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Don't Be a FAT Girl Anymore!A REALISTIC APPROACH TO WEIGHT LOSS
By Chená T. Flood
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Chená T. Flood, Ed.D.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTip #1 Losing Weight is 80% Mental!
Mind over matter! Mental strength is critical to weight loss.
Getting a quick boost of motivation comes easy. Maintaining that motivation and acting on it is the hard part. Being committed mentally helps to keep you motivated. If your mind isn't in it, then you are not going to be successful. Hitting rock bottom or your "mini whale" or "big whale", (whichever it may be) moment may be the only thing that can truly get you focused and ready to put the FAT Girl to rest for good.
Your mental focus will be tested time and time again. I remember having to pray my way out of bed every morning to go to the gym. When the alarm clock would sound at 5:45 a.m., I would say, "Chená get out of this bed. It ain't nothing but the devil." I would have to say it three times before I would get out of the bed. This became my morning ritual. After about three months, I was able to get up on my own.
I also remember needing will power to not pig out at my sorority's annual Christmas breakfast. I can still smell the bacon. I did a lot of self-talking before the breakfast. I told myself that I had come too far to let one breakfast derail me. I also told myself to sit far away from the serving table. I repeated to myself, before I got out of the car, the things I would eat. I had given up pork and any type of biscuit was definitely off limits. I knew I could only eat the eggs and grits. I told myself three times, just get one spoonful of eggs and one spoonful of grits with one pat of butter and hot sauce. Hot sauce always makes everything taste better. I told myself that I was strong, and that I had control over what I put in my mouth and my body. It was hard, but I knew that I had a goal and nothing was going to keep from reaching it.
I was strong in most things, but controlling my eating was a weakness. Self-talking helped me to develop more mental strength to control my eating and my obsession with food.
I never really established how much weight I wanted to lose. I just wanted to be smaller. On Wednesday, June 11, 2003, I traveled to Graham, North Carolina with Kim Jo to the weight loss center. We left at early o'clock—before 7AM. We talked about what she had experienced and what I could expect. We arrived for our appointments at about 8AM. I watched a video about healthy eating, counting calories, and fat and sodium intake. After the video, I got to sit down with the doctor. He told me to eat no more than 1000 calories and 20 fat grams each day and keep my sodium intake to a minimum. He also said, "If it isn't swimming or flying, don't eat it." He was referring to meat. Basically, I had to give up beef and pork. Then he gave me fluid pills, a B-12 shot, and appetite suppressants. The doctor went on to tell me to exercise at least 5 times per week for at least 30 minutes. I left the doctor excited and very motivated. I thought to myself, "Oh yeah, that FAT Girl will be off my back soon!"
Well, me being a person who hates taking any type of medication, I didn't take the pills long. I took the appetite suppressant for 3 days and the fluid pill for 5 days. I didn't like the effects of the appetite suppressant and I hated going to the bathroom every 30 minutes. I told Kim Jo, I would do it without the pills. I did not want to get dependent on pills and not be able to handle eating food and being around food without having to take a pill. Besides, I really HATE taking medicine.
Mental strength is critical with any weight loss journey because you have developed habits, and you have gotten comfortable in your old lifestyle. I am a very strong willed person in most things that I commit to doing. I can honestly say that losing weight really tested my mental strength and my commitment to becoming healthy. Through my journey, I found that I was stronger than I gave myself credit. More often than not I was able to resist temptations. I knew that I could not lose weight while continuing to eat "crazy" portions and gorging down cheesecake. However, I did not deprive myself of the things I liked. I learned how to eat them in moderation.
Understanding that I was making a lifestyle change that would continue for the rest of my life was key to my whole process. I figured out that deprivation was not going to work for me. I realized that learning how to incorporate the foods I love and changing how I cooked foods were going to be vital for a successful journey. Allowing myself to eat some of the things I loved in moderation helped me to remain committed. It is unrealistic to think that you will never eat another piece of cake, a doughnut, pizza, French fries, or any other fast food ever again. When you have that philosophy, you set yourself up for failure. However, you have to be mentally committed such that you will be satisfied with eating only one small slice of cheesecake instead of two large slices. I learned that a kid's meal was quite satisfying especially at Chick-Fil-A. Go ahead; try the two count strip meal with diet lemonade and the ice cream cone instead of the toy. I even eat the waffle fries without one of the deliciously fattening sauces. I eat my strips with the buffalo sauce because it is dressed up hot sauce. The calorie count is minimal and hot sauce always makes everything tastes better.
