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Frequently Asked Questions

I’m going to give the frequently asked questions a shot. If these trigger a thought for you, please feel free to ask. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I found what works for me, and I’m happy to share what I know and learn along the way. The process is by no means static. Just when I think I know the answers, the questions seem to change. Flexibility is vital.

How long did it take? I doubt anyone wants to hear my entire life. Now, I feel the time it took to remove the weight pales to what I learned about myself and the time it takes to keep it off. Having said that, I removed the weight in chunks. I lost 80 pounds in about eight months, but then I gained 30 back, which scared the hell out of me. I reevaluated and refocused and lost the last 50 in about six months. I endured a stagnant period of about a year and a half when I lost and gained the same five pounds. That was a frustrating time; however, I think my mind needed to acclimate to the physical transformation. My point is no matter how long it takes, it is worth the effort, handsdown!

What plan do you follow? I’ve tried so many diets over the course of my life, and I hate to break it to you, but there is no magic pill. The key is to find something that works for the individual. I began with a low-carb diet, and I experienced a great deal of success, but I couldn’t maintain that type of eating style. I lost a lot of weight in the late 80s at Weight Watchers so I went back there to lose the last chunk of weight. It is a program that works for me, and I find it beneficial to long term weight management. Regardless of the plan, it takes a lot of work and it isn’t easy, but I deserve to take care of me!

Do you have loose skin? I think many people are curious about this, but only a few ask about it. Yes, there is some fallout from losing 100 pounds; no, I haven’t had it surgically altered. Quite frankly, I fail to believe that I maintain the ability to stop surgically tweaking once the scalpel comes out! My nose might just end up on my ass! Oh, and it’s expensive! Fortunately, I hold advanced degrees in the art of camouflage and I’ve got decent skin genes. On good days, I look at the wiggly stuff as a badge of honor. On bad days, I wear turtlenecks and long pants and avoid all reflective objects!

How much do you exercise? More than I would like, less than I probably should! Activity is key, and it is one of the primary tools I use to maintain my weight. I started off very slow – seven minutes, twice a week. Why seven? I have no clue – less than ten, but more than five? By the time I got to goal, I was exercising everyday on average an hour and a half a day, which included cardio and resistance training. I’m not exercising that much now and I see the effects, emotionally and physically. Minimally, I need about 40-45 minutes of cardio five days a week. That keeps my mind balanced and allows for quite a bit of discretionary eating. I came closer to liking my body when I was working out more, but at this time in my life, I’m not willing to give up that much time. Exercise is definitely a balancing act.

Do you use a food journal? Absolutely. When I began this journey, I thought I would only need to journal until I became accustomed to a healthy lifestyle. However, I find that amnesia creeps in if I don’t track my food choices. I only accurately remember eating carrot sticks. By the time I swallow a triple-fudge brownie, I forget what it looked like, let alone how many calories it contained. A food tracker keeps me honest and accountable. It’s a small price to pay to comfortably fit in an airline seat!

How long have you been at goal? I’ve kept the weight off now for more almost three years, and it is the longest I’ve ever been at a healthy weight. It is not to say that I don’t experience fluctuations. I tend to play with about 10 pounds. One of these days I will find a more entertaining past time than lugging around a five- or 10-pound yo-yo; however, I remind myself that 10 is not greater or equal to 100. Just because my weight goes up a tad, I’m not relegated to gain it all back, plus another 50.

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