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1. If you haven’t yet, join the challenge here: GET FIT and GET HEALTHY
2. Every Saturday come back to The Art of Making a Baby and ShutterMama to read the tips on how to be fitter, healthier and more confident.
3. Weekly write a post about your progress, following the questionnaire below, take a self-portrait (optional) and link up with us.
4. Don’t forget to grab the GET FIT challenge button on the sidebar and display it proudly on your blog or GET FIT post.
5.  Link your post with
Selfie Saturdays if you took your week’s self-portrait.

Weight Loss = Diet+ Exercise

Today I would like to encourage you to completely rehab your eating habits!

Too often do I see a person desperately trying to lose weight only to find out that they’re doing it all wrong.

Weight Loss = Diet + Exercise

One can’t go without another! You CANNOT lose weight on exercise alone, unless you’re eating reasonably. And believe me, reasonable diet is not what most Americans eat. It’s not even close.

Exercise is great for toning and looking great, it’s important for our health as well as our mood, it’s great at speeding up our metabolism, it is amazing for maintaining weight loss and burning off a few extra calories. But when it comes to outright full out 10 or more pounds weight loss, it’s only a part of the equation.

Let me explain this! Remember from last week that 1 pound of weight gained or lost equals to 3500 extra or fewer calories than your body needs.
Now count this: it takes 2 minutes to suck an average large sized milkshake but 4 hours of treadmill time to burn it. At that point is it worth even drinking it?
Yet I see too many women, including some in this challenge, who literally SLAVE in the gym, or run miles after miles without making any changes to their eating habits.
Let me be blunt: You don’t eat as well as you think you do. No one does, I didn’t, my husband didn’t.

If you’re not seeing pounds coming off of you week after week, then you need to make changes. Exercising can be difficult and hard to fit it , yet  right nutrition choices can supplement your routine and help you by reducing the need to make your work outs so vigorous.

Too many people have a LOVE/LOVE relationship with food. Food is NOT your friend. You should NOT take too much pleasure in eating. We eat to survive, that’s it. And if you find that you’re enjoying food too much, craving things, thinking about food, looking forward to eating, AND you feel you’re overweight, then your relationship with food needs to change. I will be discussing this part in more details in the upcoming weeks, but what I want to stress right now is that YOU CANNOT LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT MAKING DIETARY CHANGES.

One of the hardest working people in this challenge, in my opinion, is Sonya from Shuttermama . She exercises like a soldier and she has lost an amazing amount of weight, BUT she made changes in how she eats along with her exercise routine: no coke, mostly veggies.

So if your food challenge section says “increase water intake” and you’re looking to lose weight, you need to change that.
If it says “reduce portion size“, you need to make it more specific: To what size? 1 serving? Two? Fist size? Set a goal.
Is eating half a restaurant plate of Fettuccine Alfredo that much better than a full plate? Half of 2500 calories is still 1250 calories for dinner?

The reason why I am saying this right now is because everyone needs to be motivated, reminded what it is they are supposed to be doing here.

What I would like to suggest is very simple a easy to do. Starting this week, let’s start counting calories. For real!
Counting calories is probably the best exercise in weight loss you can ever attempt to do. My previous weight loss to model weight, as well as my husband’s weight loss of 30 pounds, all started from counting calories.

First of all, it teaches you to pay attention to what, when and how much you eat. If you eat consciously, writing down every bite, you’re less likely to splurge on something you know is a lot of calories. Calorie counting teaches you to pick and eat foods that are more filling but less calorie intensive instead of those that pack lots of calories in one small size.

You’re starving: would you rather have a massive bowl of cucumber and tomato salad or 1 piece of cheese? Calorie counting  gets you used to picking the right foods and eat less of them, because you’re suddenly aware where those pounds are coming from.

