DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

Obesity

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The DASH diet that I have followed now for almost 9 years come this June, to lower my blood pressure and lose 90 pounds, just won best diet again for the 8th year in a row!!  All diet’s were rated by medical professionals and experts.  Check it out and if you are interested in learning more about DASH, you can also follow my facebook page here.

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When you read this article, it quickly becomes apparent how much of the weight loss process is actually about how you talk to your self. It is your day to day, moment to moment, inner thought process that makes the most difference in the long run.

When I stopped bombarding myself with unrealistic ideas and expectations and my values came into line with my desire to lose weight (i.e I was now quite sick with hypertension), the weight suddenly started to come off and stay off.  It was a much more difficult, slow, a day to day grind than I had ever anticipated.  Finally coming to a place mentally where I could be realistic and truly prepared for the hard work it was going to take for the rest of my life, was critically important to my success.  Worth a read for certain!

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Before I started following the DASH diet in spring 2009, I used to have terrible intestinal pain and bloating, daily, sometimes so bad I was unable to do up my pants or sleep well at night.  Within one week of starting the DASH diet, which eliminated most processed food from my diet, this pain was completely gone from my life and it has never returned.

Alzheimers and dementia run badly in my family, with my own Mother, who is only 21 years older that me, currently suffering from these diseases now.  My grandmother also had Alzheimers disease.  My hope is that my continued adherence to DASH diet will help ensure that either I dont suffer the same fate or at the very least my decent into these diseases, is a lot slower and I dont develop them until much later in my lifespan.

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The DASH diet deserves this win, and I credit it with giving me back my health.  I  completely eliminated my hypertension (once 170/90) over the course of 18 months with DASH diet, weight loss, and steadily increasing intensity and quantity of  exercise.

I noted that in this article, the DASH diet with exercise group lost the most weight, although it doesn’t indicate if the DASH diet alone group was following a calorie restricted DASH diet, which would be interesting to know. Before I started losing weight with DASH, I spent almost 6 months learning to follow the diet from June 2009-Dec 2009, with no calorie restriction and really lost very little weight until I began the calorie restriction process.  However, during this time my Doctor did note my blood pressure was beginning to drop, slightly.  He believed I could lower it even more if I lost weight.

For the first year of my 90 pound weight loss with DASH diet, I was still obese, hypertensive and not in great shape to exercise, so I stuck to a calorie restricted DASH diet (about 1300 cals per day-never cheating)  and lower intensity exercise, like walking, hiking and yoga, until the second year of weight loss, when I began a running program.

As the first year of calorie restriction and weight loss passed me by, with my blood pressure continuing to drop; suddenly my body began to feel very healthy again.   I sensed I could run without hurting my knees, given I had lost so much weight.  It was a goal I had been working towards the whole time.  In my youth I had loved to run cross country.  I had longed to to be able to do that again, if I could just get there, it would be the greatest reward!  I would finally be free to fly again!

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Prior to finding DASH diet, I was hypertensive with obesity that ranged as high as class 3. To lose so much weight required 18 months of solid daily calorie restriction with DASH, ranging between 1300-1500 cals per day. I have spent 5 years now maintaining this weight loss and I notice that I dont seem to gain weight following a DASH diet lifestyle, even if I eat too much.

Over Christmas/New Years and all the weeks before that, there were days I would have sworn I should have put on weight with my food intake and I just never did.   If I do gain a few pounds, it just comes off, without much conscious effort that I am really aware of anymore. I do continue to weigh myself, almost daily to ensure I am always still monitoring things.  I continue to exercise vigorously although I didn’t as intensively or as often, over these holidays, as I was nursing a lower back injury.

Perhaps good habits, as Dr Katz (I am a fan) discusses, are just becoming more ingrained and a part of me that I do not notice them?  I used to have to watch my calories much more closely to maintain weight and these days, this is not so important for maintenance. Something has changed in a good way and I hope it continues.   Will have to keep an eye on it and see if my own aging process changes this, given calorie needs lessen as we get older.

My alternative theory is, that its a super, cold chilly, winter and I can’t stop shivering much of the time.  I have never never been as warm as I used to be before I lost all this weight, in the winter (probably the only thing I miss).  This is very unusual for my area, usually quite balmy in winter, so maybe I am just burning way more calories than usual.

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Today I was reminded me of this memory, the video my husband made for me of my 18 month, 90 pound weight loss journey with DASH diet and exercise. This weight loss has been maintained with DASH for 5 years now. I thought it would be good to share it again, given New Year’s is almost upon us and some of my readers will be making new weight loss resolutions.

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_90616191_elizaAs a woman who has suffered much of her past life in the throes of a stubborn eating disorder that took many forms and shapes, before I actually beat it, I would agree that denying someone eating disorder treatment, based on their current weight is ridiculous.

When my disordered eating patterns started at about 11-12 years of age, I was first anorexic and underweight.  This morphed into bulimia at a normal weight,  then bulimia with extreme obesity, ending up with class 3 obesity, without bulimia, before finally moving to eliminate the disorder completely with the help of the DASH diet.

The hardest part of the whole disorder to fix was probably the last piece, the obesity piece, as it lasted much longer than the other troubled eating behaviours.  It was the most difficult to change permanently, but I did finally eliminate the continuous weight regains, that always plagued me in the past.

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food-grocery-costs-recipes-20151224I usually eat 1-2 servings of unprocessed meat or fish, each day as part of the DASH diet.  About once a week, I skip the meat altogether and eat vegetables, nuts and seeds (e.g unsalted, roasted, sunflower seeds) for the whole day.  I am still always looking for new, low sodium, tasty, easy ways to incorporate lentils into our daily meals, because they are such an incredibly healthy source of protein.

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