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Losing Weight Before the Cruising Date: My 30 Pound Weight Loss Challenge

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Me, at work at the beginning of the challenge, 6/8/2012

Me, at work at the beginning of the challenge, 6/8/2012

My Weight Loss Challenge

My husband and I are going on a cruise to Hawaii in October. We are going on the Princess Sapphire ship and are both very excited about it. We will also be going to Tahiti and the Samoan Islands. It will be the cruise of a lifetime as it will last for a whole month. What I am not excited about is that I will be in bathing suits and warm weather clothes for a month, and need to seriously lose some weight before I will feel comfortable in those types of clothing. For any of you who have been on a cruise before, you know how much food there is available, and I also want to be able to eat whatever I want, because I started at a good weight for me. I don't have a fear of gaining weight on the cruise because I know enough to work out on the cruise, but I do want to start at a lower amount so I can stay at that weight while on the cruise.

So, I am giving myself a weight loss challenge: Lose 30 pounds in 19 weeks. Can I do it? I feel I don't have a choice because I really want to enjoy this cruise, so yes, I am going to do it! They say that when someone has a weight loss goal, they need to share it with someone else so that they will be kept accountable. I am sharing it with all of you and will be updating this hub each month from now until October 17th. How's that for having to be held accountable?

The Wedding Weight Loss Program

When my husband and I got married, almost two years ago now, I had the same type of concern, except back then it was to lose weight because I wanted to fit into a wedding dress and look beautiful for my husband, as well as myself. This man is the love of my life, and it was important for me to look good, for both of our sakes.

Being overweight is not good for anyone's self-esteem, not to mention their physical health. My goal was to lose 20 pounds in 16 weeks. I lost 16 pounds in 16 weeks, which actually although not quite meeting my personal goal was still a weight loss. And it was a big enough weight loss that I was happy on my wedding day.

They say to lose weight healthily and to keep it off; it's best to only lose 1 - 2 pounds per week. I was able to accomplish that and will do it again. Unfortunately, I only have 19 weeks, and a larger goal, but it is still doable at 1 - 2 pounds per week.

How Did I Do It?

In the past when I was on a diet, I would usually limit myself regarding food intake, and ended up being cranky around my family and very hungry. For the wedding, I knew I would be under a lot of stress during the wedding planning stages, so I didn't want to torture myself with a diet that made me miserable. Instead, I changed my diet and eating habits, and tried to eat healthy foods, but did not totally limit treats and special dinners out. I wanted a regular life with a better handle on my food intake, and an exercise plan that I could stick to. I had six smaller meals each day instead of 3 big meals and lots of snacks. This way, I never was really all that hungry.

Each morning I had either a banana and peanut butter, or a piece of whole wheat bread and peanut butter, and coffee of course because for me a day without coffee in the morning is like a day without sunshine!

Protein is supposed to fill a person up and cut down on hunger pangs so I tried it each morning, and it worked for me. I bought lots of fruits and vegetables and still made sure I had protein, but the main parts of my meal each day consisted of fruits and vegetables. I ate a lot of salads; then many evenings would steam up a huge pot of vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, summer squash, zucchini squash, green beans, and spinach. I added " I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" along with a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese, and ate as much of that mixture as I wanted at each sitting. It was great because I didn't feel deprived. And the weight came off!

I chose walking as my exercise because it's something I could easily do and was available to me anytime I wanted to throw a pair of sneakers on and walk out my front door. I walked about five times per week, sometimes in my neighborhood, and sometimes on the local high school track with my two teen aged daughters...well, they ran around the track while I walked, but it still worked for all of us! Sometimes I would be ready to go to the track, but one had to go put on her makeup (yes I know that sounds crazy to put on makeup to go running, but such is the life of a 15-year-old girl!)

I don't think that this is the perfect plan for everyone. I only know that losing weight this way was the best plan that I have ever tried, and believe me, I have tried many other ways to lose weight.

I managed to keep the weight off for awhile after the wedding, but then stress and a crazy schedule crept back into my life, and because I am an emotional eater, the pounds also crept back into my life and onto my body!

