Advertising account executive
38, married 4 years
From a pant size 26 to a 12
Simplicity and activity. She does up to an hour-long workout after work in a home gym she set up in a spare room and recently added a shorter morning workout when possible. Also, she does "lifestyle exercises," from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to parking her car at the far side of the lot. Another bonus: Doing that helps "keep your car ding-free."
Plus, she's learned to keep cooking simple, but tasty. Instead of ambitious, difficult recipes, she chooses healthful food made simply, such as broiling salmon with lemon pepper. "I would actually overeat because of the effort I put into the meal...It was like, 'How can I finish eating in 10 minutes when I spent two hours cooking it'?" Another discovery: "I like real foods rather than 'diet foods.'" So she skips nonfat yogurt for small amounts of the full-fat variety. "It tastes good," she says. "You need some fat, it's good for you."
"Alcohol. On the weekends I just liked to drink…[but it] weakens my willpower and I get on a munching kind of binge eating. One drink would just trigger me to overeat." Chocolate can be another downfall, so she eats it very sparingly.
"Breaking from Compulsive Eating," by Geneen Roth. With advice from the book, she made a dedication to not go on a diet, which hadn't worked in the past. Instead it was now about being conscious of what she ate, not depriving herself of foods, and recognizing her body's signals that she'd eaten enough.
Protein bar or shake, cheese. She eats every three hours and has learned that "it doesn't take much to feel full. I like feeling light, not feeling overstuffed." Also, she adds vegetables to every meal. So if she eats eggs, she adds chopped onions or red peppers. Vegetables "make you feel satisfied, comfortably full without the calories."
Avoiding tempting food brought by co-workers to the office. "It just takes a lot of willpower." So if she indulges, she compensates by doing an extra long workout.
The desire to start a family. "In order to have a healthy pregnancy, you have to have a healthy weight. I wanted to make room in my body for a healthy baby … I was getting older, and my time was running out. I didn't want it to be the reason why me and my husband can't have a baby."
More choices for clothes. "Before there were two stores I could shop at." Plus she feels more attractive. "We live in a society where [being] fat is frowned upon," noting that since she has lost weight, "people are immediately receptive…I don't feel that judgment."
Improved stamina, less pain and more self-confidence. "My hips used to ache [but now ]…I zip everywhere. I can stand for a long period of time." And when someone walks behind her at the mall, she no longer feels self-conscious. She used to worry "What are they thinking of my fat? ... Now I'm not trying to hide myself. This is how I am."
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