11 Jan 2012
The best gift you can give yourself that impacts your health is not found under a tree or contained in a package you open during a treasured holiday celebration. The best gift you can give yourself that does not cost a lot of money but has a tremendous impact on your ability to live a healthy lifestyle is the gift of real change.
About 14 years ago I weighed over 300 pounds and desired with all my heart to lose weight. I found it tiring to walk, loved eating junk food all day long, and tried diet after diet without success. Instead of eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I chose to eat brownies for breakfast, candy as a snack, and ate fast food almost every day.
The majority of diets I tried did not focus on real change, healthy lifestyles, or teach me how to follow a healthy eating plan. Instead, those temporary diets enabled me to lose a few pounds which sadly seemed to jump right back on my overweight frame the minute I stopped following the program.
I vividly remember losing about 20 pounds on a popular diet plan. Although I still weighed over 250 pounds, I just knew that I had my eating habits under control. The fact that I gained those 20 “lost” pounds back in just three weeks proved to me that I had not.
After years of obesity, I finally looked myself in the mirror and acknowledged that silly diets or temporary fixes would never lead to effective weight loss. I committed to myself to make a real change that involved changing my lifestyle permanently for the better. None of my friends, my family members, or myself realized what an impact that small decision would make.
Although there are many ways to successfully lose weight, I decided that the best thing for me to do was follow a simple, three-point plan I came up with. I chose to eat a diet with about 30 percent of its calories from healthy fats, watched my portions, and committed to regular exercise.
The gift I gave myself that day was two-fold. Not only did I commit to living a healthy lifestyle rather than following a goofy diet, but I also gave myself the gift of better health and drastically improved fitness. Over the course of 14 months, I lost 158 pounds and gained a healthy perspective on food.
The real change came from within. Sure, I started having healthy cereal for breakfast more frequently, and stopped eating fast food every day. But the real change came when I transformed from the inside out. I finally understood that living a healthy lifestyle wasn’t about just losing a few pounds, but rather a healthy lifestyle was a permanent way of embracing healthy eating, committing to regular physical activity, and making an impact on my friends and family’s lifestyle.
Here at the beginning of a new year, I’d encourage you to make one positive change each day that helps you lead a healthy lifestyle. Replace a refined grain with a whole one, take a 30 minute walk instead of watching a mind-numbing television show, or make healthy adaptations to a favorite recipe. While none of these changes on their own will cause you to lose weight, each real change you make takes you one step closer to giving yourself the gift of healthy living.
DianeCheck out my latest posts here