"To lose weight, we must first accept the fact that this is something we need to do, either for health reasons or our personal well being. We all want to look and feel better, and shedding weight can lift a load from our spirit, add a bounce to our step, and improve self-esteem."



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If you have experience with Weight Watchers or other diets, I'd love to hear from you by phone. Perhaps we could be helpful to one another on our weight loss journey. My number is on my contact page, but note that I'd prefer this kind of call on a weekday, or Saturday afternoon if you work during the week.

I'LL ADD SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES to this article as time goes on. Join my mailing list if youíd like to know how Iím doing because at the very least, I will send a "Brabec Bulletin" whenever I add new content to my website.

Articles of Interest

"Oprahís Investment in Weight Watchers Was Smart Because the Program Doesnít Work."

This rather discouraging article is about how 95 percent of all dieters eventually gain back the weight theyíve lost because the body is our worst enemy, because it resets our metabolism whenever it thinks weíre not getting enough calories.


"Preventing the Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau"

Here's one secret: Shake up your diet by cheating for one day with as many as 1,000 extra calories.

Copyright © 2016-2017 by Barbara Brabec. All Rights Reserved.

Page 4 of article, "Tired of Being Fat? How to Finally Lose that Unwanted Weight"

by Barbara Brabec

What It Takes to Stay on a Diet

1. To lose weight, we must first accept the fact that this is something we need to do, either for health reasons or our personal well being. We all want to look and feel better, and shedding weight can lift a load from your spirit, add a bounce to your step, and improve your self-esteem. As a Christian, I've become more mindful of the fact that God considers our bodies to be our temple, and we're supposed to take good care of it. I recently stumbled across this Bible verse: "No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the Church" (Ephesians 5:29).

2. Most dieters need a good push to get started. If my sister hadn't pushed me over the mental barrier that had been holding me back for decades, I might never have accomplished the first stage of my weight loss goal. No one really wants to give up eating the way they've always eaten because it was so much fun. But once I saw that I could actually lose a pound of week while still eating food I loved and craved, it became much easier to stay on the diet.

3. Losing weight takes discipline. I've always had the discipline to do my work, meet deadlines, and stick with a project until it was finished. But until I started Weight Watchers, Iíd never had the discipline before (or the right reasons, perhaps) to stick to a diet once started. So this time around, the first thing I did was to pray for the discipline I knew it would take to shed 80 pounds. So far, so good.

4. You need to find a way to stay motivated. Many people need outside motivation, but for one who has been self-employed most of her adult life, I've always been able to motivate myself to do anything I really wanted or needed to do. Once I committed to the idea of losing weight so I could live independently as long as possible, remembering that became my best motivation to keep going. But I don't think anyone can stick to a diet for long unless they have someone to talk to about their struggle, and for me, that person has been my sister, and recently a cousin who was once a WW member. Skype and phone chats can add a lot of fun to the dieting experience, and sharing recipes is part of that fun.

5. Most of all, I think dieters need tasty, healthful recipes. I'm convinced that the use of one's own low-cal recipes is key to achieving weight loss goals and then keeping the weight off afterwards. WW offers hundreds of recipes, but some WW members have called them "bland and tasteless," not the kind of food one wants to eat for a lifetime. That's why I believe that all WW members and dieters in general need to create their own weight-loss cookbooks of favorite recipes that they've calculated to work in their diet.

I found some of the WW recipes interesting, but they didn't work for me because they were always for 6, 8, 12 or more servings, and it's just me here. I adapted a couple of them, but I really need recipes that serve four at most, which is how I've cooked all my life. I'll happily eat the same thing twice in a week and freeze the other two servings. Any recipe for four can easily be divided in two, and any recipe I create for two servings can easily be doubled.

