Losing Weight With My Family
Newdan isn't going through his weight loss journey alone. He's doing it with his wife, and they're both going about it with the help of a nutritionist. Newdan shares the importance of logging his food, and gives advice on the mental challenges that come with losing weight. Read on how he has lost 53lbs.
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?
From the sixth grade until the end of my junior year in college I wore a size 34 pants and large size t-shirt. I ate whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted, and my weight never fluctuated. Towards the end of my junior year I started feeling a little uncomfortable in my size 34 pants and noticed that they fit a little more snuggly after being washed. That was March of 2006. Three years later in March of 2009 I broke the button off a size 38 pant trying to squeeze into them! Somewhere between graduation, getting married, moving, two new jobs, buying a house, and having a baby, I gained 50 lbs! The day I didn't fit into a size 38 pants was the day I stopped eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and I started counting calories! A second motivating factor was the nagging family history of heart disease and diabetes on both sides of the family, and a cholesterol level above 240! Now its down to 160!
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I tried South Beach Diet in the beginning of 2009 with no success. I also tried other "low carb" diets which worked for losing 5-6 lbs for a few weeks or so. It was always back to the old ways as soon as something stressful happened though.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I started by using the calorie target tool in the Calorie Count website and set my goal to 1500 calories per day. I understood the necessity and difficulty of getting the proper nutrition with such a low intake, and I turned it into an engineering problem (did I mention I'm an engineer?). I made it a point to eat highly nutrient-dense foods while limiting my saturated fat intake to 25% of the recommended value (to reduce my cholesterol).
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
Logging my food daily really helped me to stay accountable for what I chose to eat. I love seeing the nutrition information for so many foods and being empowered to choose foods that are both nutritious and satisfying. Also, by logging everything - and I mean everything - I've become good at knowing what a portion size looks like, which is extremely helpful! Not to mention having the food log made it easy to discuss my eating habits with a nutritionist in the family.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
The most challenging thing has been and continues to be eating healthy while others in my family choose to eat unhealthy foods. Especially at family dinners and parties, I won't ask for a special meal just because I don't want a huge plate of Mac and Cheese! Instead though, I will offer to help cook, which in addition to being appreciated gives me an opportunity to make at least one thing that is healthy and satisfying!
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I know everyone is different in this regard. I saw results in the first two weeks. I was exercising daily (running on the treadmill) and eating 2000 fewer calories per day than I was before I started my new lifestyle! Within 6 weeks I dropped a pant size, and within 16 weeks I was back to my high school waist line.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
I knew I was a success when I fit comfortably into a 32 size pants and the doctor told me my cholesterol was down to 160 from 240.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I got really scared that I would relapse over the holidays, so I had to face this one up front. To deal with this I decided to switch my exercise time to the morning instead of the evening. That way when I see the yummy cheese (my favorite!) I will not want to waste all of the effort I put in at the gym. If I exercise in the afternoon I will tell myself that I'll just spend extra time on the treadmill, which doesn't work for me.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Well, we were able to donate many clothes to a local charity, I spend less on food because I eat less, and now my wife is on-board too (after having our first baby!) so it's a family lifestyle now. Also, I have way more energy than I can ever remember, I don't get chest pain going up the stairs anymore (don't forget - I'm only 25) and I'm pretty sure I get better gas mileage now.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Eat food that is bulky and low calories so that you feel satisfied.
- Eat highly nutrient dense food so that you still get your
- Show off your food log to friends/family because it will get you
excited about your lifestyle change again.
- Make your own lunch - don't go out to eat every day for lunch.
- Get your friends or family to do it with you because it's way
easier having their support.
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