I started on my weight loss journey back in late March 2012. I was in denial about my weight gain until I saw a photo of me next to my cousin who was 9 months pregnant. I was shocked by how heavy I had gotten and the picture led me to question who was really pregnant! I immediately pulled out a scale and hopped on. The number I saw on it scared me: 260 pounds.
My weight had always “yo-yoed” but this was the biggest I had ever been. I knew I had to do something, especially since I had a family medical history of obesity and diabetes. I was fearful of meeting the same fate as some of my other family members who had battled with both of these health issues.
For the next few days I started tracking everything I ate or drank. I was horrified by what I discovered! My daily diet included: 2 liters of soda; junk food throughout the work day; high calorie lunches; a big dinner with second helpings, followed by dessert usually consisting of a whole row of cookies and a tall glass of milk. It was a miracle I didn’t have diabetes already!
I slowly started to change my daily eating habits. At first I tried to completely eliminate soda out of my diet but ended up falling off the wagon. I then tried limiting myself to 2 20-ounce bottles of soda and eventually I gave up drinking it completely. After accomplishing this goal, I proceeded to cut back on desserts. Instead of taking the whole pack of cookies to my chair and eating a whole row at a one sitting, I would just take three out of the package. I considered eliminating them all together but I had learned that depriving my body of my favorite food might make it harder to stick to a long-term weight loss plan.
Another key to my success was I started eating for one person instead of three. I avoided over consumption by eating smaller and lower calorie lunches and making just one trip to the kitchen during dinner. I also introduced healthier snack alternatives to my diet like unsalted nuts and raisins to curb those salt and sweet cravings. When I do buy a bag of chips now, it’s a small bag and I munch on them over the course of a few days.
Before I knew it, I was exercising regularly and coming up with inventive ways to make meals healthier. I took frequent walks in my hilly neighborhood after dinner and also began lifting weights every other day. I started seeing real progress; 5, 10, 15 and eventually I shed 35 pounds! People were noticing the weight loss and it was a real boost to my self-confidence!
In October my new healthy lifestyle was tested when I traveled to Disney World and had the deluxe dining plan to tempt me. I thought for sure I was doomed. I took my new habits with me on vacation and I came back from vacation only having gained 2 pounds. The “old me” would have given up, thinking what’s the point of doing all this if I’m going to still gain weight again. The “new me” realized, it’s just 2 pounds, I can lose it again and I did.
I am now 10 months into my new healthy routine, having lost 61 pounds and 7 pant sizes. My goal is to maintain a healthy weight over a lifetime. I am confident that I can meet this goal because I understand how my body works and what healthy plan works for me. Everyone is different, and what worked for me, may not work for somebody else. The best thing is to find what works for you. Take baby steps to reach your goal and remember it takes 21 days for a repeated action to become habit. You just have to get the ball rolling!
Editor’s Note: Guest Blogger Tim Elbing, Jr. lives in the Pocono Mountains and works as a field engineer. He is an avid sports, music and sci-fi fan. Consult with your physician or health care professional before starting any diet or exercise regimen.