New Plan of Attack

So, what will be different this time, you may ask? I believe it's my attitude that will be different. I am leaving my current job in 2 weeks, and that right there will cut down on a lot of stress in my life. I am also going to the store to once again load up on lots of fruits and vegetables, and eat pretty much the way I did on the previous weight loss plan. I will still walk, but this time around, I have a new walking daughter's dog (see my hub Walking the Dog in all Seasons), and she is ready to go absolutely whenever I want to. She's ready to go for a walk 24/7, and I will never have to wait for her to put on her makeup, or change clothes into the perfect running outfit! She will be ready to go the minute I ask her if she wants to go for a walk. So, this time around I have the perfect exercise companion. I also like to dance to music to lose weight, and now that my daughters are older and busier, I am going to try that more as they won't be home to laugh at my silly dance moves. And the dog certainly won't care!

What if I Don't Do It?

Well, judging by my success last time, even if I don't lose all 30 pounds, I will lose some weight, and some weight is better than losing nothing at all, or not trying. And I am ready for the challenge, so I am sure there will be a success at the end of the 19-week challenge.And with the extra exercise, my heart will be healthier as well. And if Kelly Clarkson can lose 30 pounds because she's in love, well, then so can I!

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Can't Walk Outside? Try a Treadmill...

Wedding Day, 16 pounds lighter!

Wedding Day, 16 pounds lighter!

© 2012 Karen Hellier


Jaylovejones on June 17, 2016:

Hi Karen

Well done.. I too will be going on a cruise in October and I found your article because just like you I would like to loose weight and look fabulous in my summer gear. So yes I am with you all the way.

chrisinhawaii on October 16, 2012:

Well Karen, I think I found your 2 pounds...they're snuggled up around my waist, so I'm actually UP 2 pounds since this whole thing started =D


So you only lost 2 pounds...guess what? WHO CARES! YOU'RE GOING ON A CRUISE WOOOO-HOOOO!

Enjoy it! And eat a lobster tail for me...and a steak...and anything that has BUTTER on it!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on October 16, 2012:

So, bad news for me everybody. I had very high hopes for this weight loss challenge but my end result was only 2 pounds lost...arghhh! Well, at least I lost them and didn't gain them. I hope everyone else did better than I did. I am posting this now so I can finish getting ready for the cruise...leaving tomorrow. Aloha everyone!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on September 19, 2012:

Well, congratulations on the 7 lb. weight loss. That's great. We have one month to go, so if you lose 2 more lbs. you'll be down 9 lbs. since we started. I am trying to really buckle down and exercise daily now.

Arline on September 18, 2012:

Finally got my own scale AND went to doctor again so that helped me make sure the scale was right. I am down 7 pounds from when I started in late May. On vacation now so having more wine and sharing more desserts but generally have stuck to an all around no sugar diet, no snacking, while on vacation we are hiking a lot and usually just having like an apple for lunch. I would be happy with 2 lbs wt loss per month and would like to try to get to a slightly leaner BMI. That would mean losing 3 - 8 # more and just seeing how that feels.

Karen Hellier on September 17, 2012:


That's great, congratulations. We have one month left so we better make it a good one! Unfortunately, last time I was down 5.5 pounds from my starting weight, but I gained 1.5 in the past month so I am 4 pounds down from my original weight. I guess any loss is better than none. I am going to be going to the gym a lot more with my husband in the next month, so I hope that helps. I just have to remember not to eat more because I am working more calories off and think that's an excuse!

chrisinhawaii on September 17, 2012:

Just weighed in this morning, and I am down 5 pounds from my starting weight. Finally the numbers are moving in the right direction again!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 20, 2012:

That's the attitude chrisinhawaii. I always only weigh myself at the same time of the a.m. before I eat anything and blow it for that day! Ha ha!

chrisinhawaii on August 20, 2012:

I blew it at lunch and dinner and am now 2 pounds OVER my starting weight haha! Oh well, today's a new day!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 20, 2012:

Good for you Fran. One pound is better than none, and five pounds total is about where I am at too. It's not as good as I had hoped for personally, but certainly better than gaining. I want at least another 10 off by October 17th. I would settle for another 5 though because it means I have made progress, and if I keep it up for 1 year, and lose 5 pounds every 2 months, that means I will have lost 30 pounds in one year. Okay, I can live with that. I'm also feeling healthier because I have started a walking routine and I am really enjoying it. That in itself is good for my cholesterol! Keep up the good work Fran, Arline, and Chrisinhawaii!

