Maggie got started by joining a weight-loss program and setting some goals. The long-term goal was to lose 50 pounds. But rather than dwelling on that huge hurdle, she focused on losing 1 or 2 pounds a week. She did it by making choices one meal at a time. She also added more exercise to her life.
She has so changed the way she looks at food that "I don't feel good now if I don't eat right. And when I say 'right,' I mean 'healthy,' " she says.
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.