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  • How to Lose Weight the Right Way


    monarch butterfly photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    “How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.

    “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

    ~Trina Paulus

    The quote at the meeting this week is so appropriate. Without these meetings, I might not keep things like this in mind, I would definitely not feel like I am holding myself accountable for my health and in turn – my weight.

    See, it’s not so much my weight that is the issue. It’s my health. Not that my health is horrible, far from it. But there are people in my life whose health worries me, because they are carrying too much weight. The stress on their body is evident in their physical appearance, right down to their posture, and even though I can’t see that in the mirror in myself – seeing it on someone I love makes me realize that I have the look, too. Now think about the food choices you make or see your loved one make. If you combine “the look” with “the menu”, you feel your answer welling up inside of you, and you know what I’m talking about.

    Over indulgence is bad. Poor food choices result in frustration, poor health, fatigue and weight gain.

    It is, truly, just that simple. But then again, it’s not.

    Socially, our system sucks horribly. We go out to eat and are presented with a meal that honestly? It’s 3 days worth of calories on one plate. And having been working toward a goal for several years on and off and recently again for several weeks, I can tell you from personal experience that I have yet to find a restaurant that provides the right balance of protein and carbs in one menu item. It doesn’t exist. (Ok, unless you’re a rabbit. If you’re a rabbit, it exists. If you are used to eating that full plate of food, it does not.)

    There are few people concerned about this. I question our school system, who doesn’t provide any eduction on nutrition to our children – but jumps on parents who never learned about nutrition and have overweight/unhealthy children as a result. Do your kids know anything about nutrition?

    Seriously – how many people really know what you need on your plate in order to not only feel satisfied, but have the proper balance of nutrition that fuels your system, makes you feel energized and burns the excess you’ve acquired over time or even eaten just that day?

    People, generally speaking, don’t know how to eat. We eat at our leisure, we eat because it tastes good, we eat because it’s the socially “in” thing to do. When you go out, you grab a bite. You hang out with friends, there’s always food involved. Always. You can’t get away from it – unless you’re at a library. Make a good food choice in front of friends? They look at you funny, like you’re crazy for not choosing what “tastes good”. Trust me. I’ve gotten that look, too.

    So not only are we not taught proper nutrition from a young age, we’re taught the opposite. Eat what tastes good, and you’re cool. Decline a brownie? Are you kidding? ::snickers behind her back::

    Think about your grocery store for a second. Think about how many rows of products there are. Now imagine eliminating all of the poor food choices and boxed foods with preservatives. What’s left? Three rows? Four? That’s my guess for my own grocery store.

    When I go to the grocery store now, I only go down about 4 aisles. Produce, meat, dairy and grains. Let me give you my typical grocery list for a week:

    fish (fresh, salmon or tilapia)
    turkey (lean, breast cutlets, tenderloins and deli sliced thin hickory smoked, turkey franks)
    chicken (lean, breast)

    Vegetables (all fresh, not frozen unless it’s out of season)
    broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, onion, red & green peppers, mushroom, lettuce, tomato

    Fruits (again, fresh and in season)
    grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, apples, nectarines, bananas, kiwi, lemon/juice

    non-fat milk, non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese, reduced fat sliced cheese, eggbeaters, shredded low-fat cheese (mexican or co-jack blend)

    high fiber whole grain bread (eat only one slice a day, cut in half for a sandwich)
    success boil in a bag brown rice (1/2 c. day max)

    ziploc storage bags in gallon and quart size containers
    marinades (teriyaki, barbeque)

    Normally, we cut up our fresh fruits and vegetables and put them into ziploc bags so it’s all ready to grab and eat. Grapes are washed and put into a container. I also put my meat into bags with the marinades and let them sit for several hours before grilling. We steam our vegetables in the microwave with this incredibly wonderful steamer from Tupperware.

    We do season our foods, but we do not drench them with butter or anything.

    Notice there’s one very important thing about my grocery list – none of my food items come in a box, except for the brown rice, which is a whole grain. Incredible, isn’t it?

