From Yo-Yo Dieting to Lifelong Change
Lisa was once the self-proclaimed queen of yo-yo dieting. She tried everything, but always gained the weight back. After a family hiking trip, she realized she needed to make a lifelong change to her eating habits, and start treating her body better. Lisa lost over 50 pounds by logging her foods, holding herself accountable, slowly incorporating exercise into her routine, and not beating herself up over plateaus and bad days.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
I was prompted to begin this weight loss journey when my family and I went on a hiking trip to the mountains. After the first 30 minutes on the hiking trail, I was completely out of breath and I just couldn’t keep up with my kids. I had to turn around and wait for them to finish the trail. I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to get so out of shape. This was my “Aha!” moment. I told myself that I’m way too young to be feeling like this and something had to change.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I was the queen of dieting. I had tried every single diet out there in the past only to lose the weight and gain it all back. I tried diet pills, liquid diets, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slimfast, Atkins, and the list goes on and on. I had yo-yo dieted the same 50-60 pounds up and down for the past 20 years and it had taken a toll on my body and mind.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
After having my fourth operation due to digestive issues because of my poor eating habits, I decided that I really needed to get serious about making a healthy, lifelong change and the key word here is “lifelong.” My doctors wanted me to track what I was eating, so I first started writing a food journal for a few days but then I found Calorie Count online.
It was heaven-sent and my doctors loved it because they could also see what I was eating on a daily basis. This daily logging was keeping me accountable for what I was putting into my body and I became aware of what was working and what wasn’t. I slowly started to add more “clean” foods into my daily food intake making less room for processed and sugar-laden foods. This gradual, but effective, move of eating mostly vegetables, fruits, and healthy grains started me down my current weight loss path.
After about a 20-pound weight loss I plateaued for about a month. I read that other fellow CC-er’s broke plateaus by doing exercise. So, I decided to start exercising by simply walking 30 minutes a day, and sure enough, I started losing weight again.
I think the most important change was keeping track of everything I was putting into my body. That accountability was something I had never done before. It really opened my eyes to what I was doing to my body. When I needed encouragement and motivation, I would turn to my CC supporters. Their stories and words of encouragement is what got me through the rough patches and there were many of those.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count was not only instrumental in my success, but the key to my success. Without Calorie Count, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It offered me accountability, support, encouragement, motivation, and inspiration. All these things gave me the determination to not give up on myself and continue to strive and reach my goals no matter how unachievable I thought they may be at the time.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
I encountered many difficulties through my weight loss journey. Like our journey of life, it was a roller coaster filled with highs and lows, ups and downs, and sometimes upside-downs! I had plateaus that lasted weeks, I had days where I would binge, and times when I just lacked all motivation and drive to continue. But for every low, there was a high, so that is what kept me going.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I started to see results within the first two weeks. I realized I was a success 6 months into my journey. I was realizing my goals and my dream of a fitter, leaner, and healthier me.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
After I reached my weight loss goal, I felt I needed another goal to keep me on track and to prevent a relapse, so my new goal is to become a marathon runner. I will be competing in my first ever half-marathon this summer. My goal is to complete a marathon next year.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
My life has changed dramatically. I’m a different person. I don’t think I can ever go back to what I use to be. I’m happier, I move around all day, and I really enjoy my healthy eating. I still indulge on special occasions, but all the cravings and bad habits have disappeared which is a great feeling.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I only recently reached my goal weight, so I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks. But, I plan on continuing my new, healthy lifestyle to keep me where I’m at today.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
Tip 1: Don’t make it a diet because it will backfire on you. Instead, make this a lifelong, healthy lifestyle change. A “diet” is something you do for a certain period of time and then you drop it, and obviously that doesn’t work and it will make you miserable. Instead, make this a choice about living healthy and happy for the rest of your life.
Tip 2: This is not a race! This is a journey. In today’s society, we are always looking for instant “microwave” gratification, but that doesn’t work when it comes to your weight loss journey. This is about learning what works for you. It’s a learning process. You’re getting your PhD on a better you, so know that it isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s a gradual process. Changing what you eat is a gradual process. Incorporating more exercise into your day is a gradual process. Be kind to yourself, your body and mind will thank you.
Tip 3: Mistakes and bad days are good! It’s part of the learning process. When we have bad days, we need to not beat ourselves up about it. Instead, make it a learning experience. Understand the reasons why you had a bad day and make steps to try to avoid having more of those bad days. It’s all part of the journey.
Tip 4: Eat “clean.” Try to incorporate quality foods like fresh vegetables and fruits into every meal or snack you have. The more of these foods you have, the less room you’ll have for the processed, sugar-laden foods that do nothing for your body other than make you hungrier.
Tip 5: Listen to your body. I can’t express how important it is to listen to your body. In the beginning, it may be difficult to understand what it means to really listen to your body, but once you start feeding your body what it needs and giving it the right amount of water, then you will know what it means to listen to your body. There may be days you’re not hungry and there may be other days that you’re starving. Your body will let you know what it needs: fresh vegetables, fruit, healthy proteins and fats, and water…lots and lots of water.