Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Topic One Talks about ALOT This Time of Year: WEIGHT LOSS and MAINTENANCE

Many of you have asked me to talk about my Weight Loss.   I have declined to talk about it much until now since I have lost weight so many times before and yet, have NEVER (until now) been able to keep the weight off....I am now FINALLY a weight-loss-success.  BUT--it has taken me 50 years!  Today's post is not about losing the weight (most of us can do that since there are many programs available out there for us) --but this post is about MAINTAINING it.  I have found that there are FEW programs out there which do a good job helping us to keep from gaining the weight back.  SO--I have made up my own program!!!!  Maybe it will help some of you out there!

Obesity has always been a huge part of my entire adult life.  I gained about 60 pounds at the birth of my oldest son (who is now 50) --and that weight (plus more) has stayed with me off and on for years and years. It has controlled my life in so many ways, with my weight ballooning up to almost 300 pounds a few times.  Some overweight people don't mind being overweight. But for me, my weight has ALWAYS been a big issue --and that is why I lost and gained ALOT of weight all through the years.  I have tried almost every diet available at one time or another, and succeeded most of the time, with the 'losing' part.

BUT---I never (until now) have put alot of emphasis on the MAINTENANCE AFTER losing.   I could always lose weight ---about 100 pounds several times during my life (which is the worst thing one can do to his or her body).  What I never paid much attention to was how hard it would be to KEEP the weight off.  I will admit that keeping the weight off is MUCH harder than losing it.  If you think that losing the weight is hard,  just wait til you get to maintenance.  I don't want to scare you,  but it's true.

I'm not here to promote one program or another... There are many that work (and many that don't)--and you need to find one which works for you.  The key is that YOU should  do it for YOU---not for anyone else,  JUST YOU. IF I were to promote one program,  I'd definitely choose Weight Watchers --as the BEST overall, but I failed during their maintenance.  My mother tried to 'shame' me into losing weight once---and even though she meant well,  that did not or does not work. I would just eat more---for comfort.   NOBODY can make one lose weight until he/she wants to do it themselves.  YOU must be the one who puts the work into it --in order for it to be a success.

We live in a world where people want immediate success --and that is not always possible when losing weight..  There are plateaus and times when --no matter what you do--the old scales stay the same, or go UP. The key:  Don't Give Up.   The other thing to remember is not to quit---if you have a bad day or week.  Keep on--keeping on.  Be PATIENT!

Get plenty of REST/SLEEP---and keep a fairly regular schedule.  Some programs can be overwhelming... Do this--do that!!!!!  Stress can hurt us!  We may not be able to do it all ---but we can move at our own pace--one step at a time.  Did you know that the SLOWER you lose weight,  there is a better chance that you will keep it OFF?  If you lose fast,  you have a better chance of gaining it back.

Some people/programs really push EXERCISE --and that is important for sure.  But--it's only one part of the program.  I was never one to put a priority on fancy-dancy exercise ---but as an older woman,  my exercise now is WALKING.  I wear a pedometer --and keep track of my steps every single day.  Works for me!

EATING HEALTHY is very important ---and you need to tell yourself  that once you are at your goal weight THAT the journey is just beginning!!!  We MUST continue to eat healthy for the remainder of our LIVES.  As the books all say,  this is a "Lifetime Change".

Remember to stay away from FAST FOODS... This is the huge downfall of today's fast-paced world.  But--even if you don't enjoy cooking,  there are ways for you to eat healthy... Just work at doing it!!!!

Drinking WATER is very important --and something I have NO problems with... We are supposed to drink 64 oz per day---and many days,  I'll drink as much as 100 oz...  Drinking 8 oz when getting up in the morning gets the system working properly.  Also drinking 8 oz of water about 30 minutes before meals keeps you from eating as much.   Drinking water helps with your digestion --which I need help with since I struggle with constipation.  Another thing which helps is the proper amount of FIBER...

Getting on the SCALES every Friday --no matter what---is important for me.  I can get the good new or the bad news,  and then know what I need to do that next week.  I have kept track of my weight since beginning this latest process in April of 2011 (when I weighed about 244 pounds)... YIPES.

Keeping a REGULAR SCHEDULE and getting enough SLEEP is important for one's overall health.  And the most important thing for me to do is KEEPING A FOOD JOURNAL.  I started this when visiting a nutritionist while losing the weight ---and have continued to keep the journal through maintenance.  I have faithfully done this --writing down everything I eat --every single day since beginning this process over TWO years ago.  This isn't always easy since it takes TIME and EFFORT.  BUT--it keeps me accountable --and it also helps me to get the proper nutrition.

Here's the nitty gritty which works for me!  In my food journal,  I count total fluid, calories, fat grams, carbs, fiber and protein.  When I was dieting--I stayed at about 1000 calories a day.  My doctor doesn't want me to lose more --so I am trying to stay where I am.  Now--in maintenance,  I stay about 1500-1800  calories per day (plus or minus).  I try to get a minimum of 60 grams of protein, 64 oz of water, less than 30 grams of fat,  75+ carbs (good carbs)--need the carbs for energy,  and 25 grams of fiber.  As you can imagine,  I work hard with my eating to keep this all in tact.  BUT---for me it's working.  I have stayed about 135 lbs. for over a year now ---and am amazed that I am learning to do this, AND being able to eat most anything I really want (within reason).  The key is to eat slowly and eat small portions.... I can do this---and I AM!!!!

I never judge anyone --or say anything to anyone, but when I go to a grocery store and see an overweight woman or man (about my age) riding one of the store riding carts or having trouble walking due to bad knees or legs, I hurt for them.   I don't know their circumstances--but I do know that carrying the extra weight is NOT good no matter what the medical condition may be.   I just want to tell them that their life could be better if they lost some weight ... People use all kinds of excuses for not losing weight.   BUT--even for people who are limited in their movement or even those on medication,  they COULD do it ---if they wanted to badly enough--and would most likely become much healthier.  Carrying extra weight--no matter what your condition--is NOT good for your body.   I so desperately want to say to those people that they do NOT have to live like that.  I do also notice how much 'junk food' people buy to eat --who are already overweight... Just breaks my heart.  I used to be there! NO MORE for ME!

I will continue working hard with every bone in my body --to keep this weight off.  I feel great --and am proud of myself for accomplishing this.   IF I don't continue to work at it,  I could end up like those big people in the riding carts in the stores.  After losing the weight,  I can now walk with no pain and I'm on NO medication. Before I began the program  I was REALLY having alot of pain and felt pretty miserable, especially when we hiked. I was having trouble also with my blood sugar.   Taking control of ME over food (instead of allowing the FOOD to be in control) is a good feeling ---and giving up all of that junk food is worth every bit of this hard work.  I beg you---if you need to lose weight ---start thinking of yourself and your future.  If you know someone who needs to lose,  please don't 'shame' them.. Just pray that they will see the light.  You CAN change ---and make a difference.  I am the example!!!!

IF you have any questions,  you can email me at betsyadams@mac.com.  God Bless each and every one of you!!!!  I couldn't do this without God and without George.  We all need that special support system.

ALL photos today are from the internet!!!!!