6. We must deal with diet plateaus and metabolism adjustments and not get so discouraged that we go off the diet because we donít see pounds falling to the wayside. Any time your weight doesnít change over a period of three weeks, youíre on a plateau. See the sidebar article about Oprah Winfrey for insight on how the body continually fights us when we diet and adjusts our metabolism and sets us on a plateau that is difficult to get past. As this article explains, "If your body detects that not enough calories are coming in, your metabolism changes so that you can run your body on fewer calories than before, leading your body to store more as fat. So if you eat the same amount of calories that you were eating when you lost weight on your diet, after a while you will stop losing weight, and maybe even start gaining it."

I was happy to find the Huffington Post article at left because it offers some excellent tips on how to break a plateau. I've found other articles on the Web that confirm the importance of "shaking up the body" and confusing its memory about how we're eating, and this has worked for me. In fact, after being on a plateau for three weeks in December, I broke through it by shocking my body with three 2,000+ calories a day for three days over the Christmas weekend, after which I immediately dropped a pound. I've lost a couple pounds since then and have concluded that the body really does have a memory that we can shake up by changing our daily calorie intake occasionally to a higher level before dropping back down again. Exercising more could also make a big difference.

My List of Favorite Food Treats

AT MY AGE, after decades of eating anything I wanted, I needed to find a few slightly decadent food items that would work in the WW eating plan, such as:

Cookies: For example, to stay happy, I need two small cookies every day for lunch. I've found a few commercial cookies (made by Keebler) that are low in calories and points and don't have chemical additives or fructose in them, and I'm now baking several different cookies that fit the bill.

Wine: I've had a glass of wine with dinner every night for decades, so giving up wine forever simply wasn't an option for me. I did this in the beginning for three months, however, settling for key lime juice in water served in a wine glass, but that changed after I did a study of fluid ounces so I could calculate recipes that called for a cup of wine. WW said that five fluid ounces of wine is 100 calories and 4 points, so I was measuring my glass of wine by pouring it into a one-fourth cup measure (4 ounces) plus one tablespoon. Imagine my delight when I discovered that five fluid ounces is actually a 2/3-cup measure, and I'd been allowing myself only half of what I was entitled to, points-wise. So I found some wine glasses that hold exactly 2-1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) and now have a little wine with dinner for 50 calories and 2 WW points. That adds a lot to my dining pleasure. (This article explains the difference between fluid ounces and ounces.)

Cheese and Crackers: I have dramatically cut back on the cheese I used to eat, but I refuse to give it up completely. And I'd rather have an ounce of the real thing than most of the low-fat cheeses I've tried, although I have found a couple of sliced cheeses that are one point per slice that I enjoy with my homemade soup-and-cracker lunches. I weigh other cheeses I like in my salads to make sure I donít exceed the one-ounce general rule for a serving of cheese. I was very happy when Trader Joe started to sell a "lite shredded" mozzarella cheese that works well in my Italian recipes. Iíve also devised several yogurt, cottage cheese, and cream-cheese combinations that I can spread on my lunch crackers (no more than three to five crackers, depending on their fat and calorie count).

Desserts: I donít consider a half-cup of fresh fruit a dessert. To me, thatís breakfast. "Dessert" to me means "something sweet to quit on," as my Grandma used to say. I love the WW ice cream desserts and have found many ways to make a sweet treat by combining an ounce of pound cake, angle food cake, chocolate wafers, or a meringue with 1/4 cup of low-fat ice cream or yogurt (such as Edy's Slow Churned and Half-Fat ice creams, and Blue Bunny's tasty yogurts and sherbets). Hershey's lite Syrup or a spritz of aerosol whipped cream often adds the finishing touch without upsetting the WW cart.

Most of my desserts, however, are ones Iíve developed and "decalorized" to make them work in my WW diet in a serving size that is satisfying to me. And feeling satisfied when the meal is finished is a big secret to staying on any diet.

