It all started when I saw a nutritionist. If she'd tried to throw me into what I'm currently doing almost a year and a half ago, I would've walked out after the first appointment. But she was a subtle and wonderfully sneaky woman, so she made small suggestions here and there that didn't make me arch and hiss in protest. (Hmm...maybe I've been around the cats too long?) Basically I was eating too much. Well duh, I knew that, but I was eating good stuff because take-out was just too expensive! Okay, not everything was wholesome, but on the average I was eating better than most people my weight. Breakfast consisted of three eggs with spinach and tomatoes, and two slices of good ol' American cheese- with a side of three strips of bacon. This is about a 600 calorie breakfast. She showed me that if I just take away one egg, one slice of cheese and one slice of bacon, I could cut off about 200 calories and not suffer a great loss in flavor. So I did. Just changing breakfast helped me lose a little, and we made small changes throughout the year this way. Get rid of the chips. Eat veggies or fruit for a snack. Eat with smaller plates and bowls. Cut dinner portions in half if having them for lunch (we eat a lot of leftovers here). Commit to walking around the block. Now walk for twenty minutes. Now thirty. And bit by bit, I was losing weight. I lost fourteen pounds in a year that way. Little changes can be good, but I got complacent and the weight started going back up. After a three pound gain, she suggested what I'm doing now- 1500 calories a day. The only stipulation I made was that I not eat any "diet" foods (no non-fat/sugar/whatever flavorless wonders that cost a fortune), and she said that as long as I logged everything, stayed within the calorie range and mainly ate good food like veggies, fruits and lean meats, she was fine with that. I'm now starting week thirteen and am thirty-eight pounds lighter! Had you asked me a year ago if I would do this, you'd hear a big, resounding NO as I crunched on a large bag of chips. Now I can still have chips if I want (because I don't deny myself anything), but instead of telling "I can't eat that" i say "it's not worth the calories". The craving goes away after I choose not to eat it! And when it doesn't? I dole out one portion and enjoy the heck out of it. Since I started this new eating lifestyle (not a diet, because diets don't work), I've had chocolate, jellybeans, Cadbury eggs, more jellybeans, cake, and pie. I've had chips and fried food, french fries and take-out. Not every day- just when I truly wanted it. Some days I planned ahead for the extra calories and some days I totally blew off the day. Some days I've had more than 1500 calories, some days I had less. But it was all real food. No powders, shakes, premade frozen meals or mixes. She gave me enough advice to help me do it on my own. That is HUGE, people (please forgive the pun!) I had to learn that I could do this myself, because other people aren't putting food in my mouth. I am. Learning control was hard, but after the first week, it got a lot easier. Thirteen weeks later, it's a habit. No more excuses. My house has very little processed foods. Portions are controlled (at least mine are, but I'm teaching my family as well.) We brew homemade iced tea with very little sugar in it (1/2 - 3/4 cup per gallon). There's still work to do, and I want to get my family involved before my kids go down the same road I did when I was their age. I started at 335 pounds. I'm now a svelte 297 pounds. I conquered my first goal of being under 300 for the first time in years. My next goal is 250. Eventually I want to get down to 160, and for the first time ever, I feel I can get there- and that, my Dear Readers, is an awesome feeling!