After struggling all of my life with weight issues something finally clicked last year. This is the third in a series of posts about the tools I utilized to break the yo yo diet cycle.  Although I am not at what I consider to be a happy weight or even a goal weight I lost over 60 pounds between January 2007 and January of 2010.  I have maintained that loss for over a year now and probably lost a few more pounds along the way.

An important tool I have had all along but wasn’t taking full advantage of was access to information. About a year after my son was born my husband surprised me with a laptop. It changed my life considerably. Suddenly I had millions of healthy recipes at my fingertips and right in my kitchen. I could simply Google ingredients I had on hand and a list of possibilities materialized in seconds.

I always maintained that I could not cook. With so many mouth watering, healthy dishes to try I was actually excited to cook. I stopped saying “I can’t” and just began experimenting. My husband loved the new additions to our typically boring and routine dinners. I almost never make the same thing twice. We rarely eat out anymore simply because we are generally more satisfied by the meals that I make.

Around this time I discovered healthy living blogs.  It started with Roni’s Weigh. I connected to her story immediately and loved her no nonsense approach to weight loss and life after.Through her blog I found an entire community of healthy living bloggers.  I found camaraderie with others who seemed to know exactly what I had gone through all those years.  There was so much support and encouragement from around the blogosphere.

By using information readily available like food labels I started to question many of my food choices. I always had packaged “healthy” snacks on hand like granola bars, pretzels, yogurt cups and crackers. After drooling over many freshly baked blogger treats I tried my hand at baking with the help of my toddler. He was about two at time. He would sit up on the stool and help me mix the ingredients. Now he is cracking the eggs, getting things out of the cabinets and using the hand mixer (under my supervision of course).

Mixing it up

I began making much healthier snacks for less money. My only problem now is making enough so that I get to try it! I have to beg my husband not to eat whatever I make all in one sitting. Some of our favorites are zucchini bread, banana muffins, apple cranberry bread, Anne P’s 5 minute no bake granola bars and just about anything with pumpkin.

We all learned about the food groups and the food pyramid in elementary school.  I learned about it again in nursing school.  I brought myself back to the basics of nutrition.  Each day I strive to include “real” food rather than processed food, natural ingredients instead of chemicals.  I stopped buying many fat free and sugar free products that I had previously relied up in my diet state.  I have traded artificially sweetened yogurt cups for nonfat plain yogurt that I lightly sweeten with fruit or agave syrup. If I do buy something packaged I will spend a little more to buy the organic brand with recognizable ingredients. Some nonorganic favorites are Triscuits and pretzels because of their no nonsense ingredient lists. I keep the refrigerator stocked with fresh fruit and veggies. I make my own salad dressings and hummus. I have limited cereal to oats, Cheerios and granola or muesli.

This is the most comfortable I have been in my own body since childhood. I feel good inside and out.  The changes that I have made are holistic rather than focused on weight loss.

The last tool that I utilized was my support system.  For years instead of asking for help I shunned it.  This time I flat out demanded it as a Mother’s Day gift from my mother.  I asked her to babysit for an hour a few times a week so that I could exercise.  She did this from last May throughout the summer.  I also reached out to my cousin who runs marathon for running advice.  I talked about my fitness goals with my husband and told him how he could help me achieve them.  Instead of trying to do this on my own I let my close friends and family know about my plans so that they could help me.  I even have a few new 5K recruits ready to run with me this spring.

I’ve had the tools all along I just wasn’t using them.  Consider me armed and ready for anything now!

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