Red Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: Amazon — Earrings: homemade–Shoes: Naturalizer

Losing weight is one of the most common goals that people have. It’s a big business, too, with lots of ads designed to make you think that you can’t lose weight without buying new things: exercise clothing, exercise videos, diet plans, weight-loss pills, and more.

But you don’t have to spend money on any of that to lose weight.

You just have to eat less and exercise more.

Eating less is even more important than exercising more; you don’t have to burn off calories that you’re not taking in!

If one of your goals this year is to lose weight, but you’re feeling like you can’t afford to lose weight, you’re not alone. I’ve felt that way many times. A few times, I succumbed to a couple of the myths below (#1 and #3) and neither made a difference.

In the last 10 months, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. Before you think, oh, that’s just normal after-baby weight loss, I can tell you that I started my pregnancy weighing what I had weighed at the end of my first pregnancy. I’ve lost all of my baby weight from this baby (something I’ve never done with my previous 7 children), the 9 pounds I gained in between the miscarriage I had a few months before I became pregnant and the time I became pregnant with this baby, and an additional 13 pounds (weight gained in my first pregnancy and other pregnancies that I never lost in the last 15 years).

Myth #1: I have to buy exercise clothing

I don’t like tennis shoes. I never have. I wear sandals most of the year, and loafers and boots in winter for everyday wear (and heels for church). One of the things holding me back before was feeling like I had to buy tennis shoes to go walking. I finally bought a cheap $5 pair when we were first married. I started walking to lose the 5 pounds I had gained after we got married. I walked and walked, and never lost the weight.

A couple of years ago, I bought some more supportive tennis shoes so that I could go walking (again, to lose weight). I hated spending the money on them, and I hated wearing them, since I always feel ugly in tennis shoes, and when it’s 80º at 6 am in the spring, I’d rather be in sandals. Again, I lost no weight.

If you like to walk (or run) you most likely already have the proper shoes. Wear what you have. If you love it, you’ll buy new shoes as a regular part of your budget. If, like me, gardening is more your type of exercise, you’re better off buying some garden boots, where you know you’ll get in your exercise on a regular basis. If you already have those, then you’re already set.

The most important exercise is the one you’ll do. And most weight-loss experts agree that losing weight is 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise, so focusing mainly on what you are eating is the most effective way to lose weight–which means you don’t have to buy exercise clothing to lose weight.


Myth #2: I have to cut all carbs and buy lots of expensive meat to lose weight

Carbs give energy, and we tend to forget that sometimes. Still, they’re easy to overeat. Try cutting toast to 1 slice instead of 2 at breakfast. Eat a smaller amount of rice or pasta (1/4 of your plate).

Your proteins don’t have to be expensive meats (or protein powders). Buy whole chickens on sale for under $0.80 a pound. Buy eggs on sale. Buy beans in bulk. Buy Greek yogurt in bulk and use it as a starter to make more yogurt with a gallon of milk.


Myth #3: I need to buy a new exercise DVD

There are so many exercise videos that you can watch for free online! PopSugar has a good number of ones that you can do with no special equipment. Try searching You Tube for some new exercise routines.

If you want to increase your exercise in general, look for simple ways to build more exercise into your daily routine: take more opportunities to walk, take the stairs, sweep the floor more often, or work outside.


Myth #4: I need to pay for a weight loss class/premade meals

Cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to save you money all of the time, and is especially helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. You know exactly what is going into your food, and you’re able to set good habits that you can continue even after you’ve reached your goal weight.  Plus, as you get into better habits of cooking at home instead of eating out, you’ll find that you’re saving money as well as losing weight. (Here’s an interesting comparison on the calorie count for some made at home meals versus eating out that will encourage you to cook at home!)

If you need some ideas on great meals that will help you feel full while still losing weight, Pinterest is your friend. I’ve made a board here with links to lots of great low-calorie meal suggestions.

Vegetable soups are a great way to lose weight, and they’re frugal too! If you’re in the mood for hot food instead of cold salads this time of year, make some vegetable soups to have on hand for some quick meals!


Myth #5 I need to buy a fitness bracelet to track my steps/calories

If you want to track your steps, you can do that do it with a free app on your phone. You can count calories on your phone, on paper, or just in your head. Or, you can just eat sensible portions and be active during your day. The Lose It! app is a free calorie counter that I have loved.


Myth #6: I need to buy bottled water and/or special drinks

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help lose weight. It’s simple, and it doesn’t have to be bottled, unless you live in a part of the world where the tap water isn’t safe to drink.

I live in the driest state in the U.S. Our water is reclaimed and reused. Consequently, after being treated, it has a strong chlorine smell. If you want the chlorine to dissipate and the smell and taste to go away, fill a few bottles or pitchers of water and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. We’ve followed this advice from the water district for years, and we always have cold, tasty water to drink.

Water has no calories and costs very little. Increasing your water consumption helps you lose weight, helps your skin, helps your digestion, and helps your energy levels.

Wondering how to drink more water? It’s not hard. Here’s what I do: (Note: I have 16-ounce glasses.) I drink a glass when I first get up in the morning right away. I drink another glass more slowly after that. At each meal, I drink a half glass (or more) before eating, and another glass and a half during the meal. I drink a glass or two before going to bed. When I get up at night, I drink 2 more glasses worth. Plus, I drink water all throughout the day. When you feel hungry between meals, try drinking water first. We often see thirst as hunger.

I am often asked about how I have the energy to accomplish my to-do list. A good night’s rest, plenty of water, healthy food, and a multi-vitamin make a world of difference in my energy levels.


If there are things you’re wanting to buy to help you with your weight loss goals, try Craigslist for used exercise equipment. Hand weights can often be found at garage sales.

As far as my own goal? I’ve got 10 pounds left to go! I’m watching what I eat, and the only exercise I’ve been doing is cleaning house, lifting the baby, and working in the garden. I’m looking forward to a cleaner house and more bountiful garden in 2017!

