Lately I struggled to keep my sweet tooth in check and battled with my pantry to find healthy choices before moving to a new apartment, so I was admittedly a little scared when I had to check in with my trainer last week.

February 23, 2010
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By Tina Haupert
I vowed to enter my 30s in the best shape of my life. But my Lose the Dough challenge has been harder than I thought. I struggled to keep my sweet tooth in check and battled with my pantry to find healthy choices before moving to a new apartment, so the past month hasn't been easy. I also dined out quite a bit over the course of the month, so I didn't think that I would make much progress on the scale—and if I did, it would be in the wrong direction!

So I was admittedly a little scared when I had to check in with my trainer last week.

Here's the shocker: I had lost 2.2 pounds and nearly 2% body fat! I completely exceeded my expectations for the first month! I definitely didn't lay off the dessert, so how could this have happened? Somehow my minor changes added up in a big way. Losing weight has always seemed sort of painful for me—something that requires diligence and commitment. But since I lost weight this month without really trying, maybe I was wrong.

Here are three small changes that lead to big results:

1. I added more strength training to my workouts.
I've always been somewhat consistent with strength training, but this month, I increased my workouts with two 50-minute Body Pump sessions each week. I already feel stronger and muscles that I didn't know I had are starting to show. Plus I lost 2% of my body fat, and I know strength training is responsible for most of that.


(Getty Images)

2. I cut down on alcohol.
One of my goals for Lose the Dough was to limit the number of cocktails I consumed in one sitting. Last month, I didn't have more than 2 drinks in an evening— and a couple of nights, I skipped the alcohol all together. I kept in mind that a cocktail was a treat and focused on enjoying it instead of slugging it down. I probably cut hundreds of calories from my diet—and it was completely painless!

3. I viewed dessert differently.
I had a few slipups with overdoing it on desserts, but I took my own advice and cut back on the amount and frequency of dessert that I consumed. I'm surprised that I don't miss it as much as I thought I would!

Small changes really do add up, so I'm actually looking forward to my next weigh in. Wish me luck on Month 2!