Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
The Light Bulb Moment
This week's featured member is Terry2fish who came to the realization that she needed to lose weight and take control of her health problems. She has been able to reduce her weight from 200lbs to an amazing 135lbs. She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I realized finally that the health problems I was having were only going to get worse if I didn't take control of my weight. I had allowed myself to believe that I was doing all I could and that my body was just not going to get thinner and that in fact "I didn't need to lose any weight". I saw a woman on The Biggest Loser who I related to and that was when it clicked that indeed I was FAT and only fooling myself. It was the kick in the pants that jarred me into reality.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
Since I was in my teens I have tried various diets including but not limited to Atkins, Weight Watchers (back 30 years ago), and any number of fad type lose weight fast diets.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I started by incorporating daily exercise. I added to that by cutting out soda and fast foods. Then when I had mastered those changes I cut out processed carbs. At this point I still was not losing weight but was feeling better. I had lost the cravings for sweets and white bread. That is when I realized that I would have to go the distance and actually count calories if I really wanted to regain my health and fitness. Counting calories for me was the last step and the one that I had dreaded most. I am an accountant so I made a spread sheet to track my daily food intake and my exercise. I joined Calorie Count and found ways to make my spreadsheets even better. I also found support and others who like me were on the road to fitness and enjoying it. I made a point to make my journey one that was uplifting to me and not drudgery. I learned to enjoy food more in small portions, savoring every bite and not just devouring mass quantities. The most important change was realizing that my bodies mechanism for feeling satisfied or full and feeling hungry was out of whack and that I needed to consciously monitor and control my intake. The rest of my family is not over-weight. They eat when they feel hungry and stop when they feel full. All my life I had believed that I should be able to do that also. That is how I got to be 200 lbs. I am like the alcoholic, I can't have just one drink like other people. Now that I know this I can work with my body and not against it.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
Calorie Count provided support with the forums and the calorie logs to help me with the hardest part of the process for me which was counting calories. It was hard because I didn't want to have to limit myself in that way. I wanted to believe that I could eat the right foods and exercise and my body would know when I had had enough and I would feel full and stop eating. Now I am used to counting calories and some days I don't have to actually mark it all down in my log. I don't however rely on my body to say when I have had enough.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
I think the real question is not "What WAS most challenging" but What IS most challenging. The challenge is to remember everyday that this is my NEW life as a healthy fit person and that I do not want to go back to being the over-weight lifeless blob that I had become. My life is in my control now and the challenge everyday is to remember that I must choose each day to take care of myself. The rewards are endless but the temptations to slide back to nothingness are still there. Some days the temptations are easy to ignore. Other days they test my medal. There are days when I fall and skin my knees and remember why I need to listen to the little voice that was telling me not to eat the second helping. But now I know that when I do fall and skin my knee, I can and will pick myself up, dust myself off, bandage the knee and move on, with out beating myself up or sitting there crying feeling helpless to go on anymore.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
Once I started counting calories I saw results the first week. My journey began a good two years before that though when I started exercising regularly. I began to see results within a month as I was able to walk farther than just around the block without being short of breathe. Then when I started cutting out soda and fast food it took a good year before I didn't crave them anymore. It is a wonderful thing to drive past a fast food place, I had to drive by my favorite fast food place everytime I went out, and not feel called to stop and get something.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
There have been little successes all along the way. Being able to walk five miles, going three months without soda, being able to step up into the raised garden bed without a step stool and the support of the fence, to fit in a size 4 dress for my son's wedding, and most recently to run a mile without stopping, have all been major milestones for me. I look in the mirror and I still have body image issues though I am working on those. I knew I was where I wanted to be when I was able to take care of my 9 month old grandson for three days. There is a reason that we have children when we are young. They are a lot of work. Three years ago I was younger but not as fit as I am today. I couldn't have taken care of a baby for three days without major strain. Now I was able to push him in his stroller while holding the dog on a leash for my morning walk. I did all the things that my daughter does with him during the day and then some special grandma things and still had energy leftover at the end of the day. That was truly when I knew I was a success!
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I prevent relapse like recovered alcoholic do. I take each day as it comes living in the present moment. I remember each morning who I am and who I want to be. I remember that I have limitations in this physical body that I must deal with in order to remain comfortably functioning in this body. My relationship with food is an area of weakness that I must monitor each day and remain conscious of.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I feel alive and in control of my life. I have energy to do the things I love as well as the things I must. I enjoy everyday and feel good when I wake up each morning. I get up each morning looking forward to the day.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Be honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be.
- Consider your relationship with food and exercise and what
benefits you get from those relationships.
- Find someone who has the level of fitness and health that you
desire and explore their relationship to food and exercise to help you
be more honest about yourself.
- Remind yourself each morning of the new person you are. The one
that is fit and healthy that has the relationship with food and
exercise that is right for you.
- Believe in yourself because you are all you have!
If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.