An upward trend could also mean the lower weight was too hard to maintain while enjoying a full life. “It’s important to take all of this in context. If you’re nourishing your body with healthy food and movement, your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar are good, and you’re emotionally well, it’s not necessary to strive for a lower body weight. It’s about finding the healthiest weight that you can happily maintain,” Cassetty says.
Support is the key to success
Curtiss says her weight loss has been a lot of hard work. “After surgery, your body absorbs less but you still have to learn to eat correctly in order to maintain your weight or you will gain it back,” she says.
Joining a support group after surgery helped. So did education — she learned how to judge portion sizes. “I eat more slowly, and more often. I eat smaller portions; if I go out to dinner, half my meal will be for lunch the next day,” she says.
Family support was also crucial. “My husband encouraged me. Even to this day, he’ll be the one to say, ‘Let’s go on a bike ride.’ He joined the gym I joined, and got me a personal trainer,” she says.
Along with changing her eating habits, she joined a gym and she pushes herself to get to spin class three times a week, even on days when she’s tired from a long workday. “I tell myself, 'It’s 45 minutes, you can do it’,” she says. “I keep as toned as possible.”
Cassetty says, “I love this attitude, but I also think it’s important to find activities you enjoy. Challenging yourself is great, but if spin feels like torture, find another activity. The more you move, the better, and it’s much easier to move more when you feel good about it.”
Mindful eating helps keep her on track
Curtiss acknowledges that after all these years, she still works hard to maintain a healthy weight. “It’s a struggle every day for anybody who likes food. Food is always around us. You have to eat,” she says.
“Since I’ve had surgery, I’m more mindful of everything. Even when I think I’m eating the wrong thing, when I know I shouldn’t be doing this, I’m still mindful. I think that’s where success comes into play,” she says. “I’m more tuned in over time.”
Cassetty points out that it’s okay to eat for pure pleasure sometimes. “Having a good relationship with food means sometimes enjoying French fries or pizza, but it also means discovering enjoyable ways to nourish your body with foods that make you feel good,” she says.
A boost in health came with a boost in confidence
Curtiss no longer needs medication to control her diabetes, and she went from two pills to one to bring her blood pressure down. She can easily keep up with her young-adult children.
Along with the health benefits, she feels better. It’s easier for her to buy clothes and she no longer has to shop in the plus-size department. “I feel more confident. My self-esteem is higher. When you think you look better, you feel better. It all goes hand in hand — the psychological and the physical,” she says.
Cassetty often sees a boost in well-being in people who make healthy lifestyle changes. “When you eat better and incorporate movement into your day, you often sleep better and feel better,” she says. “You might experience more energy, creativity, patience and focus, and that might open up new possibilities in work and life.”
Curtiss' typical meals
Breakfast: Coffee and a fruit cup
Lunch: Half of her dinner from the previous night
Dinner: Baked chicken, stir-fried vegetable and greens. “I do eat starch, but I try to control that as much as I can,” she says.
“I typically do my own cooking. I rarely eat anything fried, and I definitely incorporate vegetables,” she says.
Cassetty would like to see a little more protein with breakfast, such as an egg or Greek yogurt. She loves Curtiss’ focus on veggies, though. “I think a good rule of thumb is to aim for two cups of veggies at lunch and dinner, and you can even slip them into breakfast in a smoothie or scrambled eggs.”
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