April 2013

Medical Section: A Weight Loss Journey

Author: Jim Hines

It is no secret to any of us that making a commitment to changing eating habits and activity levels are the keys to long-term success with weight management. Also, many of us have read the articles that talk about “changing your relationship with food.” That all sounds great, but what does it really mean and how do you accomplish it?

Let’s hear from someone who has experienced the journey of both losing weight, as well as making the changes that transformed her life:

Hi, my name is Michelle and I live on Hilton Head Island. I am 42 years old; I am blessed with an amazing family that includes my wonderful husband and two young children. Like many others, the combination of family and work left me with less time for myself. After a number of years of “leaving myself behind,” I reached the point that I was no longer happy with the health aspect of my weight.

I had tried weight-loss programs before and had some success, but I realized that if I was ever going to keep my weight off, I needed to find a program that would both help me lose weight and help me change my long-term eating habits. After research and conversations with other people, I chose a plan that others had found successful for many reasons, but, most importantly to me it promoted healthy foods and education about how to make intelligent food choices for life.

I was thrilled with my weight loss results (over 40 pounds in 10 weeks, including the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays), but as important was what I learned while losing the weight. I learned how to enjoy life without everything revolving around food. Our family spent more time together, outside and active. We ice skated, we went shopping and we did not just sit around the house. Was it always easy? No, it was not always easy, but they were choices that I wanted to make.

The emphasis the program placed on eating the right foods benefited my entire family. My decisions about food choices provided them with the right examples about how they should eat.

Also, while on this program, I experienced the re-training of my thought process about whether I was actually hungry, or whether I just wanted to eat what I saw. It was hard at first to learn the difference between craving and hunger. I learned that when I looked at food that I wanted to ask myself, “If I ate an apple right now, would I be satisfied?” If the answer was yes, then I knew I was hungry and I would go eat an apple. If the answer was no, then I knew it was craving, so then I would ask myself if putting that food (like cheesecake/pizza/cheeseburgers) into my body was worth taking away from the success I had experienced. It took only a few weeks for that answer to come immediately. No it was not!

A critical part of the success that I experienced on the program I chose was that it included supporting me after I lost my weight. It was not a situation where when I reached my weight loss goal I was now on my own. They were there to help me learn how to make better decisions. I learned things like how to plan so that I could enjoy good food as part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, if there was an event coming up that I wanted to attend and reward myself with some indulgence that it was okay, but to plan for it by eating healthy and making the effort to increase my activity level in the time surrounding the event.

You must be committed to making a change in your life for any program to work. The concept of weight loss you need to understand is “that the secret to weight loss is that there is no secret”. You need to put less in and take more out. It is not necessarily easy to do that, but if you are committed to making a change in your life you can do it. Find a program that promotes healthy eating—lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, while getting rid of the sugars, bad carbs and high fat proteins. With the right support, you can both lose weight and change your life like I have!

Jim Hines is the owner of Equilibrium Weight Loss and Longevity in Bluffton, S.C. Find Equilibrium Weight Loss at 29 Plantation Park Drive, Suite 501, Bluffton, SC or contact them at 843.588.5576 or www.hhihcg.com.

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