On Losing Weight, “Dieting,” and Getting Fit

by Erika Torres

Someone asked me the other day if I was getting skinnier, and I told them “No, I’m getting stronger.”

For the past few years, I’ve been focused on the wrong goal when it came to my body: losing weight.

What I really should have been focusing on and what I have been working on for the past six months is actually toning, defining, getting fit–and yes– getting stronger.

While there is a six-month difference in the photos, I am the exact same weight in the first and last photo.

But my waist–at my belly button–is two inches smaller.

And because I know there will be people saying I’m just “sucking it in” in the last photo, let me assure you, I was sucking it in so hard in the first photo. I even had Eric retake the picture three times because I just couldn’t believe that’s what I looked like.

How I Did It

The first step was conquering my relationship with food. I’ve admitted to binge eating. I could talk about exercise all day long but it wouldn’t mean anything if I was stuffing my face.

So I made clean eating a priority. I decided there were no foods that were “off limits.” If I wanted it, I could eat it, but I had to wait 15 minutes. None of these impulse “oh screw it” moments.

I am still not 100% at clean eating. There are still moments of weakness where I make bad decisions. But it is such a breakthrough that I have gotten so much better at listening to my hunger signals and really paying attention to what I put into my body.

The Exercise Plan

2012 was the year I ran two half-marathons and took barre classes. But then I got bored–as I usually do with workout routines.

Maybe you’re a runner, and you could run forever and ever. Then that’s your thing!

My thing involves switching it up–and for me that meant that in 2013, I focused on hot yoga, Orange Theory, and doing workout routines during my lunch break. I’ve been able to be consistent with my workouts since September, taking a hot yoga or Orange Theory class 2-3x a week, and doing the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge during my lunch break at work.

Go ahead and laugh at the name, but I’m telling you, it’s perfect for beginners and short twenty-minute workouts most days. And you don’t have to be a mom to take advantage of the free workouts!

With 2014 underway, I have moved on to start the Jamie Eason LiveFit program. The free program gives you three months of lifting workouts–perfect for helping to tone that body. For cardio, I’m doing Orange Theory, hot yoga, and the occasional run.

The Best $20 Investment for Weight Loss

In October, I got this pedometer (affiliate link) –and it was one of the best $20 investments I ever made. Eric teases me about wearing it, but I refused to shell out $100 for the less conspicuous glorified version of a pedometer–The Fit Bit.

I am still a Newlywed on a Budget after all.

With my pedometer, I realized that I was totally missing the mark on the recommended 10,000 steps a day. In order to get those steps in, I had to make an effort to take at least three 10-15 minute walks a day (one in the morning with my dog, one during my work break, and one in the evening with my dog).

My Fitness Formula

So all in all, my formula for getting fit involves lifting, cardio, clean eating, and lots of walking. I took two weeks off during the holidays, and finally got my groove in gear last week, and it was tough!

Hopefully, this year, the scale will start to show the changes that I’ve been making to my figure.

But lucky for me, I don’t hinge my happiness on the number of the scale. It will catch up eventually–the proof is in the pictures.


June’s #21DayFix Weight Loss Challenge | Newlyweds on a Budget May 29, 2014 - 2:23 pm

[…] I did really well last fall and had some great results. I need to get back there! […]

Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans January 20, 2014 - 12:44 pm

You look great! I should stop putting so much importance on the scale and more on progress photos.

Sally @TinyApartmentDesign January 16, 2014 - 3:11 pm

The results are fantastic. It almost seems like your posture has improved too! I had never heard of the 10,000 steps a day recommendation. Now I want that cheap pedometer too! I’ve been exercising but I have a bad habit of eating late at night. I’m eating much healthier but still eating dinner at 10 PM most weeknights.

Catherine January 15, 2014 - 7:44 pm

You’re looking great! I am also totally switching my mentality and really paying attention to how i eat and how I feel. I do have 15-20lbs to loose for health purposes but am most concentrated on being healthy, being a better runner and in tune with my body. I’m really noticing how bloated I feel with breads and milk products, like super bloated so I’m going to cut those back bug time becuase as I sit here my guys are killing me. Keep up the work!!

