Jun 25, 2020 « Back to The Skinny
Why did you sign up for NS?
Like many participants, the Naturally Slim (NS) program was offered to me through my employer. I remember seeing the posting come through my email and I applied on a complete and total whim. Sure, I wasn’t happy with my weight, but I wasn’t proactively looking to change my lifestyle either. I had a “Welp, if my employer is going to invest in me by paying for my participation in the program, then I had better do my part to earn that investment!” That is just how I am wired. I knew nothing about what the program entailed or what changes I would need to make in my life in order to be successful.
What did your starting point look like?
I weighed the exact amount I weighed at full-term pregnant with both of my children. I set my “audacious” goal at losing 55 pounds, which would get me back to my lowest weight as an adult after that points-based program in my early 20s. I’ll be honest, I did not believe I could do it (that weight was years before marriage and two babies in less than two years!)
What were you hoping would change?
Weight has been a battle my whole life. As a child, I was always much taller and heavier than my classmates. I recall trying a pill-based diet program as a 7th grader – my first exposure to the world of dieting. I don’t recall thinking too much about weight loss throughout high school or college, even though I was “bigger” than my friends, but after entering the workforce, my weight quickly packed on.
As an adult, I’ve made numerous attempts at losing weight with various methods (some multiple times), and I had never been able to sustain commitment or success. Back in my early 20s I followed a points-based program for several months with a friend and lost over 45 pounds but gained it all back (plus some) as soon as I quit measuring and counting. Whether it be counting, measuring, eliminating whole food groups, only eating pre-packaged “nutrient-dense” items, or whatever “magic” method caught my attention, I couldn’t sustain for more than a few weeks.
When did you start seeing results?
Each week when I stepped on the scale, I saw the weight melting off because I was following the NS principles while eating the same foods as the rest of my family…foods that I actually wanted to eat! And now at the end of my year of NS, I have lost over 80 pounds!
Would you say the experience was “easy?”
I’ll be honest, there have been rough patches. I’ve had weeks when I gained weight. There are moments when I still look at food as a reward or a way to celebrate. There have been times when my mind just doesn’t want to make the right choices. But what is so different for me now is that I am equipped with the tools to eat any food the smart way or get back on track if I’ve gained – something I had never had before! Time and time again, the principles have proven true!
What have been some of your favorite lessons learned?
I now know how to handle fluff pounds (both mentally and practically!)! I have clung to Marcia’s advice that weight is managed, and you can’t gain 10 if you don’t first gain 5.
What would you say is different about NS from other weight-loss or wellness programs?
The psychology of the NS program resonated with me and has completely changed how I think and feel about food. Based on previous failed weight loss attempts, I knew that programs that label certain foods or food groups as forbidden will just make me crave them more and I will eventually derail and binge on them.
NS taught me how to have a healthy relationship with food – and how to savor a treat mindfully and without guilt, knowing that I don’t have indulgent treats on a daily basis. Understanding the size of my stomach and the adequate portion size has been a huge tool for me. Even after a year, I don’t have complete trust in my ability to stop when comfortably full, and so I focus more on slowly eating my approximate 1-1¼ cup of food. And guess what? That portion is enough for me!
Describe one of your greatest victories in the program.
For a while, I intentionally avoided restaurant eating because managing the portions stressed me out. I knew that I would have to practice my skills in the restaurant setting, and with my husband’s encouragement, I’ve been exercising that muscle.
Asking for a to-go container right away or ordering a kid’s meal has been a huge help! If I notice a “12 and under” label on the kid's menu, I ask the server politely if I can order from that menu because the adult menu portions are too much for what I need, and I’ve never been told no!
Slowing down my eating speed has also revealed that I really don’t love certain foods that I regularly ate. Now I confidently pass on the mashed potatoes and have a little extra of a different item which I enjoy more.
How has this impacted your family?
Another by-product of living by NS principles is a changed view of how my children eat. In the past, I would get so annoyed that my kids would choose to eat the strawberries first instead of saving them to eat last so they could end on their favorite. Now I smile every time I see them doing this, because I know that they are eating their favorite item first, just like the NS principles have taught me!
When they say they are full, I respect it and don’t force them to clean their plates. When they say they’re not hungry for lunch yet, I respect it, because I know that they will tell me when they are hungry and ready to eat. As a parent, I never want my kids to struggle with weight like I did, and now I have a clearer perspective and know to nurture their “true thin” eating tendencies instead of conditioning them out of it.
How would you encourage someone to try NS?
My best encouragement is to set your mind on giving your best effort. Following the principles works! Don’t expect perfection; expect a journey with joys and challenges, and prepare for how you will respond to the challenges. Put in the work, even when you don’t want to, and relish in the success! You CAN do this!