I’ve identified my weaknesses so that I can work to keep my weight off for the long-term: I tend to snack while I’m cooking, and I serve myself portions larger than I need. I’ve been making my meals on smaller plates (just like I serve to the children), watching my serving sizes, and working on not going back for seconds. I fill half my plate with vegetables. Cutting calories has been the key for me, and it not only doesn’t cost more, it costs less, because I’m eating less!

I’m enjoying my meals, I don’t feel hungry all the time, and I’m now the size I was before I was pregnant with my first.  I’m spending my money where I would rather spend it: on a new wardrobe!

Remember, the most important thing you need to lose weight is will power, and no amount of money will buy that!

Blue Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Dress: $6.99 at Goodwill — Necklace: $1 at a garage sale — Earrings: homemade using beads from a broken piece of jewelry I’ve had since I was a teen — Shoes: Naturalizer


Do you have a free ap or exerise video that you like? Share your favorite weight loss recipes, free videos, and free aps in the comments below!


Note: Every individual’s situation is different, but don’t let a lack of money stop you from trying to lose weight if you desire to do so!

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  1. Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement. Congratulations on your accomplishment and best wishes for losing those last few pounds if you still think you’d be better off without them.

  2. You look very nice!!! I agree with everything…except the theory that if you eat less and exercise more you will lose weight. It was the opposite for me…. I gained…a lot. I do agree with exercising and eating healthy, but they don’t always = weight loss.

  3. Congratulations on the weight loss!
    You look amazing, I thought you were beautiful in the red dress but I think you look tres manifique in the blue one. Tres Belle!!

  4. This was exactly what I needed to read today. I would like to lose 50lbs. I love to eat out and that is not good. With the kids being busy with activities at night and me working FT I do not always have things ready or on hand. It is a daily struggle. But I need to jump in and do it. My willpower is not good but I just keep trying to make good choices.

  5. Both dresses are beautiful, however the blue one looks amazing on you! I agree with most of what you wrote regarding weight loss; but in my case, I have to buy running shoes as it is my exercise of choice to get proper support my feet. Otherwise I have to get therapy that insurance doesn’t cover.. I do only keep one pair of expensive running shoes at a time and that’s my yearly splurge. You have inspired me to keep going… I have regained all of my weight loss from last year and it is so easy to get discouraged. I’ve battled the bulge all of my life it seems. I will also take your advise and keep busy so I won’t mindlessly munch. You look great.. congratulations!!!

  6. You look fabulous! Congratulations on your weight loss and confirming that once you set your mind to it weight loss isn’t too hard. Thanks for sharing your tips – I am going to check out PopSugar and your pinterest board.

  7. If you enjoy running, that’s awesome! I have never liked running, and going out to do it when it’s 90º and up 5 months of the year here is not appealing to me. I thought I [i]had[/i] to run to lose weight, and it stopped me from losing weight it for the last 15 years. Spending money on shoes and clothes I loathed to wear isn’t a good long-term plan for me, and spending money on something I disliked really bothered me. But, as it turns out, spending the money didn’t make for the weight loss. Changing my portion sizes did. I had to eat like I did when I weighed less.

    That’s why the most important exercise is the one you want to do.

    Whatever changes are made have to be permanent if the weight is going to stay off. If you are always going to run, then enjoy running! Me, I’m better off planning on working in the garden 🙂

  8. Brandy, you have a beautiful figure and have chosen such lovely outfits that flatter it. I know weight loss is difficult, especially after having children, so you are quite an inspiration.

  9. I love that blue dress! I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share the band name/style it is? (You know, in case something like that were to pop up on eBay or something.)

  10. Lanna, the brand is Chaps. It’s a Kohl’s brand, and the last I checked, they had the same dress (but in different colors, not blue) on their website. It was around $100; I’m so glad I got mine at Goodwill! I would definitely look on Ebay; I am wearing a (different) dress right now that I bought on Ebay for not much more than I paid for the Goodwill one. I hope you can find it!

  11. You look great! That blue dress is fantastic.

    However, there have been studies on weight loss that show that willpower doesn’t work that well. Or to be specific: willpower is finite. And people have to make dozens or more decisions that require willpower every single day.

    The amount of time we all have, and brain function, is finite also. While you can certainly do it without special exercise videos, or special food, it will take more time and energy. Sometimes these “plans” are easier because: here: do these workouts Mon through Sat. Here, measure your food. Here, eat this many carbs and this much protein. If you are short on time, they can be a lifesaver.

    I, for one, wasn’t able to lose the baby weight either time without a dedicated program. “Creating my own program” (counting calories to eat less) simply took more time and energy than I had. I did try, but a full time job + kids is no easy feat.

    For me, the way to be successful long term is to remove the need for willpower. That means: no junk food in the house. No trigger foods in the house. My diet is pretty predictable. Weight loss and maintenance did not work for me until I cut my carbs down to 2-3 servings per day. Therefore, I have a carb with breakfast (gets my brain going). Lunch is a salad. Every day. Dinner is always protein, vegetables, and another carb. I snack on fruit and nuts. I’ve had conversations with my sister about weight loss – and she has insisted, for decades now – that she has to have candy and chips in the house so that she doesn’t “deprive her son”. But the problem is – she really likes M&Ms.

    That’s the other thing about willpower – last summer I spent several days visiting my stepdad and caring for him while he had a bad back. At home, I eat a healthy diet, as I already mentioned. At his house – the house was full of ice cream, chips, candy, cookies, beer, soda … all those things that I never eat because I don’t keep them in the house. I ate some every day – not a lot, but it’s seriously hard to say no when it’s always there when you open the fridge.

    Instagram is also a great source of healthy cheap meal ideas. If you don’t mind eating the same thing over and over (or rotating) – and I don’t – a bit of work at the beginning pays off in the long run.

    Oh and you are correct about Popsugar – they have a lot of good free workouts. I think Amazon prime, hulu, netflix do too, if you have those. The “Scientific 7 minute workout” is also great. All body weight exercises.

