Lose weight and keep your life

What are you willing to give up to lose weight? Would you give up living your life the way you like to live it? Donna did. She lost 195 pounds and she lost her lifestyle in the process.

Donna friends and family shared similar lifestyle. Their favorite way to have fun was to dine out. Out of 21 meals in a week, Donna estimates she and her family and friends ate at least 15 of them in restaurants.

Donna was not even 40-years-old when she started feeling like a older woman. Going up and down stairs was painful. Shopping, another favorite pastime left her winded. She wasn’t ready to buy a scooter to preserve her mobility, so that left her with one other option.


Donna wanted to lose weight. She hoped to lose an even 200 pounds, but she was satisfied at 195. The amount of weight Donna wanted to lose was daunting. She knew that she would have to change a lot of things in her life. Whether it’s 200 or 20 or even 5 pounds, losing weight can mean losing your life with it.

You don’t have to lose your life. The best way to lose weight if you want to maintain your weight loss is to make your weight and your life complement each other. It’s definitely more work to do it that way, but the pay off long-lasting success.

If dining out is a big part of your life you could start eating at home. Preparing your own meals and eating them at home gives you control over what you’re eating. That complete control aids losing weight. Your family and friends go out to eat without you. Donna was afraid to go out to eat so she stayed home. She lost a big part of her life.

Donna didn’t have to stop dining out to lose weight and neither do you. Eating in restaurants doesn’t have to get in the way of losing weight. If you want to lose weight and enjoy frequent restaurant meals try these strategies:

  • Treat restaurant dining like eating at home. If you don’t eat bread, rolls or appetizers before dinner at home, skip it when dining out.
  • Drink only water, milk or unsweetened beverages such as iced tea.
  • Skip dessert.
  • Ask to have part of your meal boxed up to take home before you begin to eat (or even ask that they do that in the kitchen and serve only half of the meal on the plate.)
  • Ask questions about how your meal is prepared.
  • Ask for gravies and sauces to be served on the side.
  • Go easy on the cheese!
  • When you are eating out for a special occasion (providing they are less frequent than once a month) ignore the suggestions and enjoy a “full, special occasion, dining out experience.

Donna, like many dieters, discovered that restaurants weren’t her only problem. When she started monitoring what she ate, she discovered just how food centric her life really was. Just about everything she did included food.

When she went shopping the excursion included eating or drinking something high in sugar and fat. Bowling wasn’t bowling without pizza and beer even when she went in the evening after having eaten dinner. Going to the movies included candy, sugary drinks and buttered popcorn. She stopped all of those activities for fear of blowing her diet.

She didn’t need to stay home and in fact, she reduced her physical activity by cutting out her shopping and bowling. You can continue enjoying favorite activities without eating. To break the association of eating during these activities you can use a tool athletes and public speakers use. Visualization is a powerful way to change your behavior.


  1. See yourself enjoying activities without eating.
  2. Make a “moving in your head” of you doing the things you enjoy without eating.
  3. Do your best to see all of the details, the place, who’s with you, what you’re wearing, don’t leave out the smallest of details.
  4. The more real you make it the more it will affect a change in your behavior.
  5. Watch your mental movie. The more likely you are to follow through with the action.

Donna lost weight by losing her life. Once she got to goal she had a hard time maintaining it because she wanted to resume her life. Unfortunately she didn’t know how to resume her life and maintain her goal. Donna says losing weight was easy compared to learning how to put her life back together and maintain her goal.

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If there was one thing she would recommend to anybody losing weight it would be, “don’t put your life on hold while you lose weight.”



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.