Fran Schwartz on August 20, 2012:

I lost one pound since last weigh in and five pounds total

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 20, 2012:

Yes, you are starting off right. I have found new walking paths in towns I go to all the time now, and it has helped me to stay motivated to walk more regularly...if I have my sneakers with me. I just wrote a hub about it!!! You just reminded me that I forgot to eat breakfast this a.m. Better go do it now and jump start my metabolism this a.m.! Thanks!

chrisinhawaii on August 19, 2012:

Went for a little walk this morning 1.04 mi. Then a packet of oatmeal and a couple strawberries and water for breakfast. That's a good start. Hopefully I won't blow it at lunch and dinner =)

Good luck everybody!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 19, 2012:

Wow Arline, you're definitely doing well in the exercise department. So much better than me. I need to up my exercise program. And maybe eat better on the weekends. I don't seem to have trouble during the week. It's those weekend meals out that kill the weight loss goals for me. It's the start of a new weight loss month though!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 19, 2012:


Wow, I thought all that walking would have dropped some weight for you. Bummer. You're right though, it's a new month. The weight is not coming off as fast as I would like, but at least it is coming off. I don't think I am going to see 30 pounds. I will probably have to settle for between 10 and 20. better than nothing though.

Arline on August 18, 2012:

I weighed in 9 days ago before the scale got moved to my daughter's new place. I had not progressed any further since the last time I weighed - no gains or losses. This week coming up is my week to invest in a new scale of higher quality, and to do a better job on the no sugar plan. My exercise is consistently pretty good, a 4 mile walk 3-4 mornings a week and 90 minutes of yoga once a week, plus I do a little yoga at home only I am not burning calories at it.

chrisinhawaii on August 18, 2012:

That's great! I gained 3 since last I'm down only 1 pound.

Oh well...this next month will have to be different!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 18, 2012:

Okay, I weighed in and I have lost 3.5 pounds since our last weigh in date of July 17th. That means I am down a total of 5.5 pounds since we started. Not great, but better than gaining! Ok, can't wait to get the results from the rest of you...

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 13, 2012:

Good for you Chris. The exercise really does make a difference. Today is Monday and I always have a tough time after the weekend. I was not happy with my scale this a.m. Some days I think it's lying to me! We don't have too much longer till the next weigh in day...the challenge is on! Good luck in the next 4 days!

chrisinhawaii on August 13, 2012:

Just got back from a short morning walk and I FEEL GREAT! Looking forward to this next weigh-in...

I feel so good right now, in fact, that I just might have a salad today.


Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 26, 2012:


Good foryou...that's great news. 2 days after I started walking, I got on the scale and almost passed out! I was so excited so see my weight actually drop. It was bouncing up and down for awhile there. I am trying very hard to get to the 5 lb. loss mark, and from then on I think it will be easier for me to stay focused on what I need to do. Tomorrow is my birthday...maybe that 5 lb. mark will be my birthday gift? LOL...that would be nice.

chrisinhawaii on July 26, 2012:

that's great, Karen! Walking is the best. I was just looking over the comments and realized I forgot to comment at the last weigh-in. i did weigh myself for it, though. I was down a total of 6 lbs back on the 17th.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 26, 2012:

I am very excited to have found a walking track near where my son lives. I go by it 4 mornings a week on my way to pick him up and drive him to work ( he's without a car right now) so I leave a little early, have walked there 3 times this week, and have already seen the results on my scale! YAY!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 18, 2012:


That's great that you are on vacation. And great that you lost 4 pounds. I am impressed. Keep going and swimming is great exercise. Have fun!

Arline on July 18, 2012:


I'm on vacation - I knew I would not be able to weigh in today so I weighed in before I left. I was down 4 # total from when I started. ( I think I started a bit before your actual hub started). Unfortunately vacation has put a tiny crimp in my ability to totally avoid sugar, but I have tried to get in some good exercise, including running today when I usually walk, ...and I am at a lake so I get to swim as well.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 17, 2012:

Okay, but a hint...I always weigh myself t thing in the morning, before I eat or shower as I weigh the least at that time of day. Can't wait to get your update tomorrow!

chrisinhawaii on July 17, 2012:

I did another long walk yesterday, but I forgot to weigh myself before leaving the house this morning. I'll weigh in tonight though.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 17, 2012:

Well people, today is the weigh in date for July, and I am not happy. I am down a whopping 2.4 pounds from when we started, and 2 pounds since the last weigh in...whoo hoo! I guess it's better than not losing at all, or gaining. BUT at this rate, I will have lost a total of 10 pounds by the cruise date...ugh, that would only be 1/3rd of what I was aiming for. But it's only the first month and we have 3 more weigh in dates to go so I must take heart...and get hold of my appetite. For all the other participants, how are you doing?

