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My {quick} weight loss: 6 months later

I get lots of emails and questions asking about my weight loss, and a big question is how have I maintained.  I thought I’d share my journey–6 months later–as I hit that landmark just last week.

My biggest worry about my quick weight loss was the ability to keep off the weight long term. I was concerned that even if I did “all the right things” it would slowly come back on, and also worried that I wouldn’t be able to control my food urges. I am happy to report that after 6 months of living “on my own” I’ve not only maintained, but lost a few extra pounds along the way. I’m happy to say that I still enjoy all foods, but also working hard with a few personal rules so that I can enjoy them at varying times.

If you aren’t aware of my weight loss journey, you can read all about it here.  It wasn’t my intent to continue losing after it. I was happy with what I lost. Mostly I’ve wanted to tone up the extra tummy skin that stretched with 4 babies. After completely restricting starches and sugars for 6 weeks, it made me VERY conscious of the food items that contained those, and I started reading labels looking for that. I like treats–a lot–but it made me very conscious and very aware of what I was eating, and I became more calculated with the foods I put into my mouth.

{My general rule is to only eat homemade treats (my faves here). They are the best anyway–don’t waste your calories on something store bought.}

It’s really sad the mental battle we must play on a daily basis for the food we put into our mouth. Food is SO delicious! We crave sweets, we eat half of the cookie dough batter (guilty), we want to bake for our family and friends, and it’s almost easier to not even try the treat than to take a sample because then we’ll want more!  I had sugar complete restrictions through Valentine’s Day and a trip to  New York City, and I had just decided not to eat sugars, so it wasn’t as much of a temptation. But when it was over–just taking ONE treat was a whole knew battle. One that I still strive to master.

My philosophy on weight loss/weight gain/maintaining weight is that if you exercise regularly and only sortof watch what you eat (me) then you will stay the same. That’s what has happened to me. I figured I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted and NOT exercise, so I had to pick one to do WELL, and the other, I’d try my best, but knowing I wanted to still enjoy food.


With exercise, I have worked hard to be dedicated. In the past 6 months, I have only missed maybe 5 days without exercising. My rule is 6 days a week–no exceptions. I am pretty liberal when it comes to exercise–I just want my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 30 minutes. I’ve made it a priority, I have an exercise PLAN, and if something gets in the way–time-wise–I adjust my plan. I’ve promised myself to work out Monday-Saturday with a goal of 40 minutes minimum, ideally 60 minutes. Sunday is my day of rest.  With each life transition:  school ending, summertime, vacations, school starting, I’ve had to readjust my exercise schedule.

Here is my exercise schedule now:

Monday: am Kickboxing (body combat) class at the gym (50 minutes)

Tuesday: pm bike ride with my toddler in the carriage behind me (40 minutes) sometimes I do this after dinner with my older daughter cycling next to me while all boys are at soccer

Wednesday: am Intense Step Aerobics class at the gym (30 minutes) Core conditioning class (30 minutes)

Thursday: pm Run with my boys (40 minutes)

Friday: am speed walk with a friend (60 minutes)

Saturday: Grab bag! I either run first thing in the morning (40 min) bike ride in the afternoon (40 min) or go to the gym to do the eliptical (40) while watching cable!

In the event that I can’t make one of these times, I have options, and I like options. My difficulties to work around were that I  only wanted to take my daughter to the gym day care twice a week. She doesn’t love it, and even though I try to arrange with a friend to be there at the same time (so she has a friend) and snacks and a coloring book in her “gym bag” she doesn’t get excited when I say we are going. That breaks my heart and makes me feel guilty. So just twice a week. Luckily, she doesn’t cry when I drop her, that would kill me (though it did happen a few times at the beginning).

On T/Th when she is in pre-school, I see that as my blogging time where I try to crank out as much as I can in posts for the week because I don’t like to be on the computer much when my kids are home. I really toiled with using just one hour to exercise/shower, but then it would only leave me with two hours, and that wasn’t enough. I thought I could go running early early, but figured I could do a few afternoon workouts, though they aren’t my fave. Tuesdays with the girls, Thursdays with the boys.