  12. Brandy,
    Congratulations! I know you have been working really hard on your weight loss goals and it shows.
    I find living in the Pacific Northwest makes it hard for me to maintain my weight year round. I love gardening and walking on the beach but that is difficult to do when it is cold and rainy most of the year. I find gym routines and exercise classes boring. I just can’t get into indoor exercise.
    I know my weaknesses and need to get serious about things. I find it nearly impossible to keep on track when away from home and forced to eat out. Restaurant food really messes with my system and it takes a week or more for me to get my system cleared and working again.
    You have inspired me to use my will power and knowledge to improve my weight and more importantly, my health.
    Thank you for being such a positive role model in a world of darkness.

  13. Marcia,

    I would say that it took willpower to follow a plan, cut carbs, and not buy junk food! You made great choices and it worked for you!

    Yes, we have to make decisions every day throughout the day. Removing temptation definitely works, and while many things I already didn’t buy , cutting the amount of bread I have eaten or choosing not to cook one thing over another (or take seconds or thirds) is definitely a choice. It’s always a choice, and sometimes it is a harder choice than other times. In order to keep weight loss off, it means continuing to make good choices, and I think our will is involved in every choice we make.

  14. Awesome advice! And you look amazing. Well done you! After my first baby to loose the weight I used the Canada food guide (available free online). It is put out by the Canadian government and tells you exactly what a serving size should be and how much of each food group to eat. I think I lost the weight quickly mostly because the food guide has only whole foods. No chips. No cookies. No ice cream. But you can still have bread, pasta, rice, …just less. Exactly what you said in your article.

  15. I like the free Sparkpeople app for tracking. You can set all kinds of goals – food, water, sleep, salt intake, fiber, exercise, etc.
    They have a huge database of foods and exercises. You can create favorites, custom groups, and recipes.
    After you’ve got a bit of history built up, you can input most things with one click.

  16. Excellent post. Congrats on your progress with your goals.

    Weight has always been an issue for me as long as I can remember. In fifth grade, I was on diet pills and my mom was always on me about my weight. Fast forward to my mid-50s and my weight peaked. I weighed 70# more then I do today. I cycled through two weight loss programs (Weight Watchers and JennyCraig). Both had their pros and cons. I was able to lost some weight on each program. In the end, I was not successful on either program.
    The real change occurred 4+ years ago when a friend asked if I’d like to swim 2X a week in an adult swim conditioning class. The class was only 25 minutes long and met twice a week. My fitness level in the beginning was appalling. We’d swim one 25m length of the pool, grab onto the side of the pool, gasp for air and repeat. We took the class three times.

    Then we started swimming three times a week consistently with grace. Our local pool has an adult only swim three times each week and that’s when we’d go. I say ‘with grace’ because we recognize that life some times gets in the way. If we have an interruption, we get back to the schedule as soon as possible. I can’t say how important it was for me to find a friend to work out with. We don’t do the same workouts but we commit to going.

    At the same time, I was changing how and what I ate. Like you, I focused on portion sizes. I also made sure to eat three meals at regular intervals. I stopped snacking. I realized that I had been skipping meals and relying on snacks. What a cycle. I would snack so then I wasn’t hungry for a meal. I increased the quantity of vegetables I ate and focused on lean proteins. I did not eliminate carbs but reduced how much I ate. I changed to more whole grains for my carbs as well. I now try to gauge my hunger level and eat the appropriate sized servings at the meal. In the past, I would have doled out the food with no regard to how hungry I was.

    As someone has already mentioned, I also eliminated the trigger foods from my apartment. For me, ice cream and potato chips are my downfall. I will buy them on occasion but they are not usually around.

    The funny thing that happened was that I stopped weighing myself. I knew I was making progress when I dropped a pant size or a swim suit size.
    I’ve read for some women exercise produces weight gain. Often that is from muscle being added which does weigh more. By keeping at these changes day in and day out, I am in better shape in my 60s then I was in my 40s. I have gone from a tight size 20 to a size 12 pant.
    To those just starting out, all I can say is start and keep at it. Weight loss is like a marathon; it is not a sprint. Start with something you love to do and build from there.

  17. I would also like to point people to another free weight loss “program”–Overeaters Anonymous. For me, my weight problems and compulsive eating aren’t just a willpower problem, it’s an addiction. Yes, eating has been shown to be addictive for some individuals, and affects the brain in the same way that substances and other compulsive behaviors like gambling. OA is a program to help those like me not only stop eating compulsively but restore us to complete spiritual and emotional health. It has been life changing for me. I have lost 45 lbs in 15 months and have another 20-25 to go. I would recommend that anyone who has struggled with their weight for most of their life to look up the meeting nearest them at
    If you are wondering if the program is right for you, you can take a short quiz at
    You look great Brandy, I am happy for your success!

  18. You look amazing! Congratulations on your weight loss. I like the blue dress the best. They are both very flattering tho.

  19. Brandy congrats! The red dress is such a classic look, and looks sharp on you! I saw you have it “recommended” in your side bar, and have been contemplating the green one myself. Now I can see how it will really look. Blue is your color too.
    For me, I like finding Leslie Sansone on YouTube. Even doing a 15 minute mile in my bare feet (not a fan of sneakers either) gets me feeling centered. I agree, how ever you need to get those endorphins flowing, and I think it helps one make better choices.
    And thank you for this post. Sometimes I really do feel like I won’t be successful unless I join Weight Watchers, Curves…etc, which just aren’t in the budget.

  20. Congratulations Brandy, you look great. The blue dress is just lovely on you.
    I belong to a community center and spend my lunch hour walking and working on some machines. It’s a small center and all ages working out. No one is wearing the lastest and greatest fashion wear just there to get some exercise. I now have a workout friend and we have both lost weight slowly over the last year. Like you said, find a method of excercise you enjoy . I also belive eating from all food groups in moderation is key. Thanks for everything you do Brandy

  21. I used to run a lot because I thought runners were more fit. I didn’t really like it. I stopped running after we got married because it cost $40 for every race with two people… Ouch! Instead I started biking and/or walking. I like it a lot better, exercise more often, don’t have knee problems and it’s all 100%free. Also paid a lot for kettlebells that barely get used, exercise DVDs that skip, and health food I can’t bring myself to eat. What works best is the stuff that you actually use.

