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    I've Been Where You Are Now
    kateinia posted:
    In January 2003 I weighed 225 pounds - at 5' 1 1/2" tall! I hadn't realized I had gained that much weight. I've always had a weight problem; it runs in my family.

    The first step I took was to keep a food diary for a week. Lo and behold, I was eating 3 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream a week! Who knew?!

    The second step I took was for the first week to cut out only 1 pint of the Ben & Jerry's and add one fruit or one vegetable.

    I lost one pound in the next month. I wasn't an exerciser; never had been.

    The second month I added a 5-minute walk each day and a second fruit or second vegetable each day. And lost two pounds that month.

    The third month I cut down on the number of cookies I was eating. I love to bake and I'm very good at it, and I ate everything I baked (I was single and lived alone). I didn't cut out completely eating cookies. I just cut in half the number of cookies I baked and ate. I also increased my walking to 10 minutes each day. Whoo Hoo! Lost five pounds that month! Total weight loss at end of 3 months: 8 pounds.

    The fourth, fifth & sixth months, I continued the pattern. I increased the exercise very gradually and very gradually substituted healthier foods for the unhealthy foods. I always allowed myself my comfort foods — mashed potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, cookies, ice cream — but in half the quantity I had previously eaten them and made sure I concentrated on the pleasure of eating that particular food.

    Six month weight loss: 20 pounds. I was really surprised!

    January 2004: twelve month total weight loss following the same pattern: 50 pounds!

    I've struggled since then, with my lowest weight of 160 pounds, and I'm now at 170 pounds. Yes, I know what I have to do, and I will do it. My husband is also obese, and we just bought a treadmill. I've been on it once a day for a week for only 5 minutes and I've controlled my food portion size, and I lost two pounds this week!

    You have to figure out what works for you. What works for one person doesn't work for another. It's your body, your genetic makeup, and a host of other factors, including any health conditions you have and medications and/or supplements you're taking.

    Be prepared for the plateaus that occur every so often. Our bodies sometimes think we're starving ourselves when we've cut down on the number of calories we're taking in and our metabolism slows down to compensate (at least that's my theory; I don't have any scientific evidence to back that up; I just know it happens to me).

    I made an Excel spreadsheet to chart my weight loss, and it's all over the place. It helps me to have a chart to look at, to see where I've been, where I am now, and where I want to be.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress or lack of progress. We're here to support each other and to give encouragement when it's needed and kudos when they're deserved.
    Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Welcome to the community, Kateinia!

    Your story is wonderful and I'm sure will be even better as you continue on this journey to better your health and lifestyle. Losing 55 pounds is amazing and you should be very proud of yourself!! You are an inspiration and I can't thank you enough for sharing your heartfelt words with the community.

    What is your plan and goal at the moment? How do you and your husband keep each other motivated? I look forward to hearing more and wish you the best of luck!

    Take care!
    kateinia replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:

    Thank you for your response.

    I saw my primary care physician last week, and I have lost 8 pounds since my visit six months earlier. My weight had shot up to 178 eight months ago due to stress.

    My plan and goals are the same as in the past:

    1. Slowly eliminate the sweets, replace them with fruit and vegetables, a little at a time.

    2. I'm keeping an activity, pain, and food log. I have OCD, and even when I know I'm overdoing physically, I sometimes just keep going. I know that when my fibro and osteoarthritis pain levels go up, I eat more comfort foods. Comfort foods are high fat and high sugar foods — mashed potatoes and gravy, cookies, potato chips with sour cream, etc.

    3. A trick my husband and I use is to keep those high fat and sugar snacks hidden; either in the back of a hard-to-reach cupboard or down in the basement. It we have to hunt for them, it's easier to reach for a piece of fruit that's in a bowl on the counter. We keep carrot and celery sticks in bags in the refrigerator for the crunchy munchies. If we want a creamy dip to go with the veggies, I use nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream to make it.

    4. If I'm truly craving cookies or ice cream or mashed potatoes with gravy, I have to eat my way through a ½ cup serving of vegetables, two pieces of fruit, and a piece of celery with peanut butter. If that doesn't take away the craving, I eat 3 or 4 cookies, or ½ cup ice cream (I measure it out) or bake one potato in the microwave and make some gravy to go on it. Otherwise, I'll eat anything I can find, trying to satisfy the craving. Sometimes, you just need to eat whatever it is you're craving.

    5. Now that we have the treadmill, my husband gets up a half hour earlier in the morning and walks for 10 minutes. As his body gets accustomed to the walking, he plans to increase the time in 5 minute increments until he's walking a half hour each morning.

    My husband prefers not to talk about his weight and his strategies. He just lets me know when he's lost a pound or two. He has requested that I not bake cookies because he can't stay away from them and can always ferret them out if they're in the house. Little does he know that I keep a stash hidden on the bottom shelf of the freezer disguised in a frozen vegetable bag. He's 6 feet tall, so he seldom looks on those bottom shelves; that's where I put the items I use the most.

