Secrets of an alternative lifestyle revealed

Secrets of an alternative lifestyle revealed By Paula Damon "At least 65 percent of adults are overweight and 30 percent of all adults are considered obese" Hello, my name is Paula, and I am a recovering overeater. My struggle with food began as child and my weight has been up and down ever since. I hit a new low in 2006, when I could no longer stuff myself into my clothes, except for a pair of black velour stretch pants and matching top. At that time, I was tipping the scales at more than 35 pounds overweight, and I refused to spend money on a new wardrobe that was two sizes larger. That's when I decided to change my diet, which had been centered on triple helpings of pasta, Alfredo sauce, pizza, red licorice, Hershey's bars, cookies, Almond Joys, and more pasta. This was not my first experience with dieting. I am a descendent of a long line that idolizes thinness. I started by seriously committing myself to such disciplines as writing down every bite of food and nearly eliminating all "white" foods, such as sugar, salt and flour. As a part of my "recovery," I reduced my fat intake and stopped eating red meat. Talk about being tested – there are few things in life more personally challenging to me than denying myself the pleasure of eating whatever I want whenever I want. There's more to my new food regimen. I eat only two meals per day, I limit my portions and I do not eat in between meals. The only crunchy foods I eat are fresh vegetables, fruits and sunflower seeds. Everything else that is crunchy is off limits. Every day I try to incorporate a good cardiovascular workout for at least 30 minutes, which leaves me sweating and gasping for air. Now three years later and 30 some pounds lighter, I continue to suffer – I mean employ these strategies. It is a well-documented fact that Americans spend more than $58 billion a year on weight-loss products and services. I did it the hard way. White knuckled it. No Jenny Craig for me. No LA Weight Loss. No Weight Watchers. I did not join the gym or Overeaters Anonymous. I didn't even hire a personal trainer. Nope. On that first lonesome, dreary day in March back in 2006, I began my weight loss program by incorporating three things that were and continue to be critical to keeping my weight off. First, I acknowledge my cravings for pasta, French fries, ice cream, sugary treats, fried anything, pasta, bread, sweets and more pasta. Second, I accept and even welcomed my hunger pangs as an everyday thing that I can ignore unless it is mealtime. Finally, every day I prioritize my food plan and exercise routine – they rank right up there with family, home and job. Sounds miserable. It is some of the time. These last few years have been a lot of hard work, but it is getting easier. I still drool over anything with triple chocolate fudge in its title and long for a thick juicy burger with a plate of fries. It's just that I crave my new leaner lifestyle more. That's my weight-loss story. What's yours? Join my blog at http://my-story-your-story.blogspot.com/ or email pauladamon@iw.net. A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker and freelance writer. Her columns have won first place in Iowa Press Women and National Federation of Press Women competitions. Paula's col-umns took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 and 2008 Communications Contests. To schedule prose readings by Paula Damon for your next event or fundraiser, e-mail pauladamon@iw.net. 2009© Paula Damon

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