Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Believe It: You Can Lose Weight

This month, I had two people share their weight loss stories with me.  Successful stories - done the right way.  It brings home the fact that yes, you can lose weight without fancy drugs or crazy fad diets.

I hadn't seen Greg (my editor friend at the Dallas Morning News) in about a year.  We keep up via email but haven't had the opportunity to visit in person until last week.  And was I surprised.  A whole new person walked through the door - 50 pounds lighter than the last time I saw him. 

He told me about how he initially lost some weight on NutriSystem a year ago; and how it fueled his desire to keep it up but in a more realistic way.  He soon stopped dieting and began simply eating right and exercising on his own terms.  

Greg publishes my articles in the News (and is therefore forced to read them) so he laughed as he said he had begun taking my advice and following the "Susan Zeff Plan" of healthy eating - eating breakfast every day, watching portion sizes and generally living the 80/20 rule.  Another big part of his success?  Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise most days.

Now, that's dedication.  Not to mention, he feels fantastic. Awesome job, Greg.

The other success story is from the grown son of a friend.  The son doesn't want to be named - so we'll call him Bob.  Bob was at least 100 pounds overweight, living with years of unhealthy eating and non-existent exercise.  One day early last spring, Bob said he sat down to eat yet another Arby's meal when he decided on a whim to look the nutrition info up online.

He was shocked to learn what he had been eating.  I think the calories, fat, sodium and lack of nutrition staring him in the face was the push he needed to make some changes. 

Bob decided then and there to live a different life.  Especially since he has a family that depends on him.  With the help of some healthy cookbooks and trusted web sites, he started eating better, eating less, eating more homemade meals and exercising every day.  And over the last several months, he has lost half of his excess weight.  Bob feels great and his mom says he looks wonderful. 

Way to go, Bob.

I did have some advice for him, however.  Since he lost a fairly large amount of weight on his own in a short period of time, I strongly suggested that he check in with a professional (his doctor, a dietitian) at this point - get his blood work done, blood pressure monitored and other vitals checked to provide a baseline for further weight loss.  Plus, they can help track his weight loss and ensure his current plan is a healthy one.

It is refreshing to see how successful weight loss can happen with a dedicated change in lifestyle.  Something we dietitians have been preaching all along.

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