Pat's Story: 1 Step at a Time

Slowly and surely, she takes off 100 pounds

4 min read

Having been overweight all of her life, Pat knew all too well about the ups and downs of weight loss.

During her last diet program, Pat watched the needle on her scale go down by 132 pounds over 13 months. Then, she saw it go all the way up again ­ and keep going. "I stayed at 185 pounds for 10 minutes before gaining it all back with interest," she laments.

The time had come to find a real solution to her problem.

"I really wanted to work with the food guide pyramid because it seemed sensible and balanced and did not forever ban my favorite foods," says the 50-year-old Durham, N.C., resident.

She also knew meetings were not her cup of tea. So she started looking online for a diet club that embraced the principles of the government's food pyramid. She was delighted to find that WebMD's Weight Loss Clinic fit the bill.

Pat, who works as an administrator for a small nonprofit organization, weighed 387 pounds when she joined the Weight Loss Clinic in November 2003. High blood pressure, joint pain, and risk of diabetes threatened her health. She was determined to eat healthfully and to steer clear of fads. She was ready to make some lifestyle changes that would lead to permanent results.

Today, Pat is proud of her slow and steady weight loss of nearly 100 pounds over 18 months. And she's not done yet. She believes she has finally found the formula for success.

"I am learning great lessons about nutrition [and] the use of food as fuel rather than comfort, that I believe will carry me through the rest of my weight loss and the rest of my life," says Pat. "I am proud that I have finally taken concrete steps to improve my health."

While Pat was ready to make changes in her lifestyle, living without an occasional slice of pizza was unthinkable.

Being able to eat her favorite foods in moderation "has been a very important aspect of my success," she says. So is a flexible eating plan.

Meal planning is key, Pat has found. She enjoys three meals per day along with regular snacks of healthy food, which help keep her feeling satisfied. When she gets a craving, she simply eats a small amount of the food she craves.

Some other changes Pat has made in her eating habits include:

  • Smaller portions
  • More vegetables and fruit
  • Fewer sweets
  • Fewer snacks in the evening
  • Less fast food

She says her favorite part of the program is the journal, where she keeps excellent records of her intake. She is a frequent visitor to the message boards, dispensing pearls of wisdom and learning from her friends and fellow WLC members and staff. She credits her growing knowledge about nutrition, health, and fitness to reading WLC columns, features, newsletters, and emails.

Physical activity was never a big part of Pat's life. A year and a half ago, she never thought she would be going to an exercise class three times a week. But for the past year, Pat has been a fixture at her local Curves gym. She even works out on non-gym days, doing exercises to strengthen the "core" muscles in her torso, and stretches with a fitness band.

Her weight loss and fitness routine has enabled her to stand for longer periods, bend more easily, and walk without getting out of breath. She finds that daily activities are much easier. Better yet, she has energy for, and interest in, doing things that she has not been able to do for a long time.

What advice does this successful dieter have for other members? She provided the following top 10 tips that have helped her lose weight:

  • Measure portions.
  • Read food labels.
  • Learn substitutions and equivalents.
  • Journal faithfully, either online or on paper.
  • Use food as fuel.
  • Move more.
  • Ask for help if you need it.
  • Connect with the online community.
  • Pay attention to everything you put into your mouth.
  • Eat breakfast every day.

Pat still has a way to go to meet her 200-pound goal, but she's not worried. She's confident that her new skills and lifestyle habits will, over time, get her to her goal weight. In a few months, we'll bring you an update on Pat's progress.

Height:5' 7"

Lost: 100 pounds in 18 months on the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic program