Any Advice for a Busy Mom Trying to Loose a Lot of Weight, for Health Reasons

Updated on July 11, 2008
Q.M. asks from Philadelphia, PA
13 answers

I've been to my doctor cause I have a pinched nerve in my back and its causing pain in other areas of my body. They can't do anything about it or give medication due to my age they don't suggest I do surgery as it would get worse and don't recommend pain pills because they are addictive. So the only option is to loose weight. Granted I have gained a lot of weight over the years after I had my daughter whom is now 10 years old turning 11 years old next month on July 1st. For my height and age I would be considered obese and over my BMI. So just wondering if any of you have any ideas on things I could do to cut back, to help me drop some pounds. I barely have time to exercise but I'm thinking of tweaking my schedule just a bit so that I can do this and have my daughter do it with me as well cause she too has gained some unneeded extra pounds over the last year and a half. I've gotten advice from family and friends and all they've told me is the following. If you want to loose enroll in a gym, get a personal trainer(I would've went this route, but being a single mom, that really isn't in my budget gyms and especially personal trainers are expensive), they also said stop drinking soda, caffeine and leave alone all the white bread and bake your foods, also cut your portions in half, and the last suggestions were get the Billy Blanks bootcamp dvds and work, buy one of those dance video games and use that and take some fat burner pills like Hydroxycut.
What do you all suggest...I've never been the size I am now and I do want to seriously loose some of this weight for health reasons, but what can I do? Any and all suggestions appreciated.

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answers from Scranton on


I recently decided to try to lose the 50 extra pounds I'm carrying around as well. In 7 weeks, I've gone from 204 to 188 and lost over 20 3/4 inches from my body. I've gone from size 18 pants to 14. You can do it too. It will require a complete lifestyle change, and its easier if you get your daughter in on it. Here's what I've been doing.

1. Stop buying anything with sugar, -ose, corn syrup, etc... in the 1st 4 ingrediants. This is very hard, so once you find something you like, make sure you jot it down. Hardest things to find: cereal and bread. I think bread is the only thing I buy that breaks this rule.

2. Don't buy bread with any type of enriched flour; only whole grain.

3. Snack. When you are hungry, snack!
3 100 calorie snacks
300 calorie breakfast
400 calorie lunch
500 calorie dinner
I don't count calories, but just look at the label to see if you are sticking to approximately that.

4. Don't drink anything but water and milk! Why drink your calories when you can eat them?!

5. If you want raisins on your cereal, add them yourself because raisin cereals are covered in sugar.

6. Keep artifical sweetners to a low. They make your body think you are hungry.

7. Try all natural peanut butter. Its high in protein and has no added oils or sugars. Store it in your refrigerator.

8, Dinner usually looks like this:
1 serving of meat, veggies (no butter), potato/rice/couscous/some kind of grain

9. If you go out to eat, only eat 1/2 of the food that they bring you. Ask for it to not be cooked in butter. If they have a salad bar, load up on salad. If not, ask for the dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then the salad. You'll use less dressing that way.

10. Swap ice cream for 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt.

11. 1/2 cantoloupe = 1 banana = 10 M&M's = 1/3 a doughnut = 1/3 a bagel (with nothing on it) = 1/2 cup frozen yogurt = 100 calories

12. Try sugar free popsicles

13. One day a week, eat something decadent, that you've really been craving, but not too much

14. Park at the back of the parking lot

15. Walk to the store

16. Get your friends to do it with you!

17. Make plain oatmeal for breakfast. If you want it flavored, add cinnamon and No Sugar Added Applesauce or smashed bananas or another fruit.


As far as exercising goes, don't join a gym. Its the biggest waste of money, at least that has been my experience. They say if you're going to workout, do it in the morning because you'll have less likelihood to skip your workout. I bought a set of workout videos (and light weights) called the Firm. They are GREAT! There are 4 different videos so that you don't get too bored and 3 of them come with an express video for days when you don't have a lot of time.
Another suggestion, since you want your daughter to do it as well, buy a Wii and a Wii fit. We are going to get one, but haven't gotten to the store yet. Its a video game that will track your progress.
And, don't forget, just because you start working out and miss a few days or a week, don't stop. Just jump right back on that horse.


Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

I completely understand. I have been overweight most of my life and I've tried SOOOO Many diets. What I finally found is this: Weight is based on a simple formula. (The amount of calories taken into the body - the amount of calories going out of the body = body weight fluctuation) Therefore if a person wants to lose weight they need to either take in less calories, burn more calories or a combination of both. Plus, we need to remember our bodies are mostly water so that needs to be replenished constantly.

