GRAND RAPIDS, MI When Jodi Davis recently shared the secrets to her 162-pound weight loss, it was clear that a fun, joyful attitude was a key to her success.
She loves walking. Loves trying new, healthy foods. And she loves encouraging others with her story.
Davis, of Coloma, shared her story and offered weight-loss tips recently in a live chat on MLive.com. She was joined by Grace Derocha, a dietitian and fitness coach.
Both Davis and Derocha promote healthy lifestyles through A Healthier Michigan, an initiative of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
When she weighed 300 pounds and started her weight-loss plan by walking every day, Davis ran into a lot of skepticism. A daily walk is not going to work, she was told.
Not only did she lose 162 pounds, she has maintained the weight loss for 12 years. And she is still walking.
Here is an excerpt from the chat:
Question: Jodi, your story is remarkable. What’s the question you hear the most?
Thank you for the compliment. The question that I hear the most is: “Are you SURE that all you did was walk 1.5 miles a day?” When I answer “Yes” they are often surprised, feeling as though walking isn’t enough to create a significant weight loss.
I explain that I also consumed healthier foods than I did when I was morbidly obese, making sure to never skip meals. My attitude changed toward food, and I continuously reminded myself that “ONE BITE TASTES THE SAME AS TWENTY” when I wanted a treat. I still use that motto today, it works wonders! … and so does WALKING!
Question: As difficult as it is to lose weight, it seems even harder to maintain a weight loss. That’s what makes your story even more remarkable, Jodi. Grace or Jodi, do you have any tips for keeping the weight off?
I hear that quite often, as many people feel that losing the weight is easier than actually keeping it off. I have a few suggestions for that:
1. Get RID of the “fat clothes” – don’t keep them ‘just in case’ because that allows you to feel that you’ll be using them again someday.
2. Make sure that you are enjoying your healthy lifestyle… but if you are not, figure out why and find some solutions.
3. Exercising daily is truly a key. I didn’t like to even use the word EXERCISE when I was 300 pounds, but I had to accept that I needed to incorporate it into my day. Walking was fun, free, and I could do it anywhere and anytime … with anyone, including my dogs. I walk everyday – NO EXCUSES – which has allowed me to maintain my weight.
4. Don’t try to be perfect, especially when it comes to eating. We all go overboard on eating now and then; it’s okay as long as you continue to strive for eating healthy. There are 21 meals in a week – if you do great for 18 of them, awesome!
For weight loss and weight maintenance, consistency is key.
-Try to set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-framed goals). Set these as short-term and long-term goals. Find something that inspires you to live healthier or lose weight. For example, my mom has stated that she wants to live healthier because she wants to be around for my daughter (her granddaughter).
-Avoid what makes you “weak.” If you have certain foods that you cannot resist. Don’t have them in the house or around you.
-With weight loss, a lot of people are always thinking about cutting back or cutting out foods and then they start to feel deprived. Think about what you can or should add do your daily meal plan for more nutritionally dense foods. For example, if you don’t have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, strive to add a rainbow of color into your day. Or if you are not taking in enough water, aim to do that daily.
Question: How do you energize yourself during the winter blues?
I don’t seem to find myself encountering the “winter blues” so much, but if I find that I’m low on energy because of lack of sleep or the cold, dreary days, I turn to green tea! I love it and it seems to do the trick right away. I’ll often turn up ‘my favorite tunes’ and dance my heart out … hey, nobody is watching and it’s a blast!
Exercise naturally helps you produce more endorphins which makes you happier and gives you more energy. Music is also a natural mood booster, so this all makes sense.
Question: How fast do you walk and how far do you walk?
I walk pretty quickly and try to keep the same pace for the entire walk. It takes me 15 minutes to walk one mile. My normal routine is to walk 1.5 miles per day, which takes about 22 minutes, but I LOVE to strive for more! 5K walks are fun now, which are 3.1 miles, or about 6,200 steps.
If you enjoy your daily physical activity, you’ll be more apt to do it – walking was my thing, and still is! LOVE IT!
Question: Exercise –but it’s so hard to find the time to fit it in!! I commute to work four days a week and have two young kids who need play time, help with homework, in addition to shuffling back and forth to various activities. It seems so difficult to find the time to exercise. By the time they go to bed around 8 p.m. — I am often ready to go to bed with them, or have to prepare for the next morning (lunches, work, etc.). How do you fit in a quick exercise routine that will be beneficial?
Great question! I feel the same way. Between work, kids and life it can get tricky to fit in a workout. Here are a few ideas: -Try to schedule your workouts. These don’t have to be extremely long, but make it work with your schedule. -That said, trying a workout at home is always a great way to fit it in. Recently, I have been using free workouts on demand through my cable provider and they have even 10 minute workouts. -Try to include the kids in some type of activity that could be like exercise. -Do small workouts – even three 10 minute walks a day, shows health benefits.
Yes, it is difficult to find time to work out, especially with young children … I totally understand.
When my three children were young, I would find a designated time each day to dance with them or jog in place, aiming for 3,000 steps on my pedometer each time. Before long, they were looking forward to this “daily activity” and we had a great time working out as a family!
Question: Jodi, do you have any suggestions for avoiding “emotional eating”?
As far as emotional eating, it surely was a major contributor to my obesity. Food was my friend, so I thought, and I went to it for comfort.
I learned that I could no longer turn to food for comfort, so I told myself whenever I needed “that comfort” I would walk instead. It may not be my normal walk, but it gets me out of the atmosphere and allows me to think about things.
I also learned not to purchase the comfort food items. If they are here, then I may eat them … so I don’t keep them in my home. Low-fat microwave popcorn works great for comfort food – low in calories, high fiber and it keeps the hand busy. Most of the time, comfort food is not ‘tasted’ anyways … it’s just something to do. I know. I’ve been there.
Please read many posts on this subject, they come from my heart: aHealthierMichigan.org
Davis and Derocha addressed a number of other topics, from walking routes to smart phone apps to the health benefits of endamame beans. Read the full discussion here.
Email Sue Thoms at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/suethoms
- ^ a live chat on MLive.com. (www.mlive.com)
- ^ A Healthier Michigan, (www.ahealthiermichigan.org)
- ^ full discussion here. (www.mlive.com)
- ^ firstname.lastname@example.org (www.mlive.com)
- ^ twitter.com/suethoms (twitter.com)
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