    My goal is to lose 2-4 pounds a month until my weight is down to 140. This is now September, so I won't reach that goal until June or July My doctors feel that 140 pounds is more realistic for me at my age of 68 than the 120 pounds they'd really like to see. Of course, I know what's coming; I've been through it before. "You've done so well getting your weight down to 140, could you try for 135?" We'll see when the time comes.

    I'm currently having back and leg pain, and I have a past history of mild to moderate osteopenia with mild to moderate degenerative lumbar spine changes. I have to limit my treadmill walking to 5 minutes twice a day. I go in for an MRI next week for the diagnosis and prognosis. I am encouraged by my doctors to continue teaching the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, because it slows the degeneration of my spine.

    I know I can do this. I've done it before. So, it's time for me to go eat some veggies and fruit!

    I encourage everyone in this discussion group to think really hard about what works for them. Each of us is different, and each of us needs to devise our own eating and exercise plan so that we'll do it. This plan I use has evolved over an 8-year period of time. When I gain weight, I always reach a point where I say to myself it's time to return to the weight loss plan. And I do. It might take six months, but I do get back on track.

    Amelia, this is quite lengthy, so feel free to edit and delete the repetitive parts.

    Good luck everyone! Keep us posted on the discussion board.

    brunosbud replied to kateinia's response:
    Good Lord, someone with sense...

    This is the most thoughtful and intelligent post I've read in weeks!

    Bless you Kate in Iowa! God bless you!

    In a nutshell: it's the sugar.
    Amelia_WebMD_Staff replied to kateinia's response:
    Hi Kateinia!

    This is great! Editing and deleting members' posts is against regulations, though I would not want to do so anyway with the wonderful information that you share. I agree with brunosbud that you show great thought and intelligence with your understanding and plan for a healthier life. Thanks for the inspiration and I look forward to hearing more from you! Please keep updating!!

    Have a great weekend!
    kateinia replied to brunosbud's response:
    Thank you, brunosbud.

    High praise, indeed. I am humbled by your response.

    You are absolutely right, it's the sugar.

    I'm sure you noticed all my comfort foods are high carbohydrates which are converted into sugar by the body.

    Let me know what plan you come with for yourself that works for you. I can use all the hints I can get.

    evergreen62 replied to kateinia's response:
    I agree with brunobud, this is the most thoughtful and intelligent weight loss post I've read in weeks. I would encourage you to consider doing a cut and paste and share this on the diet community board. You're in stark contrast to the typical "lose 15 lbs in 10 days" diet books that's being marketed. And I think about anyone I know who has lost the unwanted body fat and AND kept it off has shared your perspective of aiming for 2-4 lbs a month via sensible, healthy eating habits; instead of severe calorie restrictions or the commercial crutches of diet pills and formulas.

    I especially like your idea #4, where you impose upon yourself to eat X amount of fruit, vegetables, & celery/PB before you partake of unwanted cravings. You have many pearls of wisdom to offer.
    brunosbud replied to evergreen62's response:
    "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
    Sun Tzu

    Kate has a plan inclusive of both strategy (remove sugar and increase exercise) and tactics ("The second month I added a 5-minute walk each day and a second fruit or second vegetable each day."). Every battle is won before it is ever fought...With both sound strategy and tactics in place, Kate will lose weight.

    The actual process becomes a mere formality...

    "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Sun Tzu

    Weight loss is a challenge to be overcome, nothing short of war. But, the fighting pits an individual's mind against body. One cannot blundgeon the other in an all out assault.

    Kate understands this and fights instead with subtlety, patience and persistence.

    "You have to believe in yourself." Sun Tzu

    Re-read this post several times! Clearly, Kate knows her capabilities and, more importantly, her limitations.

    "Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the Attack." Sun Tzu

    Kate's battle plan is simple and, therefore, powerful.

    The defense: Exercise and healthy nutrition

    As long as she remains true to these core guidelines, it is not a question of "if", rather, a question of "when". Her defense is impenetrable.

    The attack: Sugar

    This is the "intelligence" that I speak of....

    First, Kate is not an athlete. She has serious comorbidities, too. And, she is not young anymore, either...

    So, she "eases" into battle, comfortably and slowly, and methodically builds her attack. As she gains fitness, strength and confidence, so goes the pace of her attack and, hence, the speed with which she loses the weight. Second, she continuously assesses her results and places steady but unrelenting pressure to those areas the yield the best results.

    Kate, congratulations on your success and thank you so much for sharing your experiences with this community!
    You may present yourself as a middle aged housewife from Iowa but, I am not fooled for one minute. The actions you've described, here, are those of a great warrior and leader of armies.

    And, like another great warrior, Diana Nyad and her quest for immortality this weekend, whatever the outcome, great generals can never be defeated.

    Powerful thoughts come from powerful people. Radical post!

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