Each person finds their own ways of finding the balance and doing what works best in their individual lifestyles. Some things I have done that help me:
1. Drink a full glass of water before each meal, then drink another glass of water before taking seconds. I find I get full faster and I know my body needs the water more than food.
2. Brush your teeth often. I don't like to eat right after brushing my teeth.
3. Find a way to burn calories that is more fun than work. For me it is dancing, walking with friends, and swimming.
4. Eat some from all the food groups in various colors, and lean toward the lean meats and whole grains. (This can be costly so try to find workable foods for your budget)
5. Set a goal beyond what weight you want to reach, but something to work for (ie. a new clothing item, or a specific activity you enjoy, etc.)

I have also found that many health clubs offer scholarships if that interests you.

Obstacles I am having to overcome include:
1. the taste of water. My body had to adjust to the taste but after a week or two, I didn't mind and my body started craving the refreshing taste.
2. sweating. I had to choose to sweat and look forward to showering afterwards. Plus, swimming was nice cause I didn't feel sweaty afterwards.
3. people comments and what I thought they meant: a lot of people tried to "encourage" me and ended up hurting me and discouraging me. I am still working at listening to what they intend rather than what is truly said.
4. instant rewards: I still struggle with congratulating myself for a job well done with a food treat rather than some other reward. It has been a struggle because if I exercise for an hour and then eat a candy bar, I'm defeating the purpose of the exercise, but it tastes good.
5. eating without thinking: I have a habit of eating while I cook, eating while I watch TV, and eating while playing board games, etc. If I thought about my goal and the big picture, I wouldn't eat without purpose, but it is a habit that is hard to break.

I am still working on reaching my goal weight, but I haven't given up and I will get there in time. I know you can reach your goals and be healthier for you and your family. You can do it!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

i just lost 15 lbs and 1 pants size since the wednesday after mermorial day on the South Beach diet. you have to like lean meat, cheese and veges to get through it though. it's true what the diet says about the cravings of the sugar and white bread. but it really doesn't feel like a diet all that much because i don't track like i used to on weight watchers. if i did track i'd probably loose a heck of alot more eating these whole foods. i still have about 25 lb's to loose (then i won't be considered obese buti felt a lot better on the 4th of july than i did on memorial day weekend... that's for sure. i haven't started a workout plan yet but i try to do a few little things a day. maybe 5 minutes of different toning exercises here and there through out the day or take a walk when i know i'll be out of my normal routine.

good luck,


answers from Pittsburgh on

Just to add a few things that have worked for me. Some may or may not work for you but you can try.
*I never eat anything past 7:30 pm. I usually go to bed at about 10pm.
*Cut out all sugar. If I'm craving sugar I will go for fruit or a sugar free Popsicles.
*Start reading labels
* Avoid foods with preservatives, basically everything in the middle of the grocery store. You want to buy a ton of fresh produce, lean meats, light dairy, 100% whole wheat breads and pastas.
* Learn to flavor your foods with other fresh foods like garlic or onion rather than dressings and butter. For instance, half a lemon, some light olive oil, and tiny amount of kosher salt is amazing as salad dressing, or on steamed broccoli.
*I eat 3 sensible meals a day and snack constantly on raw veggies or fruit.
* I think we can all agree that drinking tons a water is a must in any weight loss situation.
We are all human and have to eat to survive, not survive to eat. We are in charge of what we put in our bodies. Weight loss is tough often so I would recommend a support group such as Over Eaters Anonymous or weight watchers.



answers from San Antonio on

I completly understand how hard it is for a single mom. My husband was working 16 hour days so I really felt helpless when it came to getting out of the house. If you are close to the YMCA you may be surprised like I was to find out that they will watch your kids for 2 hours a day for free while you are there working out. So for your $39 (give or take) membership a month you get 2 hours of baby sitting m-sat plus excercise time and time to yourself. Both my husband and I were working on loosing some pounds. I am pregnant again so can't really do a ton of loosing, but I have put on about 80 extra pounds since my first little one.

I wish you much luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi Q.,

I highly recommend Weight Watchers. I did it successfully before kids and then did it again after kids. The program really works and is a lifestyle change not a diet. Therefore you can help your daughter eat healthier too without sending the wrong message of dieting.

