Balanced Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss
Cindy explained her struggle in her own words: I wanted to lose weight—no, I needed to. Since quitting smoking, I had slowly packed on pounds, until at 5’3” I was pushing 200 pounds. I felt miserable, had a terrible self-image, and was plagued by headaches and stomach pain. My eating habits did not help me handle the challenges and problems I was facing. One day I made some decisions that not only helped me lose 75 pounds but also brought healing to my thinking and attitude about life. My headaches and stomach pain also disappeared!
I went from wanting to lose weight to winning my battle of the bulge.
- I saw my need and potential as they really were. Knowing I had a problem was one thing—discovering that God had a purpose for my life gave me hope and helped me address my depression as well as my diet. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (RSV)
- I chose to believe I could change. I stopped listening to the negative “failure-based” messages I had rehearsed for years. I stopped making excuses and feeling sorry for myself.
- I learned to daily accept responsibility. I daily rehearsed new positive choices instead of giving up over mistakes I made along the way. This was a crucial step!
- I accepted the support I needed to persist in my decision. I joined a walking/jogging club with other positive-minded people. My husband, Brian, was a tremendous support, and he lost 45 pounds himself! Daily exercise became as important to me as improving my diet.
- I chose to do more than think and feel right about my decision: I chose to act right about my decision every day. I learned how to choose healthful, high-fiber fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and stopped buying impulse “comfort” foods (See Five Shopping Secrets below).
- I chose faith in God to activate my decision. Putting my trust in God gave me the faith and power to push through obstacles and learn practical new habits over time. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)
- I learned to see tomorrow’s reward in today’s discipline. There is a price to pay for good health tomorrow, and that is smart decisions today. The headaches are gone, and I feel so good now—plus I have gone from a size 18 to a size 8! Every good choice today yields a gift tomorrow. Now that’s something to look forward to!
Five Shopping Secrets for Successful Weight Loss
- Plan ahead. Keep your kitchen stocked with easy “grab and go” foods like pears, apples, plums, bananas, grapes, walnuts, whole grain bread, hummus, and “made-ahead” raw veggie salads with low-fat dressing on the side. Keep frozen veggies, cole slaw mix, and frozen stir fry mix handy for a quick meal with instant brown rice.
- Go veggie! A 12 ounce prime rib steak is 1,445 calories and high in saturated fat and cholesterol. A large cheeseburger, fries, and soda is 1,680 calories. Vegetable sources of protein such as beans, legumes, tofu, and whole grains provide dietary fiber, healthful fats, zero cholesterol, and are higher in “fill-up” value and balanced nutrition. One cup of cooked black beans is only 241 calories and has 16 grams of fiber; 1 cup of asparagus is 44 calories and has 4 grams of fiber. Vegetarian entrees and burgers, whole grain pastas, brown rice, and potatoes round out a meal without rounding out your waist!
- Beware of bottles, bags, and bars.[i] Ditch the drinks! Just one 12-ounce bottle of soda a day can pack on 15 pounds and 75 cups of sugar in one year. Sweet drinks are the major source of added sugar in the diet.[ii] Freshen up with water Instead of sweetened drinks. A 4-ounce bag of potato chips is 608 calories; a 4-ounce baked potato is only 82 calories. A 2-ounce chocolate bar is 245 calories which is the same calorie content as 3.2 pounds of leaf lettuce!
- Move from calorie “dense” to calorie “sense.” Calorie-dense refined foods contain very little moisture, nutrition, or fiber and are high in fat and sugar. They pack on pounds but do not satisfy. Foods high in dietary fiber are winners when it comes to appetite control and weight loss. One low fat cookie is 60 calories, but one-half of a small cantaloupe is just 30 calories! A piece of apple pie is 540 calories, while a medium apple is just 95 calories.
- Avoid common calorie control errors. Go for baked and grilled menu choices instead of fried foods. Try pizza topped with colorful veggies and no cheese or meat. All-you-can-eat buffets can do you in! Avoid too much variety. Low-fat options include salads topped with raw veggies; vegetarian beans and vegetables; brown rice, and fresh fruit. Enjoy bountiful whole grain cereals like oatmeal for breakfast with fruit and nuts.
The Living Word
Cindy won her battle of the bulge. God knew Cindy’s need and helped her tap into His power, promises, and plan to accomplish her goals. He also knows your needs. He knows the challenges and trials you face, and your desire for a healthier lifestyle. He has pledged that He will “supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (RSV) He will help you gain strength for your battle; He has a practical plan and He has the power. For more information, see Living Free: Finding Freedom from Habits that Hurt (back page).
–Vicki Griffin & Evelyn Kissinger
Vicki Griffin is an author, speaker, and Director of the Lifestyle Matters Health Intervention series and the Fit and free! Building Brain and Body Health series. She is the editor of Balance magazine and Balanced Living tracts. Vicki has a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State Fullerton. She is a member the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her special interest is in the area of nutrition and cognitive function, brain health, and addictions.
Evelyn Cole Kissinger is a lifestyle consultant, registered dietitian, and teacher. She received her Dietetics degree at the University of Tennessee and her Master of Science in Administration at Andrews University, where she later taught health education and wellness classes for the nutrition department. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
[i] Food & Health Communications www.foodandhealth.com
[ii] Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health. Johnson R, et al. Circulation 2009;120:1011-1020.