Changing One's Lifestyle
For Freakybunny, losing weight is more than just dieting. He made a commitment to change his lifestyle to include healthier eating habits, exercise, and the right mindset, which helped him lose 94 pounds. He contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I have two children ages 6 and 4. I was afraid they would be ashamed of me, follow my example, and be deprived of their dad due to my lack of energy, activity, and physical participation in their lives. My wife began to hold me accountable for this, and on December 15, 2008 I started to not only lose weight, but to think of myself in recovery from obsessive overeating. It's like a switch went off and I just did it.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I have lost significant amounts of weight four times before. Each time I gained it back with change. The last time I lost a lot was in 2002 before my first son was born. I did it by eating 1000 calories a day, doing up to an hour a day on my elliptical cross trainer, and walking two miles with my dogs. It was simply not sustainable, not to mention unhealthy! When my son was born I just reverted back to my old habits and eventually gained 80 pounds.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I just ate less. I ate the same things, more or less, but I controlled my portions and my menu to achieve an average intake of 1800 calories a day. I started using my elliptical again, but I didn't go as crazy with it as I did before. I wanted my new program to stick, so I didn't make it as extreme as my previous weight loss endeavours. The most important thing I did was I saved my favourite meal of the day for 10 PM, after my workout. This was so key in my weight loss, because it allowed me to avoid binging. I always binged at night. Having a nice bowl of pasta, or a few chips, or popcorn, or whatever during prime binge time saved my bacon, so to speak. I also went for an average caloric intake rather than attempt to reach 1800 each day. This allowed me to eat, say, 1400 one day, and 2200 the next. Following this "zig zag" method permitted me to eat out, and enjoy the occasional high calorie meal or snack while staying within my average of 1800 calories. CC totally helped me keep track of that!
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
It helped in so many ways! First, it gave me a community. I never felt alone, and in fact, I've met tons of great friends here. CC also tracked my calories and helped me shape my workout schedule. I am kind of an obsessive person, and CC's tools helped me keep close tabs on what I ate, what I burned, and my progress. I love the weight log, and the analysis tool.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
Honestly, it wasn't that hard. Sure, I sweated a lot, and yes, there were times I didn't want to workout. But after six months I can say that it was fun. I love using CC several times a day, and I didn't feel very deprived. CC's philosophy just makes sense: eat enough, don't eat too much, eat good things, and you'll lose weight and feel better. Like others, I did find it hard to refuse larger portions and even desserts. Eating is a very social thing. I always feel sheepish when I say "no thanks" to something someone has prepared for me. It was challenging moving from feeling selfish about saving my calories for the evening to feeling that doing so was actually saving my life, and therefore, my relationships. Everyone adjusted! And here I am, more in their lives than ever.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
One week. I lost about 10 pounds the first week. It was only about three weeks when I felt my clothes start to fit better, and about six weeks when I had to go out and buy new pants!
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
When my size 42 suit looked too big on me. Seriously, I bought that suit in 2002 when I weighed 170 lbs. I stopped wearing it when I reached 190. These days it's comically too big on me... just six months ago I couldn't even get the pants on or the jacket over my shoulders. But more than that, I realized I was a success when I started seeking out old friends.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
By counting calories, visiting CC daily, and working toward trusting myself to maintain. I am still learning how to do this. I am experimenting with what it takes to maintain my current weight, and I am erring on the side of caution. I am still losing, but not at the same pace as before. I plan to track my calories, activity, and weight for as long as it takes for me to feel like I've got the hang of this "real life thing".
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I have more energy, I look and feel better, I enjoy wearing new clothes, and I am more involved in everything I do. Most of all, I don’t feel ashamed. I don’t choke back the all consuming feeling of embarrassment I used to feel just being out in public. I am not hiding anymore. I think my weight loss is more a symptom of me “getting myself back”, and using more appropriate ways to relieve stress, enjoy life and care for myself.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Count your calories. You have lots of time to lose weight. Take the time to get it right. Some of us, like me, can lose weight really quickly, but others need more time. That's OK. We're all trying to create a new and sustainable lifestyle that will last.
- Eat the foods you really, really love. I love chips and dip. I have found a way to eat them at least twice a week and stay within my average of 1800 calories a day. Any diet that would have you eat lots of this, and none of that is doomed. Enjoy what you love, and love enjoying it in moderation.
- Move. There's lots of debate over what exercise is best. I'll
settle it for you right now: any activity you enjoy (or even can
tolerate on a regular basis) that gets your heart rate up is the best
workout for you. I love my elliptical cross trainer. I enjoy using it
while I watch TV. Others hate it, and enjoy something
else. The point is, you'll stick with something you like. If you hate
jogging, you'll quit. The best workout is the one you do.
- Rediscover your own best self. You are not fat. You are you. You
are not a condition, a BMI number, or even a weight. You are a
wonderful creation and you live inside a body that either serves you
or limits you. That body can affect your happiness. Treat it well and
it will treat you well.
- Reach out and talk. We're all here for you, and many of us have been through something like you have been through. Find a few kindred spirits and work through this together.
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