Still Walking the Long Road to Better Health
After hitting 65 and the highest weight in my life after menopause (and obviously mindless eating) with blood work that wasn't the best, I was determined in October 2017 to start the processes to improve diet and overall health. Although there is a lot of longevity (90+ years at death) in familial background, there is obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension as well. Just decided I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in declining health and increasing medication.
Did a lot of Internet research on weight loss programs. We live in a rural area that is 50+ miles from the nearest town with "support groups" so wanted an online version. We also do not eat processed foods for a variety of reasons so needed a way to build the ingredients into one of my own recipes.
Cronometer fit the bill. Recipe creation has been eye-opening and supportive as I learned how to reduce calories, fat, etc with substitutions. Excellent support with activity tracking as well. Daily entries of every morsel of food, weighing & measuring; accurate timing of activity, do take time, although that may just be the way I have to do it to maintain "mindful" eating and healthier choices.
After 3 months, have lost 10% of original weight (goal is 21-28% in a year) and am eating much healthier with more activity than before. Not trying to follow any other guidelines than CM calorie count with less saturated fat & cholesterol, zero refined sugars, tons of veg, daily exercise. Experience tells me that, if I complicate the intake too much, I give up on it. Yes, I am pre-planning the occasional dark chocolate nugget as I am a self-avowed choco-holic. I also don't feel like I am "denying" myself the pleasure of a yummy chocolate.
Bought a couple of pairs of jeans yesterday in the next-smaller size so my vanity is also getting support!
Success-supports (for me):
- Eat protein for breakfast (egg white scrambled with 1T low fat mozzarella shreds & a T of leftover green veg, like broccoli or spinach, is rather satisfying, for example)
- Constantly look for lower fat, lower calorie substitutions for condiments & ingredients. Pineapple/mango salsa instead of margarine on AM toast; homemade raspberry vinagrette salad dressing with sugar-free raspberry jam and balsamic vinegar; fat free greek-style yogurt with stevia or splenda, a sprinkle of TruLemon powder, instead of ice cream, under berries; same yogurt as base of FF dip (add a teaspoon of BBQ rub to 1C yogurt + spices) for raw veg snack. Reduced sodium rice cakes with salsa or sugar-free applesauce instead of chips or a cookie.
- Don't ignore true hunger. Better to eat some celery with FF dip or an ounce of low fat cheese between meals rather than to feel like I am "starving" by the next meal.
- Try to eat (and plan for) several small meals throughout the day rather than 2-3 large ones.
- Keep your hands busy with something productive. Reorganize a drawer, knit, journal, sew on a button, sand wood, clean out the bird feeder - anything so you aren't sitting in front of tv, reading a book or hanging out in the kitchen with the siren call of a snack.
- "Cheat" yourself into activity. Park well away from the store door when shopping, do chair exercises while watching tv, walk around while on the phone with someone, take several small armfuls up and down stairs to maximize the number of trips; do a couple of bicep curls with the milk before putting it away, etc.
- Get outside every day - if even for a few minutes. Even at -35F a couple of mornings this winter, I made a commitment to fill the bird feeders each day & walk to get the mail at the end of our long drive. It took longer to get dressed and undressed than the time I spent outside, and it was refreshing as well as renewing. Beautiful snowy trees, crisp oxygen-laden air and lots of interesting animal tracks!
- Get enough restorative sleep. Bedmate complained I was snoring like a bull elk, so I had it checked out. Sure enough, I had obstructive sleep apnea (which means I actually stopped breathing several times during the night) and am now on CPAP machine. Not a fan of the flaming mask and I am feeling more rested so will have to put up with it as apnea can lead to all sorts of nasty health problems, including weight gain.
I look forward to my next health check in summer 2018 to ensure that my blood work is good and my BMI is now within the "normal" range.
I will, probably, continue to use Cronometer for as long as it is available. Healthier living is a marathon, not a sprint.
Thanks for sharing your success! You are doing phenomenal and really excelling at implementing healthy living strategies. Remember, the best diet is the one you are able to follow for the rest of your life.
Keep up the great work!
Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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