    There’s still a lot missing, though. Like the quote says, you have to be “willing to give up being a caterpillar.” You have to want it bad enough to think about the choices you’re making and invest the time and more importantly the forethought about what you’re putting into your body. You have to educate yourself and consider a few more things before you are armed with the right information to change your eating habits.

    • What is your current weight?
    • What is your goal?
    • How many calories do you need to eat in a day to have a constant, healthy loss while you’re re-learning how to provide your body the nutrients it needs so that it doesn’t keep storing the excess in your hips/thighs/belly? Remember: as you lose weight, you need to recalculate your calories. You need fewer calories as you lose weight.
    • Do you know how to choose proteins – and do you know how many grams of protein you eat now, and how many you need to eat in a day to provide your body what it needs?
    • Do you know how to identify a good carb, and how to balance them with proteins for proper nutrition? Do you know how much you need in a day before your body will store it as fat?
    • Do you know that your body needs a certain about of healthy fats (like those found in fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy) to digest your proteins and carbs correctly? Do you know how many grams of fat you should limit yourself to in a day?

    You really need to find out this information if you don’t know it already. Giving you MY information isn’t going to help you reach your goals or start choosing things correctly. I’ve provided a couple of links at the end of this entry so that you can learn and find out your own information.

    There’s one very important thing that I’ve learned over the last couple of years on this mission of mine:

    You can’t motivate someone else, you can only motivate yourself.


    I spent most of the spring and summer inspired by my friend Taba’s progress. Did I do anything myself? No. I waited until she was at my goal before I got a little bit green, and felt the effect of my laziness and saw it in the mirror. Then someone I love glanced at my flabular biceps, and I knew it was time.

    There are other factors in my success that I can’t ignore – and neither should you.

    • Family. Like it or not, you all eat together. You’re either going to “go on a diet” without them, or you’re going to fix your whole families nutrition. I chose the latter, and thankfully – everyone has been supportive and cooperative. If I had “gone on a diet” without them, I would still have food temptations around me, and I would “go off” and start eating that food again because, well, they are. They’re not. I am teaching my children about nutrition and how to pack a healthy lunch for school. We are all in this together, and that has a huge impact on all of us.
    • Education. Learn about what you need. EAT what you need EVERY DAY. Don’t reduce your calories, don’t eat less and think you’re better off. If you add an indulgence, KEEP EATING the right foods so that your body doesn’t hang on to your indulgence. DON’T OVER INDULGE.
    • Be Smart. Your body needs one protein, one carb and one fat at every meal. Learn what they are, and choose from foods that don’t come in a box.
    • Think First. Before I get too hungry, I eat 10 grapes. Learn about food and how small amounts of certain items can curb your appetite for 2 more hours. 10 grapes, that’s all it takes. While I’m munching on those grapes, I figure out what is worth 30-50 grams of protein and what is worth 50-70 grams of carbs. (Figure out what you need, first.)
    • Don’t Let Others Sway You! If you go to a party, ask what the food is going to be. If it’s not lean meat or there aren’t any veggies, bring a veggie/fruit/meat tray with you. I attended a barbeque and had people munching on my plate of turkey and chicken tenderloins.
    • Give Your Health Priority. If you’ve read this far, it’s most likely because you’re frustrated, and you don’t know what to do anymore. You have to allow yourself to do this. You have to spend the time educating yourself on proper nutrition and you have to really think about the choices you make and whether or not they are good for you and your goals. You have to choose more wisely. You can’t keep eating the way that you are and expect optimal health. Even if you’re thin – if you’re eating out of boxes, you can expect to see it in your health and energy levels.
    • Get up. I’m not saying you have to run around the block or join the gym. If you’re sedentary, then get up. When you chat on the phone, walk around the house instead of sitting down. Park further away when you go to the store. Pick up the pace while you’re in the grocery store. Increase your level of activity with just walking for 20 minutes a day. Even if it’s just pacing the house while you’re on the phone.
    • DRINK WATER. Lose the soda, pop, soda-pop, whatever you call it. Those are wasted carbs and even a whole can of pop doesn’t curb your hunger. Your body needs water and craves water, pure water, no sugar, no additives. Did you know that some people can’t tell the difference between hunger pain and thirst? Are you one of those people? Drink 3 large gulps of water before you eat, and you’ll eat less.

