So many people have asked me how I lost the weight, that I brought this thread back up and edited it a little to reflect my current status. Hope this helps! You should know that I entered maintenance in Dec., 2004. Although I had originally hoped to lose 100 pounds, the wrinkles showing up on my 51 year-old face adjusted my thinking and I now accept 85 pounds gone as just fine.
Let me preface this post by reminding you - I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist. See your doctor before following any advice given here!!
Also, this is how *I'M* doing it.... you have to find your own groove. If you're looking for a magic pill, potion or lotion, I'm about to disappoint you. But if you're willing to invest some planning, hard work and focusing for the rest of your life, what I have to say may help you.
When I began to feel serious about losing weight back in January of 2004, I considered these things:
- if I don't do it now, when will I?
- what is my plan going to be? It had to be healthy
- what things can I do to help ensure success?
- am I ready to do this for the rest of my life?
First of all, imo, the ability to lose weight depends mostly on your frame of mind ... you have to be ready. Ready to make it your top priority. Very top, as in number 1. If you repeatedly try and fail, then ask yourself.."What is my payoff for staying fat?" That is a direct quote from Dr. Phil, and it is highly effective. I had to find out what I personally got as a reward from staying overweight. For me, it was the comfort of eating. I like the feeling of pudding in my mouth... I like the crunch and salt in Doritos... I like the smoothness of mashed potatoes, and the taste of almost all foods! I used food as a drug to calm my nerves and to soothe my bruised feelings when something unpleasant happened. And I used them to celebrate when I was happy. The way these foods made me feel was my payoff... so I had to find a different way to get the same balm. Now I use limited portions, or I do an entirely different activity to get them. You can find one if you try. It is so much easier to stop a bad habit, if you replace it with a good one.
The next thing I did was talk to my family. They've seen me try and fail so many times, and I know it hurt them almost as much as it hurt me. So I told them that I was going to start WW again, and that I needed their help. That I wouldn't be making many desserts and would be limiting the amount of food on the table every evening. We still eat regular food, just less of it. My DH and DD eat more food than me, obviously, but I don't make tons of it like I used to. If your family isn't willing to help you, you have bigger issues than weight loss, and should probably focus on those first.
Also, I got all the junk food out of my house. No one living here needs cookies, candy, etc. (no one in any house needs that stuff!) Yes, I can, and do, have treats... but a steady supply of them is just too tempting. If I was strong about avoiding these types of foods, I wouldn't be overweight in the first place, right? Once I got used to not eating them, I truly stopped craving them. The sugar in fruit now satisfies my sweet tooth. I try new fruits... not just apples and oranges, using the money I save on chips and cookies to buy kiwi, mangos, melons, peaches, and other delights. I personally don't even buy the Lite version of cookies and crisps because then the cravings would never go away! Stick to healthy foods - you know what they are!!
It's important to plan every bite you take, before you take it. Every night or early the next day, I plan my food ahead of time. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Do not eat anything that isn't on your list for the day. Period. It's as simple as that.
What about a goal? For me, a weight goal should be a number or size that I can stop at and stay there without starving myself everyday of my life! Life is too short to be miserable. Also, I didn't think of the Big number of pounds I needed to lose .... I thought about 1 pound at a time. It would have been overwhelming to think I had to lose a 100 pounds .... but I knew I COULD lose 1 pound.
Then another... and another. And I have never even thought about meeting a timeline. If I set one and didn't make it, then I might feel like a failure. Week after week, I'm doing as well as I can, and that's all I ask of myself. That's one reason you don't see me doing challenges and competitions. I'll get there when I get there, lol.
I have noticed in the past that when I lose for an event, like a wedding, a reunion, a vacation, etc., I always gain the weight right back after the event is over. So this time I am losing for the rest of my life. Until the day I die,
I will be doing Weight Watchers, and I want to!
What to do about reunions, birthday parties, hoidays, etc at home? It's all about portion control. If the event is during a mealtime, I eat most of the same foods everyone else does, just less of it, and no chips, etc. But stick with fruit or free veggies if it's at snack time. Skip the really high point foods in favor of more food. I take LOTS of free foods to keep my jaws busy. And I focus on mingling, visiting, and anything other than the food when others are getting seconds. I go talk to an aunt, hold a baby while the momma eats, gather dirty dishes, refill the napkin holder... anything to keep myself busy, once I've had my allotment. But what's most effective is... thinking about weigh-in day. Would I rather have a brownie now, or show a loss on Saturday? That's a no-brainer for me!
All restaurants have healthy food choices now that they are afraid of being sued, lol. I used to take an orange or grapes with me to McDonald's with the DGDs... now that they have apples, I don't have to take mine from home. There just isn't any reason for me to over-indulge. When I'm on the road, as when I'm home, I write down exactly what I'm going to eat before I eat it. There's not much room for error this way, and it takes away the panic of not knowing.
To help keep the motivation, I started a weight loss scrapbook. It makes me smile, and makes me proud to see the change in pictures. I have in mine the Serenity Prayer, my Mission Statement, my Top Ten Reasons to Lose, a month-to-month weight loss record, and photos. The "before" ones and several since. Another motivator is keeping "too small" clothes in the closet. That's highly effective, lol.
Sometimes the numbers on the scales move downward very slowly, so I keep track of my body measurements, too. It's a re-enforcement that I am doing the right things for my body which brings me to Exercise....
I have very strong feelings about exercise, and refuse to do anything that I'm not willing to do for the rest of my life. Have you ever seen what happens to a body that is used to vigorous exercise then the person stopped? Yikes! So I do what I'm fairly certain I can keep up with for years and years to come. I walk the treadmill every other day. On the in-between days, I do exercises for my arms, and also crunches for my abs. I'll continue to increase the length of time or number of repetitions as I can. Finding something I really like to do was the key for me.... no way would I be doing some of the stuff that's out there.... it is a personal thing, and each one of us has to find their niche. For some people it's pilates, or Denise Austin, or WATP (I started with the 1 mile of this) .. anyway, you get the point.
Lastly, I thank God everyday for helping me get through this. Imho, people who wait to lose weight (or stop smoking, etc.) "until things settle down" will never make it! There will always be stressful events, on some level, going on in your life or in the life of someone you love. In mine, while I lost weight, there have been funerals, blood tests, sick babies, a cancer scare, arguments, and other very, very stressful times. But with God's help, I got through them without overeating. You may have a different Higher Power, and that's ok, too. Whatever it is, draw strength from it and give thanks. But finding a way to cope during stress is imperative
.... I had to replace the old habits! A bubble bath may help. Or try talking with a friend. Give meditation a try, peace and quiet with a cup of tea, taking deep breaths, whatever works at the time... other than comfort food!
I hope this came across as helpful as I intended, and not preachy. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I know what is working for me right now. I may have to change it later, who knows? What I weigh is NOT who I am, but it sure helps to define how I feel about myself.
One last thought: If you really want to lose, you'll find a way, and if you don't want to, you'll find an excuse. It's up to you.
If you got one helpful thing out of all this (and oh I hope you did!) it has been worth opening up my heart to let you take a peek.
I am closing this thread to comments but welcome your thoughts via PMs.