Only 19 more pounds to go and I’ll have lost a total of 140 pounds since May, 2014. I’ve been doing the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program exactly that long. When I started my journey, I weighed nearly 400 pounds. I’ve gone from a size 55 waist to size 40. It’s a pure thrill for me to be able to walk into any retail store and find clothes my size. I’m happy and healthy with a steady diet of fish, veggies and fruit. How did I do it?
First, I had to set some irrefutable parameters. Here are the 6 rules I followed:

  1. Either start now or forget it. Really. If you wait for the muse to come to you, it never will. Motivation has to come from within.
  2. Do your own research and understand what’s in different kinds of food—it’s that important. Log what you eat in a food tracker. Make it your hobby and do it every day. I now know exactly how many peas, celery sticks, chicken breasts and blueberries I’ve eaten in the last year and half. I know exactly how many calories are in anything grown or produced by nature or mankind.
  3. Find an activity you can stick with daily. For me, it’s a recumbent bike in my bedroom positioned in front of the TV. I have recorded every mile walked or ridden on my recumbent bike. I’ve traveled hundreds (if not thousands) of miles without ever leaving my house.
  4. Never refer to or think of your journey as a diet. No one ever sticks to a diet. Although I always knew how to cook healthy food, I almost never did—opting more for foods that were too fatty, too calorie-laden, too over-the-top. When I began to eat healthy, I realized how much better I felt at the end of the day and so I ate better and better. I’ve cut way down on red meat and focus more on broiled or grilled fish and chicken. The fresher, the better. I probably eat more vegetables than any other kind of food. Broccoli, asparagus, peas, beans, carrots, spinach, tomatoes and avocados are my go-to choices. Fresh fruit every morning with oatmeal, drizzled with a bit of organic agave syrup gives me good energy to start the day. I mainly stay away from starches such as rice, pasta and potatoes—it’s so easy to overdo those.
  5. There is no such thing as a ‘cheating’ day. I know many of you will disagree, but the smell of a pizza only makes me….want one. Yeah, I’ve had to give up a fair amount of food items that I used to eat mindlessly, but to me, a pound lost is far more rewarding than a brief fling with chocolate cheesecake.
  6. Ask for help! I talked to a Registered Dietitian several times the first year. I still need to lose 19 pounds to reach my goal. But it JUST WON’T HAPPEN. I exercise, I count my calories, and I pray to the Almighty. I do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight. Still nothing. My doc says my body is telling me it’s comfortable where it’s at. Well I know for a fact my body is a wretched liar. It was comfortable at nearly 400 pounds too! So, I just scheduled another session with a dietitian to get some ideas on moving forward. I know I’ll get there!

I’m not saying this is the course everyone should take. It is best to define and devise your own plan—one that works and that you can stick to. Anything less is bound to end in failure. Stay determined. When I started out, 140 pound weight loss seemed so far away, yet here I am! There will be good days, and some days not so good. It’s a journey that starts out one step at a time. You won’t know unless you try.

For more information on the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program, click here.