How Vowing NOT to Lose Weight Helped Amy Slim Down*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This month we have been highlighting Success Stories for people who set New Year's resolutions last year and stuck with them, to help you begin your own journey to success. Today we introduce you to someone who started 2013 with a resolution to try new foods instead of a goal to lose weight, which had previously not been successful. What she found was the year she chose not to set a weight-loss goal and focus on something else, she actually achieved weight loss, too!

Name: Amy Gross
SparkPeople Username: BrandNewAmy
Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
Occupation: Magazine Editor
Age:  46
Starting weight:  218
Current weight: 179
What was your New Year's resolution? My goal was to try 10 new vegetables in 2013. They didn't have to be exotic, just vegetables that hadn't made it into my typical ingredient list -- beets, turnips, Swiss chard, kale, and so forth.
Why did you set a New Year's resolution?  I always do, and probably for the same reason most people do: new year, clean slate!
What did you do to stay motivated? Staying motivated to stick with this resolution was easy. I did what I love to do: browse cooking sites for intriguing recipes featuring the new (to me) vegetable I was looking to try.
Why do you think you stuck with your resolution when so many people give up? That's easy: because instead of being about deprivation, my resolution was about eating and trying new things! I had always set the "lose weight and get healthy" resolution every other year and failed. Ironically, in 2013, the year I chose not to set that goal, I actually achieved it! So far I'm down 37 pounds.
What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful in sticking with your resolution?  As I mentioned, I love browsing cooking websites for new recipes. One of my favorite sites,, actually has a recipe index where you can search for an ingredient, and they'll show you a bunch of recipes that include it.
Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I lost 20 pounds doing my first challenge, so I thought I'd try again. Turns out, I was completely unmotivated, and I backslid a bit before losing again. Then I injured my hip while running and had to take some time off from it. My weight loss has always been slow, I deal with plateaus all the time, and I'm getting older. The triple whammy! But I'm super proud of the weight I've already taken and kept off since March. 
What was the hardest part about committing to your New Year's resolution? Finding recipes that both my husband and I would be willing to try. He's a pretty experimental eater, which is great, but it turns out that after encouraging me to try Brussels sprouts, he's not as crazy about them as I am. But even he acknowledges that trying new veggies helps keep us out of a recipe rut.
Did you experience any other benefits (improved relationships, reach other goals, improved self-image/confidence etc.) while sticking with your resolution?  I've met some wonderful and supportive people (mostly online) through my various weight loss challenges and they have been fun to take the journey with. It's always great to bond with people who just get it. The other perk to losing weight and livening up my culinary repertoire is discovering an entire new wardrobe in my own closet. There's nothing so fun as being able to fit into clothes you haven't squeezed into for years (well, except for buying new ones).
What advice do you have for others who might set a similar resolution for this year? Set a goal that's smallish and attainable, and look at it as a challenge to yourself from yourself, not as a punishment for past sins.
Now that you've succeeded with this resolution, have you/will you set any other goals?  I set goals all the time: "Today I'll track all of my food." "This week I will drink 8-10 glasses of water every day." "In three weeks, I will be running 2.5 miles." When I meet (or even better, exceed) those small goals, the bigger ones suddenly seem much more achievable.
How did SparkPeople help you achieve success?  I follow SparkPeople on Facebook and enjoy the daily polls, bits of wisdom, and funnies. And I really look forward to SparkGuy's daily Facebook post, telling me to "Hit 'Like' if I exercised at least 10 minutes or took any other steps to achieve my goals." There's something so satisfying about being able to hit that button. I do it every day!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
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Great article! Report
Great ideas :) Thanks Report
I copied this quote into my "thankful app" as a reminder: " look at it as a challenge to yourself from yourself, not as a punishment for past sins."
I struggle with that feeling as soon as I decide to eat better and exercise more--that I'm being punished. Report
I LOVE your story! I love the fact that your "goal" was based out of a creative nature to expand your horizons and include new foods into your life...all geared toward well-being.
In my opinion, this is one of the most enjoyable, safest and inspiring methods to use for weight loss...and is easily one that results in longevity.

