THE BLOG
07/22/2014 11:37 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2014

My 'Secrets' of Weight Loss

vaeenma via Getty Images

August 2011 I was probably at my all-time high weight. I don't know exactly how much I weighed, since I stopped weighing when I reached 389 pounds. I am positive I weighed more than 400 pounds, but didn't want to know exactly how much over 400 pounds.

Currently, I weigh 180 pounds. People ask me the secret of my weight loss. I first acknowledge that I had gastric bypass surgery at Stanford Medical Center in August of 2012. My surgeon created a small pouch at the top of stomach and most of the food I ate was "bypassed" and sent straight to my small intestine. The pouch is the size of a walnut and can only hold an ounce of food.

Folks often confuse the various weight loss surgeries with each other and with liposuction. Some folks think having surgery to help you lose weight is cheating or taking the easy way out.

For me, at nearly six decades it was about being healthy. And as Al Roker says, anyone can eat their way out of a gastric bypass. Nothing is permanent. Everything takes work and discipline.

CNN.com recently featured me in their weekly weight loss story series: http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/09/health/weight-loss-akilah-monifa/

As to the "secrets" of my weight loss success, in no particular order of importance:

1. I walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. I keep track via my Fitbit device. I have rocked them all, currently wearing a violet Fitbit Flex. I usually start out with at least a 15-minute walk before my day starts.

2. I don't count calories, but I don't eat the same way I did when I weighed over 400 pounds. I have taken to heart the adage of the definition of crazy: Doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result. I eat small portions of food high in protein every few hours.

3. I do eat refined sugar, but not in the quantities I used to. I have a pint of ice cream that has been in my refrigerator for more than one year, for example.

4. I weigh daily. I gave myself a 10-pound cushion for the weight loss and I am below my goal, but as I see myself gaining weight I step up my fitness game.

5. I belong to two gyms, one near my office, and one near my home, a national one that I can use when I travel. If a gym is not available to me, that's not an excuse; I walk outside or inside is the weather doesn't permit.

6. I read a summary of The Four Agreements several times a day. For my fitness goals, the most important is the last agreement: "Always do your best." Sometimes my best falls short of 10k steps a day, but it is still my best, and I don't beat up on myself because I haven't done my 10k steps.

7. I listen to inspirational music. It puts me in a better mood and helps me walk more.

8. I drink lots of walk. Any other drink is not as healthy and has empty calories usually.

9. I get up before sunrise.

10. I get the proper amount of sleep. For me this is between five and six hours a day. I do take naps.

I am so much more healthier and happier.

Peace and blessings.

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