A few times I had to by default do an evening run, and my  boys asked to come along. We had so much fun (and they totally pushed me) that they’ve kept asking to come, and I thought this would be great bonding time for us once a week. So it’s now the plan. It’s not the ideal time for me to workout, but just before dinner, it’s been fine. We have to wait  until my husband gets home from work to be with the girls though.

Before my weight loss, I’d exercise 3-4 times a week, but I was so worried about gaining back, that I wanted to over compensate by just exercising daily, and really–I feel SO much stronger and able to do things that I never did before. I feel healthy and energetic.


My friend recently sent me a very interesting article entitled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. “It’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off” is the main theme of the article. It mentions how people often want to “reward” themselves with a treat after working out, but that won’t help you lose weight. Changing your eating habits will.

Since I’m not in the “losing weight” phase, I give myself leeway, and so far I’ve been fine. The first month or so after my loss, I was VERY VERY careful. I’d have a small treat maybe once a week. I dipped my toe in a little more and had one twice. I was calorie counting very well, and for my height/weight I ate 1800 calories at day and burned 300-500 calories. So treats were ok every once in a while. In June, we drove to Utah and back, and I indulged a touch more, and still maintained just fine (ran nearly daily, too). In July, I went to Alaska and was a little too confident and ate 3 full meals with pastries every day. I literally remember saying to my hubby “I want to find a new pastry shop today” and he looked at me like, “girl, you gotta settle down.” I came home up a good 5  pounds and I was worried!  I didn’t want that to be my new normal! I simmered down a few notches, and went back to my original weight.

My general daily diet:

7am Small bowl of oatmeal filled with fresh blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries (I like the preportioned packets below, and this brand has the fewest calories–along with almond milk)

9am 100 calorie packet of almonds or if working out, chocolate low carb high protein post workout shake

12 lunch at home is half an avocado, hard boiled egg, almond slivers with a low carb dressing

3pm Afternoon apple or banana

5:30 Dinner. I don’t think too hard about dinner ingredients, but I try to go easy on the rice/pasta for myself

7pm fruit for dessert or 1 scoop of ice cream–every 3 nights or so

*If I go out to lunch with friend and eat heavier, I have a very light dinner. I used to choose only salads at restaraunts, but now I just try to choose wisely most of the time and every once in a while get whatever the heck I want.

*I try not to eat after 7pm. I am not a big fan of ice cream, prefer baked goods, but my goal is that if I’m going to eat sweets to do in during the day. I got used to having fruit at my “dessert” on my weight loss that I’ve rewired my brain a little.

*lots of ice water throughout the day

*Gum when I crave something that I wish I weren’t.


I began my 6 week quick weight loss at 155  pounds.  After 6 weeks, I was down 21 pounds and had 134 as my new normal. The weight I wanted to stay. My happy place. As long as once a week I was at 134, I was happy. In July, I think one evening I weight 139 and I was worried. I didn’t want to see it keep creeping up. I kept up my exercise, and focused better on eating well. Never do I skip meals. Never. That’s not how you lose. Every 2-3 hours of eating boosts your metabolism and keeps you satisfied. I cut back on my treats and got back down to 134…some days at 132. It was just last month in August that I saw 130 for the first time, and was so stinkin’ excited. Then earlier this month, I saw 128, and that’s the lowest I’ve seen. SO exciting, I took a cell phone pic! My new morning weight the past few weeks is 130 and my high is 132 or 133.


I have given tips and “coached” a few friends as they took this journey, and I will say that for most, it was much easier to eat 500 calories on very specific foods than it was to have 1500 calories of anything but sugar/starches. Our bodies just CRAVE the sugars so much, and it IS hard to deny something we love so much. It’s actually easier to have a list of set things we can eat, tougher to be on our own, making good decisions. If you decide to go the same route as I did, don’t stop early–see it through the entire 6 weeks.


I by no means think this is the end all be all for losing weight, it worked for me and I’m very happy with it. I don’t push it on anyone, but if asked I’m happy to share.  When I was about 3 months out, I had a yearly OB checkup, and I decided to ask my doctor what he thought about it. I felt confident enough about how it worked for me, I was genuinely curious. He didn’t seem to mind about the particular plan I that I used, but he did get  “in a huff” about how one can’t just lost weight and not change their lifestyle (which I agreed) and expect to keep the weight off. I felt I had changed my lifestyle at that point.

