Flipping The Switch
Having had several strokes was the health scare that inspired Wingnutaviary to lose her weight. She has lost 117lbs with only 4lbs left to reach her goal weight. Her story is an inspiration to all of us and demonstrates how dramatically we can all improve our health, fitness and enjoyment of life with the right approach and the right attitude.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
I had a heck of an ‘Aha’ moment. I had known for years (about 20, in fact) that I had to lose weight. I used to wonder what it would take for me to reach the end of my rope and start doing something about it. I found out one fine October day in 2009. I was out shopping, and the whole left side of my body went numb and tingly. I was having a stroke! In fact, over the next 25 hours, I had as many as 15 mini strokes, maybe more. I lost count once I finally fell asleep in the hospital. I was exhausted, and honestly, I didn’t know if I fell asleep, if I would ever wake up. How’s that for an ‘Aha’ moment? I promised God, as I laid in the emergency room, that I was going to change my life, I was done abusing my body. I have made good on that promise.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I had tried, maybe 10 years before, the Atkin’s diet, and lost about 24 lbs on it. However, I didn’t stick with it, and it wasn’t long before I piled the lost weight, plus more, back on.
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 knew all along what I had to do, I just lacked the self control, motivation and the courage to do what needed to be done. Having to lose over 100 lbs seems like an impossible task. Where would I begin? With my wake up call, I knew I had no time to waste. I had to bring things under control right away. It was all about diet and exercise. I knew I had to eliminate as much salt as I could from my diet. I knew I had to count how many calories I was consuming a day. In my internet search for healthy recipes, I stumbled across Calorie Count, and I never looked back. Using the CC tools, I figured I should aim for 1200 cal a day. Consuming so few calories, I had to make sure that every calorie counted… literally! Everything I put in my mouth was nutrient dense. I wasted no calories on condiments or sugar. I restricted all things white, and even whole grain carb consumption was carefully monitored. My diet was heavy on veggies, fruit, yogurt and lean meats. I drank none of my calories.
I also started an exercise regime. I began walking, and it was slow and painful. My joints hurt, and I couldn’t walk to the end of the street without panting. My husband was very supportive and would walk with me, patiently waiting when I had to stop and catch my breath. It didn’t take long for me to start to see improvements. I could make it up the hill without stopping. Soon I took up swimming, which I have always loved. It had been years since I had been to the pool, as I couldn’t bear to be in a bathing suit. I got over that hang up pretty quick; I couldn’t afford to care what others might think! I started doing Aquasize classes, and soon I was swimming 3-4 times a week. I started walking to work. And then I started going to the gym. Obviously, as my activity level increased, my caloric needs increased too, and I started eating more. Still I was losing weight. In fact, it seemed to be falling off. I was amazed!
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count has helped immensely in my weight loss journey. The best tip I learned from the site was the importance journaling my food intake. Also, weighing and measuring my portions. And the forums were and still are a great source of motivation. And I love the personal journal feature. I use it a lot. It is therapeutic for me to write about my experience. I highly recommend CC for anyone trying to lose weight, and have given the web address out many times.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
The hardest thing about losing weight was getting started. It really is a mind thing. You have to decide for yourself that you are going to do it, and that nothing will stop you. After I made that decision (I call it ‘flipping the switch’) honestly, the rest was easy. The biggest difficulty has been temptation when I’m not home. At home, I control what is here. When I’m at work, or at relatives’ homes, I can’t control what food is around. It is difficult when someone bakes cookies and brings them to the office, or when I go to the in-law’s and my favorite cake/squares/pie is for dessert. I try to keep healthy food at work so if I’m tempted, there is something healthy I can have instead, and when I go out, I’ll allow myself a small piece of dessert, but I account for it in my journal. The trick is to have one small piece, and never go for seconds!
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I saw results on the scale right away. I really liked seeing my CC weight graph go down and down. By Christmas I had lost 38 lbs, and by the end of February I had lost 57, enough to get me into ‘onederland’. When I travelled with my family to Florida for spring break, and fit easily in my plane seat, as well as every ride at Disney, I knew I was a success!
7. How do you prevent relapse?
Relapse is my greatest fear. Sometimes I dream that I am overeating, and having horrible feelings of shame and disappointment. Then I wake up. I pray every day for the strength I need to stay in control. I feel like I hauled myself out of a pit, and I never want to fall into that pit again.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I am HEALTHY! My blood pressure is controlled, in fact it is LOW, as in the last time I had it checked, it was 92/58. I have muscles! I am in better shape now than I have ever been. I could run rings around my 20 year old self. The self- loathing is gone, and I feel confident again. It’s like I have my life back.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I lost my first 100 lbs in 10 months, and the last 21 (my goal weight is 135) are slowly coming off. My current weight is 139… Only 4 to go!
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Journal your food. Write everything down, and weigh/measure everything.
- Use the CC personal journal. It helps to write down your thoughts and feelings.
- Follow the forums. You can usually find some threads that you can relate to, and I find they help me to keep focused on the task at hand.
- There is no quick fix. You didn’t gain the weight overnight, and it’s going to take a while for it to come off. This is a lifelong journey, so be patient and don’t give up!
- If you aren’t hungry enough to eat raw vegetables, you aren’t really hungry!
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