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Reduced Fat Butter(fass)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

By Alissa Butterfass

If you’ve read my previous posts, or at least my bio at the bottom of this one, you know I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic. I also don’t really like to exercise. You can do the math: Chocolate + (No)Exercise = OVERWEIGHT.

Well, I am now officially five weeks into doing something about it. Woo-hoo!

Last year my company offered employees a 50% discount on the Weight Watchers program. I signed up, but after one week I stopped tracking my food intake and well, let’s admit it, just stopped following the program–and yet continued to pay the monthly fee.

This year, my company expanded the benefit to 100% off. Yes, absolutely free. Amazing, right? I signed up and am actually doing it. I’m tracking all my meals and snacks, and my weekly weigh-ins. I am counting points and losing pounds. Hurray!

As heart patients, we all know the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on hearts and makes it harder for them to function. I wish I could say that was my motivation. Wouldn’t that be noble?

But, no. Here’s the real story. Without meaning to offend or make light of the serious disease of anorexia, I always compare it to the way people say that anorexics look in the mirror and see themselves as fat—I’d look in the mirror and see myself as skinny. OK, not really skinny. I knew I could stand to lose a few, but basically thought I looked fine. Then I’d see photographs of myself and that always did it. The mirror could lie but those pictures couldn’t, and I knew I had to do something.

Why is it working this time? A few thoughts:

  1. The Buddy System: My husband signed up, too, and it’s definitely easier when we’re both in it together. We discuss each meal, how many points we have left to eat, and what we want to snack on. That said, his weight loss goal is much less than mine and he is allotted more points; at night when I’ve used up my points, he’s first deciding what treat he’ll indulge in. Still, overall it’s a help that he’s also trying to lose weight and that we are accountable to each other to keep on task.
  2. Going Public: In the past, whenever I’ve dieted, I have kept it to myself. I didn’t want to feel like anyone was watching my every bite, giving me dirty looks if I reached for a cookie, or eyeing my waistline. This time, I’ve been very open about it with friends and family (and now with this post, pretty much everyone). Everyone has been extremely supportive and that in turn is making it easier to succeed.
  3. My Heart Health: I was about two weeks into the program when it occurred to me that I’ve always been told to avoid lifting heavy objects, lest it put undo pressure on my heart. But, here I was, basically carrying a 30 pound weight with me wherever I went—the grocery store, the playground, the morning commute. Would I ever carry a 30 pound backpack with me everywhere I went? No, of course not. But with the extra weight, that’s pretty much what I was doing. So while my heart condition wasn’t my initial inspiration to lose weight, it is a big reason that I am (hopefully) going to stick with it this time.

Anyone else currently trying to lose weight? Any tips? Advice? Challenges where you could use some ideas? Let’s be a support system for each other.

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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