Great question, Mark. I've used this site for the support, encouragement, community and information and for the accountability of a weekly weigh in to keep me on track. I did one stint on here starting back in 2008 but fell off the wagon, so to speak, in August of 2009. I started back here in April of this year, having gained and lost some 45 of the original 79 lbs I'd originally lost in the interim.
In my life of yo-yo dieting (I started my first diet at the age of 12!) I have never reached my goal weight, whatever it was at the time (I've gradually increased it over the years but still never made it there
). I think I always knew how everyone says you have to make a lifestyle change but the words were lost on me. I was always "on a diet" or "off a diet". I started a daily exercise class a few years ago, thinking that alone would be enough to help me lose weight. Nope. But then something clicked.
I was diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure and was put on a diuretic. A couple of months later my father was told by his doctor to go for a stress test and within a few weeks he was having quintuple bypass surgery! I realized I was looking at my future. So, for the first time in my life, I started examining my "lifestyle". I started making small changes (my husband and daughter were both on board for their own health goals so that made this so much easier).
I stopped eating red meat and saturated fats
I stopped baking desserts and cookies on a regular basis. I even stopped most of my Christmas baking which had always been a hallowed tradition and, instead, would only make one special dessert for our Christmas meal or bake something to take to a party but not take any home. I realized that, if it was in the house, I'd eat it.
I found new, low fat ways to prepare meals.
I stopped eating fried, deep fried, and most processed foods. That meant no more fast food, either.
I found out I am sensitive to milk proteins (I lost 8 lbs of inflammation in one week on an elimination diet!) so I stopped eating dairy. Interesting sidebar: I read that we usually crave the things we are allergic or sensitive to and my favorite foods/weaknesses were always ice cream and cheese.
I added in meatless/vegetarian foods that I had never tried before (and found I liked them!) - lentils, veggie burgers, beans, etc.
I started eating more fish. Where I might have had fish (if canned tuna or salmon count!) once or twice a month, now I often have it 3 or 4 times (or more) a week and have tried many new types of fish and healthy ways of preparing it.
This April, just before I started back here on fatsecret, I joined a gym so I could increase my exercise intensity, frequency and duration. In the middle of May I also hired a personal trainer to help me get into a weight lifting routine. This, from a person who was never athletic and never stuck to any exercise program in her life.
Just about a month ago (if memory serves), I did something else I have never done. I got rid of my "fat clothes". I donated all of them to charity. I have no more safety net.
I stopped counting points and calories and started trusting my instincts and listening to my hunger cues, eating consciously and slowly and stopping when I'm full.
And I've started to slowly change my opinion of the scale. Most of my first year and a half of journals on here were devoted to discussing how my scale was evil! But now, little by little, I am starting to just see it as it is - a tool and nothing more. I still wrestle with the emotional impulses of my past but I am evolving, slow but sure.
I have a scared little voice in the recesses of my mind that worries about falling back into my old habits. But I suppose that's normal considering I'm 48 years old and have always battled with my weight. However, this is the first time I feel more hope than doubt that I can really do this.
I don't know if I will always continue to journal on fatsecret. But I don't have plans to stop any time soon.
IT NEVER GETS EASIER - YOU JUST GET BETTER.