Another frustration is that I hear from people who must have been talking to other people or read about my weight loss here.  When they ask things like “are you still eating 500 calories a day” with a concerned look on their face, I say, “No, that was 6 months ago for only 3 weeks.”  People have opinions, that’s fine. I just wish others would be more respectful, and at least try to hide their facial expressions with their “noses turned up.” I haven’t had a lot of that–but a few.

My last frustration that I just discovered is that my newer thinner face looks older now. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but last week after my mud run, I took a few self portraits to get a good glance at the mud on my face. I mentioned to my sil, Alayna, that I can’t seem to get a pic of myself that my skin doesn’t look wrinkled, bummer getting older. She said (she is very knowledgeable about everything–don’t play Trivial Pursuit with her) that with the fat out of my face, it makes one look older–that’s what Botox is–fat injects to smooth out the skin. Ack! Did. not. occur. to. me. that losing weight would do that. BUT I’m happy to have a thinner face, and have no plans for Botox, so I’ll take it!

To wrap up another monster post, I felt I had tried so hard with exercise and eating before my quick weight loss, and got so easily discouraged. I saw my plan as a kick start to a new lifestyle, and that’s what it was. Bottom line is that I have worked hard, but still enjoying food and life along the way. It can be done!

Are you struggling to lose? Any exercise/eating tips you’d like to share? Questions?

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  1. I’ve actually been wondering how you’ve been doing on maintaining but didn’t want to be nosy. :) I started the HCG diet on July 1 and am down just shy of 50 pounds. It most definitely is not for everyone but it has worked well for me also. It’s so onteresting to hear you talk about having your fruit “desert” and how much easier it is to make choices while on the restricted diet because I’ve experienced almost all of the same changes in thinking as well as responses from others. I’ve recently added exersize back into my routine with yoga and have felt so much stronger and healthier. I’m so glad you’ve had continued success in maintaining.. It gives me hope to be able to do the same. Thanks!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      50 pounds? That’s amazing, congratulations!! Yes, fruit CAN BE dessert! IT is after having no sugar for so long! Thank you for sharing your story, it is great to hear others who have gone the same route;)

  2. My solution to wrinkles – Photoshop!
    Leigh Anne recently posted..In-N-Out Burger Copycat RecipeMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Ummm, LOVE photoshop!!! Seriously, sometimes I look in the mirror and want to take my patch tool and wipe away a few spots before I head out for the day–oh yeah, I can’t photoshop my real life!

  3. Hi Kristen! You look great and congratulations on keeping the weight off! I know what you mean about the wrinks. They’re creeping up around the eye area. Fortunately I’m cool with it. When my parents or husband smile, those eye wrinks show up and just flood me with happiness to see them enjoying whatever it is they’re enjoying. I feel loved to just be in the presence of those wrinks. ;) Bring ‘em on!
    It’s the vertical one in between my eyebrows I’d like to pump full of fat (from my belly preferably! HA!)
    I was thinking about doing the HCG injections with the doc in Lakeway at NBH LIfetime Health, but it’s over $400! Your way means I keep more cash and I don’t have to inject my thighs. Is this the bottle you bought?
    I definitely want to get whatever you bought since it obviously worked (in addition to your determination!)

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, I don’t mind having wrinkles…and for sure do the drops over the injections! I’ve been asked a lot about the specific bottle I bought, and I’m not sure if they regularly change their inventory, but it appears the dosage is a bit different, so they maybe just changed the potency. Yes, get that one in the link.

  4. Kristen you look incredible!
    Healthy and vibrant!
    If that kick start worked for you…and we can clearly see that it has….Good On YOU!!!
    Who’s to criticize it???
    I struggle with weight…but have decided to make the time for myself….
    I’ve been so unhappy for FAR too long.
    I have heaps of cute clothes…and I want to wear them!!!
    THANK YOU for being so open and honest with your journey.
    It has inspired me and, I am sure, many others!
    Please keep blogging about everything….health, photography …LIFE!
    I enjoy each and every post!
    128!!!! Booyah girl!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment and enthusiasm! Glad to hear you enjoy all that I post about because I am all over the place!!!

