Friday, November 26, 2010

Healthy Living Weekly Post: The Ultimate Weight Solution book review (Part 1)

To help myself remain focused on healthy living during this busy holiday season, I'm planning to read books about healthy living, nutrition, and exercise. I love to read, and I read at least a little every day, so this is a great tool to help reinforce the healthy living habits that I've been working on over the past several months.

 Last week, I started reading Dr. Phil McGraw's book The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom and thought I would share my thoughts and what I'm learning as I read. The book is divided into three main sections: the introduction, the 7 keys, and powerful insights. I've finished the introduction and the first three keys.

The book is addressed to those who have followed fad diets one after another without success at keeping the weight off. This made me feel pretty good starting out because I've never followed any diet plan other than changing my lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating and portion control. Dr. Phil states that his plan "will be unlike any diet or makeover program you have ever undertaken." This book was written in 2003, so some of these ideas may have been new at the time, however so far I've found that I'm familiar with most of the material presented - although his presentation of it as 7 keys to be worked through is unique.

The first key is Right Thinking and is basically about self-control, losing weight for the right reasons, and thinking positively about the changes you are making. He reminds us that "you can never, ever, use weight loss to solve problems that are not related to your weight" and that negative self-talk does not help. This comment made me think of how I often say that I have no willpower when it comes to resisting things that are in the house. However, over the past 53 days, I have done a great job of resisting the three ice-cold Coca-Colas in my refrigerator.  I think this first key is one that I have done well on as my goal has never been strictly to lose weight, but rather to change my lifestyle to a more healthful one. I still need to work on my occasional negative self-talk by reminding myself of what I've accomplished so far and thinking positively about what I can do.

(Let me digress a minute and update y'all on the breaking of my Coca-Cola habit. I have had three cokes over the past 53 days. One day I just wanted to take some time "off" from all this healthy living and I enjoyed a coke and candy bar while I scrapped all evening! It was like a mini-vacation and I was right back on track the next morning. I also made a conscious choice two other times to enjoy a coke: once for Robbie's birthday dinner out and earlier this week when Robbie and I were enjoying a very competitive game of dominoes. I have to admit that I enjoyed the cokes as I would a new entree or special dessert rather than it being out of habit or emotional "need.")

Now, back to the book. The second key is Healing Emotions and the key revolves around not "looking to food for the answers to your emotional pain." I know that this has been an issue for me over the years, however as my Coca-Cola story reveals, I am working on changing how I address emotional issues. I think I'm doing a fairly good job with this key, but this will always be an issue that I have to be mindful of as I continue to re-train myself to eat for health and not for comfort.

The third key is A No-Fail Environment in which we remove unhealthy foods from our homes (or other places we store food). Dr. Phil also talks about keeping healthy foods available as well as switching to lower fat foods. Over the past several years, Robbie and I have switched from whole milk to skim milk, from regular cheeses to low-fat cheeses, and from vegetable oil to canola or olive oil. We no longer keep high calorie snacks in the house. I do keep a supply of snacks, however most of these are granola bars or other snacks that are packaged with 100 calories or less. I must admit that we keep a very well stocked pantry, and should the craving present itself, I could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or a pecan pie or a pineapple delight cake without having to run to the store. I just have to be mindful of when I choose to make those things - like when we have company coming over that can help us eat them up or when we're going somewhere that we need to take a culinary treat.

I'll share the remaining keys as I complete them. For today, we are playing Christmas music, putting out the nativity and Santa Claus figurines, decorating the Christmas tree, and enjoying turkey and leftovers from Thanksgiving. And I'm extremely excited to report that the scale was one pound DOWN from last week when I weighed in this morning - a total of 12 pounds down from my highest weight ealier this year!!!!


  1. Yes, the fad diets come and go, just like the pounds. Weight Watchers is the only one that seems to stand the test of time, and be recommended by doctors.

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  2. hmm... sounds like the book will be an interesting read... I don't think my "issues" with food come from an emotional crutch, more just laziness, busy-ness, and not really knowing how to make better choices from an early age... look forward to sharing the journey with you!

  3. congratulations on your weight loss Melissa, you are really inspiring me to keep up with my healthy living routine too! Happy (slightly belated) Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  4. congrats on the weight loss - i know how hard that is to do when holiday foods are on hand.


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