Today is my fiftieth birthday. I’m celebrating at goal weight! I lost over 70 pounds since August of 2009 and I want to thank everyone here at 3 Fat Chicks, especially the participants of the Beck Diet Solution thread and our moderator, BillBlueEyes
Here’s my story.
After a couple of yo-yo experiences in my late twenties and early thirties, I gave up on the notion of dieting for over a decade. Then, several years ago, I made small changes toward more natural and local foods, leading to a gradual 40-pound weight loss over a couple of years. That was great, but it lasted about two months. I gained it all back in one year while retaining many of my new good habits alongside a slew of old bad habits that returned with a vengeance.
My parents both died in their sixties of obesity-related diseases. I had been taking blood pressure medication for over a decade when I started this journey. I had arthritis in my knees and hips and frequently suffered from lower back pain. When I weighed 240 pounds I struggled to get down on the ground and back up again which limited my ability to pursue two favorite hobbies: gardening and photography. I wanted to lose weight in order to live longer and to feel better during that longer life.
Today, my blood pressure is normal without medication. I rarely feel pain and when I do get a twinge in my knees, hip, or back, I recover much quicker than I used to. I can squat, kneel, or sit on the ground, and get back up with grace and ease. This all makes me very happy!
I’m a librarian, so it’s no surprise that I found my solution in books.
The first book, The End of Overeating
by David Kessler, helped me work out why the overeating habits returned. The food industry engineers hyper palatable foods and markets them ubiquitously. Our brains and bodies were not designed for this eating environment. The book had limited details about how to deal with the problem but advocated cognitive behavioral techniques, like making rules.
After I read the Kessler book, I made two rules for myself:
1) No eating in the car
2) No eating anything purchased from a gas store or drugstore
Those two rules eliminated my junk food habits, cold turkey. That was enough to halt my weight gain but didn’t do much to start a loss.
Next, I turned to Judith Beck who I knew was the author to go to for applying cognitive behavioral techniques to weight loss. She wrote the books The Beck Diet Solution
and The Complete Beck Diet for Life
. There are reviews of both books linked from the Beck Diet Thread on 3FC: Book Reviews
. The Complete Beck Diet for Life
got me started. Its format of doing several tasks per phase worked better for me than The Beck Diet Solution
which has a one task per day format. I eventually worked my way through both books and continue to use the techniques.
The techniques that work best for me are:
• Weigh every morning and treat the number as useful data
• Plan all meals and snacks the night before
• Report to my “coaches” in the Beck Diet thread, daily
• Read my list of advantages to losing weight every day
• Declare hunger to be not an emergency
I do none of those 100%, but the intention to do them daily and succeeding about 90% of the time seems to be good enough.
The plan is less important than having a plan, so I tried several, switching when I stalled or got bored. I knew from my previous experiences of weight loss that exchange plans worked best for me. My current plan combines what I learned from the exchange plans that I tried – the government’s food pyramid from 2009, the DASH diet, The Complete Beck Diet for Life
, and Richard Simmon’s Food Mover.
My eating style is natural, whole foods, many of them local and some from my vegetable garden. I cook a lot from scratch including baking all of our bread in a bread machine and making my own salad dressings. I eat meat, but sparingly and mostly fish and chicken. I eat full-fat, full-flavored cheeses, but in tiny servings. The one sweet treat that I seem to be able to eat regularly without triggering the old binge behaviors is ice cream. I don’t have it in the house unless its homemade frozen yogurt, but I do eat small servings when I’m out and about. I rarely eat baked goods unless I bake them myself because I continue to have control problems in that area. I haven’t had a donut since August 2009 and may never have another (it took ten months for that craving to disappear, why would I want to go through that again?). Potato chips fall in the “one is too many, a thousand is never enough,” category for me so I avoid them as well. When I eat out or at family gatherings, I focus on vegetables and eat tiny portions of everything else.
I lost the last five pounds in ten days, the fastest weight loss of my entire journey, when I gave up Diet Coke a couple of months ago. I can’t explain that.
Exercise has been important, too. Thanks to all the chicks who participate in the monthly Exercise Challenge thread (May Exercise Challenge
)! I set a goal each month for the number of minutes I will exercise. I worked up to 1800 minutes at one point, but recently I’ve found 1400 minutes to be about right for me now. The higher number, though, I think helped when I was actively losing pounds. I count everything in those minutes – yoga, qi gong, gardening (although if it’s not very energetic, I only count half the minutes), walking, treadmill, exercise DVDs, and dancing. In the last few months, I’ve become more consistent with doing full-body exercise DVDs that combine cardio with strength training. I aim to do one every other day and I’m seeing and feeling a difference.
I continue to read books to help keep me focused on my healthy lifestyle. Currently, I’m reading Drop Dead Healthy
by A.J. Jacobs, one of the most amusing books I’ve read on the topic.
I am thrilled to be fifty years old and entering the next phase of my life healthy, happy, and vibrant.