Sunday, July 31, 2011

When I finally made the commitment

As I mentioned before, I tried Biggest Loser style weight loss competitions and Weight Watchers.

The competitions never really went all that well. And I did ok on Weight Watchers, but I don't think I really learned anything that was helpful or useful in everyday eating. I would lose a couple pounds and plateau too early, and then never really get on track.

Last fall the opportunity arose in my office building to take part in a study being conducted by Tufts Medical School to see the effectiveness of The Instinct (or "I") Diet, particularly when they implement the diet along with a group program within the workplace. My workplace happened to be chosen as the control group, meaning that we would receive a 2 month "intervention" program rather than a six month.

So in the spring I started the "I Diet." I committed myself to two months of strictly following the "I Diet" and attending weekly group meetings to talk about my progress and recessions. I didn't put much stock in the program but figured it I was going to do it, I might as well fully commit.

Why was I able to commit to this and not to other programs? Simply put, as I get older and watch my family get older, I am beginning to understand the importance of living a healthier lifestyle; and eating well is a major part of that.

The diet itself gateway into learning how to control your hunger and learning appropriate portion sizes. And the group sessions, held 1 hour per week during lunch time, were really helpful because they gave me a sense of accountability. I reported back each week about how I'd done, and what challenges I faced, and what recipes I tried.

Going out was the hardest thing part for me since the vast majority of my social life is based around eating and drinking. But at the end of the two months I had lose about 12 pounds, bringing me back to what I weighed at the end of college.

I started eating breakfast regularly (usually FiberOne cereal with some granola and fruit), and added two snacks a day into my schedule (nuts, fruit, string cheese, cut-up veggies). I also became more conscious of my portion sizes; not that I ever ate obscene portions but I never ate enough vegetables before.

Now that the program is over, I have made it a goal to maintain my weight over the summer. I know I will be out and about a lot, and have a ton of commitments so rather than stressing about losing weight during it all, I figure it was better to be happy about maintaining. This is something I learned through the "I Diet" and is something I struggle to keep in mind: there is no "cheating" or "falling off the wagon," if I eat something that isn't part of my plan there's no feeling guilty, I just enjoy it and get back on track. One thing I always hated was feeling guilty for enjoying my food; and this diet allowed me to not feel guilty.

So half way through the summer, I have succeeded in maintaining my weight. And continued to be conscious of my portion sizes and what I am eating or drinking when. I still eat breakfast most morning, I choose water over soda, fill half my plate with vegetables, and eat at home (or bring my lunch to work) as often as possible. It's still a challenge. And will probably continue to be; but I'm doing it. And eventually it will just be my way of life.

I'm getting there. One day at a time.

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