  22. Encouraging! I use MyFitnessPal as a free app for calorie counting.
    I bicycle commute 2.5 miles each way to work now, and have done this now for going on two years. I take advantage of my workplace offering a discounted gym membership for the showers when I arrive (a necessity in Florida, even a short distance I often work up a sweat). Unexpectedly, my water bills at home are reduced due to taking the majority of my showers at the gym. This allows our family to do without another car. It took me awhile to work up the courage to join the gym! The oddest things hold us back sometimes.
    I agree that homemade meals are such an advantage to losing or maintaining weight. I would say eating from my kitchen is 75% of my success in weight control and so many other benefits besides.

  23. I just went to this post to recommend MyFitnessPal app too!

    I love that you can add in your own recipes to figure out the calorie counts of servings, and that you can use it on a computer or a mobile phone or both. I also really like that it shows breakdowns of what you’ve eaten in terms of nutrition; for me it’s helpful in understanding how much iron and protein I’ve eaten (or haven’t) and basically helps me understand the nutritional breakdown of my usual meals. Ooh, and one thing I really like is that you can just scan a barcode to input a food into your log (ex. just scan the barcode from your jar of peanut butter). A lot of my peers use it too, and I believe there are lots of MyFitnessPal communities and that you can connect with friends on it. Also…free!

  24. Great post and spot on! I have finally dropped 20 pounds and you are absolutely right, do whatever exercise you like to do. I always tried the gym and never enjoyed it… it cost money and I never stayed with it. Now I walk every day and it is lovely exercise and I am happy to do it!

    I vote for the beautiful red dress, you look spectacular! Congratulations! I like the blue dress as well but somehow the style of the red one is eye catching. Thank you for this post, a lot of good information and things to think about.

  25. Brandy you look lovely. I am very happy for you.

    I love to cook and I enjoy my own cooking and others good home cooking too . I am limited in what exercise I can do so I have always been very careful with portion size and to cook with as little added fat and sugars as I can and still have the recipe turn out. I was told by the doctor when I was diagnosed with RA that it was important to maintain a healthy weight so as to keep stress off the joints. I have always taken that advice very seriously. My husband comes from a family of naturally tall and thin folks but he also is a very hard worker. My children take after him but also are all runners.

  26. Very pretty. I love both of those dresses. The red dress would look very pretty with the blue shoes too.

    Congratulations of the weight loss. I have had to fight with my weight my whole life. It has been difficult at times to say the least. I finally had gastric bypass surgery more than 10 years ago. I lost half my body weight. I have been able to maintain it and have actually lost a few more pounds recently.

    Thanks for sharing your new pictures. I know they inspire me.

    I can not stand tennis shoes either. They make my size 8 feet look HUGE and seem to weigh more than my normal flats. I don’t wear sandals much. I never wear boots.

  27. Very pretty. I love both of those dresses. The red dress would look very pretty with the blue shoes too.

    Congratulations of the weight loss. I have had to fight with my weight my whole life. It has been difficult at times to say the least. I finally had gastric bypass surgery more than 10 years ago. I lost half my body weight. I have been able to maintain it and have actually lost a few more pounds recently.

    Thanks for sharing your new pictures. I know they inspire me.

    I can not stand tennis shoes either. They make my size 8 feet look HUGE and seem to weigh more than my normal flats. I don’t wear sandals much. I never wear boots.

  28. Hello! Congratulations on weight loss!
    Would you share with us if you were very hungry at first cutting back on portions at all? Headaches or anything?
    Thank you!!

  29. Brandi, Both dresses are fabulous! I like the new picture of you on the side, too. Stunning!
    I mourned when I had to stop running. Just recently, I’ve upped my walking game. The local Tribal center started a program where you get a dollar token for every mile you walk in their building. I LOVE a challenge, so I started walking to earn those tokens. They are to be used at the farmers market for vegetables. When it’s done, I will continue because it fills the running need without killing my back and joints. Yesterday I tried on my favorite jeans, that run tight, and they fit perfectly! So happy! I don’t have a scale, either, as someone else mentioned. As long as my clothes fit, I’m good. I also stopped eating so many snacks which is hard to do when I have to make brownies for my husband about every five days. I do like candy and soda pop. I haven’t had a coke in weeks, though. The candy is an ongoing effort. I,m also working on being good to myself. All those years of taking care of children and husband and leaving myself for last is over. These days I take care of me first, for the most part. Dinner is later because I’m walking. We’re adjusting. It’s all about compromise.
    I’m going to look into the app you mentioned. I’m so low tech, I may need help with that one.

  30. Brandy you look so classy and young and as beautiful as your daughter! Thank you for the inspiration and insight. I wholeheartedly agree with you and your methods. Congratulations!
    Melody in OR

  31. Wonderful. You look fabulous, and I appreciate the encouragement.

    I love that about the shoes. So often I don’t exercise because I would need to go change my shoes. Hmmm…

    I do think exercise helps me…not to lose weight necessary, but just to feel better (sleep better etc.) and then not eating so much seems to be a huge key to all of this. I love that your exercise is just part of your daily routine. It can be quite a lot of exercise to mop a floor by hand or work in the garden. I was thinking that I was thinner when my laundry room was in our basement and wondering if we should go back to that (and free up a room on our main floor!)

  32. SJ, your comment is very interesting and helpful. I snack too much. Thank you! (Congratulations! You are inspiring!)

  33. A few years ago I wanted to lose some weight, but I was a student on a tight budget, had limited say in what went on the dinner table (communal living) and a tendency to fall asleep by the sound of the word “exercise”.
    I’m lucky that I have no medical conditions that impacts my nutritional needs or my body’s ability to lose or gain weight.
    A few tricks did it, and has since helped me stay at a comfortable and healthy weight.

    1. No sweets, cakes or treats during the week, only on weekends.
    2. Never skip out of natural exercise: commute by bike (10 km), take the stairs, not the escalator/elevator, walk, etc.
    3. One serving at every meal.

    And whenever I was about to eat more or things I had restricted, I asked myself:
    1. Do I really want it or am I just eating because it’s there?
    2. Am I eating this to please someone else, someone that doesn’t have to live in my body?

