Today is the Day

By Mary Ann Senatore (your weight loss friend)

It is here, the New Year. Have you made a weight loss resolution? The holidays are over, we are recovering from ham, turkey, and cheesecake, and now we want to lose weight. There are so many advertisements for programs, equipment, and quick fix solutions to fat busting, how can we possibly make a choice.

What are you looking for? A quick fix or a lifestyle change? Do you want to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds? Once you reach your goal, can you live with your choice and maintain your weight? Is your choice a healthy one? Are you considering surgery? Do you hate to exercise?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. I am five pounds away from my goal weight and the journey has been a long one with some weight gains along the way. Did my “diet” fail when I gained weight? No, it didn’t, what failed was my attitude toward change. As I confessed when I took a trip to Vegas in 2009, I came home with great memories, one hundred dollars left of my gambling money, and six pounds. Did I think I could eat at the buffet including dessert for five days and not gain weight? I would be silly if I did!

The fear of gain back can be defeating. Whatever weight loss plan you choose, if there is one thing to keep in mind, it is the question-Can I live with this plan?

Can you stay on a plan that includes prepackaged foods for the rest of your life? I suppose anything is possible, but I am not sure if it would be practical or healthy. Can you go from your current eating habits to a cookie diet and expect a positive outcome that will be with you in twenty years? As much as you might love cookes, I doubt it. If you are like me and grew up in an Italian home, can you really give up carbs forever? Eliminating carbs for a short while might work, but I know for myself, life without baked ziti is impossible.

Every weight loss plan has a success rate, but if there is one thing I would encourage you to research, it is the plan to maintain. After working this hard to lose 85 pounds, I never want to gain weight back. Weight gain has a nasty way of creeping up on us and two pounds today quickly turns to 20 pounds before we know it.

I know when you are choosing your plan for success the idea of maintaining is far away from goal. The first focus is results, but what good are those results if we cannot maintain them?

I believe in a plan with healthy choices, and behavior modifications. Our unhealthy eating habits is what got us here in the first place, so if we do not change those habits, the weight will come back. Of course whatever plan you choose, the one person you should seek advice from is your doctor.

A good start to losing weight is getting baseline labwork and a complete physical. Weight loss is more than a number on a scale, Knowing such things as our cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI (body mass index) are a baseline for progress.

Once you have chosen a plan, setting a goal will keep our focus. Do you have a wedding, vacation, or reunion coming up? Do you have more than twenty pounds to lose and your goal is overwhelming to think about? If we think about the long term number on the scale, we will probably make ourselves crazy. Set small goals and be realistic. Five pounds is probably a good goal to think about, even if you need to lose one hundred pounds. Like any journey, the trip has a beginning.

If you have ever driven from New York to Florida, you probably have stopped overnight in South Carolina. The drive is long, stops need to be made for gas, food, and of course restroom. All of those stops are goals that are planned into the trip. Our car needs gas, our bodies need food and of course our bladder needs emptying.

As we set our food and fuel goals for the trip, we can set our weight loss goals. Five pounds turns to ten, ten turns to fifteen and eventually the pants that were tight become loose, all by setting small goals.

One last thing to keep in mind. We all know our bodies, we see ourselves every day. We will be the first one to notice our loss. Clothes will begin to fit better, activities will become easier, and our strength will increase, but recognition is a wonderful encouragement. As you progress on your journey, keep one thing in mind. Our family, friends, and coworkers see us every day. We know the number of pounds we have lost, but a good rule of thumb is half our weight loss is usually the start of recognition. If you have sixty pounds to lose, at about the thirty pound goal, you will probably start to hear that ever encouraging quesiton-Have you lost weight? There it is! The recogntion that something is different about you. The question might come as, Have you changed your hair? or Is that a new sweater? The people that see us every day know there is something different about us but they can’t put thier finger on it. We know what is new about us, and the day of recognition is a wonderful milestone in our journey.

I wish you all a healthy, happy and safe new year. I look forward to continuing on this journey with you as I approach my goal weight. I will leave you with one final thought as we hear the chocolate chip cookies calling our name- Nothing tastes as good as thin and healthy feels!

Where Do I Begin?

By Mary Ann Senatore-Your Weightlosing Friend

 

We have made the decision to lose weight. We are mentally and emotionally ready to begin our journey, but we need a place to start. Since we want to develop good healthy guidelines that can stay with us as we make lifestyle changes, we are going to begin with the basics. To start with our new lifestyle goals are to:

1. Start with our physician for a basic beginning check up

2. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

3. Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and

4. Select foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars

5. Make smart choices from every food group.

6. Find balance between food and physical activity

7. Get the most nutrition out of calories

8. Stay within daily calorie needs

9. Portion control

10. Treating ourselves like company by making food fun and exciting

 

 

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Starting a new adventure is always exciting, and can be overwhelming. Trying to change our poor weight gaining habits to healthy weight habits is not going to happen overnight. If we try to change everything at once, we are going to set ourselves up for defeat. Change one thing at a time, slowly and gradually. Change will happen if we focus on one event at a time.

 

We are going to move forward with our healthy lifestyle changes in small increments and phases that could include:

 

1. Setting small goals with our total weight loss as the ultimate prize

2. Each goal will be 5 pounds, and each goal will have a non-food reward

3. Explore food groups for two weeks making choices for what we like and at least once a week try a new flavor, taste, recipe, or a food that we have never tasted before

4. Explore new activities until we find one that we like, enjoy, and look forward to doing at least 4 times a week

5. Start small with a walking program perhaps

a. 10 minutes a day for the first week

b. 15 minutes a day for 5 days the second week

c. 18 minutes a day for 5 days the third week

d. 20 minutes a day for 4 days the fourth week

 

 

We didn’t gain weight overnight and we cannot fool ourselves into believing that we are going to lose weight overnight either. Start small, start slow. Keep goals realistic and stay focused. Trying to conquer the world in one battle will set us up to lose in an instant. The best part of success is the reward and benefit of seeing such things as clothes fitting better, making healthy choices naturally, hearing the doctor say that our cholesterol is down significantly, getting a hug from a loved one and noticing that their arms fit around us with ease, and finally our own increased self confidence.

Remember, you are never alone in your journey.