DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

Motivation

Yesterday was my first Oak Bay Merrython race, and also the first Christmas event I attended this year, effectively kicking off my holiday season. I learned only a week ago, I was going to be running 8 kilometres. When my daughter, who also works at Oak Bay Recreation centre, first told me about the run, I assumed she was registering us for a 5K run. Turns out there was no 5K, only a 4K and an 8K, and we were doing the 8K.

It was a gorgeous morning, brisk and sunny, a perfect day for a run by the ocean. It was cold enough for ice to still be out there, but we didn’t hit any icy patches along the way that I could identify. Both of us were not in great shape, nursing various injuries, me in my lower back (my physio has been warning me to take it easy) and she with foot troubles, but between the two of us, we made it, taking a few walking breaks on the way.

It wasn’t a timed run anyways, so time was not important, it was more about mother daughter connection, having fun and of course, exericise! My next time run will the be TC 10K in April. I am including some pictures taken just before and at the merrython. Here is wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!

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image-3I completely agree that using photography to chronicle a very large weight loss can help a person come to terms with negative body image issues, over the long term. My husband’s video photo journaling of my own weight loss process with DASH diet and exercise, was super helpful to me for this purpose.  It was also extremely motivating to be able see my progress over the long term, so it served a very useful, dual purpose.

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I try to keep foods that will tempt me out of the house altogether.  We tend to go out for dessert, rather than keep it in the house and usually dessert will be at a restaurant and we will share it. Typically I will take 3 bites out of my partner’s dessert and then he eats the rest.  I find after 3 bites, I am able to feel satisfied and the craving for the food is gone.  It was a strategy I used when I was losing weight and I still use it today to maintain the weight loss.

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dieting-limitsWhen I was losing weight with DASH diet, I put into place the biggest changes I ever made to my diet over my entire lifetime, losing 24 pounds in the first 3 months of that 18 month weight loss process.  It was much harder at the upfront than my previous unsuccessful (long term) go-to weight loss strategies of switching to a paleo/atkins type diet with periods of fasting to lose weight.

I had to learn a whole new way to eat and in the end those big changes stuck like the others never did, ensuing the weight was never regained. I also still weight myself every day or every second day at a minimum.

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I suffered from my early youth (11 years old) to adulthood, with first anorexia and later bulimia, finally settling into my final stage of disordered eating, as an obese, mid life, binge eater.

Then I found the DASH diet and reversed the course of my obesity, putting my disordered eating patterns behind me forever after.

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cpt109185281_highI took 18 months to lose 90 pounds with the DASH diet, far exceeding one year.  This is the first time I attempted weight loss where I deliberately planned to lose only 4-5 pounds per month at a minimum.  This was setting a far slower pace for myself than I had in the past, where I hoped for at least 10 pounds a month of weight loss.  The difference was this time I vowed to regain none of it, as I would never cheat until I hit a normal BMI or normal blood pressure, whichever came first.

I have found that the longer I keep the weight off, the easier weight maintenance becomes.  I am also getting older and very aware that I will need to continually adjust my calories, lower, for the most part as time goes by, as my metabolism slows. I intend to continue to focus on exercise for the rest of my life span though, to try to counter act those effects, as well as adherence to the low sodium DASH diet to help ensure my hypertension never returns.

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  1. he-beck4lf1Some great ideas  to clean up your pantry and your diet for spring is here!  When I started the DASH diet, I went through my house and threw out every high sodium item I had ever purchased, including the salt shaker and never looked back! Out of mind and out of reach, is out of temptation.

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Some helpful, motivating weight loss ideas. I used my smart phone a lot, during my weight loss process and found it an invaluable tool.  I still use it to help me maintain my weight loss. I currently use MapMyRun to track my runs and challenge myself to keep going forward. I find the external feedback and responsiveness from my fitness app in the moment, has helped me to make running something I am now intrinsically motivated to do.

I can also hook my partner as a friend, into the app and he likes and compliments me on my runs and progress, providing extra motivation.  I find it super helpful to know someone I love so much, cares enough to pay attention,  and stay involved for the long term in my fitness and health journey.

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Bariatric surgeryI had the exact same thoughts when my Doctor first suggested going on the wait list for weight loss surgery.   I had never really considered it because of the long term health risks, but I had also not planned on becoming so sick with hypertension.  I did understand that it  is not the surgery that causes the weight loss, it is the calorie restriction after the surgery.

I looked at it like was like pretending my mouth was sewn shut, instead of my stomach for 18 months, refusing to allow myself to cheat because I wouldn’t have been able to cheat after the surgery. I would have been forced to eat less, instead of it being a choice.  That was the huge bonus to looking at it that way, because although it would be hard, at the end my stomach would be the same as it always was.  No worries about long term affects and problems absorbing enough nutrients.

After looking at the DASH diet the Doctor had given me the same day he also suggested blood pressure drugs and weight loss surgery, I could clearly see that the volume of food was high, 10 servings of fruit and veggie alone, so much fibre. I didnt feel I would be able to follow the diet properly with surgery.   I eat 2 cups of broccoli at dinner alone most days and that is only the veggie servings.  There is no way I could eat a meal like that after surgery.   I like to eat healthy high fibre food and it takes up space that stomach surgery just wouldn’t allow.

I will say that if the DASH diet had not been so successful and I had been unable to lower my weight enough to eliminate my hypertension, I would have in the end, put my name on the list for weight loss surgery. I just didn’t want to do it until I tried everything else possible first.   I only hope the author of this article uses a registered dietician as the nutritionist she chose to recommend a diet plan, and join her medical/weight loss team.  Anything else could easily be snake oil.

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slicing-bread-960x640-960x640All important myths to leave behind for permanent weight loss and maintenance.   I have learned the hard way that I need carbs in my diet or I get cranky, depressed, and fatigued.  I used to follow low carb diets because I could get fast weight loss results, but the weight loss never stuck and in the end, it became almost impossible to lose weight anymore.   So hard, that I almost stopped trying and probably would have, if not for my hypertension, which my Doctor refused to ignore.

Now I eat plenty of healthy carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread, fruits, and veggies that increase my fibre intake and support appetite control.  My digestive system is not angry at me anymore now that I follow the high fibre DASH diet with lots of healthy carbs included!

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