Colleen’s Story: Small Steps, Big Changes

Ready for a New Approach

Colleen before articleColleen says she is the poster child for yoyo dieting. She did a doctor-supervised protein shake diet in 2003. She lost 100 pouds but gained back 130 pounds. She has also tried Jenny Craig, Atkins, and counting calories. She was considering Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous when she read about a “Get Fit for the Holidays” contest that included an Am I Hungry®? workshop and a women’s fitness program. Colleen says, “I was really ready for a new approach.”

Colleen has lost 26 pounds and almost 6 inches from her waist over the last three months. More importantly, she says she feels energetic and in charge of her life. She knows she is still early in the process but is taking it one step at a time. “I’m in this for the long-haul. I have done just about every diet and I’m just not doing that anymore.”

Recognizing Hunger and Making Better Decisions

She has started asking herself, “Am I hungry?” whenever she feels like eating. Colleen says that for her, “hunger is a subtle feeling, like an emptiness.” She’s now eating more regularly but less often. In the past, being too hungry was a high-risk time for eating too much too fast. Now if she’s overly hungry, she eats a small of food then waits awhile to allow her blood sugar to come back up. She is then able to make better decisions about what and how much to eat.

Colleen has decided to take a walk after dinner to break her old habit of having seconds or thirds when food tastes really good. If she still wants more when she gets back, she’ll have it. This is important because like many yoyo dieters, Colleen used to think of herself as “bad” when she broke a “rule.” Colleen says, “I’m working on changing the way I think about food.” She’s learning to eat the foods she loves in moderation without guilt. Since deprivation and guilt are powerful triggers, learning a more flexible approach helping her establish healthier lifelong habits.

One Step at a Time

Colleen is aware that her biggest challenge is emotional eating, particularly due to stress from her job, a controlling boss, and her current relationship. She also eats when she’s bored. “One of my goals is to find at least five ways to nurture myself besides eating.”

She is also enjoying the women’s fitness program and recently discovered a hiking trail near her home. Although she says she can’t make it all the way up the mountain yet, she knows that by going a little farther each time she’ll eventually make it to the top. She’s on her way!

“I want to thank you for such an amazing life changing experience. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and will be keeping it up. I know that a year from now I will be a completely new person.”

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