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Maggie's Story: Making Changes for Her Health

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Maggie's story

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Maggie's strategies for healthy eating

Maggie lost weight by focusing on one meal at a time.

"I don't eat the way I used to. It's a matter of making choices every day. One day I might decide to eat more than another day, and that's okay, as long as I'm paying attention," she says.

Here are some of the things that helped her pay attention to what she eats:

  • Take it one meal at a time. "See it as a journey with a destination," Maggie says.
  • Read labels so you can see how much sugar, fat, protein, and fiber are in foods.
  • Cut out most refined sugar. Maggie stopped drinking soft drinks and bottled teas with sugar. "I used to really enjoy candy—a Hershey's bar or something like that. What I started to do was substitute that with chocolate pudding that had Splenda in it and no sugar, or the 70% dark chocolate with very little added sugar, and that only on rare occasions."
  • Eat whole fruit when you crave something sweet.
  • Eat 6 times a day. She eats small snacks 3 times a day, including fruit or whole-grain crackers.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Keep track of how much you eat from each food group to make sure you balance meals.
  • Make a list of foods that are "worth it" to you to spend the calories on.

Maggie also advises that you exercise a little more on days when you know that you are going out to eat or will have a treat at dinner.

Small changes lead to better health

When Maggie started gaining weight, she lost ground in her outdoor activities. She got more and more out of shape.

"I'm an old backpacker," she says. "I like to cross-country ski. I like to hike. And quite frankly, it was getting harder and harder. It was getting to the point where I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. I'd go out snow-shoeing on the side of a mountain, and I'd be out of breath and way far behind the people I went with."

She had other worries too. Her blood pressure and blood sugar levels were higher than she and her doctor wanted. The extra weight also didn't help her asthma. "The more weight I had on, the more difficult breathing was. It definitely impacted my activity level."

Her desire to enjoy her outdoors-Idaho lifestyle and concerns about her health gave her the motivation she needed to lose weight and keep it off.

As the pounds started to come off, she gained energy and felt stronger. "After I lost about 35 pounds, 40 pounds … I was, like, sprinting up that mountain and not even feeling it. It was just an unbelievable change in my ability to exercise and to enjoy being outside and doing things."

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 21, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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