(Today’s guest post is from Diane at Fit To The Finish. She is a successful loser and has maintained her weight for 12 years. I love her advice for the things to do to keep the weight off long term and hope you do too.)
I hope that sharing a little bit about my 150 pound weight loss journey will inspire and motivate all of you. Weight loss isn’t always easy, but the end result is worth all the effort.
Seat belt extenders, plus size clothing departments, and ugly clothes were three phrases I’d use to describe my life 13 years ago. Flight attendants offered me extenders–without any indication on my part that I may need them, although I did. Shopping in plus sized clothing departments made me upset; and I’d have to go eat some cookies from the mall food court after realizing the size 28’s no longer fit. Ugly clothes became the norm, as I resorted to sewing my own dresses due to lack of sizing availability in the stores.
Being obese wasn’t fun, but it was something I had become accustomed to. After 10 years of struggling with my weight, and trying every diet on the planet, I had resigned myself to living the rest of my life as a “plus sized woman.” But one day, while at my doctor’s office for a routine check-up, I got scared. As the nurse moved the heavy weight from 150, to 200, to 250, and then to 300, I felt something I hadn’t felt before: Fear. How much more weight could I gain and still be able to function? Where would I stop? Would I become housebound, and end up like one of those poor people on television, being cut out of their homes? No, I decided. I wasn’t going to get bigger.
That day I drove home, thoughts swirling in my head like clouds. What diet should I try this time? Should I rejoin my local Weight Watchers for the 512th time? When I got home, I sat down, and wrote down all the things I knew about weight loss, and the list was long. I realized I had all the information I needed, so instead of joining a group, I put together a plan for myself. I decided I’d watch the fat content in foods, eat just one portion of a food at a time, and exercise. Simple? Yes. Effective? Very.
The next morning, I put on my ugly homemade jumper, and plodded down the street for 10 minutes. Huffing and puffing, I turned around, and made my way back home. When I got back, I collapsed on the couch, and proudly told John, “I’m now in the land of the fit!” I was far from fit, but I had crossed a major hurdle, both physically and mentally.
Day by day I practiced making good food choices. I stopped consuming entire pans of brownies at one time, quit buying peanut M&M’s “for the kids,” and worked hard at relearning to enjoy healthy, wholesome food. It wasn’t always easy, and I often ate things I regretted, but after 14 months of hard work and dedication, I lost 150 pounds. I went from a size 26/28 to a size 6, and felt 10 years younger.
That was 12 years ago, and I’ve maintained the weight loss, even with 4 pregnancies, 3 state to state moves, and numerous life changes.
There were a couple of things I did while losing weight that made maintenance easy.
1. Because I didn’t diet using a “plan,” there was no plan to quit. I really had made a lifestyle change, and lost weight doing something I could continue indefinitely.
2. I developed a love of exercise. Whereas prior to losing weight the word exercise conjured up feelings of disgust and fear, I discovered that I looked forward to moving my body and seeing it change.
3. I coined my own personal mantra for maintenance. “Never Go Back” I didn’t want to have to diet again. I wanted this time to be the last time I had to lose weight. So whenever I was tempted by chocolate, I remembered those three words, and chose carefully.
I want to encourage you that weight loss of any amount is possible, and positive. As you continue on your journey, don’t just focus on the final scale number, but rather rejoice as you reach your mini-goals. Losing weight and keeping it off was the best thing I ever did for myself, and for my family!