    And lastly I tried to remind myself that there will be food again, I’m really not living under circumstances in which I have to eat every time the opportunity presents itself.

    And both of those dresses look beautiful on you 🙂

  34. Thank you, Brandy. This is excellent advice and just what I was hoping for. The weight loss advice that comes from the weight loss industry so often contradicts itself and is so expensive. It’s affirming to hear commonsense advice with the pictures to back it up! 🙂 It really does come down to consistently making good decisions about what I eat and how I move. If I want to lose weight, I have to do the things it takes to lose it. Time to get it done! I have all the resources I need. Thanks once again for your good example and encouraging advice. BTW, I’ve enjoyed your blog for years, but this year our income has dropped by two-thirds and I’m rereading your blog to help run my household with less money, but with gracious contentment–still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

  35. The app is one my mom has and uses. When I was with my parents in Missouri in September my mom pulled out her phone and told us how much we had walked that day. We had been walking all day and it was interesting to see that she didn’t use a pedometer. I had tried a pedometer before, but it doesn’t work real well when you like to wear dresses 🙂 I don’t have a cell phone and I’m sure there are lots of other great programs out there that you can use on your phone (a few have been mentioned in the comments).

    I love that you can use your walking to purchase vegetables! That is wonderful!

  36. I’m with you, Roxie. I’ve had weight issues my whole life and nothing worked. About 4 years ago, I had gastric by-pass surgery. For the first time, the weight came off and, for the most part, stayed off. I’d do better if I didn’t have such a battle over food with the rest of my family. Regardless, I’m very happy I had the surgery.

    Exercise is a huge problem for me. I hate gyms and most types of exercise (bad childhood memories). I loath the idea of paying to do something I hate. I don’t mind walking, but I live in Canada. Walking in sub-zero temps through snow and ice is not happening. So every winter, the weight goes up and every summer it goes down (that’s right, I hibernate in the winter). Now, if I could just get to the point that the weight loss in summer exceeds the weight gain in winter, I’d be golden!

    There are 2 things that I’ve learned from my gastric by-pass surgery. First, eat from a smaller plate if you want to eat less food! Second, focus more on the protein, and less on the carbs. Fruits and veggies are good fillers and packed with nutrients, but won’t satisfy those cravings. Our bodies need protein and if it doesn’t get it, it starts to crave carbs (don’t understand why, but that’s how it works!). So, eating a protein at every meal will help curb the need to snack on carbs. I know protein is the most expensive thing to buy. However, Brandy is correct. There are many inexpensive protein sources to choose from that will work for weight loss, even with a tight budget!

    Congrats on your weight loss, Brandy. You look amazing, but I’m sure how you feel is even better!!!

  37. Yes, I have felt hungry. As far as headaches–I try to have protein at every meal. If I don’t, I don’t feel good. I don’t always have protein with my meals, but when I do, I feel less hungry in between meals. So at breakfast I tend to have eggs or Greek yogurt, or if I have oatmeal I have it with almonds. I’ve been making hard boiled eggs to go on my salads when they are a main course.

    If I feel hungry between meals, I drink water. Often I find I just need something in my mouth, or I’m actually just thirsty. If I get really hungry I will have something small, but my weight loss slows down if I eat between meals, so it depends on how strong I’m feeling those days. Some days are easier than others, but slowly and steadily I plan to get to my goal and then continue to eat in the same way to keep it off.

  38. Brandi, thank you for such practical advice! I’ve come to many of the same conclusions. Another sensible tip is to take advantage of those moments when your standing still to do some lower body ballet barre type movements to strengthen and tone the core and lower body. For example while your cooking in the kitchen do leg lifts to the side and rear. These will tone your legs and backside and strengthen your core as you balance on one leg. When you brush, take a wide stance and do pliés. Also pay attention to posture when you sit. Holding in your abs and sitting in correct posture will keep your abs and back balanced and toned. It all adds up at the end of the day! This is a great blog! I just subscribed and I look forward to reading more of your work! Thanks again!!

  39. Thanks, and you know I love your page. Since I started reading it, I’ve become so much more aware of all the little things I can do all the time to use my resources better 🙂

    I was wondering if at some point you’d do a 101 on using a dehydrator?
    I recently got one and I’ve only ever seen one used once, so I’m a little scared of it 🙂
    We also recently moved into a new house, (my first home with a garden since leaving my parents house, yay!), and are lucky enough to have taken over several apple- and peartrees, all of whom bear an abundance of fruit, so I’d be particulary interested in tips and tricks about fruit dehydration.

  40. I love both of those dresses, and while blue is always my favorite color, the red dress’ neckline is absolutely charming, so I can’t pick which one I like best.
    Brandy, no one would ever guess you have had the children you’ve had. You look so young and trim!
    I had been slim to downright skinny most of my life, and I was in my 50’s when I found out it was mostly due to the fact that I had undetected Crohn’s, with the main symptom of fever rather than bathroom issues. I knew I’d been anemic and tired all my life – suddenly that was explained. Once I got on track with control of my disease, I suddenly gained about 20 pounds, though, so now I have to watch what I eat and have had to drop a few pounds. I also found that cutting back portions and concentrating on veggies more has made the biggest difference. No seconds, unless it’s something like raw bell pepper, I avoid or eat desserts very minimally, my “snacks” are glasses of home-made kombucha (for gut health), and I exercise moderately, plus work in my yard. Different things work for different people, though — I consume full-fat (raw) dairy products and cook with lard or butter, yet it works for me. The small amounts of fat at each meal help me keep from being hungry between meals.
    I think everyone should find what works for him or her, but the myths listed above are excellent reminders that it can be done frugally.

  41. Thank you for sharing your success with us! I am inspired. I find it so difficult to lose weight while breastfeeding because I am so deperately hungry. When I am not it is easier for me to stop snacking and wait for healthy meals. I am also adjusting to having 4 small children and I am always in the kitchen which doesn’t help. For now I am doing my best but trying not to focus on a goal that feels so far off. Hopefully in 8ish months when I wean my baby I will have more time and mental energy to focus on weight loss. In the meantime if I continue to drop a pound here or there I’ll be happy. Great job Brandy you are beautiful inside and out!

