Changing her thinking about food
Changing how she
thought about food also helped Dawn go from dieting to healthy eating. Dawn
doesn't avoid desserts and other foods that might be considered off-limits on a
diet. Instead she has learned to take smaller portions and to savor each bite.
"I've modified the types of food or the quantities, but I don't think there is
anything that I absolutely don't eat," she says.
"If I choose on
purpose to have something that might be a little bit richer, like a little
almond torte with whipped cream frosting, then I might really focus on making
sure that the rest of the meal is much lower in calories to balance it. And my
portion [of dessert] is going to be much smaller."
learned to pay attention to her hunger and fullness signals. Instead of eating
until she feels stuffed, she eats just enough to feel satisfied. "Slowing down
a little bit—that helped too."
Having someone she could turn to for
support helped Dawn a lot. As part of her healthy-weight program, Dawn was
assigned a health coach. This person helped Dawn anticipate things that might
prevent her from staying with her healthy eating habits. And when she became
discouraged, she would turn to her health coach for motivation.
people who don't have a health coach, Dawn recommends finding a friend, family
member, or coworker who has the same goals. "Get yourself a partner, somebody
who will help you stay accountable—maybe someone you can have a healthy lunch
What she has learned
For Dawn, the keys to becoming
a healthy eater involved finding nutrition habits that worked with her
lifestyle and having the support of a health coach. As a result, Dawn no longer
thinks about dieting. She is confident that the healthy habits she has learned
are things she can do for a lifetime.
Dawn has also learned to
focus on healthy behaviors, such as eating well and being physically active,
and not to focus so much on the number on the scale. She now realizes that the
behaviors are what make her healthy, not the weight she is at.
"This time I have more of a sense that this is not just a diet. It's a
health habit. I just feel like it's a part of my life now, and it's not
something that I'm going to stop when the diet gets over."
Dawn's story reflects her experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Dawn, to protect her privacy.
For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.