Weight Loss Story: Lavinia lost 38 pounds. Our Jamaican sista saw the pounds creep on after over the years and wanted to be back to her old size and level of health. She changed her lifestyle, went gluten free and saw the pounds drop and her health improve. Here is what she shared with us.
I am 5’2.5″ tall and I live in Jamaica, West Indies. A year after my last child ( in 2002) I had reached 130 pounds by swimming once per week, but in the last 10 years the weight had crept on and swimming once week wasn’t working anymore. I weighed 168 pounds in June 2015. I wanted to be 130 pounds again. I wanted to be my old self with my old size, old energy, old health.
I went to a wedding in June 2015 and one of the guests at my table was talking about her gluten intolerance. I realized that I might have it as well and went home and did a web search. I had all the symptoms, including bloating! I immediately cut gluten out of my diet and lost 5 pounds that week.
I decided that I needed to get my weight and health matters under control. I went to a health and wellness doctor who agreed with me. My blood pressure was 155/105. I was under severe stress. I was depressed and eating all sorts of comfort food all the time. I had chronic pain in foot and knee from sports induced arthritis.
The doctor demanded that I do high intensity exercise for at least 45 minutes, at least 3 times per week. I started cycling, since there were 4 bicycles in my house and only one of my children was using any of them. On the first night, I did 10 minutes before I was ready to pass out. Every other night, I went out and added 5-10 minutes, until I was at 45 minutes per ride after 2 weeks. However, I didn’t stop there. I kept adding time to my ride until I could ride limitlessly. Now, I ride no less than 90 minutes, four times per week.
I don’t have any dairy or gluten in my diet because they both bring on my asthma. There was not much else for me to cut out, so I just reduced my portion sizes. Instead of 2 pieces of chicken, I would have 1. I would have one small baked potato only. I would have one patty instead of two… and the list goes on. I always ate fresh salads and fruits so I maintained that habit. I started having a cup of soup for lunch. I never counted calories, I just ate less than I did before.
I had a fear of getting flabby with weight loss, so in July I got back in the pool for toning. I started with 400m and gradually built up my distance. I now swim a breaststroke 2K twice a week. Between the cycling and swimming, I now exercise 6 times a week. If I miss a session or two, I just miss. I don’t stress and I don’t replace. This is not to be a hardship. It is a lifestyle change and it is sustainable.
I weigh myself every morning and evening because that is what works for me. It helps me to get immediate feedback on my food and exercise choices for the day. I gradually lost weight from July to October and then got stuck at 136 lbs for about a month. In mid-November, I decided that the last 6 pounds needed to come off by Christmas, just a pound per week. I was a little more attentive and made sure that I did not stray from my plan. Finally, on Christmas morning, I got the best gift – 130 pounds! My BP is now 130/80. My BMI was on the border between overweight and obese, I am now in the centre of normal.
1. I know there is no diet that works for everybody. I do believe most people know from experience which foods pack on the pounds, so we just need to be disciplined and cut them out. Carbs, sugars and fats are of course the usual suspects.
2. We have different personalities. For example, some people need a group support method and some need a personal trainer. I am one of those who needs to do it on my own. We need to find the strategy that works for us and stick with it.
3. Finding the right type of exercise for you might be the challenge. There is no one type of exercise that works for everybody. Start with what you like, and remember, high intensity for 45 minutes at least three times per week. So, you can cancel that 30 minute stroll around the neighbourhood every evening #wink emoticon#. Experiment with different types of exercise until you find the one that works for you and is agreeable to you. Do not do something that you hate.
4. Give away your clothes as you slim down out of them. I made monthly trips to the salvation army with bags of clothes to drop off. I started at a size 14/XL and I am now a size 4/S. I got that tip from Al Roker (a million years ago) when he was going through his weight loss program, but I never actually did it until 2015. No big clothes, no possibility of a margin of error to drift up and down in weight. It enhances your focus on the task at hand.