By Bill Carter
Here’s a sobering statistic for women living in the Fargo-Moorhead area: cardiovascular disease is THE leading cause of death in the United States. What’s more, 33 percent of deaths among women, worldwide, are a result of heart disease.
Compulsive eating, or just plain eating as an entertainment experience, has become a life-threatening phenomenon, not only in the Red River Valley, but everywhere. It’s no coincidence that heart disease and obesity go hand in hand. Together, they constitute a deadly threat to the health of women, as dangerous as cigarette smoking and drug and alcohol abuse.
I’m 5’ 10” and used to weigh 215 pounds. I know what it’s like to be overweight and under the spell of a merciless eating addiction. Yet, over the course of the past eighteen months, I’ve lost 25 pounds, and I’m still losing weight. I’m writing this article to show you how I’m doing it.
I started to lose weight because I developed a plan and a set of priorities. The underlying motive was much clearer. I simply didn’t like the way I looked or felt at 215 pounds.
My plan evolved into a four-point strategy. First, cut out as much fat and carbohydrates as possible from everything eaten. Second, get AT LEAST one hour of exercise EVERY day. Third, sleep at least eight hours each night. And fourth, maintain a positive frame of mind.
Each of these points support the others, like the legs of a table. All of them must be in place to ensure stability.
The first step involved consistent, disciplined choices in choosing what to eat (this sounds easier than it actually is, and I’m still learning). Since so much food from grocery stores and restaurants has significant to sky-high amounts of fat, my menu has come to revolve around (almost) no-fat and no-carbohydrate foods such as rice, beans, fruits and vegetables. These kinds of food may not be exciting, but I have found it is much more exciting to be able to fit into clothes a size or two smaller than I wore eighteen months ago.
The second step got me losing weight because I was eating low-fat, low carbohydrate food which my body burned up easily while I took an hour-long daily walk or bicycle ride. Think about it: one hour equals only 4.16% of the day. That’s not too much time to ask from anybody’s schedule.
The third step is vital. Because I make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, I’m rested enough each day to give that maximum effort at the crucial time. I don’t succumb to the temptation of reaching for sugary, fatty snacks to gain a burst of energy.
Which leads into the fourth step. Because I’m eating better food, which increases my energy levels, I have found it’s much easier to feel better about myself and maintain my focus at work and at home. The happier I am, the less distracted I become, and I won’t wander off into bad habits like snacking.
The key was to recognize my problem of overeating and its associated lifestyle issues. By choosing to confront these problems every day, rather than give in to them, I have made steady progress.
And when you’re ready, so will you.
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