Weight Loss and Diet Tips. Real Life Stories that Will Make You Feel Inspired
For Real This Time!
Having a full, busy life distracted me from taking care of myself and losing weight until I got serious.
By Kim Bennett
Following fad diet plans has never really worked out well for me. Having been plump since I was a toddler, I started my first diet before seventh grade. The weight came off quickly, but I gained it back just as fast. A year after my son was born, I weighed the same as I did the day I brought him home from the hospital. When I put on a bathing suit in the summer of 2010, I held 198 pounds on my 5-foot-3-inch frame and was totally disheartened. I was shocked when I looked at photos of myself was I really that big?
During the year, my job as a sixth grade language arts teacher is stressful, and I work more than full time. I also have a 6-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, and my parents have both been ill. For a long time, I didn’t have good coping skills to help me deal with feeling sad or stressed. So I ate. That overstuffed feeling became normal for me, and the pounds kept piling on.
I was tired of feeling this way, and so was my husband. He has always been supportive, and we were ready to make some serious changes together.
THREE KEY ELEMENTS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
So I said, good-bye, diet mentality. This time, I approached weight loss as a new lifestyle instead of a short-term fix. I found that weight loss is basically a mathematical formula. Bottom line: I had to eat less and move more if I wanted to see any sort of change.
There were three integral elements to my weight loss success. The first was nutrition. Instead of talking about a diet my daughter and I worked on healthy eating, and we learned how to make better choices. Fruit and vegetable portions increased, and our intake of simple carbohydrates decreased. I made sure we were eating enough protein, too. The recipes in the Comfort Food Diet Cookbook were really great, because they helped me modify our meals but were family-friendly so everyone passed them around the table with pleasure.
The second element was movement. I had to create a caloric deficit by moving more. I didn’t always need to exercise formally since I am a middle school teacher and a mother of two. My days are always busy, so I am not sitting much but I still needed to move more. So I started to wear a pedometer and aim for 15,000 steps every day. It was so easy to take a few extra steps here and there, and the pedometer made it simple to see my progress.
The third element of my weight loss was the emotional component. I had to figure out what made me eat poorly. I identified my triggers and found ways to subvert them. If I knew I was going to be sad or stressed, such as when my husband was out of town for several weeks, I made sure to plan some relaxation for myself. Sometimes it was as simple as a hot bath after the kids were asleep or finding a babysitter for a few hours to devote some time to myself. I started to listen to my body and not my emotions when it came to hunger. Then I could be smart and more deliberate about my actions.
PLANNING AHEAD AND SAVING CALORIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Planning meals was another key to staying on track. Though it was a big challenge for me, I have integrated it into my daily life. Instead of not having a plan, I now make sure that we have two or three servings of fish each week and that we eat a rainbow of produce. Every week we have a family outing to the farmers market, so we eat lots of fresh produce and get our vitamins and nutrients.
And when I get up each day, I reach for a yogurt, my new staple breakfast food. Sometimes I make extra breakfast items on the weekend to heat up throughout the week, such as individual ham and cheese frittatas, a recipe I got from an earlier version of the Comfort Food Diet Cookbook.
As much as I try to plan each dinner, that time of day can quickly go awry. So I have a stash of quick-and-easy meal ideas that I can whip up if necessary. It is not trouble to keep meal-size portions of browned lean ground beef or turkey in the freezer. That way, I can pull it out and reheat it on really hectic evenings.
Another speedy idea: I mix the cooked ground meat with low-fat, low-sugar spaghetti sauce and serve it over Shirataki noodles, thin Japanese noodles that are low in calories.
I also freeze casseroles or casserole ingredients for fast dinner prep. A deli rotisserie chicken weighed out in portions is easily paired with fresh or frozen vegetables as a dinner.
Slow cookers are my new friends, too! I put an entree in one, and two vegetable sides in other ones. When I get home, a hot meal is ready.
My snacks are also important, because I need to keep my energy level up and my hunger low. I love string cheese, nuts, seeds, vegetable sticks with Greek yogurt dip and hard-boiled eggs. I portion out items at home; I don’t snack continuously from the big package at work.
In the evening, I like to indulge in a small dessert. I keep healthy, individual desserts around the house for the whole family. When I make a dessert, I portion it and store it in containers right away. Then it is a conscious decision to get another whole dessert instead of scooping out are just a little more. When I am tempted to eat more, I head to bed.
EVERY STEP COUNTS. WEIGHT LOSS
All of these changes in the last year have helped me lose 63 pounds. I now weigh in at 135 pounds, which is a healthy weight for my frame. My wonderful husband, who was enthusiastic as I implemented which is a healthy weight for my frame. My wonderful husband, who was enthusiastic as I implemented this new style of eating for our family, has lost 45 pounds, too!
I will maintain my weight loss by monitoring calories and keeping up my activity level. I take my kids outside to ride bikes and play, or we stay inside and compete in fun, active video games. I use my elliptical machine, and I try to take the stairs instead of the elevator. I walk to the store instead of driving.
Kim’s Healthy Substitutes for Weight Loss
- Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream. It works well in dip mixes.
- Instead of using spray oil, I use a pastry brush to spread oil evenly. It is also easier to measure.
- Being Southern, I drink a lot of iced tea. I sweeten it with sugar substitute.
- Instead of flavored coffee creamer, I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It makes my coffee rich and creamy without added sugar.
But I do occasionally stray. I have even gained a few pounds here and there. When that happens, I am disappointed but not discouraged. I just take a deep breath and dive back into my healthy lifestyle.
My family, neighbors and coworkers have been my cheering section. I get compliments daily and requests for weight loss advice. My husband has been so supportive, and I could not have achieved this goal without him.
I am now much healthier and happier and better equipped to keep up with my kids, my house and my job. The side benefits are greater confidence and self-esteem. I am thrilled to be making positive, permanent changes that improve my life and the lives of everyone around me.
“Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook New Quick & Easy Favorites”