My Journey to Wellness

Removing unhealthy food from her diet is a constant challenge for Echoqueen. Exercising, changing her food habits, and keeping herself accountable through self-talk are getting her to where she wants to go — towards a healthier lifestyle.  She has lost 47 lbs and is nearing her goal.

1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?  After seeing my primary care physician and finding out that I had high blood pressure, borderline cholesterol and type II Diabetes, I knew that I had to do something. Being a cardiac ultrasound technologist I saw patient’s everyday with unhealthy lifestyles and I kept telling them they should lose weight and exercise but I wasn’t following my own advice. It was time to start being accountable for my own unhealthy lifestyle.

2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?  Weight Watchers worked for me for a little while, but I kept telling myself, “oh you can have a little of this and a little of that, it is within your points”. That doesn’t work for me, I needed a lifestyle change.

3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?  Initially, I saw a physician who specializes in bariatric medicine and she advised me to stop eating white flour and sugar and keep a food diary. She explained how flour hasn’t any nutritional value and if I wanted I could have whole wheat flour, for example, whole wheat bread and pasta. At first it was a little difficult, but as time went on, it became easier, plus I lowered my daily calories. Also, I began walking 2 miles a day every single day with two neighbors, so it was fun and I always knew they were outside waiting for me. In addition, the physician I began to see, helped me realize why I ate the way I did all those years. Being an emotional/stress eater, I would grab and eat things that were unhealthy, now I choose healthy foods only. My house is rid of all the temptations, and I don’t miss them one bit.

4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?  In January of 2010, I was recuperating from surgery for 2 months, and I thought I needed to have an online diary to keep me accountable. I found Calorie Count and it was my lifesaver. Being home, there was a lot of time to eat out of boredom, so I really had to stay focused. Calorie Count helped me do that. In addition, I love to cook, so I just put in my ingredients and voila, it told me how many calories in a portion. I could alter recipes to fit into my diet plan. It was perfect. I now give the website information to many of my patients. It was such a wonderful tool for me, I believe it can help everyone.

5. What was most challenging about losing weight?  I work for cardiologists and everyday pharmaceutical reps bring in a catered lunch. It was always unhealthy foods, but a huge buffet everyday, very tempting. There was mostly always a salad, but fried foods, dishes with sauces, pasta, rice, always a plate of huge cookies and candy. Of course soda and general all around unhealthy foods. I would take my own lunch, but that buffet always looked so much better than what I brought. In the beginning of my lifestyle change, I would sit by myself for 3 to 5 minutes in a room and say to myself, “that’s not my food” over and over and over. I would then go into the break room and take out my own healthy lunch and eat it. The reps would always comment, aren’t you going to eat this great lunch we brought, and I would respond with “no thanks, I brought my own”. The girls I worked with kept questioning me, “why aren’t you eating this great lunch?” As time went on they saw I was losing weight and I told them, “these lunches are very unhealthy, I won’t eat them anymore”. Once I got beyond that, I was good to go, it was much easier.

6. How long did it take you to see results?  Pretty much immediately. I had changed my lifestyle, it wasn’t a diet, and now I just eat healthy all the time. My initial weight before finding was 15 pounds higher.

7. When did you realize that you were a success?  When the holidays came, I said no to all the cookies, pies, desserts, chocolate etc. I felt empowered and I didn’t miss it…..that is the amazing part, once you don’t eat white flour and sugar the cravings disappear.

8. How do you prevent relapse?  I am always focused, there is a picture of me at my heaviest on my desk at work, so I can look at that and say to myself, “I will never go back to that unhealthy lifestyle”.

9. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?  I am so much healthier, lots more energy and my family looks at me and are so proud of what I have accomplished. They have seen me diet over the years and lose and gain over and over, they cannot believe I have done this. I look and feel 15 to 20 years younger.

10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?

  • Start moving, walking is safe, easy and you can do it anywhere, anytime. The gym is not necessary. A walking tape is even a good start.
  • Get rid of the food in your house that you can no longer eat. Even if you have children, they should be eating healthier as well.
  • Use as a terrific tool.  Again, I cook and used it and continue to use it to figure out calories in a recipe.
  • Drink lots of water, never drink soda or even diet soda.  I am very careful with juices, they are too full of sugar.  Only no sugar varieties for me.
  • Recognize why you overeat or why you choose foods that are unhealthy.  For me that was the biggest turning point, recognizing that I was in control.  You have control over food, not food has control over you!  That is my favorite line, and I say it all the time to my patients.  I saved my life, now you can too!