Where I do begin this story as the title states "Changing a Lifestyle"? I believe the best place to begin is to return to two years ago when I faced one of my fears of getting on the dreaded scale and seeing what the scale read. The scale read 265 pounds. That is the heaviest I had ever been in my life and even at 5' 7", that is too much weight. I came to the realization that there was not anything stopping me from getting heavier except for the fact I could do something about it.

At first, I had to just contemplate how was going to lose the weight and tried to make small adjustments in my eating patterns. Then two years ago in September, while I was at my annual physical at my Doctor's office, I asked her about what I could do concerning my need to not only lose weight but keep in good health.

My health had been good up to this point with my blood pressure just starting to be borderline high. I thought at 46yrs of age, it would be good to do something about the weight before someone told me I had to do something about it. My Doctor gave me several suggestions that we talked about extensively.

The suggestion we chose included drug therapy along with a diet that allowed no more than 30 percent or less fat. Now at this point, I am not particularly saying that the drug is for everyone or that it is a magical pill. I do believe that it did help with my weight loss with very few side effects.

Part of what I did, as suggested, was to keep a food diary. I found that it was very helpful for me in the beginning. It made me accountable for what I was eating and I could easily see my eating patterns at a glimpse.

I did gradually lose weight over the next six months going from 265 pounds down to 224 pounds while using the drug and keeping my diet at 30 percent or less fat. Of course, at first, I did not need to do any extra exercise because my work and activity level were enough to help with the weight loss. I knew that I would have to add some sort of formal exercise program, at some point, to be able to continue my weight loss.

This was not an easy decision for me because I will stress, at that point, I was the one of the original couch potatoes. I had, at one time in my life, lost a substantial amount of weight but I had never really exercised or toned my body. I had never felt any different, even with losing the weight. I decided that this time it would be different. Not only would I lose weight, but also be toned, fit, and healthy, no matter what weight I would end up at.

Then a year ago, at the end of March, I joined the SVH Wellness Center as a member. The first exercise program I joined was the water aerobics program. I had always loved the water and knew this probably would be an excellent exercise to start with, as there is less impact on the joints. I have to tell you I love water aerobics, but as you may have read somewhere, in any number of magazine articles, it is best to find an exercise activity that you really like to do.

I am happy to tell you, as of this writing, that I have made my first major goal of weighing in at 200 pounds and shortly to drop under that mark. Also, my blood pressure is now within the normal limits. I am now doing water aerobics, jazzercise, riding my new 15-speed bicycle and walking a mile and half easily, which a year ago I would not have been able to do. I have found that I really do enjoy exercising and how it is a wonderful stress reliever.

Dear reader, I do not want you to think that I have done this "Lifestyle Change" by myself because that it is not the case. My family and friends have been great source of encouragement and help through these last two years. Their encouragement came so many times in the form of a well-timed comment of how good I looked.

Even though, at the time, I was a bit discouraged or at one of the inevitable weight loss plateaus, I want to thank them for all the love and support that they have given me. I could not have come as far as I have without it. I believe their greatest gift to me has been that it never truly mattered what I weighed; they still cared for me. They now are very happy for me because of the change they see in me for a variety of reasons.

This is the end of this particular story but I will continue on what I have started two years ago. I am not exactly sure where I will be, but I do know will be happy at whatever weight that I end up at.

Copyright © 2001 Ruth Mack