It doesn’t have to be hard. If you have an iPhone or Droid, there are a ton of apps that will do the counting for you, my favorite being LoseIt. You can start a food journal. You can use one of the countless websites that offer calorie counts. Again, I’d recommend using the web version of LoseIt Just make sure you write down exactly what you eat.

In order to start, you need to figure out your caloric needs. Use this daily calorie calculator to determine how many calories you’re supposed to ingest to lose weight. Use the number for weight loss or extreme weight loss ( I’d pick somewhere in the middle, if you’ve got quite  a few pounds to shed). Yes, you’ll be hungry at first, but overtime your body will get used to living off your fat ( sorry for being so literal) rather than all that extra food you eat. You don’t have to starve yourself though. Choose more vegetables, preferably fresh, they have almost no calories whatsoever. Give up calorie intensive meats and cheese for the time being as well as pasta and bread in large quantities (  you can have small servings of whole grain pasta instead).  Don’t do anything drastic. It has to be sustainable. You have to eat foods that you can see yourself eating while maintaining the amount of calories needed for weight loss. Make salads with nutritious Romaine lettuce, throw cucumbers and tomatoes ( virtually no calories) into everything you eat.

Count every calorie.

I dare you to try this out for a week. A week of calorie counting and not going over your “weight loss daily calorie limit”. A week of eating fresh veggies instead of mashed potatoes and cutting down on servings. A week of being responsible about what you eat, how you eat and how much you eat.

If you spend a week counting every calorie ( healthy, please!) you put in your mouth and not going over your limit, and you don’t lose at least a pound by the end of the week, then you can come back here and tell me I am full of shit!

Calorie counting is a powerful lesson in nutrition. You need to do it for a few months to really learn the lessons it can teach you, to learn how to eat right . The key is to NOT starve yourself! Eat every time you feel strong hunger or at least 3 meals a day, however those meals cannot exceed  400 calories per meal or the total of your daily allowance if you want to do it in a healthy way.

Try this out
you have nothing to lose but what you want to lose:


Now, my entry for week 4

1.  Height: 5’11”, weight: 131 lb  {-3lb, not good, need to get back to 133-135lbs}

2. Your  fitness challenge(s) for this week:  30 minutes of pilates every other day + 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading, running, swimming or treadmill) every other day. Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). A total of about an hour of physical activity a day.

3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: My eating habits are close to perfect,  however I could improve on my water intake. My goal will be 8 glasses of water daily + continue eating the way I do now.

4. How well did it go:
  • Fitness: I am still in a great amount of pain from my surgery , however I felt strong enough to rollerblade every day this week for about an hour. I didn’t do any strength training, I didn’t feel I couldn’t pull it off yet, however I am pretty happy about having done cardio.
  • Water: Thanks to my new Clean Kanteen bottle, I have been getting plenty of water. It makes it so easy to drink.
  • Food: I was able to eat more solid foods this week, but not my usual stuff. I have also been focusing on gaining the 4 pounds I lost right back, so the food intake was a bit different this week with a lot of whole grain bread along with my soups and quite a few high calorie soft cookies.

5. Failures and slip-ups: I did slip up this Friday and somehow missed my hour of cardio and didn’t do strength training all week which I feel bad about, but hopefully next week I’ll feel strong enough to pick it right back up. Again, I don’t feel right about eating cookies to gain weight, but it’s that or soups, and you can’t really gain weight with homemade vegetable soups 🙂

6. Weekly challenge wisdom:  Be a little bit harder on yourself than you think you should. If you don’t push yourself to be better, no one will care enough to go through the trouble of doing it for you.

7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members
:  Proper diet is a crucial part in losing weight. Do not get so concentrating on exercise and lose sight of how much you really eat during the day.

8. Self Portrait, Capturing your Inner Child:  


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  • Reply
    the lamb
    March 5, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    I am really glad you are blunt about things. If you lived near me I would seriously have you control everything I eat because when it comes to food I am so on the love/love side. ‘I grew up in a home were food was for comfort and used as a reward so changing these habits are soooo hard. I did to though, not only for my health but for ME.

