It's a whole new life now that 172 pounds is no longer a part of who I am.  I shake my head in amazement that I lost over half of myself in the process. It's a miracle and a dream come true.

There are some of the lessons I've learned along the way:

  • Hunger is temporary. The first week on a new eating plan to lose weight is the worst for hunger in my experience.  If you can just get past the first few days, the hunger basically resolves itself and for the most part goes away. Hunger used to feel like a problem that could only be solved with food. Hunger will go away if I eat, but it will also go away if I drink more fluids or even wait a few minutes and do nothing. The last ten pounds brought more issues with hunger, but was worth it.
  • Reinventing yourself and your lifestyle is key  Take a look at your life and see what needs to change to have success.  For me, one of the things I let go of was preparing meals for my family and accommodating food they like, but I couldn't eat.  My kids are 12 and 15, perfectly able to prepare their own food. If they don't want what I'm cooking that will also work for me, they're on their own.
  • Let Go of Toxic People  Identify who is toxic in your life and start setting boundaries.  This may mean you limit contact with friends who are your eating buddies or a family member sabotaging your choices.  Maybe there is someone who is undermining your joy because they are so miserable and negative that you need to cut  ties. Yes, you'll find out who your friends are.  If they don't support you, let it go and let them go.  I did lose a friendship over losing weight.  I wish that person well and am thankful for the new friendships that have now developed.  Letting go of someone toxic may be a process, where issues are confronted and if not resolved, you'll have to choose what is most important.
  • Stay busy  If it wasn't for keeping busy, this process would have been so much harder.  Fill up your schedule and you won't think about food nearly as often.
  • Figure out whats eating you  Emotional eating can be such a struggle. Maybe it's time to take a look at how issues are triggering you to self medicate with food.  How can you find a new way to cope?  I've found a direct connecting between dealing with a problem head on and finding the strength to say no to food.
  • Find your "go-to" foods  Everyone has a healthy food item that seems to hit the spot.  For me, it's Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Peppers.  I eat them daily like an apple.  Discover what your "go-to" food is to help you stay on track.
  • Avoid red-light foods, even if they're approved on your eating plan  If there is something that just makes you want to eat more, avoid it or find a way to regulate it. I had my family hide peanut butter because I craved it in the worst way!  Certain breads are tempting too, so I keep them in the freezer, which helps to stop me from reaching in and eating a slice.
  • Realize that you are worth it  This is something I still have to remind myself of daily.  I'd buy ice cream for my kids, and then have second thoughts about spending the same amount of money on flavored water for myself.  I am worth spending money on healthier foods and what I need to equip myself for success.
  • Set your next goal  After three weeks now maintaining my weight, I'm giving myself one more week to maintain and then look at how to improve my body once again.  I'm booking an appointment with a surgeon to find out about skin removal. (probably 15 pounds worth) and how to tone before surgery to get the best effect.

The weight loss is a gift I've given to myself.  I visualize it as a package wrapped beautifully with ribbon and a bow.  It is not only something I treasure but it is something to protect and defend.  When I'm making food decisions, sometimes I visualize the box and ribbon in my mind's eye and ask myself if what I'm going to eat is worth losing the gift.

Whether you're looking to lose a few pounds or you feel like you're trapped in your own body with much to lose, there is hope.  You are so worth worth it.  The Benefits you will discover are greater than you can ever imagine!