  5. I’m so impressed and proud of you! You look fabulous and I can tell you are happy. Thank you for sharing all the details! I loved reading this post :) xoxo
    shari recently posted..Take heart!My Profile

  6. No disrespect to your SIL but Botox has nothing to do with fat. It has to do with nerves and neuromuscular blocking to temporarily reduced muscle activity. I have had it done and in no way is it fat injections.
    Congrats on keeping the weight off. It’s work but worth it.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      no respect lost…I’m clueless about it! I don’t like seeing moviestars lips not move, so I don’t have much interest in it…

  7. I’m so excited for you that you’re maintaining! I’m a firm believer that there are so many diets out there that work for some that may not work for others! You rock girl!
    Jess from Cox’s Corner recently posted..ARSTY CORNER-Linky Party #1My Profile

  8. I am so happy that you found something that worked and that you have been so diligent with! I wish we lived closer and you could inspire me to work out right along with you. I am about to begin this little “lifestyle change” journey and I wish I had a buddy closer! You look amazing and I am so impressed with your resolve and commitment!
    Emily recently posted..And that’s a wrap!My Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      You don’t know how much I wished YOU lived closer, friend! It is SO helpful to have a buddy on a similar path…I seem to go in and out of having that. Right now, it helps to have a buddy go to the gym at the same time to take classes with me and that our kids can play!!!

  9. I wanna say thank you SO much for introducing me to the newest & best tasting oatmeal I’ve had in a LONG time! I love it! And it’s so cheap as well!! I have been taking it to work this week and I love the fact you can pour the water in the bag to measure! amazing!

    I’m seriously leaning towards HCG …. man oh man. I’m scared to death! Weren’t you starving while on it??

    • Kristen Duke says:

      no, not starving, the drops help curb appetite. my mouth did want to chew though…different than hungry;) I’m so glad you like the oatmeal, too!!!

  10. Kim Mueller says:

    Hi Kristen!
    You are such a life loving joyful person! Beautiful 6 months ago and beautiful now! Your blog is wonderful, and I was so excited to find one of your pictures on Pinterest this weekend. Congratulations on your success and hugs to you and your family!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Hi Kim!!! It’s so nice to hear from you! You are so sweet, it’s nice to hear that I come across as joyful–what I strive for in life. I’m curious what picture you found on pinterest, if you remember!! That is kinda fun to stumble upon, I’ll admit it;)

      • Kim Mueller says:

        It was pinned by Nikki chef in training…your beautiful pink and white pillows. I followed the link to your blog:)

  11. I just found your site and cant believe I have gone this long without following your blog! I love your beautiful photography. What a treat that you share it with your readers.

    Also, a huge congrats on maintaining your weight loss. You look fabulous! Especially for hainvg four kids! I know all to well how much effor it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your children will admire you now and for years to come on staying active while having fun with them. Cant wait to follow along on your adventures.

  12. I just read this post and the HCG diet post. First off congrats on losing 21 lbs in one month!!!! That is insanely awesome. I have a very similar story to yours–after having my 3rd baby I was like the same weight as you 155, but I worked for months and months to lose the 21 lbs. It has been my goal to be at my pre-pregnancy weight (133) by Ellie’s first birthday and her b-day is next week! I have one pound to go but it’s been impossible to discipline myself with all the holiday baking going on. I can relate to the feelings you have about health and eating. You’d never know just how important good eating is. One thing that helps me maintain, even lose weight, is green smoothies every day. I replace one meal (lunch or dinner) with a smoothie made from spinach, water, 2 spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt, 1 banana, and frozen fruit (and a little truvia) and it never fails to keep my weight down. Just something to consider. I also like that I can make it in the morning, put it in a large smoothie bottle (you know the kind with the mixing ball) and drink it throughout the morning. Anyway I think you look amazing and would never have known your weight loss story to look at you!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks for sharing, Heidi! Yes, it is a tough journey, and ones way is not necessarily the way for others. Congrats on your loss, too!

  13. SARA MENDEZ says:

    my question probably belongs on your initial blog about he HCG “plan” but I am researching this myself and am wondering what sort of “meal plan”/ menu you stuck with on phase 2?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It’s fine, I’m seeing it! For phase 2, I just took out carbs and sugars. So I ate hamburgers plain, cheese, avocado, eggs, lots of protein and dairy!