Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maintaining Weight Loss

I lost 63 pounds and have kept it off for fourteen months.  My issues with achieving a healthy diet and proper exercise are ongoing.  Some of the specific challenges that I face include ice cream and candy, readily available snack foods, not drinking enough water, salt retention, and cold weather.  I can sum those things up in two words.  Those words are LAZINESS and IMPULSE.

I will take a pause here and tell you that I am not a fan of the "attaboy/girl" school of getting things done.  I have found that having cheerleaders who burst out in hosannas for every bit of progress and non-progress really doesn't help.  The issue here is self-esteem,  not other-esteem.  I have to be my own cheerleader and my own honest critic.  The feel-good generation created failure and victimhood.  It didn't work well with kids and it certainly doesn't work with adults.  The bottom line is results.  A pat on the head or hand and a "poor you" is demeaning, patronizing, and stifles the struggle to change.  If something is worth having, it is worth working for. 

When I determined that I wanted to lose my excess poundage, this was a decision that I had to make.  Once I truly made the decision, there were actions that followed.  I found a support group to go to weekly.  I went to the family doctor and discussed a healthy weight goal.  I read about nutrition and weight loss.  I cleaned out the refrigerator.  I put on my walking shoes and hooked up the dog.

Here are some things that I've taught myself to do that are now a matter of routine for me: When I want ice cream or candy, I think about it before getting it; I don't keep ice cream or candy in my house; I don't add salt to any food on my plate; I rarely eat cold cuts; I eat half as much as I think I ought to and exercise at least twice as much as I want to; I remind myself that nothing tastes as good as a healthy weight feels.  There is one thing that I don't do.  I don't count calories.  Instead, I use a plate guestimate.  On an average sized plate, one quarter is for meat or protein, one quarter is for starch, and one half for fruits/veggies.  I allow myself one serving of fat per meal (it's needed for digestion) and I endeavor to eat two low-fat yogurts a day.  (I am lactose intolerant but I can eat yogurt).  I weight myself once a week and adjust my eating accordingly.  I strive to stay within five pounds of my target weight, although I have strayed within eight pounds.

Within the past year, I have had specific measurable results.  My good cholesterol went up, my bad cholesterol went down, my triglicerides went down.  I no longer have sleep apnea and no longer sleep with a c-pap machine (in consultation with my ear, nose, and throat specialist).  I lost nine inches from my chest, ten from my waist, and ten from my hips.

Other things that are not quantifiable have also occured in the past year.  I donated all of my fat clothes.  I am able to slowly jog for longer periods of time in the woods.  It is easier for me to negotiate my way over and around fallen trees and other obstacles.  And the dog, who now goes for longer and more challenging walks with me, has lost weight too.