How I Lost Weight and Changed Bad Eating Habits

Below is a before and after photo.  The before photo is from Nov. 10, 2012 and I weighed 168 lbs.  Ugh!  It's embarrassing, but I tried to pick one of the worst photos.  Unfortunately, I had a lot to choose from. ha
I had actually weighed as much as about 183 lbs. a couple years prior to that.  AND, back in about 2005, had ballooned up to about 220 lbs. I do not have any photos from that time period.  Thank God! ha
The 2nd photo is current from April 2016 and at a weight of 129. 
My weight has yo yo'd drastically over the course of my life. Gain 50 lbs. Lose 50 lbs. Gain 30 lbs. Lose 30 lbs. Over and over and over. Sound familiar? I was NEVER able to control my eating for any long period of time and keep the weight off. I'd "diet"... sometimes drastically and sometimes with diet pills....get the weight off...and go right back to old habits and eventually gain the weight back.   Although I haven't done any drastic dieting or taken any diet pills for at least 15 years, I've still had issues with food...as you may have observed from photograph 1 of the evidence I present to you today. :)

Okay...so now let's get on to how things have changed...for the better...

One day last June (2015) I was in the library and saw a book (in the section they have for sale) for $2 I was interested in. It was the South Beach Diet book. I picked it up and decided to buy it. I showed my husband and told him I was buying it and jokingly said "This book could change our lives!" Little did I know that it actually would be the inspiration that really did change my life.
It changed hubby's too.  Since July 1, 2015 he's lost over 50 lbs.  I've lost 35 lbs. (I started on July 1 at about 163.)

July 1, 2015 we started on Phase 1 of the diet. We followed it pretty closely. We ate 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks. That was one thing that really helped me stick with it. I didn't go too long without eating. I didn't have to wait long till my next "feeding". ha   That is important for me.  I can't let myself get too hungry or I lose all control and reason. lol   Five feedings at certain intervals throughout the day works best for me.  I usually have 2 cups coffee about 8am, breakfast around 10-11am, lunch 1-1:30ish, snack 4-4:30pm, dinner 6pm, snack 9pm.

I may start a "What I'm Eating" page (or post on main blog) if anyone is interested.  We're not always the best and most knowledgeable at our healthy food choices, but we've improved dramatically over how we used to eat.  If I post my meals I'll just be honest and show what we really eat.  I've discovered a lot of Trader Joe's quick and easy products we like and eat a lot and I'll share those too.
  
Anyway...back to the diet...
In the beginning, to get started, we began looking for products that were low in carbs and sugar. We cut out bread, white potatoes, and rice. We swapped out low fat/fat free for most high fat products, but we eat healthy fats such as olive oil, avocadoes, etc.  
We followed along on this path through Phase 1 and Phase 2 (for a few months).
We did not feel deprived or hungry. We substituted unhealthy, high calorie meals with healthier, lower calorie ones. We were losing weight and feeling like we were really making better choices for our health and our life. 

Around December we made a decision to no longer buy red meat, pork, lunchmeats, etc. We began eating fish/salmon/tuna, turkey, chicken, and some soy products as our meat source. 

We currently still eat the 3 meals + 2 snacks and continue with the same eating habits as in early stages, but have added certain things back into our diets such as more fruits, low carb tortilla's, lower calorie bread products (english muffins, bagels) and a low carb loaf bread for me.  Hubby eats a higher calorie loaf bread, but still healthy ingredients (since he has lost more weight and can use the extra calories).  So we now allow ourselves some bread products, but try limit it to healthier choices.  (No cream cheese danishes in da house. ha)

Oh, and I'll also say that we do not follow all the above 100% of the time. We go out to eat on occasion. And if we feel like ordering a cheeseburger and fries then we'll do that. We just only have those splurges maybe 1-3 times per month and eat properly the rest of the time. 
I plan meals a week at a time. I tally up the calories as best I can and try to stay within a certain amount....an amount that I feel comfortable with, that allows me to have plenty of food at each meal. And I rarely do without my snacks. It is important for me to not feel like I'm depriving myself so that I can continue this way of eating for the rest of my life. No more yo yoing. I have never stuck with an eating plan for this long in my life. As I write this, we're almost at the 10 month mark and it sure feels amazing! I say every day how I can't believe we've done this and that it's not really hard at all. It takes planning and sticking to the plan. I'm usually successful at that. If I have a day where I go a bit overboard, then I just do it right the next day. And I don't let that become a common occurrence. 
There are days when hubby and I joke that "ohhhhh we'd like some gooey chocolate chip cookies" or other food that sounds good... and a year ago hubby would have just gone into the kitchen and baked up a big batch and we'd eat them with big old homemade milk shakes. 
Bad! And we're not doing that any more. 
It's sort of like at home is off limits for bad snacks, etc. If we go out and want a dessert...sometimes we'll get one. But, as I say, we just don't eat out all that often any more and so we choose to eat healthier and stick with our plan 95% of the time. 
But we DO have those splurge times to look forward to and enjoy. So it's not like we can't EVER indulge...we have just set a limit to it. 

