Anni, I wanted to respond to your message you left on my home page yesterday. First off, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!
I'm glad that you can find inspiration from my transformation that I've undergone. I want to share with you my thoughts on "weight loss" versus becoming healthy.
When I developed my initial plan back in September 2007, I didn't know about Spark People. There were a few themes I crafted my plan for my "transformation" around.
First and foremost in my thoughts was to develop a plan in regards to my nutrition and food intake. You could name any of a number of popular "diet" plans and chances are that I have tried one of them over the past 20 years.
To get a feel of what I was thinking in September 2007 you need to realize that I was at rock bottom, both mentally and physically. I did not want to simply "go on a diet"...instead I wanted to change my life. In order to do that, I realized that I needed a certain measure of nutrition everyday to sustain and maintain myself and to give myself the energy I would need to not only perform the tasks of the day, but to sustain a workout regimen as well. This meant that "dieting" was out of the question. To me, the word diet implies that you are denying yourself some component of nutrition in order to achieve an end to a means (losing weight).
I knew that I was morbidly obese but I also knew that starving myself in order to dump pounds was not only wrong, but it would leave me feeling just as bad or if not worse than I was already feeling. Taking this knowledge and mindset, I crafted a plan that I still follow (although modified just a touch here and there) to this day.
My focus was so sharp and clear on what it was that I wanted to accomplish that outside interference from others and old ideas concerning weight loss that I had were not on my radar screen. I realized that if I were to do this right, I would need a balance of nutrition and to avoid those types of foods that were unhealthy (fast foods, prepared foods) that I had sustained myself on up until that point in time.
It is all too easy for someone to say "if you just want to lose weight, just eat less food". That is true in a sense, but sets you up for inevitable failure in the long run. The key to a successful nutrition plan is to assure that you consume a minimum number of carbohydrates to sustain your bodies' need for energy so you don't effectively starve yourself and set yourself up for binge eating when your body depletes it's energy stores. This is why the low carb plans were not even on the table for me.
I realized that I would also need a measure of protein in my nutrition so I could start to build muscle mass with my planned workouts. Having my nutrition set in place, I put together my workout plan. I put that plan together in September of 2007 but didn't implement it until 3 months later. Reason being that I was in such poor physical heatlh, that I couldn't tolerate a simple walk of 50 feet without busting out into a full blown sweat.
My original workout plan consisted of 3 days per week and concentrated on muscle strength training at first although the folks that were talking to me insisted that I start off on a full bore cardiovascular program. I would do about 20 minutes of light cardio exercise (pedaling a stationary cycle) before I started the weight training. About 6 weeks into it, I just couldn't tolerate the cardio, so contrary to what most around me were telling me, I quit doing cardio and concentrated on muscle strength traning only. After six weeks had passed, I found myself much stronger and able to do cardio...so I added 3 days a week to my workout regimen specific to cardiovascular exercise.
Combined with the weight training on alternate days....my physical health took off like a rocket, all the while, maintaining a solid, healthy meal plan, never denying myself of enough food to eat.
Yes, it took a lot of work and a great deal of thought...but as the results became more evident, it only solidified my resolve that what I was doing was right.
More than a diet, more than losing weight, I changed my entire life into living healthy, slowly and incrementally as I was able to tolerate the activity, I pushed the bar a little higher to continually challenge myself. To sum up what I've wrote, try not to think of what you want to do as dieting or losing weight. Try to think of it as becoming and staying healthy.