My Dieting Days Are Over
Eating what she loves helped Adrienne Scordato lose 30 pounds
Name: Adrienne Scordato
Current Age: 33
Weight Lost: 30 lb
Successful Strategies: Eating foods she enjoys, cutting back on portions, paying attention to hunger cues, exercising to feel good
My struggle with diet and weight loss began when I moved toNew York Cityafter college to start a new job. Life was fun and fast, with lots of evenings out on the town and lots of high-fat meals ordered in. The only foods I kept in my apartment were quick-fix things, such as soup mixes and mac and cheese, or snacks, like cheese doodles, potato chips, and cookies.
When I noticed my clothes getting too tight 20 pounds later, I did what any red-blooded American gal would do–I went on a diet. First I tried Weight Watchers, but all that tracking, weighing, and measuring drove me nuts. I felt like my whole life was about the food I was or wasn’t supposed to be eating. For quick results, I tried the cabbage soup diet. Cabbage soup morning, noon, and night–ugh–disgusting. I was starving all the time. Finally, I created my own diet using all fat-free foods, but that backfired too. When I was dying for cookies, I’d try to satisfy myself with a few SnackWell’s, but usually I’d polish off the entire box–and still want more. The few pounds I lost always came back.
Then I got a cough that wouldn’t go away. I just thought my fast-paced life had me a little run-down, but my doctor was more concerned; he had a gut feeling that something else was up and ordered a chest x-ray. The next day at my follow-up visit, my world stopped. I learned there were cancerous tumors in my chest and neck. Within a week, I started chemotherapy treatments, and all of a sudden, weight loss didn’t seem very important.
Most people think you lose weight when you have cancer, but my medications made me gain 15 pounds. I was discouraged, but I didn’t feel the same urgency to look good, or to go on some crazy diet, as I had in the past.
I became worn out from my treatments, but I needed an outlet to deal with the stress. Surprisingly, I found refuge in exercise. In the past, I’d used exercise as a helpful diet aid, but this was different. As soon as I’d step on the treadmill with my Walkman, I forgot all about being sick. And the payoff was instantaneous: The exercise relieved my many worries.
One long year later, I got the good news that my cancer was in remission. Now I could focus on losing those extra pounds. But this time, I’d do weight loss differently. Life is too short to eat only fat-free foods or cabbage soup–or to track and measure everything I put in my mouth.
A New Approach
I started with just one rule: Eat only what you truly desire–and cut the portions in half. Figuring out what I really wanted to eat was harder than it sounds. I’d spent years eating what I “should,” not what I was hungry for. I had to slow down and listen to my hunger cues.
Surprisingly, I didn’t feel deprived. Because I was eating what I really wanted, I felt more satisfied with smaller portions. And I actually found myself craving fruits and veggies. As I became more aware of my eating patterns, I no longer ate when bored or stressed–and I stopped when I felt satisfied, not stuffed. I’d still have a double chocolate chip muffin for breakfast–but only half of it. At lunchtime, I’d have a salad with chicken. Dinner was usually an order of sushi, and dessert was ice cream most nights. But all were half portions. My friends started referring to my way of eating as the half diet.
I knew I was losing weight because my clothes felt looser, and I was getting compliments. I dropped from a size 10 to a size 4 in just under a year.
Today, I weigh a healthy 125 pounds. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I was ever so sick. I still complain about life like everyone else, but then I remember what I’ve been through, and it helps me stay balanced. I’ve learned how to take care of myself. My social calendar is busier than ever, and my friends and family love my new eating habits–they get all my leftovers.
Don’t Waste Calories
Here are more rules Adrienne uses to stick to a healthy eating plan
Save it or toss it Stop eating immediately if you decide you’re not hungry or if a food doesn’t taste really good.
Don’t eat it just because it’s there You’ll enjoy a piece of cake more and feel more satisfied if you eat it only when you really crave it, not just because it’s someone’s birthday.
Aim for balance If you eat a big lunch, have a small dinner. If you have pancakes (carbs) at breakfast, have salad with steak (protein) at lunch.
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