    I am going to write down everything I eat and count calories. It is never something I have done before but I think we you and all the other bloggers in this challenge I can do it. This week was horrible for me I really F****ed up and I need to get my butt into gear!

  • Reply
    the lamb
    March 5, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    FYI sorry for all the spelling errors I am 1/2 asleep here!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Thanks for posting this and every word you said is very true!!

    I am not really a veggie type person, so adjusting my eating styles is even harder for me and I am still figuring out what works for me. I am also a firm believer that something different works for each person too. Watching how much you eat is definitely a very important part to proper weight loss and I have also noticed the pounds drop. I have also started to look at food labels a lot more now and am also aware of the serving sizes as well.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    It’s so funny you wrote about this…my post is about counting calories, too! I use You are so right. Exercise is great but it’s not how we lose weight. This finally clicked for me…after my fitness assessment showed I was 1% body fat away from being obese.

  • Reply
    meredith taylor
    March 5, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    i so love your posts! and after my workout this morning got all set up with Lose It! to start really tracking my intake. i’ve tried to serveral times before in a written journal but i always forget to look up the calories, or get confused, or just give up. now i’m all set and i love how easy it to add exercise and your food!

    quick question though… for my schedule it was better for me to start this challenge on thursdays. is it way weird to link up week 1 (which i posted this thursday) and just run behind? or should i wait to link my week 2 next thursday? hmm…

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    I love your selfie!
    and I think you’re doing fine. I love how you kept your healthy eating patterns and your excersice routines. They help a lot combined. My diet is something I need to start adjusting. I’ve just been too lazy to start cooking dishes for myself aside from what I cook for my family. They are very picky eaters so it makes it a little bit harder.

    However, I do disagree with your statement that food is NOT your friend. I believe that that’s the problem with us people. We see it as the enemy instead of embracing it for what it is. When we stop fighting and just start using the foods we have at our disposal (with that I mean, whole grains, organic foods, fresh fruits, etc.) that we can make a big change in the way we see food. It doesn’t have to be scary and it can be delicious. We just need to learn how to combine it with one another. Make healthier, more conscious decisions and add to that portion control. Cooking can be fun and eating healthier evenmore. We just need to try to adjust our mindset.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2011 at 11:39 AM

      Tammy, I don’t think food is our enemy, however our society and most people, in general, have gotten to glamourizing and idolizing food. People are SO focused on how delicious it tastes, they forget why we eat in the first place.
      I will be the first one to tell you that healthy food can taste delicious. I love the vegan and vegetarian stuff I cook! However I don’t spend time obsessing over taste and to be honest I think most people’s taste buds will find my type of food bland. But that’s what eating healthy means. It’s retraining your taste buds to think healthy is tasty.
      I think if you take the pleasure component out of food, most people would choose good healthy nutritious foods instead of junk. The only reason people pig out on junk food cuz it tastes good. People are too dependent on the taste to make “healthier, more conscious decisions”
      So that’s what I am saying, if you remove the pleasure-food feedback loop, then food becomes something to enjoy due to its “healthiness”, not due to its taste.

      • Reply
        March 9, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        Awesome photo, girl!! Great to see you’re doing better after the surgery 🙂

        One thing I’ve noticed since I changed my eating habits is that I don’t find junk food as delicious any more. I used to eat McDonalds every now and then and when I got a cheeseburger a couple of months ago (I was traveling and nothing was open at that time of the night) I threw it away after just one bite. It literaly tasted like cardboard and I prefered to stay hungry for another hour or so. I also notice that I am slowly reducing the amount of sugar I put in my coffee and I sometimes don’t put any at all. Same about salt – I used to love potato chips and last time I got some it was so greasy and salty, yuck! I would now take a delicious homemade eggplants and tomatoes meal over a cheeseburger any time! 🙂