If possible I would recommend you attend a meeting rather than doing it online. That way you have a support group of people that you can journey with and share your successes and challenges with. The group I attend has at least two people that have lost more than 85 pounds and I couldn't be happier for them.

You can buy a monthly pass that will cut down on the cost of the program and it also provides you access to the online etools. I don't use etools so I can attest that they are not necessary for success. They are an added resource.

As for exercise,starting out I would recommend Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds. There are numerous video/dvd's in this series. My favorites are in the "Express" series. They call it the 'No Excuse Walk' and it is because you don't need to worry about the weather, just pop in the tape. There are no aerobic moves to learn, just 4 basic steps (side to side, knee lifts, kicks, and walking) They would be easy enough for you to do with your daughter. Plus they come in different mile increments 1-2-3-4 so you can build endurance. The library system has them available to borrow along with many others. Find something you enjoy doing and it won't feel like a chore.

Good luck to you!



answers from Philadelphia on

Karen W gave you great advice!! Buy fruit for your snacks. Bananas and apples and grapes are great! Frozen grapes in the summertimes are an amazing treat, and bananas are really filling for a snack. For those days when you need a little extra indulgence add a tablespoon of peanut butter to your banana or apple.

Where do you live? I live in Franklinville, but I travel up to Camden to buy produce b/c directly across from the PathMark on Mt Ephraim Ave is a produce place where I can get enough fresh fruits and vegetables for feed my family for a week for $30. and I have 5 kids plus my husband and myself who all eat at least 4 servings of fruit a day and 3-4 of vegetables.

Also, I don't agree that joining a gym is a waste of money, but it depends on the type of person you are. For me, I need to 'go to the gym' to work out. I have tried everything from workout videos, to walking outdoors to having a home gym. Nothing works for me like having a gym membership. It was a big obstacle for me to overcome the guilt of taking that money away from my children, but since the money comes directly out of my bank account, I don't even miss it. $35 a month is not a lot. I just rejoined LA Fitness and I have girlfriends that I meet up with every Saturday and we spend the entire morning chatting and working out together. I believe you can also take your daughter with you to work out, but I'm not sure what age that starts at. It may be 12 so that wouldn't work for you for now, but you can find ways to help her by changing your dieting habits.

If you, as mom, don't bring any food into the house(including drinks) that aren't the healthiest, then she won't consume them. And Juice is one of the biggest perpetrators, even if it is 100% juice it should be diluted by water, and a much better source of the vitamins and nutrients found in juices are the fruits themselves. Juice can pack a ton of calories and sugar into her diet disguised as a healthy beverage.

That is another good tool to use. Get a support group. you don't need a 'workout buddy' b/c then you'll depend on them to be available to work out at the same time as you, just go on your own, but have someone or multiple someones that you check in with occasionally and make working out a 'playdate'. I have one girlfriend who is about 120 lbs, perfect hourglass figure and she's had 5 kids!! Talk about inspiration. I've had 2 and I'm considered obese at my my weight of 180, but I'm working on it, that's down 8 lbs from three weeks ago.

The only other piece of advice I can give you is to be content with where you are at. That doesn't mean be content with being overweight, that means don't expect to lose all of the weight at once. Set mini-goals for yourself, 2 lbs this week, 5 lbs by the end of the month. 5 lbs a month is 60lbs in a year and it took you how many years to put the weight on? It's going to take time to get it off. Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi Q.,
Well, you made the first step by establishing a goal. I can imagine how busy you are but the plus is that you have your mom & sister there for an hour of keeping aneye on your daughter here and there.
I don't think you need to spend a lot of money to do this. I myself have gained weight since my son was born. Can you start just by adding some exercise every day? I like to take a long walk when my son is in bed (dad's home--so it's OK!)
What does your daughter like to do? Spend time with her (two birds, one stone) doing stuff you both enjoy (walking, dancing, skating, swimmimg, tennis, etc.) And then ramp up your own activity by adding a nightly walk as well.

I would not take any of the OTC "weight loss" pills. Better to invest your money in a yoga class, Curves, or a swim club membership--after all, if the pills really worked, would you be seeing overweight people at all? LOL
Also--a word of advice--avoid ALL FAST FOOD and PROCESSED food like the plague! Try to eat "low on the food chain." Eat food in the form that it was made by God. Pack yourself a healthy lunch for work every day. Fresh fruits and veggies, salads, grilled/baked chicken/fish etc. Avoid pre-made, prepared foods that are fast & easy. Always look for trans-fat content on the labels and avoid as much trans fat as you can. If you are basically inactive right now, I think you will see a big difference just by adding more activities and cutting out fast food/junk food. I am a night time eater and am right now really trying to get out of that habit. I think it's from boredom mostly. Good luck! I wish you SUCCESS!!!

