Holiday Diet Details: Results


The year of 2018 has begun, and along with it, many New Years Resolutions. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions in general, though I do have several goals for the blog in the coming year. Also, this year I sort of did things backwards… I started a diet & exercise plan before the holidays, with the intention of loosening up once January started! I know, crazy, right?

This is the post of the original plan
Here’s how I was doing after 2 weeks


And this is the story of how it all turned out.

The 7 weeks of the plan were definitely a bit of a roller coaster. I had all the predictable pitfalls and slip-ups: too much wine during girls’ weekend, more than zero cookies, a lot of grazing over the Thanksgiving holiday (compounded by not-so-healthy travel snacking during the 10-hours drive both ways), and Christmas temptations galore.

But the good news is, every time I just couldn’t stop myself from shoving that sugary/carby thing I knew I shouldn’t have into my mouth, I just acknowledged it and moved on.

The whole purpose of this diet started out as a silly joke challenge, because we were going on a Christmas week cruise. And also both my husband and myself were turning 30 the same week! So I said I wanted to look and feel my very best, as I was sure lots of photos were going to be taken (I was right), and you always gain weight on a cruise (also right). We were going to Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Bahamas. That meant lots of sun, sand, sea, and bathing suits!

Me enjoying the crystal clear water and white sand beaches of the Caribbean!

So I cleaned up my diet, started tracking actual portion sizes to limit calorie intake, and ramped up my physical exercise. It was slow going, but by week 5 I was feeling the looseness of my pants and began getting actual comments on how I looked like I’d lost some weight from coworkers.

Conveniently, during the final pre-cruise-crucial-week of mega clean eating and restriction, the hubs had to go on a week-long work trip. Yearly reviews were due, a big project needed worked on, and the office holiday party were all happening and required his IRL presence (he works remotely, lucky duck!).

So good news for him, he didn’t have to smell broccoli and brussels sprouts all week, and good news for me, I didn’t have the temptation of his burritoes and beer around!

Workout Plan Results

  • Week 3-4 (Nov 17 – 30):
    • Daily – 20-30 minutes of yoga, 20-30 minute walk
    • MWFSat (or 4x/week) – body weight workout video or run
    Week 5-7 (Dec 1 – 22):
    • Daily – 30-45 minutes of yoga, 30-45 minute walk
    • 6 days/week – body weight workout video or run


I would say that I did stick with daily yoga about 80% of the time, but I found that 10-20 minutes was about my daily maximum. Except on weekends when I didn’t have a time crunch to leave the house, a 30 minutes long yoga video just felt like too much. A couple days I did a longer one at night, but in the mornings I can now say that I can stick with it, but about 20 minutes is my maximum.

Walking/getting enough steps every day was easier, because I have a job where I have to walk long distances occasionally (by that I mean cross a street and down 2 blocks). I also made a conscious effort to take the longer way to places, to use the bathroom a floor or 2 down from me, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and to stroll the long way to the parking garage.

Weekends continue to be my biggest struggle, especially now that it is so cold outside. Outdoor walks tend to be the only really active thing we do on weekends, and when it is 50, 40, 20 degrees, that ain’t happening. One night I got desperate enough that I stood up and just marched in place in the living room while watching a movie (yes, the whole hour and 26 minutes) and that seemed to do the trick! So maybe that will be my winter activity answer.

The cruise week was overall quite active, and I was proud of myself for going to the gym 3 times! On the days we were in port, there was a lot of walking, and even on the ship there is a lot of walking up and down stairs and doing laps around the decks. The 27th, which was our stop in Puerto Rico, is my new personal record! This is because I was up early, so I hit the gym for 60 minutes on the elliptical. I was at 10,000 steps by the time we got off the boat.

Once on land, we then proceeded to wander around town and shop, walked all the way to the coast, toured a 6-story old fort, and then walked back to town to sightsee some more. Hence nearly hitting 25 thousand steps in one day! It was a great day. Also, side note, if you’re ever in Puerto Rico, definitely get the coffee! The coffee was so amazing. I’m pumped to have brought about 4 pounds home. Oh, and try the pork and mofongo (plantain or yucca).