        • Reply
          March 9, 2011 at 2:56 PM

          I know! It’s amazing how your taste buds change as you start to eat better. I stopped cravings sweets at all. I crave fruits, I crave vegetables, but not meat or sweets. Yesterday I had to make myself eat 4 cookies because I need to gain weight and it’s just not happening with the way I am eating now. But I kept walking around them thinking “But I don’t want cookies!!’ Seemed wrong to eat them when I dont even want them. But anyways I want to gain weight in a healthy way not based on junk food…so I’ll have to find other things like nuts and whole grains to fill myself up with. It’s too bad I cannot chew them yet…

          • Iva
            March 10, 2011 at 2:14 AM

            Poor E!! 🙁 I hope you get better soon! xo

            By the way, my boyfriend’s trainer trains all day long (it’s his job) and because he doesn’t want to lose weight I know he adds extra olive and even eats peanut butter straight from the jar (the organic one, without sugar etc) lol 🙂 I guess nuts are a smart choice 🙂 Hope you can eat them sooner!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    This post hit home, because this week was REALLY hard for me. It was just an off week and the funny part is that I was doing my exercises near perfectly but my eating habits were just strange. we went out on a date and I ate fries for the first time in like 4 weeks and then I had coke and last night I was like what the heck is going on!? So I went online and printed out new veggie recipe’s to try and I get to start all over again next week! Sheeesh :] You are such an encouragement

  • Reply
    Courtney K.
    March 6, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    I just joined in with the challenge…will be making my first post this coming Saturday. Let me say that I am **loving** the tutorials and whatnot that you guys are including. I just downloaded “Lose It” and I’m going to take your challenge. I think my biggest problem is eating the wrong things. I don’t eat a lot at a time, but I eat the wrong things. And I definitely don’t drink enough water. Looking forward to watching the pounds drop. I’m starting small…a goal of 10 pounds and to tone up. Then I’ll tackle the last 5. 🙂 Baby weight—bleh.

  • Reply
    Miranda Hartrampf
    March 8, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    Don’t forget women who are breastfeeding… like myself need to add AT LEAST an extra 500 calories to their diet… breastfeeding and your boy creating milk burns anywhere from 200 – 600 calories a day. (I had a little talk with my nurse about this topic before i joined lose it to see what would be safe for me.)

  • Reply
    May 5, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      May 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      Starting a blog doesn’t have to cost a penny. WordPress blogs are free. I wouldn’t know how much it costs to hire someone to do this since I do it myself. Good luck!

  • Reply
    August 14, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    This is a really good post. Have you been counting calories postpartum? Do you find that you are hungrier while nursing?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 14, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      I attempted to do it post partum, but honestly I can barely find enough time to eat enough for me+ breastfeeding that I sort of feel out of it. I didn’t realize how much harder it would be to keep all this up with a baby. I need to do better though. I am waiting for Alexis to start sleeping a bit better, so that I could have more energy and time to exercise and watch my intake the way I did before. I am also not having ANY dairy right now, and that’s where a lot of calories come from. I’d be surprised if I found out that I have enough on daily basis.

      • Reply
        August 14, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        Yes, I agree. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old but I am having trouble losing the last 6 pounds. I feel like I don’t really have time to calorie count either and I am still nursing the youngest and I’m not really sure how many calories I should be consuming. My kids sons both sleep through the night and I am able to use the gym 3-5 times a week. Maybe I’ll have to take this advice though and start counting calories.

        You look great though and as though you’ve lost all (or at least nearly all) of the weight. 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          August 15, 2012 at 9:17 AM

          Thank you Brianne!

          For bf you need extra 500 calories, so I’d calculate what you should be taking to lose and then adding 500.

          I also heard, and I’m not sure how true it is, that your body holds onto some weight until after you are done breastfeeding,

          • Brianne
            August 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

            Thanks for the tips Elena!

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