Be Healthy: It Needs a Daily Focused Plan

06/08/2015 03:13 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2016
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"This is my post pregnancy weight", said a co-worker of mine, when I worked in cancer research, 30 years ago. She was commenting on the fact that I was so thin (then, only 100 pounds), while she had some unwanted pounds. When I asked her, "Oh, how old your little ones?" She deadpanned, "10 years old."

Thirty years and two grown kids later, I have also gained "post-pregnancy" weight.

Fortunately, I wasn't too far off from my desired weight, cause all I wanted to do was shed 10 pounds. Unfortunately with a "sweet tooth" (an unbelievable attraction for desserts, especially chocolate) and living a lifestyle that included lots of weekend parties, and week day fun with family and friends, there was no losing. With regular exercise, all I could do was maintain my then "post-pregnancy weight."

In December 2014, when I began publishing my magazine, Be Healthy, I decided that, to be credible, I had to "practice what I preached." So began my 12-month journey.

First, I stopped "social drinking." I wasn't a big drinker anyway, and had always been the DD (designated driver) for our family and group of friends, so this was easy to give up. And by give up I mean, no exceptions, except one drink each, on two events in the entire year, my hubby's birthday and mine.

Then came the, "reduce the eating out." This wasn't as easy, as my family loves to dine out. However, with my love for cooking, my family's enjoyment of my cooking, and using excuses like "let's eat at home, it gives us more time to be together," I was able to pretty much cut down the "going out to restaurants" by 80 percent.

Now, my family is pretty much used to eating at home, but Jets Pizza does get a lot of our business (although not quite as much as they used to).

The other dietary changes are more my personal preference. I am a vegetarian (by religion and from birth), and have never eaten meat, fish or poultry, so that helped. I've never been a junk food eater, so there was no desire of suzie q's or chips to stifle. I eat different types of vegetables now, finding healthier and made tastier, with liberal use of spices.

I also drink a lot of water, black tea with cardamom, black tea with ginger, and homemade alcohol-free sangria when the sweet teeth start whining. My version of home made sangria is basically cutting up berries and grapes, and pouring half a cup of club soda mixed with half a cup of sugar-free lemonade.

And the only activity I undertook was walking/jogging, five to six days a week. I love to run, but the knees aren't quite as cooperative anymore, so I settled for walking, and added some jogging to break up the tedium. In the winter, and on days when walking outside wasn't possible, I used the treadmill. When it was nice outside, I walked outside. An audio book on my phone, headphones and/or a favorite show on TV was all I need, to keep me company.

Now, 18 months later, I've lost those pesky 10 pounds. And now I'm getting greedy, cause I want to lose five more!

My daily lunch consists of lentil soup, and at least five vegetables (my favorites are asparagus, broccoli, avocado, cucumber, baby spinach, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), sautéed, steamed, etc. and liberally spiced. My dinner varies between Indian food, pasta or a sandwich, all home-cooked and vegetarian.

I did not eliminate carbs or desserts, and in fact I continue to eat two (small) pieces of European chocolate, every single night. But I do limit their intake.

Bottom line: I lost weight because I changed how I ate, and made it my new way of living. I don't crave any foods, because I don't deny myself any foods. I haven't gained back any of the weight, because I haven't stopped doing what I did to lose it.

I'm still a ways away from the 100 pounds I used to be, but I'm just a little bit lighter in my post-pregnancy weigh-in... and weighing 100 pounds is not a goal anyhow.