12 August 2016

How I Lost 40 Pounds: Four Sensible & Healthy Ways I Lost The Weight

I have always struggled with my weight. From elementary school all the way up to today, I’ve been a human weight yo-yo. Some years, I was lean and strong. More years than not, I’ve been overweight and out of shape. My story is nothing new. Millions of women struggle everyday with their weight and issues of self-worth and self-love that are unjustly tied to the way we look. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been in relationships with men who have tied my worth and value to my weight but allow me to be clear: my weight struggles are just that – my own. While other’s comments and opinions about my weight have played a part in my journey, I take full responsibility for myself. After all, no one forced me to put the food in my mouth. My choices were my own.

So how did I manage to overcome my issues with food and weight? Honestly, I haven’t. It’s a daily, conscience effort to make the best decisions possible for myself and my body. Even though I’ve lost 40 pounds, I still struggle with my weight and food addiction on a daily basis.

Confession: As I type this, I’m eating a bowl of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. What can I say? Some days are good and some days are bad. That’s the reality of me as a work in progress. I think a part of my dieting success is attributed to the fact that I can own this – I have a food addiction problem. I struggle. To me, food equals comfort and honestly, it just tastes so. damn. good.

Having said this, my life came to a point in January when I realized I needed to make a change. For years I made excuses as to why I couldn’t get my shit together…

I’m a new mom. I just don’t have time to take care of myself.”
“I’ve worked all day. I just want to go home and relax.”
“I just accomplished X, Y or Z. I deserve to celebrate!”
Denial: “I haven’t gained that much weight. I’m not that bad off.”

Lies. They were all lies.

The simple fact of the matter is that we all make time in our lives for the things that are important to us. For me, my weight had taken a back seat to anything and everything in my life. I was too busy taking care of everyone and everything else that I neglected the most important person of all – me. So how did I change that? Sensibly, slowly and reasonably.

The simple fact of the matter is that we all make time in our lives for the things that are important to us. For me, my weight had taken a back seat to anything and everything in my life. I was too busy taking care of everyone and everything else that I neglected the most important person of all – me. So how did I change that to reach my weight loss goals? Sensibly, slowly and reasonably.


I wasn’t a huge soda drinker before I started my diet but I did enjoy a great glass of sweet tea or fruit punch. The problem? They are basically empty calories and provide no health benefit whatsoever. They are also loaded with a ton of sugar. This is not new information. We all know these drinks aren’t the best but I was super surprised to find how much better I felt not drinking them and replacing all my beverages with water. I had less bloat and increased energy. My skin even felt and looked better. I allowed (and still allow) myself a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass or two of red wine in the evening but otherwise, it’s all water, all day.


Yes, that’s right. I didn’t starve myself. Actually, I probably ate more than I normally would not on a diet but the difference is the quality of what I ate. The bottom line: your body needs fuel to keep it running. Here is an example of what I would eat in a day:

Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal, a piece of fruit or a hard-boiled egg and coffee and water.

Morning snack: Chobani yogurt, one wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese with six Triscuits or one cup of grapes.

Lunch: This varied between a salad with a Lean Cuisine, a grilled chicken salad with a side of veggies, or tuna fish in a whole wheat wrap with veggies and hummus or a side of dill pickles.

Afternoon snack: This varied between one cup of pretzels dipped in mustard, a handful of roasted almonds, a banana or another piece of fruit, and a single-serving size of guacamole with baked tortilla chips.

Dinner: Varied between a salmon patties with salad, fish with sautéed veggies, this amazing warm balsamic beet salad with arugula and goat cheese or I would make a meal out of baked Brussel sprouts with sweet potatoes.

Evening snack: A bowl of cream with sliced strawberries, a glass of wine or another cup of yogurt.

With all of these meals I drank – you guessed it – water.


I know what you’re thinking. “But Courtney! Doesn’t that completely negate what you’re trying to accomplish?” I can only speak for myself but nothing will sideline my weight loss faster than telling myself, “From here on out, you cannot have french fries. You can never enjoy ice cream. You will not eat a cheeseburger.” For me, telling myself I can never have something again makes me want it about a million times more, almost to the point of gorging and that’s not good.

The fix? I allowed myself one cheat day every week.

Six out of the seven days of the week, I stayed true to my diet plan. I followed my meal plan, drank my water and did my yoga and exercise in the evening but that one day? I allowed myself to enjoy whatever I was craving that week. Pizza? Yep. A huge bowel of spaghetti? You betcha. The number one combo meal from Wendy’s? You know it!  With my one cheat day a week, I knew I had the chance to basically get all my cravings out of my system so I could move forward with the next week. It also taught me balance and enjoying everything in moderation and honestly – I found that even on my cheat days, I didn’t go as hog wild as I thought I would. In eating all the not so great things, my body could definitely feel it and most cheat days, I would slow my eating roll.


MyFitnessPal is a great health and wellness app if you are the type of person (like me) that needs some type of accountability while providing support. You can log all your food and beverage choices during the day and the app will analyze how you’re doing. It will suggest that you might need more protein, or that you’re not eating enough calories during the day to hit your weight loss goals. It will share healthy recipes specifically designed to your weight loss goals and will also give you tips and ideas for exercise.

MyFitnessPal is a very robust weight loss app that provides numerous benefits and best of all – it’s free. It will give you everything you need to track your progress while keeping you motivated and focused.

If you’re someone beginning your weight loss journey or simply trying to shed a few extra pounds, I hope these tips are beneficial to you. None of them are intended to be a quick fix to weight loss nor are they drastic measures to drop weight. I firmly believe that slow and sensible wins the race and really, it’s all about learning how to make life-long healthy changes that you can live with. Each weight loss journey is a personal one.

If you’ve experienced sensible weight loss success, what tips and ideas do you have to share? 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.


  1. I stopped drinking soda and feel so much better. Everyday is a work in progress.

  2. I use Myfitnesspal all the time! I have to stop drinking pop though, that is my downfall.