Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss

Everyone has a choice.

Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss

What are lifestyle changes?

Are lifestyle changes worth the effort?

What is to blame for America's obesity crisis?

When did obesity become so widespread in the United States?

Did you know that many obese people are also malnourished because they are not taking in the right amounts of essential nutrients or are preparing their food in the wrong way?

Did you know that deep-frying, pan frying, and overcooking vegetables destroys all their essential vitamins and minerals?

Did you know that the best way to cook foods is by baking, broiling, grilling, and steaming? It is best to buy fresh or fresh frozen vegetables and fruits.

Many of my readers know I have a passion for health and fitness. I enjoy researching anything in the category of medicine, vitamins, minerals, and doctor prescribed diets, lifestyle changes, fad diets, disease, and much more.

Over 200 fad diets on the market today?

One such fad diet is the “The Baby Food Diet.” From what I read a few years ago, this diet was the trending diet of Hollywood stars who wanted to shed pounds quickly. All you have to do is grab jars of baby food, gobble it down and be on your way.

This diet is not advisable because the amounts of vitamins and minerals are not enough to sustain an adult body. These amounts of nutrients, proportioned for a baby, do not offer enough vitamins and minerals for an adult body.

Does this diet take the weight off?

All that I read says that this diet does reduce weight, but long-term.

I am not talking about medically prescribed diets by your physician such as a diabetic diet, a low salt diet, or cardiac diet as a few examples.

Lifestyle changes mean that you make healthy decisions regarding food, exercise, and more for the rest of your life. If you concentrate on eating more fresh fruits, and vegetables, less red meat, more fish, and poultry and cut the carbohydrates for the rest of your life, it is a choice many find they can comfortably live. On the other hand, I doubt it if many can live on the "Baby Food Diet," for the rest of their life.

Q. What happens when you quit your "fad" diet?

A. 99.9 percent of the time the weight you lost returns more than ever.

I write about the obesity epidemic taking over America. I know that much of what I say is my belief and of my opinion. I realize that there will be some readers who may disagree with me, and this is all right. Some readers agree with me and believe I am on the right track.

Where did this extra weight come from?

I believe that for many people with their weight problem was one day a surprise to them. They wonder just how and when they gained so much weight. We can lay blame on many different factors for being overweight, such as, but not limited to, the many excuses I have heard from people over the years. At one time, some of these reasons were what I used.

  • I am a nervous eater.
  • I am depressed.
  • I am sick.
  • I just got married, and you know that newlyweds gain weight for whatever reason.
  • I have hypothyroidism, diabetes, etc.
  • I am in debt and always worried about the bills.
  • I am going through a divorce.
  • I am getting married, and preparations are making me eat more.
  • I have a stressful job but cannot give up the money I make.
  • I have small children that drive me nuts, and I never get out of the house.
  • My teenagers are driving me crazy.
  • My married children have to move back home.

The list of excuses for what caused someone to become obese is endless and ready for picking. It is so easy to place blame on something or someone. Rarely do we point the finger at ourselves and say, "I did this to myself."

In 1969, my husband weighed 118-pounds with a pant size of 29-inch waist and a 29-inch inseam. I weighed 110 pounds and wore a size ten. After 30 years of marriage, my husband ballooned to a size 40-inch waist, and a 28-inch inseam and I wore a size 22.

Poor Food Choices Versus a Healthier Diet of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Which makes more sense, this hamburger and french fries or a plate of fresh fruits and vegetables? One does contribute to obesity the other contributes to a healthier lifestyle.

Personal opinions are neither right or wrong, they just are.

People are allowed to their opinion. Your personal opinion helps others think that there may be a different or better way. Your personal opinion can change minds and lives. At the same time, the views of others can open up new lines of thought of this author.

Being a nurse for over 40 years enabled me to work alongside many professionals in the healthcare arena. I do not hold any degrees in nutrition; however, nutrition and fitness have been my passion for many years. I spent 15 years assessing patients for nutritional needs and diets, alongside dietitians and nutritionists. I have done a great deal of valuable reading about America's obesity problem and weighed the value of what I was reading before coming to any conclusions.

In My Opinion for What it is Worth

My husband and I were married in 1969 and even at that time, it took the husband and wife working to make financial ends meet. Women working full-time find it as challenging to balance the family and work, as I did back in the 1960s.

When a woman got home from work, she was the one who,

  • Cooked the meal and served dinner, and did the cleanup
  • Did the laundry
  • Cleaned the house
  • Helped with schoolwork
  • If going to school, had her homework
  • Bathed the children and got them to bed at a decent time

Many times dad helped mom when he could. Years ago, a man’s responsibility was care of the yard, car, and repairs around the home. In today's real world parents are better off if they help each other inside and outside the home. This allows more time for each parent.

