Slow and Steady Wins the Race
For Sfeld4, popular weight loss programs didn't bring the results she wanted. She made the decision a few years back to finally take control of her weight and has since then lost 96 pounds by counting calories and incorporating daily exercise. Taking it slowly has certainly paid off, since now she is only four pounds away from her goal weight.
She 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 was 45 years old, using a cane because my knees hurt so badly. Everything hurt. My neck, by back, my ego! I kept saying to myself (I guess my personal mantra): how will I know that my knees won't hurt at a lower weight if I don't reach that weight? I just kept saying it over and over.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
All of them: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Overeaters Anonymous, Nutrisystem, Biggest Loser, pills from the doctor, pills from over the counter, drops, and Atkins (which I'll never try again). Any program that doesn't allow fruit or salad (in my mind) is not right. After all, I didn't get fat eating fruit & salad!
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I made three changes that really made the difference: 1) counting calories, 2) writing down my foods, 3) the "movement" factor (probably the most important change, especially after losing 30 lbs and then hitting a plateau). I kept my calories between 1200 and 1500 a day. I could eat anything I wanted as long as I knew the calories. Writing helped me stay within my calorie allowance and exercise allowed me to lose faster.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
What a wonderful site!! I started with Calorie Count to do just that - find out how many calories were in certain foods I was planning on eating. Then I subscribed to the newsletters and read the helpful tidbits about losing weight that frequently arrived in my Inbox. Calorie Count is the only site I needed to find out the nutrition of my foods.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
It is the hardest thing I've ever done! I think the most challenging was staying motivated when the weight wasn't coming off and knowing that I have been sticking with my program. I am losing very slowly, but it is also staying off. Also, I've never been an exercise person, but for the last 4 months I have been rising at 4:30 AM to do 30 minutes of basic/advanced step exercise before my day begins. That has been challenging.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
Well, let's see: in 2002 I was 296. In 2005 I was 255. In 2009 I am 202. I hate to say this, but 8 years I have been on this journey. It has not been all downhill. It is a process of learning, growing and understanding oneself. More importantly loving oneself. I am worth taking the extra time and effort to take care of me. I am worth weighing my foods and preparing them to help me lose weight.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
I was in a plus-size clothing store recently and realized the smallest size they have is a size 16W and where do I shop when the 16W's are too big? This is going to happen shortly and I've never shopped elsewhere. So I went home and cleaned out my closet. I was going to remove anything that didn't fit and was too big. Now I have 3 shopping bags of work clothes between 18W and 24W that are just too big. I will be donating them.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I often look at my weight log to see how far I have come. I talk to others who are also losing weight. If I do go off for a meal, I don't beat myself up. I don't wait for a new day, I start with my next meal. I make sure I am prepared with the proper foods in my house so that I don't just grab food.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
It is amazing how different I feel. The biggest change is that I actually get up every morning at 4:30 and exercise for 30 minutes. People at work have come up to me and asked me how I've done it. I say the old-fashioned way: counting calories! I now buy clothes that I feel good in.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Write down everything you eat.
- Count calories.
- Weigh yourself daily. I know people say not to do this, but If I don't weigh in, I could end up fooling myself.
- Drink water.
- Get moving. I started by doing one thing more than I would normally do on any given day. I started by walking the hallway at home (back/forth) once a day. That was it. Then I walked the hallway (back/forth) twice. Now I wear a pedometer and break 10,000 steps everyday. This still amazes me!
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.