The strategies one woman used to lose 50 pounds
Weight Lost: 50 lb
Time to Goal: 18 months
Unique secret to success: Paying careful attention to the textures and flavors of favorite foods, then substituting more healthful alternatives. Focusing really helped her get a handle on weight loss, from taking the time to savor the foods she ate to taking note of her reasons for eating.
“I was 38 years old, weighed 197 lb, and was looking ahead to my 40th birthday. I really wanted to be happy with my weight when I reached that milestone. It was November of 1999, and my big birthday was coming up on July 13, 2001; that gave me about 20 months to get to ‘140 by 40.’
“I noticed that I tend to eat more when I’m upset or under stress. Keeping a food diary was a good way to track all of the little nibbles and tastes of food that I took in each day without even realizing it. Soon, the diary served as an alternative to eating just for comfort.
“I also allowed myself one ‘free’ meal a week–in moderation–such as dinner with my family at a buffet restaurant. This was a great way to feel my success because I could finally eat just one plate of salad, one plate of hot foods, and a small sampling of the dessert bar and feel satisfied. Before I started to focus on losing weight, I felt that I wasn’t getting my money’s worth unless I gorged myself with two plates of everything.
“One of the most important things I learned is to pay attention to the flavors and textures of foods I really enjoy, then substitute a more healthful food for the fattening foods I tend to overeat. For example, when I crave chocolate, rather than indulging in a double-fudge brownie with ice cream and chocolate syrup, I have a cup of fat-free hot chocolate instead. The difference in calories, fat, and guilt is well worth it. I’ve even switched to cheeses and butter substitutes made from lower-fat vegetable protein.
“I also did my best to balance eating sensibly with enough exercise. I swim, take a spinning class, and run. I also do yoga to help with a hamstring injury. And I try to lift weights 1 to 3 days a week. I’m trying these days to get back into doing the types of fun exercise I enjoyed as a teenager, such as skiing. This past ski season I really enjoyed being in shape and having the endurance to ski hard the whole time without having to stop several times per run.”
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