I also realized that losing weight was easy compared to keeping it off and maintaining. Developing mental strength for maintaining weight loss is enhanced by your reasons why you wanted to lose weight. Your "WHY" helps you focus during the weight loss process, more importantly, your "WHY" prevents you from going back to your old self. The maintenance phase of weight loss is more difficult, because you think that you have mastered the subject matter and your FAT Girl has left the building for good. But in all actuality, she is just hibernating. Given the right time and circumstances, she will try to wake up and take over again. You have to be true to your "WHY" and mentally commit to your new lifestyle. It is not always easy, but nothing in life worth having is easy to get and keep.
I find that even today I have mental breakdowns where I binge out for 2 or 3 consecutive days. I will eat cheese doodles, shortbread cookies, French fries, three slices of pizza, 3 servings of buffalo wings, 3 doughnuts (at once), ice cream, and everything else that I should only eat once or twice a week in small servings. In order to get myself back on track, I have to think about where I came from, what the old Chená was like, what I like about my new body, how good I feel—my "WHY." I also weigh myself at least once a week. Weighing helps hold me accountable.
I often look at old pictures to help me refocus, so that I keep the 248 pound Chená away. I keep pictures on the refrigerator of the old Chená and the new thinner and healthier Chená. Those pictures are visual reminders of where I was and how far I have come. However, I do not beat myself up about having gone on a binge. Instead, I do a lot of self-talking to motivate myself to "GET IT TOGETHER". I firmly believe that you must be your own motivator. You have to want to be healthy for yourself, before you consider what others want for you. I encourage everyone striving to lose weight and keep it off, to be their biggest cheerleader. Become a self-talker and develop a strong mind. A few things I have said and continue to say to myself are:
It ain't nothing but the devil, don't give in!
You got this!
I am worth living a healthy, more fulfilling life!
I will not let this defeat me!
Mind over matter!
You are not hungry, you are bored. Find something to do.
Is that ... worth having to do an extra 45 minutes on the elliptical or the stair mill?
Girl, you look great! Don't jeopardize your new girlish figure for ...
Nothing tastes as good as thin feels (a saying I learned from my Weight Watchers leader)
Saying these things in my moments of weakness or when things appear to be getting the best of me, helps me to refocus. You have to believe that what you are working towards is more important and will have more benefits than abandoning the plan you created for your journey.
I remember the first time I realized that I had truly lost a lot of weight. Even though my clothes were too big and I was getting them altered every month, I still did not accept that I was smaller. When I looked in the mirror, I still saw the "pleasingly plump" Chená, as I used to describe myself. The day I remember coming to grips with my weight loss was one day when I sat on the toilet. I noticed that my stomach roll wasn't as wide as my thighs anymore, and it didn't extend to the middle of my thigh where it used to touch the top of my tattoo. I could actual see all of my thighs. I thought, "WOW! I am really smaller, I am not fat anymore." I cried for a minute because in that moment, I was so proud of myself. In the midst of all the turmoil in my life, I had done something right. I learned that night that I was the person I knew I was. I was strong and I controlled my life. If I remain true to my plan and take the bumps in the road in stride, I can do anything. Losing weight has been a great boost of confidence in every sense of the word.
Being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifestyle. You must be mentally committed to a lifestyle change and understand that there will be times where you may fall off the wagon, but you must get back on quickly. If you fall off the wagon, it is not the end of journey. You cannot quit. You must get up, dust yourself off, and keep it moving toward your final destination. You had a bad day or a couple of bad days, but you must keep moving forward. Focus on your "WHY." Mentally, you have to believe that FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION! I believe it and there is no way I am going back!
GO AHEAD; TELL SOMEBODY YOUR MINI WHALE MOMENT AND START YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY TODAY!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #1
What was your "mini whale" moment? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
Identify your "WHY" for becoming healthy and losing weight. _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
Identify two mental road blocks you currently have about becoming healthier. How will you overcome those road blocks? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
How will you maintain your motivation? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
Tip #2 Diet Pills and Quick Results Programs are Gimmicks!
Diet pills block your ability to use your inner strength to manage your addiction to food, while quick results programs put a band-aid on the problem.
