The MacDougalls find success with Create Your Weight
The MacDougalls share their experiences
with a new Create Your Weight group
John and Mary read about the Create Your Weight program at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in their local paper, and sensed something different. They took a chance and enrolled together, both eager to lose weight but also to learn more about the science of nutrition and how food works in the body. Says John, "After a few classes the light bulb went on. We learned how to eat healthy foods with portion control, and we didn’t feel deprived like you do on other diets. Ericka coached us to eat smaller, more frequent meals so that we were never hungry."
They also began to shop differently in the supermarket. Mary spent less time grabbing boxed items and more time examining the fresh meats and produce, as well as studying food labels. She realized with some surprise, "Eating healthy is not more expensive! You can eat top quality food, and if you are conscious of the amounts you eat, you’ll wind up saving money."
They did completely ignore one previous strategy: calorie counting. "This time we limited portion sizes and changed the quality of the food we ate," says Mary. She kept a food record every day, which helped her to eat less when she realized how much her portions were adding up.
After 8 weeks, John lost 24 pounds and Mary lost 18 even without changing their exercise. They were surprised they had lost so much weight when they hadn't felt deprived or less energetic. Mary actually has more energy to walk now, and has added swimming and even dancing! John exercised throughout the program by walking 4 miles every day, which he continues to do.
Below they share their top tips for success:
- Set small realistic goals. John's main goal was to lose one pound a week. "How can you lose 20 pounds if you can't even lose the first one?"
- Fill your plate but use an 8-inch plate. By eating off of smaller plates, you choose more carefully what you put on the plate. "I used to think the bigger the plate, the better. Now I know better," says Mary.
- Keep daily food records for accountability.
- Portions, portions, especially in restaurants. John says, "You know you can't eat a big plate of spaghetti and 18 meatballs. If you have too much, bring it home. It will be waiting for you later."
- Find support. Mary and John always encouraged each other throughout the sessions, and valued the group support from Create Your Weight.
- Allow for indulgences. They recently went on a cruise and regained a few pounds. Mary says, "It was worth it because it was our vacation. We made sure to savor each bite. But watching portions has become a habit, so we know exactly what to do to get back on track."
They both emphasize, "We tell our friends this is not a diet. You're changing what and how you eat. Once you start depriving yourself, you feel guilty if you eat a favorite food like a hamburger. If we want something, we’re going to have it but we won't go overboard."
Create Your Weight testimonials from past participants
Mary MacDougall wears her favorite blue coat that
did not fit prior to losing weight through
Create Your Weight.
"Ericka was super, took time to explain all aspects of the program, was very encouraging, pleasant and I liked how supportive she was."
"Ericka did an amazing job at presenting presentations every week. Kept all interested. I enjoyed learned about listening to your body and enjoying your food more!"
"Ericka is very knowledgeable and was able to answer any question. I liked the low key, easy manner. I found the program very doable. I learned about nutrition and also what to do when faced with eating problems or situations."
"What I found most helpful: The advice to just ‘eat it and enjoy it and be done with it’ when faced with doughnuts, cakes and cookies at work, etc, and other acts of God."
For more information on Create Your Weight or to sign up for the next session, please call the Nutrition Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital at 617-983-4455 or email BWFHNutritionClinic@partners.org.