    Why Weight Watchers helps me. When I joined WW, it was because I knew I needed the accountability. If I am only accountable to myself, I am very forgiving when I eat poorly. I can excuse it away all the way down to “my body craved it, so I have to eat it”. I already knew what I needed to know about nutrition and HOW to eat, I just had no inclination to actually do it – because no one else but me even cared. Now I have the support and encouragement from my family AND a group of women with the same mindset. It helps to have my meetings on Monday mornings, since weekends are usually very tempting dining-out days.

    If you’re like me, you may need that same kind of support system.

    This is the part where I give you links so that you can find out what your caloric intake should be, and how many protein/carb/fats you should eat:
    – Diet Diary (free download for 7 days, $49 download) This is the one I use, I bought the download and keep track daily, it allows you to “favorite” foods that you eat a lot of, create “meals” and click and drag foods to your daily diary.

    SparkPeople – I understand they also have a guide to tell you your target calories, protein, carbs & fat grams, and that’s free. (It’s online only)

    Nutritional Resource: Nutrition Source : Harvard School of Public Health

    Now go, learn. Find out what you can and if you have questions, come ask me. I will help you figure it out or lead you to a place to find the information.



    […] How to Lose Weight the Right Way […]

    10.8.2007 @ 2:44 pm

    […] I will go get that post finished for you and you’ll see it tomorrow right here. (Pinki […]

    10.8.2007 @ 2:44 pm

    […] Permalink | Join the conversation on “How to Lose Weight the Right Way” […]

    10.8.2007 @ 2:45 pm
    raehan said,

    It’s so like you to want to share your succcess with others and spread the news.

    I did weight watchers after I had Hannah and it really does work if you commit.

    Trina Paulus lived with my family for a few months while she was writing that book, then she moved right next door. That is a great quote.

    10.8.2007 @ 3:54 pm
    Nancy said,

    Yep. I agree with everything you said.

    For me it is a little different. I KNOW everything I am supposed to do and was not doing it. Close but not quite. I spend a lot of time obsessing about my weight. For the last year I have been looking at why self-care is so hard for me. Why can’t I do what I know? Lots of stuff came up and I cleared it out. I have to be a priority in my life. And, no one can do that but me.

    You are an inspiration because I know how busy you are and yet you commited to taking care of yourself. No matter how crazy or busy your life gets. As I watched your success I realized all I had to do was commit. I did not know if WW would be for me but said I would do it for six weeks and see. So far it has been amazing.

    As far as eating. I never eat what I cook my family. I haven’t for 15 years. I do not eat red meat or pork and they do. I also don’t eat a lot of the carbs they enjoy. All healthy but I don’t like most of them. My son has a food allergy and my kids know what good nutrition is. I am happiest when I eat whole foods. After taking my nutrition class I have been very focused on that. Snacks, not planning and not exercising is what gets me. If going to sit in a room with like minded women is what I need to stay motivated then I will do it.

    Funny the first class topic was diet vs lifestlye change. Everytime I looked at the workd diet all I could see or hear was die. I found that so interesting.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!


    10.9.2007 @ 8:05 am
    Sylvia said,

    :thanku: for posting a comment on my last little…thing. You won the tribute.

    come see :clapping:

    Leane Wildermuth, Artist by Nature

    10.10.2007 @ 7:18 pm

    Wow. That’s a lot of info. I will need to reread it several times. Because obviously my big butt says “Duh, you eat stupid”. Food is so confusing though. Percentages of fats, carbs, sugars, grains, blah blah. I would actually be really happy if someone would just tell me what to eat and when.

    10.13.2007 @ 11:07 pm
    Leanne said,

    I’d be happy to help you, Lass. Food IS confusing, that’s why so many people are overweight.

