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Calorie Count Blog

Discovering Myself


By Sheila on May 09, 2011 10:00 AM in Success Stories

Larksong9 has lost 55 pounds thanks largely to a mindset change, new eating habits and incorporating daily exercise.  The biggest change for her was her mental attitude which involved finding her “authentic self”.

She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.

1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?

I have been overweight my whole life and have never really tried to lose weight even though I always said I was going to. I would always say I'll start on Monday and by Wednesday I was done. Last year I was at a conference with a friend and we were in the swimming pool and both of us felt terrible about the way we looked. I had just turned 36 and again every year I say this will be the year I do it. My weight pattern is gain 10 pounds keep it for 5 years, gain another and so on. And I just felt that I was about ready to put on more weight and couldn't stand it. So as my friend and I talked I said "I have to lose weight now or never speak of it again!" And 2 weeks later I started counting calories.

2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?

I have never really committed to losing weight. A few years ago I did start keeping track of my calories and found that I lost some weight, but it was a bad time of year to start because the holidays were right around the corner. I got to 12 pounds and then the Halloween candy hit the shelves and it was over.

3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?  Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count?  What was the most important change?

I changed so much. I knew that counting calories worked for me, but I had to decide I was going to be patient with however long it took and I would do it. I refused to call it a diet and decided that the food I was going to eat was not going to be diet food, but regular food in moderation and I had to know what the calories were in everything. I discovered that the healthier the food was, the more I could eat of it which has helped me really make a whole lifestyle change in how I approach food. I started drinking lots and lots of water, which had a side effect that I wasn't expecting. Not only did it help me lose weight, but it stopped my addiction to diet soda. I love diet soda, always have and because I only drank diet I thought I was ok. Then as I started drinking more water I began to lose my cravings for the soda! I couldn't believe it. The other thing that was a HUGE help for me was doing some writing in the beginning about my relationship with food and being honest with how I really saw myself. It was amazing the stuff I learned from those 10 pages. Some of the realizations about what I loved about food made it easier for me to not rely on those things anymore. One of those was the fact that when I eat I love to feel so full that I am in pain. I realized how awful that sounds and that I don't really need to feel that way. So now when I want to eat to feel that full I am able to say to myself that I don't need to and am able to stop.

I also took a spiritual approach to it. I'm a hospital chaplain and teach classes on spirituality and speak often about finding your authentic self. So I started looking at losing weight not just about getting skinny but discovering who my authentic self is and knew that my mind's eye does not see me as fat and so I need to have my physical body match what my inner self sees for me to be authentic.

4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.

Calorie Count was a life saver. I discovered it during week two when I kept going online and doing a Google search on calorie counts for certain foods and Calorie Count came up most of the time. I started looking around the site and realized how many great tools it has. I did not want to join a weight loss group because I know that I would have rebelled against it, but CC helped me with accountability and it was so much fun going on every day, logging my weight loss and seeing the line go down! I started my morning at work by logging in and then keeping CC up all day so I would always be reminded of how much I had eaten all day and if I ate a bite of chocolate I had to log it. I would have never been able to hold myself as accountable as I did without CC! And now when people ask me about losing weight I always tell them about CC!

5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?

I hate, hate, hate to exercise! So getting over that has been hard. One thing that helped was that I had a 4 month puppy when I started so I had him to make me feel guilty if I didn't go for a walk.

I honestly didn't feel that there were too many difficulties once I started. There were plenty of times that I gained a couple of pounds like over the holidays, but I did not use that as an excuse to give up.

The last 10 pounds have taken way too long for my taste, but that too I have just accepted and have kept going.

6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?

I felt the results after the first 10 pounds and started seeing them in myself at 15 and others started noticing at 25. I had goals along the way. The first one was to not have to wear a slimming body suit under my clothes all the time. When I felt I could put on a shirt and not feel the fat roles from my side on my arms anymore I knew I could throw them all out!

I also had an amazing moment when one day I was walking down the street and walked past a picture window and saw my reflection and the person I saw in the window was the same person I saw in my mind's eye! That was when I knew I was successful and there is no way I am going back!

7. How do you prevent relapse?

So far I am maintaining because I lost the weight eating the foods I wanted to eat and doing that by deciding I want to eat healthy food. I am still eating those foods because I love them.

I am also not hard on myself when I have days that have more calories than I should have. They don't happen every day or even every week anymore, so I give myself some grace which helps me not feel guilty which makes me want to eat more.

8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?

I feel so much better about myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have a new wardrobe (because I had never been skinny so didn't have any skinny clothes) which is so much fun I can't stand it.

I have a lot more energy and I have been able to use my story as an inspiration for others to lose weight.

9. How long have you maintained your current weight?

I am just getting to my goal, but I already have a plan for maintaining by continuing to eat the same way I have been for the last year.

10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?