I also was able to stick to a 3x/week workout schedule thanks to YouTube and Working out in my own (warm) house whenever I want to works best for me. If you are the type of person who needs an instructor telling you what to do, or thrive on the competition with strangers next to you, by all means sign up for classes or go to a gym! Whatever works. For me, it is putting on my spandex, surfing through HIIT workouts until I see one that suits my fancy and time needs today, and hitting “play”.

Eating plan results

Food Plan

  • 3-5 meals per day, for a total of ~1000-1200 calories
  • Very limited carbohydrates
  • Daily green drink + vitamins
  • One cheat meal or snack/weekday, one per weekend
  • Only snacks allowed are green tea, raw whole fruits, raw veggies (RV) or steamed veggies (SV)
  • Unlimited salad greens or raw non-starchy veggies

Since measuring out actual portion sizes, I’ve gained an even greater disdain for how outlandish American portions have become, and how used to this we all now are. The human body only needs about 1200-2000 calories to maintain an active, healthy weight, and yet we nibble, bite, and slurp our way to easily 3000 calories per day without a second thought.

Cups, plates, tables, chairs, coffee mugs, bagels, muffins, pizzas, waist sizes. What do these things have in common? They are about 30% larger now than they were in 1980! A 2012 review of 245 restaurants found that 96% of meals exceed the (already generous) USDA recommendations for fat, salt, and overall calories. I bet now, 5 years later, that number is pushing 99%.

The good news is that now I have a more reasonable approach to portions, which I hope sticks with me for life. Your stomach can adjust to fit the volume of food you give it, just like your taste buds adjust to the flavors you normally give it. The bad news is, on a cruise you can have whatever you want, whenever you want… and I definitely took advantage of that!

A whole week with never less than two dinners and sometimes four, plus all the appetizers and desserts, means that my stomach was in pain a lot of the time, and my taste buds are soooo confused by all the fat, salt, and sugar intake.

Ready for the damage a week of pigging out does?

I gained back 10.4 pounds in one week!

Oops 🙁

Cruise birthday cake is seriously amazing, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like cake. And yeah, those are 3 more dessert plates. Don’t judge.

But hey, now I have the knowledge, habits, and belief that I can do this again, and then some.


Overall Results

  • Pounds lost: 16!
  • Inches in waist: -2.5
  • Inches in thighs: -2
  • Inches in stomach: -1
  • Inches in arms: +1 (hooray, bicep muscles!)

Starting weight: 156.2

Ending weight: 140.4!

Post-cruise-weight: 150.8

So, no, I did not hit my goal of 130 pounds

But you know what? I’m okay with that, because 16 pounds in 6 weeks is still really great! And there are SO many other benefits I have realized in this short amount of time.

  • I can do jumping jacks for a full minute
  • Planking is not even a challenge anymore
  • I can do one-legged squats
  • My balance is WAY improved
  • I can do 20+ perfect form pushups
  • Literally all my work pants are loose now
  • I feel way more confident physically
  • Portion sizes make more sense
  • I can actually do this now:

    Those are called “Eagle arms”. Which makes no sense because you’d think that means sticking your arms out to the sides super-far like you’re trying to fly, but whatever, I didn’t make the yoga naming rules…

The biggest benefit of this by far is that I actually look forward to workouts now! If more than 2 days go by without doing HIIT, I start to feel lethargic and miss it. It is definitely still hard to get over the “activation energy” to get started, but that high of finishing a workout, when you’re a little sore, sweaty, and out of breath, but all your muscles are warm and happy, is so worth it.

OMG who have I become? lol

So the moral of the story is, although I didn’t get to my goal weight (yet!) it was a totally worthwhile endeavor. I’ve started tons more healthy habits that I hope to keep as part of my life forever. We all could use a little more movement. Flexibility and muscle mass starts decreasing with age, so it’s up to us to make the time to get and stay in shape.

All of these changes are meant to be a way of life for the long term. This is not a fad, just to lose 10 pounds and be beach ready (though that is how it started). I want to incorporate more movement into my days, strength training and flexibility every week, and pack my plate with healthy, whole, plant based foods as often as possible. Science says that eating lots of plants and moving your body more is the key to health, avoidance of disease, and longevity.

Let’s have a salad and a walk, shall we?



