It was Sept. 21, 2021, the start of a new year as a veteran teacher. I was weighing in at 341 pounds, only having reached a higher weight at one earlier point in my life. The universe was shouting loud and clear and I was beginning to listen, finally. It was time for a change. A big change. And one was needed for oh-so-many reasons — to ensure I’m around for future grandchildren, for one thing — but also because my aching knees were preventing me from doing the things I’d always loved and needed to do. For example, the weight and pain were starting to stop me from walking and standing for long stretches. Even my personal hygiene was impacted.
Keep in mind, my weight-loss journey, like those of many women, has had its ups and downs, both literally and figuratively. But when those knees started hurting, I truly began to think seriously about my weight.
Armed with the support of a medical professional, along with an arsenal of aches and pains and prediabetes, I decided not only to get serious but also to consider what I could do to make the weight come off safely and permanently. In the end, I did lose the weight. By June 2022, my weight had fallen to around 250 pounds.
But first, a disclaimer of sorts, not just for legal purposes, but because I really believe everyone should consult their physician before beginning any weight-loss program. My hope is that at least one thing that’s worked for me will also work for your doctor and you!
Here are some gems that helped me lose a big chunk of weight and keep it off.
Not adhering to any exact rules of intermittent fasting, I created my own version of the trend. For me it meant skipping a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and trying not to eat after a relatively early dinner.
It really works. I started by simply committing to drink more than I did before my journey. Not only is it filling and healthier than alternatives but also there is a lot of science to back up its weight-loss benefits.
- Listen, to your body
Are you really hungry? I tried not to react to just any hunger pang, but instead to determine if what I was feeling was true hunger or just a fleeting feeling. Or boredom.
I removed any foods that didn’t give me pleasure and made sure not to deny myself any particular food. But I did quit alcohol. Wasted calories! When it came to snacks, I chose baby carrots dipped in a low-calorie dressing or balsamic vinegar. A 200-calorie McDonald’s vanilla cone also came in handy as a real treat. Prepackaged sets nuts and dried fruit also were a go-to.
For me it was fast food, diet sodas and large meals. Also, count. Eyeball your calorie intake and distinguish that all calories are not created equal. Get more bang for your buck.
Don’t be afraid to spend more for healthier choices. It’s worth it.
Check with your doctor to find out if there are any medications you are currently taking that contribute to weight gain and seek out alternatives together.
Don’t do it unless you’re at a doctor’s office. Instead, pay more attention to how you feel or look or even how your clothes fit.
Find ways to celebrate that don’t involve food. Watch that new series on your favorite streaming platform. Splurge on a bestseller. A favorite drink on hand is also a good idea — filling and a treat. I like iced coffee.
This is a lifelong journey, more of a marathon than a sprint. Do not give up.
In a Dec. 7, 2021, article, the staff at the Mayo Clinic offered “proven strategies to reduce your weight and boost your health.” In addition to discouraging fad diets, weight-loss programs and scams that promise easy and quick weight loss, they suggest that the cornerstone of long-term, sustained weight loss remains a “healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with increased physical activity.” I agree!
Here are some of the strategies they suggest for good lifestyle and healthy habits:
- Make sure you’re ready.
They include a checklist to ensure you are up to the time and effort required to make permanent changes.
- Find your inner motivation.
Make a list of what’s important to you in order to stay focused. Call on the list when temptation rears its head. Also mentioned is the importance of having a solid support system for encouragement and accountability. Tracking your progress is another avenue to accountability.
- Set realistic goals.
One to two pounds a week of weight loss remains the standard recommendation. That means burning 500 to 1,000 calories more than consumed daily.
- Enjoy healthier foods and get active.
Consider more plant-based foods, including fruits, veggies and whole grains. Reduce sugar and choose low-fat dairy products. Choose lean meat and poultry in limited quantities.
- Change your perspective.
Changes to habits must become a way of life. First, take a real look at your daily routine and eating patterns. Then strategize the gradual change of attitudes and habits that will contribute, rather than hinder, your weight-loss success.
Final words of advice from me. Change just one thing to start. This is your journey — no one else’s. Read and listen to dieting information, but at the end of the day, in conjunction with your physician, figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. Be creative. Experiment. And remember — Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither were you.
Have you successfully lost weight and kept it off? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments below.