At first, Paula Johnson’s (not her real name) goal was to simply stop gaining weight. So, in the summer of 2002, Johnson, a professor, bought NutriBase EZ Edition and started analyzing her meals and calories. The first thing she found out was that she was eating a lot more calories than she thought. “I was eating about 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day,” she says. Johnson decided to limit her calories to no more than 2,000 per day and set a goal of losing 25 pounds over the next year, or a half-pound per week. The 5’8” Johnson easily maintained a weight of about 145 without dieting in her 20s and 30s, and even easily lost the weight she gained when pregnant without consciously dieting. But from age 40 on, she started to gain weight slowly. By age 52, she weighed about 225, 80 pounds more than she weighed in her 30s.
Her cholesterol and blood pressure were normal despite her elevated weight, but she grew concerned about the difficulties of being overweight as she aged. She also noted that she didn’t want to go on a diet; she wanted a lifestyle change. “I was very aware that I had gained weight through eating more and exercising less,” she says. “I knew that the way to lose weight was to eat less and exercise more.” After analyzing her diet habits for two months, Johnson started in earnest in late July, 2002. She would eat no more than 2,000 calories per day. With modest goals, she knew she was taking a long-term approach to weight loss.
However, Johnson was much more successful than she thought she’d be. She got her weight down to 200 pounds from 225 in 90 days, losing 1.5 pounds per week, or triple the rate she was expecting! She realized that her metabolism was much higher than NutriBase estimated. With her calories set at 1,859 per day, she set a new goal of 170 pounds. By late July, 2003, or one year after beginning the weight loosing program, Johnson’s weight was in the low 160s. She had lost more than 60 pounds in one year! Nine months later, Johnson’s weight was back to 145, where it remains today. “I knew that eventually I’d lose weight at a slower rate,” she says. “My goal at this point was to teach myself how to eat so I could stay in the 140s.”
In the first year, Johnson purposely ate an extra 500 calories per day for a few days when she started to feel too hungry. “I wanted to avoid that starving feeling that leads you to eat everything in sight,” she says. Johnson likes using NutriBase and keeping track of her diet and exercise. She’s also trying to train herself to have a more accurate feeling in her body of how much she should be eating. She considers using a weight loosing program like NutriBase to be essential to a weight loss weight loosing program. “It helps to have an automated system for recording food consumption,” she says. “I also like having the long-term records to look back at to see what I was doing in the past.”
Johnson is not the least bit strict in her weight loosing program. “I go over my calorie allotment about 20 percent of the time,” she says. “If I really want something, I will eat it. The only commitment I’m making is to be honest with myself and keep truthful records of what I am eating. Of course, this intentionally makes me think about whether I really want it.” She also finds that she exercises a lot more then she used to. “I find that simply recording the exercise motivates me to do more,” she says. “When I exercise more, I eat more, and when I exercise less, I eat less,” she says. Johnson shoots for 500 calories each day for breakfast, another 500 for lunch, and 700 to 800 for dinner. If she exercises more, she allows herself to have more calories. “If I exercise more, I can have a bigger dinner, a glass of wine, or a bedtime snack. This becomes a motivation to exercise, which has other health benefits.”
It’s not easy to lose weight. It’s a long-term process, and Johnson knows that. She credits her positive mental attitude with helping her lose the weight she’s lost, and she is certain that she’ll be able to keep it off.
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