So, last week I wrote in a couple of comments that I don't use a scale. I included quite a bit of information in one comment on a new friend's post (bless her heart-I use a lot of words some days!), then told another friend the same, and that I'd put my full weight loss story in a blog entry to spare the eyes of people who read community posts.
So, here we go.
This is me 4 Marches (months of March or a little over 4 years) ago; it's my work ID. I was around 10# into my weight loss journey then. I think at that point I may have been aware of SparkPeople as a place for recipes that included calorie counts by the ingredient, and I think I signed up for the recipe emails. Anyway, I thought then I was doing great things with weight loss: my clothes were fitting again, my fitness level was up, and so forth. However, when I did my annual doctor visit 3 months later, I was still 10# more than the previous year, and my poor care provider had to report "Obese! 30+ overweight. Possible hyperlipidemia, rising BP." That threw me a goodly scare; as I said, I thought I was fine, skating along doing my fitness and eating less than I was when I put on the weight. Heart disease runs in my family on one side. So, I knew it was time to get serious.
I will admit here, I went to NutriSystem.com to check prices, and to see what they said about healthful weight loss. NutriSystem.com is where I got the wisdom that in order to lose pounds, a person has to limit food. I appreciated that from a company that's trying to sell food! I did not do NutriSystem, but no judgment from me on anyone else's journey.
Instead, I went to a particular website (not Spark.) I put in my age, height, fitness level, weight loss goal & goal date, and got the calorie count that would help me achieve it without harming my heart and my bones. I took that info, started an account on another website that came up when I searched portion and calorie control, and went to work. This website gave menu suggestions for my specific calorie and weight loss needs, allowed me to enter my own daily menus, report what I did and didn't eat, then gave me a nightly report of how I did nutritionally, along with a continuous calorie count, so I could add or subtract calories over the course of each day. I will mention here that I'm certain all of this can be done right here on SparkPeople, I just had no idea at the time. I also kept a paper list of everything that went into my mouth, along with portion size and calorie count. I still do that. It's an accountability thing for me.
I said I was going to tell the entire story, so there is quite a bit of detail here. I knew I needed to set myself up with an eating plan I could follow without cheating or failing. I have usually always eaten breakfast but don't really care about it; I can take or leave lunch most days, but I must have my supper. I love to cook, and I've cooked healthful foods in healthy fashions for years (I just ate too much!) I knew if I lost by depriving myself, I'd just be right back in the same place in another 5-10 years, and it would be even worse for me. So, my plan was a small breakfast, a small lunch, a low calorie-high protein snack before work, and a good supper, all within my weight loss calorie range. I almost superstitiously used strict portion control on myself in order to do that and still eat normally for me. It was amazing how it worked, and I did not feel deprived or hungry. I was able to continue and improve my fitness program, do my volunteer work at the animal shelter, and do my job with the kids at Latchkey. I slept well. My muscle tone continued to increase, but my clothes became looser. I did my usual holiday baking but did not indulge (not one cooky-I said I was superstitious about it!), yet I was just fine, and my clothes kept getting looser. Finally I bought myself some smaller clothes, that were also loose. This continued until my next annual, when we found that I'd lost 44#!! My BP was back down, and when my labs came back, my reports were fine-they called them "excellent!" They also said I was smack in the middle of my healthy BMI, so "don't lose any more weight." I went back to the first website to see what my maintenance calorie count should be, then went to the website I'd been working with, and refitted my stuff. (I've still lost another 10#, but I'm still in the high-lower end of my healthy BMI, so I figure that's my cushion. There was no negative comment when I visited my care provider last month.) I am happy and healthy where I am now, in the size clothing I wear.
Bottom line is, I did it, you can do it, we all can do it and keep it. Use a scale, don't use a scale. Here's the thing about that: I never had the trouble with the plateaus that so many people have, and I think that really helped me stick with it. Again, that may not work for everyone.
Anyway, now and then I've worried that since I didn't have a Before and During history here on Spark, some Sparklers might feel that I really have no idea what's it like to have to lose weight, since I've been on Maintenance since I've been active in SparkPeople's community. I do know, and how I empathize! Hugs. I wish I could whisk everyone right into Maintenance with me, and spare everyone the hard work of losing pounds to gain health. I can't do that, but I hope to encourage as many as I can. Good health is available, and will be yours when you reach for it.