  • Be patient! Don't expect to lose it all in a week. Let the process take as long as it needs to.
  • Don't feel guilty and give up, losing weight takes longer than you think it should.
  • Set small goals along the way. Like a goal every 10 pounds, or fitting into a pair of pants again or not feeling the fat roles on your arms anymore.
  • Eat foods during the journey that you will still want to eat after you have met your goals. Don't set yourself up to start eating cheeseburgers again as soon as you are done.  Make it a rest-of-your-lifestyle change!
  • Write and reflect on your relationship with food and being fat. Be completely honest with yourself.  What has it meant to you, how has food "helped" you in the past and what are you willing to give up in that relationship.  Knowing your true feelings about yourself and food will help you weed out the things about food that are keeping you fat.

 

If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.



Comments


Great Job!!! You have mad a life change not a diet and that is the inspiration that I have been looking for. Yes I want to lose weight but most of all I just want to be happy with myself again. Thank you for sharing your story and helping others to see the light!!!



Thank you for your story.  You are right, it does take time, and it is a process. And I can relate to the spiritual dimension that you mention.  I also feel better about my place in the world, eating a more reasonable amount of food, makes me feel less like a person of privilege or someone who "stores up riches" when so many others are going without.



great job!!! very inspiring..

 



Great story!!! You are an inspiration!!  Keep up the good work!



You look FANTASTIC!!  Great Job!!



Thx for sharing your story and the useful tips. First time I've read one of these and all 5 tips have been relevant to me! It's so hard when you've been trying to lose weight for a long time. I regularly have to remind myself that the weight went on over  along period of time and will need to come off over a long period as well....



You said some very profound things - I think the "authentic self" is key.  You knew you were in there, but you were sorta covered up by the weight.  Now you seem so honest and straightforward (and funny) =) . I'm sure in your job, the insights you've gained have helped you relate to others  more deeply. Congratulations! And what a lucky puppy you have. 



Hi Larksong!

You look great and the story even better!

I need some help in understanding my relation with food..just like you i have always been big, increasing year after year, am 36 too, and if i write what food i like, a dietician will wanna jump off! But i want to understand what kind of stuff you talking about in writing your relation with food. Am passionate about eating..i can feel every taste! a strong bonding there!



Congratulations on a wonderful goal met!

Your story is truly inspirational, and I thank you for sharing!

 



Beautiful, Beautiful story! What an inspiration!  I am so happy for you and all you have achieved!



Awesome story, I can relate!  You look so happy in your "after" picture, good for you!  You look fantastic and I know you feel good also!



Love your comment! I have never thought of my over-eating as "storing up riches"!  There are so many people who go hungry everyday and I am always worried about when and where my next meal is coming from! Thanks so much for this insight! 



Great outlook...loved your story!


wow love your food philosophy!  "So far I am maintaining because I lost the weight eating the foods I wanted to eat and doing that by deciding I want to eat healthy food. I am still eating those foods because I love them." 

Congrats!

I am maintaining a 130 pound loss the same way!  See my profile for link to my snack blog!

Chris



Thank you very much Larksong, I was needing some inspiration to keep going...Smile



You look AWESOME!  Your plan is almost the same as mine.  I've lost 49 pounds in 9 months and still have 15 to go, but slow and steady wins the race.  Keep it going, you are inspiring me to get on the ball and lose those last few pounds.



You look great!!!!!!!!



Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on attaining your goal. I hope to share my story here too. I am one week into this and I am already seeing changes.



This was a great post!  I like that you addressed the emotional aspect of overeating, which I think rings true for a lot of us.  Congratulations!  You look great!



awesome, i love that you were so patient, I've been with this for about two months and patience is not my strong suit, however you have inspired me to patience.  the worst is being in Europe around all kinds of really good chocolate, amazing bread, and really really good cheese!!!! Yellurgh!!!



CONGRATS! You look amazing btw! I have the exact same food philosophy! People ask what "Diet" I'm doing and I say I'm not dieting I'm portion controlling, lol! I am also eating foods that I know I will want to eat the rest of my life. Exercise was a big hurdle for me as well but I found I love the Elliptical machine so I do that 6 days a week for at least 30-45 min a day. I also have two girls under two so they keep me quite busy. I hope I can have the same success as you. I am giving myself at least a year to lose 100 lbs. I also understand it will take a while and I cant give up. I started 6 weeks ago and have lost 15 lbs. I hope one day I can have a before and after pic on here!



Thank You !

I am encouraged by your story. Especially helpful to me was the need to be patient and forgiving with myself. You helped me remember this is a lifestyle change, and any interruption is no reason or EXCUSE to stop. You remind us to stay in the fight for the long haul.  You said" expect it to take longer" than you think. With my type A personality that is a helpful thought. I get impatient with myself and that kicks in some unexpected emotional need that seeks satisfaction in something to eat.

Thanks for your candor and your example of success!

