The first lesson in the maintenance class summarizes the upcoming lessons and prompts us to reflect on our past and our future. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my responses to these questions. Feel free to share your own responses to the questions in the comments section below.
What behaviors have you changed since you started the program?
What behaviors have I not changed? I now plan my meals, rather than eating spontaneously. I document the foods that I do eat so I’ll know for sure where I am on my plan. I’ve learned to distinguish boredom from hunger. I’m no longer sedentary. I am a completely different man, and I love it.
In the past, I would eat whatever was nearby, cheap, and/or convenient. When I went to a restaurant, my decisions were often based on what was inexpensive. When eating fast food, which I did daily for decades, I’d make my selections from the dollar menu. Looking back, there’s nothing less healthy than cheap fast food. I now decide in advance what I will eat, when and where it will be eaten, and how much of it I need. This helps immensely with portion control and boredom eating.
Identifying true hunger took quite a while, and is still something that I struggle with. Margaret, my maintenance class instructor, passed out a list of 101 things to do other than eat, which is full of great alternatives to raiding the kitchen. When I get hungry soon after eating, I drink water. Other times, when it’s convenient, I’ll go for a walk.
Walking was my gateway to physical activity. At 448 pounds, I could walk maybe 10 minutes before my ankles hurt so badly I had to sit down. On my first attempt at the two rivers bridge, I thought I was going to die. With persistence, I was soon able to walk a mile… then three. I walked three miles yesterday in less than an hour while holding a conversation with a coworker.
Once walking was no longer challenging, I joined 10 Fitness (which has a great 10 cent membership offer through Thanksgiving). Through the help of a friend who showed me the ropes, and the guidance of ActivTrax, I have a physical fitness plan that is working well for me.
Other behaviors that have changed, as a consequence of losing weight, include me being more social, much less consumed by television, and considerably more aware of my body and how things like sodium and water intake affect it. What behaviors have changed since you started losing weight?