30 Pounds in One Year - My Story
The weight loss program that finally changed my life
Are you looking for some help losing weight? I've got a better idea! How 'bout some help getting healthy! Weight loss programs don't work. I've tried my share. However, changing my life style has taken me almost to my goal weight! Keep reading to find out my favorite FREE "get healthy" help site.
It was 2007 when I discovered that I can lose weight and can keep it off. I just have to believe in myself and follow some good sensible guidelines. Below you'll find some information about how I lost 30 pounds and got a new eating lifestyle.
I was a bit heavy all through grade school. My great-grandmother used to tell people I hadn't grown out of my baby fat yet. I hated that! Finally in 8th grade I grew into my 115 pounds (I didn't lose weight, I just went from just barely 4' to 5'2" in one Summer)
A short four years later, my first pregnancy and everyone telling me I was eating for two, found me gaining 60 pounds in 9 months. I managed to get back down to about 140, but after I had my third child and then became busy working and raising a family I finally landed at about 168.
I tried to lose weight. I used the "Carbohydrate Addicts" diet, "Free to Be Thin," "How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More" and all kinds of other advice from friends and magazines. Every time I lost weight, I'd just gain it back and more. Finally after the "yo-yo" plan, I decided to just work on maintaining. I had learned a lot from the books I'd read and succeeded in staying in the 160's for about 5 years.
On Memorial Day 2007, at the age of 44, I managed to put a real scare in my family. My face started drooping, and after falling three times due to losing function of my left side, they called an ambulance. By the time the squad got me in the back, I was beginning to recover, but the hospital still diagnosed me with a TIA (Transient Schemic Attack). They never did figure out what caused it. Even after they kept me in the hospital over the entire holiday weekend and ran a full battery of tests. They put me on aspirin, blood pressure and cholesterol medicine even though my blood pressure and cholesterol were just at the high end of normal.
So, after years of trying to lose weight, I finally had a "wake up call." And by the end of the Summer I'd found Spark People . . . but that's for the next chapter. Read on and see how it worked for me.
Why the Spark Diet works for me
I found SparkPeople in August 2007 after my sister had already lost more than 25 pounds in just a few months following the SparkDiet. After all the other diet plans and books I've tried maybe you're wondering why this all of a sudden worked for me.
First, since I'm on the internet all the time and love working at my computer, I found it to be the easiest way to lose weight ever. Almost every day for the next six to eight months, I logged in to track my calories. It's really simple. I just have to type in the food, choose a meal and there are my calories along with the amount of carbs, protein and fat.
Second, I was completely intrigued by the points on SparkPeople. Don't ask me why. I know it's crazy! When I started the points were totally worthless. You couldn't use them for anything. Since then, SparkPeople has added SparkGoodies, virtual gifts, which you can purchase for friends. But in 2007, despite their uselessness, I loved getting the points and it kept me coming back.
Third, I was impressed by the founder of SparkPeople and everything that was available there at absolutely no cost. Besides the Calorie Counter, there's a place to log exercise, weight loss and measurements. There are exercises and videos to demonstrate them. Plus, there are literally hundreds of articles to give users knowledge. And since I'm a firm believer that knowledge equals power, I read a lot of the articles (and they gave me points for reading).
Fourth, I was able to create a group for folks at our church where we could challenge each other. There are a lot of groups and teams on SparkPeople where you can find support. So many other people who are all doing the same thing, just trying to be healthy.
Which bring me to my last selling point. The SparkPeople plan focuses on becoming healthy, not necessarily losing weight. Weight loss is the ultimate goal, but they offer a lot of encouragement to help folks become healthier so the weight loss is permanent. That's what I needed.
I'm sure that SparkPeople, like any other diet, isn't for everyone. But this truly has been the program that has helped me more than any other. Wait till you see the changes it has helped me make in my life.
What Changed in My Life Due to Spark People
I always thought I was a relatively healthy person, but with every step I took and every article I read on SparkPeople, I realized I needed to make lifestyle changes. To be perfectly honest I still haven't conquered all of the steps, but I have grown by leaps and bounds and continue to get better at incorporating the steps every day.
Whole Grains - WOO HOO! For those of us who are carb addicts - that's what they are - carbs! This was the easiest switch for me. As I said before and you'll read again, I really like carbs. So, one of my first life changes was switching up my empty carbs for whole grains. Eight grain buns at Subway for lunch, whole grain cereal for dinner, whole grain rice cakes for snacks, 15 grain toast for breakfast. I conquered the easy thing first! Then I moved on to . . .
Water - I never used to get enough liquids, and none of what I did drink was water. Now, I manage to get the recommended 8 glasses of water a day at least 4 or 5 days a week and everyday drink enough iced tea to make up the difference. I quickly discovered that the more water I drank, the less food I needed. In fact, did you know that if you're dehydrated (even if you don't feel it), your brain will tell you to eat more?
Breakfast - It's sometimes still difficult for me to eat breakfast. I learned to skip it a long time ago. Not to lose weight, but because I like to sleep in. But now I eat "the most important meal of the day" often. Nothing elaborate. Generally a piece of whole grain toast and maybe a piece of fruit. I keep yogurt at work so if I sleep in and miss the toast I can still have something to eat. I learned that eating and eating right is an important part of losing weight.
Vegetables and fruit are obvious important parts of a healthy lifestyle. I've never been good at eating fruits and veggies. I prefer carbs. In fact, I'd really rather have sweets. But in the last couple of years I've managed to start ordering salads at restaurants and eating more fruits for snacks. I'll generally take fruit over veggies (yeah, there are more carbs in fruit) and I'm still not great at getting my "folates" for the day, but I have more good weeks now than I did two years ago.
