The Amateur Food Detective

The Amateur Food Detective
Bluebird Acres Farm in Friendship, NY

How I Lost the Weight-Writers Weigh In

Here are some true weight loss stories from my readers. If you want to lose weight, perhaps these will motivate you.


Hi, I'm LadyBug

In the past 22 months, I have lost over 110 pounds. You might ask "How did you do it?" Certainly not by myself.

For years, I've tried different diet plans from Weight Watchers to eDiets on the Internet. I was successful in each one I tried, but was never able to sustain any losses. In fact, I was at a point where I felt the only option for me was gastric bypass surgery. My physician was advising me to seriously consider it.

My husband was opposed to the idea. With my history of past surgeries, I have had complications with healing and he didn't want me to go through any more agony. I argued with him that I couldn't lose weight on my own. I've tried and failed too many times. Any support I might have gotten from him and my children was spotty because I've always fallen off diets right in front of them.

By the grace of God, my husband encountered a colleague whom he hadn't seen in a while. This colleague had lost a considerable amount of weight and my husband politely commented on it and received a vague acknowledgment. However, later that same day, my husband received an email from this colleague with a brief description of how he'd lost the weight. The two men corresponded throughout the day, giving my husband the information needed to share with me.

At this point I was open to any suggestions. My blood pressure was high enough to be on medication and the doctor left a message on our answering machine that my blood sugar levels were 197 and we needed to discuss medication for that.

The program my husband's colleague found was a 12-step program. I had heard about 12 steps, but never thought about what it really entailed. Willing to try it, I attended a meeting run by other people in the same program.

What drew my attention was the hope I heard revealed by those who had found a way to lose weight, but also the insanity that goes with the over-indulgence of just about anything. The most important phrase I learned was that I may have an allergy to flour and sugar and quantities. An allergy, I asked myself. The definition of allergy was any food that created an uncontrollable craving. Well, I could certainly relate to that.

It wasn't easy to lose these 110 pounds. Flour and sugar are so heavily in our diets, I found them staring me in the face everywhere I turned. Did you know that some frozen hamburgers have sugar in them? Cereals! Don't get me started. The first day, when I was told what foods I could eat, my husband and I went grocery shopping. Ever wonder why our kids love Cheerios? It's sugar!

Now, I used to be the poster-girl for LAZY. Having to read the labels of everything I bought was too much work. At first I did it religiously, but when it started to be work, on top of the work to prepare and weight everything, I faltered. I hated work. It was a four-letter word to me. Needless to say, I found the first excuse to go back to the flour and sugar. Oh, I wasn't open about it, I hid away in Colorado where I was ostensibly letting my son get to know his girlfriend he'd met online. I went to meetings which are a part of 12-steps programs, and made my phone calls, but I was still living a lie.

When I came back, I still went to meetings, cried with my sponsor about why I was eating the way I was and exclaimed I was surrendering my will.

I see I missed a few points. In 12-steps, there are several disciplines to follow to keep you on track. One is to attend a minimum of three meetings a week. Another is to find a sponsor who has what you want (the body size you're striving for as well as the peaceful demeanor). The most important thing is to be rigorously honest, not only with your sponsor but with yourself.

It took me 11 months to reach a breaking point. I looked around me and saw so many friendships develop and grow. I felt totally isolated in the fellowship. It came to me that this is what I always did. I never let anyone close to me for fear of them leaving me. Those I loved and trusted seemed to always leave me, whether because they moved, or through death. Even my relationship with my husband was strained because of my irrational irritability. This revelation came to me before one of my meetings and hit me like the proverbial Mack truck. Luckily, I wasn't alone when this happened and someone whom I admired sat with me and listened.

I thank God for sending her to me, because she is now my sponsor. Once I broke down and realized I was not following the program as thoroughly as I must, I saw that I needed to never take anything for granted again. I asked my sponsor how to prepare my food, thinking maybe I wasn't doing it correctly and really wanted to make sure. Before I try new foods, I ask her for advice. She knows my life inside and out now. Every day, every week, some new memory reveals itself to me and reminds me I really was addicted to food.

My kids always asked why I could never remember things from my childhood and teen years. I did, but the memories revolved around food. Now that my system is clear of flour and sugar, my mind is clearing up and I'm remembering things which astound me. Most of these memories bring considerable feelings with them. I now know I used food to hide the feelings, to make myself numb from feeling any emotion. The actual 12 steps as created by AA are helping me accept these feelings and then let them go. How freeing that is!

Now this program may not be for everyone. It is for the person who cannot put a favorite food down and leave it on the plate, or the one who eats a whole bag of chips and wants more, or the one who hides their eating from their loved ones. This is addictive behavior.