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New year new you photo of Alyssa.

My Weight Loss Journey

Hi there. I’m Alyssa. Lover of all things food.  I am taking a break from the delicious recipes to bring you a real life post. I’m a huge introvert (EEK!! I am putting myself out there!!). that tends to keep personal things separate, but I hope that this post can help others that may struggle with loving food and weight loss. Because lets face it… Losing weight is FREAKING hard. I was able to lose 45+ pounds last year and the best part is I am maintaining it, and it feels awesome.

Here is the thing. I am a foodie. My life and business revolves around good food. When foodies come to visit me, we go to an amazing restaurants and get one  two desserts. I am a comfort eater, I am stress eater, FOOD IS LIFE.

In case you didn’t know already, I am a mother of four stinking cute kids. As my babies first birthday was getting closer I still looked at my body and wanted to do something so bad but I just love food way to much. How is giving up all the food that I love happiness? Never being able to wear cute t- shirts and always buying sizes to cover myself, I knew that I truly wasn’t happy and needed to do something… but what?

I went on a cruise with my husband in February and was mortified. I covered up the entire time and wore giant moo moos just to hide my insecurities. I have tried all of the quick fix fad diets. I started Keto and even though I lost weight quickly in about 3 weeks, I hated it and gained it all back within a week. I love carbs! I felt so helpless at this point.

So I decided to join a program where I became accountable to someone and weighed in every week to them and tracked every single thing that I ate. I learned that this was something that needed to become apart of my lifestyle.

Alyssa photo in casual workout attire.

I remember taking this picture in front of the mirror and thinking that it seemed impossible to lost 40 pounds. Two weeks into this program that I joined, I lost my first 7 pounds… WHA?? I wasn’t doing a crazy fad diet but tracking every single thing that I ate. I knew that if I kept within my points that I would lose every single week. I started feeling so much better, and asked my mom if she wanted to start coming with me to the meetings. Soon after my mom started coming with me, my dad also jumped on the band wagon. Together we have all lost over 120 pounds!

Before and after photos of Alyssa's weight loss journey.

Here are my tips that worked for me in my weight loss journey:

  1. Do not… I repeat… DO NOT DO A FAD DIET! How often do people just do a quick weight loss solution and then just quickly gain it back. Depriving yourself of food that you crave is never a good thing. Guess what? I still eat! When I travel with my friends I eat #allthethings. Because food is good! Don’t be that person that can’t enjoy food and has to drink a shake while every one eats, or has social anxiety because they can’t eat with the rest of the group! I looked at this weight loss journey as making it apart of my lifestyle. What do I need to do to still eat the foods that I love but maintain a healthy lifestyle? I portion control. Tracking what I eat is what works for me. When I have a weekend of good food, I know that it just takes a few days to get right back on track. Even when I am not tracking I am mentally still trying to portion control. It is all about portion control!
  2. Be active. Crossfit has been a huge part of my weight loss. I love it! It is a great community at our gym and I actually enjoy going. You can set your goals as simple as walking or counting steps or parking at the far end of a grocery store, but try to be more active. You will feel so much better!
  3. Be accountable. You have to be accountable to someone. I think that is why the program that I was on worked so well. I had to weigh into someone and track my progress. As soon as I started losing weight, it helped to motivate me even more. Then when my mom joined with me, we looked forward to going with each other and checking in during the week.
  4. Track everything that goes into your mouth.  I hear all of the time from people that want to lose weight that they have tried everything and nothing works. I promise you that this works. We don’t realize how many calories things really are and what we think is healthy really is not.

Quote "Your best weight is whatever weight you reach when you're living the healthiest life you actually enjoy."

What do I eat when I am trying to lose weight?

Sorry guys. I don’t have the time to meal prep and plan ahead. I am way to busy with my business and four kids. I usually am able to make 3-4 quick meals every night and that is why these Asian Turkey Lettuce wraps are my favorite. I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes this month. You don’t have to sacrifice on flavor when you are trying to lose weight. A few ingredient swaps is all you need. You have to mix things up so that you don’t get sick of the foods and crave what is bad for you even more. Please don’t just eat chicken and vegetables!

