Lose It and Keep It OffStudies show that up to 80 percent of people who lose weight regain most or all of it within a year. But not Phillips. Here she shares what helped her lose 140 pounds at the Ranch — and what prevents the fat from piling back on now.
Getting Started...1. Start today: Do something. Go for a walk — even if it's just for 10 minutes, or down the block and back. Or set a short-term goal like getting up early for a workout every day for a week. At the end of that week, give yourself a prize. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a new outfit — any nonfood indulgence.
2. Be a tracker: Get a calorie counter and look up everything you eat, then log it in a journal. (You are keeping one and using it daily, right?) And write down everything you put in your mouth — like the Oreo cookies you just scarfed down. You need to hold yourself accountable.
3. Be ruthless with temptations: Throw out the things that set you up for failure. If you crave sugar, get rid of sweets. If salty foods are your weakness, dump the chips, pretzels, and salted nuts. Tackle your cupboards, fridge, freezer, basement stashes — everything. Then stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.
4. Start a photo timeline: Have someone snap a shot of you now and tape it to a mirror or pin it to a bulletin board. Then take pictures of yourself weekly or biweekly to document your improvement. Get dressed up, put on makeup, and shoot. You may have lost only two pounds, but that's two pounds in the right direction. Write captions under the pictures, like, "Look at me. This is when I started." Note your weight and the date. Then write, "This is two weeks later. I lost five pounds and treated myself to a haircut. Look how great I look!" Put anybody's picture at the end, and when you reach your goal, replace it with your own.
5. Get the gear: Buy one decent workout outfit so you'll feel OK going to the gym or outdoors to exercise. Invest in a pair of good sneakers. Buy them at a running shop where the pros know how to fit your feet.
6. Choose tunes: Select a playlist that revs you up. Phillips's favorite workout tunes:
- "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas ("Who can resist it?")
- "Let It Rock" by Kevin Rudolf ("This is my song from Jillian Michaels," Phillips's second trainer at the Ranch)
- "Black and Gold" by Sam Sparro ("This was a special song between Bob [Harper] and me. Every time I hear it, I think of him")
- "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus ("When you want to give up, listen to this and it will make you change your mind. It makes me cry because it takes me back to when I struggled")
...And Sticking with It
1. Chop ahead: Every weekend, prepare produce to store in the fridge for the week ahead: Steam veggies like broccoli and green beans and put them in containers; stash cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, and other raw veggies in resealable bags. Cut up watermelon and cantaloupe, and fix berries, apples, oranges, and pears so they are ready to eat.2. Pack a cooler: Phillips keeps a cooler in her car so that she won't be tempted by fast food drive-thrus when she's on the road. In it are fruit, cut-up veggies, cooked green beans, hummus, and a little protein, like grilled chicken strips. "My girlfriends used to look at me like I was crazy when I pulled out those green beans. But now they're getting used to eating like this, too," she says.
3. Give yourself a break: Phillips allows herself one high-calorie day a week when she can eat 2,400 to 2,600 calories. If she craves a slice of cake or pizza, she'll have it. Her splurge day keeps her in check the rest of the week. And if there's a party, she counts it as part of her high-calorie day, not an excuse to go wild.
4. Create a support system: When Phillips returned home from the Ranch, she asked six friends to be her gym buddies — to help her stay on track. She says, "Last week my girlfriend was at the gym before me and said, 'Wow, you're 15 minutes late.' I said, 'Who are you, Jillian?' We laughed, but you need to have people in your life like that."
5. Keep a reminder: Phillips has a life-size cutout of herself as she was when she arrived at the Ranch weighing 257 pounds — dressed in a black sports bra and black spandex shorts. "When I see the sadness in old Helen's eyes, I think about how I could still be living with that desperate unhappiness. I never want to forget where I came from, and that I wanted to change my life and I did it."