It is hard to express how proud I am of my wife for accomplishing the goals she has set for herself of losing weight and improving her health. I am often excited to share my wife’s success with others when they talk about losing weight because I’ve been there! Well, not really. But seeing what Paige has gone through and experiencing some of the ups and downs with her has helped me to understand much more about weight loss. Here are just a few things I have learned from my wife as she has been so dedicated to improve her health.
First: no quick fix Fad diets! Sorry they just don’t work! I feel I can say this with some authority because of my wife’s experience. Back in 2000-01 Paige lost a lot of weight on one of these diets. She looked great and felt great. But there was no leniency in it. In order to keep the weight off she had to keep so strictly to the diet plan. It was a lot of work and not the rewarding kind. Then when her cholesterol started to go through the roof and she had to stop, she gained it all back and then some. The feelings of frustration and failure were very difficult for Paige for some time after that. But I also believe that failure also helped her to learn that whatever you do has to become a lifestyle; something you are willing to do for the rest of your life. In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to develop healthy habits to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. The Fad diets simply do not do this because they are not something you can realistically do forever; they do not help you develop a lifestyle of healthy habits; eating and exercise. So if you are looking to drink a shake in order to lose weight, be prepared to drink that shake for the rest of your life!
Second: if anyone tries to sell you an easy way to lose weight that requires little or no work or a way to lose weight quickly like 10 or more pounds a week, RUN AWAY! (or waddle) in the opposite direction as FAST as you can!!! Losing weight requires time and effort. As long as you are moving in the right direction you will get there. Slow and steady wins the race and when it comes to weight loss often slower is better. Honestly Paige lost on average of 1 to 3 lbs. a week. It took her approximately 2 and ½ years to reach her goal and she got there developing habits along the way that I know she will keep for the rest of her life. I have absolutely no doubt that she can maintain a healthy weight. I know that when she sees the scale start to creep up a few pounds this does not evoke panic mode. She simply makes a few minor adjustments and voila the scale comes back down again. There is really no magic to it, just smart choices. I work in a hospital and occasionally get to see the results of people losing too much weight too quickly. It is not pretty!
Third: I have learned never to ask “What’s for dinner?” Wrong question! This question implies (I believe at least in Paige’s mind) that she is doing all the work and that I am waiting to be served. A better question I have found is “What do you have in mind for dinner?” This implies hey, I am willing to help out. Now, why is this important? Remember that losing weight takes time and effort? In a perfect world we have all the time that we need, but we do not live in a perfect world and often life just happens to suck up all of the left over time that we were planning to use to go to the gym, or cook a healthy meal, or whatever it may be that is worthwhile or important. My point being that you who are on the support team have got to help make time for your goal getter to achieve his or her goals. On more than one occasion after one of those “perfect days” Paige has said “I’m sorry, I was planning this great meal but I have run out of time and I have got to get to the gym. You and the kids will have to fend for yourselves. Thanks! Bye!” And I’m like “OK, bye,” as she is already halfway down the driveway. You will have to make some sacrifices, but they are well worth it. Paige has learned to make exercise and eating healthy a priority, not just something to do with her extra time. (Does extra time really exist?)
The last thing I will mention is. NEVER GIVE UP! And learn to seek help when you need it. Paige had already lost about 60 lbs on her own before she met her trainer Jacob. But at that point she had hit a plateau for a couple of months and seemed like she was getting nowhere. Jacob helped her figure out that she was actually not eating enough and she was working out too much, or at least not doing the right kind of exercises. A qualified trainer may be expensive, but they know the formulas needed to get results. It was a sacrifice for us to afford one, but the results were well worth the cost. I will be forever grateful to Jacob for helping my wife reach her goals.
My wife has been such an inspiration for me and I know for many others. One of the greatest rewards I have received is to see her happy and confident. She has always been an energetic and happy person, but now that energy has been unleashed to a new level. When she was heavier she was reluctant to get outdoors and enjoy some of the things that I enjoy doing because she knew it would be difficult and did not want to hold me back. I don’t think she ever dreamed that she would become a runner, and I was thrilled last summer after she spent some time hiking in Washington when she announced to me, “You know, I think I want to try backpacking.” She would have never done this before! Taking this journey with my wife has brought us closer in so many ways. I love and appreciate her so much and am so glad she is in my life.
Remember never give up! Slow and steady wins the race.