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 08, 2012:

Really? Wow, that's fantastic. I thought you were on a 5 mile hike or walking 5 miles on purpose with a friend. That's even better that you did it totally on your own. I definitely see the difference on the scale when I exercise every day. I walk, or dance ( in a room with the door locked!) When I don't exercise, even if I eat carefully, the weight just doesn't come off.

chrisinhawaii on July 08, 2012:

I know, right? It's funny, though...on the one hand, motivation is EVERYTHING. And yet, on the other hand, burning calories is a strictly physical has nothing to do with motivation.

I could technically spend an entire hour walking on a treadmill and do nothing except complain about how much I hate walking on a treadmill. But as long as I keep my feet moving, that's about 350 calories burned, whether I felt motivated or not.

What helps me is to stop thinking about whether I feel like exercising. If you're taking the time to think about it, you've already lost the battle. Instead, put your shoes on and head out the door. Once you're out there on your walk, then you can ask yourself if you feel like exercising or not.

I didn't really feel like walking yesterday, but once I was out the door...I couldn't stop! =)

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 08, 2012:

Excellent chrisinhawaii! Congratulations. I bet that burned up a few calories. I am seeing a little weight loss but not nearly what I want. Glad we still have some time before weigh in day!!! I need to exercise every day...ugh, why is it so hard to motivate myself???

chrisinhawaii on July 08, 2012:

Just walked over 5 miles yesterday. Surprised my feet are feeling this good today =)

Keep up the effort, everybody!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 05, 2012:


Feel free to join in the fun! I bet you can lose 10 pounds before October 17th. If you get the scale and want to join us, weigh yourself asap so you can give us an update on our next weigh in date which is July 17th. I am really struggling but my husband is encouraging me to go to the gym with him 3 - 4 times per week, and I have started to eat healthier this week, and I drink water like I am a hopefully we will see some difference when I weigh in.

Jennita on July 05, 2012:

im going to try to loose 10 pounds or so. Im eating way too much sugar, that's definitely going. Im going to eat a more balanced diet. That should help. I have no scale, so im going to have to go buy one the next time im out shopping.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 20, 2012:

Hi chrisinhawaii,

Well, the good news is that we have a month now to lose the weight. Good news that you are walking agin. I find on the weeks I exercise daily, I lose more weight. One might think that would be enough incentive for me to exercise every day, but I have about 2 - 3 days a week that I just can't seem to motivate myself. Of course that was in the past, and this is a whole new challenge! see you all on July 17th!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 20, 2012:


Well, as long as you weigh yourself each time with the same clothes on, you will have an accurate account of your weight loss...remember that outfit!!!

chrisinhawaii on June 20, 2012:

Oops! Sorry, I already missed our first weigh-in. I did weigh myself Sunday though...NO CHANGE?! I was bummed...but not as bummed as the next day when I came in 4 lbs heavier! =( so, now I'm up 4 lbs haha!

And I DID have cake O _ O ...chocolate... But at least I'm walking again...that's something. Good luck everybody! Let's keep it going...

Arline on June 20, 2012:

She's bringing everything back since she is moving out totally. That said, I think it is not a very good scale, so I am going to buy one ASAP.

Today I weighed at the doc with my clothes on, so my best estimate is that I have lost 1-2 # depending on what shoes, tshirt and shorts weigh!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 18, 2012:

Okay Arline. Thanks for the update. Are you going to ask your daughter to bring the scale back???

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 18, 2012:


Wow, good for you. I am sure you will be "weigh" down on your next weigh in...ha ha! That's great that you have a partner too. I have never heard of

Arline on June 18, 2012:

Karen, All,

I will have a weight on Wed. I still have not had a chance to buy a scale but I have a doc appt on Wed. So that will be a good comparison for me . I'll find a scale for my home soon, Actually my daughter will be home soon and I think she's got the scale!

