Make the Choice to Be Healthy
Brian lost weight once before, but without the tools to maintain his healthy lifestyle, he went back to his old ways. This time around he made the decision to be healthy, not just lose weight. Brian changed his lifestyle and set short-term and long-term goals to keep himself focused. He lost 60 pounds, and is now healthier, happier, and committed to his new lifestyle.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
I had some lab work done, and since I work in a lab it really hit home. I always knew I was overweight, but those numbers made me realize I was not just joyfully plump but actually putting my health and life at risk. I am a father of 6, and I want to see all my children grow up, and play with my grandchildren. My cholesterol was high, my triglycerides were high, I had pre-hypertension blood pressure, and my BMI said I was obese. I knew I needed to change, but I had been down this road before, and I needed to do something different and better.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
The first time I lost weight, I used Weight Watchers, and I was pretty successful. I went back to my old habits after a family vacation to Disneyland. I think the issue I had, was I didn’t have the tools I needed to sustain my weight loss. This time, I went on to Take Shape For Life and faithfully used Calorie Count to log my daily intake and output of calories.
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?
I think the biggest change was making a fundamental decision to be healthy, not just to lose weight. It is much easier to yo-yo or go back off a “diet” if there is no motivation or paradigm shift associated with the diet. I made a fundamental decision not to just lose weight, but to create and keep a healthy lifestyle. The other important factor was I set long-term and short-term goals. At first, my goals were just to get through the day without cheating. This soon shifted to a week, then a month. My long term goal has always been to complete a long hike in my home state of Utah. These 2 factors – my choice and my goal – kept me on track.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
At the most basic level, weight loss is all about managing how many calories you take in versus how many you burn. You HAVE to know what you are taking into your body to understand how easy it can be to over eat. Calorie Count makes this very easy. I have yet to find a website or app which is easier to use or more comprehensive.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
My first week was brutal. I had severe cravings and sugar withdrawals. After the first week, my body adjusted, I had more energy, and the cravings subsided. I wouldn’t say they went away, but they went down to a more manageable level. Social events and family gatherings were difficult, but I had already made a fundamental choice to be healthy, not just lose weight. If I said I was on a diet or trying to lose weight, then it would have easily justified a cheat here and there at social and family events, saying I could do better tomorrow. But, if you make a choice to be healthy, then cheating is not an option, at least not for me.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
It took me more than a month to believe what the scale was telling me. My wife says she started to notice within the first week, but she might have just been being nice. It took my friends about 3-4 weeks to start saying they could tell I was losing weight. After about a month, I started to notice my clothes fitting different and some clothes not fitting at all. I think now that I am close to my goal, I can say I am a success at losing weight, but time will tell if I am a success at keeping my healthy lifestyle. With the tools and knowledge I have, the future looks good.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I always keep my decision to be healthy and my bucket list goal in the front of my mind. If I feel pressure at a social event or find myself with food cravings or hunger pangs, I will go to the computer and work on my plan for my hike, go on a walk with my dog (who will be accompanying me on my hike), or drink a big glass of water. If I can remember that I have made a choice to live healthy and not just to lose weight, the decision tends to be an easy one.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I am happier. I spend more time with my kids doing things instead of making them come to me while I sit on the couch. I am way more active and I love shopping for new clothes. It is an activity I now enjoy instead of dread.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I am still losing, but I have averaged a weight loss of about 4 pounds a week since July. I am now more focused on body fat percentage and getting in better shape now that I have lost the majority of the weight I need to.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
1. Use Calorie Count to track you input of calories. It’s not hard, and it will be an eye opener as to how many calories you are actually eating in a day.
2. Go here. This is the program I used in conjunction with Calorie Count, they work hand-in-hand.
3. You MUST make a fundamental choice to be healthy. If this is a decision you make ahead of time, then you have already decided to say no to junk food and the social pressure when eating out.
4. Make and keep both long-term and short-term goals. You need that “bucket list” goal to keep you motivated. Along with long-term goals you need short-term goals to keep you from losing faith. Make these simple to meet at first, ones that you can’t help but meet. This will give you confidence going forward to make more challenging goals.
5. Remember, you didn’t get fat in a month, so you won’t get skinny in a month either. Time is going to go by no matter what, make the choice to be healthy in that time instead of feeling like you do now.