Weight loss: A personal journey – Part 1

Losing weight successfully means learning new ways to eat, be active and manage your own life.

Have you ever been on a diet, or ever tried to lose weight? If you are like most American adults over 20, you may have tried to shed some extra pounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control as of 2011, the percent of adults over age 20 who are overweight or obese is 69 percent. In Michigan the rate is 65 percent. I count myself in those statistics. I hesitated to write about this topic, because I am not a nutritionist, or a medical professional. I am, however, an expert in this area because I have spent the last 30 or more years “dieting.”

Recently, I have begun yet another journey along the weight loss trail. So far, a successful trip, although I have a long road ahead of me. I decided this time to learn as much as I can, more than just nutrition and physical activity. I know what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to eat from the My Plate food guide pyramid. I know how much physical activity I should be getting, 30 to 60 minutes a day. I know where to go for information. This time I am focusing on my thoughts and feelings along the journey.

Here are some discoveries I would like to share that have helped me navigate this rocky road.

Challenge the truths (or lies) you tell yourself now to justify eating unhealthy, over eating or not exercising. Make a list of your own discoveries along the way. Here are a few of mine:

  • I will not die if I go to bed hungry. Proof – I am still here.
  • A salad is healthy; a bucket of dressing makes it not so healthy.
  • Not eating the cake a co-worker brings in does not make me a bad person.
  • I can exercise after I eat. I won’t get a cramp and drown on my after dinner walk.

Surround yourself with people who are supportive. This might be different than the people you normally go to for support in other areas of your life. So, it may not be your best friend who ladles on the chocolate or pours on the wine, or your mom, who is an awesome baker. Join a support group of others who are working toward healthy living, or form a small one yourself. Everyone needs a cheering section.

Learn to be your own best friend. I have found my best supporter is me! This has helped me cope with some well-meaning or not so well-meaning comments from friends and family. My opinion always counts the most, and I am my best cheerleader.

No matter where you are on your health journey, it is a very personal one. You decide when you start, stop or slow down. One thing you can do is have a good map. Find out as much information as you can before you begin and along the way. Another good site for finding reliable information regarding nutrition and health is to visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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