Chocolate, Nuts, and Popcorn. I can't close a day, it seems, without having one ounce of chocolate and/or a small handful of one kind of nuts or another. I have carefully calculated the calories and WW points for all the chocolate treats and nuts I enjoy, and the key here is to keep such treats to less than 150 calories or 4 points. I've also worked popcorn (home-popped, not microwave) into my Saturday evening treats.

I'm a night owl, so when I need something more to finish the day and am out of points, I grab a crisp apple, and apples have never tasted as sweet and satisfying to me as they do now. I've found that the natural sugar in fresh fruits has helped to curtail my old cravings for high sugar desserts.

In a nutshell, I've found that enjoying a little of things I love a lot helps me steer clear of feeling denied.

Clothing Challenges During Weight Loss

HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR CLOSET as you begin to lose a significant amount of weight? If youíre not short of money, youíll probably give garments to Good Will and buy some new things to replace them. But if youíre short on cash and can sew, you may find that you can take in many garments without affecting their overall look. Some, however, will have to be discarded in favor of buying some inexpensive replacements to keep you going.

Thankfully, I can sew, and more important, I never discarded favorite or practical garments as I gained weight. In mid-December with my weight loss then at thirty pounds, I opened the two trunks in my downstairs storage area that had been moved from one house to another over the years, each getting heavier each year as I added more of my favorite garments to them that were no nice I couldnít bring myself to get rid of them. Each time Iíd done that, I told myself that some day I might wear them again.

Opening those trunks was like Christmas, because in them I found many outfits I'd forgotten I once had—clothing still like new and so basic that it is still in style: slacks, shorts, blouses, sweaters, skirts, jackets, and suits that I'd worn at weights of 165, 180, 200, and 220. To my delight, I found several handmade quilted and ribbon vests Iíd made back in the sixties that I can hardly wait to wear again. I sorted everything by size, and I'm now looking forward to "going shopping" in my trunks every time I lose another five or ten pounds. When I've finally achieved what I feel is an ideal weight for the rest of my life, Iíll treat myself to some new clothes. This thought has given me yet another strong incentive for staying on the WW eating plan that is working for me now.

In Conclusion

ONE OF THE REASONS I have put so much time into writing and publishing this lengthy article (almost a mini eBook in length) was to announce to my readership that Iíve started something Iím going to finish. I want to be held accountable to do what I say Iím going to do because this will help motivate me even more. I hope it will also inspire others to follow in my footsteps, not necessarily by joining Weight Watchers, but by trying once again to lose weight.

Using a calorie calculator on the Web, I found that I would need to eat no more than 1200 calories a day to lose a pound a week and reach my target weight of 160 by this coming December. But Iím not going to do that, because I can't be happy eating this little for long, and Iím too old to want to do a marathon weight-loss run. Iím in no hurry, and since cooking and eating good food remains a special pleasure of mine, I just want to achieve a goal Iíve had for decades.

2017 UPDATE: I don't know how long it's going to take me to achieve the weight loss that's realistic for me at this stage of my life. I may never lose the 80 pounds I set out to lose in 2015, but I'm patting myself on the back for what I've done to date, and I'm not done yet. My new goal for 2018 is to simply think in terms of losing ONE POUND AT A TIME until such time as I can look at myself in the mirror and be completely happy with what I see.

For now, it's a huge accomplishment for me to have devised a new healthier way of eating that has enabled me to lose 50 pounds while always feeling satisfied. And now I've proven to myself that I can maintain my weight without counting calories or points. That's because my brain simply rebels when I think about having a larger portion of food or eating the kind of fattening foods I once ate with abandon.

Yes, I sometimes gain a pound or two when I overindulge on holidays and the rare occasions when I go out to dinner and chose dishes I normally wouldn't eat. But I've learned how to quickly shed those pounds by adjusting what I eat in the following week. (I've got a bunch of extremely low-calorie recipes that I make at those times.)

I hope the information and resources shared in this article will motivate you to get rid of the unwanted weight that is hindering your happiness. My best wishes to you for success in whatever weight loss plan you try.

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