulf Shores, Alabama (July 19, 2012)

Just so I don't forget...or get discouraged by how far I have to go...a pic to remind me of how very far I've already come!  Taken on June 1, 2012



  1. Val, you look SO great :) I seriously teared up right at the end of your post because I can 100% relate to the weight (both figuratively and literally) that has been lifted off of your shoulders. I am so happy for you that you've been able to make these changes in your life, and I can only aspire to do the same one day. I'm a super food-prude, though, so I think it would be a little trickier for me to find acceptable things to eat that I am also willing to eat... I can walk with you Thurs, Fri, Saturday!!! Can't wait :)

  2. That is wonderful!! Changing these habits is great for the entire family. I know how hard it is to lose weight...I say, struggling to lose the last 25lbs of baby weight. Why is it so easy to put it on???

  3. Woohoo--this is a whistle!
    Looking good!

    Mary is through Chris' insurance correct?

    Keep it up!!!

    M :)

  4. OK, that 212 is my first goal....10lbs from it!

    (did I just say that?) Your honesty is catchy.

    Great job! I love weight loss stories and the hows, it's so real and honest!

    You look super, keep it up!

  5. Valerie, you are looking great!! thanks for sharing the rules and the steps to your goal. I know you can do it and you are inspiring me and many others!!

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog - you look fantastic and I'm so pleased that you're getting healthy and fit at such a young age! You will NOT regret this, I promise. :)

  7. My dear friend, we are on the same journey. Only I don't have a Mary! I am simply trying to figure it out on my own. I weigh the same as you. I want to feel more healthy and have more energy. So I have already cut out soda, and most of the sugar. I hope you don't mind me copying your plan. I like the idea of keeping a food journal/diary. But have not been brave enough to do so as of yet.

  8. You're gorgeous Valerie! Congrats to you on your weight loss!

  9. I have insomnia this evening and checking off on Catholic Mom blogs as usual and I stopped at your very empowering post on weight loss! God bless you and your achievements. You are beautiful inside and out!

    You have inspired this tired mommy that is very overweight as well.

    Tried WW's, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and now trying God and the path of internal goodness. You are a breath of fresh air to many moms. God bless you!


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