In fact, I love your story so much that I included it in a post I wrote for Formulated titled "Two Inspiring (and Healthy) Weight Loss Stories" in an effort to help your message reach even more readers.
Great job!
Great advice to set mini goals that are attainable. Report
This is wonderful. I have lost a little over 100 pounds. I really feel great! I try to walk everyday. Keep up the great work! Are you a Christian? Report
I enjoyed reading your success story. It has given me some motivating ideas. Keep it up, my heart is full of joy for you. Report
Way to go Amy! Report
WTG AMY! You look GREAT! Report
Thanks for the tip, especially searching by ingredient. Awesome. Thanks too for sharing your progress. Report
Way to go, Amy! That sounds like a fun challenge! Report
Congratulations, Amy. You look terrific. I love your idea of searching for new recipes to use new ingredients -- I love to cook so this will be a fun idea for me to pursue. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
Good for you!!! you look awesome and younger!!! Report
Well done Amy! I love your idea of adding to your life rather than restricting. You are a wonderful inspiration!!! Report
Great Job Amy! you look fantastic . You inspired me to try new vegies I will try turnips I always stay away from them ,Congratulation. Report
AWESOME, you had a great idea and it worked, CONGRATS!!! Report
I've been downloading Kindle books by SJ. Scott. One was "Resolutions That Stick: How 12 Habits Can Transform Your Year." His advice was very much like yours -- take big changes and break them down into manageable goals. But he took it a little further and suggested that we take a resolution and break it down into 12 mini-goals, one new goal per month. This really makes things both specific and measurable. For example, if by the end of February we have or haven't gotten into the habit of journaling (January's goal) and drinking our water every day (February's) we definitely know where we stand. I love making lists, so these ideas really resonated with me. Report
Thanks for the affirmation that small steps lead to big changes! Report
Great point of view and different perspective...turns a negative into a positive for the old brain, I like that. Congrats on your weight loss....I used to live in Pojoaque, misspelled I'm sure. I managed a bookstore in Los Alamos, called Otowi Station...I MISS the area terribly...I live at the beach now, so it's a close second, buy a bit of my heart will always belong to Santa Fe. Report
Great job Amy! Setting small goals is definitely the way to go. Report
Wonderful job Amy! Keep up the hard work, it's paying off! Report
Keep up the great work. Listen to your body with the running. Slow & steady wins the race!
Thanks, everybody, for the really encouraging comments! I'm working on my 2014 resolutions right now. A couple are easy ("be kinder to my skin and teeth!"), but a couple are harder, having to do with upping my running and generally trying to break out of the weight loss rut I seem to be in, ugh. My husband and I also are giving vegetarianism a try. (Last year's resolution is helping with that one!) I'm curious about your resolutions for this year. Did you set any, and if so, how are you doing with them? Report
This article could have been about me! My name is Amy and I too have lost 50 lbs with the help of veggies! In AZ, the summers are deathly hot, so it is very satisfying to eat a salad for lunch and dinner! When "winter" rolled around, I roasted turnips, beets, and brussel sprouts (not all together) or made soups with lots of vegetables!
I even started eating fruit. :-)

Thanks for the article! Report
I love how you break down a huge goal into baby steps, it makes the whole process seem easier. I'm a big checklist person (I love the satisfied feeling I get when I can cross something off my list) so I'm going to try this approach to getting healthy. Thank you Amy! Report
Amy, congratulations on your accomplishments! I love this quote:
"Set a goal that's smallish and attainable, and look at it as a challenge to yourself from yourself, not as a punishment for past sins."
This is awesome and just what I needed to read today! Thank you! Report
Congrats Amy! Way to go. I am so glad to have read your story, thanks for sharing. I especially loved the advice on challenging yourself, not paying for your past sins. I read a quote recently that I will share with you. "She could never go back and make the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful" ~ Terri St. Cloud. Good luck in 2014 on moving forward with your new goals~ Report
In the last year I have also discovered rainbow chard (beautiful) and kale! Report
You look terrific Amy! Thanks for a common sense, I-can-really-relate-to-this article. :-) Report
The "link to previous" is missing. ;) Report