Tips from a woman who lost 200 pounds in her late sixties
Judy Wilson still remembers her highest weight to the decimal point. And she can’t forget how it made her feel.
Standing 5 feet, 9 inches tall, she reached 431.2 pounds by the age of 65. Wilson had to take two blood pressure medications and use a sleep apnea machine. Often the chairs did not fit her large frame and someone always had to pull her out if she wanted to stand. She relied on a walker and a cane and could not put on her own shoes. She had no energy.
The weight started to increase when she started having children, Wilson said. When there were tough times in her life, she turned to food, likening it to an addiction. Potato chips and candy bars were some of her favorites.
âI had to see food in a different light. Some people go to food for comfort and that’s what I was doing. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re eating all that junk food, âsaid Wilson, who lives in Monroe, Louisiana, TODAY.
âEnough was enough, so I decided to do something. I believe in prayer, so I prayed about it.
Wilson started her weight loss journey by participating in the “Queendom Bootcamp”, a 21 day local diet program. It covered good nutrition and taught her to stop using food as something to celebrate, she said.
As Wilson incorporated the lessons into her daily life and her weight gradually began to drop, she added regular exercise to the mix. It took her less than four years to lose 200 pounds, down to 229. She was able to stay under 10 pounds of that.
When she celebrated her 70th birthday last month, Wilson no longer had to take blood pressure medication, no longer had to use a sleep apnea device and the cane and walker were of ancient history.
âYou are never too old. You are never too fat. You are never too late. As long as you have breath in your body and you are readyâ¦ if I can do it, trust me you can do it, âshe said.
Here’s how Wilson lost weight:
Focus on portion control
Wilson doesn’t count calories, but she has three scales in her kitchen and carefully weighs her food so she can measure her portions. A serving of fish, chicken or other meat never weighs more than 3 ounces. Vegetables are measured by the cup. She uses salad plates instead of regular plates to avoid piling too many.
âThe food is good for you, but anything over the top is going to ruin you,â she said.
Wilson eats three meals a day, plus two snacks. Breakfast can be a cup of cereal with almond milk. For lunch, Wilson will have a meat and a cup of vegetables. For dinner, two vegetables and one meat. Snacks are usually fresh fruit.
Wilson avoids bread, white rice, and potatoes, but will occasionally have brown rice or a baked sweet potato.
Pay attention to the way the food is prepared
Everything Wilson eats is baked, broiled, or broiled. She doesn’t eat anything fried. âYou can eat the right food, the right food, but eat it the wrong way. The chicken is good, but dip it in fat and fry it – it’s not okay, âshe said.
Wilson also avoids processed foods, focusing on fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables or frozen versions.
Change the way you think about food
âIt starts with your thinking,â Wilson said. âSee food not as a crutch, not as an occasion to celebrate. You can celebrate with a pedicure. You don’t have to get out of the pig.
Don’t put yourself in tempting situations
Wilson eats dessert every now and then, but tries to stay away from sweets because she knows herself and knows a bite could trigger overeating. âThe minute you decide to lose weight, someone is going to want to take you out to eat or bake you a cake. But you have to say, ‘No. I choose to live and not to die, âshe advised.
When she craves chips, she sometimes allows herself a small, personal size bag to keep the portion under control.
For Wilson, that means going to the gym six or seven days a week. She started going after losing the first 100 pounds and having surgery for a sore knee.
Her workouts last 45 minutes to an hour and focus on cardio: she warms up on a treadmill or elliptical trainer, then rides a stationary bike.
There are days when she doesn’t feel like going to the gym, but she remembers that it’s a health issue: âI’m living my best life right now. I have energy now that I never had, âshe noted. “I have gone too far and I am not going to go back.”
She also likes how she feels after training. Still, Wilson attributed 80% of her weight loss to diet and warned people that they can’t get better than poor nutrition. Don’t put it in your mouth in the first place, she advised.
You are responsible for what and how much you eat, Wilson said.
âI have no excuse for weighing 430 pounds. I did this to myself, âshe noted.
âI want to live and not dieâ¦ (now) I feel good. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to keep losing weight. I have the joy of the Lord. I’m just happy with everything.