My Complete Lifestyle Change
Have you ever looked into a mirror and disliked what you were looking at? Well, that's what happened to Rosielena17. Seeing herself at such a heavy weight wasn’t a laughing matter anymore and prompted her to start her weight loss journey. She has lost 60 lbs by making changes to her eating and exercise habits.
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?
My "Aha!" moment was- One day when I was at my heaviest, I looked in the mirror in my bathroom and saw rolls of skin on my back whilst standing up straight. I hated myself for looking the way I did, for "letting myself go" and for not caring about my health. That was the day I said "ENOUGH!" and started changing my diet. I realized that that time in my life I have almost no pictures of myself because I didn't like the way I looked and I was unhappy.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I never bought into diet programs because if there's anything I have learned over the years is that being healthy and losing weight is not a temporary thing. "Dieting" is not realistic because once you lose the weight and stop "dieting" it's common to gain some or all of it back. What I did was a lifestyle change, one that I intended to maintain forever. My "diet" was to eat normal and exercise regularly.
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?
Initially I only changed my diet and didn't incorporate exercise. I didn't want to dive in too quickly because I thought maybe it would be too much. I started with my diet. Over the years I had developed stomach issues where wheat and dairy seemed to cause problems. When I started my new lifestyle, I eliminated all gluten and dairy from my diet (with the exception of the occasional goat's milk yogurt or greek yogurt). I stopped drinking soft drinks when I was 16, but until I started my weight loss journey I was a regular soda pop consumer- my favorite was Dr. Pepper. Upon eliminating gluten, dairy and soda from my diet, my stomach illnesses immediately improved and I assumed that maybe I was gluten intolerant, as a family friend with Celiac's Disease suggested. By the time I visited my doctor to be tested for intolerance, it had already been 8 months since I ate gluten. The doctor said the test would for sure turn up negative. I gradually added exercise after the first couple of months. As a child I was very active in sports. I decided to sign up for a gym membership and participated in group classes. My favorite classes are ZUMBA and any type of aerobics classes. I am a student so every afternoon at school I would take PE classes to stay fit (I worked at the school in the office so I did this to keep from being sedentary all day).
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie count is instrumental in the sense that the daily emails are reminders of my interest in staying healthy and finding ways to keep on track. I am not very good about tracking my food intake every day and I have been in Shanghai, China since Jan 2011. It is incredibly difficult to measure food unless I cook it myself. The stories of other members' weight loss journeys are inspirational and help me to feel connected to others like me who said "ENOUGH!" to their destructive lifestyles and said "YES!" to actually LIVING, not just existing.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
Plateaus!!! They drive me crazy so I've been trying to find ways to get past them. Sometimes I have to up my calorie intake a little for a few days to a week and then drop it down again. Other times I need to incorporate varying exercise intensities. Other times it's changing my diet a little. It all depends. Oh and eating gluten free is challenging but is becoming easier and easier as more food choices are popping up in supermarkets and restaurants catering to the gluten-free consumer. I am trying to stay clear of heavily processed foods with additives but that isn't always convenient.
One of the most difficult things in regards to my diet were the opinions and skepticisms of other people. Some people were really supportive while others made me feel like gluten couldn't possibly be the issue behind my stomach problems. Part of this is the lack of education on the part of consumers about nutrition and research suggesting a link between gluten and many digestive problems in a large percentage of the American population. It's so easy to just pop a Tums or reach for the Pepto-Bismol. I didn't want to be one of those people.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I saw results within the first few months. When I saw the scale read 156 lbs this summer I thought..."wow, I have lost almost 70 lbs...I don't remember the last time I weighed less than this. I am thinner than I was in high school."
7. How do you prevent relapse?
It's difficult sometimes, especially being away from home right now. Traveling can make it hard to stay on track, especially when eating out. The goal is to find ways to stay focused and modify foods to coincide with your normal diet. Don't give in to whatever's convenient. You always have a choice in what foods (and drinks) go into your mouth. Don't care what others say if they are negative or make you feel like you are being inconvenient for them. If you can't eat certain things, don't eat them.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I have more confidence and I am more social than before. I enjoy going out with friends and even having my picture taken, and I don't feel as self-conscious.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
Stress and environment changes have made it difficult not to yo-yo like I have been the past couple of months, but luckily my weight hasn't gone up by more than a few kilograms. Recently it's been going back down.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Set small goals in reasonable and attainable time frames. It'll help you stay motivated as you achieve each goal.
- Don't make exceptions. There is a reason you've said "ENOUGH" and your success will depend on your determination as well as your ability to stay the path you set for yourself.
- It's ok if you don't lose weight as quickly as you'd like. Every person is different and your body will lose weight the way it is supposed to. Always remember that every pound lost is progress so don't be disappointed if the scale doesn't budge too much. You WILL hit a plateau at some point. This is especially important as the scale reads closer to your goal weight. It's difficult to lose those last 10-15 pounds BUT I know it IS possible.
- Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about nutrition and exercise. It will help you find what methods and diets work best for your body. It will also help you to stay focused and in control, especially when you do hit those plateaus.
- Have fun, change your life! Don't see weight loss and "dieting" as a burden or hard work. If you approach it as an obstacle from the get-go it's harder to stay enthusiastic and motivated. Your journey should be a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix through extreme dieting. Find exercises that are fun and enjoyable. Make new friends with others who share the similar goals and who are also active. Be positive!!!
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