Weight Loss Success Starts at Any Age
How a Dump Truck Saved a Grandma
"I need a miracle." That's what a client once told me during our initial consultation. (I'll call her Tara.) She was 57 years old, weighed nearly 300 pounds and used an electric scooter to get around. The reason we were meeting was because of something that happened a few days before. Her grandson and his friend watched a garbage truck as it started to back up. It made a "beep...beep...beep" sound to warn people behind that it was coming. Her grandson turned to his friend and said, "that's the same sound grandma makes when SHE backs up."
Tara was horrified. Her grandson was comparing her to a dump truck. She decided it was time to do something about her weight. Her biggest fear was that she had waited too long. Was there any hope for a 57-year old grandmother who relied on an electric scooter? I assured her, there's always hope. So we worked out a plan.
The first thing she would do is cut down on the use of that scooter. The only reason she was riding it was because she had grown so big, she got tired from walking. So I banned it from the house. When you're having difficulty moving because of too much weight, the solution isn't getting off your feet and sitting more.
The second week her assignment was to walk outside. The first walk she made it to the curb and back to the porch. The second walk she made it once around the house. Progress was slow, but every day she added a few more steps.
The third week we started in the gym with some exercises. Small movements to teach her how the muscles should move and get her body used to something a little more strenuous. We only worked out twice a week, for 30 minutes at a time. But that's enough to build muscle for the first few months. As she got stronger, the new muscle began to boost her metabolism and helped her burn off more calories.
By week four it was time to deal with the food she was eating. Instead of making radical dietary changes, the only thing we did was swap out her plates. I took away all her large twelve-inch dinner plates and replaced them with eight-inch salad plates. You see, the larger the plate is, the more food people tend to put on it. Tara could keep eating what she's used to, it would just now be smaller portions.
It worked. In that fourth week alone she dropped three pounds. The changes were adding up and her body was responding. That's when I gave her a snack rule. She can continue to eat her three (smaller plate) meals every day. BUT, when she wants a snack between meals, the only thing I allowed was unprocessed vegetables or a single whole fruit.
This was going to be a challenge because Tara's house was full of junk food. When her grandkids were good, a cookie was how she told them. We had to work out other ways to reward good behavior. Here's what we did.
No more passive sitting in front of the TV before dinner. Tara had everyone help her cook in the kitchen. Single-player video games were put away and replaced with two-person ones that made you move. Every time Tara's grandkids joined her for a walk, they got a star on the chart she posted on the refrigerator. After 10 stars, they got to pick a game the whole family would play together.
Every couple of weeks we made a small change. Walking progressed to light jogging. White bread was replaced by whole wheat bread. Full calorie drinks were replaced with diet soda or water. We didn't do anything traumatic, sudden or difficult and we only added one small thing at a time.
It's been almost a year since Tara's first consultation. All those little changes have added up to a huge difference. She's 94 pounds lighter than when she started and her scooter sits in the back of the garage, gathering dust.
Whatever your age or condition, you can see progress just like Tara. Don't do anything radical, just make one small change each week. What are you doing this week?
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