HOW PRISCILLA LOST 38 POUNDS
From dress size 14 to 6
Priscilla Smith has been attending my Beach Boot Camp group classes on Fort Lauderdale Beach for the past couple of years. She is 55 years old and did not really begin her weight-loss journey until the age of 51 and an exercise program at the age of 53. She is a court reporter and has a predominantly sedentary job. At 5'6' tall, her present weight is 130 pounds. She weighed 125 pounds in high school. Before she started her successful weight-loss program at the age of 51, Priscilla weighed 168 pounds. She has lost 38 pounds of excess weight. She went from a dress size of 14 to her present size 6. Her BMI or Body Mass Index when she weighed 168 pounds was 28.8 which classified her as overweight on the BMI scale. Her present BMI is 21 which puts her right in the middle of the healthy range. Priscilla will share in her own words how she took back control of her health and lifestyle.
Colonel Bob: What lessons have you learned on your weight-loss journey?
Priscilla: A successful weight-loss eating plan has to reduce, not increase, my hunger.
I eliminate the "wrong" foods -- sugar in all its forms (high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, and honey) and eat plant products with low sugar and high fiber -- to lose weight. Reading about physiology and diet theories was necessary for me to understand my body's reaction to different foods and to find motivation.
It's what and how much I eat, not why, how, or when I eat that determines gain or loss. Any excuse or negative attitude can become, instead, a motivation and reason to improve. "I have a slow metabolism, so I can't lose weight" becomes "I have a slow metabolism, so it's all the more important that I lose weight."
Colonel Bob: What were some of the phases of weight and eating habits you went through?
Priscilla: I was always on the normal-to-slightly-heavy side. Because traditional diets -- counting calories, or fat grams, or following the food pyramid -- were ineffective, I followed a random pattern of weight-loss and gain until I was over 40 and ready to make another life change.
Colonel Bob: What were your greatest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Priscilla: Obsessing over food planning and preparation and constant hunger made losing weight difficult. I could overcome these by selecting the right foods, by reading nutrition labels for one thing only -- grams of sugar -- and reading ingredient labels to avoid anything unpronounceable. When I switched to "caveman foods;" that is, food that was available to our ancestors, planning became simple, and the simple foods eliminated my hunger.
Colonel Bob: What keeps you on track?
Priscilla: Reading about physiology helps to motivate me. I use a fat-percentage bathroom scale. My numbers (cholesterol, etc.) are improving, so not only am I losing weight, but my tissues and organs are getting healthier and flourishing rather than deteriorating and aging, which is my real goal here.
Colonel Bob: What is your weight history starting from high school?
Priscilla: I weighed 125 pounds in high school. I was healthy. I wasn't overweight till college. The dorm had an all-you-can-eat buffet three meals a day with Southern food I wasn't exposed to as a kid. I slowly gained again. Over the years, I gained to the point of weighing 168 pounds at the age of 51. I lost 38 pounds over a period of a couple of years. My present weight is 130 pounds. That's going from a dress size of 14 to a 6.
Colonel Bob: What changes have you made in your eating habits?
Priscilla: I try to upgrade every food choice. To illustrate, I don't drink orange juice anymore (too many grams of sugar) but an occasional orange is an upgrade (more fiber). I upgrade my beverage to water or green tea without sugar.
Colonel Bob: Did you use a support system or was someone else there to support and encourage you?
Priscilla: I didn't use a support system for losing weight. I just kept from being misled by product claims, for example, and I read, read, read those books and food nutrition labels.
Colonel Bob: How do you see your health over the next five, ten and twenty years and how can you impact on your health over the long-term?
Priscilla: The next half of my life will be healthier than the first. I have increased my longevity. That means I will have more time to "get it right"! We're all running towards a cliff; by losing weight, I've slowed down my pace.
Colonel Bob: Have you or do you have set-backs and how do you or have you overcome them?
Priscilla: Traveling, holidays, and other upsets of the daily routine set me back sometimes. I compensate by devoting more to my exercise regimen or adding a challenging wrinkle to it. That gets me back on track more quickly. I use self-talk. When offered or facing a bad food choice, I say aloud or to myself, "I don't eat those anymore."