Derrick 



Congratulations. I am truly inspired by your success. The elements of your success are simple yet difficult to grasp by people who .are prejudiced against the spiritual principles that govern the connection between the mind and the body. My body is a temple but only if I treat it as one.



Thank You!!! i know exactly what you meant by 'minds eye' and i too hate to exercise!! i have a torn cartilidge in my knee so it is painful and i don't like doing it in the best of health.  this has slowed down my weight loss, and i tend to cut too many calories and have recently followed advise of a previous article and allow myself to eat a few days of 'good calories' a week.  I have resigned myself that it will take time, darn.  Good Job!!!



You look fantastic, and thank you for sharing!! :)   I'm having one of those "this isn't moving as quickly as I'd like - what's the point" days, and reading this helped get my mindset back on track! :) 



This was such a timely article for me.  I attended the same conference this weekend and at the end of the conference I declared the possibility that I would lose 55 pounds.  Your story has confirmed that I can and will do this.  Thank you!



Congratulations on your success!  You look great

 



Congratulations! the before and after shots are fantastic, you look amazing! this is really inspirational, thankyou for sharing your story!



Wow! Not only was your story truly inspirational and incredibly well-balanced, but the honesty is what touched me most. I've carried shame and guilt and real ignorance about the fact that so many times I eat to feel 'full'. Not just enough, or like my stomach's full, but to the point of pain. Then I feel 'full'. It is a sick and broken thought process and believe and definitely not in line with my authentic self, but I don't know how to break it. However, with your honest revelation about that very fact, I now feel 1)not so alone; and 2)that maybe I can put food in it's proper place as well. I think it may start by writing.

Thanks for the intimate insight into your journey!



"I also took a spiritual approach to it. I'm a hospital chaplain and teach classes on spirituality and speak often about finding your authentic self. So I started looking at losing weight not just about getting skinny but discovering who my authentic self is and knew that my mind's eye does not see me as fat and so I need to have my physical body match what my inner self sees for me to be authentic."

 

I LOVE this!  This is actually what I have started doing too.  I decided to do a 40 day communion of my own just to soul search, get to know God more & pray for my ex boyfriend.  I started on 4/11/2011. The sacrifice I made was no more alcohol, read more & less TV & eat healthier/exercise.  I've always been skinny so when I started gaining weight I didn't realize what was actually happening to my body.  Every-time I looked in the mirror I still saw the skinny me (my authentic self) although I was 60 lbs heavier.  When I would see a picture of me I couldn't believe my eyes.  It didn't recognize myself at all. God gave me a beach that I live on, can exercise on & get peace, yet all I did was stay inside watching TV or go out & drink all night.  I completely took advantage of this gift God blessed me with for 8 years.  When I lost my job & almost lost my apartment I realized it was time to get rid of bad habits that are keeping me from enjoying what I actually have.  While I've been doing this 40 day communion I have been tracking my calories & now I am talking it a step further with the South Beach Diet.  This website has helped more than anything & now I am walking on the beach everyday.  I've only lost 4 lbs but I have only been tracking on this website for 2 weeks - before I was tracking everything by hand. 

Thanks for sharing this inspirational story - I am so proud of you & I will definitely hang in there now that I know it does take time.

Rome wasn't built in a day.....

 



Original Post by: leenasher

Hi Larksong!

You look great and the story even better!

I need some help in understanding my relation with food..just like you i have always been big, increasing year after year, am 36 too, and if i write what food i like, a dietician will wanna jump off! But i want to understand what kind of stuff you talking about in writing your relation with food. Am passionate about eating..i can feel every taste! a strong bonding there!


I agree wholeheartedly! Laughing



Pls disregard Leenasher.  I quoted the wrong post.

Good Luck to you though!



Original Post by: jenpnc

You said some very profound things - I think the "authentic self" is key.  You knew you were in there, but you were sorta covered up by the weight.  Now you seem so honest and straightforward (and funny) =) . I'm sure in your job, the insights you've gained have helped you relate to others  more deeply. Congratulations! And what a lucky puppy you have. 


"You knew you were in there, but you were sorta covered up by the weight. "

 

I agree wholeheartedly!  Sometimes I think I hide behind my weight so I don't actually live my life.  Mostly b/c I don't feel like myself anymore in this body.  The real me was energetic, cute, funloving & most of all TINY (4'10" at 90 lbs).  Now I am drained, depressed & highly obese for my height (4'10" at 164 lbs).  Thanks to all who are posting their struggles & triumphs!  It's nice to know I am not the only one out their struggling with her "authentic self".



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I like the idea of journaling.  I write down my thoughts in so many areas of my life but I think I have avoided food out of fear of myself.  Fear of facing some demons I wish weren't there!



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GREAT JOB!!



I love this spiritual approach- ive already started journaling about my relationship to food and alcohol and its such an eye opener!



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