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Published:November 28th, 2005 21:25 EST
Start Your Resolution Now!

Start Your Resolution Now!

By Alex Alex

235. The number stared up at me. How had I let myself get to this point?

Six months ago, weighing myself was an annual event. Then I found my magic bullet. Atkins? No. Pills? Nope. South Beach? Don`t think so. So how`d I do it then? Come a little closer, I don`t want the secret to get out. All it took was " eating right and exercise.

Isn`t that what doctors have been saying all along? It`s easier said than done. But take it from me: all it takes is a little will power, emphasis on little, and some simple steps.

All my life, I`ve been overweight. I was a 20-year-old choc-o-holic and fried food addict. Those were my two food groups. Working in a restaurant and being surrounded by pie all day didn`t help my situation. I knew I had to change. How, I didn`t know.

The first time I tried the Atkins diet, I thought I had found something that could work for me. I revelled in it. Cheeseburgers and bacon and no guilt? No way. Six weeks later, with a bagel in each hand, I`d admit defeat to the bread gods.

USA Today said that by 2005, obesity will overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. 2005 is here! I didn`t want to end up a statistic. I decided to make a change in April 2004. This is how I did it:  

Step #1: Diets don`t work.
There it is. No one can stick to a diet. Diets are short-term. Make a lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes last forever.

I used the Weight Watchers Point System to help with my choice in foods. I didn`t join Weight Watchers, because I didn`t have the money, but their program is effective. Take it from me. Take it from my mom. Or take it from the 1.5 million women who are already members.

Each day, depending on your weight, you are allowed a certain number of points. I started off with 28 points a day. As you lose weight, your points get lower. They provide you with books that have the point value of almost everything you could imagine. Yes, even Hershey bars and Big Macs are included in the books. (Hershey Bar=6 points, Big Mac= 13 points).

Step #2: Finding new (and delicious) healthy food.
In June, Applebee`s debuted their new Weight Watchers menu. There are 10 new items which list their point`s value. There`s everything from French onion soup (3 points), to a tortilla chicken melt (10 points), to chocolate raspberry cake (4 points) and lemon cheesecake (5 points). I`ve tried almost all of the items and all are delicious. The first time I had the chocolate cake, I asked myself if I should be eating it. It felt like I was cheating.

Weight Watchers also makes frozen meals and desserts called Smart Ones. My favorite dessert is the giant sundae cone which only has two points. They also make fudge bars, ice cream sandwiches, cookie dough desserts, and the list goes on. They`re a lifesaver when you`re craving something sweet.

A new product I`ve only seen at Wal-Mart is Weight Watchers chocolate cake, carrot cake, and muffins. The chocolate cake is a perfect snack and only has one point.

Nabisco makes 100 calorie packs of Oreo cookies (minus the filling), Chips Ahoy cookies, Wheat Thins, Cheez-its, and gummy fruit snacks. Snacking isn`t so bad when the cookies only have 100 calories.

Step #3: Write it down!

Writing down everything you eat helps you lose weight. No really. It`s been clinically proven.

Writing down everything you eat helps you lose weight. No really. It`s been clinically proven.

With the Weight Watchers program, you`re supposed to write down everything you eat and its point value. Even if you choose another approach, still write it down. By writing down all you eat, you can see where your problem is. Food journals help to cut down the snacking you do.

Step #4: Don`t deprive yourself.

You cannot cut out every food you love and expect your lifestyle change to stick. Instead of eating candy every day, as I did, cut it down to once a week, or once a month. You`ve heard the phrase, everything in moderation. It works. Once you don`t eat it all the time, you will appreciate it more when you treat yourself.

You cannot cut out every food you love and expect your lifestyle change to stick. Instead of eating candy every day, as I did, cut it down to once a week, or once a month. You`ve heard the phrase, everything in moderation. It works. Once you don`t eat it all the time, you will appreciate it more when you treat yourself.

The hardest part for me was working at Village Inn and serving pie. Peanut-butter cup pie started talking to me, You know you want to eat a piece. " It would taunt me. But instead of eating a piece every shift, I would only indulge once every couple of months. And to tell you the truth, it was so sweet; I don`t understand how I ate it everyday.

Step #5: You gotta move.

The weight`s not going to come off just by eating better. Exercise is a big part of the weight loss journey. That`s a huge lesson I had to learn. Thank God for Curves.

The weight`s not going to come off just by eating better. Exercise is a big part of the weight loss journey. That`s a huge lesson I had to learn. Thank God for Curves.

Curves opened in Johnston in 2000. There are 8,000 Curves in the world with more than 1 million members. Curves is a woman`s only facility (sorry, guys) that uses a station approach to working out. For me, it was a fast and convenient way to get my workout in. I joined in June for the three month student special.

Curves for me, was a godsend. There are 12 stations set up in a circle. You work out at each station for 30 seconds, after which a recording tells you to move to the next station. Each month, they weigh and measure their members and give you a convenient chart to tell you how you are progressing.

Step #6: Don`t get discouraged.

The weight isn`t going to melt off in a month. It`s going to take a lot of time and commitment. But as the months pass by, the progress becomes apparent. You start to feel better; your clothes become too big. People you haven`t seen in awhile start saying things like, Are you losing weight? "

The weight isn`t going to melt off in a month. It`s going to take a lot of time and commitment. But as the months pass by, the progress becomes apparent. You start to feel better; your clothes become too big. People you haven`t seen in awhile start saying things like, Are you losing weight? "

The most important thing to remember is to do it for yourself. Don`t do it because your mom wants you to, or your husband, or your boyfriend. Do it for you.

Six months ago, I never thought I would weigh 185 pounds. I don`t remember the last time I weighed less than 200. But by following my six steps, you can get to where you want to be. If you want to lose 10 pounds or 200, you have to start somewhere.


Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels. Don`t forget that.

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