Maggie's strategies for healthy eating
Maggie lost weight by focusing on one meal at a
"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.
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.
- 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
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
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."