What are your weight-control goals?
I want to reach my goal weight of 55 kilos and maintain it for life. Since joining CalorieKing, I've learned where I was making mistakes so once I reach my goal weight, I don't think I will have any trouble maintaining it.
What is your motivation for losing weight?
I started losing weight because my doctor told me I had high cholesterol. It's hereditary and he said I wouldn't be able to bring it down without medication but was willing to let me have a go. I did manage to bring my cholesterol down significantly but not to normal levels. The doctor said that in order to lower my cholesterol permanently I had to lose weight. While looking for information on the internet about how to do that (always hoping for some magic way to lose weight) I found CalorieKing and haven't looked back since!
What is your weight-loss method?
Before CalorieKing, I used to diet and lose a few kilos only to put them right back on again. I would eat too much one day and give up for a while. But since joining CK I've realised that one day is just that, ONE day: the next day you get a clean, new, page and you don't have to repeat the mistakes you made the day before.
My weight loss method now is to reach the Calorie Target of 1200 calories/day recommended for me by the CalorieKing personalised program and to exercise daily. Also, when I feel I'm slipping, rather than pack it all in, I change my thinking and view the situation from another perspective. I use the interactive tools, mainly the charts that give you the averages and look at my average for two weeks and one week and, most of the time, I find that even though I've had a few "bad" days, my averages are still good and this keeps me from wanting to pack it all in. Also, when I eat more, I exercise more, if I can.
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What obstacles have you encountered while losing weight?
The biggest obstacle for me is the love of food. I was surprised at how many calories some foods, that I took for granted but could do without, had (for instance take away food, even the deli choices). I don't have a sweet tooth but even I crave some sweet things now and again. But mostly my pitfalls were pasta and bread. I know these foods aren't bad for you, but the calories add up if you eat them all the time.
At first, my husband would say, 'Don't worry about it, once isn't going to kill you' but once today and once tomorrow add up. Now he will encourage me instead. He never says things like "Isn't that portion too big?" because that would make me feel angry that I can't eat as much as he does or as much as I used to. But when he sees how I control my portions he will say how proud he is of me and how well I'm looking. He says it's like having a new woman.
Before I started the CalorieKing program ten months ago, my daughter, who was 12 at the time, told me I looked like Homer Simpson. When I told her I was going to seriously diet she told me she didn't want me to and got seriously distressed saying she liked me to be cuddly. She actually meant her Homer Simpson comment as a compliment!!! But now she looks at me when I get dressed up and hugs me and says things like, "Mum, look you're nearly the same as me, and I can get my arms all the way around." That's really nice.
Another obstacle I encountered, when I first joined CalorieKing, was hunger. At first, I was really hungry all the time. In retrospect, I think I should have cut my calories down gradually. Now I never feel hungry and whereas before I always went over my 1200 calories, now I rarely do.
I went to a party recently and even though I picked the healthiest options, I told myself that I wasn't going to eat like I was on a diet because that's not how I see the CalorieKing program. It is dieting in the sense that I am trying to lose weight but for me it's learning to eat well again, healthily and with the right portion sizes. Anyway, at the party I put things on my plate and found I couldn't finish them. I think my body has become used to smaller portions.
I forgot to mention that one other obstacle I had was alcohol. Because my family are Italian we always have a glass of wine (or two) with meals. I never realised how many calories were in wine and, when it comes to the crunch, I would rather eat the calories than drink them. Having said that, on nights when I cook a special meal I will work my glass of wine into my calories or work them off exercising.
What tips do you have for others who are trying to lose weight?
Exercise! That is the best tip I can give anyone. I started by walking and burned up 140 calories each day. Then the Winter weather came so I stopped walking. After a while, I thought 'I have to do something!!!' So I got on my exercise bike. Exercise in my family is like a four letter word and is to be avoided at all cost. We never watched or did sports and we were brought up as couch potatoes. I think the reason I never put on weight before is because I spent so much time house cleaning and walking (I don't drive), but I have agoraphobia and am housebound, for the most part, so cycling on a stationary bike is the only alternative.
The first night I got on my exercise bike I did 30 minutes and thought I was going to die! Then, when I entered my exercise into my online diary and saw how many calories I burned, I persisted and eventually started doing one hour, every night. That burned around 700 calories, compared to the 140 of walking.
Now I go for walks with my husband for pleasure but don't even count them and still get on my bike every night. I feel that if I'm going to invest an hour in exercise for burning calories I might as well burn 700 rather than 140!!!