Some people believe that diet pills are their answers to weight loss. For some, they will work, at least for a little while. I knew someone who took diet pills about 6 months, the entire duration of her weight loss journey. The doctor had to change the type of pills she was taking often because they would stop suppressing her appetite. Once she reached her goal weight she stopped taking the pills. After a few months, she regained quite a bit of the weight back. She never learned how to control her desire to overeat and to manage the stresses of life that triggered her desire to eat. The weight came back in fewer months than it took her to lose it.
Another associate of mine embarked on a weight loss journey as well. She decided to try one of the food delivery programs where your food is delivered to your home. She was to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables to eat with the delivered meals daily. From the outside looking in, she was doing great on the program. She lost a lot of weight. She dropped about 4 dress sizes in 4 months. The program seemed to be really working for her. While on the program she was supposed to be learning portion control based how the food came packaged. Unfortunately, she did not learn portion control. She did not learn good healthy eating habits either. Having the food delivered directly to her did not provide an opportunity for her to think about what to eat or how to prepare healthy meals herself. Needless to say, once she discontinued the program, she gained almost, if not all, the weight back.
Diet pills are only administered by health professionals because they are prescription drugs. Most often people go to a weight loss center because their primary care physician is more reluctant to prescribe diet pills. Your primary care physician will advocate for you trying to lose the weight on your own through diet and exercise. They will often times recommend that you see a nutritionist. Weight loss centers are convenient and the physician there is more likely to provide you with the pills because that is their purpose. By the way, the office visits are not cheap and they include the cost of the medicine. The average cost of the first visit is about $125. Just like any time you visit a doctor for the first time, you pay a new patient fee. The subsequent visits average about $85 each. The cost can quickly add up as well. For me the cost associated with diet pills and the potential for dependency on diet pills were not worth it!
For my friends and me, we discovered that we were addicted to food. We loved food and it was a stress reliever. We found comfort in food. I STILL LOVE food! Prior to trying to become thinner and healthy, everything we did centered on when we were going to eat and what we were going to eat. We LOVED food.
I learned to cook as a nine-year old living with my great-grandmother. I was making biscuits, pies, and frying chicken by the time I was 10 years old. One side of my family called me "Greedy Gut" because I was always eating, and if you were eating, I wanted some of what you had too. When I wasn't at my paternal great-grandmother's house, I would be at my maternal grandmother's house. She would buy three boxes of Little Debbie cakes every week for my uncle, my aunt, and me. For the most part, we each had our favorite, and we would eat the whole box every week. My favorite was the raisin crème pies. Boy, were they the best ever! I can still taste them. I remember during my first two years of teaching, I would eat an oversized raisin crème pie almost every day at lunch. It was so bad, that when my students wanted to "butter me up" to allow them to do something, they would buy a raisin crème pie and give it to me as a bargaining tool. Also, the school resource officer had a crush on me. So, he would buy them for me too and give them to me on my way home. I am sure all those Little Debbie raisin crème pies contributed a lot to my weight gain while I was teaching. It was totally crazy, how much I used to love those things. To date, I have not eaten one since June 2003! I let that demon go!
All that time growing up and eating whatever I wanted didn't catch up with me until college, because I was very active and played basketball from middle school through high school. Once I went to college and moved off campus, I made biscuits, homemade molasses bread, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and all the things I cooked at home. I gained my freshmen 15 plus about 10 more pounds. I never learned healthy eating habits.
I had to learn how to control my love for and cravings for sweets. I had to learn how to prepare healthier versions of the foods I loved. I knew taking neither diet pills nor any of the quick results program would help me control my ability to resist food over time. I had to develop my own inner strength to control my food intake and resist food. I had to learn and develop healthier food habits that were going to be lifestyle changes that would yield lasting results. Weight loss must be about changing your lifestyle and developing better habits not creating another bad habit—such as becoming dependent on diet pills for short-term success.
Excerpted from Don't Be a FAT Girl Anymore! by Chená T. Flood Copyright © 2011 by Chená T. Flood, Ed.D.. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsFrom the Author....................vi
Tip #1 Losing Weight is 80% Mental!....................5
Tip #2 Diet Pills and Quick Results Programs are Gimmicks!....................14
Tip #3 Food Intake and Preplanning Meals are Key Factors....................21
Tip #4 Get Active, Get Moving!!....................38
Tip #5 You Must Have a Support System!....................49
Tip #6 Choose a Plan You Believe In!....................61
Thoughts for the Road....................70
Chená's Workout and Schedule....................80