How did your weight loss journey begin/what lead you to begin (health problems, low energy, joint pain, etc.)?
There were several factors in my decision to lose weight. One of the leading factors in my decision is that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the second factor is because I simply refused to buy clothes in the next larger size.
Did you try any diet programs? How did they work?
I looked at several different diet programs that were available. Several options lacked the needed support to help me stay on track and hold me accountable for my bad behaviors. The program also had to have some type of maintenance program as well. The program I chose worked very well and I recommended the program to several people, when they inquired about my weight loss.
Explain the process that you went through (in detail) to lose weight. What lifestyle changes did you make and how hard were they?
The program I chose was a program that increased protein and reduced carbohydrates (starches and sugars). For example, if you had an apple, you could not have potatoes in the same meal. Therefore, most meals were a protein, vegetable and fruit. Serving sizes were proportioned by weight or size. The program also required that I weighed in no less than two times per week, submit a list of what I ate and how much exercise I did. The program offered several “classes” on various topics that ranged from how to change your cooking style (no frying and more grilling or steaming), how to eat out in restaurants, different ways to exercise, how to dress for your shape, and motivational classes to keep people on track. I was required to attend a minimum of two classes per month. When specific milestones in weight loss were reached, the program provided rewards for reaching that milestone.
As for lifestyle changes I had to learn to drink a lot more water, which was difficult for me and the program helped with suggestions and personal experiences and by listening to the staff I was able to consume more water than recommended. I also had to start baking my french fries (always have used real potatoes) instead of frying. When I eat out I am no longer embarrassed to ask for fruit from the bar. Most restaurants have a bar and most bars have fruit as a garnishes for certain drinks (e.g. oranges for Blue Moon beer, pineapple, strawberries). At first I got really strange looks and was told they’d have to check with the manger if they could substitute the fruit for the second side. My first side was generally a salad or steamed broccoli (without any butter or sauces, etc.) After a few visits to the restaurants, asking for the fruit was no longer an issues. I also discovered some kid’s menus had fruit and I would order the fruit from the kids menu.
How much weight did you want to lose and how much did you actually lose?
When I started I wanted to lose 150 pounds, the staff that I worked with said that was way too much and did not want me to give up if I didn’t reach the goal I had set. So we comprised with 100 pounds. I started at 275 pounds and wearing a size 26 (when I could find them) and reached a plateau at 180 pounds and was wearing a size 20 and some 18’s depending on the brand.
Is your journey over? Do you still follow the same lifestyle guidelines that allowed you to lose weight in the first place?
Yes and no on my journey being over. I know unfortunately that with age, losing weight becomes more difficult and I have had to learn that I’ll never be that 115 pound 18-year-old again. Unfortunately as I neared my goal weight loss, I lost my mother to colon cancer and it became very unsettling when people would assume that I had some type of terminal illness due to my weight loss and it became very difficult to continue with the program. I still try to follow the program, I have kept the majority of my bad habits at bay, but a few have resurfaced and I’m trying to get them back under control.
Have you been able to maintain your total weight loss?
Unfortunately, I have not been able to maintain the complete weight loss. I have put back on 25 pounds of the 100 I lost, I have to admit I do feel better and the assumptions about the health stopped. Also it is not such a struggle to try and stay at 180 pounds.
What advice can you give fellow LOVE&Loss members that might help and encourage them?
Don’t think the weight is going to come off overnight. Don’t give up. There is success at the end of the road. Stick to the plan. When you reach milestone, reward yourself (not with food). My weight loss took me almost a year.