Real-world health makeover

Food is more than nourishment. It’s also pleasure, celebration and, sometimes, comfort. Weight-loss regimes that don’t take these factors into account usually have a very short lifespan. Fatigue, hunger, feelings of deprivation and guilt can quickly end any weight-loss strategy. 

Smart waist management, on the other hand, can last a lifetime. When Marie Campbell embarked on her makeover with 50Plus magazine, she was looking for a lifetime eating plan. (Her eating plan is here, and her exercise plan is here)

In the past, when Campbell was not successful in her attempts at weight loss, the accompanying guilt led her to abandon her efforts but not this time. Instead, when Campbell came for a consultation last year, we examined the food records she had been keeping and searched for the reasons behind her difficulties. Was she going too long between meals or snacks? Was she feeling stressed?

&t;>Positive approach works
Rather than being angry at herself, Campbell learned the best approach was to be positive and learn from her mistakes. “I needed someone encouraging me to get back on track,” she said. That’s where a nutritionist can have a great impact. And as a result, Campbell has continued toward a healthier weight and lifestyle.

In total, she’s lost almost 20 pounds. Her blood pressure readings have improved and, at the same time, she’s not experiencing the gastrointestinal reflux that she had in the past. According to her husband, Chris, even her disposition has improved.

Working with a professional also benefited Campbell when she was tempted to try some of the popular quick-fix diets she saw others following. While she knew that a slow and steady weight loss was the best, she needed to have all the facts on why fad diets are not a wise option. Coming for regular visits also made Campbell feel more accountable for her actions and provided her with short-term goals.

Still difficult to balance nutrition
While Campbell enjoyed the whole process – losing weight through regular consultations and learning about good nutrition – she struggled in one area: structure in her meal times and balanced food choices. It’s not an unusual sentiment for someone Campbell’s age. She’s experienced a lifetime of structure as a mother, teacher and caregiver. She’s now at a time when she wants more freedom.

But irregular meal times and an unbalanced diet leads to fluctuating blood sugar levels, easier weight gain and fat storage. Regular eating, on the other hand, can boost metabolic rates and calorie burning. Seeing the benefits of eating more often has sold Campbell on the necessity for regular meal times and balanced food choices.

Boredom with food can also spell the end to weight-loss efforts. If what you eat is frequently less than palate-pleasing, you’ll dump the program at the first sign of a decadent piece of chocolate cake. Including a variety of tasty options can help to stave off feelings of deprivation. An easy way to avoid a food rut is to try a new healthy eating recipe each week.

An interesting by-product of Campbell’s success in losing weight and being physically active is that she became an inspiration: her friends and peers with whom she works out at the Y saw how great she felt and looked. She wasn’t eating like a bird or feeling miserable and, as a result, people wanted to know what she was doing and how they could do it too.

And there’s nothing like being a role model to keep you on the road to a healthier lifestyle.