I’ve lost almost 100 pounds. It’s taken about two years. That sounds like a long time. But don’t let that daunt you, fellow dieters. It took me longer because I didn’t “crash” diet. Also, I lost weight faster the longer I stuck with it. Ergo, I learned to diet effectively. Losing weight meant changing several things. Here’s how.
Change your mind. I was average weight through four pregnancies. Then I lost two stillborn babies, and started the anti-depressant Paxil. From occasional depressive bouts, I had constant crippling anxiety and depression. I have chronic low self-esteem. Those emotional struggles made me not care about my health or weight. I’d overwork and run myself into the ground. I started a 12-step program to heal depression and self-esteem. I’m learning to like myself and accept that I’m worth the effort it takes to be healthy.
Change your approach. I started Paxil in 2003 at normal weight. I quit in 2010 100 pounds heavier. I found, too late, that Paxil is notorious for packing on pounds says Mayo Clinic. I wish my doctor had warned me. Getting fat certainly didn’t help depression. I now treat it with diet, yoga, mental health exercises and herbal supplements (St John’s Wort, Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba).
Change your attitude. I wasn’t a binge or comfort eater, but I did have flawed food perspectives. I’d reward myself with ice cream and candy. Granted, food has positive associations. But it shouldn’t control or motivate. It’s primarily for sustenance. As such, unhealthy–salty, sugary, fatty, artificial or processed–food isn’t a treat. It’s harmful. I’ve revamped perspective to see healthy food–protein, vegetables, fiber–as the real treats. I still enjoy the occasional indulgence but only in strictly limited amounts. I no longer crave it.
Change your setting. The nature of my work means I frequently eat alone. That’s not as healthy as social eating. It also means I can eat as much as I want and no one knows. I’d eat in my room late at night after everyone was in bed. I wasn’t hiding it–that was the only time I could relax and enjoy eating, being so busy. But before-bed eating tends to be snacky–chips, cheese, cookies, wine. Being tired, I wasn’t careful about how much I ate. And wine makes me hungry. I now arrange my schedule to eat more with other people. I still eat at the computer, because I work at home. But with calorie counting and portion control, I don’t over-indulge. I eat healthier bedtime snacks (baby carrots, Greek yogurt).
Change your habits. With healthier self-image, medical approach and food logic and happier social settings I now feel strong enough to face diet changes: dropping to 1,200 daily calories, halving portions. stop eating before feeling full (allow food to hit the stomach). I also quit working all the time.
If you work the diet plan, your body will reward you.