My goal weight changes sometimes, but it usually hoovers between 132 and 137. I’m 5′ 7″ tall, and for a significant portion of my life I’ve had issues with my weight, especially after having each of my three children. The last time I weighed myself (yesterday), I weighed 139. I haven’t seen anything in the 130s on my scale since my early twenties. Now, I’m going to share with you what has worked for me. I hope what I’ve learned can work for you too.
Here’s a picture of me in July 2008. Yikes! It’s funny but at the time I didn’t think I was that overweight. It’s funny how looking back at old pictures makes me realize how overweight I actually was.
Here I am in January 2012 two pounds away from 137.
The main reason I began this best way to lose weight blog in May 2011 was to post articles with academic and credible research that would help me and others lose weight. In the past several months, I’ve learned a lot about obesity and overweight. I’ve read about a lot of studies, and I’ve read a lot of research.
Throughout my life and like many people, I’ve tried just about every diet there is and none worked for me permanently. After I lost a few pounds and went off the diet, the weight just seemed to come right back faster than I lost it. Through research, I learned about 95 percent of dieters gain back the weight they lost. These are not good odds.
A few years ago, I decided I had to find a food plan that would help me lose weight and keep it off, so I decided to become a vegetarian. I still ate cheese, eggs and fish. I just avoided any types of land animals. I also avoided sugar and white flour foods.
Amazingly, a vegetarian diet worked for me. I started losing weight and keeping it off. I didn’t do it perfectly. I would have meat once in a while, but for the most part, I was a vegetarian and it was working. The nice part about becoming a vegetarian was it worked well enough for me and I enjoyed the diet enough that I knew I could stick to it permanently.
Here’s a picture of me taken a few months ago after following a vegetarian diet for a few years.
As you can see, I’m about 30 to 35 pounds lighter than I was in 2008 just by changing to a vegetarian diet. I’ve read research too that states vegetarians tend to be thinner than meat eaters.
The Last Ten pounds
A few months ago, I saw a documentary film called Forks Over Knives. The documentary was so compelling and the research presented was so inspiring that I decided to try the Forks Over Knives diet, which is basically a whole foods plant based diet or vegan diet. The diet worked amazing well. It was hard for the first few days giving up yogurt and cheese, but I finally started to make a dent in the last ten to fifteen pounds I had been trying to lose for months. I actually lost five pounds during the first week following a vegan diet.
Now, I eat a vegan diet about 99 percent of the time. My downfall is milk chocolate, so one or two times a month I’ll eat some. I don’t think it’s a good idea to follow a diet perfectly. It would just set me up for failure. On days I go overboard, I just make sure to make it up on the following day or days by really sticking closely to my diet and exercising a little more. Most days my diet consists of fruits, vegetables, hummus, legumes, a few nuts and a few whole grains. The best part about following a vegan diet is I can pretty much eat as many of these vegan foods as I want and still lose weight. It’s very liberating.
The only other diet that worked for me the longest was Weight Watchers, but I like the freedom of not tracking what and how much I eat every day. There is, however, a lot of research that suggests keeping a food diary practically guarantees weight loss, and that probably works for many people who eat from a more abundant choice of foods.
Following a vegan diet also requires taking additional supplements like omega-3s and vitamin B12. There are plant-based omega-3s available. It’s also important to check with a doctor first before starting any diet. My doctor told me if a vegan diet is working go ahead and do it. Just be sure to take supplements.
I don’t advocate a vegan lifestyle for everyone because everyone is different. I do, however, believe it’s important for people who want to lose weight to keep trying different food plans until they find one that works and find one they can stay on permanently.
Regular exercise is also important. Most days I get on my Bowflex. I also lift weights a few times a week.
National Weight Control Registry
The best weight loss research I found while working on this weight loss blog is the information from the National Weight Control Registry. It’s the only organization that tracks real-life people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept that weight off for a significant amount of time. In other words, their statistics for successful weight loss are not based on controlled studies like most weight loss articles. Check the site out and see what works for most people. I’ve also written quite a few articles on this blog that mention their statistics. Here are a few of my favorites:
Weight Loss Tips
Here are some additional weight loss tips that work for me:
I drink mostly water. I avoid diet drinks. Some research shows it makes people gain weight, especially around their stomachs. That’s enough to scare me away. I typically drink sparkling water like Pellegrino and Perrier along with regular water. I also go easy on coffee and only drink decaf. To read about the research behind diet soda and weight gain, check out the article Diet Soda Weight Gain.
I weigh myself often and track it. I weigh myself about every other day, and I note my weight on my computer’s calendar. I can see a downward trend over time.
I found a weight loss hobby. I really started making progress losing weight when I started this blog last May. There are a lot of ways for you to get involved with weight loss. Start your own blog. Read books from the library about weight loss. Join a weekly support group. Join an exercise group. Start a collection a motivational quotes for weight loss and add to your list regularly. Read it often.
I avoid television. People who watch more than a few hours of television weigh more than those who don’t, according to the National Weight Control Registry. I loathe television, so that’s not a problem for me. I’d rather spend my time writing, exercising, researching or reading a good book.
I exercise regularly. You’ll lose more weight and keep it off longer if you exercise regularly, say health experts. Exercise will also help you feel better emotionally. Most people who report to the National Weight Control Registry say walking is their number one way to exercise. Many walkers use an iPod and listen to music or books or something.
Do you have any weight loss tips you’d like to share? Please feel free to comment on this post about my weight loss story or your weight loss story. What works for you? What doesn’t work for you?
I hope 2012 brings you a lot of weight loss success.
Here’s two of my favorite pics taken last month with my grandson at the park. It was nice to have the energy to keep up with him and be able to fit on the slide.