  42. Me, too. I discovered that exercise amped up my appetite. I dropped 20 pounds last fall just by eating less, like Brandy did & going about my regular day. Now I just need to get the next 30 off….

  43. Thank you so much for your honest response. Sounds like you have definitely come up with a plan for yourself. I think I can learn from this! I am realizing I never really feel hungry! Which is probably not very good.

  44. We have tried the low carb diet. It’s expensive! I hate it! The best diet I have ever done sounds similar to what you are doing. I found the book at the thrift store for 25 cents. It’s called[u] Eight Minutes in the Morning[/u]. Basically, the exercises can be completed in 8 minutes and if you need equipment, it’s using your own body weight as resistance and maybe a couple of canned goods for weights. The diet itself is basic portion control and eating every three hours so that you don’t get hungry. It’s very inexpensive and I was never hungry. I lost 40 pounds in 4 months! No food is off limits, including chocolate. It’s about exercising self control.

  45. I’ll recommend My Fitness Pal too – but I use the online version, not the app. Easy to use and very helpful, in my opinion.

    I’m a Jazzercise instructor, so I “get paid” to workout, so that hasn’t been much of a problem for me. However, portion sizes have always been a problem. My registered dietitian told me that for most things a serving size is the size your palm – cheese, peanut butter are two of the exceptions (those are thumb size). That’s helped a lot. I also didn’t realize that the snacks I was eating had far more calories than I initially thought. Switching to something else definitely helped. We also started not buying the things that are my weakness (chips, crackers). All those things helped.

    I do weigh more than I “should” but I am definitely healthy and have a healthy amount of body fat and an unusually high amount of muscle. That’s good enough for me!

    Thanks for sharing Brandy! You look great – especially in that blue dress.

  46. Congrats, Brandy. There’s a reason that losing weight is on NY resolutions every year….it’s not easy.

    I know several people that lost considerable amounts of weight in similar fashions. One lost just a hair more than 130 lbs. (at about 50 yo) and is now weighing less than she did in HS. And my step dad lost over 100 lbs. in his 50’s. He wouldn’t even give up his McDs’ breakfast every morning! Both ate their main meal at lunch, but it was all about portion control. If you read the nutrition labels, it’s easy to see why so many Americans are overweight. Our idea of one serving is a bit….um….three times too much?! The other thing that both of them did was allow themselves to eat their favorite things….in moderation. My dad had his McD’s and my other friend had her favorite pizza every Sunday after church. She would occasionally buy a single bag of Cheetos for herself, as well. They’ve also kept it off for years by playing the “5 on? Then 5 off” game with the scale. They never let their weight go up more than 5 without cutting back.

    They both looked younger after they lost weight, which surprised me. I thought that with that much weight loss, they’d be saggy in their cheeks, but they don’t. They look great!

  47. That’s excellent!

    I did not cut out chocolate 🙂 In fact, I didn’t cut out anything at all. I just had to take ONE serving like you mentioned; I read lots of labels and seeing a real serving is really eye opening. I remembered what I ate when I was thin (before I got married) and how much and I have cut back to that amount and sometimes less when I can so that I can lose and not just maintain.

    My dad lost a lot of weight last year and brought his diabetic numbers down to not be diabetic anymore. He has made real permanent changes to his diet and I have been encouraged to see him lose weight at age 61. He looks better than he has in several decades. I felt like if he could do it, I could. I didn’t eat the amount of sweets that he did; I was just eating too much regular food.

  48. Brandy, you look amazing! Both the red and blue dresses are just gorgeous on you. Congratulations on your weight loss!

  49. Congratulations on making progress towards your goal!

    While I generally agree with this post, I think it’s important to note that there are sometimes underlying medical conditions that make weight loss difficult, including thyroid issues, PCOS, hormone imbalance and insulin resistance. If you’re actively trying to lose weight and not making progress, talk to your doctor! For some people, improved fitness is much more complicated than “eat less, move more”.

  50. Andrea,

    There can definitely be specific issues for people that they may find once they try to lose weight. However, many people are wanting to lose weight but haven’t yet tried.

    So many people (myself included) haven’t really tried because we think we need to spend money to get started, and we may not have that extra to do those things we think we have to have to be successful. I knew people who said they were all losing weight because they were using a specific video, and others who all have a Fitbit. They were seeing success when I wasn’t, and I felt like I couldn’t afford to lose weight unless I bought those things. The point is to not let a lack of money discourage you from trying if you want to lose weight.

  51. Brandy, Love this Post. Congrats on your weight loss and I too love both jewel tone dresses on you.

  52. Thank you for this post! You look positively lovely, and I’m so appreciative for your blog and this particular piece. I’m struggling to lose 25 pounds that I’ve gained over the last 10 years, and I’m at the start of my weight loss journey (after several failed attempts). This was just what I needed to read tonight, and I adore your writing. I always love your ability to distill complex ideas and tasks to their most essential (and helpful) core. Thank you, and congratulations!

  53. I am so glad you wrote this post. You look great! I need to lose weight. I like your ideas and upbeat attitude. I am going to follow your advice and see what I can do. It makes a lot of sense to eat like I did when I was thin!

  54. Marcia I had a smile when I read your post about your sister having high sugar/fat snacks in the house so that she doesn’t deprive her son. I believe that we deprive our children when we do not offer them the opportunity to have healthy food 99% of the time. Sometimes foods are for sometimes not even needed once a day or once a week, it seems we often forget this and look upon them as often foods. If we treated our children with our time and attention we would do them a lot more good than treating them with poor choices in food. I too do not really have these foods in the house. My children rarely have these types of foods anymore, just on special days like birthdays, easter etc etc. This is the only way I can assure myself that they will not end up with my eating problems.

  55. Congratulations on your weight loss. You look lovely but more importantly, you look happy and healthy. Thank you for your blog. You are a true inspiration.

