How I Stopped Yo-Yo Dieting For Good
Gain weight, lose weight, repeat! This was the pattern that Ddaldridge had experienced several times over the years. Then being warned by her Doctor about the state of her health, she decided right then to stop the yo-yo dieting and gain control of her eating habits and has successfully lost 70lbs.
She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?
Let me just say that I've been overweight for most of my life. My "Aha!" moment happened back in April 2012 after my routine annual doctor's visit. I was having horrible digestive issues (had been on Rx antacids for 2+ yrs) aches, pains and fatigue. I always just closed my eyes when it came to the "weigh in" part of the physical exam. I told my doc to NOT TELL ME my weight, but she did mention that I had gained 10 lbs since the last visit! I was FLOORED, because I really had not changed anything about my eating habits in the past year....however, I did turn 40 in July of 2011. After my blood work came back, I got the phone call:"You need to lose 20 lbs or go on meds for your cholesterol!" and "you have H. Pylori bacteria in your stomach...you need high dose antibiotics for 15 days." H. Pylori, if untreated, leads to stomach ulcers and cancer. YIKES!
I realized then and there that I needed to take control. My dad died of a heart attack when I was just 10 yrs old...he was only 52. My mom died of a stroke when I was just 27 yrs old...she was only 61. I have two young children: an 8 yr old son with autism and a 6 yr old typical daughter. I NEVER WANTED THEM TO KNOW THE PAIN OF LOSING A PARENT when they were still kids (like I did)....THAT became my HUGE MOTIVATION....staying around for THEM! Both of my parents lived unhealthy lifestyles...both smoked...both drank...both were at least 100 lbs overweight...both never watched what they ate...they never exercised...and I WAS BECOMING THEM.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I have gained and lost the same 78 lbs SIX DIFFERENT TIMES in my life, starting at the age of 21. I was most successful with Nutri-System back when they had the physical centers. But, the problem was I never ate anything that wasn't Nutri-food. I never LEARNED HOW TO EAT! Once off their program, I found myself binging on all the foods I avoided for 9 months. I did Weight Watchers twice...only losing about 20 lbs each time. I got tired of tracking points and writing down every spoonful of food that entered my mouth. Plus, they promote a lot of their pre-packaged sodium-laden frozen meals, etc. I've also tried "going it alone" and had some success, but got quickly bored, as my focus was always on what I "couldn't" have and restriction instead of moderation.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
I am only 20 lbs away from the goal I set back on April 25th, 2012. I have lost 70 lbs so far using Calorie Count's tools and from reading the inspirational posts. I simply CHANGED MY THINKING first, and counted calories second. Weight loss is a by-product of a COMMITMENT TO HEALTH. I simply calculated my base metabolic rate, and subtracted 1000 calories per day from that number to lose (on average) 2 lbs per week. I have not yet incorporated formal exercise only diet modification so far.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count has great tools and insightful articles & blogs! I didn't really set up a gallery or anything, or even post much, but just knowing it was here when I was feeling down or frustrated was a huge help!
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
5% of weight loss/ health is what you put in your mouth....the other 95% is IN YOUR HEAD. I had to COMPLETELY fix my relationship with food and re-vamp my lifestyle. You see, for the past 7 yrs or so, I was DEPRESSED because I was basically forced into the 24/7 care of a disabled child. I simply could not be there for him the way he needed me to be AND have a career (I am a lawyer) at the same time. We have very little family support...my parents are dead and all of my husband's family members live over 2 hrs away. I did not realize it at the time, but SUGAR and white flour/ carbs were like anti-depressants for me....unhealthy foods raised my serotonin levels, calmed my anxiety, and became my "solace and friend." Divorce rates among couples with a child diagnosed with autism are 90%. I had such horrible anxiety dealing with my son's vomiting, his behaviors and the social isolation that ensued. I turned to food for comfort, for joy, for EMOTION...to feel GOOD, even if it was only for 20 minutes of the day! The hardest part in this journey was learning to replace food with life experiences that brought me JOY when so much of my life was bleak and hopeless for so long.
I also have not yet found a way to incorporate exercise. I literally hit the ground running at 3am and collapse in bed around 7pm. I MUST find the time to start, but I am responsible for so much here on the home front there is very little time!
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
Once I fixed my thinking and relationship with food, I saw results immediately. Food became a source of fuel to live my best life, nothing more. A great book I read was Marianne Williamson's "A Course in Weight Loss" which deals with the mental side of weight loss. I also used Facebook to become a leader....helping others achieve their weight loss goals.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
Accountability! After I lost about 40 lbs, I started a public Facebook page called "Weigh Smart Diet Divas" where I post daily articles/ blogs/ etc. I also used Facebook since DAY ONE as my accountability. I would weigh myself once per week...every Wednesday morning, and post those results on my status every two weeks. Knowing I had an "update" or a "Wednesday weigh-in" coming up really helped keep me on track. I also started a CLOSED "Diva group" on Facebook with about 24 of my closest friends who wanted to join me in reinventing themselves! It is a huge source of support and encouragement! I also continue to use the tools on Calorie Count and read the blogs/ articles that inspire me.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Well, I'm not exactly at my goal yet (20 lbs to go) BUT now that I'm 70 lbs lighter, I'm completely off the antacids, I no longer have issues with my feet swelling (or need arch supports in my shoes!) and my cholesterol is back to a healthy and acceptable range. I have TONS of energy to keep up with my kids....and lots more HOPE. I no longer shop in the "big women's" stores and can walk into any dept store and fit into normal sizes. Most importantly, I HAVE FOUND THAT MY DREAM IS TO MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE OTHERS. I want to write a book. I want to LEAD others to better health!
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
For 9 mos now...but I'm still losing.
10. What tips do you have for other dieters?
- Become familiar with your favorite foods and their nutritional values. KNOW the caloric count of everything you eat, and rather than cut out certain foods, CUT BACK (eg portion sizes). WRITE DOWN your calories daily on a post-it note. When you hit your limit STOP. Become MINDFUL about EVERYTHING you are eating. Eat "CLEAN"....limit processed/ frozen/ fast foods and SUGAR..... LEARN about nutrition! Stick with whole grains, lots of lean protein, fresh fruits & veggies.
- FIX YOUR MINDSET. 95% of weight loss occurs in your HEAD...the other 5% is what goes in your mouth. It is all math, pure and simple. Get rid of the negative thoughts. Choose your WORDS carefully....for example, I was never "on a diet"...I was engaging in a "healthy lifestyle re-vamp." Be willing to do a lot of self-examination about why you became overweight to begin with.
- BECOME ACCOUNTABLE to someone other than yourself and ENLIST THEIR SUPPORT! I used Facebook and Calorie Count a lot. VOW to weigh yourself no more than once per week at the same time of day under the same conditions. Jot it down on an index card along with notes (eg I write "day 25 of cycle" knowing that I will be retaining water weight from PMS or "had salty meal at a restaurant" yesterday )
- GET A DREAM. I realized that I had lost myself in becoming a mother. The intensity of raising a child with autism forced me to take the focus off of myself for a while. I can proudly say that my son is pretty close to "cured" now (meaning all traces of ASD behaviors are pretty much gone). He is still delayed, but now that we're through the worst of it, I can take my foot off the gas pedal and focus on my own goals and dreams more.
- MAKE THIS A LIFESTYLE NOT A DIET. Have a "BIG WHY" that is more about how you look or wearing a certain size clothing. My "big why" became being around for my kids and watching them grow up! I want to see them get married, go to college, drive a car, and maybe have families of their own someday. My parents never got to.
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