Obesity is a serious problem because it begets serious and fatal diseases. Unfortunately, companies make unhealthy foods taste better by design. Like an addict, knowing all of the facts didn’t help me initially make the necessary changes. Infact, I was obese for over 20 years. Year after year my doctors would tell me “You Need to Lose Weight”. I tried different diets and fads which worked for months then life got in the way and I started eating unhealthy again.
Yes, we know now that successful and lasting weight-loss only happens when you make a Lifestyle change. Knowing what you need to do; how do you make the necessary change? Like all problems, you need to first identify the root cause. I can point out many reasons why my weight-loss was finally successful but the one thing that made the difference was identifying my triggers. Losing weight is wonderful but if you don’t deal with why or how you became obese you may never overcome obesity.
Consequently, discovering your triggers may be problematic. I know I never wanted to give up the foods I loved and it always seemed like an uphill battle because I am a food addict, I love the taste of good foods, and I am an emotional eater. What is so difficult about overcoming all of my struggles is you need food to survive. Food addiction is not like drugs or alcohol or even smoking. Getting help for those vices are typically covered under a medical plan, there are non-profit helps groups, and society recognizes them as diseases. You can stop using drugs, drinking alcohol, or smoking and still continue to live. But you cannot stop eating food and survive.
Once you discover your triggers you then have to get rid of the excuses. I know there are many reason why you live an unhealthy life but if is up to you remove all obstacles in your way. It took me years to slowly remove my excuses and boy did I have them. Knowing why I eat and removing all the reason why I “couldn’t” put me in the “right mindset” to finally make that change and execute my weight-loss Plan.
The concept of weight-loss seems simple enough, however; it is the hardest thing I have ever accomplished. I have started and stopped “diets” hundreds of times. I remember starting my first low-calorie diet when I was 16 years old. Consequently, the problem with that diet and every other diet is the weight-loss is temporary. I never established a long-term plan for weight-loss. I finally realized losing weight is only the first stage in weight-loss, in fact, losing the weight is only half of the battle. The other half is maintenance.
Realizing diets don’t work and developing a long-term plan is not as easy as it sounds; especially, if your goal was to lose weight quickly. In addition, TV shows like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight-loss are so attractive because you get professional help developing a weight-loss plan and losing weight. In some instances you even get prizes while doing it. Yes the shows are great motivators; they did it why can’t you. But Let’s face it, what are your chances of getting on one of those shows? Who has the time or can afford to take off work for months, travel to a location, and only focus on losing weight. While these shows are great motivations and they teach real life lessons, you need a plan that works for you.
- Establish a method for losing the weight.
- Set-up a support team
- Establish a maintenance plan
My plan involved enrolling in a medically monitored Weight-loss program. The reason I chose this program was because it was the best of both worlds; in the first few months you could lose weight quickly but you transition into a life-time plan. I think losing weight quickly is a secret goal for many obese people like me and it is so hard to dismiss. The plan required me to make a lifelong lifestyle change, taught me about nutrition, and assisted me with setting up the maintenance plan. During the active phase (16 weeks of meal replacements) I identified my triggers and developed better ways to handle “emotional” situations. This phase allowed me to make the necessary adjustments before reintroducing food.
Setting up a support team was easy for me. My husband and I both joined the program together so that is my core. If you can find a buddy to partner with it will increase your chances for continuous success. My extended team is my Kaiser class-members, family, friends my personal trainer, and my co-workers. I included my co-workers because they can unintentionally sabotage you by offering you treats and sweets. If they know they will either help you or hinder you. It is very important to have the right support team. You cannot afford to have anyone around you that will sabotage you.
Establishing a maintenance plan began as soon as I started the program. I removed all of the food in the house; threw away all of the take-out menus; joined a gym, bought a FitBit, and hired a personal trainer. I developed healthy habits and routines that would sustain my weight-loss. Some of these habits include planning my day. If I am going out, I make sure to pack healthy snacks. If I am going to eat out, I try to review the menu before I go. My husband and I go hiking, walking, or ride our bikes on the weekends. When we travel we make sure we will have access to a gym or nature trail.
Weigh-loss can be a lifetime struggle but with a plan and support you can successfully overcome each and every hurdle. If you fall or cheat don’t beat yourself up just brush yourself off and start anew. Set attainable short-term and long-term goals to assist with monitoring and measuring your progress. Get help when you need it.
My weight-loss has been a rollercoaster for over 20 years. I have tried every diet you can image yet I have never been able to sustain my weight-loss or my weight loss goal for over a few months. 10 months ago I was at the highest I have ever weighed. I was very close to 300 pounds. I was pre-diabetic and hypertensive. I could not stand for long periods of time or walk without my back hurting. I would never attempt to walk up stairs because after just one or two flights I felt like I was having a heart-attack. I couldn’t breath and that was so scary.
10 Months ago I decided it was finally time for a change. I needed something drastic because my health and my husband’s health was slowly deteriorating. We decided to join the Kaiser Weight Management program. I believed this program was drastic because of the following reasons:
- The Cost. It was quite expensive for the two of us
- The “no food” for the active phase
- The commitment
The cost alone almost changed my mind but we needed something that would work. The fact that for 16 weeks we would have to survive on meal replacements was daunting and the Life-time commitment was a bit scary because of my previous failed attempts at weight-loss. Thankfully, my husband and I agreed that this was the best program for us and we needed to finally invest in our health so we jumped in with two feet.
The Active Phase, (16 weeks) was not as hard as I imagined. The first week was quite challenging and the hunger was a bit overwhelming at times but I got through it. I drank the recommended gallon water and stuck to the eating plan of every two hours. I joined the gym and added a workout routine which included 1 to 2 hours of cardio. After the second week, the results were simply amazing; I was dropping over 5 pounds a week and I was never hungry. The skills taught and the support found in class was extremely helpful. The ability to sit in a room and share experiences with people who are going through the same struggles was refreshing. To enhance our weight-loss, my husband and I decided to hire a personal trainer. I think this was pure genius because she introduced strength training and explained how to get the most out of a workout. This was an eye opener because I was doing at least 2 hours of cardio on weekdays and more on the weekends. She taught us intense cardio for 15 to 20 mins then 30 to 40 mins of 6 – 8 sets of strength training is a better workout routine.
The Transition Phase was the scariest by far because this is where you start to add in food. Week by week you add in a meal to replace one meal replacement. This phase tests your knowledge of nutrition and your commitment to tracking and monitoring your progress. Tracking your food is one secret to success in weight-loss. If you don’t know what you are eating, how can you balance your nutrition? I track my food and progress in Sparkpeople and my husband uses Myfitnesspal. In this phase my weight-loss did slow down a bit but I was still losing 2-3 pounds a week. I was still very happy with my progress.
The Lifestyle Phase (my current phase) is the hardest and most challenging phase because now is the time for maintenance. If you think losing weight is hard try maintaining it. The Lifestyle classes are really helpful because you meet other participants who have maintained for years and some who have stumbled but got back up. Their stories of successes and struggles really bring home the lifetime commitment of health and fitness (Weight-loss Management). The licensed Nutritionist is also a big help because she reenforces the knowledge and skills we obtained during the Active and Transition Phases.
My overall results are astounding. In 10 short months I have lost over 92 pounds with the program. My total weight loss is 114 pounds and I am down 8 dress sizes. I would have to say this program is quite successful.
The following tips are the key to success in this program:
- Stick to program plan. Try your best not to cheat.
- Monitoring your progress
- Build a support group. Having a support team is key and I think my husband and I have an advantage because we are a team. He has lost over 136 pounds and still losing.
Here are my Before and After Photos