How I lost 30 pounds and kept it off for 7 years
There are a lot of well-meaning fat people out there, like the woman at Subway who stops the line to argue with you over how many pieces of bacon you are entitled to and how you can't refuse free bacon and look at you, you can eat all the bacon you want.
I have indignant friends who are over-weight, who dismiss me as someone who doesn't know anything about being fat and if they looked like me they'd eat everything they wanted.
Well, guess what, people? I'm not naturally skinny. I had to fight and cry and hate how I looked, just like you. 3 out of 4 of my parents are overweight. Although as I child I could (and often did) eat 4 candy bars in one sitting, those fat genes and bad eating habits were waiting just around the corner to attack me, and when I turned 27 boy did they ever.
I know what it's like to lose a pound or two and feel good about yourself squeezing into last year's skirt, only to have one of your parents to come to your office at lunch and tell you, Oh my God, you can't wear that to work! You are far too fat for that!
I have been greeted by friends I haven't seen in a while with, wow you got huge!
I know what it is like to be reminded that you can't wear that without support hose-you are too jiggly while you are shopping for your wedding dress.
I know what it's like to fly over a 1,000 miles to visit your Grandmother, only for her to comment on how skinny and pretty you were at 20, and have her review your order at lunch to approve what you could and couldn't eat.
I may not have ever been obese, but I know what it's like to be a size 14 in a group of size 0's and 3's. I know what it's like to restrict yourself to weight-loss shakes and frozen entrees and suffer nobly and still not lose more than one pound in one month.
How I lost 30 pounds and kept it off for 7 years:
I was living in Kansas, a state I had moved to fat, where no one had seen me skinny. Some of my female friends in the office were going to try the South Beach Diet, and were pushing me to try, too.
I hesitated. I had seen family and friends gain weight on Atkins and throw money and hope away on just about every fad diet previously. I thought it was a bunch of crap, until S lost about 10 pounds in just a few weeks. I was ready to try it. She let me borrow her copy of the South Beach Diet book, and I was shocked to learn that it was developed by a cardiologist, not a diet center. I liked that it didn't require me to feel hungry or weigh and measure my intake. I am lazy and don't like to suffer.
I decided that i would try it for a few days, but I was going to weigh myself closely to ensure I didn't wind up gaining weight on the fad. I photocopied the list of allowed foods and hung it on my fridge the night before I started my big attempt, and then I ate four english muffins, relishing their deliciousness and mourning their banishment the next day.
The first day wasn't a treat. I ate hard boiled eggs. I ate salad. I learned that you can get tired of chewing raw vegetables hours before you get full. The second day I went to the store and got more variety. After 3 days I had lost four pounds. I had never lost four pounds in a single week before, not even with daily exercise and starving myself. I was sticking with it. By then I had stopped craving empty carbs, and I could taste the sweetness of vegetables.
Like every dieter, we all predetermine numbers of happiness. If I get to ___ I'll be in the acceptable range, but my dream weight is ____. I got to my acceptable weight, then I got to my dream weight, and then i got to my goddess weight, and then I passed my goddess weight. I shed 30 pounds and years of poor self esteem, and I have never put them back on.
Here is how I did it, for those of you too lazy to read the South Beach Diet Book:
1. No alcohol for the first week. It's empty calories, but more than that, stopping drinking entirely for a week helped me break the habit of drinking because it was what you did when you got home from work. It changed wine from something to do back into being a treat. I like treats.
2. Eat 5 smaller meals to speed up your metabolism.
3. Eat all the veggies you want. Fill up on lean meat, eggs (I love Egg Beaters omelets), low-fat dairy and veggies. Avoid the dressing and use cooking spray for the eggs, not butter.
4. Drink Metamucil before meals to make you feel fuller longer.
5. Allow yourself guilt free treats. I used to make a dessert out of ricotta, Equal sweetener, and dark chocolate. It was almost like a treat. Twice a day I ate sugar free jello with fat free whipped creme and it actually tasted like a treat. I also ate baker's chocolate, but I may have broken a tooth biting that big bar, so use caution.
6. Avoid bread, pasta and rice like the plague. They may disguise themselves with apparently reasonable calorie counts on their boxes, but they are void of any nutritional value, make you retain water, and make you hungry later.
Eye croutons suspiciously and realize they are just dried bread that aren't even very satisfying and whose only purpose is to make you gain weight. Accept that potatoes were quite possibly invented by the devil. Starches and empty carbs are things that if I have once, i will crave. When I don't' have them, though, after a few days I don't miss them.
7. I have seen people gain weight just on the sugar and cream they pile in their coffee. A mocha latte is more like a milkshake than an daily beverage. I know they are delicious. So are cupcakes, but we all realize cupcakes aren't for breakfast.
8. If you are craving something in particular, say a cupcake or an ice cream sandwich at the office party, just decide to eat it and then get right back on your diet. I will eat everything in sight in an effort to avoid one bad treat, only to wind up eating it anyway. Just because you ate one forbidden item does not mean that you need to throw the whole day out the window. Eat it and move on.
9. Frozen diet lunches and cans of low calorie soup are ok for maintaining weight loss, but for me their high salt content made them frustrating when i was trying to actively lose weight. Salt makes you retina water. Salt makes you crave sweets. Salt is a really bad thing to put in diet lunches.
10. It is hard at first. It is daunting, but when you see that first five pounds come off, you will feel a surge of hope and determination. I know, because I just got five pounds off again that had been haunting me for months. As soon as I got back on my diet and saw actual improvement, I was energized again.
Here's my sample day plan:
egg white omelet with canadian bacon and fat free cheddar
egg white omelet with veggies and low fat mozzarella
low-fat yogurt or cheese stick
low-carb whole wheat wrap with turkey, low fat cheese, and veggies
salad with chicken or steak on top, low cal dressing
sugar free jello
Afternoon snack options:
25 pistachios (count them out in the morning in a little cup)
1 square of Baker's chocolate
Come home from work, throw some veggies in the microwave because I am starving. Eat a lot of them, but now they are hot, compared to the cold ones earlier, it's like a different class of food.
grilled chicken or steak with salad and veggies.
Sugar free jello or sugar free fudgsicle. Sugar free popsicles are nice and all but not as exciting in my book.
It works for me so well that the relative that hurt my feelings the most with her critical comments on my weight gain said to me the other day, you don't know what it's like. You were never fat. She had forgotten my fat years entirely.