Balance is My Secret
For a man who was so reluctant to lose weight in the first place, Baremore has succeeded admirably. Incorporating small changes in his attitude, counting calories and learning portion control was the key to losing 124lbs.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I went to the doctor, stepped on the scale and 301.5 lbs came up on the digital readout. I thought about that number during the few seconds it took the nurse to take my height and realized that no matter how I chose to ‘spin’ that number, the fact remained that I was fat and needed to lose weight. Further compounding things was my blood pressure, which was pushing 150/110, the highest I’d ever seen it.
Two days later my father suffered a heart attack, which drove the point home of just where I was heading if I didn’t change my ways. As if that weren’t enough, 10 days later, when I returned home from visiting my father after his by-pass surgery, the results of the blood work the doctor took came in. I was a borderline diabetic and my liver was showing unusual readings – this, the doctor suspected, was due to a condition called fatty liver, a by-product of my weight (this was later confirmed via an ultra-sound).
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
None. I paid lip service to wanting to lose weight over the years, but was never serious about it. After all, I told myself, I’m just a big man, I’m not fat.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
Attitude was the big change for me. I committed to losing weight. Rather than the 3 sandwiches (mayo, cheese, and whatever luncheon meat I happened to buy), 8-10 oreo cookies (my favorites) and 2 soda pops (Coca Cola or Minute Maid Pink Lemonade) I usually packed for lunch, I cut it down to 2 sandwiches, hold the cheese, no cookies and took to drinking water. My activity level stayed constant and to this day it is the same as before I lost weight. My lifestyle, on the other hand was something from the outset that I knew I was going to have to change if I wanted to keep the weight off. With that in mind, I began to educate myself about food so that I would make healthy and appropriate choices rather than my old habit of eating whatever and whenever I wanted.
Right away I missed snacks and sweets. Rather than cutting them out entirely, I began substituting fresh fruit, carrots, and dried fruit. I tried SlimFast as an alternative drink, but quickly gave that notion up as I don’t think they taste all that good, and contrary to what the label says, they never worked for me in controlling my hunger. Instead, I controlled my hunger by starting to eat 7 times a day rather than 3 square meals.
The next big change came when eating out. At the outset of my diet, whenever I went out to eat at a restaurant, I mostly let myself eat what I wanted, hold the dessert. It worked initially, but when I started counting calories, I saw that I was taking 2 steps backwards. So I began educating myself about restaurant food.
Over time I learned that I could live on a lot less food than I was used to eating, I acquired a taste for fruit that I didn’t think existed, and overall, food began to taste not only good, but great. Food I didn’t care for before suddenly was tasty. Those fat greasy fast food burgers I used to enjoy lost their appeal.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
I discovered CC right about the time I was close to achieving my target weight. I knew I couldn’t lose weight forever and that I would have to go from losing weight to maintaining weight. I was searching for all the info I could find on how make that transition.
I don’t socialize much here on CC, but I do read a lot. There were many people who made that switch themselves, and I read just about everything I could from those folks. It worked, because here I am a year later and am still at a weight I plan on staying at for life.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
Maintaining the commitment to finish what I’d started. There were many times I wanted to quit and go back to my old eating habits. But then I remembered my blood pressure, what it felt like to admit I was fat, and compared that to my lowering blood pressure and the fact that I was no longer a borderline diabetic. I felt healthier and better than I had in years. As hard as it was, I just kept telling myself that it was worth the effort.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I did not own a scale when I first started eating better. From the time I found out I weighed 301.5 lbs to my next visit to the doctor was right at 3 weeks. I’d lost 6 lbs in that time period. It seems like a small victory compared to the 124 lbs I went on to lose, but at the time it was a huge step for me.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
The day I found an old high school jacket while cleaning out a closet. I didn’t think it would fit, but decided to try it on anyway. It fit and for the first time in 2 years of dieting, I knew I’d made it.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I struggled with this for the first 9 months of being on a maintenance diet. I religiously counted my calories every day and weighed myself daily. The mistake I made was not allowing myself treats. I even went so far as to get on others here on CC about eating candy and other goodies, believing it amounted to nothing more than playing with fire. Do it enough and eventually you get burned was my philosophy. I have since realized that they were right and I was wrong. When I binged, it wasn’t by eating lots of good, healthy food, it was candy and other sweets. My worst day since going from dieting to maintaining was a whopping 6346 calories, all but 1500 of which came from candy. Now I plan for sweets from time to time and no food is off limits. Balance is my secret. Better to allow a few sweets, but do so sparingly, rather than gorge myself all at once.
9. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I like going to the clothing store and finding clothes right off the rack that fit. I know my body is healthy, I sleep better at night and have so much more energy than I ever had before. I still run into people from time to time who haven’t seen me in quite some time, and it never seems to grow old when hearing “how good” I look.
More importantly than all that, nice though it is, is having the self-respect for my body that I now have. I used to take myself for granted, that I was just some guy who was born to live on the bigger side of life. I don’t think that way anymore. The most important thing I learned from this experience was how to say no to myself. That single thing, learning how to say no, has spilled over into more facets of my life than I ever thought possible, and it has provided such positive results. I cannot begin to describe the wonderful things that having brought discipline into my life has provided to me.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Stay focused. Weight loss happens one pound at a time, not 10, 20, or 50 pounds in one single leap. Like all journeys, getting to the end is not the point, it’s making the journey that counts.
- When relapses happen, and they will, learn and move on from them.
Quitting is easy and anyone can do it. Finding your way back, hard
though it is sometimes, builds strength, courage and discipline. It is
the stuff success is made of.
- The objective of losing weight is not to get thin or look good,
it is to become and feel healthy.
- It isn’t about where you want to get, it’s about where you’re
coming from. In other words, build on your success. Instead of “I’ve
got 50 pounds to go, will I never get there?” look at it as “I’ve lost
5 pounds to date, what will the number be next week?”
- Remember that it was your best wisdom and smarts that got you to
where you are. Don’t go it alone any longer. Seek out those who have
succeeded and learn from them.