What are my favorite things to eat when I am on the go?

  • Chick fil A grilled chicken sandwich
  • Chick fil A 12 count grilled nuggets
  • Chick fil A fruit cup/power kale salad
  • Cafe Rio whole wheat salmon taco with Pico, lettuce and black beans.
  • Chili’s Ancho Salmon
  • Chili’s Margarita Chicken -substitute rice with broccoli
  • Cheesecake Factory Skinnylicious Salmon
  • Olive Garden Chicken Piccata
  • McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Wrap/ Salad
  • Wendy’s half Apple Pecan Salad
  • Wendy’s half southwest guacamole salad
  • Cubby’s Apple Salad
  • Subway 6 inch whole wheat turkey sandwich

I just want to show you that it is possible to be super busy and still go out and eat with your family and still make healthy choices. You can still live your life while making better choices.

Lettuce wraps on a white plate

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Set non negotiable goals

We always make crazy unattainable goals at the beginning of the year right? Well I am done with that. Even if it means starting out small. This is the first year in my life that I have maintained my weight and even lost some in the month of December. I don’t have to set weight loss goals this year… for once. At our gym we started talking about non negotiable goals and it really stuck with me. I set 3 non negotiable achievable goals at the beginning of each week. These are 3 goals each week that no matter what, each day I have to do. My goals usually vary from; drinking enough water every day, going to the gym four times a week, etc. This is really helped me in setting my goals and actually reaching them each week.

Is it really worth it?

My journey has really been all about a mental shift. I had a friend that lost over 100 pounds tell me once that your body is like a car. When filling it up with gas, just fill it up until it tells you to stop, because once it spills over its harder to clean up. She doesn’t even track what she eats and has maintained her weight for 10 years. She eats until she is satisfied. If there is something that I really really want, then I plan for it. But before I indulge in something I always ask myself… is it worth it? Because usually it isn’t, and the way I feel about myself now is such a better feeling.

Alyssa weight loss after photo!

Find out what works for you and makes you happy!

What worked for me may not work for everyone, but find out what does work for you and is apart of your life and makes you happy. Start out slow and set your goals that you can achieve. I feel so great now that I am here and I never thought it was possible.

I would love to hear what has worked for you and I am always here to support you in your journey! Thanks for reading! xo


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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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  1. Well done. I am 9 months in, down almost 50 lbs, track and count obsessively and regularly and recently started using all my points so am not so hangry. :). Also go to meetings. It’s a way of life so trying to figure out how to make Million Dollar Dip point friendly.

  2. Alyssa you look fantastic! Btw, I thought you looked fantastic on the cruise too!! Hope all is going well for you both! ? Trelene

  3. Thanks Alyssa, I needed to read this today. I also did keto and lost 5 pounds and was sick as a dog. I dont overeat but I think I chose wrong things (also right things too but…). Your article was really motivating. I need to get back on tracking, ill start that today and see where I am at.

  4. Congrats to you for finding a way that works, and thank you for sharing it! i didn’t set my usual ‘need to get healthy and lose weight’ resolution this year because I couldn’t deal with failing one more time. After reading this, I have changed my mind and hope what worked for you will work for me. Thank you!

    1. That is great to hear! I am so happy for you and hope that you are able to enjoy your new year with positive goals. I am here cheering you on! XOXO

  5. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. You look amazing and as others are saying, looking forward to your tips and new recipes.

    1. AW! Thank you so much! I do love to keep inside on thing but I am finally ready to share my story and hope that it motivates others at the same time. Thank you for your love and support! XOXO

  6. Way to go Alyssa! I am so impressed. It is so important to incorporate any diet that actually works into our lifestyle and make it a part of who we are. Thank you for sharing your journey and giving us inspiration. I love that your mother joined you. You look fabulous!!!

    1. Thank you so much! It made it so much easier and better with my mom by my side. It has been a lifestyle change and I am so happy that I made that choice. Thank you so much for your love and support. I really appreciate it! XOXO