Afterthought--I would recommend chiropractic care as well. If you have health insurance,
find a reputable chiropractor who accepts your insurance. Losing weight would surely benefit you but see if a chiropractor can give you some relief in the meantime as well!



answers from Lancaster on

You are 27 years old. You are young I do not understand why this doctor can't do anything for you, medicine or surgery. Get a second opinion from another doctor. Just because one doctor says it can't be done doesn't mean it can't happen. I have learned that diagnoses vary from one doctor to another. Losing weight may help but that isn't the cure or the problem.

I have had pinched nerves in my neck. Seek a massage therapist and see if they can help relieve some of the inflamed muscles surrouding the nerve. Some insurance plans will pay for it. Chiropractic care may help too. I had a pinched nerve and I always had numb arms and both of the above helped. Keep in mind you may have to go several times before you feel any relief. I too am overweight but that had absolutley nothing to do with it. It was caused from the repetive motions I did at work for years.

Sorry to be so long winded but another suggestion is to use ice to help the inflamed muscles become less swollen. Believe it or not more muscles are involved in a pinched nerve than you cna imagine. everything surrounding the area is usually hot and swollen. One more thing. Did he offer any anti inflamatory medication at all? If not see if you can at least try some.

Best of luck



answers from Lancaster on

I understand how you feel. First off, love yourself no matter what anyone thinks of you. Stop drinking soda, switch to diet if you have to it will get rid of that extra sugar. Drink lots and lots of water all day every day. Start with maybe walking early in the morning? Even an extra half hour earlier will do you wonders. They way we eat is common sense. Stay away from fast food and most fried food. Don't deprive yourself of sweets it only makes you want them more, but do it in healthy portions. Dance around with your daughter and rent videos from the library on fitness. Billy Blanks is an insane wack job but my gosh are his videos awesome and you will feel the burn! I used to do tae-bo and it really did make a difference! It is hard in the world today with the image that tv and magazines portray. Don't try to be thin as thin is over rated but try to be healthy for you and your daughter. I joined Curves and they have very early hours so you can try that. It is not that expensive and it does work. But if money is tight, like I said, start walking and dancing with your daughter!
Good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

I give you a lot of credit for being a single Mom, I was as well and I know how tough it can be to find time for everything, especially yourself.

I would highly recommend the Weight Watchers Online Flex Plan. I have lost 20 lbs on this twice in the past (with no exercise) and LOVE it. It teaches you how to change your lifestyle and eating habits by showing how high in points certain foods are as you go along. Every tool you need is online so you can log your food daily, your weight weekly, read the message boards, recipes, etc. The message boards are a great support system of others on the program. You can post questions or just read different topics.

I just re-signed up and it ends up being $16.95/month and I don't attend meetings, there just isn't time. Right now there isn't a fee to join, maybe you could get the same deal.

If you want more info, email me at [email protected] care and good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi Q.
I had similar issues but I'm minus 56lbs in bout 4 months....those results speak for them selves I have no need to cheat, I have incredible energy and I have a group of friends that are doing the same thing because the results are phenomenal. Be the phenomenal woman you want to be again. The only issues I have now are.......How do I dress this sexxy body because I have been so heavy for so long and hid behind dark colors and pants...those clothes I once envied i now can wear, its a complete mind blowing freedom when that weight is no longer holding you prisoner. I follow this program
I use the Advanced Protein Plus program this kit is all you need for 1 month do the math divide it into 29-31days and its really like 4$ a day or something (I used to spend that at the vending machine at least once a day) I am now investing in my body, not the vending companies.
call 800-953-4812 speak to this coach and push on to the healthier you sweetie! Great luck in whatever road you choose to travel.



answers from Harrisburg on

Hi Q.,

It is good that you want and know you have to do it for health reason. Also that you want to get your daughter involved will help both of you.

My suggestion is to cut out soda. Do NOT go to diet soda. I saw a report about diet soda that said that drinking it actually makes you gain weight because of the sugar substitute in it leaves you craving and eating more junk food. I cut out soda about a year ago (I may drink 1 or 2 a month as a treat)and started drinking flavored water and I dropped about 30 pounds in less than 2 months and I have kept it off.

Good luck to you!!!

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