Editor’s Note: Recently one of our readers, Lena, shared with me how she lost 23 pounds over the last three months.
In her own words here’s Lena’s story:
About 15 years ago I started having lung issues, and my doctors put me on steroids. That’s also when I started gaining weight. From that time until this past spring I went on countless diets and lost weight only to gain it back and then some.
This past spring the hospital where I work offered Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight? as part of their wellness program. Since I was now 87 pounds heavier and my lung problems were beginning to affect my heart, I decided to sign up for it.
What I really like about the course is all the support and inspiration it gives. Having people share their stories, trials and triumphs is something that really helps me push through when I’m struggling. My family and friends also help a lot, cheering me on.
What I found particularly helpful was the explanation about fiber and water. How they help people lose weight and stay full longer. I also like that I can have my pizza and eat it too. All I have to do is power up with high fiber vegetables, beans and fruits. By eating these foods I can still enjoy the pizza, but I don’t need as much to be satisfied.
Over the last 3 months I have lost 23 pounds. I’m not really concerned about how long it takes. It took years to put it on so I expect it to take a while to come off.
Here’s what I do at work
At work my desk is next door to the vending machines. In the past, if I wanted a snack, I would go there and buy something, convincing myself that the snack was healthy: low fat, low calorie, baked (not fried) - the list went on and on. And my weight went up and up. Now I:
- Eat breakfast at home
- Keep a glass of ice water at my desk and in my car
- Bring finger foods from home to munch on, like baby carrots, grapes, sliced apples, Cuties clementine oranges, and bananas
These are just as satisfying and it mollifies the hand to mouth cravings. Most of my snacking is more habit than hunger. It is the movement, the chewing, reaching for another one. I learned that when I stopped smoking years ago. I substituted carrots and toothpicks for cigarettes. I kept pencils around to put between my fingers. It’s the same concept, only with food.
Here’s what I do at home
At home I power up every meal. I still get to have the same foods I had before, but I find I don’t want them as much. Before I go out to a restaurant I eat an apple, which helps me not eat as much. I do the same thing before I go shopping.
I can lose weight without feeling deprived or cheated
This course didn’t just help me lose weight - it taught me how and what to eat so I can feel full and satisfied without feeling deprived or cheated. It also taught me that if I hit a snag or fall off the food wagon, I can just start back immediately and keep going. I’m not a failure; just human.
I really like the fact that there are so many foods I can eat on this program. The fact that I was encouraged to have beans, nuts, avocados, oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads made this plan doable.
Now I eat like royalty
Before taking this course, food was just something to eat so I could move on to the next thing on my list. There were times I couldn’t even remember what I ate. But now I love experimenting with Superfoods.
One night I sautéed yellow squash, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, chopped kale and broccoli and let it simmer for awhile. I used a non-stick pan and cooked fresh asparagus, squirting lemon on top. When it was done I served it with salmon that was baked in the oven, covered in oranges and slivered almonds, with a bowl of mixed fresh fruit.
I felt special, like I was dining at a five star restaurant. I savored each bite and enjoyed the tastes, the smells and textures.
How I dealt with my challenges
One of my biggest challenges was cutting back on the salt. I’m a salt nut. I love chips, fries, baked potatoes with skins smothered in sea salt. So what I did was stopped cooking with salt and substituted with other herbs. I switched to baked yams and bought roasted, unsalted cashews. I stopped eating fast food and saved my dinners out for better restaurants so I could power up meals by substituting.
Two other big changes I’ve made are switching from soda to water and from milk shakes to banana shakes. For the banana shakes I use my Ninja, filling it halfway with ice, ½ cup of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and a large banana. That is about 150 calories compared to nearly a thousand calories for the shakes I use to drink.
Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight? makes it automatic
My goal is to get down to 130 pounds. I have already dropped several sizes in clothes. I wore a 16-18 in pants and now wear a size 12.
Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight? is not so much about dieting as it is about making changes and substitutions in your diet, gently increasing your activity levels, and feeling satisfied and full. The loss of weight is just an added plus to all you learn in the class. Believe me, I have tried several programs and they last about as long as the classes you attend. Then you go back to your old ways. I have gotten so good at this that I don’t even have to think about it anymore. It’s automatic.
Thanks Lena for sharing your story with us!
If you’re enjoying success on the Full Plate Diet and would like to share your story with others, email me at [email protected]