Weight Loss Update

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you have read my updates on my progress with losing weight. I have been battling obesity most of my life and for the first time since I was a young child, I am longer classified medically as obese. Some have said that I talk about weight loss and exercise too much and if I do, I apologize. Please know that after being obese for much of my life, to have accomplished what is now an 85 pounds weight loss has been life changing.

My intent in writing this blog entry is not to highlight what I have accomplished but to respond to many questions I have received. When I meet people for the first time and they find out of my weight loss or I see people I havent seen in some time and they are shocked at the difference in appearance, the first thing I get asked isHow did you do it? The funny part is some have hinted that I may have had weight loss surgery. I take it as a huge compliment for people to think that I accomplished this through surgery, I am happy to report that I accomplished weight loss 100% naturally.

Let me start by saying why I decided to begin this journey. I was 35 years old at the time and I had just visited Walt Disney World in April 2012. Those of you who follow this site or me on social media, you know I geek out about Disney, Star Wars, and science fiction. Even though I attended conventions and vacationed many times in Disney World, I would avoid having myself in photographs as I didnt like how I looked. Instead of dealing with it, I avoided the problem and just avoided looking at myself. Well during my Disney World vacation in April 2012, I attended a character meal at Chef Mickeys in the Contemporary Resort. At this character meal, you are visited at your table by Mickey & Minne Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto. Even though I hated having my picture taken, I couldnt go through this meal without having mypicture with the characters. When I got back to the room that night and saw my pictures with the characters, I was horrified! I couldnt believe I was that big. I also recall feeling fatigued on the trip and I knew it was because I was tired from walking around carrying that amount of weight.

When I got back from vacation, I tried a weight loss program whose name I will not mention. The one time I had lost weight during my adult life was in 2005 when I had subscribed to one of those program where you bought your food and had it delivered to your house. You then ate what they sent you along with things that you bought from a list of foods. It was a pretty strict diet but I did lose 30 pounds in 2005. Shortly after I lost the weight and transitioned back toreal foodI gained most of it back. For some reason I thought I would try this diet again. After being on it a whole month and feeling miserable, I had lost a grand total of 2 pounds! That just wasnt worth the unhappiness I was experiencing. I knew I needed a better option.

The first weekend of June 2012 I decided to attend a Weight Watchers meeting that was held nearby. A few years prior I had done the Weight Watchers online program and I liked the program but I found that I could easily cheat and not feel any accountability. I decided that I wanted to do the program again but I wanted to go to the meetings since going to the meetings would hold me accountable as I knew each week I would step on the scale. While this was the reason I decided to join, I got a whole lot more out of going to Weight Watchers.

At the meetings, I had a leader who taught my the essentials of the program and provided support. I also met others who were going through the same struggles and shared their successes and challenges. Being with others who were going through the same thing was great in that we shared tips and success stories. In addition to following the Weight Watchers program, I also added exercise to my routine by going to the gym several times a week doing a mixture of cardio and light weight training.

Now, two years later I have achieved a weight loss of 85 pounds and I really appreciate the support I have received. I am far from achieving my own personal goals. When I started out I was 290 pounds and now I am hovering between 205 - 210 and went from a size 3XL shirt to a size XL. In response to my weight loss, I have been asked for some tips on how I did it and this is my response:

1) Involve your physician in your weight loss: You hear it all the time about how you should consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program and they are correct. I spoke to my doctor about what my plans were and what realistic goals were. During the process I had my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, etc monitored so that my success was not only about the size of my clothing or the number on the scale but also about my overall health.

2) Don’t diet: Diets don’t work. The term“diet”makes it sound as if you are going to change what you eat for a short time to lose weight and then go back to the way you were eating before. This does not work and is a slippery slope. As I have heard many times, we didn’t gain weight eating too many fruits and vegetables! Sustained, long-term weight loss involves a lifestyle change. That is not to say that you can’t have good, fun food but you can’t eat cheeseburgers every day and expect to lose weight. It all comes down to moderation but following the dietary guidelines. Make sure you are eating the daily recommended daily allowance of each food group. That will ensure sustained healthy body weight.

3) Don’t forget about activity / exercise. This is key…it can’t be done by adjusting your eating habits alone. Healthy activity is also very important. For me personally, I enjoy going to a gym and doing some form of cardio activities (bike or treadmill) and weight lifting. For others, it might be taking walks, riding bike, etc. Again, I must say you should consult a professional to make sure you are performing exercise in the correct fashion. Fortunately, for me I have a degree in occupational therapy and have had schooling in anatomy, physiology and kinisiology which helped.

4) Don’tget frustrated: None of us gained weight over night and therefore you aren’t going to lose it over night either. Healthy weight loss is a gradual process. Plateaus will also happen. I was very frustrated when I hit my first major plateau which happened when I reached 50 pounds lost. For several weeks when I weighed in I was exactly the same down to the tenth of a pound. It took my Weight Watchers leader to make me realize that our bodies need time to adjust. At that point I had lost 50 pounds and my body needed time to adjust to itself in its new form. After some time the pounds starting coming off again. Also don’t get frustrated if some weeks you show a gain. That is also normal. Your body is going to make adjustments such as water retention, etc. Don’t worry and don’t give up.

5) Surround yourself with people who are going to support you. With any venture there are going to be those that support you and those that are road blocks, whether its intentional or not. When I started this process I was very vocal about it and every week when I weighed in, I posted my progress on social media sites. The amount of support that I received was amazing. I was surprised by the people who stepped forward to support me at times and I honestly was surprised by those that, to this date, have not acknowledged I even lost a pound. Dont get frustrated with those who dont support you and instead focus on those who do. Fortunately for me the number who support me is far greater than those that dont. But you will still get those that say things likeyou dont want to get too skinnyorjust one bite wont hurt.

In conclusion, I have to say that by no means am I an expert at weight loss nor am I endorsed by any product or service that I mentioned above. I am simply sharing what has been successful for me and I wish you the best of luck and success!