  56. Congratulations on achieving a healthier you! In the future I hope you will blog about your skincare routine to include your lifestyle habits that you believe contribute to maintaining your flawless complexion. One last thing, which family member took these wonderful pictures of you? Thanks!

  57. You look wonderful. I love both dresses.

    My dad is 90. Until he was 85 he walked 5 miles a day, rode his exercise bike 7-8 miles a day (he liked to say he rode to California) and lifted weights AT home. He has been a diabetic for 30 yrs and takes 1/2 metaformin a day. He eats everything, just small servings and watches at what time of day he eats fruit and carbs. Good example for me.

    myfitnesspal is the app that our health ins encourages. Both of us were exercise trackers due to company encouragement. We get points for what we do (like walking 50000 steps a week) and those points lower how much we have to pay for our health ins. We focus on maxing the points to get the amt we pay to the least amt…side benefit of saving money is we are healthier. We got the trackers on sale. Hubby wanted one that was like a watch, took about a year to find one in our price range that would do what he needed it to do. He works out at the “wellness center” (like YMCA but company owned) right after he gets off work (takes shower there also so our water heater isn’t heating up for his shower LOL). I don’t want to spend the gas money 10 miles round trip plus time away from home to go work out. I walk the grass perimeter(1/3rd mile one lap) of this farm with my two dogs 3-5 times a day depending on weather. I have started jogging maybe 30 seconds 2-3 times on one or two of those laps. Both of us cut what we eat back. We do eat balance 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 protein 1/4 starch with 1/2 cup fruit on the side. Dairy is usually cheese, yogurt as dessert. We get enough calcium with our veggies. BUT Hubby is known for stacking his food high enough to serve a family of 4 off his plate and still have enough for himself. Kids laugh now as I out eat him. He lost from 300 lbs (really was over that) to 225 then went back up to 250. He is down to 240 right now with the goal of 1 lb per week. I went to eating soup a couple times a week for my lunch. I am coming off steroids so I should be able to find out what my weight is in a month instead of the “steroid” weight as my doctor calls it. He went back to snacking and was buying snacks when he got gas.

    Biggest advice I would give as a retired personal chef…DO NOT TASTE the food while you cook it. DO NOT clean your children’s plate, your spouse’s plate unless you are not serving yourself at all… eat REAL/ WHOLE food… and stay away from the processed foods.

    I will add a smile to this, my kids and grandkids know how I’ve had to change my diet. I was going through the drive thru of a fast food where my grandson is manager. I knew he was working so said before I ordered to tell him I love him to the person taking my order. When I got up to the window I could see him dealing with an issue with the register and he waved… the person handed me my order with the comment that he loved me…and he changed my order to fit what I should have ordered to begin with. I just had to laugh. He is his mother’s child as she had done that a couple times when I stop in where she works.

  58. Wow…U look amazing Brandi..Wat a feat to accomplish with kids..They must be proud of u…I think I like the red dress only that it compliments your skin color n dark hair…They are both beautiful dresses though…
    I am turning a milestone birthday this July n want to accomplish some weight loss before it. Also contemplating some surgery towards the end of the year:p and need the weight to come off so that I can heal faster n not have complications….Thanks for the many tips on weight loss…It’s going to motivate me indeed…:)

  59. I have lost 20 pounds since the first of the year by going gluten free (not sure if it is truly the gluten or wheat and I don’t really care which it is) as well as following a low FODMAP diet for my IBS which is complicated by pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (I take enzymes for it but it is a bit of a learning curve trying to figure out the best dose). I too HATE any type of “real” exercise but I love to garden. I seem to have leveled out for the moment but I am sure to lose more in the next month because I have to get all my heavy gardening stuff done before April 27th when I have a hysterectomy and reconstruction surgery done. Going gluten free is by far the biggest change I have made and have seen the most improvement in overall feeling well. My biggest problem was and is snacking thru-out the day mindlessly mostly on foods that offer nothing in the way of nutrition. I am not baking anything other than my gluten free bread and breakfast muffins. If the baked goods aren’t in the house, neither hubby (whose diabetic) or I can eat them! (I just got back from a doc appointment and am now down another 2 pounds 🙂 I guess I haven’t leveled out after all! Only 10 more pounds to go and I am under 200 for the first time in at least 8 years)
    BTW I LOVE that blue dress! They both are so feminine and classic! I can’t wait to lose more belly bloat (IBS related) so I can wear dresses again!

  60. In an effort to help control portion sizes I put away the dinner plates and only use salad plates. I’ve also found keeping the trigger foods out of the house helps me.

    When I don’t get enough protein I have junk food cravings. So protein with each meal and a small protein before I leave work keeps me on track and less likely to snack on junk.

  61. Congratulations on your weight loss! You look amazing! Would it be possible for you to do a post on what you eat in a typical day or week? I am also wondering about portion sizes…
    Thank you and Blessings!

  62. Brandy, you look great!
    I am once again impressed how much you are able to accomplish while taking care of eight children. You can be proud of yourself!

  63. My stepdad was borderline diabetic and that’s what spurred him to lose it all. If you can believe it, he quit smoking at the same time! He had been avoiding the doc for several years and I think that visit sorta scared the blazes outta him.

    Good for your dad, as well. Diabetes is a hard row to hoe so if one can avoid it, all the better. too many have no choice.

  64. Hi I am English but live in France and when I visited the USA I was shocked by the portion sizes .So much so that some days I could only manage breakfast !
    When I finished school I lost 10 kg because I did a summer season in a hotel and had so much work I didn’t have time to snack.
    I am so lazy that I said never again would I put on weight as it would be hard to lose it.
    I haven’t put any on in 40 years ,infact I am just a little lighter than I was at 18 .
    I belive small portions of what you fancy is the best way and sport. I go 4 times a week to the gym at 6 am because their are few people. plus 1 lesson with a private coach and then walk 20 km each weekend .I work full time and have a family and a budget !Liz

  65. Thank you for posting this, Brandy. You look beautiful, happy and healthy, a winning combination! I’ve been trying to lose weight the past couple of months. Several weeks ago, I upped my exercise from walking 1/2 mile a day to 2 miles twice a day (several serious inclines with each walk), and it doesn’t seem to have made much difference, so I have to agree with you. I garden and live an active lifestyle, so portion control, watching snacking and limiting myself to one serving of alcohol a day is crucial… when I’ve got a lot of dinner prep I like to sip on a glass of wine while working, then if I’ve finished it, have another glass with dinner. Not good! I’ve noticed that one small glass makes all the difference in my losing weight or not. I bought sparkling water to have something “special” to sip on instead. So far, I’m down 3 lbs, but would love to drop another 10 to 12. I’m looking into the apps mentioned.

