We can learn so much by surfing fellow Sparkers pagers and blogs. Here are two out of many that I ran across yesterday.
BOOKWORM27S has lost 185 pounds and kept it off. She lost 150 pounds before joining Spark. In the few years she has been here, she lost about 35 more pounds. She lost the weight on her own, without a nutritionist, trainer or gym.
Her program: eating lean meats, low fat dairy products, whole grains, and a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Exercise: 7 days a week. She started with a stationary bike, set on lowest resistance, for 45 minutes a day. Some days she walked for 30 minutes. More recently she has added a gazelle, treadmill and rowing machine; and 3 days a week she works her upper body, using 8 pound dumbbells.
Warning: She lost the weight too fast and had kidney stones and gallstones, which she attributes to vegetables high in oxalate, like sweet potatoes, eggplant, and peppers.
Her keys for success:
1. Use tracking for accountability. Be accurate.
2. Exercise 30-60 minutes a day, seven days a week.
3. Get rid of big clothes so you have to maintain your loss.
4. She recommended some kitchen gadgets that make it easier to follow her plan, like a vegetable steamer.
5. Weigh regularly and often so the pounds don't creep on. If you weigh once a month, you can gain more than you realize. It's easier to stop and get back on track when you weigh more often.
* * * * *
KANOE10 lost 114 pounds and has been successfully maintained her healthy weight.
She has taken responsibility for her plan and her progress.
She takes the time to plan. She does not feel deprived when she does not eat what others are eating because she looks forward to what she has planned. She creates delicious substitutes for unhealthy foods she would have eaten in the past. This is not a diet. It is healthy eating that she loves.
It can be a lonely journey. You can't let what others say get you off track. She posted a blog about Nobody Else is Doing It, about an experience at a business conference where unhealthy snacks were served at each break. She alone was not eating the cookies or soft drinks that were provided. She has made a permanent change and like how she feels and looks.
* * * * *
What have I learned?
If it's going to happen, it is up to me...not a nutritionist or a trainer or my wonderful fellow Sparkers or my family or friends. Only I can make this happen for me.
Planning has to be a higher priority. The most successful times have been when I followed a plan. I work best with flexible menus. Winging it eventually leads me away from my goals.
Be consistent every day over the long haul. Every plan needs some flexibility for special events and lifechanging circumstances, but it should not be a turning point that derails us for weeks and months and years. I have a dismal record for maintaining even small loses. Get right back on the plan that makes us look good and feel good.
As we've all said so many times, this is a lifestyle change, and not a diet. It is not deprivation. We are moving away from behavior that make us look and feel bad, and making small changes over time that make us feel good. There has to be a pay off, things that we look forward to, even small things like creating dishes that are delicious. That doesn't mean it will always be easy. We need to look for and revel in the rewards of the new lifestyle we create.