By: Mary Pat Baldauf
I recently saw someone that I haven’t seen since I started losing weight. He isn’t someone I’m in touch with via Facebook or Twitter – usually just monthly conference calls – so he didn’t know that I’d adopted a healthier lifestyle and lost 85 lbs. After he recovered from the shock of seeing me, he wanted to know more. After my usual answer – gave up fast/processed food and started working out – I gave him the address of my blog, which follows my journey from start to present.
It turns out that he has an overweight sister, and he continued to ask questions so he could share my story with her. I’m not shy, and I love to talk about what I’ve been able to do in hopes of helping others. Beyond the basics, though, I sometimes find it hard to explain exactly how I was able to succeed this time, when I’ve failed so many other times.
If I’m going to change the world by educating others, I certainly need to blog beyond the easy stuff – recipes, status updates, non-scale victories, so I tried to figure out what was unique this time:
- My grandmother had just passed away, and I was particularly sensitive about aging issues. I’ve said it before, but while Grandma had children and grandchildren to care for her, I may very well be on my own. I decided that I needed to take proactive steps to improve my health; it’s hard enough aging without the extra weight and its complications working against you.
- Because my employer – the City of Columbia – was picking up the tab for the first twelve weeks of the program at Doctors Wellness Center, I felt obligated to succeed. Quite simply, failure was not an option, at least not while they were footing the bill.
- Unlike any other diet or plan I’ve tried, this has been a true lifestyle change. It’s not rocket science, folks. I’m simply eating healthier foods and moving a lot more. I’m not counting points, eating wacky food combinations, taking supplements or going under the knife. I’ve cut back on a lot of foods, but I haven’t totally given up any one food forever. I also have a sense of this being a lifetime commitment, not just something to do until bathing suit season or a high school reunion.
- The support of I’ve received – including the staff of Doctors Wellness Center and fellow City employees – has been incredible. Weekly appointments with Traci, my nutrition counselor, have not only helped me remain accountable, they’ve also helped me learn to anticipate and overcome obstacles. Regular workouts with a trainer have ensured that I progress according to my ability and incorporate exercise into my every day life.
While it doesn’t sound complicated, and overall has been a somewhat painless process, it hasn’t always been easy. Along the way, there have been aches and pains, moments of frustration, even anger. Next time, I’ll talk about the one thing that really got me through: preparation.