Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weight loss is a family effort

I’ve battled with my weight most of my life. Nineteen months ago, I began a weight loss program that is offered to Texas Health Resources employees for free.  And as of last week, I’ve lost a total of 126 pounds.

I’m still not at goal, but what a journey this has been.  Many people ask me what was different this time? What has made me stick with this program? Where do I get the will power? I came up with three reasons I believe have helped me along: my husband, portion control, and journaling.

My husband has been unbelievably supportive and has learned to cook for me the nights I work 12 hours to keep me on plan. Even my girls have kept me on the plan by measuring and writing down what I need to know from food labels. It’s become a family effort to stay on plan. Some of you may say, “that’s too much work”, but isn’t being healthy worth it? I say it is!

While the portion control and journaling are encouraged and supported by the program, my husband was a bonus. He was determined to support me in my weight loss efforts. In the beginning, he joined an Internet weight loss program that had him counting and journaling with me.  Over the first three to four months he lost 25 pounds. Then he continued on to maintain his loss and still counts and journals every day.  What a supportive force he has been for me! I’m blessed to have him in my life.

I have also become avid at transforming “family favorites” so that I can enjoy them with my family. I decided at the beginning I would not cook separate meals just so I could stay on track. Baked ziti, chicken spaghetti, taco soup, and macaroni and cheese…just to name a few. Building these recipes “lighter” and healthier allows me to eat with my family. One rule I started was one serving accompanied by a salad and/or veggies to go with the meal. This helps me feel full.

Simple science says eat too many calories and they add up so you gain weight.  How do you control this and still eat what you want? Portion control is the answer. I have dedicated myself to planning and measuring my food. This allows me to eat what I want and sometimes crave. There’s no guessing or “eyeballing” unless it’s all I can do. But even with eating out, I take measuring cups and/or spoons with me if I need to! This is imperative as portions in restaurants are double to triple the recommended amounts, meaning you could blow a whole day with one meal.

I don’t think there’s been a day since I started that I haven’t “journaled” my food. I downloaded the plan’s phone app and what a bonus that was. I always have my phone with me so it’s easy to keep up. Writing down what you eat keeps you honest and allows you to plan your meals and even some treats! I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s become second nature for me.

Losing weight can be done with a supportive spouse, controlling your portions, and writing down everything you eat. Easy huh? I’ve been on so many diets and weight loss plans over the years. This time I was determined to work the plan to MY advantage and figure out what works for me.

Teri Rutherford, BSN, RNC, LRN, is supervisor in the newborn nursery at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and a Mom to 15-year-old and 16-year-old girls.

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