125 Pounds Lost: Cynthia Sets a Weight Loss Date and Sticks With It
Name: Cynthia Callahan
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Before: 391 lbs.
After: 266 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?
I had always fooled myself into thinking that I was fat but healthy. I was strong and flexible. My numbers were good. I thought that it would nice to be lose weight to be more attractive, to buy cute clothes, to get a man…but none of that outweighed my addiction to eating. Over the years, I gained more weight. And more weight. And then I was approaching 400 pounds. It was terrifying and I felt trapped by it. In my late 30s, suddenly my ‘healthy body’ was hurting. My knees, my feet, my back – they all started giving out. I couldn’t take a long walk without being in pain. I began to hide out more in my home and avoid going places that I might not fit or where I might have to walk very far.
I come from a family of eaters, many of whom have struggled with their weight and the accompanying health problems. When my sister became pregnant with my niece, I realized that I would not be fit enough to play with her, that my size might embarrass her, or worse, my habits would become her habits and she would struggle as I have.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
I started in the Spring of 2012, the day after Easter. I remember doing this farewell tour of insane amounts of Easter candy, junk food, and take-out. I thought my life was OVER and I needed to say goodbye to good food.
How did you get started?
I think the first step was acknowledging my binge eating disorder. I am addicted to food. Like any addict, I had to surrender to a plan. My will and what I thought I needed was twisted by my addiction. So I committed. Really committed. I didn’t allow myself a choice. I set a date, I researched and planned, I cleaned out my kitchen, and I started.
I started with the South Beach Diet on Phase 1. That’s lots of lean protein, veggies, greens, nuts and seeds, etc. for two weeks, but no fruit or sugar/starches. That’s to detox your system from sugar. After the first two weeks, you gradually add back in fruits and whole grains. This helps you find how your body reacts to those foods, how much you can tolerate without bringing back cravings, trigger foods, etc. It was all really helpful. I realized that I could regain control over my cravings by removing certain things from my diet. Finally, it wasn’t a fight all of the time.
What was your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge is how food-centered our culture is. Every activity seems to have eating traditions and we get so bought into the idea that the activity isn’t the same without the food:
- “But you HAVE to get popcorn and candy at the movies! You HAVE to!”
- “It’s your birthday. You HAVE to have cake. It’s not your birthday without cake and ice cream!”
- “A baseball game isn’t the same without beer and a hotdog. You HAVE to!”
- “What’s Christmas without cookies and egg nog? You HAVE to!”
And that’s hard to get through because you aren’t just managing your own habits, but other people’s, too. People WANT you to participate in their eating traditions and it is hard to resist.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
The first year went very smoothly. I lost 100 pounds and I felt unstoppable. And then some old habits and compulsions started creeping back in and my progress was erratic. I’ve gained and lost the same pounds countless times. It can be very frustrating and this is the time when I used to give up. I found myself giving in more and letting the weight creep back up. But I see it all differently now. Even if I stray, I can get right back on a keep going. I can look for answers in the mistakes I have made. I am no longer depriving myself to reach a goal. I am nourishing myself – today.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
I stop and reflect — and make sure that I’m not going overboard with portions. Going back to strict measuring and planning can help confirm that I’m not unknowingly going off plan. I also try mixing up my routines. If I’ve been eating eggs every morning, I try having fruit/veggie smoothies or oatmeal. The same goes for exercise. Switch it out. Instead of walking, try biking or swimming.
What’s your current exercise routine?
I hate exercising, so I focus on moving more and doing things I enjoy. I walk my dog. I ride my bike to work instead of driving. I go for a swim or dance around my living room. I took a Zumba class and enjoyed that. I started C25K running program, but found it is still too hard on my hips. I’ll try it again when I’m lighter. I’m trying to get into active hobbies instead of “exercising.”
What’s your daily diet look like?
Over time, I found that the South Beach Diet worked well for me, but only if I avoided all processed, refined, pre-packaged foods. I have also, over time, begun to eat more plant-based. I wouldn’t label myself a vegan, but I would say that I rely more on plant proteins and less on animal. I feel better and I can eat more for less calories. I still eat meat, dairy, and eggs – just not every day. For breakfast, I often have a smoothie with kale, lemon, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, berries, coconut oil, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, and chia seed. It keeps me full and it’s really convenient. Snack is often a piece of fruit with nuts or carrots with hummus. For lunch, I usually have another smoothie or a big veggie salad with avocado and nuts. For dinner, I might have brown rice and dark red kidney beans with tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, green peppers, and veggie Italian sausage. For dessert, I often make a chocolate milkshake with frozen bananas and raw cacao in the blender. You’d be surprised how good that is!
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?
I really love apples with peanut butter. I get that fresh-ground peanut butter from the deli —nothing but peanuts.
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?
Plan in advance what you are going to eat and eat often. If you wait until you are hungry, you won’t make good decisions. If you are going to a restaurant, check out the menu online and pick out some options before you get there. That way, you won’t make impulsive decisions or get swept up in what other people are eating. And be careful of how you let other people impact what you are eating. Make your own decisions and don’t worry about other people.
What’s your life like after weight loss?
I feel like I am finally awake. Food was an escape, but I was escaping from EVERY element of my life. I always thought that if I lost the weight my life would begin. But my life was already going on without me. A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about giving your body what it needs to thrive. I’m still not a healthy weight, but I am doing everything I can do today and loving who I am right now.
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?
If you will make sure you eat 5-6 cups of vegetables and greens a day, plus 3-4 servings of fruit (regardless of what else you eat)…you will be SHOCKED at what a change it makes in how you feel, your hunger, your cravings, your weight, your energy, your hair and skin, everything!
Source: Everyday Health
Originally posted 2014-02-17 11:00:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter