In 2004 I was 200 lbs at 5’2″. In 2006 I was 140. By 2008 i was 118 (too low). Now I am between 125-130 and I wear a size 4-6. For me, I didn’t want to be a “marathon” loser. I didn’t want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. I wanted long term weight loss that I could reasonably maintain forever.
This led me to my “LIFESTYLE CHANGE”… A phrase that I picked up somewhere with a total concept that made sense. Here’s what I did:
No dieting. I didn’t restrict myself from any food I enjoyed. I found it makes me crave those forbidden foods even more. I started by eating my regular meals but would automatically throw away a piece of it as soon as I got it. The size I threw out started with one single bite. Then two bites… eventually almost 1/2 of my original serving size. It is about the size I eat now. I found that I was eating too much food at each meal. After I was accustomed to eating less then I incorporated more healthy foods (veggies) and reduced (not eliminated) the “badder” ones. I also cut out processed foods and snacks completely. I found that I used snacks to combat boredom and stress. I drink soda every day but I only allow myself 1 small can a day. If I drink it in the morning then too bad. The rest of the day I get water. If I want candy then I cut in half and either throw the half away or give it to the kids. I also wouldn’t go inside a fast food place. I only went through the drive through. Then I would only get the kids meal. This made it impossible for me to get “seconds”. At restaurants I still cut my food in half and would not bring home leftovers. That’s it for the food part.
For my lifestyle change to work, though, I also had to move more. I parked farther, used stairs, took walks. ANY increase in your activity is still more than what you’re doing (or not doing) now. Increase your activity a little at a time. Too much too fast will make you want to quit sooner.
Finally, my lifestyle change required me to look at my lifestyle behaviors and my relationship with food and people. This required me to eventually get the help of a therapist. I had to tackle demons that I refused to acknowledge. I had to find my voice and be heard (I was very non confrontational and used food to quiet myself and cope). I had to work out my problems. Once I did, I found the NEED to use food as a coping device was gone.
It took me a couple years to get my weight down to 140… And a couple more to where I am now. But I did it right and I have kept it off. I have taught myself to eat healthier and to move more. I have released my demons. Now, if I want a piece of cake I can have one without inhaling the whole thing. I can enjoy fun foods without destroying myself.
Everyone’s lifestyle change requires something different. Take it slow and do it right.