Portion Control. I had to learn it. My portions were waaaaay out of control. My husband has helped me a lot with this. Over time it's gotten easier to gauge what an appropriate amount is. I try to weigh and measure as much as I can to keep myself accountable. 

Exercise. Hate it. We had a treadmill, but never used it and sold it. We moved to an apartment complex, that has a small workout room. We now use it pretty much every day. Hubby actually walks 1 hr on the treadmill probably 5-6 days a week. I do treadmill/bicycle/Pilates for about 50 min. usually 4-5 days per week. We've just made it a habit. Hubby has encouraged me a LOT with this and I wouldn't do nearly as well in this area without his support. 

So I am kind of letting my body dictate where it wants to be. I will not deprive myself of food. If I don't lose any more that's fine. If I lose a few more pounds eating the same healthy way then that's fine too. I never thought I'd see the 130's again much less the 120's! I would have been happy at 140 until I realized how just eating healthier, and being consistent about it, could have such an affect on my body.   Now my goal is to stay below the 130 mark...preferably in the 125 range.  (*update: I was in the 124-125 range as of about June 2016, but became a bit lax during and after our July vacation, so am working toward that weight range again.  As of Sept. 1 am at 129 again.)


I just hope, that if anyone happens to read my page, that they'll find some sort of encouragement. Believe me... I've struggled...time and time again. If I can change the way I eat...you can too.  

*To find posts related to this topic that I've added to my main Dreamz~n~Wishz blog:  search the "labels" at the bottom of Home page for one entitled "A Healthier Me".  Click on that label and it will bring up all my posts about my diet and healthier lifestyle such as what I'm eating, how I stick to my plan, etc.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa
    You have gone a long way and managed to find the right balance in your eating habits and that's a big inspiration.A big bravo to you and your husband.
    Actually,I have read in one of your blog posts a few months ago about the South Beach diet and I did a bit of recearch ...and it was the motivation I needed to follow the path to a healthier and thinner me. I've lost 4 kilos already and have mamaged to be steady.
    I'm still in phase2 and I experience cravings or I splurge from time to time but other than that I manage to keep on top. I also try to go to the gym 3 times a week. Like you I enjoy my new healthier and better looking me!
    I'm sure I will enjoy more posts based on your experience with South Beach Diet.

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    1. Congrats on your new eating plan too! That's fantastic! The South Beach diet principals really helped us and got us motivated to make positive changes. Here's to a healthy summer! xo

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  2. Wow, Lisa! That's a lot of weight! I like your attitude of letting your body now decide what's a good resting-place. We shouldn't squeeze into arbitrary numbers but let health and fitness decide. Good for you!

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    1. Thank you, Ally. I'm almost scared to talk about it because I've never stuck with it before and have ALWAYS gained it back. But I'm determined this time and it just feels different...like real and doable. Plus, a few months into our new diet, we found out, for health reasons, John must get his cholesterol levels down, etc....so that is the biggest incentive ever for us to maintain these lifestyle changes. We want to be healthy and around for each other for many, many more years to come. :)

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  3. Portion control is my demon...how do you do it, just by weighing and measuring? I am a stress eater plus just loooove food...ugh... You look mahvelous, dahling!

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    1. The enjoyment and love of food was a big culprit in my overeating, Donna. It was also a stress reliever probably...and any other reason you can think of. ha But I just liked foods that are reeeeeally bad for you. I have just made trade offs with myself and bargains with myself. We used to eat absolutely horrible snacks at night that were so high in calories and fat. For our big treat now we have medjool dates stuffed w/ fat free cream cheese and some cashews. (Both of those items are healthy for you in moderation.) That would be a bit of a splurge on calories for me (3 dates/cashews)maybe about 350ish), but I allow myself that a couple times per week. It sure beats what we used to eat! We could probably have consumed upwards of around 1000 calories for a night time snack in the past. And we'd do it every night. I now LOVE the dates w/ ff cream cheese and see that as my decadent treat. They're sooooo sweet and yummy. John taught me over the last months about portion control by example. He never ate as horribly as when I shoved my bad habits on him after we married. So he was the one helping me w/ portions. He'd tell me not to give him so much or wouldn't finish everything I did give him and put the rest in the frig...and say he was full. So I would realize I should eat less too...and could be satisfied with less. It wasn't like I was never going to eat again. All I had to do was wait till night time snack and I'd get to have more food. I just somehow re-trained myself. I just made an effort to do better each day. You know...if I go light on dinner I get to have those yummy dates and cashews later.... :)
      Planning, planning, planning is key. Setting the goals and amounts of what we're going to eat and doing my best to stick to the plan.

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~Lisa~