I Won the Fat War: Kathy Reed
Going online to take pounds off.
Name: Kathy Reed
Current Age: 45
Weight Lost: 130 lb
Successful Strategies: Cooking extra meals on weekends to take to work for healthy eating all week long
About 2 years ago, while watching my 1-year-old granddaughter coo and play, my eyes filled with tears. I suddenly realized that unless I made some radical changes to my life, I wasn’t going to live to see her get married. I was only 43 years old, but I weighed 263 pounds and wore a size 22; my blood pressure was 235/110, and my cholesterol was 260.
I had begun to experience chest pains. My body was falling apart. In the past year, two of my cousins, both under the age of 50, had died–one of obesity-related causes. And as a nurse, I knew I was being a terrible role model to my patients.
I hadn’t always been heavy, but when my father became ill in the early 1990s, I started steadily gaining weight. Eating seemed to turn off my worries, at least for a little while. My 12-hour work schedule didn’t help either. The long days were my excuse not to exercise, and when I’d get off work late at night, I’d eat a huge dinner and dessert. To top it off, I have an underactive thyroid, which slows my metabolism.
Over the years, I’d tried lots of diets and quick-fix fads, but the weight always came back on. I drank Slim-Fast shakes like they were water. I tried diet patches and pills. I even did Atkins; I lost 6 pounds but had to stop because it sent my cholesterol skyrocketing.
A Link to Hope
I was surfing the Web one day when an advertisement for eDiets.com popped up on my computer screen. It caught my interest immediately. The eDiets plan is an online weight loss program that costs $65 a quarter and provides customized meal plans and workouts based on your lifestyle. Weight loss counselors and personal trainers are available to provide support anytime you have a question. There’s even a toll-free number to call for guidance when you’re away from the computer.
The online program offers a variety of diet options. I chose a low-calorie, low-sodium, low-cholesterol meal plan that combined home-cooked and frozen foods. That way, I got recipes I could make at home, and Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers meals that I could take to work.
Every Monday, I’d log in my weight and receive my meal plan for the coming week. I usually started the morning with a small serving of oatmeal. At lunch, I’d have healthy leftovers from meals I’d cooked on my days off, or one of the recommended frozen meals. If I needed a snack, I’d nibble on an apple or a graham cracker.
One Pound at a Time
Dinner was the biggest change. No more late-night meals; I took frozen dinners to work and tried to eat before 6 pm. If work was too hectic, I’d settle for a small bowl of cereal or salad when I got home.
Since I was eating more consistently, I didn’t get overly hungry, even though I was eating smaller meals.
I used my days off to re-energize. I’d surf eDiets for motivating tips and recipes; then I’d shop and cook for the coming week. Always having new recipes to choose from kept my meals interesting, and receiving a weekly shopping list automatically generated by eDiets saved me time.
At first, I steadily lost a pound or two a week. Since I knew that exercise would speed things along, I started walking because it was convenient. A half-mile stroll took me 45 minutes in the beginning, but after 4 months, I was walking 5 miles each morning.
Sometimes I wouldn’t lose any weight for as long as 3 weeks at a time, which was discouraging. When that happened, I’d e-mail the experts at eDiets for a little extra support. They would remind me that plateaus are like storms that have to be weathered. They also offered suggestions such as increasing my activity. That’s when I added exercise videos to my regimen. Later, they provided me with great toning exercises to help firm up my flabby spots.
The 24/7 support was particularly helpful when late-night cravings would strike. I’d just hop online for the encouragement I needed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar at 11 pm. After a year and a half, I had successfully lost 130 pounds.
Today I fluctuate between 133 and 137 pounds and wear a size 6. I’m a new person. My blood pressure is down to 106/74, I no longer have to take blood pressure or thyroid medications, and those chest pains are history. At work, I’m an example and a voice of encouragement to my patients. But the best part is that when my 2-year-old granddaughter says, “Chase me, Grandma,” I can!
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