New Year New You: My Weight Loss Journey

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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


Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Thanks for telling us about your weight loss journey. Every point you make is absolutely necessary to achieve permanent weight loss. For myself, I’ve lost 30 pounds since August after reading and following the Beck Weight Loss Solution which is not a diet, rather a collection of tools that if followed, will make any healthy diet work. I’ve chosen the online Cooking Light Diet and love the wonderful food. I’ve incorporated a few of your recipes along the way (the Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef is my favorite!) and can honestly say that I am never hungry! I can’t wait to see what my doctor has to say at my annual check up next week!

    1. WOW! That sounds great! I am so glad that you found something that works well for you! Thank you for sharing! I am so glad that you have found recipes that you love. Thank you for following along with me! Good luck at your doctors appointment! XOXO

  2. As a relatively new subscriber, I’m enjoying your recipes! Thank you for sharing your journey. I have 30 pounds of fat to lose. It’s great to see food bloggers who make delicious meals and are also healthy. I’m looking forward to what you post this year!

  3. Good Morning Ms. Rivers! Geez! As a guy, I know how you feel. I don’t really need an excuse to eat. I just do. All the time, every time! A little over a year ago I started what I call a ‘plan’ with the assistance of a weight loss physician. Mind you, it’s not surgery, but periodic visits, medications and some behavior modification on my part. To this point I’m down about 40 and some change. The past holidays were hard, very hard! But, now all that ‘nonsense’ is in my rear view mirror, I can get back on the straight and narrow! I’ve been at this 40 pound plateau for just a little too long and I’m kind of ready to bust through and drop some more. Because, while 40 pound is nice, in my case, I still have about another 40 to go.

  4. I just found your blog! I was looking for a recipe on my Pinterest board, that I’ve had forever and then I saw your face! I was dying that I’ve had a recipe for you all this time and didn’t even realize! I was so excited to see this story, because I have seen how hard you have worked and know what it has taken to get where you are! You look amazing and I am so proud of you! It makes it even more satisfying that this all started with a cruise and then you ended it with a cruise! ??? love you girl!

  5. You look so amazing Alyssa! It is totally all about finding something that is easy to maintain. I still want to lose another 10 pounds, but I’ve lost about 10 already by calorie counting because that is what works for me. I need the cheese and carbs and sugar but can have them in smaller portions <3 Great job girl!

  6. You inspire me in a million ways… and this is just one more!

    I plan to make 2019 the year of me and stories like yours are what help drive my success.

    Congrats on the loss, weight loss is hard… weight loss as a food blogger is near impossible yet you succeeded! Keep up the great work, you look amazing but even more, feel amazing.

    (But please promise we can still #eatallthethings when we hang out. ?

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate that! You are awesome and I love having your support through work and all things food. haha. I love it and we will still be enjoying #eatallthethings! I just love you! Thanks for your love and support! XOXO

  7. This post is very timely for me. I’m a long time follower of your blog and had a baby 8 months ago. I’ve always struggled with weight but have always loved working out, so I was able to control it, although I’ve never been a small
    girl. Now, after baby, I’m at my heaviest ever and seem to be gaining weight even though I’m way more active during the day running after him, and barely eating. I got on the scale this morning, 65 lbs heavier than my lowest weight and I just started to cry. It seems unattainable to lose, but getting on the scale and facing the fear is usually the hardest part. I promptly filled a bottle of water, which I’ve been super slacking on drinking since my baby arrived and joined WW online after putting him down for a nap. I need to make a change, 5 lbs at a time, and it’s comforting to know that it’s attainable! Congrats on your success. You look great andmust feel even better!

  8. Congrats on your success! You look awesome and this is an inspiring story! I am always trying to lose weight and hope to incorporate some of your tips and habits!

    1. I used Weight Watchers but this is not an ad for them. They did not sponsor this post. I am just grateful that it helped me and worked for me. Happy New Year! Thank you for following along with me! XOXO

  9. You are looking great! I’m looking forward to seeing some healthy recipes! Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s inspiring!

  10. Alyssa! I loved this sooo much! I agree with you 100% I did Keto this spring and I lost 15 lbs, but I had severe pain, dissyness, and I was pulling muscles because there was no fuel in them! I’m just counting calories and aiming for 90% on track for my daily calorie limits. I also agree with you that you don’t make anything off limits — just have a few bites — count it and enjoy it! I hope I can say next new years that I’ve been as successful as you in getting where I want to be!! I rely on your blog for family meals. Sure appreciate it!

  11. Good for you!!! I have recently really started trying to lose weight and am down about 10lbs. It’s so motivating to hear of someone doing it without a fad diet because honestly they all kind of sound like they suck in some way or another!!!

    1. It is so true! I had to change my life but also look at how I want to live my life forever. I didn’t want to try one or two diets, I needed something that was and is going to last. I have been loving it and I can still eat what I love. Thanks so much for following along with me! XOXO

  12. That is awesome, Alyssa! It IS hard to lose weight. I lost 50 lbs last year and gained 20 back. I got lazy and ate a little more than normal. It adds up! I’m back at it and hope to get it off and then some.

    Are you doing WW?

    1. That is great to hear! I am so glad that you are finding what is best for you. Yes, I used Weight Watchers. This is not an ad for them though. I just found it and loved what I was able to eat with it. I was motivated too. Their program worked for me but not for everyone. XOXO

  13. Alyssa, I’m so glad you shared this story with us. As a food blogger myself, this is a constant struggle for me. Like why does food have to be so dang good?! having 2 kiddos, it made it even harder to lose the weight. This has really inspired me to drop all the fad diets and find what works for me. You are such an inspiration! You look amazing girl!! Keep it up! 🙂

    1. AWWW! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! It is hard being a food blogger but it is also hard just being a mom or even single and working. I hope that you can find what is best for you for you! Thank you so much for your love and support! XOXO

  14. So your “accountable” plan you and your mom joined, you didn’t say what… Is it Weight Watchers? I have such a terrible time making time for me. I work from home as well (accountant) and find I work ALL the time. It’s a very demanding high stress job and this time of year is going to be even worse. I don’t go to a gym – I’ve paid for so many memberships and didn’t go, and I don’t have a workout or walking buddy. 🙁 I whine all the time about needing to loose weight but “work” seems to trump every effort. I even tried a personal trainer. That was ok until I couldn’t keep affording it..
    Is there a better way to contact you without the comments or questions being posted for the public?

    1. I did use weight watchers with my mom. It was nice because I could do the things I needed to but also use them for support and check ins. Balancing my diet was the best part but I also learned how to manage my diet and change my lifestyle. I hope that you are able to find what you are looking for and what best helps you. This is not an ad for Weight Watchers. It is clearly my opinion. XOXO

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