I lost about 70 pounds starting about 7 months before my wedding (which was last November.)
As long as I was conscious of my calorie intake and nutritional needs (I used SparkPeople.com to help keep track) I didn’t really have to cut out any foods I like.
It also helped that my brother, who is an avid weightlifter and nutrition expert, helped me put together a food and exercise plan. The plan went like this:
-Mon - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: Lift weights to work every muscle group in the upper body.
-Tues - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio.
-Weds - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: Lift weights to work every muscle group in the lower body (Abs are part of the lower body workout.)
-Thurs - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio.
-Fri - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: Lift weights to work every muscle group in the upper body.
-Sat - Calorie intake: 1800-1900; Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio.
[B]-Sun - Calorie intake: WHO CARES?! Seriously, I ate WHATEVER I wanted on Sunday, even if it was ice cream for breakfast, candy bars for lunch, and pizza for dinner; Exercise: NADA. No gym on Sundays, either.[/B]
Of course, on this plan, the weightlifting part kept alternating, too, so the next Monday would be to lift weights to work every muscle group in the lower body, the next Wednesday would be the upper body, the next Friday would be lower body and then the Monday after that would start back to upper body.
And as a couple of side notes:
It’s better to use free weights if you can (it can be hard to use free weights to work your legs, though) because it gets your brain involved. Your muscles have to work harder to keep the weights moving in the correct motion, as opposed to a machine where the limitations of the machine make it impossible for you to move the weight incorrectly.
Many women shy away from “weightlifting” because they don’t want to “bulk up.” It’s actually pretty hard for a woman to bulk up the way a man does, it takes a LOT of effort and some help from illegal substances to do so. Weightlifting for women will serve to help tone muscles, giving their bodies a “tight, lean” look.
In order to get the max effect out of weightlifting, you want to fatigue your muscles. The plan I used implemented a method of increasing the intensity (which generally meant I went up in the amount of weight, although this isn’t always the case for increasing intensity) on each set, while decreasing the number of reps I did. This served to fatigue my muscles to the point that they would have to knit back together, thus repairing themselves stronger than they were before.
If it wasn’t Sunday and I was CRAVING, say, a Snickers bar, I would have one. There’s no point in denying yourself, you just set yourself up for failure. The thing is, though, that once I got on track with my eating, after a while it was no big deal to wait until Sunday. And when Sunday came around, I didn’t feel like pigging out horribly, even though I could.
I never hit a plateau, where I just couldn’t shed any weight for that week, because I kept my metabolism on its toes by changing up my calorie intake on Sundays. My body never got used to the routine nor did it start to think I was starving it.
And, as a disclaimer, ALWAYS discuss any new weight loss program with your doctor or some sort of health professional first.