It’s super crispy, a perfect chicken breast, coated in buffalo sauce, with non whole grain bread, and a side of blue cheese and ranch. Don’t forget the fries. That’s what I want. A fried buffalo chicken sandwich- estimated calories- 1000 plus.
I just got finished with a 12 week challenge. We weighed in each week and the person with the largest weight loss percentage won. I came in second place and lost 9% of my body weight. I tried so many different things during the 12 weeks to try and find the right thing.
But first, let me just say, the week before the challenge began I went off the deep end. I ate everything… any thing. I called it a strategy… Start with a higher weight to lose more. I don’t actually recommend doing that. Here are some of the “diets” I tried.
My 12 Week Weight loss Diet reViews
Kayla Itsines HELP Food Guide:
I loved this it tells you how many servings of different food groups to eat each day. She really encouraged whole grains. I was never hungry during this time during the 12 Week Weight Loss Challenge and I felt really good about what I was eating.
I lost weight every week except the week I did this. I was the exact same weight the next week which was awesome. I found the perfect way to maintain my weight. However, I wanted to win, so I knew I needed a change to get to my ideal weight.
I ate a green smoothie for breakfast and a green smoothie for lunch with an apple. And then tried to eat a healthy dinner. I did this for about four days. I loss some weight but I didn’t feel like it was healthy for me, so I stopped. However, a green smoothie was really delicious for breakfast, but much more time consuming.
I read the Whole 30 book and some of the cookbooks and tried it. It’s basically take out any semi non healthy foods. Basically take out the fun. I didn’t have milk or cheese, sugar, or wheat. I ended up stopping it because it was my birthday and I wanted cake. The book is very adamant about starting the 30 days over if you mess up. I know from experience that sometimes I need to be more gentle with myself, so I stopped doing the Whole 30. However, I learned how to create more dinners that were not based on grains.
I downloaded this great app called My Net Diary that is a calorie counter. You can set a weight loss goal and it will calculate how many calories you can eat a day. It will also grade your food choices which I found to be very helpful when shopping at the grocery store. I recorded my food consistently for a couple of week. This was very helpful to me because I started to realize how many calories were in what I was eating, and I learned how to estimate portion sizes.
The last couple of weeks I tried to combine everything I had learned from my experiments in the other diets. Here is some of what I learned.
12 Tips for 12 Week Weight Loss Challenge
1. Say buh bye to candy.
I just didn’t eat it for weeks. It was really hard at first. I know why did I start with the hard one? I always loved candy, and then I learned and read about how addicting sugar can be. I use to eat candy all day, but once I went without it… I didn’t miss it. Now, I really enjoy chocolate, and I have come to appreciate the quality of chocolate and it eat it slowly. Today when I went to the bank they had two plates full of candy. In the past, I would have been so excited and taken some. But today, I was like, “Meh. I don’t want any.” That is HUGE for me
2. Quality over Quantity
During the 12 week challenge I knew that I had a limited amount of calories to eat. And I love to eat. So, I choose choices that I could eat more of. Fresh strawberries. Do you know how low calorie strawberries are? They are like a diet super food… and I love Louisiana strawberries. I eat strawberries all the time now! Also, apples never use to be my food of choice. Apples …. nah. Well, I started eating them more, and I have found that I love to eat one with breakfast. They are an excellent source of fiber and keeps me so full. I no longer eat just because it is there, I am more conscious of the food I am eating. 12 weeks helped to build that habit.
3. You Have to Eat
Now, this a little crazy, but sometimes I found I lost more weight the next morning the night I had a little piece of cake than the days where I didn’t eat enough. (Is like when they say you need to trick your body with different workouts?) Your body has to have fuel to run… plus no body likes to be around someone who is hangry. Search zero calorie foods. Are they really zero calories? Idk. But they are great when you have the munchies. Try raw carrot chips and salsa. I love salsa more than chips, and guess what salsa is low calorie.
4. Drink your Water
It’s everywhere. Drink water. But did you know that when you are dehydrated, you carry more water weight? It makes you bloated. I have found that sometimes I eat whenever I am really just thirsty.
5. Find Healthy to go Food
You can try to meal plan, but sometimes life happens, and your fridge is like a frozen dessert with shredded cheese tumbleweeds rolling around. Find something that is your go to healthy to go place. There is a new Zoe’s Kitchen near our house, and it’s a great place to get something healthy. For many restaurants that have lots of locations, they have to have the calorie count of the food. Do your research, and decide before you go. That’s how I learned buffalo chicken sandwiches have so many calories. 😢
6. Pack your Lunch
In the morning I feel more inspired to eat healthy, and I pack a healthy lunch. However, if at lunchtime I am feeling more like having a fried carb feast, I can’t because I already have my lunch packed. My go to lunch was a satsuma, an apple, and a chicken wrap. Not very exciting, but it kept me full, and I put in lots of feta in the wrap. Cheese makes a lot of things better. Squash, I am looking at you.
7. Find an Exercise Routine
I am doing the Bikini Body Guide. It It is NOT easy, but I LOVED feeling stronger each week. As I felt stronger, and I was able to accomplish more, I was inspired to keep on going. Until I got to week 11. Wow, week 11 is hard. Burpees with a bench jump. I just did normal burpees. Shhhhhhh! It is also 12 weeks. I fell a little behind, but I plan on finishing it.
8. Find a Way to be Accountable
I did this 12 week challenge with a group of women. We had one woman weigh us in each Thursday. This helped me so much! I knew that I couldn’t “cancel” my 12 week challenge.
9. Don’t Give Up!
Don’t give up! You will be so excited when you finish. It will be worth it! Find a way to make the 12 weeks enjoyable. Find ways you like to exercise and healthy foods you enjoy.
10. Understand Body Weight Changes
If you are weighing yourself during your 12 week challenge, it is essential to weigh at the same time of day. Often I would weigh up to 3 pounds more in the evening. Also, your body weight fluctuates throughout the month. Water weight is a very real thing.
11. Record Keeping
It’s important to record what your progress throughout the challenge. You can do pictures, measurements, weight, food logs, and even your emotions! Then, it will be easier to understand what works best for you.
12. Give Yourself Some Grace
Be gentle with yourself. None of us are perfect. Remember that a mistake doesn’t equal failure. A mistake is a way to learn. It is part of life. It’s why need God’s grace in life. So, let that grace slip into your 12 week challenge as well.
And you know what, I got that buffalo chicken sandwich.
And it was greasy. And I was disappointed.
And then I wanted an apple. Go figure.
Good luck on your 12 week challenge!