Maggie lost some weight a few years ago. But like many people who go on diets, she couldn't keep the pounds off. She didn't eat enough food, so she was hungry. And she denied herself the food she really loved, like pizza.
Then she changed the way she looked at food and what it meant to be healthier. She lost 50 pounds and is now at her goal weight. Along the way, she lowered her blood pressure and blood sugar, and her asthma symptoms went away.
"I had a tendency to do what I call all or nothing at all," says Maggie, a nurse. "I would either be very rigorous and almost not eat enough, and then I'd get really hungry and then I'd go binge on pizza or whatever other high-fat food I enjoyed at the time. There was a tendency to want to get the weight off fast, wanting quick results, but not really [be] able to stick with it because it was too austere.
"I finally realized it wasn't a time-limited thing. It wasn't like, 'Well, I'm going to be really good and stay on this food plan now until I get the weight off.' It was more a realization that, 'You know, if I want to weigh 130 to 135 pounds, then I have to do these things. I can't stop doing them just because I lose the weight.'
"So it became much more of a lifestyle change than a temporary diet. The idea that somehow I could go back to my old ways was just not there anymore."
Maggie knows how hard it is to make a lifestyle change. She also knows it may take some time to get ready to do it.
"Nothing anybody else said to me or suggested to me had any impact, until I decided for myself that I needed to do something about my weight, and that it was worth it," she says. "People aren't going to change until they see a reason to do it and are willing to do it. Some people want to lose weight, but they are not ready. It is a major deal. It was harder in many ways than stopping smoking was. It's because food's everywhere. It's a real commitment of time and energy. It's hard work, (but) it's one of the most fulfilling things I've done."