  66. It’s really, really easy to drink your calories. I don’t drink alcohol, coffee or tea, but milk, juice, lemonade and soda are plenty of calories too!

    I usually drink water but even a treat of one of these can be a meal’s worth of calories by itself! For those who regularly drink anything other than water, just changing to drinking water can start weight loss.

  67. One thing I will note: Exercise can build muscle. You may not lose weight but change your shape and therefore look leaner and wear a smaller size.

  68. You look “Maaavelous Daahling!” Seriously, you look so young and healthy. (Ialways thought you were beautiful anyway.) you are SO RIGHT–losing weight is free. And when you do it the way you did you have actually changed your lifestyle and are much less likely to gain the weight back. I am so proud of you. And PS exercise doesn’t help lose weight IMO, but it does make you feel much better.

  69. So inspiring, thanks for this post, Brandi!

    For those wishing to workout for free at home, I highly recommend the YouTube channel Fitness Blender. If you go to their website you can filter workouts for time, type (strength training, cardio, etc), and if equipment is needed. Many of their workouts are body weight only.

    I also use the free app “my net diary”

  70. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. Muscle is actually more dense, thereby occupying less space than the equivalent weight of fat.

  71. When you exercise more, you will build more muscle mass. As muscles are heavier than fat, the scales might shown an increase in weight, but you may have lost fat. My weight went up a little when I started seriously exercising, but my measurements are a bit smaller:)I put on a kilo of muscle in the first month, but muscle is good as they use more energy even when “resting”. Try measuring yourself as well as weighing.

  72. Love the dress! Looks fabulous on you! I have gained weight in the year following my husband’s death, as has my daughter/ I am a young widow, and with exception of my 83 year old Aunt, the only one among family and older family friends and my friends. Working on losing but it is a slow process, follow most of the things you outlined. My daughter and I loved the taco soup which is full of good things and not high calorie. For those of your readers going through tough times, it is just a season and taking care of your self is the best thing you can do for those you love.

  73. I had exactly the same problem. The more I dieted, the more I gained. Finally, I said nuts to dieting. What I did was add oil (extra virgin olive oil) to my diet, increased proteins somewhat and watched portion size. And yes, I had a thyroid problem and when treated I lost 11 pounds (only) almost immediately. It was after that loss that I added EXVOO. I drink water, not juice. Then,, 60 pounds dropped off me. I absolutely agree with Mrs. Kelly Dribble: please get your thyroid checked.

  74. Brandy,
    You look amazing. Congratulations on your weight loss. I have exercise DVD’s. I have exercised since high school where I played tennis, gymnastics and softball. I mix up my routines. I do yoga, pilates, weight training, cardio, walking and gardening. My husband got a fitbit for me and I walk more because I check my steps more often. I like yoga the best. It keeps me limber and strong. I walk my dog and play with my grandchildren. I am the weight I want to be. I eat healthy most of the time. I can eat as much as I want because I cook my meals and they are low calorie. I am a vegan so I eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, rice, beans and whole grains. I drink a lot of water too.

  75. brandy you look wonderful. how much weight have you lost?
    i’ve canned some things this week, and deydrated some fruits. trying to get my pantry stocked, plan on canning a lot this summer. been working in the garden. have green peas that are doing well. just hope they make good. well, you have a good week. and god bless you and your family.

  76. Yes!! I was going to do the same thing- recommend the free Fitness Blender workouts (on YouTube and their website), and my net diary. Great minds must think alike 🙂

  77. Hi Brandy, thank you so much for this much needed post. I feel like when you are a stay at home mom, your day revolves around food and being in the kitchen all day. I noticed that my constant “tasting” probably is the equivalent to a meal!
    Yes, I have felt that the only way to lose is to join weight watchers or something similar. I hate eating something different from my family! So, I am joining your weight loss regimen. Eat smaller portions, no snacks, and only water! Also, go outside and work

  78. BTW you look great! I just wanted to chime in here and agree with you. A little over a year ago I made the decision to yet again try to lose weight. I was 230 lbs. The difference was it had to be on my terms. Nothing artificial, fat free or sugar free unless God made it that way. I hate HATE to exercise and so my “Exercise” had to be activity: House cleaning, mowing the lawn, gardening, etc. If I had to exercise I used my MP3 player and would do a step, but I would rather cut the grass. Anyway, I ate real food, butter, sugar, whole dairy, etc. I ate what I wanted, and am typing to you right now at a weight of 175.8 lbs. I haven’t been this weight in 30 years. The answer that had always eluded me? Portion control, count calories, and move each day. It is free. Can’t get any better than that.

  79. I think not having the bad food in the house though –

    I only have to have willpower at the grocery store, once or twice a week!

    If it’s in the house, I have to have it every time I’m in the kitchen!

    The seconds or thirds thing is definitely something my spouse struggles with though!

  80. Laura, I am a runner…I just can’t help it, it’s part of who I am. So, I don’t spend money on races very often and I buy the last year’s model of my favorite running shoes, but the shoes are expensive for sure.
    But, I agree with Brandy–it’s all about the calories! I have gained weight running 30-45 miles/wk because, aside from Michael Phelps, you can’t out-exercise a calorie surplus. (I believe a medium cookie dough blizzard has 750 calories…that would require running 7.5 miles to burn those off) lots of veggies, fruits, grains, and beans are the ticket–as well as NOT eating sweets. It’s so hard! However, happily, I now weigh exactly the same as when I graduated high school 33 years ago.
    Congratulations Brandy–you look great and you look like you feel great 🙂

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