I’ve probably been dieting since I was 14-years old, not because I was fat at the time but because I didn’t look like the girl in Cosmopolitan magazine. Trying to look the ideal ultra-thin took me on a journey of all kinds of diets, from low fat to gluten-free. I must have read dozens of books on the subject, tried all kinds of diets, including the cabbage soup diet which made me lose weight but made me sick at the same time. Now that I’m older, middle-aged and officially 50 pounds overweight, I’ve come to the conclusion that the very thought of always being fat eventually made me fat, we are, after all, what we think we are.
So my dilemma was, how can I think myself thin? Or better yet how can I think myself healthy, because at my age I don’t care to look like the girl on the cover of Cosmo, I just wanted to FEEL better and free myself of the garbage in my head and in my diet. I looked around my office, where I live and work, and took all the books on dieting off my shelf and gave them to the local library. “Let someone else figure it out,” I thought to myself. Maybe someone else will have some success with one of these books, after all lots of people have lost weight on low carb, low fat, gluten free, calorie-counting diets. Yes, I even got rid of Weight Watchers, the golden grail of all diets, and also the best one if you can honestly write down what you eat every day and weigh in with a bunch of strangers every week.
I also donated my high-powered, fancy, digital weight scale to Goodwill. Getting on the scale after a week of low carb, vegetarian or whatever diet I was on and seeing the lack of fast results was too much torment for me, so out the door it went along with the rest of the dieting paraphernalia. I had finally freed myself of the dieting frenzy. I ate what I wanted, including chocolate, candy whatever but did two very important things. I stopped eating after dinner and I started walking.
Yes, there is no magic bullet to losing weight, it’s all about making the lifestyle changes everyone talks about, so instead of the diet habit, I adopted those two little changes into my life. It wasn’t that easy to stop eating after dinner, by 9 p.m. my stomach was growling for some FOOD, but I ignored it and told myself that tomorrow is another day and another meal is coming. It started to get easier after about a week. Next step was to take up walking. I have dogs and I thought I was walking enough, until my sister turned me on to this little app that motivated me to walk a bit more briskly with a focus on walking instead of the focus on the dogs. So now I walk the dogs separately from my health walk.
I’m not one to endorse products but this one is free and it’s called Runkeeper.com. It tells you how far you walked, how fast, how many calories you burned; it maps out a route on a GPS. It’s a nice little gadget to download on your iphone or android. Being the diet expert (as most overweight people are) I knew I had to burn at least 3500 calories to lose a pound, so if I walked 30 minutes every day I would average about ½ a pound a week which is about 26 pounds a year. Not fast weight loss, but by cutting out the late night chips and candy, I could probably lose at least 52 pounds in a year.
It was a painful start, I began walking one mile in like 20 minutes. I didn’t really have the motivation to keep it up, but that Runkeeper app would text me or just out of the blue come on and say “We haven’t heard from you today.” It is my daily reminder to get out there and walk. Today I’m walking 4 miles a day in an hour. It’s my one hour to listen to music, get away from everyone and just be by myself for a change. I don’t know what I’ve lost because I threw away the scale, but my clothes are looser my rings fit better. I’m feeling great but most importantly I’m free!