And then there's exercise. I really hate to exercise. I don't like to sweat. I'm not crazy about changing clothes in the middle of the day. But for Christmas in 2007 my husband bought me golf clubs and now I walk nine holes or go to the driving range about one day each week as long as it's over 65 degrees. I like to swim (no sweating) and try to do that as often as I can. Plus, my youngest daughter is completely into fitness. (Not sure where she gets that from) She is now a certified Turbo kick instructor and leads a group of us at the church once or twice a week. So I get about two workouts each week and I try to do Wii Sport at least two. Winter, with no golf, is a bit more difficult for me, but I've promised eight other women to workout at least 4 days a week, so with them holding me accountable, I'm doing pretty well.
The only thing that has changed me more than SparkPeople is Jesus Christ. Scripture and other Christians teach me every day. Little by little I can see my life being molded and formed. The peace and beauty I see in my life are really unexplainable. If you don't know Christ, i encourage you to get to know Him. If diets and self-help books have ever made you a better person, you will be amazed at how Christ can complete the task. Visit here to get all the details
Two Books that Got me Started
Other Eating Tips I've Discovered Over the Years
First, we need to always remember that a diet isn't something you do to lose weight. A diet is what you eat every day. You are on a diet right now! Diet is not a bad word, it's the label for the list of things you eat. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Is my current diet the kind that will make me a healthy person, but also one that I can live with for the rest of my life? If the answer to either half of that question is no, you'll never lose weight and keep it off.
So many times I tried temporary diets. I'd get rid of the weight, but it would come right back. As I write this, I've been at my current weight for about six months and started losing almost exactly 2 years ago. It's taken a lot more time to lose this weight than it had in the past; however, I haven't had the ups and downs like I did during all the other times I deprived myself. Best of all I know that my daily diet is something that I can live with for the rest of my life.
Second, while I know that not every weight loss plan or menu recommendation works for everyone, one of the things that have helped me the most is setting a few "rules" for myself. It's not that I tell myself I "can't" about anything. There's nothing that I don't allow myself to have if I want it. However, I've set limits. For instance, I only allow myself to have french fries once a week. I don't eat ice cream at home, only out. I don't keep chocolate in the house anymore, but I will buy a candy bar for myself from time to time.
Two of the most difficult things I face are baked goods and late night eating. I LOVE to bake and I love to eat what I bake. Pies, cakes, cookies . . . I love them all. So, I don't bake much anymore and when I do, I try to take most of it to church or work. When it's in the house, I will eat it, and I will eat too much. And as far as eating late, I'm always up till at least midnight or 1 a.m. and generally get hungry about nine. I've tried to cut out all late evening eating, but I haven't really conquered that yet. I say all of this to remind you that the greatest gift you can give yourself when it comes to weight loss and maintaining is to face your limitations. In Celebrate Recovery we call it stepping out of denial. When we own our limitations, it's much easier to overcome them. The rules that I've set in my life are not designed to chain me in. Their purpose is to give me freedom from the things that keep me from being the best I can be. Don't think of them as restrictions, look at them as being stronger, bigger and better than the food and habits that own you.
The last thing and perhaps the most important thing that helps me in my goals, not just my health goals, but all those that I set for myself, is the relationship that I have with Christ. He inspires me to be the best that I can be and gives me the strength that I need to overcome the things that tempt me. If you're curious about how Christianity can possibly help in weight loss, I invite you to check out the links above or e-mail me. I'd love to hear from you!
Stressers in my Life
- Caring For Someone With Dementia
When someone you love begins to forget, place their keys, glasses and teeth in strange places yet tries so hard to stay independent, it can be challenging. Here are some practical tips to help. This is a more recent and ongoing stresser.
- One Child's Journey with Peirre Robin
This happened just before I turned 50 . . . the first stresser in my life, but a beautiful gift from God at the same time.
Where I am Today
(updated August 28, 2015)
If you've been following this page, you know that I've gained some weight since I turned 50. So, I mentioned it at my Doctor's office. The Nurse practitioner, a 60 something, skinny as a rail, women, told me I'd just need to keep my calories under 1500 to maintain.
WHAT! That means to lose I have to keep them at 1,000 - It's just not going to happen! So I did some research on my own. It seems that most menopausal women need to eat more protein and fiber than our younger counterparts in order to keep the weight off. I've been doing that, and I've managed to STOP gaining. I'm still not losing, but there's also a little more stress in my life than usual. Check out that link to the right to see those details. I probably need to add some more water and get back to a few basics, but upping the protein and fiber did bring the weight management back under control!
They wrote a book about me
Well, a chapter anyway
I was humbled when Nancy Kennedy, the author of "Miracles and Moments of Grace" and many other books asked me to share my weight loss story in her newest book, "How We Did It." The book released in late November, and Nancy graciously sent me a copy in early December. It's available on Amazon as well as CBD:
How We Did It
By Nancy Kennedy / Leafwood
Take a moment to get to know Nancy a bit better through her website and check out other books she has available at Christian Book Distributors.
Before and After
The top picture on the right was taken in about 2004. The one on the right, late in 2009. I don't have any full body pictures, only these head shots, but they'll give you a little bit of an idea of my Spark Diet progress.
Exercise - Don't like it, but I need it! - And this has been kind of fun!
My daughter is an exercise fanatic! She finally got me doing a little each week and it's not too bad. I think even YOU can do this! Go ahead, give it a try. If you wonder what it's like, watch it on YouTube first.