@ Slimmerkiwi: Thank you! I've sure gotten a lot of inspiration from reading the stories of you and others, so I hope that my story is helpful to someone, too.
@ BROOKSMOMMY18: That reminds me - I forgot one of the most important tips on figuring out where to start! To quote a blog I read here yesterday, "Spark-stalk" people! Read the message boards and blogs and see who has a story or an attitude that inspires you. Check out their Sparkpages for their stories, and check out their shared nutrition trackers to get a feel for what a balanced, healthy diet looks like. Drop a Sparkmail if you have questions - most folks here are more than happy to help.
Seriously - that's what I did (there are a few right in this thread who can attest to me stalking them!) and what I've learned from them has made my journey much easier and happier.
After spending the majority of my life happily at 215 lbs (+ or - 10), I put on 20 lbs in 3 weeks after a hysterectomy. Then, in January I developed a massive incisional hernia and was told that I needed to lose 50 to 70 lbs in order to have a successful repair surgery without mesh (I'm allergic to the mesh).
I know that I need the surgery, but the hernia itself (along with some other medical conditions) seriously limits what exercise I can do.
I also know that just losing the weight prior to the surgery and then gaining it back is NOT an option - it's highly likely I would develop another hernia if I gain the weight back.
So - SparkPeople gave me my best option: changing my lifestyle to gradually lose the weight and keep it off for life. I would love to hurry the process (because, frankly, this hernia is quite painful and the limitations it imposes are more than just an inconvenience), but understand that this wouldn't be best for me in the long term.
I had already started on Spark back in December, because I was seriously deficient in iron and folate, and needed the nutrition tracker to make sure that I was ingesting enough of these minerals. I hadn't even really looked at the calories, because losing weight wasn't on my radar, but did lose a couple of pounds just by changing the foods I was eating to higher iron and folate (spinach is my friend!).
When my hernia developed in January, I entered my weight loss goal as being roughly 70 lbs in one year, which gave me a calorie range to start with. I then started making small, gradual changes to my regular eating, but made sure that what I added was always something that I really enjoyed. I know that I won't stick to something that I don't enjoy, so every change that I have made has been something that ADDED to what I like, or altered something to another thing that I liked just as much.
I've always loved veggies, and lean protein, and whole grains so I discovered that my biggest issue was portion sizes. To drop to the "weight loss" calorie range, I really just needed to drop down to 3/4 cup of cereal instead of 1-1/2 cups, 1/2 cup of ice cream instead of 1 cup, 1 slice of toast instead of 2, etc. When I make a stirfry, I fill my plate with flavourful veggies, and skip the rice. I still eat whatever I want to (including chocolate, and ice cream, and red wine) but make sure that I hit all my essential nutrients first and have everything in proper portions.
This is a way of eating that I absolutely enjoy, so I know that I'll have no issues with sticking with it for the rest of my life. I am losing 1-1/2 to 2 lbs per week right now (but I know that'll start slowing down soon), which hopefully will get me to my goal of having the surgery by the end of this year. If it takes longer, then that is fine: the priority is to make permanent changes, not hit a "schedule". I have no feeling of deprivation, simply because I am not being deprived of anything at all!
Take a couple of deep breaths, take a look at your nutrition tracker, and start considering what little steps that you want to make to start this life-change journey. If you look at one baby step at a time, focusing on what you can ADD to your diet each day (8 cups of water; more veggies; more fruits; tastier, healthier fats), then you'll be on your way to better health for life.
Best wishes to you for great results with changing your life, losing some weight, and avoiding that surgery!
The best way to do it is to start off with baby steps. This means changing only one or two things to start with, and as your mind/body gets used to the changes add something else into the equation. Because you obviously have a stumbling block (your back) you need to discuss with your Dr what is best advised for you and what best left alone. ALSO, it wouldn't hurt to ask for a referral to a Physiotherapist who can fully assess you and prescribe the appropriate exercises, and ensure that you know how to do them safely.
It took me 16 months to lose the first 50lb. I have skeletal issues too - Arthritis of the spine and hips and scoliosis. Because of this I didn't do anywhere near the amount of exercise that would normally be recommended, however, as most of the weight-loss is as a result of nutrition, you aren't going to be hindered too much.
I strongly suggest that you weigh all of your food for increased accuracy and enter it into the Nutrition Tracker. This is what helped me to stay focused and also enabled me to tweak my intake as and when necessary. Be guided by SP's nutrition recommendations - don't be tempted to UNDER eat because this will hamper your efforts. After I lost the 50lb, I happily sat there for a year before deciding to move on down again. I finally reached my goal over two years ago, after having been overweight for about 30 years.
I wish you well for a successful outcome - with the weight-loss and with your back issue.
Take care, Kris
Fitness Minutes: (282,928)
4/27/13 3:07 P
What did your doctor say you could do for exercise ? If you have a preexisting back problem, you're doctor should have given you guidelines as far as what you can and can't do for exercise.
As far as eating, start with the basics. Start by filling out the Spark People nutrition profile with your current information i.e. height and weight. While you may have to lose a lot of weight to avoid back surgery, keep in mind that a safe weekly weight loss would be 1-2 pounds per week. This assumes that you could lose one pound safely just by watching what you eat and the second pound by getting some regular exercise. If you can't get enough exercise that creates that second pound deficit, when you input your goals, your weight loss goal should be for one pound a week.
a one pound per week loss may not seem fast enough, but if you can't get enough exercise because of your back, that's where you'll have to start. If you lose weight and your back improves, your doctor may allow you to do more exercise. But once again, this is something you really need to talk to them about.
For now, input your information and let the SP software set a daily calorie range for you for a one pound loss per week. While it is important to get some regular exercise, a person can lose weight without it. And since we don't know what you can and can't do because of your back, you may have to start by changing your nutrition/diet first.
There are no fast ways to lose weight. So, try to keep things simple to start. Start by eating a few more servings of veggies each day, try to drink more glasses of water, try to avoid highly processed foods, try to cook more of your own meals, learn to read labels so that you know what you're eating and try to pay closer attention to your portions.
Most Americans suffer from portion distortion. They have no idea they are eating more than they think. So, you might want to read this article to help get you started. I've also included a link to some general SP question/answers that will be helpful too.
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