"The life-changing weight-loss secrets I have learned from eight monthsí experience on Weight Watchers may be just the push you need to finally get serious about a diet and stick with it."
For one of my husband's birthdays after he'd begun to put on weight, I carved this figure and dubbed it "Big Chief Hole-in-the-Belly."
Copyright © 2016 by Barbara Brabec. All Rights Reserved.
Page 2 of article, "Tired of Being Fat? How to Finally Lose that Unwanted Weight"
by Barbara Brabec
AS NEAR AS I CAN RECALL, I weighed about 155 pounds when I was married in 1962, and Harry, who had gone through a divorce and some health problems before we met, was a skinny, underfed, undernourished man of 140 pounds. Thanks to my good cooking, he quickly "filled out" and his friends soon began to joke about his needing to lay off Bohemian dumplings for awhile. He gained weight faster than I because he loved good food with a passion, often eating a second plateful because it tasted so good. (I've told this story and much more in "On Being Czech," Chapter 4 of my memoir, The Drummer Drives!). I like my own cooking too, so I started to gain a couple of pounds every year, and soon had to buy some new clothes because everything was getting too tight.
Like many people who spend a lifetime trying to keep the extra pounds off, Harry and I often joked about needing to lose weight, and we would start one new diet after another only to soon tire of giving up food we craved, like Pizza and pasta dishes with lots of cheese, and sausages, cold cuts, and fat-rich and starchy side dishes. Of course we needed a dessert with every meal, so we often bought pastries, and I made homemade breads, cookies, cakes, and pies galore. We often indulged in Fannie May chocolates as well.
The problem with weight gain is that it often comes so slowly that one hardly notices it until a pair of slacks or a dress no longer fits. Time goes on and you buy new clothes a size larger to fit the "new you," once again saying to yourself, "I really need to lose some weight!" as you store the now too-small garments in a trunk downstairs. One year you find your shoe size has increased right along with your waist, and you need a bigger watch band too. This process went on for decades in the Brabec home.
Due to health issues, Harry lost a lot of weight in the last few years of his life while I put on weight as his caregiver. When I was widowed in 2005 and knew I never wanted another man in my life, I didn't care whether I lost any weight or not because I felt comfortable in my own skin and wasnít trying to impress anyone. So over the next ten years, although I ate more healthily than Iíd ever eaten before, I continued to fill my plate to the max, adding another twenty pounds to my frame while still saying to myself, "Barbara, you've really got to do something about your weight!"
THE RUBBER MET THE ROAD one day early in 2015 when I weighed in at 249 pounds and realized that I would soon be forced to set the top weight marker to 250 instead of 200. In a voice loud enough to wake my sleeping cat, I cried, "I AM NOT GOING THERE!"
I was so upset with myself at that point that I immediately curtailed my eating and lost ten pounds by the first of April. But I didnít get serious about actually "dieting" until that day in mid-month when sister Mollie called to say she needed to lose weight and had just rejoined Weight Watchers to help her do that. "I don't think I should have to be the only one suffering on a diet," she joked. "After all, you need to lose weight as much as I do."
We both had special reasons for needing to lose weight, but mine were now more important than ever. I love my home and the area where I live, and a few years ago I decided I wanted to stay where Iím at until they carry me out in a body bag. But it took a decade for me to finally accept the fact that being grossly overweight was no longer an option for me if I hoped to live alone into my nineties, which my doctor says is likely given my present good health and the long lives of women on the maternal side of my family.
Iíve got a weight in mind that Iíd like to be when I finally stop dieting and go on a maintenance diet, but I may have set it too low to be practical, given my age. So Iím going to rely on my doctor to tell me when Iíve achieved a healthy body mass index (BMI). Articles on the Web tell me that an ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 25, and that anything over 30 is considered obese, which is where I am now even after losing 32 pounds. (Better than "extreme obesity," which I was when I started.) You might want to check this web page to determine your own BMI based on height and weight.
IN THINKING ABOUT the various diet plans and weight-loss programs that millions of people have obviously used with success, I now see the importance of choosing a plan or program that we think we can actually live with for the rest of our life, one that not only helps us shed unwanted pounds, but also satisfies our taste buds and teaches us how to make healthier food choices.
Anyone can lose weight in the short term on a special diet plan, Weight Watchers, or one of the popular programs advertised constantly on television that glamorize losing weight with delicious meals delivered to one's door. Even if I had the money for this kind of program, I know I'd soon be craving the recipes I've used all my life and be worrying that the food in my freezer and on pantry shelves would be going to waste.
The real question here, however, is what are you going to do once you lose the unwanted weight like this? You can't have your meals delivered to you for the rest of your life, so I figure all these dieters will simply go back to eating the way they used to, and will gradually start to put the weight back on because they will not have learned anything about making better food choices on their own.
I decided to give WW a try because I knew it had worked for my sister in the past, but like many others, she had regained the weight she lost. I can understand why. She and her husband did a lot of entertaining and traveling in those years, and who wants to diet when they're on a cruise or visiting exciting cities abroad? This time around, she has vowed to do better. For reasons discussed below, Mollie is no longer a WW member, but we are both continuing to use the basic principles of dieting, meal preparation, and portion sizes that are an important part of the WW program.
"We have to decide that this is how we're going to eat for the rest of our lives," Mollie said in one of our recent Skype conversations. "We can no longer eat with abandon without paying a price in terms of how we feel and how well we're physically able to function in our older age."
I've finally accepted the fact that the "olden golden days" of eating anything I wanted are now gone. But that doesn't mean I have to give up all the foods and delicious recipes that have given me such great pleasure in years past. I just have to serve myself smaller portions and use my own recipes, which I've adapted to come up with lower calorie counts and WW points that have proven to work for me. Let me add at this point that I've never felt unsatisfied or hungry on this dieting plan.
Cooking from Scratch * Creating a Nutrition Reference Handbook * Starting Your Own Diet Recipe Books * Insight on the New Weight Watchers Program