How do you stay fit & healthy? Are you resolving to eat better or workout more in the new year?

6 thoughts on “Holiday Diet Details: Results”

  1. Happy New Year!

    16 pounds is awesome! Congratulations. And jumping jacks for a full minute is a HUGE accomplishment.

    In 2017 I lowered my set point weight from low the low 130s to low the low 120s. You’re like me in that you don’t have much to lose. I have a question. Since you’re exercising so much, perhaps your calorie intake is too low? I used a few online calculators to determine what I needed to lose weight and that was 1700 calories. I don’t do half the amount of exercise as you do and I’m 20+ years older. (I also eat extremely bland food, but I’m going to try your sweet potato- chick pea curry. Can you get the garam marsala in a regular supermarket?)

    We’ve been keeping up with our app 3 miles of walking per day (around 50-55 minutes) even in this 20 degree weather. I need to get back into my free weights which I took a break from for reasons which are another story.

    Also, do you drink a lot of water? I don’t, but I’m trying to get better. I bought a few water bottles with the infuser and I’ve been making cucumber water. It really helps with drinking more!

    1. Happy New Year to you Mrs. Groovy! Thank you for your kind words 🙂
      I think I got my garam masala at an Indian spice store a few years ago; you can check any ethnic market or the “international” section of your grocery store. You can also get it online. To get the base flavors you can also use: curry powder, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin/coriander in equal ratios. I do think cutting calories so low is part of it, and I won’t be continuing that. We have decided to go plant based (check back Sun for details!) so I’ll be eating a lot of volume in the future to keep up to ~1800/day.
      3 miles a day, even in winter, is super impressive! Walking is the easiest/best thing you can do continuously for your health for sure. I’ve been down for the count with being sick the past few days, but will get back to it asap. I am TERRIBLE at drinking water! Unless there’s a straw. For some reason, I just cannot drink out of a regular cup with any frequency, but straws are a-ok. I fill a 72 oz pitcher on my desk, and force myself to drink it throughout the day. I also try to have at least 2 cups of decaf green tea. When I have extra produce I love infusing! Citrus, herbs (mint, basil), berries, cucumbers, and gingerroot are all great options.

  2. This is awesome!!! 16 pounds in SIX WEEKS is nothing to sneeze at, I’m honestly amazed. Not that you did it, just amazed because you started at the weight I am now, and I would be SO HAPPY to be 140 right now!! Looks like I have to do your diet 🙂

    Are you sticking with the diet in 2018? Have you heard of the site DietBet? Would you ever participate in one of those, like a long term one? I’m trying to see if anyone would want to do that with me! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Melissa! I appreciate your kind words. The eating plan was surprisingly easier than I expected, even with falling off the wagon multiple times (popcorn & wine are my sirens). Not gonna lie, seeing that number made me do a little happy dance.
      I don’t intend to keep to such a low calorie count going forward, 1000-1200 isn’t healthy long term. I need more like 1700-1850. But, stay tuned for Sunday’s post, I’ll explain the 2018 plan a little more! I’ve heard of that type of site, where you bet money on how much you’ll lose. I probably should have tried it before undertaking this challenge. 🙂 I don’t have much more to go to get to my goal “maintenance” weight of 140, I’ve already dropped back down to 147 a few days post-binge.
      But a support system is definitely key! Find a friend, coworker, website, or family member who can cheer you on and support your new healthy habits and you’re much more likely to succeed. Good luck & let me know if you want any advice, support, or recipes.

  3. Uh yeah, girl, who even are you that you miss HIIT if you don’t do it often enough? 😉

    Happy late birthday, I’m glad the cruise was awesome! The weight loss is also awesome, but moreso are the healthy habits you picked up in those 6 weeks! I think my favorite is the marching in place during the movie-my job is so sedentary and I should really try to be better at home when I’m watching tv. Maybe I should order a sit/stand desk for blog writing? lol

    1. Right?! It’s a weird feeling.
      Thanks friend! I agree, the drastic change was what I needed to kick my butt into gear and do the things I’ve always known I should be doing. Forreal the marching in place is gonna save my step streak during the winter! Wish I could talk my work peeps into letting me have a sit-stand desk. Or could afford one at my house haha

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