This is a mama post- very little to do with the kiddos- you've been warned!!
The realistic answer is the one we all hate to hear- diet and exercise.
That being said, over the past 2 years I have tried so many diets it is ridiculous, dr oz cleanses, weight watchers, shakeology, other shake programs, the hcg diet, essential oils, voodoo (kidding). I could never sustain any of it. I drank a cleanse shake twice a day about a year ago for 2 months that was recommended by a homeopath, it literally tasted like chalk- by the end of this I was actually gaining weight.
I shredded, I 21 day fixed, I did insanity max- it all hurt like hell and I didn't see the results I wanted and needed.
We all need a catalyst to change- something that drives us. I will admit that for me, while I would like to say it was an internal drive to better myself, the initial trigger was caused by an external factor, which was my sisters wedding. I had been looking forward to the day she got married basically since the day she was born (she is 12 years younger than me), but when it was finally happening I was terrified at the thought of wearing a bridesmaids dress with a bunch of women at least 10 years younger than me- and I was the heaviest I had ever been. I didn't want to embarrass myself, or even worse, her. Cue all the diet craziness. The hardcore attempts started last January- and did not go very well at all. About a month after me, a neighbor started a medical weight loss program. I watched her weight seem to literally fall off (obviously not the case but compared to me it sure seemed like it!!). About 3 months later-
A good 30-40 lbs less for her and probably 5 lbs MORE for me, I finally decided I was going to find a way to stomach the cost of the program she was using and get myself in there! I was in a time crunch. It took over a month to get an appt, by the time I got started it was June 23rd- two months from the wedding. I had little hope I would see a difference by then but I was not giving up without a fight. We went to the beach for a week during my first week on the diet- I literally sat in an ice cream shop across from my whole family eating Sundaes while I drank a lemon diet shake- one of the hardest weeks of my life- I lost 4 pounds.
Here is the website for the program, run by a local Pcp. It is not one of the big popular diets, but the products used are prescription and available through other practices:
The program involves shakes, bars, puddings and soups. It is very restrictive and high protein. There are weekly classes and the program is supervised by a doctor and a nutritionist, who when you get close to your goal weight help you adapt back to regular foods, which I have been doing for the past 2 months. You continue to lose weight as you adapt, if you follow the instructions and now I am at "maintenance".
After about a week on the program I started adding in exercise- first Jillian Michaels shred- it took me 60 days instead of her prescribed 30 to get to level 3- which is killer- but I have abs and nice arms for the first time in my adult life and I highly recommend it!! About two weeks into that I started couch to 5k, which is a nice slow progression to running a 5k. I ran the full distance the Thursday before my sisters wedding. I will disclose that I ran cross country in high school and ran some as an adult, so it wasn't all new to me, but I promise you this- it was "like new" with how out of shape I was when I started!!!
By the wedding I was down 20 lbs, not nearly where I had wanted to be, but a huge relief after where I had started. The dress I had tried on and cried over in June was taken in by about two sizes, so that was good
After the wedding, one of the medical technicians at the program said, "so are you finished now?" And that's when it hit me that no, I was not, if I was going to work this hard, I may as well finish what I started!
I have lost the other 20 lbs I always wanted gone. I ran a 10 k, then a half marathon. I kept doing Jillian Michaels shred on my off days from running- it's 20 minutes people- we can do ANYTHING For 20 minutes!! I can plank row with the best of them these days! And I try to log at least 20 miles running each week. It's not easy with the kids schedules, therapies, countless IEP meetings etc, but it is WORTH IT. And not just for me- they have a completely different, energized mama who takes them on outings after her 10 mile runs on the weekends. Not to mention a happy mama! Jack observes my Jillian Michaels and tries to do it with me- he stands behind me and tells me I am making a "good choice". He has been my biggest cheerleader.
So there is no big mystery here, lots of hard work, an investment of time and money, and a good team of professionals. But if I can do it- anyone can- full time job, two special needs kids...these things just mean time management is everything. And now I have a new sanity saver- running- it is everything to me. And boy did I get my results!!!