Losing the Weight For Good
Over the years, Barbara lost and gained back over 100 pounds several times. Then, after being diagnosed with diabetes, the same disease that took the life of her grandfather and great aunt, she took steps toward making lasting change. The most profound change she experienced was when she started exercising and eating right to get more fit, and not just to lose the weight. Since then she’s lost over 120 pounds and has maintained her new, healthy lifestyle for over a year now.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
My doctor diagnosed me with diabetes and this frightened me as I had a great aunt and grandfather that both died in diabetic comas. Before she died, my great aunt also had both legs amputated and went blind due to diabetes. As a child, she terrified me as she was in a wheelchair and usually yelled at everyone for help. I was determined NOT to end up like her, blind and legless, in a wheelchair, and terrifying my grandchildren.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I have had a weight problem all my life and consequently tried everything. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, the Atkins diet, diet pills, supplements, you name it. I have lost and gained back a hundred pounds several times, but have never been able to keep it off. Until now.
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 was on a 1600 calorie a day diet, supervised by a dietician from my medical group. Initially, this included daily blood sugar checks, a food journal, and monthly weigh-ins. I found it easier to track my food intake and calories on Calorie Count, rather than a written food journal. The nutritionist also suggested a walk at home DVD program by Leslie Sansone. I began doing it 3-4 times a week for just 15 minutes to start, then extending the time a little every week. After losing about 20 lbs, I took it outside on alternate days and made it a couple of blocks. Again as I lost weight, over the course of a year, I extended my walking to 5 miles, every other day, alternating with bike rides of 20 miles and when weather was bad, an hour to an hour and a half of cardio. This was the most profound change I made. The exercise made me feel better about myself, more motivated to get fit, rather than just lose the weight. After a year of weight loss and exercise, it became routine.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count allowed me to track my exercise, calories, and food intake in an efficient way. Knowing what I was eating and how my exercise impacted what and how much I could eat was immensely helpful. If I exercised more, I could eat a little more that day or allow an extra snack. Once you realize how much you consume and expend it is really hard to justify overeating.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
Sweets are my downfall. I crave chocolate. Also, when the weather is bad and I can’t ride my bike I have to FORCE myself to do cardio. I HATE indoor exercise. It is SO boring! The trick is to find something that you like or can at least tolerate daily and then just DO it.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
It has been 3 years and basically, I have been struggling with that last 25 lbs. for the last year. I saw most of my weight loss, over 100 lbs., in the first 18 months. I can’t really consider myself successful YET. My husband says that I am fine at my weight, but I would like to be 150.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I now allow myself a cheat day. We have dinner out and I order whatever I crave on Saturday nights. Dessert, chocolate, whatever. I take the day off of exercise. Helps keep me on the straight and narrow the other 6 days.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I love shopping for clothes now. Stuff is so much cuter in a size 10 than in a size 26. I can now fit in movie theater seats and in booths at restaurants. I now walk and bike everywhere. I have energy and stamina and best of all, my diabetes is completely under control without any drugs.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I have been at this weight for about a year now. It seems that I am at a plateau. Maybe this is where my body wants to be. I still maintain about 1500 calories a day about 5 days a week and either walk/run 5 miles, bike 15-20 miles, or do at least an hour of cardio 6 days a week.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
1. Sweat every day. Find something that will help you move, and then just DO it, force yourself if you have to.
2. Be consistent. Keep to a routine, Eat at the same time every day, do the exercise at the same time. Make the time.
3. Keep it simple. The more complicated the diet, the harder it will be to follow.
4. Eat less. There is no magic pill. Calories in have to be burned. If you don’t burn them they turn to fat. If you eat more, you have to burn more.
5. Write it down. Know what you ate, how much you burned, and how much you weigh. It will keep you from trying to rationalize why you aren’t losing the weight.
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