If a woman was married to a man who joined her after work to get these chores done, she was a lucky woman. I was fortunate to have a husband who realized I was as tired as he was after a full day of work and who helped me get "things" done after a long and tiring day.

Slowly but surely technology increased and this increase was to make our lives easier. I am a firm believer that technology has only made our lives more complicated, and I believe run faster than years prior.

Cell phones replaced the corner pay phones.

Computers came onto the market with the promise of making jobs and home life more manageable.

Fast food establishments grew at an alarming rate and made getting lunch on the run or a quick dinner much more accessible to mom.

It seems to me instead of creating lives that are more comfortable; technology made us move faster, play harder, and have little time left over for what matters in life. It appears to me that with the vast growth of technology came less time for the essential things in life, such as eating home-cooked meals, balancing all the necessary food groups.

During this time, it seems to me that fast food establishments started to gain popularity and spring up in every city on every corner, taking the place of reliable and well-prepared foods at home.

Mother’s (and dad’s) everywhere seemed to love the options that fast foods offered and so did the children. Fast foods were serving the busy working parents providing them their lunch on the run and then at day's end served the purpose for a quick meal that the family enjoyed at the dinner table. Also, there was little mess to clean up, and parents appreciated having to do no dishes.

I think it was at this time that the United States began to see the rise of an obesity problem. Many people could not or refused to realize they were in a weight gain spiral. I cannot put all the blame on fast foods because the path to obesity takes many different directions.

Increased technologies and fast foods?

Fast foods, from their beginnings, were not considered the healthiest foods to eat. Over the last few years, fast food restaurants increased menu options to include more healthy choices of foods, offering grilled meats, wraps, and salads. Fast food establishments go as far as giving customers a list of calories, vitamin, and mineral ingredients, and then these restaurants leave it up to the customer their personal food choices.

While many families still rely heavily on fast foods for lunch and dinner, choices for healthier options are now available. It is now up to what people long for when choosing fast food choices. If people are trying to change their lifestyle and get healthy, they are going to order a fresh salad and ice tea versus a Big Mac, French fries and a shake as a meal option.

I have read in reputable medical reports that a person, who is at least 30 pounds over their ideal body weight range, the doctor considers them obese. I recall this being the criteria that hospitals employ to establish obesity as a diagnosis on a patient. Guess what, most of our society is 30 pounds or more over their ideal weight, including me.

Given all the hard work and body weight, I have lost I am still considered obese, a hard pill to swallow. I have lost 65 pounds, and until I lose the last 30 pounds, I am going to have that wretched "Obesity Diagnosis" on my medical record.

Close to my retirement in 2010, I weighed 234 pounds and on my 5 foot 1-inch frame and size 22 clothing, I felt lousy every day. I did not like how I felt or looked. Obesity reaps dangerous illnesses such as diabetes and heart conditions. The 60 pounds I lost over the last few years allowed me to shed my size 22 and buy size 10-12 clothing.

The professionals say that you should lose weight slowly; no quick diet or any diet, in fact, is going to be successful for the person wanting to lose weight. It took me years to gain weight, so I am not going to make all this weight go away overnight.

I had a terrific friend who once told me, "I wish my doctor could install a zipper down the front of me so I could just unzip myself and remove all this excess fat." She ended up having a gastric bypass. She wanted her weight gone quickly. I am not sold entirely on gastric bypass because unless you make lifestyle, eating changes and chose better food options, it would not work as well as you hope.

Weight loss needs to be a lifestyle change with an eating pattern and way of preparing healthy foods for the rest of your life and not just until the excess weight goes away. I resolved to establish a lifestyle change, slowly.

Laptops, PC's, Cell Phones, iPads, iPods, Kindles, etc.

Do today's electronics make us run the rat race faster and leave us less time to consider what is really important in life such as, eating well-balanced meals, and preparing healthy foods in the correct manner?

Obesity, a Hard Pill to Swallow

I recently saw two doctors, and when I checked out at the counter, the nurse gave me a printout of my visit. There were the diagnoses I expected, including obesity, which I did not expect. I told myself that the doctor should have seen me a few years back, but now, how could he say this.

Like I said I have another 30-40 pounds to lose and until this last bit of weight disappears I am obese. I yearn for the day that I get one of those printouts from the doctor and the diagnosis of obesity is no longer there.

I believe that this day will come; I am devoted to this lifestyle change. Devotion and motivation for the cause of one's obesity are necessary to make a lifestyle change successful.