I personally don't eat my calories back unless I do so much on my bike that they go really, really low. I have put my bike in my bedroom in front of an old TV with a VCR. I get cheap movies at the second hand shops to watch or watch movies on TV while I pedal and I hardly notice the time. I've gone from doing 25 k/ph to 32-34 k/ph. I also now have my bike set much harder than I did in the beginning. I feel really fit.
The other thing I did that might help other people, is find really low-calorie food that was quick to make for when I had a snack attack:
* I make a salad with white and red cabbage and grated carrots that will last in the fridge, washed and cut, for a few days. I have a bowl of that with dressing (I used to use olive oil and vinegar) but now use Praise olive oil dressings as they have less calories. I don't like oil-free dressings.
*I also make vegetable soups in Winter. When I got hungry in Winter, I would put a bowl of soup in the microwave and have that.
*I use lower-calorie veggies. Not potatoes and no pasta.
*When I was really hungry and needed something quick, I would microwave frozen spinach and put some salt and pepper on it and have that.
Another tip I have is to drink water. I drink heaps of it. I never drink anything but water! Since I've been using CalorieKing, I don't even like diet drinks as they taste way too sweet to me now.
One more thing that helped me cope is egg whites. I would hard-boil eggs and keep them in the fridge and when I was really hungry, or if my calories were over that day, I would have one meal of hard-boiled egg whites (about 5) and a salad or steamed broccoli.
I also take psyllium husk with my oatmeal in the morning and make my oatmeal with oat bran in the microwave as it has more fibre and less calories but tastes the same. You can still make the oatmeal nice and creamy.
How do you feel now that you're achieving success?
I feel really sexy and proud of myself. I won't really think I've been successful until I've kept the weight off for a couple of years, but while I'm losing weight and trying to achieve my goal weight I'm really happy with what I've done and how I've managed to stick to it.
I could have never done it without CalorieKing because that is how I learned about the mistakes I was making. Without CK I would still be making the same mistakes: starving myself to lose weight and then eating the same way and putting the weight back on.
Every time I hear some that is going to actually pay to go to WeightWatchers or some weight-loss program I want to stop them and say, 'Hey...there is this website that is completely free and you will lose weight forever'. My friend wanted to use the meal-replacement shakes and I said, 'What will you do after that?' I gave her the CalorieKing link and told her that CalorieKing will teach her how to eat well forever!
When I see people I haven't seen in a long time, I love it that they notice the change in me and tell me how good I'm looking. That makes me even more motivated to do more and to stick with it. I was very lucky, when I gained weight I gained it everywhere and no one noticed how much I had put on. Now that I've lost it, I've done the same thing and lost it everywhere so it doesn't look as much as I've actually lost, but I would rather it be this way.
I had become very good at placing myself behind other people in photos and wearing loose clothes and used to get angry at the stores for only stocking clothes "for young people" Now I get angry when I can't find something flattering because the fashion is now all loose again...LOL. Now I wish I did have photos of me at my heaviest weight to compare with my current situation but I am definitely taking photos of myself and my family with me now that I'm thin!! I will never hide from the camera again as long as I can keep my weight down.
But I think one thing I've never lost sight of, is that even though being thin is nice and I feel great and it's better for my health, what you weigh is not what makes you who you are. People like you for who you are, not what you look like.
How have the products or services offered by CalorieKing.com.au helped you to lose weight?
I can't say enough about CalorieKing and how it has helped me. From the menus and shopping lists which I used in the beginning, to the interactive tools (mainly the averages which kept things in perspective) and that beautiful red line at the bottom of the page showing me not only how many calories I'm using during the day and have used at the end of the day, but the way it shrinks back when you exercise...I really feel that is what did it for me in the beginning: you actually see a physical sign of what exercise is doing for you. Normally you exercise to lose weight but you really don't "see" anything for doing it.
I also think it's great the way the Food and Exercise Diary on the website calculates the calories for you and, in my case, how I could keep track of my saturated fats to control my cholesterol levels.
From the CalorieKing website, I've learned all the things I was doing wrong. I sometimes still get caught out, as I'm not very good at planning my day, except for dinner. But everyone I tell about CalorieKing, I say to them that I would never have lost all this weight without it. I had joined a couple of American free sites, such as Better Homes and Gardens in the US, which has menus and weigh-ins and is a good site, and sparkpeople.com, but I never really lost any weight and never got motivated until I found CalorieKing.
Thank you so much. I even wrote to A Current Affair hoping they would do a feature on your site but they never got back to me. As far as I'm concerned, CalorieKing is the only way to go. It's a eating teaching tool, not a a diet. It's for life!