[photopress:Weight_Scale_Running_Shoes.jpg,thumb,pp_style]by Lynn Price
Someone once observed, “If you gain one pound a year after you’re married, by the time you’ve been married 50 years, you’ll have gained 50 pounds.”
When I married, my husband and I agreed that after the birth of each child, I had to regain my pre-pregnancy weight before I could get pregnant again. This plan worked well for my first four children. And then we moved to Germany.
As soon as I stepped off the plane in Germany, I automatically gained 10 pounds. After my fifth child was born, I had a difficult time getting back to that new pre-pregnancy weight, and absolutely could not get back to my original pre-pregnancy weight. Time passed, and as I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw myself as I always had looked. Oh, I had to hold my head a little higher when having portraits taken so my chin (or should I say chins) didn’t show so much. And I stood or sat sideways so my better side would show. And I had begun wearing my blouses on the outside of my slacks instead of tucking them in. But, I wasn’t “fat.”
Well, pictures don’t lie. By the time I had been married 40 years I had gained 43 pounds: I was ahead of the “one pound a year” scenario. My last unmarried son became engaged and I decided I was going to get into shape before his wedding. I was not going to be fat in the wedding pictures. Besides, my sister who is three years older than I had recently lost several pounds and looked fabulous. I was just a little envious. (Another incentive was that I had undergone heart by-pass surgery three years earlier and I really wanted to be around to see my grandchildren grow up.) By the wedding four months later, I had lost 15 pounds. After five years, I had lost 40 pounds.
The loss was gradual and allowed me to reduce my size without having saggy loose skin with which to contend. Diets don’t work for me. I had to make some lifestyle changes! I had to recognize that society had gradually “super-sized” a lot of things that I had allowed to impact me negatively: clothes that used to be a size 10 were now a misleading size 8; restaurants served portions of food that were equal to two or three times what a recommended serving size would be; beverages were increased in size from 8 ounces to 32 ounces at times, with “all the refills” you want; candy bars grew from single serving size to double serving size.
The world wasn’t going to change so I had to take the initiative.
1. I began a regular exercise program. We bought a recumbent bike and I ride it 40 to 50 minutes six mornings a week.
2. When my husband and I go out to eat at a restaurant, we either share a single entree or we request a “doggie bag” and bring half of our entree home.
3. I down-sized our serving portions at home. Three ounces of meat equals a serving size. I purchase 1/3 of a pound of hamburger when cooking hamburgers for two
of us or for adding to various meat dishes. Our grocery store offers six-ounce salmon fillets. I broil and divide one fillet, which is a sufficient serving size for both my
husband and me.
4. We use smaller glasses: four-ounce serving size. We also use smaller cereal bowls that only hold one serving of cereal. (The full glass and full cereal bowl have a positive psychological effect.)
5. We have not eliminated any of the foods we really enjoy, but we have reduced our intake of several items: ice cream; cheese; bread; desserts (I only serve dessert with
dinner when we have company); meat (frequently, we have meatless meals in better keeping with the Word of Wisdom); nuts; and candy (Initially, I purchased just one peanut cluster from the bulk candy bins, explaining to the smiling, puzzled clerk that I had the willpower to buy just one piece, but not the will-power to eat just one piece if more were available).
6. We increased our intake of salads and vegetables.
7. When traveling for an extensive time, I take my own cold cereal with me, placing a single serving in a small baggie, and taking enough filled baggies with me to last the entire trip, allowing for a “regular” breakfast about every fourth day.
8. We don’t drink soda pop: it is not good for the teeth or bones and adds needless calories.
It has been helpful to have my husband’s support. He has to watch his weight, too, and rides the bike seven days a week. He loves the new me. I enjoy the new me. And positive, complimentary comments from family, friends and acquaintances have been rewarding. As I continue to slim down, friends say, “Don’t lose any more weight; you’re getting too thin.” I still have not attained my pre-pregnancy weight, and I don’t plan to. I just want to stay within a few pounds of that. So I just smile and tell them, “Well, I still can’t get pregnant again.”
Lynn Price is the author of several books, including Every Person in the Book of Mormon, Every Person in the Old Testament, Every Person in the New Testament, Every Person in the Doctrine & Covenants, Bless Mom In … Whatever She Does and Find A Silver Lining. Her books are available at LDS bookstores or at cedarfort.com.