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich January 14, 2014 - 8:18 am

I’ve definitely made it a priority this year to lose some of the weight I gained last year when I had a job where I just sat or stood still all the time. And I was miserable and Reese Cups made me happy. Your pictures are pretty inspiring. I just joined a gym last week since my employer reimburses up to $400 in gym fees a year if you go at least 50 times every six months, so hopefully things are getting back on track.

H January 14, 2014 - 3:25 am

Oh my god! your body has changed a lot! you look so fit! that’s way better than loosing weight!

One Frugal Girl January 13, 2014 - 8:23 pm

I really need a routine. I plan to check out the Bikini Body Mommy videos. It seems easy enough to squeeze in once the little guy takes a nap.

Army Amy January 13, 2014 - 3:55 pm

You look great! It sounds like you found that elusive balance of having something that works, that you can stick to, and that doesn’t make you crazy. I have had no trouble infusing different workouts into my life, but changing how I eat (especially with a husband whose metabolism is that of an 18-year-olds) is tough. Kudos!

eemusings January 13, 2014 - 1:19 pm

Dang girl you are flat in those photos! Bet you have some killer abs.

My main goal I suppose, if I had one, would be to tone up my legs and belly and arms – I am skinny but I have apple tendencies, ie my weight goes on my belly and I’m aware I now have an extra layer in that area I didn’t before. Gotta get back to doing crunches….

Megan January 13, 2014 - 10:15 am

Girl! You look fab! It’s so true about the numbers too. It’s all about how you feel and living healthy. Oh and you should totally come to the faith + fitness retreat that I’m co-hosting in March. 🙂 http://www.refreshsummit.com (tickets are going to be a little cheaper, I think $225, for the next 2 weeks!)

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies January 13, 2014 - 10:12 am

That’s why I try and focus more on how I feel than the number on the scale. Am I in good enough shape to do everything I want? If not, then that’s a problem!

Tanner January 13, 2014 - 9:55 am

Thanks for sharing this with us. That is indeed quite a lot of progress. It is quit funny how your body changed, but the weight remained similar. I found the opposite: I dropped over 20lbs last year (gained most of it back… boo hoo), but my body barely showed it. I should take more photos.

Raquel@Practical Cents January 13, 2014 - 6:57 am

That is so interesting how you weigh the same but your body is so different. I agree with changing it up when it comes to working out. I get bored too with the same old thing.

newlywedsonabudget January 13, 2014 - 8:30 am

I thought the same thing. But I checked my weight, and sure enough, it’s the exact same in the first and last photo. Nuts, huh? It makes me really happy that I took photos, otherwise I would have never noticed a difference.

Alice @ Earning My Two Cents January 13, 2014 - 6:46 am

Great Job! I took up running last year and I can see a difference in my tone and strength even though I weigh the same. I am trying to lift more this year and tone up more, in addition to losing the winter weight 🙂

Jolene January 13, 2014 - 5:40 am

LOVE this post, friend! and congrats on your progress, you look fantastic, and it really IS about inches, and not weight loss, almost entirely! At least I think so. Love that you’re getting 10K steps, love your food and fitness plan, it just sounds like it is working so well for you!!

newlywedsonabudget January 13, 2014 - 8:30 am

Thanks! It has taken a while to get to this point!

Liz January 13, 2014 - 4:13 am

I would love to get a pedometer! I find that sitting in a cubicle all day and not having to walk to work really makes it hard for me to get enough walking in every day. When I lived in the city I walked everywhere. Now that I live in the suburbs, I drive everywhere.

newlywedsonabudget January 13, 2014 - 8:29 am

I’m the exact same way! I work at a desk for 9.5 hours a day, so I need the pedometer to keep me aware of how little walking I’m doing. Since I’ve gotten it, I’ve made a conscious effort to walk more. Which means, waking up a little earlier to walk longer with my dog, forcing myself to take a 10 minute break at work to walk around the block, and then walking even longer in the evening with my dog. Most days I’m barely meeting those 10,000 steps!


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