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'How I Got Healthier -- And Stayed That Way'

Lasting Weight Loss

First Posted: 08/29/11 09:18 AM ET Updated: 10/29/11 06:12 AM ET

I spent last weekend at the Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia along with 225 health and fitness enthusiasts. The two-day conference was a great way to meet other bloggers with similar interests and learn how to better improve our blogs and blogging practices.

Once the conference ended, I enjoyed dinner with a group of my new blog friends. Inevitably, much of our conversation focused on food and fitness (and dogs!), but one of the most interesting conversations we had was about weight loss. Each of us shared our experiences and what worked for us to lose weight and keep it off. All of our weight-loss stories were different, but it seemed that the key to successful weight loss was slow and steady progress on the scale by making lifestyle changes with regard to healthy eating and exercise. Not a single person mentioned having (long-term) success with a fad diet.

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Before I found my Feel Great Weight, I tried every fad diet out there. From South Beach to Atkins, I was all about a diet with a regimented meal plan that would help me lose weight quickly. I’d religiously follow it for a couple of weeks, and while initially I would lose weight, I was never able to keep it off. The problem? I was forcing myself to eat foods that just weren’t right for my body. Not surprisingly, I felt like I was always hungry, which led me to binge on unhealthy foods.

While I can’t say I liked restrictive diets, they did teach me something about myself. Sure, I could follow a specific eating plan for a short time, but those foods didn’t really fuel my body. If I veered off the plan, how could I possibly eat foods that I liked without gaining weight? I needed to find a way of eating that worked for me.

Of course, I questioned how healthy these diets could really be, but I didn’t know how else to lose weight and keep it off. Eventually, I looked at what I was eating on those diets and why those meals left me feeling unsatisfied. Slowly but surely, I made some tweaks to my diet -- adding protein to all my meals, filling up on fiber and enjoying smaller portions of my favorite foods. These changes didn’t happen overnight and took a lot of trial and error, but the end result was finding my Feel Great Weight and eating foods that I love and that leave me full of energy.

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Filed by Emma Gray  |