Keep Trying! Losing Weight is a Lifestyle Change
The first time Julie tried to lose weight, she wasn’t prepared for everything else that came with it, including redefining her identity and dealing with intrusive questions. This year, however, she resolved to do things differently. She decided to take it one day at a time, stay accountable, and not deprive herself. After losing 70 lbs., Julie is on her way to her goal weight, and already feeling healthier and happier!
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
When I tipped the scale at 380 lbs., I thought, “Good Grief! I’m only 20 pounds away from 400.” The reality that I weighed more than double my ideal weight was shocking! That’s when I knew things had to change.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I used Richard Simmons Deal-a-Meal and I did lose weight. That program really helped start changing the way I portioned food and how I felt about myself. Plus, Richard is an inspiration and he is my hero!
The problem with this program is that I had to carry 3-4 booklets with me to figure out how much to eat or how much I did eat. Also, it cut my calories back so severely that I couldn’t maintain the pace.
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 haven’t reached my goal yet, but I’m lighter than I’ve been in 2 decades! As you can imagine, I’ve started and failed dieting for many cycles in the past: lose, re-gain, guilt, more gain, resolve, lose, repeat.
This time, I approached my dieting differently. First, I pray for strength a lot! I am just one sad, impulsive human being without God. Next, I remember hearing a PSA about smoking and the fact that people try to quit 5-10 times before they are finally successful. That’s how dieting was for me. So, I took the approach of, “one day at a time.” I just had to count my calories for 1 day, then another and another. Then I set the goal for 14 days, then 25, 50, 75, and 100. I stopped counting after 100 because I knew could maintain my changed lifestyle.
I got off the cravings for fat, salt, sugar, and chocolate. I replaced candy and sweets with Clif Builder bars and Zone bars, Progresso soups and Yoplait Light. I still wanted to treat myself, so now I have non-fat frozen yogurt with fresh berries! When we go to dinner, I plan my meal before I go – I know what I’m going to eat and how many calories it will be.
I started riding a bike. I knew I looked ridiculous, but bicycling was the one exercise where I felt light, felt normal. Then, I started water aerobics and started to see toning and increased flexibility. Both of these activities have helped me get over my plateaus.
Lastly, I realized that I’m a “muncher” and “snacker” I used to constantly snack! It was more to do with keeping my hands busy than anything. So, when, I started this process, I found I needed something to do with my hands. My family got me an iPad mini, so my hands stay busy and out of the cookie jar.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count made me accountable. I made the goal to account for everything I ate. Have I had days when I didn’t count my calories? Of course, but they are few.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
Two years ago, when I started CC, I was really motivated and I lost about 50 pounds. But then, I realized I didn’t know who I was, or would be, thinner.
Being fat was part of my make up or description of me. Also, my acquaintances were far too noisy and intrusive. I let it slip how much I’d lost and suddenly I was the main topic of conversation and gossip. I couldn’t handle it, I wanted people to notice and to encourage me but I didn’t want all the prying questions.
I wasn’t prepared then, to be thinner, but now I am. I have my ready-made answers to the prying questions. I just smile and say that I dyed my hair, or bought a new outfit, or I’ve lost more than a bread box. I’m not giving information that can be used for gossip.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I lost 20 lbs the first month. It’s slowed now but it’s still a pound or two a week. I’m not a success yet but I know I’ve made a lifestyle change that I can maintain every time I can say, “No, thank you.” when some goodie is offered to me.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
When I started this time, I made the decision that if I wanted to eat something, I wouldn’t deny myself. But, I had to make it fit with my calories for the day. I love fried fish, so I will still eat fried fish, I just plan for it.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
How hasn’t it changed! I sit in seats more comfortably. It’s easier to find clothes. I have more energy to clean my house and work and go to school. I walk more without having to rest all the time. I love walking around Lagoon, (our local amusement park), and riding rides. I can do many hours of shopping without being winded. I know I still have more weight to lose but I feel so good now, I know I’ll feel amazing when I reach my goal!
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I’ve been able to continue to lose weight fairly regularly, no major setbacks, since January 2013.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
1. Keep trying! You may have to try many times before this lifestyle change sticks. Remember, one day at a time.
2. Be accountable and be honest with yourself. You’ll feel better if you are honest about a “bad” rather than hiding or giving up.
3. Support many friends on CC. Give them encouragement to keep going and I promise they will do the same for you!
4. Replace your old food vices with new, healthier ones.
5. Prepare yourself mentally to be thinner. People will notice, so decide now how you will deal with the attention.
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