Been there and done that.

Lifestyle modification is one of the most challenging things I have performed in my lifetime. I have to work hard at this every second of every day. Everyone tends to mess up a lifestyle change and revert to his or her old ways. You know when you mess up. Acknowledge the mistake and get back on track.

It is of my opinion that no person is a happy camper about their weight or their health and wellness if they are 30 plus pounds over their ideal weight range.

Perhaps they do not have the willpower to make the changes needed to become a healthier and more fit individual. The best thing I can come up with is to find a lifestyle change friend, where each person helps the other to succeed.

I also have my own opinions why obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and what people can do to help themselves. In the end, everyone owns a choice in life to be fit and healthy, or out of shape, overweight, and sick. Everyone must achieve his or her lifestyle change for the better.

Dedicated to My Beloved Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law had it figured out when obesity was not a big deal.

I always called my husband's mother, mom. I was close to her and knew many times how she felt about issues regarding health and wellness. My "mom" raised six children and was a stay-at-home mom until the children entered high school and then she got a job in the maintenance department at the local high school.

She said her weight ballooned to 250 pounds and she wore a size 24 duster. Dusters were loose fitting, ugly, flower covered light bathrobes that buttoned down the front. My mom said dusters were the only thing that fit her anymore. Thus, she never ventured from her home or yard, as dusters were nightclothes and not appropriate attire to go shopping or visiting.

It was at this time that mom proclaimed that she was joining the gym and was going to run the track with her daughter who was on the high school track team. She was determined to lose weight. She joined Weight Watchers International. This was her lifeline and support group that gave her many ideas for eating healthier.

During her journey, she won the Presidential Fitness Award, and the local newspaper did a nice write up about her health and fitness plan and the success she was seeing in her weight loss endeavors. She finally reached her size ten jeans and looked terrific, felt much better, and had more energy.

My mom was fun to be around, as she did and said strange things that would make us shake our heads and laugh. We just got used to her antics, as it was no good scolding mom; she was going to do what she wanted when she wanted.

Part of mom's exercise plan was to use inversion boots. These boots were popular in their day, and I do think that some people still use this piece of fitness equipment.

Inversion boots have a large metal hook on the front and come with a sturdy tension pole. Some inversion boots come with a table that can you lie down on, and the table quickly swings upside down.

The user hooked the boots on a pole between a door casing and hung upside down with the hooks over the bar of the table. She firmly believed this exercise helped to keep her back straight.

Mom loved the outdoors, and we would never catch her inside during the summer just hanging around. We could see her outside hanging from the chain-link fence by the barn.

This one day, as we drove past her mini-farm, there was our mom, hanging on the back fence gate with her inversion boots and the gate, kept swaying back and forth.

I asked my husband if we should stop and help her and he said, "No, she will figure it out." When we came back past her house, she was down off the fence.

During work breaks, mom hung around the school in the maintenance room on her inversion bar and acquired quite a name for herself in the arena of physical fitness.

The other part of her plan was no more cookies, cakes or candy, no fast foods, fried foods, or deep-fried anything, and she meant what she said.

She ate lean cuts of meat, which included very little beef, more fish, and poultry, and plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

She maintained this eating pattern for the rest of her life. Mom had her new lifestyle change figured out before the word lifestyle changes became popular.

Mom was devoted and dedicated towards health and fitness. Mom knew that no person could do this for her; she must take the responsibility to lose weight and become fit.

Any lifestyle change must be an individual decision. Every person who has the desire to lose excess pounds and become fit must make this decision on their own. We must be first motivated to become healthy and then dedicated to continuing with a sensible lifestyle plan for the rest of our life.

Mom's weight decreased to about 130 pounds and her clothing to a size 10. She was 5'6" tall. Mom maintained this weight for the rest of her life. Mom joined us one year on a trip to Florida, and she looked so much younger and beautiful in her size ten white jeans.

In the end, everyone has a choice to be active, healthy, and fit, or obese, always ill, and a couch potato. When you decide to get in shape, find a partner who is motivated and devoted to your cause of weight loss, exercise, and healthy food options.

An Important First Step Towards Wellness

*Always, consult your doctor before starting on any lifestyle change, exercise plan, or new eating plan. If your doctor prescribed a diet for you due to medical reasons, never go off this diet until you consult with him or her first.

Keep doctor and patient communication open.

Consult your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.

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Carolann Sherwood

Professional nurse for over 40 years

Owned a children's daycare, eight years

Owned an upper scale clothing resale shop

A freelance writer 

Editor since 2010 on a writing platform site

A published author, "Return To The Past" available on Amazon

See all posts by Carolann Sherwood