I changed the way I looked at food and what it meant to be healthier. I lost 50 pounds and am now at my goal weight. Along the way, I lowered my blood pressure and blood sugar, lowered by cholesterol and my pulse or heart rate is about 10 beats slower. “I had a tendency to do what I call all or nothing at all,” I’d get really hungry and then I’d go binge on pizza or whatever other high-fat food I enjoyed at the time. There was a tendency to want to get the weight off fast, wanting quick results, but not really [be] able to stick with it because it was too extreme.” I finally realized it wasn’t a time-limited thing. It wasn’t like, ‘Well, I’m going to be really good and stay on this food plan now until I get the weight off.’ It was more a realization that, ‘You know, if I want to weigh 170 to 175 pounds, then I have to do these things. I can’t stop doing them just because I lose the weight.’
“So it became much more of a lifestyle change than a temporary diet. The idea that somehow I could go back to my old ways was just not there anymore.”
I know how hard it is to make a lifestyle change. I also know it may take some time to get ready to do it.
Nothing anybody else said to me or suggested to me had any impact, until I decided for myself that I needed to do something about my weight, and that it was worth it. People aren’t going to change until they see a reason to do it and are willing to do it. Some people want to lose weight, but they are not ready. It is a major deal. It was harder in many ways than stopping smoking was. It’s because food’s everywhere. It’s a real commitment of time and energy. It’s hard work, (but) it’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done.
Once I changed the way I ate and I was happy with what I was eating, then I couldn’t go back to eating the old foods that made me fat. I didn’t feel good when I ate those foods.
- Take it one meal at a time.
- Read labels so you can see how much sugar, fat, protein, and fiber are in foods.
- Cut out most refined sugar. I used to really enjoy candy-a Hershey’s bar or something like that. What I started to do was substitute that with chocolate pudding that had Splenda in it and no sugar, or the 70% dark chocolate with very little added sugar, and that only on rare occasions.
- Eat whole fruit when you crave something sweet.
- Eat 6 times a day. I eat small snacks 3 times a day, including fruit or whole-grain crackers.
- Eat breakfast.
- Keep track of how much you eat from each food group to make sure you balance meals.
- Make a list of foods that are “worth it” to you to spend the calories on.
Small changes lead to better health
The pizza I’m eating now is more European style-thin crust, with a lot of nice seasonings, tomato or a marinara sort of thing, with basil and a little bit of the mozzarella or provolone,” she says. “I just love the wood-fired crusts with less cheese. I thought I would hate that. What I’ve discovered is that I taste flavors so much more now than I did when I ate high-fat diet.
Plan ahead when you eat out
I still eat a little birthday cake now and then. And I don’t shy away from restaurants, because I love to eat out. I just make sure to allow for it in my eating plan.
To say I would never have cake again would be a very dangerous thing. If I’m at a birthday or wedding, I’ll eat a couple forks full and put it down.
When I go out to restaurants, I often ask the server to bag half the dinner before it’s brought to the table, so I can take it home for another meal the next day. I also take care when ordering. I’ll order grilled fish with no oil or butter, stay away from the fried foods and heavy sauces. Also orders vegetables without butter or sauces. My taste buds now prefer veggies with fresh lemon. I used to put globs of mayonnaise on stuff, globs of butter. Now I’ll eat fresh vegetables with no butter on them, just steamed with lemon. And they’re delicious. But it takes a while. It takes maybe 1 to 2 months to get use to the change.
Exercise helps maintain. Exercise plays a big role in helping stay in good shape. Being more active along with making healthier food choices is the key. My routine includes 25 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 days a week. I also like the stretching involved in yoga.
Support from others helps.
I did the hard work of losing weight on I own. But pats on the back from other people gave me support and a sense of community during my journey to get healthier. A weight loss trainer can help you with exercise. Some people feel lost when it comes to creating an exercise program and you can’t use another person’s program. If your going to do that make sure that he or she knows all about any health problems you have and any meds your taking. Before you start going to a trainer start your own walking program. Start slow 10 or 15 minutes a day at a slow pace and gradually increase the time to 30 minutes and then increase the pace. 2 miles in 30 or 40 minutes, 3 times a week is a goal you can do. Then you’ll be ready for a trainer. If you can’t reach this goal in 2 months, you might want to consult your doctor . See if he can change your exercise.