    If it’s in a box, likely it’s bad for you, even though it may boast “no fat!” – it could very well go beyond your limit in carbs. If it doesn’t have what you need in it, presume your body will not digest it or pull any nutrients from it at all. Then ask yourself, why waste your time eating it? Because your stomach is growling?

    What you want to do is give your body things it’s going to use, so that none of it is stored. You also have to consider calories, of course – but as long as you stay within your other limits, you most likely won’t exceed calories.

    Here are some samples of how I combine my meals now, if it helps you. I always keep in mind “one fat, one carb, one protein”. Now these amounts differ. For me, one fat is less than 5-10 grams. One carb is about 40-50 grams. One protein is 30-40 grams. Then I pull from what foods I know meet those criteria:

    Eggbeaters – 3/4 c. = 18g protein – no fat, 3g carbs.
    Kraft shredded low fat cheese = 5g fat, 7g protein, .5g carbs.
    Salsa – 2tbsp – 6g carbs, 1g protein
    Sliced deli turkey breast, 2 oz – 10g protein, .5g fat
    One tall nonfat vanilla latte: 10g protein, 31g carbs, no fat

    TOTAL: 438 calories, 47.3g protein, 5.6g fat, 45.2g carbs

    That’s breakfast. That meal fills me up for 3-4 hours and gives me a lot of energy. (It’s like a mexican breakfast burrito, without the burrito and instead of sausage, sliced turkey).

    That’s why I provided my grocery list – these are foods I’m familiar with that work in combination with eachother and that I can figure out how to combine right for maximum energy and use.

    It does take a while to figure it out, but you have to give yourself that time to learn it. You have to be willing to give up stuff if you realize that’s not what your body wants, in order to re-learn how to eat for your body instead of for your emotional or social fulfillment.

    I hope that helps. Honestly, if you have any questions, please just ask and I’ll answer them honestly and to the best of my knowledge. I’m not a certified nutritionist, but I’ve learned a lot and I’m willing to share what I’ve learned to get you there faster!

    10.14.2007 @ 7:00 am

    […] How to Lose Weight the Right Way […]

    10.15.2007 @ 11:06 am
    Marilyn Guy said,

    I have been obese my entire life and would lose weight and gain it all right back.
    I started a new diet on October 12, 2007, and in the 5 months that I have been on it I have went from 349 lbs. down to 265 lbs., I have lost a total of 84 lbs.
    My husband started the diet with me and he has lost from 275 lbs. to 210 lbs., which gives him a 65 lb. loss. Each night we excercise together to help build up muscle where fat used to be. Friends tell me every week that I look as though I am still losing but, at the moment I have hit a spot where, I am losing body fat while I maintain the pounds.
    Once every other month we have what we call our cheat night. ( Where we go out and eat our favorite Chinese foods). But, even then we don’t eat from the buffet we choose things from the Mongolian area and tell them to prepare what we choose with the least amount of fats as possible. I carry a log with me that has the caloric, fat, carbs and proteins of all the foods I normally eat and a journal to record all that I eat or drink in a given day.
    I have 118 lbs. to go before I reach my ideal weight of 147 lbs. My husband on the other hand only has 30 lbs. to go to reach his ideal weight.
    He loves all the new recipes that I have came up with while experimenting in the kitchen. Since we have been on this diet I make lots of fresh soups and things that he seems to enjoy. He tells me that, even when he does get down to his right weight he plans to still eat all the healthy foods I make for us now because, it makes him feel healthy.

    3.5.2008 @ 3:54 pm
    SwordMama said,

    Thank You so much for posting this awesome post!!!

    SwordMama’s last blog post..Severe weather…

    3.16.2008 @ 8:59 am
    Melinda said,

    I really enjoyed reading your post! Very motivating indeed! I especially liked the quotation you used – it really reflects the situation that people like me are in.
    I have also been overweight for almost all of my life and just recently started to lose weight – and I am feeling great :D

    4.25.2008 @ 6:34 am

    Sorry, comments are now closed.

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