I only cheated once on my no sugar intake and that was for Father's day. I made my husband's favorite cookies, but I did cut back on the sugar in the recipe.

Fran on June 18, 2012:

I have lost 1.5 pounds and my husband is now on a weight loss plan using so that is helping. We walked on father's day and I am keeping up with my plan to do an hour of cardio/strenght training 3-4 times per week.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 18, 2012:

Okay, yesterday was the first weigh in day. I lost a whopping 1/2 pound in 10 days. Yikes, that's not too good, but I had to go to some scholarship banquets for my daughter this past week, and it was hard to diet at them, so hopefully there will be better news at the next weigh in...on July 17th. How did everyone else do???

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 11, 2012:

Okay Arline, you are joining me, Fran, chrisinhawaii and CJH. Try to weigh yourself before June 17th...that will be the first update, 10 days after we started, and then each month on the 17th after that till October 17th. What's your weight loss goal?

I don't have any tips on a good scale except to buy a digital one because it keeps track of the ounces and with a regular scale, if you have lost 1/2 pound, you won't know it. With a digital scale, losing 1/2 a pound will keep you encouraged. And of course we will all be losing more than 1/2 pound per month, but even so, losing 3 1/2 pounds is better than just 3!

Anyone have any tips on a good scale for Arline?

Arline on June 11, 2012:

I'm in ! My plan is no sugar which I started weeks ago and think I lost maybe 5# so far. There were a few cheats but overall I am not craving it so much and when I do eat it, it seems "too sweet." I've noticed that if I stop eating things with sugar, that means fewer things with white flour anyway. When I choose breads I generally look for whole grains anyway. Any tips on a good scale? I don't own one anymore.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 10, 2012:

Okay Fran Schwartz, you're in. Weigh yourself asap so you will know what your starting weight is, and we can report back the weight loss amt. each month. Thanks for joining us.

Fran Schwartz on June 09, 2012:

You can do it Karen you are so motivated. Wow that is a cruise of a lifetime for sure. I would like to lose 10 by aug 31!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 09, 2012:

Thanks teaches 12345!

Even if we don't make it all the way, we will lose some, and certainly more than if we didn't try at all! We are on our way down that scale!!!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 09, 2012:


okay...good luck. When you want that piece of cake, remember me and CJH and put it down...we can do this together!

Dianna Mendez on June 09, 2012:

You look good now, Karen. I am rooting for you and holding the winning flag out when you get there! You have a good plan for reaching that goal.

chrisinhawaii on June 09, 2012:

Ok, I got my starting point and will weigh in again on the to you soon =)

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 09, 2012:


Thanks for the encouragement. Happy you will be joining us in the weight loss challenge. We can all do it together!

CJH on June 09, 2012:

Count me in! I'm trying for 20 pounds which will bring me down to well less than my high scholl weight - which was a long time ago. You can do it Karen!

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 08, 2012:

Okay...looking forward to your news! Whatever you see on the scale tomorrow will be your starting point for this challenge...don't worry about being up a few...we are starting fresh.

chrisinhawaii on June 08, 2012:

My goal has been to lose 50 lbs this year...I was down 14, but am currently down about 10 or so? I'll let you know for sure tomorrow morning...

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 08, 2012:


Okay we go. How many pounds do you want to lose? Glad yo have a buddy to do this with. It always helps.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 08, 2012:


Cutting out carbs works huh? Ok, I am willing to give it a try. Thanks for the tips. I will give you an update soon.

Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on June 08, 2012:


Thanks, but I only looked amazing the day I got married...and that was 16 pounds ago. This time I need to lose hopefully better than my wedding day. Thanks for your nice comment though!

chrisinhawaii on June 08, 2012:

What?! Nobody's in yet? Okay, I'm in! Walking every day and eating low carb has been working for me...and now I got a buddy!

Catch ya tomorrow morning, Karen. Good luck!

Voted up and awesome...

Lizam1 on June 07, 2012:

HI Karen, I know YOU CAN do this - one tip from me is to consider cutting out carbs from bread and cake/muffin type products. I lost 20 doing this after I discovered an allergy but it works for those who don't too. I have a hub about it. A cleanse can also be a great way to kickstart the metabolism. Good luck:-)

greeneryday from Some tropical country on June 07, 2012:

Congratulations, you look amazing! Thanks for sharing...

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