Even as a child, I was on the heavy side. And by the time I was an adult, I had given up the hope of ever living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Bouncing up and down, back and forth with gains and losses, I was resigned to my burdensome weight problem. The emotional tension ripped my self-esteem to shreds, and mentally I was worn thin. One day my co-host at a local radio station where I worked at the time challenged me to be a captain of a listener driven weight-loss team. For a few minutes, I abhorred the thought of my putting my heart on the line one more time. I remember thinking “What would make this attempt any different from the last ten failures?” I didn’t want to set myself up to fail again. But secretly I was desperate to change. I just didn’t know how.
I accepted the challenge regretfully and made it through the competition. I made one change and sacrificed my favorite diet soda that I loved. I surprised myself and lost 30 pounds. This loss was more than I had ever achieved in a month’s time. After the contest, I set another goal. Renewed hope and hard work drove me to want the best version of me. I eventually reached my big, audacious goal of losing 132 pounds without diet pills or weight loss surgery.
What made this attempt different than all the rest of my failures? Here are some points to ponder:
Think about Food as Fuel Instead of Comfort:
My previous weight of 244 pounds left me with an out-of-control appetite. I was using food as a coping mechanism to soothe past hurts and insecurities, which resulted in unhealthy food choices such as chocolate and potato chips. I started to target the root issues and began to think about food as fueling my body instead of fooling my mind into thinking it could comfort my emotional hurts.
You Can’t Cheat–Just Commit:
The biggest obstacle to losing weight was my resistance to change and a lack of discipline. Instead of making food behave, I trained my appetite to behave around food. Making small, consistent decisions daily add up to big wins on the scale. You can’t cheat your way to success. Only hard work, dedication, and focus accomplish goals. There were days I took the next step one meal at a time, making progress one day at a time. In the end, it was consistent daily decisions that accomplished my goal. Consistency helps shape your will power. When I didn’t see the results I wanted, I didn’t give up. Most of us give up too quickly!
Say No to Say Yes.
I said “no” to certain foods like traditional sweets and replaced them with healthy choices like fruits for desserts and snacks. I said “no” to traditional high calorie processed foods and replaced them with lower calorie vegetable dishes and protein choices. Cooking clean means “yes” to steamed veggies and baking meats instead of fried chicken and quick fix pre-packaged dinners. I dropped my ‘all or nothing’ mentality; when I got off track I simply got back on track with the next meal. Once I got a handle on meals, I learned to keep my trigger foods out of the house.
As I Ate Less I Gained.
A turnaround in my thinking about food led me to feel better about my attitude towards exercising. I added walking to the fitness menu because it was free and another way to invest in my overall health benefits. Surprisingly, my knee and foot pain disappeared the more I walked, and I had more energy. I later took up an interest in running, and as I crossed my first 10K finish line, I felt lighter than ever before! I gained confidence as I saw the pounds drop off and my dress sizes shrink. I learned over time a disciplined lifestyle built around simple healthy eating and exercising habits overcomes a past of unwise choices. Changing one’s lifestyle takes time, effort, and dedication.
The bottom line was I had to approach my eating addiction with intensity and all seriousness, as well as set specific goals. My secret is this: Choose today for how you want to feel tomorrow. I believe there is a healthier version of you bursting to get out, so choose wisely!
What weight loss methods have you tried when accomplishing your goals?
Janelle Keith loves lattes, good laughs, and lives to notice the good in others. She is the author of Grace for Your Waist, her story of losing 132 lbs. of weight.