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Last October a close friend of mine came to visit me. I had not seen her in several years and I must say I was a bit surprised at how much weight she had gained. She couldn’t walk more then a block without getting short of breath. She had also become a diabetic due to her obesity. As she talked with me, I could tell she was not happy.

Last month (approximately 10 months later), I went to visit her and she looks like a completely different person. She has lost over 105 pounds! She and I walked for almost a mile and she didn’t even break a sweat! Her self image had improved and she seemed very happy. Prior to my visit she had told me that she had lost weight; I just had no idea how much. She has always been a very beautiful woman, but now she looked healthy again. Not only has she lost the weight, but her sugar is in the normal range again.

She has been an inspiration to me. My sister-in-laws and I have been trying to loose between 20 and 30 pounds each for the past 7 months with little success. So I spent some time talking with my friend to understand the secret to her success. I know you might say that 20 or 30 pounds is not very much; but for me it’s just as big a mountain as 105 pounds was for my friend. After visiting with my friend, I have a renewed commitment to reach my target weight of 160 pounds (I now weight 186). Most importantly, I want to feel healthy again.

Here’s some of what she shared with me.

  • You have to be motivated: My friend was not healthy, she knew it and made a choice to do something about it. She wanted to get her diabetes under control and be able to do something as simple as walk a block without getting winded.
  • Set a realistic goal for your unique situation: Too often we see celebrities or friends that have lost weight and wear a size 2, 4 or 6. That may not be right for you and your body type. In the case of my friend, her goal is to loose another 20 pounds. That will put her in a size 18 dress (when she started her program she was between a size 32 and 34). For her, size 18 feels good to her; she feels energetic and her sugar levels and other health measurements are in the normal range at that weight. Most importantly she feels she can maintain her weight within that range. That’s more important then the constant yo-yo effect when you go on a crash diet, loose lots of weight, but cannot continue to exist at that low weight.
  • Exercise is a key for success: Exercise is a big part of my friend’s program. She works out 5 times a week. She sees a personal trainer once a week, but even if you can’t afford a trainer or a gym membership, walk 30 minutes a day… you will see results.
  • Portion Control and Discipline: My friend’s weight loss program is a medically supervised program. For those who are very obese, a medically supervised program may be necessary, and it may be covered by your health insurance so check with your primary care physician. She told me that there were many programs she could choose from, but the key is that she was committed to the program and exercised the discipline to follow the program as perscribed. When I saw her we were at a Jazz and Rib festival. Everyone around her was eating barbeque ribs, ice cream, etc., but she brought her raw vegetables and salad with her and remained focused and committed to her goal. She enjoyed her friends, the music and the outing. She didn’t need the food to have a good time. She made a choice to eat the foods that were good for her.
  • You Must Have Support: Like many of us, this is not the first time my friend has lost weight. She had lost about 50 pounds before but it was short lived. I asked her what is different this time? Her resounding response was that she is now taking advantage of the classes and support groups available to her. She said that previously when she was on one of the national weight loss programs we see advertised on TV, she would just pick up her food each week but not avail herself of the support classes offered. This time around she goes to the classes each week. Her colleagues share recipes, the best snacks to eat, etc., and if she falls off the “wagon” they are there to pick her back up and encourage her and let her know it’s not the end of the world. Her colleagues at work, family and friends are all on her cheer team and fully engaged in helping her reach and maintain her goal.
  • Success Stories Help: At the center where my friend goes each week for weigh-in, classes, etc. they have a “Success Story of the Month” posted. It’s basically a before and after (or at present) picture of one of the clients along with their weight loss and the time it took to loose the weight . She says these are very motivating to her. She wants to be the one with the highest success rate…so this keeps her going. Everywhere you look, we’re hearing about weight loss challenges and there’s a reason for it. Most of us are competitive by nature. There’s also something about seeing other’s who have succeeded…I’m talking about your average sister, not a rich celebrity with the personal chef to prepare their meals and the personal trainer who works them out for 3 to 4 hours a day, but people like you and I who work, take care of our kids and prepare our own meals.

Now let’s keep it real. I know that we’ve heard a lot of this before, but here at BlackWomensHealth.com we have an opportunity to share and support one another to live healthier and happier lives. I’ve decided to go public with my weight loss goal and over the next few months I’m going to share with you how I’m doing. I will give you a quick update in each month’s BlackWomensHealth.com newsletter, and I’ll be providing a weekly update on this blog.

Will YOU be on my support team?

Please send me your success stories so I can share them with others. If you have a before and after picture you want to share, send that along as well.

If you are on your own weight loss journey I’d like to hear about that as well. Tell me your current weight and your goal weight and/or dress size.

Together we can do it. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Lori

Weight and dress size on August 22, 2007: 186 Ibs, Size 14,
(Height 5’7″, Age 52)

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